SHERIARJI THE WANDERING DERVISH
Part 3 of 3
Then a voice spoke to him loud and clear: "You are not destined for that which you seek, but One who will be born to you will achieve it. Rise and return home." Guided by this voice he started to return home to his sister Piroja whom he knew had left Persia and was now loving in India, at a place called Poona.
Piroja was overjoyed to see her brother after so long an absence, for she had lost all hope of ever seeing him again. Afraid of losing him she pleaded with him to marry and settle down. His invariable reply was that he intended to return to his life of a wandering dervish. With truly feminine determination, she would not give up trying to persuade him. One day whilst this was going on a neighbour's five year old girl walked past their door, with a slate under her arm, on her way to school.
This child, the daughter of Piroja's friend Golendoon, was called Shirin. Sheriar thought suddenly he could stop his sister nagging him about getting married and put an end to it once and or all. Pointing to the little girl, he said, "All right, if I marry anyone I will marry that little girl, or else I will never marry."
He was quite sure he had made a ridiculous and impossible proposal, to which the parents of the girl would surely never agree. But he did not know his sister. She took him up on it and hurried off to visit her friend Golendoon and laid bare her heart, begging and imploring her to give her consent, saying that only this would save her brother from going back to his roaming life of an ascetic.
Golendoon's loving heart was touched and besides she had developed a fondness for Piroja's brother and so she agreed to the match. When Shirin's father Dorabjee came to know that his five year old daughter had been promised in marriage to an ascetic of nearly thirty years, he was shocked and angry with his wife, but one's solemn word could not be broken and finally he had to give in.
As for Sheriar the news that his challenge had been accepted, came like a thunderbolt. But having given his word he could not withdraw, and recalling the Voice that had revealed his life's mission to him in the dream, he bowed to the inevitable. Sheriar and Shirin became engaged and nine years later they were married in 1892.
Their marriage was very happy and Shirin was a splendid mother. She had nine children, seven boys and two girls. Two of the boys died in early infancy and Freiny a little girl died at the age of seven. Their second son was named Merwan and then came Jal, Beheram and Adi, lastly Mani, a girl.
Sheriar was strong and healthy with a kind heart and a ready sense of humour, and above all a deep sympathy with the poor and needy. He had a scholarly knowledge of Persian and Arabic languages and spoke several others. He knew astrology and wrote spiritual songs in Persian. Also he had an immense knowledge of trees and flowers, so he turned his hand to gardening.
In those days Poona was famous for its glorious gardens, and every large residence boasted a fine garden. Soon Sheriar became head gardener at a number of mansions, directing the layout and supervising the care of the trees and flowers. Finally he owned several toddy and tea shops. At heart he remained an ascetic, although he lived in the world, as all who knew him discovered. He passed away in his 79th year, and he was the honoured father of Meher Baba, the Avatar of the age.
GLOW International, Aug 1985, pp. 14-15, ed. Naosherwan Anzar
1985 © Naosherwan Anzar