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WHY DON'T YOU ASK MEHERA?

Mehera J. Irani

 
I did not attend my sister's wedding, and this is how that happened. As I have said, prior to the wedding my mother was very busy with all the arrangements to be made, and so she had me stay in Sakori at Upasni Maharaj's ashram.

Just before my mother came to Sakori to take me to Ahmednagar for the wedding, my knee quite suddenly became very swollen, and it was so painful that I could hardly walk. I had not fallen, and nothing had happened to cause this swelling. It had just appeared. Maharaj told me to have Durgamai, the woman disciple who had been sent to Upasni Maharaj from Sai Baba, put warm poultices on it, but they did not help the swelling.

When my mother arrived to take me to Ahmednagar for the wedding, Maharaj told her, "But she can't walk, and she's limping badly. How is she going to attend the wedding? And she is quite happy here. Why do you want to take her? Won't the marriage take place without her? Anyway, it wouldn't look nice for her to limp in a sari on such a fine occasion."

Maharaj showed His disinclination to send me, and my mother did not want to disobey Him. She knew not to go against the wishes of a Perfect Master so she agreed to leave me at Sakori, although it was very awkward for her to do this. It was my only sister's wedding, and the whole family would wonder where I was.

So I was not at the wedding.

This next part is awkward for me to tell, but I have to as it explains why I was not to attend my sister's wedding. There was a young man, some relative on my father's side, who had not seen me since I was eight years old. After that, we had had no connection with each other. We never met, although he may have once seen me from afar at a wedding when I was fourteen. Now his family felt that it would be convenient if he and a suitable girl announced their engagement at my sister's wedding as our families would be present there. In those days, there was no courtship as there is in the West. When a suitable match was arranged, the engagement was quickly announced, and at that time gifts and rings were exchanged. When the boy's family asked him whom he wanted to marry, he gave my name! And they came to the wedding with a gold ring and a gold sari and other engagement gifts, but I was not there.

Now, amongst Zoroastrians, another little ceremony takes place about eight days after the wedding where the bride and bridegroom put sweets in each other's mouths, and also perform some other rituals. Baba had returned to Meherabad after the wedding and before this next ceremony my mother visited Him there for darshan. Baba asked whether I would be coming for this ceremony, and my mother replied, "No, Upasni Maharaj would not let her come to the wedding, so He would not want her to come for this."

Baba told her, "Tell Upasni Maharaj that she is your daughter and bring her!"

My mother was so scared. How was she going to say this to Upasni Maharaj? But she said "Yes" to Baba. She did not realise it, but Baba was testing her to see if it was to be Maharaj's word or Baba's word, whom would she please? So my mother came to Sakori with her heart in her mouth. She asked for a private audience with Maharaj, and they met and talked a little. Then Maharaj asked her why she had come. She replied, "I've come to take Mehera with me for the ceremony in Ahmednagar."

And Maharaj said, "Yes, you can take her." Baba knew that Upasni Maharaj would agree, but He wanted to see if my mother would obey Baba!

Now this is what happened next. After my mother brought me to Ahmednagar, where we stayed at Sarosh Manzil, Baba's message came from Meherabad to say that Baba's mother (Shireenmai), Gulmai (Adi K. Irani's mother), my mother, Baba's aunt (Dowla Masi), my sister and myself were to come to Meherabad for His darshan.

This is the very first time that I was to bow down to Beloved Baba and have His darshan. When we arrived at the Post Office near the railway line, Baba was at what is now called the Old Dharamshala. We waited outside, and when Baba was told that we had come, He came walking very fast across the road and field to meet us. Baba looked very beautiful striding across the field. His hair — lovely brown shining hair — was quite short, and He was wearing a sadra and a kerchief on His head. Baba quickly entered the Post Office, where there was no furniture at all, just a big cotton carpet on the floor.

Baba told us all to come inside. This was in May 1923, and Baba was still talking at that time. Baba's mother greeted Him first. She did not bow down to Baba, but she did join her hands and then sat in front of Him. Gulmai and my mother took darshan next. Then my sister took darshan, followed by Baba's aunt. I saw how they were taking darshan and so I took Baba's darshan too, last of course, but I was very shy at that time. Baba's face was so lovely. Just one little glance at Him and I felt so happy! Then I sat on the edge of the circle facing Him. So this was the first time I saw Baba properly and had His darshan.

Baba asked, "Have all the guests gone? How many have gone and who is left?"

And my mother replied, "'Only the boy's aunt is still here (meaning the boy who wanted to marry me). The rest of his family have all gone."

Baba said, "Good," and He then asked my mother whether she wanted me to marry this boy.

My mother said, "Yes, it's a very good match." My mother wanted to get both her daughters married and settled so that she would be free to come to stay with Baba and to serve Him!

Then Shireenmai gave her opinion, and then Dowla Masi said something. Then Baba said something, and Shireenmai started to argue a little with Baba, asking Him, "Why, Merwan, do you say that?" She always called Baba Merwan or Merog. And so it went on. It was a serious issue, and they were all discussing it quite hotly until Baba said, "Why are you all arguing? Why don't you ask Mehera what she wants to do? It's for her to decide."

Everyone turned and looked at me. I felt very embarrassed because they were all suddenly staring at me instead of concentrating on Baba. But I felt firm about what to say. I mustered up all my courage and said, "I don't want to marry."

"What!" all the older women exclaimed, and they looked at me as if I had gone a little mad. "What did she say?" they all looked at each other. "All right, not this person, then some other person."

"No," I said, "No other person. I don't want to marry at all!"

"Did you hear what she said?" Baba asked all the women. "Leave it like that. Don't try to persuade her or coax her, and don't bring up the subject again."

So I was quite free. These were Baba's orders.

How Upasni Maharaj and Baba had saved me! Maharaj from the wedding where I would have been on my own, with my family and the boy's family pushing me to marry, and Baba, from my having to stand up to my elders alone.

Baba decided my destiny with all of us in front of Him!

MEHERA, pp. 39-42
1989 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

               

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