Symbols of the world's religions

               

BABAJAN CLOSING SHOP

Mani S. Irani

 
I had this dream of Babajan years after She had passed away.

She was the only woman Perfect Master during our beloved Avatar's time. But if anyone referred to Her as a woman, She would go into a rage and swear at the culprit in no mild terms. Which is why She was never called "Amma (mother) jan", but "Baba (father) jan". "Jan" is an endearment meaning "precious as life".

Her fanatic preference for being called a man had nothing to do with gender. It was referral to the courage and strength that were attributed to men in the old days when wars were fought and won by men, while women were protected as the weaker counterpart. So when one is faced with the battle of all battles, the battle over your lower self, and comes through it as Conqueror, it is natural to attribute such strength and courage to that of a "Man".

As a young girl in Poona, my most favourite evening walk was to Babajan's, in the company of my mother. Babajan would be seated under Her neem tree in a small area edged by a brass railing. This made me refer to it as "Babajan's cradle". Part of the tree trunk had encroached within the "cradle". And whenever She called me to Her, I would be happy to find myself standing next to Her "cradle".

I would notice the old rusty nail which had been hammered into the tree trunk, on which a cheap little photo frame with a faded picture of Beloved Baba which Babajan would look at every now and then, nodding and softly talking to Him. Once in a while She would lean over and rest Her forehead on His picture.

Getting back to my dream: I saw Babajan squatting in semi-darkness on the floor where Her women followers usually sat. She was alone, wrapping things in an old sheet and tying it into a big bundle. I sensed immediately that Babajan was leaving us, leaving Poona. I said, "No, no, Babajan, no!" and began to cry. "You must not leave us, Babajan! Poona will be desolate without You! Don't go, please, don't go!"

She looked up at me and said, "What can I do, child? I have to close shop, because no one can afford my wares. I have to go."

I tugged at Her bundle and again begged Her not to go, now crying in earnest. When I woke up I found my pillow wet with tears.

Next morning I told the dream to Baba. He nodded but made no comment.

 

DREAMING OF THE BELOVED, pp. 52-54
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