Symbols of the world's religions

 
               

RING LEADER OF A GANG

Mehera J. Irani

 
It was by Beloved Baba's grace that we had left my grandparents' house when we did and moved to Todiwalla Road. As my mother's love for Baba and Babajan grew, so did the opposition from her family grow. Her family had no understanding of spiritual things and were, like the Zoroastrian community at that time, not at all for Baba. So it would have been very difficult for my mother to freely go to Baba and Babajan had we still been staying in that house.

My uncle, Colonel Merwan Sorab Irani (he had the same initials as Baba) who as I mentioned before, was serving in an Aden hospital, would return to Poona for some months on leave every two years. This brother was a very fine man who moved in the best society. Out of all his family he loved my mother the most, and she loved him. As I have said, when my father died he immediately took leave and came to Poona from Aden to console my mother, and from that time he gave her much helpful advice in financial matters and also loving support. She always followed his advice and looked up to him.

He now returned from Aden to hear from our family that my mother was visiting Babajan, and also Meher Baba. When he was in Poona the family poisoned his ears. "Daulat is sitting on the street with an old Muslim woman, and even going to this Parsi, Meher Baba!" they told him. My uncle came to Todiwalla Road feeling very upset and said to my mother, "I hear you are visiting sadhus. Why do you want to do that? Why do you need to? Are you short of money?"

He also had no understanding of spirituality, and he felt that one went to saints only to ask for material benefits. He continued, "All this time I have looked after you and loved you. Why do you go after these saints and sadhus? We have Zoroaster to pray to. If you want your daughters to be married, I will look after that. I'm friendly with many influential people, and I will see to everything."

My mother explained, "I am only going to them for spiritual reasons. I find peace being with them."

Colonel Irani became very angry. He told her, "They are false and frauds. There's nothing spiritual about them, and they will swindle you!"

My mother replied, "You may say anything you like, but in this I will not listen to you. I will not give this up!"

He was so upset that at this point he left his chair and turning around saw Baba's lovely photo sitting on the piano. Somehow my uncle recognized Baba.

"Who is this?" he asked. "Isn't that the One they call Meher Baba?"

"Yes, that is He, and we love Him and follow Him."

"Don't you know He is the ring leader of a gang?" my uncle asked.

"He is a disciple of Upasni Maharaj and He is God-realised," my mother told him.

It had happened that my uncle, when in Aden, had bailed an Irani out of jail who was being held on some charge. Being an Irani himself my uncle had felt embarrassed for this man when he had heard of his imprisonment. This person had been a Baba-follower from the very beginning, but he did not have a good reputation. And this added to my uncle's already bad impression of Baba and His followers. He did not know Who Baba was, and that He was for both saints and also sinners. He really believed that my mother was making a terrible mistake, and because of his deep love for her, he did his best to dissuade her from following Baba. But my mother would not budge.

"I will stick to Meher Baba," she told him. "I love Him and want to serve Him and be in His ashram."

My uncle left very upset, and we did not see him again at that time.

Later on, sometime after my mother and I had come to stay with Baba at Meherabad, my uncle came to see us there. Baba asked my mother and me to meet him. My uncle was amazed to see us living in such a simple, quiet place. He was standing beside his car with a cane in his hand. "What are you doing in this wilderness, Daulat?" he asked my mother. "There are no trees, no compound, nothing! How can you bring your young daughter here with all these men around?"

Still having no understanding of Who Baba is, he demanded that we return to Poona with him. But my mother was very strong, and we stayed on at Meherabad.

By this time my uncle had returned from Aden to settle in Poona. His marriage had not been a fortunate one, and his wife had gone back to live with her family. He loved my mother and wanted us all to live with him and be his family, and he thought that when we girls married he would have sons-in-law, too. Not only did he want to take my mother away because he felt she had been duped, he also felt very hurt that she had chosen to stay with Baba instead of with him. He felt she no longer loved him. He had no idea how fortunate we were to be with Baba.

Because of all these feelings, my uncle began to publish derogatory articles about Baba in the newspapers and Gujarati magazines. My mother felt very upset about her brother's behaviour, but Baba told her that her brother was in fact helping Him, saying, "This is all according to My will. No one would be interested if he wrote favourable things about Me, but by writing against Me, My Name is spread throughout."

 

MEHERA, pp. 35-36
1989 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

               

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