Symbols of the world's religions



David Fenster

While Mehera and the other women were at the movies, Goher and Sheela stayed at Guruprasad to look after Baba's needs. Before leaving, Mehera issued precise instructions: "Remember, Goher, tie a bib around Baba when he eats [she was particular that daal not stain his sadra]. When you wipe Baba's lips, be very gentle; don't do it in a hurry. And when you wipe his fingers, do so very gently also. It will be too bad [for you] if you hurt Baba!" Though Goher had been staying with Baba for 20 years — and knew perfectly well what to do — Mehera invariably repeated such reminders before leaving. Sheela too listened attentively, as she knew she would be attending to Baba, while Goher went about her work.

For 14-year-old Sheela, those evenings alone with Baba at Guruprasad were a dream-come-true. She had longed to stay with Baba always and do his personal work, like Mehera. Each morning, she observed minutely how Mehera washed Baba's hands and combed his hair. Mehera explained to her how careful she was not to let the comb and brush scratch Baba's scalp. "I do it so gently," she said. Mehera also stated that she kept her own nails short, so that they would not scratch Baba when she washed his hands. (Sheela already had Baba's orders to clip her nails short.) So when Mehera went to the movies, Sheela had the opportunity to wash Baba's hands, after he ate dinner.

"Baba was such a messy eater," Sheela related, "rice and daal were everywhere." Gently, Sheela rubbed each finger clean, careful not to hurt him. She took Baba's plate and spoon to wash, as this is what Mehera did. Mehera had told her not to put Baba's plate on the ground to wash it, or to let it touch the ground. (The other dirty dishes were placed on the ground, and servants squatted to clean them under an outdoor tap.)

Baba had the habit of calling the mandali often, even after giving them instructions to complete some work, and he did this with Goher, during his dinner. Many times, the person would feel exasperated at being interrupted; after the fourth or so interruption, irritation would creep into their voice. But Baba would remind them, "You are talking with God."

This happened with each of the mandali — except for Mehera, who always spoke politely with Baba. Whenever Mehera was called, no matter what she was doing, she replied sweetly, "Yes, Baba?" Baba too never scolded Mehera and spoke lovingly with her always.

For example, one evening at the dining table at Guruprasad, Mehera picked up a bowl of liquid curry to serve Baba — and dropped it accidentally in front of him. It splashed over the table, and some even splattered on him. Mehera was so embarrassed and nervous. Baba looked up at her and said gently, "It's all right, Mehera." She ran for a cloth to wipe his face.

"Mehera was like the wind — literally," Sheela recalled. "She moved so fast to bring something for Baba. The others would say, 'Be careful, Mehera. You might bump into something,' but she never did. 'Baba needs a napkin,' and off she would go at a gallop."(1)

When Mehera returned, she began mopping up the table, but Baba told her to sit down, and he told Meheru to do it. Naturally, Mehera felt terrible that the bowl had slipped from her hands, but Baba again told her not to worry about it.

Meheru explained: "Mehera was more disturbed by the incident than anyone else, as it had happened to Baba. Mehera, in her childlike way, felt disturbed by her own hasty nature. She wanted so much to help and be perfect for Baba, in every way worthy of him. I remember also how sweetly she would tell Baba how she would have liked to have had a beautiful voice to sing for him. Baba would look at her with such depth in his eyes and tell her he loved her exactly the way she was. And this meant so much to Mehera."

(1) Others noted that Mehera sometimes moved like Baba, taking broad, swift strides. Margaret observed that Mehera had a certain grace in all her movements. And even as she aged, Mehera maintained that grace and moved like a younger woman.     RETURN


MEHERA-MEHER, A Divine Romance, Vol. 3, pp. 354-355
2003 © David Fenster


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