Symbols of the world's religions

               

HOW BABA SLEPT

Anne E. Giles

 
At night Meher Baba would always have one of the men mandali keep watch while he slept. The night watchman would sit right outside Baba's room, making sure that no one disturbed Baba's rest. Baba always gave the night watchman three orders — not to move, not to make any noise, and to keep awake the whole night.

Once, one of the mandali named Bhau was keeping watch for Baba. Baba told him, "I'm tired today and not feeling well. So please don't make any noise. Don't move, and keep awake." Baba repeated the orders five or six times. Then he directed Bhau to close the windows, close the door, and go sit outside on the porch.

Bhau didn't find it hard to stay awake or keep very quiet. But he did find it hard to sit like a statue for such a long time. Mosquitoes kept buzzing around his face and biting him. But Baba's order meant that he couldn't even lift his hand to brush them away.

Usually, every fifteen minutes or so, Baba would clap his hands for Bhau to come see him. That would give Bhau a chance to move and stretch. But this particular night Baba didn't clap for fifteen minutes. Half an hour went by. Then another hour. Two hours. Still Baba didn't clap. All the time, the mosquitoes were biting and Bhau was becoming very stiff. Finally after two and a half hours, Baba started snoring.

"This is my chance," Bhau thought. "At least I can change the way I'm sitting in this chair." Slowly Bhau started to lift his leg off the ground. Without making a sound, he moved it ever so slightly. At that moment, Baba clapped.

Bhau went inside to Baba's room. "Why did you move?" Baba asked him.

At first Bhau was so startled that he didn't say a word. He thought to himself, "How did Baba know that I moved? The door and the windows were closed. I did not make any noise, and obviously Baba was sleeping."

Baba knew what Bhau was thinking and said to him, "When I sleep, I can see the whole world. Can I not see you, who are so near to me?"

This was how Bhau learned that Baba's sleep was not like yours or mine. Even when Baba was asleep and snoring, he always knew what was going on around him.

 

MERWAN, pp. 65-67
1980 © Anne Elizabeth Giles

               

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