"UNLESS YOU BECOME LIKE THESE SMALL ONES..."
Her parents loved her all the more because she was very ill. Since her earliest childhood, she suffered from an incurable disease that sometimes left her in great pain and half paralyzed. But this would pass and then she would again run and jump and be full of laughter and sparkling joy.
One day, when she was little more than three years old, it so happened that her mother showed her a picture in a book she had just received. It showed a face the face of a man, yet not of a man, for in this face shone eyes of a depth as inscrutable as the depth of Time, and from this depth the Sun poured forth. The mother asked the child who she thought this was. And the child replied most naturally, "This is me," and she smiled happily.
The mother was dumbstruck. How could this child know? For the face was that of Meher Baba who has said, "I am your own true Self. I am the one who resides in every heart."
Some years later, the mother went on pilgrimage to Meher Baba's Tomb in India where the presence of Meher Baba as timeless Ancient Love is felt by those who visit this place. She brought back a locket for the girl with Meher Baba's picture in it. The child beamed with joy and, from that day, she would show this picture to everyone she loved and tell them that this was Baba. Most people would understand that this was her father, but she would say, "Don't you know, He is God!"
One day, when she was seven, she came home from school weeping and sobbing. "What is the matter?" the mother enquired.
"Baba is God, Baba is God," the child stammered over and over again.
"Of course He is," the mother replied, and the girl calmed down. "But why should you weep for that?" The child would not answer.
Later, the mother learned from a teacher what had happened. During morning break, the girl had shown Baba's picture to her classmates and told them that He was God, whereupon the children had started to shout her down. "No, he isn't! He isn't!"
They had lined up against her and she was standing all alone, repeating over and over, "Yes, He is." This had gone on until the teacher intervened and told the children to stop shouting at her. Since that day, the children despised her and would make fun of her whenever the occasion arose. The girl could not understand why the others would do this and why they said what they had said.
So the mother explained to her about Jesus: how He had been crucified because people would not believe what He said about Himself, and that such things happened every time God comes as Man amongst men, and that she should not worry, because one day these people would come to understand.
The girl felt very sorry for Jesus after this, and whenever she saw pictures of the way to Golgotha or a crucifix, as one often finds on crossways and along paths in Europe, she would turn her face and weep. No consolations would help, except the bright face of Meher Baba, the Beloved come once again to awaken the human heart.
And she would long to meet Him, to embrace Him. She would kiss His picture and pick flowers for Him and, despite the increasing paralysis of her right hand, she tried very hard to play on her flute a tune composed by the Beloved Himself the Gujerati Arti (hymn) which she loved very dearly. And often she would gaze to the far horizon and say to her mother, "This does something to me, I don't know how to explain."
Her heart was silently crying out for her Beloved, and many times, while the other children were playing, she would just sit quietly in a corner or stand by, lost in what she felt inside.
The teachers complained to the mother that she did not pay attention to her lessons and was always absent-minded, looking out of the windows as if not concerned by what was said. But no amount of scolding could bring her back, and the more she was scolded, the more she withdrew. Her suffering was great indeed.
When she was just nine years old, the Beloved, in His compassion, took her in His arms. She passed away on January 17, 1987. Her name was Nina.
WHEN HE TAKES OVER, pp. 101-103, ed Bal Natu
1988 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust