EPISODE-25-(SUBHADRA & MANI S. IRANI)

SEMBLANCE -SERIES

EPISODE-25-(SUBHADRA OF LORD KRISHNA & MANI S. IRANI OF AVATAR MEHER BABA)

Meher Baba said Mani His sister was also His sister when He was Lord Krishna in His Previous advent.  Hence the both characters are briefly described as under:

Subhadra

Subhadra was a character in the Mahabharata. According to the epic, she was younger sister of Krishna and Balarama, wife of Arjuna and mother of Abhimanyu.

Subhadra was the daughter of Vasudev and his first wife Rohini Devi. She was believed to be much younger to Krishna and Balarama since she was born after Vasudeva was released from Kansa's prison, according to the epic.

In many versions, it is shown that Subhadra was herself an incarnation of Goddess Durga, who took birth in the form of Lord Vishnu's Yogmaya from Krishna's foster parents, Nanda Baba and Yashoda. Vasudeva went to Gokula and exchanged the children giving Krishna to Nanda and bringing his daughter to Mathura. When Kansa came to know that Devaki had given birth to her eighth child and it is daughter, he came to kill the girl. He tried to throw the girl on a wall, but suddenly the girl took the form of Goddess Durga and laughed on Kansa saying that your killer has taken birth and will kill you soon. After saying this, she disappears. It is said that Yogmaya (Durga) again took birth as Krishna's sister Subhadra.

When Subhadra becomes of age, Balarama suggests her as a bride to Duryodhana, who was his favourite pupil. Subhadra was going to choose Duryodhana as her husband in the self-choice ceremony according to the seminal work, Mahabharata. Krishna tells Arjuna that he should forcibly take her away as there was no certainty that she would choose Arjuna at the self-choice ceremony.

Subhadra was kidnapped by Arjuna. She was going to chose Duryodhana as her husband in Swayamvara which her brother, Balrama was going to organize. Arjuna was in the midst of self-imposed pilgrimage, for breaking terms of the agreement he had had with his brothers regarding private time with their common wife, Draupadi. He reached the city Dwarka and meets Krishna with whom he spends time. Later he attends a festival held at Raivata mountain alongside Krishna. Other Yadava women including Subhadra were also there to see the festival. After seeing Subhadra, Arjuna is smitten by her beauty and wishes to marry her. But Krishna fears that she would choose Duryodhana as her husband, if a Swayamvara is held. So Krishna advises Arjuna to Kidnap Subhadra saying in the case of Kshatriyas that are brave, a forcible abduction for purposes of marriage is applauded, as the learned have said. Thus, Arjuna abducts Subhadra. But Balarama and other Yadavas are angered by this and decide to pursue Arjuna. But they are dissuaded by Krishna from attacking Arjuna. Finally, Balarama consents and conduct the marriage of Subhadra with Arjuna.

 

In alternate story, Subhadra kidnapped Arjuna and that she was in love with him. According to this story, Subhadra heard about Arjuna and his valiant deeds and began to admire Arjuna secretly. Arjuna during his exile reached Dwarka and had chance to see Subhadra and the two secretly did a Gandhava Vivah. Later with the help of Krishna the two left for Indraprastha and before getting on the chariot Krishna advises Subhadra to be the charioteer which will show her consent to the pursuing Yadavas and hence prevent them from going to war with neither Hastinapur nor Indraprastha. Krishna pacifies Yadavas and Balarama. This was a rare situation of male being kidnapped by a female.

Subhadra and Arjuna had only one son, Abhimanyu. He studied under the tutelage of Balarama, Krishna, Kritvarma and Pradyumna. Later he married Uttara and had a son named Parikshit. Abhimanyu died in the Kurukshetra war. Parikshit becomes the sole surviving heir of the entire Kuru dynasty. When he comes of age, the Pandavas and Draupadi appoint him as the king and goes for Vanaprastha in the Himalayas.

Subhadra is one of the three deities worshipped at the Jagannath temple at Puri, along with Krishna (as Jagannatha) and Balarama(or Balabhadra) and Subhadra in the middle. One of the chariots in the annual Ratha Yatra is dedicated to her.

 

Manija Sheriar Irani (Mani)-Meher Baba’s sister

Manija Sheriar Irani (December 15, 1918 – August 19, 1996) was the younger sister of Indian spiritual master Meher Baba, and one of his mandali. She was an intimate mandali and during Baba’s life time, interpreter of His signs and gestures. Besides Meher Baba’s chief woman disciple Mehera Irani, Mani Irani was said by Meher Baba to be his second closest woman disciple and His spiritual sister. Mani was one of only four women out of twenty companions to accompany Meher Baba in his New Life phase, beginning in October 1949.

Mani was born in Pune, India, the sixth and last child of Sheriar Mundegar Irani and Shireen Sheriar Irani. Sheriar and Shireen had one earlier daughter Freiny who died of plague at the age of six in 1902. Thus Mani was Meher Baba’s only surviving sister and the youngest in her family. Meher Baba was 24 years old when Mani was born, a period when He was still under the care of Sadguru Upasni Maharaj in Sakori outside Ahmednagar. By the time Mani was old enough to know about her famous brother, he was already attracting disciples of his own in Meherabad. Mani attended Catholic school and longed to accompany her brother and live in His ashram as His disciple even as a young girl. She wrote persistently to Him, pleading to be allowed to come. Finally Baba made it possible through difficult family negotiations with their mother Shireen who was worried about Mani’s safety and health in the austere and harsh desert life of Baba’s ashram outside Ahmednagar. As a result of such efforts Mani joined her brother as a full resident disciple in September 1932 at the age of only 13.

 

Mani’s mother (Memo) had gone to Hazrat Babajan with a garland of flowers one night. Babajan told Memo, "My son (Meher Baba) will shake the whole world!" and she added, "You are in for a surprise today." When Memo returned home, she heard her daughter Mani cried out. When she went to her, Mani exclaimed, "Look, a string is wrapped around my leg and won't come off! It moves!" To her horror, Memo saw a small snake wrapped around Mani's leg. It quickly disappeared, and she later explained to Mani that it was not "a string" but a snake.

 

In 1932, Memo (Baba’s mother) Mani had also come to Nasik from Poona . They discussed Bobo's (Baba’s father) death and what should be done to make certain that Memo was well cared for. Baba wanted to keep Mani with Him in the ashram, but Memo thought otherwise. She wanted a family member to be with her in Poona. Consequently, Baba had directed His brother Beheram to marry Perin. Although Beheram was hesitant, he obeyed Baba and agreed to being married and staying with Memo. This freed Mani to join Baba's women mandali in the ashram.

 

Mehera would read Baba's dictation from the alphabet board when he was with the women mandali; but after Mani joined the ashram, she began reading it.

 

On 13rd Mach, 1936, Mani's mastoid became infected and she was admitted to the Holdsworth Memorial "Mission Hospital" at Mandi Mohalla, where she was operated on three days later by an English surgeon named Dr. Robinson. Naja, who was doing the cooking in Mysore, was appointed to be by Mani's side in the hospital. Baba continued to visit Mani at the hospital and receive daily reports about her condition. On the 10th, he remarked that Mani's recovery had created a "deadlock" in His activities, as He wished to leave Mysore but could not, until Mani recovered. On 14 April, Baba discussed matters with the mandali and stated, "I am Paramatma (God) and within a fraction of a second I can do away with all these hardships. Mani is My sister; could I not make her well? But though she is My sister, I do not apply (the power of) My mind to her and similarly for all others close to Me. Therefore, I have to resort to worldly remedies and have to praise others to get My work done!"

 

In 1937, Mani, Mehera Khorshed and Naja had orders that if they happened to see any man, they should look down immediately. Baba put Mani in Rano's care during the two days they spent in Paris, and Baba instructed her to be mindful not to let even Mani's clothes brush against any man's. Mani was only nineteen and, being lively by nature, would move quickly whenever they went out. It was a difficult duty for Rano, and her whole attention was focused on seeing that Mani did not inadvertently touch any man.

 

Mani, Mehera and Gaimai all had the experience of being bothered by a ghost at prospect Lodge in Lonavla. When Mehera was sleeping, her arm was pulled; Mani's entire body was shaken. Baba explained to the women: "Don't be afraid of ghosts. They don't do any (real) harm. The atmosphere is full of impressions. Sometimes, when you think you feel the presence of a spirit, it is not the actual spirit but the impressions in the place that you feel. That is why I told you all not to go near the well where the dhobi committed suicide. All those impressions of his are lingering there, but I have now freed his spirit, so it is all right now."

 

Baba said, My sister Mani loves Me very much. She does not worry about anything. She simply obeys Me. From morning until night she is working for Baba. She knows Baba is God and loves Baba as God.

 

In 1956, Once Baba was sitting in an armchair, and the women sat on the floor and in chairs in a circle around him. He said: In My love, first come Mehera, and then Mani. Mehera is My Beloved. Mani is My true sister in work. She loves Me and works for Me from morning to late at night with correspondence and other details, even though she is not in good health at present. She loves Me and has surrendered to Me 100 percent.

 

On 6 November, 1968, Mani persuaded Baba to sign five large photographs as special gifts. As it turned out, it was the last time Baba signed His name.

 

Najoo Kotwal writes about Mani in her book “He gives the Ocean”

 

Mani, Baba's sister, was another favorite, delightful and pretty, with an infectious smile and a tremendous sense of humour.  She was multitalented, a wonderful mimic and actress, a choreographer of dances and director of plays.  She made puppets and put on extraordinary poppet shows for Baba.

 

She could also perform shadow plays, sing beautifully, and play the sitar and the flute.  Many times we heard her play the flute while sitting on the branch of a tree.  Mani so enjoyed making everyone happy that she often played the role of the jester.

 

Everyone loved her, especially the children, whom she loved in return. She was enchanting and adorable and always found time for us, even though she was very busy doing work for Baba.  When we wanted to find Mani, we always went first to the tin shed, where she spent much of her time typing Baba's Western correspondence. Her English was fluent and she could type with great speed.

 

She was the chairperson of Avatar Meher Baba Trust.

 

She Joined Meher Baba on 19-8-1996. According to Meher Baba’s directive given during His lifetime her remains are buried adjacent to Baba’s samadhi in Meherabad, India.

Books by Mani S. Irani are:

 

  1. 82 Family Letters: Letters from Mani Irani (Meher Baba’s sister) to various families. A compilation of letters to various Meher Baba groups around the world concerning Meher Baba’s activities.
  2. God Brother: Stories from My Childhood with Meher Baba,
  3. Tales from the New Life with Meher Baba, (Contributing author) Narrated by Eruch, Mehera, Mani and Meheru
  4. Baba loved Us Too.
  5. Mehera Meher