Symbols of the world's religions

               

THE SKIPPING-ROPE

Mani S. Irani

 
I was not yet fourteen when at last I was allowed to join Baba for good. Although Mother had agreed for me to leave home and "be with Merog," she was sad. I was aware of it and understood her feelings, but how could I help being selfish? To be with Baba forever had been my sole ambition all along.

So you can imagine how my heart skipped and hopped with joy as I packed for Nasik, were I would join Baba and His women mandali for ever and ever.

There was very little to pack, really. Baba told me to bring with me just a few clothes. Nothing else. So I left behind me all my favourite friends, like my matchbox collection and stack of School Girl magazines. And how about my skipping-rope (jump-rope) with the pretty coloured handles? Well, that was different.

As it had been by favourite companion throughout school, I felt it would miss me too much if I left it behind. Besides, it was such a small and trivial thing, I told myself. When Baba said not to bring anything besides the clothes, He surely did not mean this little skipping-rope! So, it got packed in my tin trunk, hidden underneath my clothes.

My conscience, too, was hiding under my self-arguments, because deep down I really knew that what I was doing was not right, that maybe I was breaking an order by taking my skipping-rope to Nasik. But mistakes also serve, and this one served to teach me that no order from Baba is insignificant, ever. Small or big, His orders are always important.

On reaching my destination, I did not unpack the skipping-rope. I also didn't think it necessary to tell Baba about it, nor did He ask me. But see how beautifully He fished out my little secret!

Some children came to visit Baba during their holidays. Baba talked about their school, their studies, and their sports.

Baba asked, "What kind of games do you have in school?"

Their replies were animated. "Oh, we have hockey and cricket, badminton and swimming." Baba seemed full of admiration for their games.

After a while, feeling left out, I jumped into the conversation. "In the Convent," I said, "we didn't have hockey or cricket, but we had plenty of skipping games. I was very good with my skipping-rope, very good!"

"Really?" Baba beamed, playing along beautifully. Looking around, He seemed to say, "What do you know! My kid sister, so clever!"

Now I was really opening up. "Oh, yes, Baba. I could easily do a hundred back-flips and over a hundred cross-overs and a double twelve both ways..." and on and on through the names for kinds of jumps we knew in school "...and I could do them better than anybody else."

Baba couldn't believe it. He was looking so proud of me that I wanted to demonstrate what I could do. I blurted out, "I can show You!"

"But how can you?" Baba said, looking disappointed. "You haven't got a skipping-rope."

"Yes, I have," I said brightly. Then my voice trailed off to "I ha- a-ve," and my face dropped to zero. I realised I was caught in the trap. He had known all along that I had brought the skipping-rope from home. He had wanted me to tell Him.

There was nothing more to say. He called me over and asked gently, "Do you love Me?"

"Yes, Baba."

"How much?"

"More than anything."

"And you'd do anything for Me?"

"Anything."

"Even If I told you to take that skipping-rope and throw it away forever, you would do it?"

"Yes, of course!"

"All right," said Baba. "Do it."

So I took that skipping-rope to the farthest end of the compound and flung it away with all my might.

That was the end of the skipping-rope. I never saw it or thought of it again.

Throwing it away wasn't hard. I was doing it for Baba.

GOD-BROTHER, pp. 139-142
1993 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

               

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