PIR FAZL SHAH
On one particular journey we were traveling and we heard of a very advanced pilgrim. Baba wanted us to find out all that we could about this man, what his habits were, his characteristics, his likes and dislikes. So we started asking our fellow passengers if they knew anything of this man. Some had seen him.
"He must have likes and dislikes," we asked.
"Oh yes," they replied, "and he has a very short temper."
"Is that so? Violent?"
"No, not violent, but he is very blunt. And if you are going to him, he is fond of one thing coconut creams. But are you going to see him now?"
"Oh no! Don't go as you are. You should have baths first and change into neat, clean clothes. He will like that and be very happy. But otherwise, if you go as you are, he will be very short-tempered and will have you thrown out."
We were very dirty from our travels. The soot and smoke from the steam engine was in our hair and clothes and in our very skin. We told Baba about what we had found out and asked what He wanted to do did He want to go straight to this saint or did He want to stop first so we could bathe? Although Baba usually would do everything He could to see that a mast or sadhu's whims were respected, He said that we didn't have enough time to bathe first, and if the saint threw us out, well then, we were thrown out. So we went straight from the station.
About two miles away we found the big bungalow where the saint stayed. The door was ajar, and we of the mandali hesitantly entered, each saying, "You go first," to the other. But to our surprise the saint welcomed us with great respect and cordiality. He directed his people to get a chair for Baba and a bench for us. We were very surprised.
The saint moved the chair and made Baba sit. He said that he was very happy to see Him. Baba gestured for him to seat himself, but the man said that he was happy to stand. In short, he appeared to know of Baba's spiritual status, and Baba looked really uncomfortable, as He always did when His secret, as it were, was revealed. Baba gestured to me and I said to the saint, "My elder brother has come a long way and would like to be with you alone. He wants to see you personally. Would you mind being with Him in that room?"
"Oh no," he replied. "I don't mind. I have been waiting since morning."
Baba then looked pleased, and we all heaved a deep sigh of relief. If Baba is not pleased, then the whole world is dead, as it were, to us.
After Baba and the saint left, the saint's followers began to chat with us and to ask us what we did in life, where we were from and the like. "Your elder brother seems quite different from other people," they observed. "Where is he from and what does he do?"
"He is from Bombay side and he is a businessman," we replied. (As an aside, I might mention that while this seems like a lie, actually it is not. While in America, Baba once defined Himself as a businessman who was eternally, "turning His liabilities [sinners] into assets [saints]."
The saint's followers then expressed their astonishment by noting that ever since the morning, the saint had been saying that someone was coming whom they would not know but that everything had to be clean for him. And we could see that everything had indeed been cleaned. The place was spotless, the floor had been washed, and everything was nice and tidy.
"We heard on the train that your master likes things to be clean and won't see anyone who has not washed well," we commented.
"Yes, this is most unusual. He had us clean the place so thoroughly but then did not insist on your cleanliness. That is what astonishes us."
And so we went on chatting about this and that until Baba came out, in a very good mood. He gestured to us to leave, and we immediately turned to go. We did not hesitate; the emperor had called and we obeyed, that's all. But then what happened?
Baba was already past us, but the old man, the saint, but still a pilgrim on the spiritual path, came out of the house and said, looking towards Baba, "No one, until You came, has touched my heart with the arrow of Divine Love. You have the power to destroy and flood the world; no one fully knows the limits of Your greatness; You are the spiritual authority of the time, and if I were to die, I would take another body to be close to You."
A small footnote to this story is that as we were walking to the railway station, the saint sent one of his men running after us with a message. "My master says," this man reported to us, "that on your arrival home, he would like it very much if you would drop him a postcard of your safe arrival."
Baba told me to remember to do this, and when we finally
returned to Ahmednagar I sent the saint a postcard saying that
we had arrived home safely. What significance this had I don't
know, but Baba was most particular that the saint's wishes be
THAT'S HOW IT WAS, pp. 324-327
1995 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust