Symbols of the world's religions



Bill Le Page

During Baba's visits to Dina's [Talati] family home [1920's] He also gave her instructions to cook for the Mandali and for those who stayed the full day, in total 40 persons. The quantity cooked had to be just enough and no more. She was allowed to take the help of anyone she wished. But she was to cook separately for Baba, and in this, no-one was to touch anything, not even the spoon that was being used.

At times Baba would ask some visitors to stay for lunch, and although she would only cook for 40 persons as instructed, still the food, perhaps with a little extra water in the dhal or curry was proved sufficient — particularly accompanied by the joy the visitors experienced eating with Baba.

However on one occasion Baba allowed everyone who came to stay on, and the hall filled to capacity. Dina, noting this, became more and more worried. No-one was leaving, and when the hour for lunch came, and Dina was asked to serve the food, the hall was so full that the Mandali had to stand behind Baba.

Dina retreated to the kitchen and looked at the food — one vessel of okra (lady fingers) and a basket of chapatis — there was no way such food could be stretched to feed so many. Then she also realised she did not have enough plates apart from the food. As she stood there indecisively, Chanji came for the third time to ask her to serve the food.

She was by now on the verge of tears, and she went and stood in the doorway to the hall waiting to catch Baba's eye.

When Baba saw her, He said, 'Why are you standing there? Why are you not serving the food?'

Very reluctantly and hesitantly she begged Baba to come to the kitchen. Baba arose and Dina, taking Him by the hand, led Him to the kitchen.

Almost in tears she pleaded with Baba, 'Baba, there is only this much food, and You have invited so many! What shall I do? Why didn't You ask me — I don't mind cooking for more people.'

Baba patted her: 'You have been right; don't ever break My orders by cooking for more than I have asked you to. Now don't worry there is enough for everyone.'

Then she pointed out that there were not even enough plates. Again Baba assured her, and reminded her to leave everything to Him.

Then He had two of the mandali carry the food into the hall. He directed that everyone should approach Him, and as they did so, Baba gave each a chapati and on it a good helping of the lady fingers.

Dina, standing in the doorway watching, thought that the okra would be sufficient for perhaps 15-20 people, with Baba being so generous. Yet when all had been well fed, He called Dina to look into the vessel, 'See there is so much left — now who will eat it? You?!'

The next morning when Baba reminded Dina to cook for the usual number, she joked with Him 'Baba as long as You serve, I do not mind cooking for just 2 or 10 as You wish!'

The lessons that Dina absorbed in those early years with Meher Baba, stood her in good stead throughout her life. So she held, despite all hardships, to absolute obedience, to the importance of the first order given by Baba, and to maximum effort towards perfection in any and all tasks undertaken for Him.

Navalsha and Dina Talati and Family Section, pp. 131-132
1999 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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