Symbols of the world's religions

               

EARLY MEHERA

David Fenster

 
When Mehera was 14, a grand wedding was to be held by the family of Meher Dastur, a prominent and wealthy man. He had only one daughter, Dina, and he wished her wedding to be celebrated so elaborately that Poona would never forget it.

The Zoroastrian community in Poona was small then — everyone knew everyone else, since most were related in some way — and the entire community was invited, along with many Europeans. Hundreds of guests were expected, and a huge quantity of food was prepared.

Daulat had stopped attending such functions since her husband died, but people from the Dastur family came personally to their home and told Daulat, "We know you won't come, but please send your daughters."

Daulat agreed, and the girls were naturally excited and looking forward to the social event of the year. As the date of the wedding approached, Mehera thought, "All my friends will be coming in their finest clothes, but I will be dressed better."

Piroja was to wear a plain gold sari that Daulat had selected for her, but this would not do for Mehera. Years before, Jehangir had had a sari especially embroidered for Daulat to wear to Piroja's navjot. It was a gorgeous, heavy, almond-colored sari with thick gold embroidery. Mehera made up her mind to wear it, and her mother gave her permission.

On the day of the wedding, they had to bathe by 3:00 P.M. and be ready to leave by 4:30 or 5:00. After they had their baths, however, Mehera's mother, in those days, in accordance with the conventions of the time, did not wish her to wear the sari. She told her to choose another one.

Mehera was adamant. Her friends would be there. "I must wear the sari. Otherwise, I won't go!" she declared.

Daulat was equally insistent. "If you won't listen to me, then don't go!"

Mehera stayed home. She missed the wedding of the year because of that sari, which shows how fond she was of good clothes — and how stubborn.

"I was crazy about clothes. But when we came to Baba, all that fondness for clothes had to be given up. We had to wear a plain, cotton sari and tie a white cloth on our head — and I liked to do my hair up so nicely also!"

Mehera pointed out, however, that prior to being made God-realized by Babajan, Baba too was very clothes conscious. He was always fashionably dressed and was particular that his clothes be ironed and spotless. "After being kissed by Babajan," she said, "he left everything."

But there may have been another, hidden reason for Mehera not attending the wedding. It was in the divine plan, she speculated, since someone might have seen her there and tried to talk to her mother about Mehera's marriage — like the cousin who had smiled at her at Rusi's wedding.

The author asked Mehera, "Did you ever, as a child, think about what your life would be like, being married with children?"

"You know, as children we were quite different from children today," she answered. "Children today are so aware; they understand what's going on around them. Our minds were not as sharp. I was just playful. I never listened to what the elders were saying, their conversations. I never thought about such things. Of course, when I was older, I did think I would have a house like this [a big one, like her mothers], but nothing else."

"Did you ever imagine what your husband would look like?"

"As a child, when I thought of who I would marry, I thought he should have fair skin, have nice curly hair — & in Baba I got it all. He was so handsome."

Mehera also commented, "Girls, when they are young, are very silly. As you grow up, you get more sense. I was very stupid and romantic too, when I was young. One day, I thought that, if I had to marry and have children, I wanted them to be very beautiful. I always liked fair hair. Baba had fair hair, really like a girl's hair, and fair skin also. So I loved Baba dearly, though that love was not quite enough. It never is enough. We must go on loving him more and more. All the love that I had was all Baba's. But even that was not enough."

Soon to come into contact with the Divine Beloved, Mehera had thus experienced many different situations and known many kinds of people, unusual for one so young. Born on a bare hillock in Sukkur, she had traveled through the jungles with her family, visiting the oceanside and the towns of India with its kaleidoscope of races, classes, and religions.

Born a Zoroastrian, Mehera had attended Westernized Christian schools — one Roman Catholic and the other ecumenical — and had also learned the creeds and performed the rites of her own religion, without being particularly attracted to any of it.

Then into her life came the Perfect Master, Hazrat Babajan. Now her mother's search for solace that had begun with her husband's death would bring Mehera to her destined role, as the beloved of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba.


Meher Dastur: The family founded the Dastur grammar school that Meher Baba attended. BACK

another one: In those days, women who were menstruating were considered "unclean" and subject to all sorts of restrictions, such as not cooking during their period, or wearing such a cherished sari. BACK

 

MEHERA-MEHER, A Divine Romance, Vol. 1, pp. 55-57
2003 © David Fenster

               

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