Symbols of the world's religions



Heather Nadel

The family Shireenmai was raising by 1918 included little Adi, then four years old. At the time she was expecting Mani, Merwan was still living with them at Pumpkin House, off and on. So when Shireenmai's time came to give birth to Mani, and she went to stay at the hospital awaiting the baby, Merwan was home with Sheriarji.

Mani said that every day that Shireenmai was in the hospital, Merwan and Sheriarji would make lunch for her and Merwan would take the lunch to the hospital on His bicycle. So He was caring for Mani even before she was born.

Mani would occasionally speculate to us: "I sometimes wonder if when I was in the womb I had a familiar feeling of Baba being in there before me...."

Baby Manija was born at last, a girl after a long line of boys, and was a much-welcomed and much-loved child. As mentioned before, Sheriarji and Shireenmai had a girl, Freny, who died at the age of seven. Mani would say to pilgrims, "I met Baba by 'special appointment' as it were, for I am told that Baba had asked Upasni Maharaj to give Him a sister. My mother related to me later how overjoyed Merwan appeared to have a sister again."

After baby Mani and Shireenmai came home from the hospital to Pumpkin House, Merwan lived with them for a little while longer. But soon afterwards He left their home for good. Shireenmai always saw a connection between the two events.

In those days, children even up to two or two-and-a-half slept in cradles that were like small wooden beds. As Mani wrote in God-Brother, the last thing Merwan did before leaving their house was to rock Mani's cradle, kiss her, and tell their parents, "She's so very fortunate."

Later on, when Mani would beg to hear this story again and again from her mother, Shireenmai would say wistfully, "Yes, Mani, you really are very fortunate, but not for me — because after you came, my Merwan left."


THE JOYOUS PATH, Part 1, pp. 25-26
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