Mehera remembered one occasion when Baba was especially sweet to her. "Baba hated to have a cold. If anyone in the ashram had a runny nose or a cold, they were told to keep away, from Baba and from everyone else. Baba didn't want the cold to spread.
"Once, it happened that Baba was to embrace me and say goodnight. I said, 'Baba, I have a little bit of a sore throat, is it okay?' Very sweetly, Baba said, 'It's okay. It doesn't matter,' and he embraced me."
One night, while embracing him, Mansari put her arm around Baba's neck and leaned her entire weight on him. Baba did not like to be hugged this tightly, and, as a result, he stopped embracing everyone. "From tomorrow," he announced, "nobody must embrace me. No one, except Mehera. She alone may do so."
Mani was so distraught that after a few days, Baba agreed to hug her also, but no one else. "Mehera and myself would be alone in the east room at the end of the day," Mani said, "when everyone else had gone. Baba would put out his cheek. After Mehera, I kissed him on the left cheek. Then Baba embraced me."
Perhaps, since this new situation had been prompted by Mansari, Baba was preparing her even then for the isolated role she was destined to play, pushing her away to eventually draw her closer.
During this time, Baba came to Mansari and asked, "Have you finished your breakfast?"
"No" she replied. "I am in the middle of it."
"Finish it, and come and see me."
When Mansari joined him, he said, "Let's go for a stroll." He took her hand, and they started walking. "It's all mine," he said, gesturing around him. "Do you like it? The whole universe is mine, but this place [Meherabad] is especially mine."
They walked inside the compound, and Baba repeated, "It's all mine."
Then he said, "Suppose one day I leave here for 12 months and take everyone with me. I will give you provisions for 12 months. Will you stay?"
Tears rolled down Mansari's cheeks. "I have not come here for that, Baba."
"What? You are crying? I don't like crying. I cracked a joke with you, but I think you don't like my jokes!"
"I love your jokes, Baba, but this is not a joke for me it's a bomb!"
"I don't like this," Baba scolded, indicating her tears. "Are you a woman? No you are not a woman [spiritually]. You are a man! Only women cry! You are not a woman."
But as Mansari continued to cry, Baba said, "Okay, I won't crack that joke with you anymore, because you don't like it and you cry. It was just a joke. Now forget it."
Mansari reflected later that Baba had been preparing her to stay on Meherabad Hill without him: "This incident occurred in September or October 1938; eleven years later, when Baba announced the New Life it came to pass."
MEHERA-MEHER, A Divine Romance, Vol 1, pp. 438-439
2003 © David Fenster