Symbols of the world's religions



Professor J. S. Rathore

Meher Baba was not only very fond of playing games but was most of the time full of fun and play. He played marbles, playing cards, carrom-board, chess, table tennis, cricket, and Indian games like gilli-danda, seven tiles and atya-patya.

Quite often, He would explain their spiritual meaning. He used these indoor and outdoor games in His work as the Avatar. On one hand he used them in preventing the life of His mandali and lovers getting unnecessarily monotonous and dull, while on the other hand He used them to keep intact the contact of His consciousness with His physical body, particularly immediately after the universal work. About His use of one of such games — table tennis — for this purpose, Jean Adriel writes in her book, Avatar :

"At times his playing of this game was used by him for a very different purpose. There was one period in which his universal work took him out of his body a great deal during waking hours. A far-away look would come into his eyes and the next moment he would be lying prostrate and motionless on the couch, with his head covered.

"After a while he would pull himself up with considerable effort, and force himself to the table, motioning one of his partners to follow. Then, supporting himself by holding on to the table with one hand, he would begin to play, slowly and laboriously. Sometimes he would clutch the table to steady his swaying body. Then he would proceed with the torturing game.

"These moments with him were heart-rendering, because one could see and feel the agony to which he subjected himself, in compelling his consciousness to return to the physical body."

Meher Baba loved the game of cricket. He loved watching it, and playing it as well. He played cricket with Meher Ashram boys and with His mandali and with other lovers. That He was using cricket also in a deeper way in His universal work became clear when he played this game during His very first visit to the West in 1931. This He did on 19 September, in East Challacombe.

That day, Baba went with the group to the cliffs by the seashore and walked through the meadows of the valley. Margaret and her business partner, Mabel, gave a dance performance and others sang songs. Baba gave his intimate company to His close ones and played cricket with them.

Two decades later, Meher Baba used the game of cricket to fix in the minds of His mandali and others the identity of a particular spot in the village of Udatara, about 14 miles away from Satara in India. Satara holds an important position in the life of Meher Baba. It was while in Satara that Baba gave "Clarification" and "Confirmation" of His "The Final Declaration", and it was from Satara His "Final Decision" on His "The Final Declaration" was issued.

A day earlier to the Udatara cricket match, Baba, Who was in Satara, sent for some 30 people to be collected from Bombay, Pune and Ahmednagar. Next day, they were taken to Udatara where, in an open field adjacent to a mango orchard, a cricket match was played between two teams with Meher Baba playing for both the teams.

A qwaali programme was arranged in the evening. On this occasion Baba gave the message that God Alone Is Real and the universe is only an illusion.

Udatara cricket match site is the spot where, later 2 December 1956, Meher Baba and some of his male mandali were seriously wounded in His second car accident. Baba was returning from Pune to Satara by car with Eruch, Pendu, Vishnu and Nilu. His car, driven by Eruch, dashed against a stone culvert and landed eventually in a ditch.

This with the fulfillment of a prophecy, which He had made much earlier, that He would shed His blood in America and India.


1999 © Professor J. S. Rathore


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