Jim and Rhoda Mistry requested Baba to perform the navjote ceremony (the sacred thread ceremony usually done by a Zoroastrian priest) of their three sons Meherwan, Falu and Sarosh. Two days before the ceremony, Baba embraced the three boys. Falu had the mumps, and afterwards Baba complained of having caught it from him. Calling Rhoda and her sister, Nargis, he reprimanded them, “Had you any love for me, you would have seen to it that Falu did not come near me. It proves that you love him more than me. What sort of love is it when you are not attentive to my health?”
Baba’s persistent complaint that he had caught the mumps and about his health in general took a serious turn, and the possibility of postponing the navjote was raised. But Baba informed Jim, Rhoda, Nargis, Arnavaz and Nariman, “Don’t postpone it; but keep Falu a good distance from me.”
Monday morning, May 16th, (1960) was fixed for the occasion, and on that day, lovers from Bombay, Poona and other places assembled in Guruprasad. With his own hands, Baba handed each of the three boys a sadra and kusti (thread), as this message from him was read by Eruch in English and Soman in Marathi:
May Ahuramazda, Zarathustra, Meher Baba free you from the superfluous binding of shariat and help you to lead a life of good thoughts, good words and good deeds, and bestow on you the grace of loving Baba. I have given you this emblem of superficial binding to make you free from this binding and give you the binding of love.
Unless you free yourselves from the bindings of ceremonies and begin to love God as He should be loved, you can never, never know the Truth.
Baba embraced the boys (including Falu), and the Gujarati arti was sung. For the past two days Baba had been grumbling about his health, but that day he looked fresh and radiant “like a thousand blossoming roses” and his smile filled the hall. Jim and Rhoda Mistry then served lunch to the more than one hundred fifty people gathered. The group from Hamirpur was leaving the next day after having darshan in the morning, and Baba gave each of them a packet of eatables from Jim and Rhoda.
Baba was not always so willing to participate in such religious ceremonies. On another occasion, a wealthy man beseeched him to perform his child’s confirmation ceremony. Baba replied, “I have come to do away with all these dogmas and rituals, so how can I take part in it?” . . .
To another man, Baba stated: . . . Zarathustra has shown that with good thoughts, good words and good deeds anyone can become like Zarathustra. And what is the state of affairs now? Zarathustra laid stress on good thoughts, good words and good deeds, but today his followers lay stress on wearing the kusti. They get annoyed if some fail to perform the ritual of kusti each morning. They do not bother much about the precious precepts Zarathustra gave. If once they forget to perform the kusti, they grieve over it, but they do not grieve while telling lies!
Thus, as long as such falsehoods like unclean thoughts, words and deeds are not given up, then no matter with what zeal you do kusti – however energetically you whisk it about early in the morning muttering prayers – there is not the least progress toward the path. Study as many religious books as you can, they will not gain you the sight of God! Even the worms destroy books! So create within you the sincere longing for the sight of God.
Cults and religions have no importance. Love holds the key. Do your duty but have the thought at the back of your mind that all this is Maya [unreal], and Baba is the only Truth.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 17, pp, 5739 – 5740.