Symbols of the world's religions

               

AN INTERNAL BEAUTY

David Fenster

 
As soon as Meher Baba and his group reached Meherabad, blustery winds began to blow, and there was a torrential downpour. This was most unusual, since it hardly ever rains in Meherabad in December. Mehera caught a cold, and Baba was not happy. He had planned a meeting with a select group of his close followers for 27 December 1942, and Mehera's birthday — celebrated publicly for the first time ever — was to be the following day. Extensive preparations were being made, but the awning that Pendu erected for the meeting near the railway tracks was blown down on 24 December.

Baba was furious. "Maya is coming in my way," he declared. "Now, what should I do? People will be arriving in a matter of days. I will cancel the entire meeting!"

Since Baba had been in seclusion for much of the past two years, this would be the first opportunity in a long while for many of his lovers to be in his company, and Pendu pleaded, "No, Baba, don't cancel it."

"The pandal [large canopy] has collapsed, and you cannot erect another one within two days."

Pendu said that he would try his best, but Baba was skeptical. Nonetheless, he indicated that Pendu could continue. Baba went out of the gate and gazed upwards. "Look at the sky!" he said angrily. "The weather is so cloudy and windy. Mehera's birthday is in four days, and Mehera also is not well."

Somehow, Pendu managed, and the meeting and Mehera's birthday took place, as scheduled.

At the time of Arnavaz's engagement in Lonavla, Baba had presented her with a sari that had been worn by Mehera. "I couldn't believe it," Arnavaz said later, "as Baba never gave anything of Mehera's to anybody." It was a significant gift, indicating that Baba was bringing Arnavaz closer, and gradually deepening her connection to Mehera.

Arnavaz had brought an expensive, elaborate sari for Mehera also. It was white with silver & gold threads, and she had provided the rest of the outfit, as well — a blouse, petticoat, & even matching sandals(1). Baba was so pleased with it that he said Mehera should wear it on her birthday. Because Baba wished Mehera's birthday to be celebrated this year in an elaborate way, Arnavaz brought expensive new saris for each of the other close women mandali....

Mehera, who had been kept so secluded for the past 20 years, was honored publicly on her 36th birthday(2). The Arangaon villagers put on a two-hour dancing exhibition in the morning, and afterwards there was a singing program exclusively for the women and the guests, who had come from Ahmednagar, Poona, and Bombay. This was followed by lunch, and a special ghazal program in the evening in the pandal at lower Meherabad, attended by the women mandali. The featured singer was a woman, whose performance Baba enjoyed immensely. "Don't encourage her," Shireenmai told him at one point. "She'll go on all night!"

"Everyone was dressed up," Arnavaz recalled. "It was a very festive mood."

Before the festivities, Baba called Arnavaz and asked her to help Mehera wear her new sari in a stylish manner. Wearing a fancy sari was something novel for Mehera, after years of dressing in simple garb.

Arnavaz returned to her own room to dress quickly, so that she would have time to assist Mehera. Naja asked why Baba had called her. When Arnavaz relayed that she was to dress Mehera, Naja was surprised. "To dress Mehera? Baba has never allowed anyone to touch Mehera."

It was another indication that Baba was drawing Arnavaz closer, and she continued, "This was the first time that I had seen Mehera wearing something nice. Otherwise, the Eastern women were always in plain, cotton saris. Mehera looked so beautiful in that sari, like an angel really. She was very beautiful. Not only her physical beauty, but there was an internal beauty that radiated from her. It was fantastic."


(1) A necklace with the words MEHER BABA hung on it was also presented to Mehera.     BACK
(2) Because Mehera's birthday was celebrated first at Meherabad, her birthday continued to be celebrated there for a number of years after Meher Baba dropped the body, and not at Meherazad.     BACK

 

MEHERA-MEHER, A Divine Romance, Vol. 2, pp. 201, 203
2003 © David Fenster

               

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