Some days there would be two buses of pilgrims. Generally, after getting down from the buses, people would line up in a queue for the chance to greet the Mandali. It hadn't always been this way, but the sheer volume of pilgrims, and the diminishing number of the Mandali, eventually resulted in there being large crowds around Eruch and Mani. As the Mandali were always sensitive to someone feeling left out, they would try to make it a point to greet everyone. Eventually, the habit fell into place of forming a queue so that everyone got a chance to greet all the Mandali.
I was standing in queue to greet Mani Irani, Baba's sister. About her, Baba had said that she was His sister, Subhadra, when He was Krishna. Although it must have been exhausting for her, Mani would greet every pilgrim in queue with an embrace that overflowed with love. She would also spend a minute or two after each embrace chatting with that pilgrim or making a joke or telling a funny story, as was Mani's nature.
When my turn came, Mani embraced me but then looked at me and said very seriously, "We have had no rains this year; the water situation is bad. Rustom, pray to Baba on our behalf to send us rain."
I was surprised by Mani's request and said, "Mani, you are Baba's sister and if He doesn't listen to your prayers, then why would He listen to mine?"
Mani replied, "You see, that's not true about prayers. Let me tell you a story to help you understand the significance of prayers."
"There was a party going on in a huge hall. The table was laid with the best food that you can imagine. Delicacies were flown in from all over the world. A royal feast was being given to all who assembled for the party. However, a condition was imposed on everyone who came for the party. One hand of each person was tied behind his back and to the other hand was tied a long spoon. They were free to eat to their hearts' content but had to comply with this restriction.
"One would think they would have a grand time but no, that was not the case. The people were unhappy. The long spoon made it impossible for them to eat anything. The spoon would not reach their mouth because it was too long and the food was spilling all over the floor. People were terribly unhappy because the room contained delicious items as far as the eye could see but not a single morsel entered anyone's mouth.
"Meanwhile, in another room a similar party was taking place. Again, a royal banquet was laid out and delicious food was flown in from all over the world. The people assembled were subjected to the same condition. One hand of each person was tied behind his back and to the other hand was tied a long spoon. But there was a difference in this party. Everyone was enjoying the food. How did they manage to do this? Each one was picking up the food with the spoon and feeding the person sitting opposite him. In this way, everyone was happy and enjoying the food."
Mani ended by adding, "Prayers are like that. When you pray for someone else, they are answered."
THE REAL TREASURE, pp. 7-8
2006 © Rustom B. Falahati