THIS IS HIS MESSAGE TO US
Donkin drove to Ahmednagar daily, to collect the ice and to check the progress of Baba's coffin, a job he had entrusted to a local carpenter. The man made one coffin, but Don rejected the workmanship. "This is not for an ordinary person!" he shouted angrily.
The next day, the carpenter had another sample ready; it too was rejected. The man said that he could rectify the faults which Don pointed out, but Don insisted that he start over, with fresh teakwood. "It must be strong enough to withstand the weight of a ton of earth," Don specified. Moreover, he instructed that the coffin be polished not only on the outside but on the inside, as well. A third attempt was finally approved. Don told Sheela to feel it to make sure it was absolutely smooth (especially inside), and he did likewise himself.
They brought the coffin to Meherabad, but when it was to be placed over Baba's body, Mehera became very, very upset. She was afraid it would hurt Baba. "Don't worry, Mehera," the women assured her. "Don has had it made so well that it won't hurt Baba. And the carpenter has guaranteed him the wood would not break for 100 years. No earth will ever touch Baba's body."
Mehera stood outside the tomb, by the north window, as the men mandali lowered the coffin over Baba's body. As Baba's body was being covered, all shouted, "AVATAR MEHER BABA KI JAI," so loudly and with such feeling, Meheru felt "as if the sky would open. I was thinking, as I was shouting, that God should do something to prevent this from happening. It wasn't right to cover Baba's body! He must rise up. Surely, he can hear us and do something."
Mansari and Chhagan cooked a special meal that day, in honor of Baba's birthday according to the Zoroastrian calendar. Seven days had passed since he had dropped his body the date Baba had specified, from which he would be freed from suffering. After lunch, the women returned to Meherazad.
A few days later, Mehera and Mani were sitting in Baba's bedroom. "Baba didn't leave us any message," Mehera said regretfully, "any instructions." Baba's departure from their midst had been so sudden and unexpected.
Mani said, "Yes, he did. Early on the morning of the 31st, he had that board [Hafiz's] brought in." They stood in front of it and read the three couplets together:
Mehera said, "Yes, this is his message to us."
kerchief: Goher said that the kerchief was either silk or fine cotton, and was probably Baba's, as it had to be a larger size. BACK
MEHERA-MEHER, A DIVINE ROMANCE, Vol. 3, pp. 509-510
2003 © David Fenster