AN ENDLESS NEW STORY
Dr. H. P. Bharucha
The doors of the Tomb were temporarily closed and Baba was covered with a clean sheet. Eruch then removed the ice blocks, passing them on to the Mandali who stood around. These, in turn, passed the blocks to the Westerners who stood outside the Tomb. When all the blocks were removed, the pink cloth round His head was changed for the last time. His hair was brushed, the scarf round His head made tidy, dust particles on His face softly wiped away and new roses adorned Him.
Mehera and the women Mandali came for their last darshan. All stood silently around the Tomb. In the pin drop silence, only the loud sobs could be heard of the one who loved the only One as He should be loved. The women Mandali put a garland round Baba and with eyes that betrayed the sorrow in their hearts, they stepped out of the Tomb.
Baba's men Mandali now collected in the Tomb. The coffin lid was passed on by lovers to the door of the Tomb. The lid was brought inside and ropes tied to the four handles on its corners. Just before it was placed over Baba, Eruch went down in the crypt and placed over Beloved Baba's face a very fine scarf given by Mehera. The coffin lid was then lifted by the Mandali standing on the crypt landing. Amongst loud shouts of Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai the lid was slowly lowered over Baba with the help of the ropes, hiding Him from our sight for all times.
Was Baba now teaching us to see Him not physically but in our hearts? Many tears were shed as the lid was lowered. Mehera and the women Mandali watched the lid being lowered from the North window. Baba was now taken away from our physical sight but will live in the hearts of His lovers forever.
After the coffin lid was placed over Baba, the Mandali came out of the Tomb. Mehera and the women Mandali once again went in. Over the lid of the coffin they placed a huge garland of roses. Though Baba was gone physically, He could not go away from their hearts and they now feel His presence all the more.
After Mehera and the others left, flowers were put by the men Mandali on the coffin. Thousands were waiting outside the Tomb. A "ghamela" (pan) full of earth was then brought inside the Tomb and each of the Mandali put a handful of earth on the coffin very solemnly. The trustees decided that each lover instead of coming inside the Tomb and placing some earth on the coffin, should only touch the earth kept at the threshold and this would then be emptied over the coffin. The long queue began and one after another each one came to the door, touched the earth, bowed and left. When all had had this privilege, the "ghamela" was picked up and the earth emptied on the coffin.
Later, earth was filled in "ghamelas" and passed from one lover to another and these were emptied very quickly in the crypt. The crypt was soon full to the level of the landing. A stone slab was put between the crypt and the steps leading to it. The steps were even covered with earth. As it was Baba's birthday according to the Zoroastrian calendar, prasad was distributed to all who had come for the last darshan.
At 5:00 p.m. the crypt was full of earth and the Tomb was swept and cleaned. Baba's seven colored flag was put on the earth in the crypt. Mehera, Mani and the women Mandali went inside and placed a garland on the flag. Only a few lovers were left at Meherabad by now. Most of them had departed and were on their way home. Very soon the sun could be seen setting on the horizon throwing its rays on the Tomb. The rays lit up the four emblems of the four religions standing at the four corners of the Tomb and the words "Mastery in Servitude" written over the door.
Blessed are they who recognised Him as God in human form, loved and surrendered their all unto Him. Meher Baba's last sahavas and the long story of the Ancient One had now come to a close but it marked the beginning of an endless new story!
MEHER BABA'S LAST SAHAVAS, pp. 43-45
1969 © Dr. H. P. Bharucha