Symbols of the world's religions

               

BABA'S "SKIPPER"

Arnavaz N. Dadachanj

 
Nariman was greatly affected by the loss of Baba's physical presence. He had never been the type to talk about his feelings, and now he became even quieter and more withdrawn, unable to express his grief. I did not know how to bring him out of this shell. As it turned out, Beloved Baba pulled him out of the disinterested state he was in and put him to work.

Nariman had been made a trustee of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust when it was formed by Baba in 1959, but the Trust had no function until after He dropped His body. It was soon apparent that the first chairman wanted to take full control of the Trust, totally ignoring the suggestions of the other trustees, all of whom were upset by his irregular practices. Nariman came out of his depression to do Baba's work, becoming like a lion for the Trust, particularly after the chairman filed a lawsuit against the rest of the trustees when they voted to remove him from office and make Mani the chairman.

Most of the other trustees, having spent their lives in the ashram with Baba, had little experience with business and legal problems. However, Nariman knew the ways of the world, so they all depended greatly on him for his wisdom and advice. Mani used to call him "Skipper" because of the capable way he took charge and organized the other trustees, steering them through rough waters. When the original chairman suddenly died in March 1973 and the case was dropped, Nariman again became very detached from everyone and everything.

Then, in October of that year, Nariman was stricken with malaria while we were in Bombay; his temperature rose to 107 degrees, and he was taken to the hospital and put in ice packs. He appeared to be unconscious until the doctors brought his temperature down to 104 degrees. Then he opened his eyes, looked at me and said, "I've been on a long journey and have returned from a place far away." He was kept on ice packs for hours, as the doctors did not want his temperature to rise again. They thought that Nariman would probably be mentally affected by the high fever, but he was not. He was quite himself, a model patient, never irritable and always cooperative with the medical staff. In fact, a nurse once teased, "Mr. Dadachanji, at least say no sometimes."

During this illness Nariman felt very strongly that he was going to die, and afterwards he told one of the mandali that he was living on borrowed time. One night I was sitting quietly by Baba's photo in our second bedroom, thinking of Nariman. His health had become quite fragile, as the high temperature had put a great strain on his already weakened heart and left him with an erratic pulse. The seriousness of Nariman's condition suddenly struck me, and I was filled with pangs of loss. I asked Baba, "Why do You make me suffer now? Let me suffer when the time comes." A voice within me said, "I am giving you suffering now so that you will suffer less at that time."
 

GIFT OF GOD, pp. 203-205
1996 © Meherazad Trust for Avatar Meher Baba

               

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