Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
The beauty of Mehera Maa is Her pure simplicity in the way She loved and served Avatar Meher Baba. What I find most profound and divine is the humble, selfless, quiet manner in which She loved The Avatar. Most importantly, not only did She maintain this humility and silent grace when Meher Baba was in the body, but even after He dropped His physical shell. Never did She forget the importance of maintaining dignified silence and humble grace, till the day She breathed Her last in the mortal coil and was laid to rest, next to Avatar Meher Baba’s Samadhi; even in this, She was content to be outside, adjacent, to the main Samadhi sanctorum, silently lying down, to the right side of Her Divine Lover.
Mehera Maa was sixteen years old when She decided to spend Her entire life in serving and loving Meher Baba, who was thirty years then.
She first saw Meher Baba at the age of fourteen at Upasani Maharaj’s ashram, where Meher Baba, used to spend time. Upasani Maharaj, was Baba Sai’s foremost disciple, having the heart breaking and also one of the most privileged duty of performing the last rites of Baba Sai of Shirdi.
Baba Sai of Shirdi was the head of The Five Perfect Masters along with Baba Jaan, Tajuddin Maharaj, Narayan Maharaj and Upasani Maharaj.
This Powerful Gang of Five, were instrumental in bringing about the realisation of Godhood in Meher Baba.
Upasani Maharaj was instrumental in bringing The Avatar back to human consciousness though operating from The Universal Consciousness.
In such a profound setting, Mehera Maa decided to spend Her entire life serving God and slowly realised that Her God was already with Her, in the form of Meher Baba.
So She saw Meher Baba, and I have a strong feeling, She rose in love with Him and decided that She would live and follow The Avatar all Her life.
Imagine, a sixteen year old, who was born to a Zoroastrian family, studied in a Christian school, loved Jesus Christ, and also was very much into wanting to look and dress beautifully, taking this profound decision to live and love only The Lord.
Mehera Maa was not only internally strong but equally stubborn. Just two years prior to this, when She was fourteen, She had refused to attend a very important marriage, which was to be attended by the whose-who of Pune, only because Her mother refused to allow young Mehera to wear a Saree, which She had set Her heart on.
So She refused to attend the wedding and in hindsight, one can only sigh with relief, as She was beautiful and those days, it was not uncommon to engage and quickly marry girls in their teens.
Two years later, Mehera Maa along with Her mother were called to live with Meher Baba and His Mandali or the Inner Circle at Meherabad. They, along with Meher Baba’s sister, Mani were the first three women disciples. She met The Avatar in Meherabad, where the Handsome One, sang a song to all those who had gathered around Him. Meher Baba had a beautiful voice. When He prayed aloud, the Heavens stopped all work to hear Him pray and when He sang, it seemed that the cosmos danced to His tune.
And She was in love with Him.
And The Perfect Masters were aware of this love.
“Babajan hardly spoke, and when She did it was very softly. People would talk to Her, and She would sit and listen and nod Her head, sometimes turning to see who was sitting amongst the women. I remember one evening when Babajan turned to look at the women. She looked at each one, and then a little longer at me. I was so surprised that She would look at me, and I felt very shy. Babajan hardly ever smiled, but now as She looked at me She had a slight, very sweet smile on Her face, as if She knew me. Then Babajan turned away.” Mehera Maa narrated this incident. Soon after this incident Meher Baba called Mehera Maa to live with Him forever at Meherabad.
Those like me, who treat and consider and acknowledge Meher Baba as The Avatar, thus naturally acknowledge Mehera Maa as The Goddess. You cannot have God roaming around in the body without His Goddess nearby. The most beautiful aspect of this Union is that just by loving Mehera, and making it clear that She was His very existence, Mehera became Mehera Maa. There was no need for miracles to be performed. No need for fulgent auras radiating from Her. Nobody needed any proof. No predictions.
This is the power of true love and the word of The Master. Baba often said that Mehera was His Divine Half, like Radha Maa is to Lord Krishna and Sita Maa to Lord Rama. Mehera Maa was all that, as without The Goddesses you can’t have God.
She is The Shakti to Him. He may take all the accolades but She is The One. She is the Tops. She is His heart beat. The sigh of His Soul.
But then it isn’t easy or any less complicated to be God’s most special loved One.
Mehera Maa began to live with the Inner Circle at the age of sixteen and immediately Meher Baba made it clear that She wouldn’t be seen in the company of men or speak to men or hear their voice or even the radio. So Mehera Maa though living in the ashram began Her life of seclusion from the world, as the world has men all around. She was looked after by the Inner Circle of women, headed by Mani, The Avatar’s sister.
Thus, for years the only man Mehera Maa saw or heard or spoke to was Meher Baba.
And she was really young and divinely beautiful.
And she loved Him so truly and silently and selflessly that She never once showed the slightest trace of frustration of being virtually isolated from the happenings of the world around Her or being made to live a life of a recluse.
Meher Baba travelled all over the country and all over the world, often with His male Inner Circle, and Mehera Maa would spend time loving Him, making small surprises for Him, looking after His garden, away from all the accolades and all that which the world had to offer.
Isolated, but never alone, as Meher Baba made it clear that She is The One.
But can you imagine what it must have been for Mehera Maa.
She must love The Avatar like very few can love.
Over here Her silent devotion and taking a humble place in the background, reminds me of Mother Mary’s love for Jesus Christ and the silent manner in which She went about loving and serving Jesus The Christ.
So, She first saw Meher Baba in 1922, came to settle down in the ashram in 1924 and it was in the late 1960’s, virtually a year before Meher Baba took Samadhi, when He gave Mehera Maa the permission to interact with His male Mandali or the Inner Circle.
Yes, in 1937 He did take Her with Him when He travelled, but She wasn’t allowed to interact with any male member of the Mandali or the world. Also going about with Meher Baba was not for the faint hearted. He travelled by third class, or in those days it was called the cattle class by those who had money, but no class, and very often on foot. The journeys were back breaking and Mehera Maa was allowed to accompany Him on those journeys, taking care of Meher Baba. “There were discomforts and difficulties, but Baba was with us. We were going through it for Baba, and with Baba – and that was all we wanted”. Mehera Maa humbly informed those who wanted to know what it was like travelling with Baba. The truth is, the journeys were really back breaking.
When Baba would not take Mehera Maa with Him, She mended His clothes, took care of His garden and made small gifts called ‘treasures for Him’.
And then Meher Baba for the last forty three years of His life stopped speaking. What must have Mehera Maa felt, as She loved to hear Him speak and sing. Even here, Her love shone through, as not once did she question Him. If this isn’t love, what is!
In 1952, Mehera Maa accompanied Meher Baba to the USA where there was a serious automobile accident. Baba had predicted two major accidents, one in the West and the other in the East. This was the first of those. Baba was severely injured, but He first made sure Mehera Maa was put on into the first ambulance to take Her to the hospital much before Him. But look at how humbly Mehera Maa referred to this incident. “Even though Baba was in very great pain and in need of help Himself, He thought of another at that time. How beautiful He was with His love to think of another person at such a time when He Himself needed help.”
Baba still was mobile and would travel extensively, meet innumerable people, work and make His inner most circle work as though the world was going to end. Meher Baba was a hard taskmaster. His word was the law.
Then in 1956, Meher Baba met with another serious accident, which really made Him physically go through hell for the rest of His life. This accident took place in India, at Satara, where, if I am not mistaken, a very dear disciple of Baba succumbed to His injuries. He had always wanted to pass over when physically with Baba, and his wish was granted by The Avatar.
The funny part with devotees is that they feel the Master should never be ill and face calamities or injuries like the normal mortal. If the Master is with them they feel no harm will come to them. Little do they realise that the Master knows best and often the gravest of calamities come to those who have embraced The Master a tad too tightly in their soul. Karmic cleansing is a heartless companion.
The next and the last twelve years of Meher Baba’s physical life though was plagued with merciless pain, due to injuries which never left their embrace of His Pure Self, Mehera Maa began to nurse Him through the day and night, taking care of Baba’s every need. But always in the background and always with silent class and grace and it is here, that She stands out with her dignified silence, humble love and selfless love.
Meher Baba often told one and all that “Mehera loves Me as I should be loved.”
The greatest sacrifice Mehera Maa made was to follow Meher Baba’s wish not to be by His side when He left His physical body. He did not want Her to see Him suffer as He knew He would suffer. For days He had spasms which would lift His body off the bed.
“ Baba had reduced His food intake about two weeks previously and Mehera did her best to provide nourishment by sending Him things like fruit, juice, grated apple and so forth. At first He said that He did not want the grated apple but Mehera would send word back that He should have it, and after taking a spoonful or two, Baba would offer the remainder to the Mandali, much like prasad.” (Lord Meher)
Sometimes the spasms went on for hours at a stretch. The Avatar bore His crucifiction silently and even with humour, but what about Mehera Maa who had to obey Her Avatar and stay away, She was dying a thousand deaths not being able to be with Meher Baba.
Shortly before He dropped His body, Baba asked one of His Mandali to take this message to Mehera Maa. The message was “Mehera, be brave.”
For the seven days Meher Baba’s body was kept for His followers to come and pay their last respects, one can only imagine Mehera Maa greeting them all, keeping Her word to Meher Baba to be brave. For seven days people flocked to see Meher Baba’s body for the last time, and all those seven days, roses, tended by Mehera Maa, made into a garland adorned Meher Baba.
“Mehera and the other women Mandali would then enter the Tomb. To see Mehera Maa 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….” (Lord Meher.)
The love Meher Baba had for Mehera came through even after He left His body. One day when He was in the body, Baba stood outside Mehera Maa’s room, placed His hand on a tree trunk and said He loved this tree a lot. After His Samadhi, when Mehera Maa was in mourning, am sure wondering whether Baba felt Her love, one day when She woke up, She saw His face, engraved on that very spot of the tree. Baba’s face was there for all to see for many years till growth on the bark faded Baba’s impression but even now it is said that for a few fortunate souls, His face shines through the tree trunk.
Though Mehera Maa’s birthday was in January, since 1968, it has been celebrated on December 22nd, as that was the last time Meher Baba celebrated Her birthday according to the Zoroastrian Calendar.
For Mehera Maa that was the day only worth remembering as that was the day Her Beloved Meher was with Her in Her final celebration.
Mehera Maa dropped Her body twenty years after Meher Baba. She took Samadhi on Buddha’s birthday and His day of realisation.
“Always hold on to Baba’s Daaman and love Him, that is the one real thing you can do in this life. Baba may seem to try to snatch His Daaman from your hands, so be sure not to let go, be sure to hold on tightly. Be true to His love for you.” Said Mehera Maa to all Baba lovers.
Thus, She lived the next twenty years living and obeying Meher Baba, with all Her love, all Her grace, all Her devotion, living up to Baba’s last words to Her…..Mehera be brave.
Be blessed. JAI BABA
Baba Sai of Shirdi through channeling has given this prayer to be prayed to Mehera Maa.
Avatar’s Mehera please pray for us that we always love The Avatar like You used to and even now do,
Let us love Him selflessly, humbly, silently, with pure child like devotion;
Let us also win The Avatar’s heart like You have Maa.
Teach us silent devotion oh Meher’s Mehera,
Teach us how to serve always keeping The Avatar’s happiness and comfort in mind;
Bless us, that like You, we too serve selflessly without ego but always with selfless love.
You, who loved The Beloved of The Five Perfect Masters,
You, who The Avatar considered His Divine Half,
You, who gave up all, to obey and serve Him,
Pray that we too are graced with such love and devotion that makes The Avatar, The Perfect Masters and You, Meher’s Mehera, happy and proud of us.
Make us brave oh The Avatar’s favorite,
That we can continue to hold on to Baba’s Daaman to the very end;
For You know how bereft we are without His physical presence and what it is to be away from His warm embrace.
Meher’s Mehera, pray for us, to always have The Avatar’s blessings, love and protection on us and our loved ones;
Your prayers, He can never not hear or not grant
For you, His Mehera, The One who truly knew how to love The Avatar.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha