Symbols of the world's religions

               

JUST AS A SCULPTOR CHISELS SHEELA

Sheela Kalchuri Fenster

 
Besides making drawings, I often wrote poems in Hindi, which I took to Meherazad and read for Baba. For example, in one poem I wrote:

No one can reach the sun and remain unburnt.
Only your mercy prevents us from bursting into flames.

O Beloved, it is so difficult to stay near you.
Only your mercy allows us to remain close.

Baba embraced me and commented, "How true that is. It is difficult to live near God. But even if you want to run away, I won't let you."

I said, "Baba, I don't want to run away. I want to be near you always. Make it possible so that I can bear all the hardships."

"Yes, that is my mercy. Do you think that ordinary persons can bear all these difficulties? Could you obey my orders and live under the restrictions I place upon you? No other children would bear it."

Baba did not ask me to read my poems every time, but whenever he did, he would correct them. Bhau sometimes would remark that the poem wasn't written in the proper meter. Baba said, "I'm teaching her."

Baba noted it was important to get the meter first before composing the poem. Sometimes he would dictate a line himself and tell me to insert it. I was impressed. Baba composed the line off the top of his head — while it took me hours to write a poem.

At times Baba took a pen and crossed out certain words. He told me which words to substitute above them. If my line didn't rhyme properly, he changed it to make it rhyme better. "You write very well," he said, "but you need practice."

Baba also said that many of my titles weren't quite correct, so he dictated new ones, which Bhau wrote. To Bhau, he said, "I gave you that poetic ability without your knowledge, but she is writing poems from childhood. One day she will be a fine poet."....

In India, Sheela is a type of stone used for carving statues of gods and other items of worship. One morning Baba dictated to Bhau a beautiful "dedication" in my notebook, making a play on my name. He had Bhau write in Hindi: "Just as a sculptor chisels sheela, so am I chiselling you, so that one day you too will be worthy of worship." Then Baba took the pen and under the words, signed his name, M.S. Irani.

When we went for lunch, Baba said to bring the notebook inside. He told Mehera, "Sheela writes very good songs." Mehera admired the cover, which was decorated with Baba's name, but asked why the notebook looked so messy. I informed her that Baba had corrected it.

 

GROWING UP WITH GOD, pp. 546-547
2009 © David and Sheela Fenster

               

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