(DRAUPADI FOR LORD KRISHNA & NORINA NATCHABALLI FOR AVATAR MEHER BABA)
Meher Baba revealed that Norina Matchabelli was Draupadi, wife of Pandavas in one of his previous incarnations. Baba used to call her “Noorjahan” i.e. “Light of the world”. Baba also disclosed that she was the 12th member of each concentric circle of 12 disciples. Hence this comparison. Brief life sketch of Draupadi and contact of Norina Matchabelli with Avatar Meher Baba are as under.
King Drupada (father of Draupadi) begged Shiva to grant him a boon. Drupada of Panchala was defeated by the Pandava’s prince Arjuna on behalf of Drona, who subsequently took half his kingdom. To gain revenge on Drona, he performed a yajña to obtain a means of besting him. Draupadi emerged as a beautiful dark-skinned young woman together after her sibling Dhrishtadyumna from the sacrificial fire. When she emerged from the fire, a heavenly voice said that she would bring about the destruction of the Kauravas. Draupadi is described in the Mahabharata as a very beautiful woman of that time.
Arjuna wins Draupadi in her Swayambar. Drupada intended to wed his daughter to Arjuna. Upon hearing of the Pandavas' supposed death at Varnavata, he set up a Swayambar contest for Draupadi and declared her as the prize of the victor in the contest.
At the Swayambar, almost all the assorted monarchs were unable to complete the challenge. Only Karna, the king of Anga was able to wield and string the bow but Draupadi refused him to take part in the competition, rejecting him for being a mere "suta-putra", the son of a charioteer. Later the Pandavas showed up incognito, Arjuna in disguise wins Draupadi's hand. In the aftermath the Pandavas revealed their survival. Draupadi marries all the five Pandavas after Kunti accidentally asks the Pandavas to share her.
Indraprastha was built at the site of the Khandava forest. The pride of buildings was the "Palace of Illusions", and this was where Duryodhan and his entourage explored during Hastinapur's attending of the Rajasuya Yagna.
The moment Duryodhan entered the palace he encountered an atmosphere of mystery. The courtyard was divided in two parts. The surface of one part appeared to ripple like the surface of a lake. The surface of the other part appeared solid flooring and when Duryodhan stepped on the apparently solid part of the courtyard, there was a splash and Duryodhan found himself waist deep in water, drenched from head to foot. When Draupadi and her maids saw this from the balcony they were amused. Duryodhan felt extremely insulted that Draupadi and her maids saw his embarrassing predicament. Draupadi joked "Andhasya Putra Andhaha" meaning "a blind man's (referring to Dhritrashtra) son is blind"
Draupadi was presented in a Parcheesi game where Yudhishthira has gambled away all his material wealth. This key incident is often considered to mark a definitive moment in the story of Mahabharata. It is one of the driving reasons that ultimately led to the Kurukshetra war.
Draupadi was horrified after hearing that she was staked in the game and now is a slave for Duryodhan. Draupadi questions Yudhishthira's right on her as he had lost himself first and she was still the queen. She refuses to present herself in court. Duryodhan, angry with Draupadi's behaviour, commands his younger brother Dushasana to bring her into the court, forcefully if he must. Dushasana grabs her by the hair and brings her into the court, dragging her by the hair. Duryodhan orders Dushasana to disrobe Draupadi. Seeing her husbands' passivity, Draupadi prays to Krishna to protect her.
Draupadi was great devotee of Lord Krishna. It is said that when Shishupal had exceeded 100 abuses, Lord Krishna killed him by His Chakra. When Chakra retuned after cutting the head of Shishupal, the finger of Lord Krishna got a cut and blood oozed out. It was only Draupadi who took care and bandaged Lord Krishna’s finger by a piece of her sari. Lord Krishna compensated her by roping in endless length of sari .This miracle occurred henceforward, which was attributed by Lord Krishna. As the Pandavas and the court looks away, Dushasana unwraps layers and layers of her sari. But as her sari keeps getting extended, everyone looks upon in awe, and Dushasana himself is forced to stop due to exhaustion.
At this point, a furious Bhima vows to remove Dushasana's arm (that had held her hair) and to drink the blood from his chest, at the pain of not seeing his ancestors/entering heaven. This vow unsettles the entire court. Draupadi vows not to tie her hair until she has decorated it with the blood of Dushasana. This was perhaps one of the reasons which led the war between Pandavas & Kauravas.
The only Kauravas who object to the disrobing of Draupadi in the court are Vikarna and Vidura. Vikarna appeals the assembly to answer the questions raised by Draupadi, but in vain. Vidura openly calls Duryodhan a snake and a demon, but after finding no support, even from his own brother, Vidura is helpless. Draupadi herself verbally eviscerates the entire court, threatening that once Drupada heard of his daughter's insult; he would tear Hastinapur to the ground. Just as she is about to curse the Kuru dynasty, she is interrupted by the queen mother Gandhari. Gandhari counsels Dhritarashtra to action. Also fearing retribution from Panchal, Dhritarashtra intervenes and grants Draupadi three boons. Draupadi in her first boon asks her husband’s to be freed from bondage so her sons would not be called Dasas. In her second boon she asks for all the wealth Pandavas lost in the game of dice to be restored to them. When Dhritarashtra asks her to wish for the third boon she refuses by saying that it would be greedy to ask for more. Shakuni and Duryodhan later convince Dhritarashtra to invite Pandavas for a new game of dice, with modified rules. The loser here would go for 12 years in exile and another one year of anonymity. Yudhishthira agrees and loses again. It was following the defeat in this new game that Pandavas were sent into exile for 13 years.
While the Pandavas were in the Kamyaka forest, they often went hunting, leaving Draupadi alone. At this time Jayadratha, the son of Vriddhakshatra, the husband of Duryodhana’s sister Dussala, passed through Kamyaka forest on the way to Salwa Desa. There he saw Draupadi. Jayadratha then started beseeching her to go away with him and desert her husbands who had fallen upon bad times. Draupadi pointed out that it was wrong to desert one’s spouses when they were in difficulty and then gave him a rather long and deliberately delaying speech on exactly the sort of bad time her husbands would give him on their return. Failing with words, Jayadratha tried violence and forced her onto his chariot. Meanwhile, the Pandavas finished their hunt and on return they found their wife was abducted. Learning of their wife's abduction by Jayadratha they rushed to save her. On seeing the Pandavas coming after him, Jayadratha left Draupadi on the road and Draupadi was saved. The Pandavas caught Jayadratha after chasing him on the chariot. Yudhishthira urged Bhima to spare Jayadratha’s life for the sake of Dussala and Gandhari, much to the indignation of Draupadi. Pandavas decided to make Jayadratha humiliated. Pandavas brought Jayadratha back to their hermitage in chains and shaved his head at five places in order to publicly humiliate him and later he was freed.
Princess Norina Matchabelli
Princess Norina Matchabelli met Baba in 1931 and consequently left her position and status of a diplomat’s wife and lived in Baba’s ashram. She travelled all over India, Europe and later America to spread Baba’s message and in 1949 helped Elizabeth to establish Baba’s centre at Myrtle Beach.
Born in Italy on March 3rd 1880 in Florence, Italy, and her first husband was Karl Volmoeller a Baba lover film maker. Later she married to Prince George Matchabelli, a national hero who, after revolution in Russia fought for his country of Georgia, in the Caucasus, and thereafter settled in U.S.A. In 1924, they founded the world famous perfumery “Matchabelli Perfumes”. Later the Perfume Corporation was sold, and she spontaneously gave her share to Baba. Her life revolved around Him more and more and she participated in the Master's many trips to the west. She went to India with the very first group of women in 1933 and also endured the publicity blast. Great capital was made of her title of princess actually she had asked Baba if she could give it up, but Baba had said it would be useful in His work.
As a young woman, Norina was chosen by the stage director max Reinhardt to play the role of the Madonna in his play the miracle, written by Norina’s first husband, the German author Karl Volmoeller. The play was a phenomenal success performed over a thousand times. From this role, Norina developed a deep spiritual longing and became a seeker. In the midst of a life of glamour and success, however, she developed into a deep spiritual seeker and prepared her way to the final experience which instantaneously transformed her life—when she met Meher Baba.
Norina Matchabelli was an old friend of Jean Adriel, and the day before Jean had left for Harmon to prepare for Baba's arrival, she had gone to see Norina at her apartment in New York. Norina candidly asked her, "Who is this Master at whose feet you would worship?" Jean tried to explain to her about Baba and about Thomas Watson’s profound experience with Him in England, but Norina remained unconvinced.
Norina asked Jean, "How can you worship at the feet of any man, even if he does call himself a Master? Women like ourselves – who have had such deep inner experiences – don't need any man to show us the way to God.
How can you allow yourself to be drawn into such foolishness?" As jean was leaving, Norina sarcastically remarked, "Well, darling, when your Master arrives, I must meet him. I would also like to weep like dear old Watson!"
Jean’s explanations had seemed odd to Norina and she was amused, but also puzzled. Three days after Baba's arrival, she phoned Jean at Harmon, saying, "The strangest thing has been happening to me. From the moment Meher Baba landed in New York, I have been weeping continuously. You must arrange for me to see Him."
When Norina encountered Baba in Harmon, tears of ecstasy rolled down her cheeks and she totally forgot herself. Her life became Baba’s and she dedicated herself completely at His feet. Later, she described that meeting:
I doubt whether that experience of meeting Meher Baba can be expressed in words. I had heard about Him, but I remained skeptical. I had followed teacher after teacher, and yet none of them could ever reassure me about the path. Eventually, I consented to go with a friend to Harmon.
I entered the room in which Meher Baba was sitting surrounded by followers and disciples. That very moment, an experience began – full of wonder and beauty. Suddenly I had to run across the room and I found myself weeping on the floor at his feet. Weeping! Oh, how I was weeping! But I also began to laugh, and the streams running down my cheeks and the outbursts of laughter became one. While I was resting, My head on Baba's hand, my whole body was shaking with terrific sobs of liberation.
After some time, I quieted down. Baba then took my face between His hands and looked at me for a long time into one of my eyes, and then into the other, and then back into the first eye.
Then He spoke to me via the alphabet board. His first words were: "I am man and woman and child. I am sexless." He then paused for a while; brought His face nearer to mine and spelled out, "Have no fear."
An incredible joy surged through me. I went into the next room and lay down on a sofa, weeping with joy. Suddenly the door opened and Baba came in. I knew now that my whole life had no meaning if it were not dedicated to the Perfect Master, and so I said to Him, "Baba, please take me with you." He motioned, "It is yet too soon." I could have died with grief when I felt His words. As a child, Norina had had an experience of God. On one occasion, she recollected:
Since childhood, I knew of God. When I was twelve, He came as Jesus Christ and spoke to me. He explained to me in words of sublime wisdom that this love which had begun to surge within me was an imperative for the fulfillment of the highest form of spiritual love. He spoke to me in the unforgettable words: "I am your first and last love."
The significance of these words was fully realized by Norina when she met Meher Baba for the first time and recognized Him as Christ personified. Without her ever mentioning this incident, Baba spelled out, "I was the one who came to you in the form of Christ to lead you toward the goal." From their very first meeting, the Master established unconditional faith in her.
In her quest, she tried to find her to-day at the feet of her Master, to love and to serve Him as very few could. She stayed in Nasik Ashram from 1935-1940. She was in charge of the management of Nasik retreat.
She was sent back to USA in 1940 to help Elizabeth Patterson to develop Myrtle Beach at S. Carolina. Baba stated, “She is the only person who has My orders to transmit My spiritual thought and discourses. Later it was withdrawn.
The property of Mr. Simon Chapin, father of Elizabeth Patterson comprising of 500 acres of timber land, with fresh water lakes fed by the springs and close to Atlantic Ocean, was dedicated to Meher Baba by Elizabeth Patterson. Baba referred this place as “My home in the west.” Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchabelli was the co-founder of Meher spiritual centre at Myrtle Beach. Kitty Davy joined them later in 1952. When Norina passed away in 1957, Baba wanted James Haynes to take her place.
Now her life began to change. The prince also met Baba, but could not accept Him in the same way. Baba told him that just before he died, he would experience who Baba is and this came to pass. He had a beautiful experience of Baba as the Christ just before he passed away (1935). He and Norina had been divorced in 1933, after sixteen years of marriage. Their worlds had grown apart.
She died on June 15th, 1957 at the age of 77 at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Meher Baba also revealed that in former incarnation she had been Joseph, the father of Lord Jesus. In Avatar’s period she incarnated alternatively a man and woman. She was also mother of Baba in previous incarnation. She had been, at different times, the Avatar’s mother and father. In present Avatarhood of Meher Baba, she had held position of His mother (not biologically). Baba always addressed her as “Mummy”.
Interpretation- According to Meher Baba: God listens the language of heart. Avatar and Sadgurus are like telephone exchange where all calls from far distance and near are heard instantly and answered according to sincerity of our prayer. It requires preparation of many births to come into contact of Sadguru or Avatar. Those who had opportunity to see Baba are fortunate and those who have come to His contact without His physical darshan are specially blessed as termed by Late Sh. Bhau Kalchuri –mandali a close disciple of Baba.