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121-PILAMAI HORMOUZD IRANI
(Sister of Sirinmai)
On January 14th 1921, the Hindu holiday Makarsankrant was celebrated in Sakori. A Zoroastrian woman named Pilamai Hormuzd Irani of Karachi had come to Sakori for the first time for the celebration. Pilamai and Gulmai were distant relatives through marriage. A year or so previously in Bombay, Pilamai had met Gulmai, who was there visiting her brother. The two women became closer during this visit. Pilamai confided her problem with depression to Gulmai, who suggested she meet Upasni Maharaj (who had helped Gulmai overcome her own malady). At her suggestion, Pilamai brought her children and stayed in Sakori for a month. Pilamai Irani lived in Karachi and was one of close ones and lived with mandali from time to time.
One day Pilamai and Gulmai were sitting near Meher Baba, and He asked Gulmai to sit closer, saying, "Sit here, Mother. I have something I want you to understand. Every Sadguru has a spiritual mother; Durgabai is Maharaj's. Narayan Maharaj and Tajuddin Baba have one also. Similarly, all Perfect Masters have spiritual sisters, too. Likewise, you are my spiritual mother and Pilamai is my spiritual sister; I have a past link with both of you through many lifetimes. I am telling you the fact that I am your son; and Pilamai, I am your brother. You are most fortunate."
Taken aback, Gulmai replied, "I know nothing about spiritual facts. I am not equal to even the dust under your feet. I am not worthy of anything spiritual. I am a simple woman — quite tired of life — with the one desire to stay near Maharaj always, to serve him and die at his feet."234-1921
One of Rustom's aunts, Pilamai Irani, had come from Karachi for the wedding. After meeting Baba at Sakori two years before, she was consumed in the fire of his divine love and became his devotee. During this occasion, Pilamai told Baba that she was ready to surrender her life to Him and wanted to stay with Him, but He persuaded her to return to Karachi. She reluctantly agreed on the condition that He visits her there, which He promised. The result of this, and the natural way in which the Master accomplished His work, was to gradually unfold. On the surface, it looked as if Pilamai invited Baba to grace her house; but the Master alone knows the secret way in which He reveals His intentions. Those who were continuously with Meher Baba had some understanding of how He manipulated events, making them seem quite natural. And occasionally the mandali would fathom the hidden meaning behind the outward expressions of His work and statements.
On Friday, 25 May 1923, Meher Baba ordered everything from Meherabad to be transferred to Khushru Quarters. Only beddings and a few necessities were taken on the journey. That morning Baba walked alongside the path of the railway tracks from Meherabad, reaching the Ahmednagar railway station at 10:30 A.M. A few of his followers were at the station, and they reverently bid him farewell.
Baba and His fourteen mandali occupied a third class compartment. They were accompanied by Pilamai, her small son Vithal, Gulmai, Sarosh, Soonamasi and Khorshed. The train left in the afternoon and reached Manmad in the early evening. Food for all had been prepared by Gulmai and Pilamai, and at Manmad they cooked fresh food for Baba.
Pilamai had brought a small chair for Baba to sit on in the train. However, He did not use it and asked her why she did not sit on it. Humbly, Pilamai replied, "How could I sit on it when you are sitting on a bench? I have nothing but respect for you!"
"When you don't respect My words, how can you respect Me?" Baba pointed out. "Only if you sit in the chair according to My wish will I believe you truly revere Me!"
"But this chair is meant for you," Pilamai countered. "It is not proper for me to occupy your seat."
Baba said, "You are My spiritual sister and therefore you, more than anyone else, should follow my orders and see that My wish is fulfilled."
Pilamai said, "I would sacrifice my life for you, Baba, but I cannot occupy this chair. I would feel ashamed to do so in your presence when you are sitting on an uncomfortable, wooden bench."
Baba said sternly, "You revere your feelings of shame more than me! And since you cannot carry out even my smallest wish, how could you ever hope to sacrifice your life for me?"
Baba continued, "Do not think it is so easy to give up your life for my cause. Give up your life while living by dying to your own desires!"
Pilamai pleaded, "Baba, I don't understand anything about spirituality, but this is an expensive and comfortable chair. I only want you to sit on it. I bought it for you alone."
Getting up, Baba angrily flung the chair out the window of the moving train! Only then did Pilamai realize that the Master valued nothing in this life except obedience to his wishes.
Baba did not say another word to Pilamai. After some time, her son Vithal began crying. It disturbed Baba who told her to stop his crying. Pilamai realized that she must do as He instructed so she tried her best to quiet the child. She gave him milk but he threw it aside and continued crying. Desperate, Pilamai took him to the toilet and stayed locked inside. Vithal finally stopped his tears, but as soon as Pilamai would bring him out of the lavatory, he would begin all over again, forcing his mother to hastily retreat back inside. For almost two days, Pilamai's confinement in the foul-smelling toilet continued until the train reached Agra in northern India, where all disembarked on 27th May 1923.
Baba was in a good mood when group arrived in Karachi on 31st May 1923. Pilamai's husband Hormuzd, Baily, and other devotees were waiting at the station to welcome them. Baily's sister Khorshed had moved to Karachi, and Baba had sent him ahead to assist with travel arrangements. Baba rode to Pilamai's house in a Victoria and relaxed there.
During this time, Baba's golden brown hair had grown quite long and curly. While staying at Pilamai's, He asked Gulmai to comb His hair. It was the first time that the Master permitted one of the women mandali to comb His hair. Gulmai did so with a new comb and brush and, from that day on, she carefully preserved all the loose hair.
Pilamai made everyone comfortable in her home. Later, she guided Baba and the mandali on a sightseeing excursion to places of interest in Karachi. One day Baba went to visit His maternal aunt and uncle, Banu Masi and Khodadad Masa, who had moved there from Bombay.427-1923
On 7th June 1923, after spending a pleasant week in Karachi, Baba departed with the mandali for Quetta. Pilamai had spared nothing in seeing to Baba's comfort, and He appeared pleased with His visit and her consideration.
While they were making themselves comfortable, Baba said, "Arangaon is not such a nice place. It is not good to remain here now. Think of some other place which is free of snakes and scorpions." Several places were mentioned, but none was approved by Baba. Pendu then suggested traveling to Quetta, where he had been living prior to Manzil-e-Meem. Baba liked this prospect since He had promised Pilamai to visit Karachi. Baba later concluded, "Not only should we leave Arangaon, but we should also leave Ahmednagar District, Bombay Province and India altogether, and go to Persia [Iran] via Quetta and Karachi."
In 1923, Meher Baba stayed in Pilamai’s house in Karachi for one week. Baba called her his “Spiritual Sister. During His stay in Karachi, the Master had kept Himself aloof and had even forbidden Pilamai to come and see Him. She was naturally feeling despondent and anxious, knowing that Baba was so nearby. Pilamai suffered a profound longing to see Him. On the last day, before departing, Baba went to her home and put her mind and heart at ease with His benevolent, smiling presence. Such times of separation were meant to create more longing in those already brokenhearted.
Baba was returning to Persia the land of His ancestors. Memo, Gulmai and other ladies, along with the mandali from Kasba Peth, also came to see them off. They boarded the ship. When the boat docked at Karachi for a brief period, Pilamai and other devotees were present with flowers and food, and Baba was received with great reverence.
On 15th May 1927, Pilamai and Khorshedbanu Pastakia, along with a few boys from Karachi, arrived at Meherabad to stay in the ashram for some days. Among these children were two of Baba's cousins, Merwan and Homi (the sons of his maternal aunt, Banu Masi). The boys had been living in Karachi and were brought to Meherabad to study in the school.
One day an urgent message was received from Karachi that Pilamai had started fasting, taking only water. Her reason was that, despite His promise, Baba had still not visited Karachi. Baba sent her a telegram instructing her to stop the fast at once and begin eating, but Pilamai refused. Baba then sent the following cable to her:
You are My spiritual sister. I am beyond promises and he or she who tries to bind Me to My promises is neither My brother nor My sister! I am pleased only when My slightest wish is carried out without question. I order you to take food and will see if you dare not do it!
Receiving this message, Pilamai immediately broke her fast and wrote for Baba's forgiveness.
On 1 January 1928 was the 52nd day of the Master's fast and the twelfth day of his seclusion. Baba was sitting in the upper portion of the underground crypt-cabin. In honor of Mehera's birthday that day (according to the Zoroastrian calendar), Baba permitted Rustom to bring her and the other women up the hill for darshan. In second group of women brought later, included Pilamai
During stay at Toka, the women mandali consisting of 11 ladies including Pilamai, were given the duty of preparing 1,000 chapattis a day for the ashram residents. The mandali helped to clean the wheat, Shanta prepared chapatis with the women mandali, Kaikhushru Masa, his wife Soonamasi, and Pilamai slept in a small tatta hut adjacent to the kitchen.
On 3rd September 1928, Pilamai left Toka for Bombay, from where Pilamai traveled on to Karachi.
Pilamai joined Baba and the group in Bombay. Baba left Bombay for Meherabad by train, arriving there on 27th May 1927. He had traveled approximately 3,700 miles in eighteen days. Baba had also been fasting since arriving in Quetta eleven days earlier.
On the night of 21st September 1929, the ship arrived in Karachi. Baba and the mandali were met by Pilamai, Baba's maternal aunt Banu Masi, and Merwan and Homi, her two sons who had been at the Meher Ashram School. The most distinguished among the others waiting to receive them was the mayor of Karachi, Jamshed N. R. Mehta. Pilamai invited Baba to her house and Baba went her house accompanied by Buasaheb and Vishnu.
Baba directed the mandali to erect a canopy in the compound of Gyas Manzil for His birthday celebrations on the 17th, and to arrange for food for the visitors. Baily arrived the same night with a few other lovers from Karachi, including Pilamai and her husband Hormuzd. (Baily and Hormuzd were accommodated at Gyas Manzil and the women of their group at the Talatis.)
Reaching Lahore on the 28th April 1931, and leaving Buasaheb, Gustadji and Raosaheb there, Baba departed for Karachi. They arrived in Karachi the next day and stayed at Pilamai's house. To please Ali, Baba often remarked, "In these hard times — with the hopeless situation all around — Ali is the only source of solace and comfort to Me."
After Baba returned to Nasik in 1930, Pilamai's son Vithal was also eager to remain near Baba and he was allowed.
On 25th June 1931, after being issued visas at the British Consulate to re-enter India, group left Duzdab by train for Quetta. After ten days in Quetta, they left by train again and arrived in Karachi on 5th July 1931. Again they stayed at Pilamai and Hormuzd's house.
In Karachi, Pilamai had a long talk with Baba, expressing her desire to join the ashram. Baba assigned Jamshed Mehta the work of obtaining visas for himself, Chanji, and Agha Ali. Rustom was also to accompany Baba to England, but he had still not been informed about it.
While Baba was in Bombay, Pilamai came there on 25 February with her daughter Silla. Pilamai was intending to stay in Nasik with the women mandali; she had been with Baba in Meherabad and Toka, and Baba had stayed at her home in Karachi several times. Eventually, Pilamai stayed with Baba for several years and fervently stuck to Him until the last.
Once Baba returned to Nasik, he resumed his usual activities. Both the men and women. Pilamai and her daughter Silla were the of the mandali member since her husband Hormuzd had died in a car accident in May 1933, they would sometimes go to Karachi to attend to family matters.
The Zoroastrian New Year was celebrated on 21 st March 1934. Gulmai visited that day. Chanji brought Pilamai and others for the occasion.
At Meherabad, Baba held a meeting on the 4th about the running of Meherabad while He was away. He had considered shifting the women to Nasik (he even went to look at suitable bungalows there) and disbanding the mandali, but in the end he decided to have everyone remain at Meherabad until He returned. Padri and Pendu were given charge of looking after the men and Pilamai the women, with Gulmai acting as an intermediary.
On the 25th Pilamai left Nasik for Bombay, and from there she and her children continued on to their home in Karachi on the 30th.
On 19th October 1936, Baba boarded the Kathiawar Mail train for Karachi. (There were Hindu-Muslim communal riots in Bombay, prior to Baba's departure.) Reaching Karachi two days later, Baba met Pilamai and her family, and his maternal aunt Banu Masi and her family.
While in Delhi at night Baba took the women to see the lights of old and New Delhi. Arriving from Karachi, Pilamai joined the group on the morning of 5th February 1939.
Baba returned to Meherabad on 15th August 1934 and began settling matters with the mandali living there. Pilamai was managing the kitchen, where Masaji was the cook. Not a day passed that there was not a quarrel between them, mainly because Pilamai would grudge Masaji the proper ingredients needed for cooking the meals. Masaji complained that Pilamai was too strict a manager, whereupon Pilamai threatened to leave for Karachi, claiming that Masaji was always "crossing" her. On the 19th, Baba prevailed upon them to work together harmoniously by pointing out, "You have both been with Me for many years, yet you have not yet learned renunciation. You know that the body will drop one day, so why this continual expression of hatred, jealousy and anger between you? To renounce these traits is real renunciation!"
From 19th February 1938, three-day celebration begun at Meherabad. Almost 500 lovers from Bombay, Poona, Ahmednagar, Nasik, Navsari, Nagpur and other towns and cities, gathered to quench their thirst. More than 200 came from Bombay, Meherabad and Ahmednagar, including Pilamai and her daughter Silla came.
Pilamai left for Karachi the on 11th March 1939.
On the 4th March 1940, Pilamai and her daughter, Silla, arrived from Karachi to join the ashram in Bangalore.
Leaving Loralai on the morning of 11th March 1941 (without any guards), they reached Quetta at five o'clock in the evening. Three days after they arrived. Soon after Baba's arrival in Quetta, Pilamai arrived from Karachi and was permitted to stay for a week.
Daulat Singh was denied darshan was his disappointment was too great to conceal. On the tenth day, Baba sent Adi Sr. with instructions for Dr. Singh to return to Kashmir, travel on to Lahore, and contact Pilamai in Karachi. Daulat Singh did as he was told, and left Meherabad with heavy heart. He contacted Pilamai, and asked her to promise to inform him as soon as Meher Baba was in the area.
Pilamai came from Karachi and brought Baba two parrots, a male and a female. The male did not live long, but the female, named Mittu, lived and traveled with Baba and the women for the next few years.
Baba and the mandali returned to Lahore on Saturday, 13th November 1943. After staying in Lahore for more than five months, on 20th November, the majority of the men and women mandali were sent back to Ahmednagar. They traveled to Manmad by train and then took buses to Meherabad. Pilamai was appointed to oversee the women's group, and during the journey, if any man tried to enter their compartment, Pilamai would shout in Urdu, "Janana! Janana!"-meaning this was a "women-only" compartment and no man should enter. Margaret would tease her by echoing, "Banana! Banana!"
During this period in 1944, there were 26 men, 33 women and ten children staying with Meher Baba under his orders at Meherabad and Pimpalgaon. Among Pilamai was one among women.
Baba Himself left Mahabaleshwar on the morning of 29th January 1951 accompanied by Eruch, Pendu and Gustadji. On the way, between Mahabaleshwar and Poona Baba halted in Poona where He had called Pilamai of Karachi and her daughter, Silla, had deep love for Baba. Up until 1947, she and Silla had been staying in Meherabad. After that, both had returned to Karachi, and later settled in Lahore. Before entering the New Life, Baba had kept Rs.2, 000 aside for Pilamai's maintenance, but she would not accept it. Since Pilamai refused the money for the sake of love, Baba decided to distribute this sum in the name of love to seven deserving individuals of his Old Life, remarking, "Charity begins at home."
5th June 1960, was the largest public darshan that summer. An estimated 10,000 persons poured into Guruprasad seeking the God-Man's touch. Pilamai Irani and her family and many dignitaries, lovers from Delhi, Bombay Ahmednagar, Sakori and Australia came to see Baba on this occasion. 4699-1960Baba left Meherazad for Satara with the men and women mandali on 5th October 1954. Baba went to Viloo Villa before starting for Satara, where He met Gulmai, Piroja and Pilamai.
TO BE POSTED
Valu Pawar joined the mandali in twenties and devoted herself totally to Baba’s service.
In July 1953, some work still remained to be completed on the cabin, so Baba did not actually begin his seclusion until the evening of July 15th. No one was allowed near the new cabin unless called by Baba.
At fixed time, Valu Pawar brought Baba food and tea prepared by Mehera. It was strictly forbidden to look inside the cabin when Baba was doing his seclusion work. One day, Valu brought Baba’s tray of food to the cabin at the appointed time. However, she found the door of the cabin closed. Believing the wind had blown the door shut, Valu pushed it open. Baba was seated inside engrossed in his inner work. He appeared startled and he looked up and stared at her. His powerful gaze overwhelmed Valu and her eyes immediately became full of pain. Afterward her eyes became bloodshot, then worsened and she suffered a blinded state for three days.
In 1933, Baba once remarked to Valu, "I come down from the hill twice daily to go to the mandali's quarters and have to walk up twice more. How much better it would be if there were shade trees lining the path."
Valu was a very caring, devoted person, and that very day, she began planting saplings on both sides of the narrow dirt road. A scarcity of water made it difficult to nourish them, but Valu would carry water from a far distance on her shoulders for this purpose. It is because of Valu's initial labor of love that, today; we find some of those same shade trees still lining both sides of the path leading up Meherabad Hill. Although Valu had other chores, she still found time for this extra work and it has resulted in a boon to all pilgrims coming to Meherabad.
In this seclusion, Baba would occasionally send for the women to see them. When he did, following the incident with Valu, Gulmai beseeched him to take pity on Valu and forgive her mistake. Baba answered Gulmai’s plea and Valu’s sight was restored. This experience taught Valu to be extremely careful in the future in following Baba’s exacting orders. Since 1925, Valu had washed Baba’s clothes and kept his room clean. She was wholly dedicated to the Master, remaining so until her end. This incident became a sign of the power of the Master’s seclusion work.
After Baba dropped his body, once, an old lady, completely bent at right angles at her waist came in. She would put her hand on her forehead to avoid the glare on her eyes so that she could see Baba in the crypt. When asked whether she could see Baba, she just shook her head in the negative. She seemed to have got hyper mature cataracts in both eyes! She was led to the landing of the crypt and only after she had sat down there and a torch light focussed on Baba's face, could she see Him.
It was then that Eruch told us that she was Valu, an old and faithful devotee of Baba from the early twenties. She was very dear to Baba and though she could not see Baba, Once again, Baba saw her and acknowledged her long, sincere, unselfish and loving services for the Avatar of the Age. Tears came into her eyes as she remembered the years she had spent with Baba. They were tears of love.
(Meher Baba’s Last Sahavas; p 42, Copyright 1969 Dr. H. P. Bharucha)
Sushila (Vishnu’s cousin) had been in Baba's contact since her childhood and all the mandali knew her well. Sushila studied medicine at the Ayurvedic College in Satara
On 10th November 1963, Sushila met Baba with Dhake. Baba gave them instructions about their forthcoming trip to Nauranga. Sushila was given a talk in Hindi, written by Bhau, which she was to deliver to the gathering. Baba had her read it to him.
Sushila and her sister Indu also helped in cooking for and Mandali. At Amboli and Balgaum, Every evening Baba would listen to Indu and Sushila sing and He praised them highly. This was their first opportunity to have the Master's close contact.
Mother of Khorshed
Soonamasi, Khorshed mother joined the women Mandali during early years and was part of the ashram till the New Life.
During August 1919, Gulmai's sister Soonamasi and her husband Kaikhushru Masa came to Ahmednagar from Bombay to visit their relatives. Kaikhushru Masa was an ardent lover of God and about eight years before had been to Shirdi for Sai Baba's darshan. It was at Shirdi that he had learned of Upasni Maharaj and had gone for his darshan at the Khandoba Temple. Later, he became a regular visitor to Sakori, where he met Merwan Seth and immediately recognized the divinity manifest in him.
Soonamasi was the manager of the women's ashram, but she kept committing errors in her accounts. She had so much trouble keeping track of the money while shopping in the bazaar that it afforded amusing incidents for the other women, which they related with humor to Baba.
Soltoon was Baidul’s wife and had two daughters. They met Baba early in 1929 and visited their house in Jafrabad (Iran) and later sent far from Iran at the ashram. She was close disciple and served Meher Baba
On the 25th and 26th, October 1929, Baba went to see different places in Yezd as suitable spots for his seclusion, but He failed to find a place that met His requirements. He also visited Baidul's house in the suburb of Jafrabad where he met Baidul's wife Soltoon and other relatives. Baba requested Soltoon to prepare lunch, but he was in such a hurry to eat, he did not allow her to cook the rice properly. Rushing the meal, Baba took all the pots to the dining room where He served the mandali and others. Soltoon tried to stop him, saying that the rice was not cooked properly. But when Baba asked each person if it was uncooked, they all replied that it was excellent — much to Soltoon's amazement.
She was the eldest daughter of Behram Sheriyar & Perin Irani
Her contact with Meher Baba and life time incidents are described as under.
In 1919, Kaikhushru Masa, Soonamasi, and Gulnar were present before Upasni Maharaj, they spoke to him about Gulnar's rash, and then about Gulmai's devotional nature and her family problems. Gulnar explained to the Sadguru, "My sister-in-law is very depressed and alienated; she faces oppressive conditions in her husband's joint-family household. Could you draw her to you like you have drawn us?"
Upasni replied, "Do not be so worried about her. I will do the same for her as I have done for you. You and she, as well as the whole family, will come to me. Have faith and come to Sakori as frequently as you can. Your skin disease — and her depression —will disappear."
After eleven days Baba arrived in Bombay at noon on 23rd November 1934, and met by Adi Sr. and Adi Jr. Beheram's wife Perin had given birth to a baby girl six days before, so before visiting Memo, Baba was driven to Parekh Hospital at Khetwadi to see them and His new niece. Baba named the child Soonu, but He later changed her name to Gulnar when Memo requested that the girl be named after Shireenmai's mother Golandoon.
After Shireenmai's funeral, on 27th February 1943, Baba returned to Poona, where He stayed at Bindra House. This time he did go to Baba House, and saw Beheram and his wife Perin. Beheram and Perin's children, Sheroo, age eight, and Gulnar, seven, loved Baba. For a while, Baba played with the two children.
The Zoroastrian navjot (thread) ceremony of Baba's brother Beheram's son and daughter, Sheroo and Gulnar, was held before Baba at Meherabad on 29th January 1944.
Gulnar and Sheroo had been in Baba's contact since childhood. Baba would ask them, "Who am I?"
"God!" they chorused.
"What does God look like?"
"Like Baba!" said Gulnar.
"Bigger than even the sky!" shouted Sheroo.
Baba asked, "Do you love me or your parents more?"
"We love you more."
"Because you look so beautiful!" they replied.
Beheram's daughter Gulnar was to be married later that year. Her fiancé, Jehangu Sukhadwalla, was a daily visitor to Guruprasad. Baba fixed the date for the wedding for the following October 1959. Beheram's wife Perin told Baba, "Gulnar has doubts about Jehangu's love for you. If he doesn't love you, it will be a matter of lifelong misery for her."
Baba assured her, "Jehangu has a very old and longstanding connection with Me. Gulnar should not worry." And, as time went on, Jehangu did begin loving Baba as if he were an old-time lover.
On the 28th, Jalbhai returned to Meherazad from Poona for a short stay. Two days later, Beheram's wife Perin came with her sons Sohrab and Rustom, her daughter Gulnar and Gulnar's fiancé Jehangu Sukhadwalla. (Baba took a "holiday" from His work with Kaikobad that day and from washing the feet of the poor.) Baba had approved the match and fixed the date of their wedding for 16th October 1959 in Bombay. He remarked to Jehangu, "You are really lucky to have found Gulnar, for through her you have found me!"
As they were leaving, heavy rain showers fell — an auspicious sign and tangible proof of Baba's blessings for the couple. Because of the downpour, their departure was delayed by two hours as the nallahs (streambeds) that intersected the road were overflowing.
During this period, Jehangu Sukhadwalla, Baba's niece Gulnar's husband, was working at the Poona airport. One evening as he was riding home on his scooter, he hit a pothole in the road and his brakes jammed. He was flung to the far side of the road, and his scooter went flying in the opposite direction. He emerged unscathed, and he attributed it to his crying out Baba's name with all his heart.
The next afternoon, when Jehangu excitedly recounted his "miraculous" escape to Baba, saying it was he who had saved him, Baba corrected him: "It is not my miracle. I do not perform miracles! You say that at the time of the accident you were wholeheartedly remembering me. So, call it the miracle of my name.
"When everything goes wrong, the mind becomes helpless and it has to rely entirely on the heart. These are the moments when you resign to My will and so rely solely on My help. When you leave all to Me, I dare not care not and you are relieved from the predicament."
In 1963, during a darshan program, a dozen Gujarati women came for Baba's darshan. They were led by one woman who was revered as a saint and had a large following in Gujarat. They asked Baba if they could be given the privilege of singing a bhajan. Baba permitted it and they sang in beautiful harmony. Others joined in the singing. Even Baba tapped his chair in time to the music. After this, Baba's grandniece Mehernaz (Jehangu and Gulnar's four-year-old daughter) gave a cute dance performance. Baba asked his brother Beheram, (the child's grandfather), to take a movie of her. Beheram was kept busy with his camera that day.
Before Baba's arrival at Guruprasad each year, Jehangu and Gulnar Sukhadwalla with few others would have the palace cleaned and everything prepared. However, no one was allowed to be present to receive Baba when he arrived, except for Meherjee, Meherwan and Jehangu.5067-1964
On Sunday morning, 5 June 1966, Beheram's family came to Guruprasad for Jehangu and Gulnar's daughter Mehernaz's navjot ceremony. The child's sadra, kusti, cap and new clothes were arranged on a steel platter in front of Baba. Baba handed her the sadra and kusti, and also a piece of paper on which was written his message (the same one given to Jim Mistry's sons at their navjot ceremony six years before) about being free from the superfluous binding of shariat (religious tradition). It was read out by Eruch, and then Mehernaz recited the Master's Prayer and went to the women's side, where Mehera dressed her in the sadra and kusti.5235-1966
83-SAYYED SAHEB PIRZADE
Sayyed Saheb Pirzade was a very close lover in the early period.
Some of his life time contact and dialogues with Meher Baba are written below:
Sayyed Saheb was Muslim and came into Merwanji's contact in 1918. He was a regular visitor to Babajan, who had personally introduced him to Merwanji. Through increasing contact with Merwanji, Sayyed Saheb was gradually drawn closer to Him. Merwanji took personal interest in Sayyed Saheb's individual difficulties, financial and otherwise. Because of Merwanji's genuine concern, Sayyed Saheb opened his heart to Him.
In 1920, Merwan Seth told Sayyed Saheb, "I wish to remain in a secluded place without the slightest disturbance. Can you find Me such a place?" Sayyed Saheb suggested a few remote locations, but Merwan Seth did not approve any. At last, Merwan Seth told Sayyed, "I have chosen the Bhorgad Cave near Nasik, where Upasni Maharaj had fasted for almost a year. I want you to go with Me." Sayyed Saheb agreed.
They took a train to Nasik and walked through the wooded area to the village of Gavalwadi, where they climbed the Bhorgad Hill and found the cave that Upasni Maharaj had shown Merwan Seth. Sayyed Saheb stayed along the rocky hillside while Merwan Seth remained in the cave alone for 40 days and nights, fasting only on milk which Sayyed Saheb would bring from the village each day.
After the 40 days, Merwan Seth left the remote region and stayed at Sayyed Saheb's family's house in Nasik. While there; He instructed Sayyed Saheb to telegraph all in Poona — Sadashiv, Behramji, Gustadji, and others — to come to Nasik to be with Him. Sayyed Saheb was profoundly impressed with Merwan Seth's great spiritual strength and attributes, and no longer liked the name Merwan Seth — believing it sounded too ordinary. When those from Poona were gathered in Nasik, Sayyed Saheb brought up the topic of changing Merwan Seth's title. Each man agreed, but what new name should they give? One of the men suggested Mehru Baba — meaning Great Father, but that was not approved.
After several other choices were suggested and rejected, Sayyed Saheb himself, in the end, proposed the name Meher Baba — meaning Compassionate Father. It was immediately endorsed by all. Soon after, they returned to Poona — including Merwan Seth now rechristened Meher Baba. It seemed to Age that the whole purpose of the men coming to Nasik was to choose this new name —which was to remain for all time.
On the night of 11th September 1922, Baba, accompanied by Sayyed Saheb and few others left Bombay by the Gujarat Mail train for Ajmer in northern India, arriving at midnight of the following day.
On 7th March 1923, after almost three months of strict containment in the premises of Manzil-e-Meem, Baba went for a short outing to Munshiji's house on Charni Road. Sayyed Saheb was staying there and had been feeling depressed for some time. To cheer him up, Baba drove to Munshiji's and returned after a few hours. When he returned, He found three messengers from Upasni Maharaj waiting for Him.
Baba and mandali reached Nasik at 2:45 P.M. and Sayyed Saheb (who was from Nasik) was waiting to receive them. They rode in tongas to Nomanbhai's bungalow where Sayyed Saheb had made provisional arrangements for them to lodge for a few days. This house was six miles from the station and was quite airy and spacious. Sayyed Saheb brought rice, dal and spinach from his home, but Baba returned the spinach as the mandali were under His strict orders to eat only rice and dal; nevertheless, the meal was quite tasty and, after many days, the mandali again enjoyed a deliciously spiced dal.
In 1924, Baba was driven to Happy Valley with Sayyed Saheb and others. At Happy Valley, He was in a cheerful mood and explained more about God-realization and a Perfect Master's circle of disciples:
One day, Ramjoo, Ghani, Sadashiv and Sayyed Saheb arrived. Sayyed had brought an unknown Qawaal with him, but when the man was before Baba, he professed his inability to sing. Nevertheless, he had the nerve to request in broken English that Baba gift him "the box," meaning the harmonium inside the wooden box, which had been given to him to play. Sayyed was upset with the rogue, for he had paid his full fee and brought him all the way to Meherabad from Nasik solely to entertain Baba. Sayyed expressed his disappointment, but Baba prevented him from scolding the fellow and promised the man he would be given "the box." Later, Baba remarked to the mandali, "By powdering a piece of coal, its color is not changed. In the same way, whether a man be good or bad, his nature never changes."
The darshan program ended at 8:30 that evening. Since there was no means of public transportation available, people shouldered their belongings and started walking to the train station. A harmonium was presented to the so-called qawaali singer, and he again demonstrated his impunity by asking Baba for a coolie to carry it. Baba provided two of the mandali, first ordering them to secretly remove the harmonium from the box. The mandali lifted the empty box, groaning loudly and pretending it was heavy. They walked five miles to the railway station carrying the box and placed it in the train compartment. When the man was settled in the train and opened the case, he was shocked to find it empty. He had asked for a harmonium box and he got it!
On 19th August 1926, a heated discussion on religion and Baba's explanations about the path to God took place between Sayyed Saheb, Ramjoo and Ghani at the school building. Baba happened to come by in the middle of their debate and found them arguing. Sayyed Saheb claimed that when he read the Koran or the Hindu scriptures, he found them similar to the explanations given by Baba, while Ramjoo argued that they were not similar at all. Unable to determine who was right, they appealed to Baba. Baba said:
My explanations are quite, quite different from the scriptures of any religion and they have nothing to do with the shariat aspect of religions. If we find any illumination anywhere in scriptures, it is in the Hindu Shastras and Vedanta. But they too are only a shadow of my explanations.
In 1929, Sayyed Saheb (who had seen Baba in Nasik in July) came with them. At night, Baba went for a drive around the city, to Malabar Hill (where He strolled about), Null Bazaar, and Chowpatty Beach.
In 1930 once, Baba went to Sayyed Saheb's house for tea and a music program that lasted until six.
Munshiji died in Nasik of a heart attack at the age of 57 on the morning of 19th December 1933. Sayyed Saheb had been close to Munshiji, having worked for him, and it was he who told Munshiji about Meher Baba. Sayyed Saheb was deeply saddened by Munshiji's death, and Baba called him, from Nasik to Meherabad. Knowing how Sayyed missed Munshi, Baba consoled him, "Death is like sleep; and as sleep is essential to man, so also is death a necessary part of life. In reality, no one is born and no one dies. This is all a dream. And what worth does a dream have?
"Munshiji has come to Me and is happy; so it is not right to feel sad about him. Or is it that you envy Munshiji for his happy state?" This made Sayyed smile and he replied, "Never, Baba!" "Then why do you look like you are about to die?" Baba joked. Sayyed began laughing and felt happy once again.
In 1935, at Nasik, Baba occupied a bungalow in the Saharanpur locality. Sayyed Saheb procured a goat, which was given to Baba, as it was recommended that He drink the goat's milk to improve His health. The goat had a kid, and the two animals especially loved to follow Baba around and play with Him. Baba, in turn, enjoyed feeding them treats, pieces of chapatti or toast. Playfully, Baba would raise His hand high out of the mother-goat's reach, and the goat would stand on her hind legs, putting her front legs on Baba's chest, so she could reach the treats.
On 5th March 1937, Sayyed Saheb came to see Baba. His twelve-year-old daughter had recently died and Sayyed was feeling very depressed, not because she had died but for the suffering she had undergone. In their ignorance, the family members had taken the girl to different psychic mediums to try to exorcise "the spirit" they believed was haunting her.
Sayyed Saheb was in disagreement with the family and could not understand how a spirit could have bothered his child when he had so much contact with Baba over the years. Consoling him, Baba explained, "She was not suffering from any spirit possession, but from tuberculosis. No spirit, however powerful, can ever touch those in My group. They run miles away from the members of My circle!"
In 1949, about mandali Baba said: There are many others like Abdulla (Jaffer), Sayyed Saheb, Edke, and so forth, who all their lives have been loving Me with all their heart.