Symbols of the world's religions


Hijara, Part 1

Eruch Jessawala

The story concerned a Perfect Master who lived in Lucknow, in Northern India. I have forgotten his name, but he was a hijara. I am not sure exactly how to translate that term. I guess "eunuch" probably comes closest. In India there are tribes of such people. They are men, but they have long hair and they dress themselves in women's garments, in saris, skirts, bangles, and necklaces and so on. And they have the gait and characteristics of women, so if you saw one, you would think it was a woman you were seeing.

As I said, there are tribes of these people who live together, and their position in society is very low. They are outcasts. No community will accept them; they are looked down upon. They are almost excluded from society entirely, and yet, not completely. For these people traditionally are good musicians. They tend to walk through the streets while their leader drums, and the rest of them clap their hands and dance and keep time with bells and tinkling anklets.

And at the time of a wedding or a funeral, these people are paid to come and create a certain atmosphere. At a wedding they sing and laugh and entertain. At a funeral they march through the streets and cry and wail and beat their breasts. They are paid to do this, and so they earn their livelihood that way, and yet they are not respected. If a mother sees her children watching them as they pass by, for children are always attracted to anything colorful and out of the ordinary, she will quickly run and pull her children away. In short, we can say that they are considered the lowest of the low.

Baba told us that in such a community in the city of Lucknow, there was a Perfect Master. In order to uphold this utterly rejected section of humanity, it was ordained that one from that tribe should become a Perfect Master. And so it was. One of the this tribe became Perfect and so, naturally, all of his disciples were also of he tribe. This Perfect Master became the leader of the tribe. Although he did not play the drum, he simply walked at the head of the tribe as they marched through the streets.

One day as they were walking through he streets they saw a crowd approaching them from the other direction. It was a group of wrestlers returning from a title fight, surrounded by the fans. Now, wrestling in India is very popular. And in that group was the winner of the match, the champion, so there was a large crowd following him.

When the champion saw the small group of the despised hijaras walking towards them, he started to ridicule them. He was full of his victory and very arrogant, and the knowledge that he was surrounded by hundreds of people only inflated his sense of self-worth, so he began sneering at the hijaras and making fun of them. As they passed by, the wrestler pointed to their leader, who was calmly walking at the head of the group, and remarked, "Look at him! He thinks he is someone great. Just see the way he is walking as though he were the leader of all, although we all know he is only a hijara."

The Perfect Master did not say anything but continued to walk by. When the group had passed, he turned back to the wrestler, who was still standing there pointing at him. "Yes, you have pointed me out already," the Master called to the champion. "But I have passed now, so why don't you put your finger down?"

But the champion was unable to lower his arm. He continued to stand there pointing, but no matter how he tried he could not move his arm. The perfect Master called out to him, "You are so strong, yet you do not have even enough strength to lower your arm."

As the crowd watched in amazement, they saw that the champion could not lower his arm, and they realized that the leader of the hijaras must have done something to the champion. They realized for the first time then that the leader of the hijaras was not an ordinary person. Word went around town, and soon everyone knew of what had happened in the streets that day.

Part 2 | Part 3

THAT'S HOW IT WAS, pp. 352-354
Copyright 1995 Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

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