Would there be a resurrection today?
The women Mandali occupied the empty rooms on Meherabad hill. They would come several times each day to see Baba in the Tomb. The long queues of men, women and children would then be temporarily stopped and the Tomb vacated. Mehera and the other women Mandali would then enter the Tomb. To see Mehera walking from her room to the Tomb in a dazed condition and crying was very touching. She would come to the North window of the Tomb and touch her head to the window. She would then bow at the West window. When she arrived at the entrance, someone would remove her slippers. She would stand at the door step as if dazed, with tears rolling down her cheeks, hands raised a little in adoration and completely oblivious of the thousands watching her. She would step inside the Tomb to be followed by the other women Mandali. The doors would then be closed and all we could then hear was sobbing.
Just before the door opened for her to come out, “Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!” would be shouted by all. She would come out of the door and again turn towards Baba, completely lost in her sorrow. Someone would help her with her slippers. She would bow once, twice and again and again. She would not like to miss a glimpse of Baba for a second. She would take a step and turn back, look at Baba and shed a fresh deluge of tears and then slowly move on. The parting from Baba was an extremely painful one. In her farewell moments we could see how deeply she was moved. In thoughts or deeds, in stillness or action, alone or in multitudes, she will remain one with her Beloved Baba….
The Westerners were lodged at Ahmednagar where Sarosh Irani and his wife Villoo catered to their needs. They would come each morning and evening and sit inside the Tomb or move around. Dr. Harry Kenmore knew the dimensions and all that the Tomb contained after Eruch had made him feel the walls, taken him round the crypt on the landing and down the steps to touch Baba’s feet. He would sit on the landing often singing “Begin the Beguine.” He would daily want a thorough medical report of Baba’s “health” which he would be careful to register on his wire recorder. He would say the Parvardigar prayer and the Repentance prayer when requested to do so. Once, Mehera and the women Mandali came to the Tomb specially to hear him say these prayers.
Each day began and ended with Baba’s arti in which all participated. Sometimes, in the evenings, beside the usual arti, one in Marathi would be sung. Very often during the day a lover would enter the Tomb and say the two prayers. Keshav Nigum, the backbone of the Hamirpur Centre, though now suffering from Parkinson’s disease, would stand in the Tomb and say the “Meher Chalisa” (forty verses written by him in praise of Baba).
The Tomb was kept open all twenty four hours for seven days but for a couple of hours on two nights. No one can judge how many lovers came for this final sahavas. Each evening Sarosh Irani would apologise on behalf of the trustees of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust for not being able to provide even the bare necessities of life to the lovers. He would then request the lovers to leave Meherabad after having had Baba’s darshan so that new-comers could find place for accommodation.
As the lovers left, with hearts full of love that Baba had awakened in them, they carried Baba’s message of hope for mankind now on the verge of despair in all walks of life. Once an inner contact is established with Baba, the Divine Shepherd feeds His sheep with His love, wherever He is, wherever they are, irrespective of time or space.
Each evening at sunset the electric generator would go into action lighting up about forty fluorescent lights. The normal lighting system had to rely on kerosene lamps. In the dark background, Meherabad hill would seem brilliantly lit like a fairyland not only by the lights but by the love of His lovers. Passengers from trains and buses passing along the road would watch the feast of love on the hill. They would bow reverentially to the One without a second. Trains would whistle as they passed the hill — the drivers were saluting the Avatar of the Age.
Every morning all would be eager to know Dr. Goher’s report about Baba’s health. No one could speculate when Baba’s body would be
interred for the trustees had declared that they would do so on the first signs of decomposition. When the medical report was known, all felt very happy that they could be with their Beloved for one more day. On the third day, there were soft murmurs and whisperings amongst the lovers, “Would there be a resurrection today?” The feeling of expectancy, of seeing Baba rise, walk and talk sustained the lovers through the day. Then, on the fourth day some were heard saying, “Maybe He will rise today!”
(To be continued…)
Photos: Sarosh Irani, Dr. harry Kenmore, Keshavnarayan Nigam