Symbols of the world's religions



M. R. Dhakephalkar

Rustom K. Irani was one of the early disciples of Baba and he was responsible for establishing Meherabad in Ahmednagar and the whole area belonged to his father who donated it to Meher Baba. Rustom was tall, strong and sturdy. He was quite active and used to work hard. He was a good cricketer and excelled many of us. We were good friends.

Once Baba asked us to pay a visit to Hajarat Babajan in Pune for two nights. She was the Sadguru who gave Baba self-realisation by kissing Him on His forehead. A story was afloat among her disciples, who were many, that while she was in Quetta she was buried; some soldiers bore witness to this incident. Later when they were transferred to Pune they were surprised to see her again in Pune. They testified that she was more than 125 years old.

She would always sit under a neem tree in Sachapir Street, fire always burning in front of her and some pieces of wood lying beside her. She was very old. Her hair turned completely grey and looked like a lump of snow on her head. She was very fair in complexion but her body was shriveled. Her face was all wrinkles running parallel to one another. She was toothless and had sharp eyes. Her voice was steady and loud enough to impress the audience. One of the fingers of her right hand was cut off. She wore a silver ring on her third finger.

She was always surrounded by disciples, most of them were Muhammadans. They would offer her tea often and she always enjoyed it. She did not allow anybody to bow down to her and she would drive away and abuse those that came near her. Sometimes she would chase them away holding a brand in her hand.

When we wanted to bow down to her, she abused and drove us away and we were asked to sit down at a distance. Rustom was a man of strong common sense; he ordered tea and offered her. But she bade us have tea first and then she had it. After a couple of hours, she quietened and was glad that we had been sent by her son, Meherwan.

Then we made bold to get near her. She spread her legs and sat with her eyes closed reclining against the truck of the neem tree. We took it as a sign to let us serve her. So, Rustomji and myself began pressing her legs from knee to ankle. She did not object, nor did she open her yes. We continued for about fifteen minute and then she spoke, as if waking up from sleep and demanded why we had touched her person whereupon we submitted that we had done it at Baba's behest.

We spent two nights in her company, keeping wide awake throughout. Babajan was fluctuating in her moods, now calm, now angry. We enjoyed her company and at the time of parting, she shouted in a hotch potch of Urdu and Gujarati, "Maro Dikro, Fateh Ho Gaya", meaning that Baba's work was successful.

She dropped her body under the neem tree [Sep 22, 1931] and was buried there and there stands her tomb on Sachapir Street, Camp, Pune. Baba visited the shrine and Baba-lovers worship at the tomb when they visit Pune.

1988, 1992 © M. R. Dhakephalkar


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