THE DHUNI, 1925, MEHERABAD
Faredoon Driver (Padri)
This secondary September rains are very essential, for, during this period the major crops of jowar, (milo) wheat, gram etc. are sown. These crops are helpful, most helpful, to the farmers because they give the farmers their staple grain plus animal fodder in plenty. And since the primary current was feeble, the crops had failed in many places, in fact the primary crop was almost lost. Now, if the secondary current also failed there would be drought.
In this kind of situation, some far-off villagers, who had suffered most, came in a bunch, singing bhajans to Baba in Meherabad in the old bungalow where he was occupied with the Mandali during the day. This bhajan party is called Dindi, where a number of people with musical instruments and a slender two-ended drum and brass taals (sort of brass castanets, which give a sweet metallic sound) play on the instruments and the singers sing bhajans (devotional songs) in unison.
Such Dindi came to Baba with their tale of sorrow, that is, the failure of rains; and invoked Baba to do something about it. Baba, being the Compassionate One, gave them a patient hearing and told them to return immediately to their village and not to worry. Then He ordered the Mandali make preparations for a Dhuni to be lighted.
Due preparations were begun wood, sandalwood, clarified butter etc. were accumulated, also a shallow pit was dug in the ground for the fire. (Dhuni fire has always a very shallow pit to receive the glowing coals which, ultimately turns to ashes which has its own value for the devotees, to be applied to the forehead and to be taken home to be distributed amongst others as it comes from a saintly abode).
At about 5 P.M. the first Dhuni was lighted, in the presence of the Master, who then told the Mandali to sing Upasni Maharaj's Arti. The Mandali did so and when the Arti was almost half over, it began to drizzle which in turn developed into a very good shower, cooling the earth and drenching the Master and the Mandali. Later we received the information that the Dindi also got drenched on their way home as they too received good rains. Thus their prayers were answered.
After we had finished the Arti, we all ran for cover nearby in the first school opened for Arangaon village boys by Baba. There we all sat down on the ground and, Baba then told us all to write a poem in praise of the Dhuni. The attempts by some were good, while others fell flat. Anyway, being an order everybody attempted according to his capability.
From the time till we all again left Meherabad for some other place, the Dhuni was alight 4 hours of the day. But, during our absence, since none remained in Meherabad, the Dhuni became cold. After our return it was revived by Baba who ordered the Meherabad residents to light the Dhuni on the 12th of every month. This order has been carried out to this day.
GLOW International, November 1971
Freiny Nalavala, Editor
1971 © Naosherwan Anzar