Symbols of the world's religions



Adi K. Irani

[Adi's mother] Gulmai was an emblem of silent suffering. She was of a very quiet temperament. She had a delicate fair body but a stout heart. She was born in Bombay and her father was a carpenter. She had one sister and one brother. She could not easily mix with people, having led the best part of her married life almost by herself and her children, to whom she could not give what she wanted. She had to depend on other members of the joint family for food, clothes and all other necessities of life for a number of years. This, coupled with her nature of not depending upon others and her deep affection for her husband and children, could not let her live happily. Deep inroads of suffering were created in her finer mettle and thus there was a growing dissatisfaction with life and surroundings. Nothing that she wished for, nobly and helpfully for her children, she could do, as she was always heard to say, without stretching her hand to a family member for a coin or a word of sympathy, despite the fact that her husband was the main source of initiative and energy for the roaring business which was built up by him out of almost nothing.

My father was known for his loud thinking and vigorous activity, which enabled him to make a good name and earn money in Ahmednagar, but he sadly lacked in giving attention to his wife and children, which he ever wanted to do but could not. Gulmai suffered at his hands indirectly and everything that seemed to others to go well came to a break.

I am certain that God's ways are unknown and the ways of Perfect Masters are unfathomable. Upasni Maharaj gave a break to her worldly suffering by diverting her care and attention from her home to Sakori and Meher Baba later restored her to her home and family with a broader vision, a greater love and a stronger mind. During this period of transition, she became so deeply and intimately devoted to Meher Baba, that she was always prepared at Meher Baba's word, not only for any sacrifice of herself and her possessions, but also of her children and their possessions.

Her love for Meher Baba became the mainstay of her life, which became the source of inspiration to all the members of the joint family to gradually and surely follow her footsteps. Once drawn to Meher Baba, a person becomes so much sheltered under the ever-open wings of His Love that all persons or circumstances by which he is drawn become insignificant, in spite of the fact that their memory remains ever fresh.

All Gulmai's trouble at home cannot be attributed to my father or to the other joint family members. It was partly due to her aloofness from all family activity, in which she found herself misplaced. She did not participate as she was supposed to, and so felt herself neglected by others. But this did not rob her self-confidence and peaceful nature which she always had, and which attracted family members for her quiet advice and strength during grave personal crisis. Frail in body, she looked like a rock in a storm, impressing the family members with her inner strength and understanding on personal matters. She had less of worldly knowledge but had a deeper sensitivity and appreciation of human suffering that would sometimes get her into hot water with others. Her single-minded devotion to Meher Baba was exemplary. This was in no less measure due to Meher Baba giving her the exuberance of His love and affection as a mother. The name Gulbai was turned into Gulmai by Meher Baba.


THE AWAKENER MAGAZINE, Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 4-5, ed Filis Frederick
1980 © The Universal Spiritual League in America Inc.


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