Duty First - Mastery in Servitude, says Meher Baba
Meher Baba Speaks -11
Meherabad (Ahmednagar, Maharashtra) 28 August (Asiantribune.com): For some strange reasons, I could not continue this column. What are the reasons, you may ask? Frankly, I don’t know. It so happened that the column did not appear. Just like that. I cannot attribute this ‘casual leave’ to any pre-occupation. Because, I did not stop working since March end when the last column in the series had appeared.
There was no dearth of interesting material either. In fact, every day I have been coming across so many things, like the story of a daughter-in-law, who found one day that Meher Baba was angry with her.
Her name is Bela. She is into her early forties. Belongs to a rich family which is into business. I don’t know what prompted her to make a public confession of her ‘folly’. After she spoke at a Sunday gathering in Delhi, I asked her ‘Can I report your story’. She promptly said, ‘yes’. I was surprised. To tell you the truth I did not expect her to give me consent to write her story for every one to read. Over the years I came across several people, who were willing to tell their ‘tale’ at a gathering but were reluctant to go into print.
Now, the Bela confession in her own words:
This summer I went to the States. I was there for about two months. Not one day Baba gave me darshan. I was worried. In the couple of weeks before my departure for New York also, Baba stopped his darshan. Believe me whenever I thought of Baba, he always obliged me with his darshan. Wherever I looked around, I used to see his beautiful face. Believe it or not, he never disappointed me. He always appeared before my eyes with his enchanting smile. But now during this America visit, I could not see Baba. Why was he angry with me? What wrong did I do? I withdrew into a shell. Started ruminating day in and day out.
I wanted to know why my beloved Baba was angry with me. This was a new facet of Baba I was not familiar with all these days. You know, till about four-five years back, I did not bother much about Meher Baba. My mother-in-law saw Baba in her childhood. She is a staunch Baba lover. So is my husband. But I confined myself to my Ram and my Krishna. I used to celebrate the traditional festivals and old style pujas. I turned to Baba after my son died of dengue fever. I found solace, you may say, comfort you may say, in Baba. Slowly I could over come the grief over the loss I suffered. Once I became attracted to Baba, I became a regular visitor to Meherabad, the abode of Meher Baba. Over the past few months, I made new friends there at Meherabad. They made me feel like a Very Important Person (VIP).
One of these new friends is an important person is associated with the Avatar Meher Baba Public Perpetual Trust, which looks after the Tomb Shrine of Meher Baba. This friend used to receive me whenever I visited Ahmednagar. Zipping –in and out of Meherabad I became intoxicated with a new sense of what I can call elation. It was in this frame of mind, I went to the US. You can visualize for yourself my state of mind. On the one hand I am elated for being in the VIP circle. On the other hand I am distressed that my Beloved Baba stopped answering my prayers. I asked Baba several times: what is wrong with me? He simply kept quite. I couldn’t bear the separation from my beloved. I started weeping. I don’t know how long I continued in that frame of mind.
One day Baba answered my prayers. He provided the answer to my question – ‘where did I go wrong to the extent of displeasing him’. It may not be correct to say he gave the answer. He made me realise the answer myself. You see, after entering the VIP circle, I began neglecting my mother –in-law and father-in-law. Both are into their eighties. As the daughter-in-law, it is my responsibility to look after the in-laws. It is my duty. Of course, they are never a demanding type. Now I realise Baba did not like to see me neglecting my duties. You know Baba always says ‘Duty first. Do your duty sincerely, honestly’. What I say may look stranger than fiction but it is true – 100 per cent. The moment, I returned to my duties, I started looking after my mother –in-law, Baba was back to his usual self. He is always there in front of my eyes with his enchanting smile’.
I asked Bela, ‘What made you to admit so bluntly before everyone that you had neglected your in-laws’.
She replied: “I wanted to clear my conscience”. After a brief pause, she added: “I wanted to be true to myself and my Baba’.
I can say this much. She was truly true to herself. At that Sunday gathering in Delhi, there was no prior announcement about Bela Speak. She is not known to speak. She is a good singer. And occasionally she sings some ghazals. So, when she quietly took the mike and started speaking softly, every one was surprised. Even her mother-in-law, who was sitting by her side.
We, journalists, are a funny lot. We look for what we call signals from each and every statement and story. So I wanted to find out the ‘message of Bela’ story. I turned to a Professor friend. He laughed at me and said ‘Why don’t you listen to Bela story once again. You will find the signal yourself’.
Like a true egg-head, he went on to explain: ‘Meher Baba is not here to give you a new message. That he himself had said umpteen times. He said his mission is to wake you up. What is waking up? Waking up to your duties? In the case of Bela it is serving her aged in-laws. Caring for old in-laws is a part of tradition. But we are forgetting these traditions and responsibilities that go with the tradition. Baba used Bela as his medium to drive your attention to this basic duty’.
‘Remember, Baba never preached any thing. He did not force any one to do any thing like in the early days of his life at Meherabad when Hindu Brahmin disciples did not mix up with non-Brahmin disciples and had their own separate kitchen. That the Brahmins themselves gave up the separatism is a different thing. The point is he did not force them; he nudged them towards that goal. All this at a time when orthodoxy of the worst kind was in practice across India. What is Baba’s message? Mastery in Servitude. Bela story signals the need for all of us to be sincere, honest, in our service’.
Next week we will hear from Professor Rathore about Baba’s message on and through 9/11.