Symbols of the world's religions

               

"HERE, WHEN I WAS A SMALL BOY..."

Princess Norina Matchabelli

 
We approach Poona. In the distance we recognize the landmark of the white-towered Turf Club with its elegant gates, and we all express the wish to see Baba's childhood home. Baba willingly accepts the plan.

It is 8:00 a.m. when the car gently swings into a small lane and stops in front of a large comfortable-looking house. Adi, Baba's brother, accustomed to surprises, hears the familiar sound of the horn and walks out leisurely to greet us, holding in his deep emotion. Humbly he prostrates himself to the ground and takes darshan from his unique Brother.

Meher Baba's mother, greeting us cordially from behind a curtain, apologizes for not being dressed for the occasion. But Baba, who times with a measure unfathomable, does not wait. He rushes us out of the main house over to the other side of the lane where, at the joining point of three streets, stands a smaller house — Baba's childhood home. The house apparently is not in use, although the windows and the shutters seem to be newly painted blue. With great animation Baba Himself opens the door. The inside is empty, the atmosphere clear, quiet and awesome. There are two rooms on the ground floor. To one side of the entrance is a circular wall forming a bathing space where "little Merwan" used to be given his ablutions, thus the mother who meanwhile has arrived tells us.

Meher Baba makes the following statement: "One day men from all parts of the world will come here on pilgrimage."

A small vertical stepladder leads to the upper floor. Baba shows us the way; we follow and stand in a chamber-like space, crushed under its low ceiling. Here Baba used to spend those significant hours in anguish, waiting to descend to make Himself available to mankind as the Pure Human, as the divine experiment in its fulfilled order in Being, in Truth. Here He remained aloof in His divine selfless state, still unselfconsciousness — and sometimes disturbed by good friends and members of the family, especially by His good mother who did not trust His unfathomable state and wanted to keep Him the same as He was before: Merwan, her precious son. Doing her best to hold Him down, closer to her, she tried to make him eat specially well prepared food. Baba, in a wistful, joking manner, wanting to make us acquainted with the facts, describes how He used to hide the food, which was too heavy for Him to digest. He would put it into a drawer in the room and then into His pocket at nighttime, when He would leave the house and deposit it somewhere in the street for hungry dogs to eat.

Overwhelmed by the atmosphere of many sacred memories, we are carried away ... feeling the conscious contact with Him present; He the Life, the God-realized Man. The divine theme seems incredibly vast against the background of small facts. With a sudden changing of mood, Baba bids us quickly climb down and return to the main house....

Baba takes us through all the rooms.... The house is comfortable and roomy and neatly kept.

Baba wants to show us more. We rush on to the courtyard. There is the famous well with its excellent water and the big tree that Baba recognizes as an old friend. The connecting smaller houses encircle this garden.... At the other end Baba points to two doors carefully locked with huge chains and padlocks. His mother, who is anxious to dramatize the past of her dear son, says, "This was His prayer-chapel." But Baba, discreet as usual, explains: "Here I have spent many hours in solitude, and in that room [pointing to the other door] Gustadji [then His colleague, now His disciple] kept vigil."

We return to the main quarters; but before leaving the house, Baba pauses at the doorway. He seems to be absorbed in His childhood memories and suddenly says, "Here, when I was a small boy, I used to play wild games with my chums." Think of those small fellows who, then in no way conscious of His Unfathomable Being, casually touched Him in their boyish manner and enjoyed in furious adversity their childish games. But how He loved them! At that time Merwan was full of fun and mischief, but also knowing and wise; His word even then was accepted. People around used to listen to the charm of His voice with its incomparable sweetness. The unfathomable life in Him drew from the Divine Source and created the thrill of indivisible Love, unselfish affection and friendship in so many hearts.

Baba's arrival and departure is always quick, but profound in its effect. We are ordered to leave, and without special ceremony we wave goodbye through the window of the car and speed off to Talegaon, our next halt.

 

TREASURES, pp. 45-48, ed. Jane Barry Haynes
1980 © Meher Spiritual Center, Inc.

               

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