Symbols of the world's religions



Bal Natu

In the early '40s, Waman started working for Adi K. Irani as an errand boy. Adi took to him quickly because of the boy's intelligence and good-heartedness. Adi helped him with his education and, later, when in his teens, Waman would accompany Adi on his Baba-work.

Meher Baba seemed to appreciate Waman's love for Him and He used to let Waman come with Adi whenever Adi would drive out to Meherazad.

In the early '50s Baba was informed that Waman would start attending college in Ahmednagar. Baba lovingly gave Waman some parting advice. He told him that he would soon be entering a new world and that he should be careful — that living at a college would be quite different from living in Adi's compound. Baba told him that he should not associate (run around) with girls and he should not smoke.

Waman went to Ahmednagar College and did well. But one day, in 1955, while at a canteen with some friends, he was urged to smoke. He refused and pleaded, "Please, do not force me," but his friends persisted to such an extent that finally he gave in and smoked a cigarette. From that moment on he couldn't concentrate on his studies. All he could think about was that he had broken Baba's order.

He kept wondering, "What will Baba say?" He knew that he could not pretend it hadn't happened, and lying about it was out of the question. His torment went on for about a week when he received a message from Adi that Baba had instructed Adi to tell him that he would have to miss college for two days so he could drive Baba from Satara to Poona and back in Adi's blue Chevrolet.

Waman dutifully arrived at Satara that same evening. As it was late, he had to go to bed without seeing Baba. The next morning he got up early and baba seemed pleased to see him. Baba and a few of the mandali were in the car and the drive seemed uneventful when, after going a little way, Baba turned to Eruch and unexpectedly said, "Ask this rascal to tell you what he's done!" Waman was completely taken aback.

Eruch turned to him and demanded to know what he had done. Tearfully Waman confessed his disobedience. Baba then had someone light a cigarette and He gave it to Waman and told him to smoke it. Waman shook his head, "No, Baba, please."

"But I'm telling you to smoke now," Baba replied and ordered Waman to take two puffs. Waman did so and Baba then declared, "Now you don't have to worry. Your disobedience has been wiped clean!" Still driving the car, Waman bowed his head to Baba to express his deep gratefulness.

Strange are the way of the Master. By making Waman smoke at His command, Baba canceled out the impressions formed by Waman's disobedience of His earlier command not to smoke. Nor does the story end there. For, in His compassion, Baba told Waman, "From now on, you may smoke, but no more than two cigarettes a day." Yet the lesson Waman had learned was so strong that from that day he has never had any desire to smoke again.

Eventually Waman came to hold a high governmental post in Maharashtra. Due to his position he has to attend many official functions, and quite often he is offered a cigarette. Each time, as he politely refuses, the car ride with Baba is vividly revived in his memory, and once more he experiences, as he did that day, Baba's loving concern, forgiveness and compassion.


1984 © Bal Natu


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