THE NEW LIFE IS ENDLESS
Excerpts from an interview in a 1973 issue of The Glow
Eruch Jessawala: During the New Life Baba did not want his companions to accept Him as the God-man. To them He was one of the companions. When He came down from the highest level to the level of a perfect person He invoked the blessings of God as any ordinary man would.
N.A.: During the New Life did Baba keep up a serious disposition or maintain His usual sense of humor?
E.J.: Baba maintained His usual sense of humor and His attitude toward His companions was always one of friendliness and gay camaraderie. He permitted us to joke and be lively, without being vulgar or disrespectful toward Him.
N.A.: Why did Baba emphasize the control of feelings and emotions?
E.J.: This life of hopelessness and helplessness would reduce a normal individual, without the guidance of a master, to sullen moods and outbursts of emotion. Baba wanted His companions to bear the burden of this life with fortitude and cheer. He did not permit a show of anger, sullen disposition or even a sad look of misery. If inadvertently any of the companions slumped into a mood, punishment was meted out by way of either slapping Baba or twisting His ear.
N.A.: Despite Baba's denial of taking care of the companions, was He concerned about them in a grave eventuality?
E.J.: In keeping with the tradition of companionship, Baba would Himself help us through a difficult phase. For instance when Kaka got a heart attack in Najibabad he was very lovingly nursed by Baba, or when Ghani got tired of walking because of advanced age Baba would prop His hands on his shoulders and walk along with him. The New Life phase is full of such incidents of the companions helping each other.
N.A.: Baba emphasized suffering during the New Life. What was the nature of the suffering?
E.J.: Primarily we had absolutely no shelter over our heads, our food rations were inadequate, we walked in the rain, under the sun and were exposed to the elements. Moreover, we had a moral responsibility of looking after the women and then again the fear that Baba would send us back if we showed any emotion or broke His orders.
Those who have not been through this New Life could not visualize the tremendous suffering each one had to undergo, but this suffering was nullified largely by Baba's benign presence. Men and women companions who had never done menial jobs were were required to do them cheerfully and it was accomplished ungrudgingly.
N.A.: "To renounce your ephemeral existence" goes a line in the "Song of the New Life." Did Baba indicate renunciation to His companions?
E.J.: Being with Baba and following Him meant a renunciation which even renounced renunciation. The very concept of renunciation has to be renounced. We had with us a very few belongings and we never hoped for anything more. I repeat that our sole object was to follow Baba to where He took us and to obey His every command. It must be remembered when we joined Baba we were prepared for every eventuality. We hoped for nothing, desired nothing.
N.A.: How would you define the word "Satyanashi?"
E.J.: I would say total annihilation of everything ephemeral. This is the word that symbolizes the New Life annihilation of everything; accepting at each step what came in one's way.
N.A.: In the New Life Baba exemplified love and obedience most of all. Today, after dropping His body, how should His lovers go about achieving these two tenets?
E.J.: Man, being a form, must love the personal aspect of Baba. It is indeed true that it is the impersonal aspect of God which is to be achieved, but man may lose himself and tread on the wrong path while approaching Baba through the impersonal. When we love God all other considerations are nullified.
Today we talk about Baba giving certain orders to certain people during His lifetime, and later people ask should I follow such and such an order that Baba gave to so and so? Baba has emphasized again and again that when you love God all the shortcomings and the orders are nullified.
In fact we tend to make a fad out of things like orders and obedience. Men need no direction. They know what to do. When they wish to obey they obey and need no asking. During the New Life our companionship had no reservations, and obedience to Baba was a matter of fact. There was no question of denying Him.
THE BEST OF THE GLOW, pp. 184-187, ed. Naosherwan Anzar
1984 © Naosherwan Anzar