Transcript Meherwan Jessawala Video
Interview with Meherwan Jessawala in Meherazad, Ahmednagar
13 February 2013
Given by request with permission to use for the Katie Irani video series Part #9. Copyright protected AMBPPCTrust
Meherwan Jessawala : Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!
Interview Question: Baba help us and guide us in this interview what You would like Your pilgrims to know. Meherwan, this interview came about because pilgrims are asking residents - people who never met any Mandali members, they're coming to the MPR as pilgrims, new pilgrims - and they're asking other pilgrims and they're asking other residents, "Who are the Mandali? What is the significance of the Mandali, and who were they? What have they got to do with Baba?"
The real focus of this interview is your understanding of Mandali members, being the brother of Eruch, who was one of the closest Mandali members to Baba, and you also may be a Mandali member, but we don't know whether you are or not. You live here. What's the definition: living during Baba's time, or did Baba tell you you're Mandali? We don't even really know what it means: who is, who isn't, why aren't they? People are asking us why Arnavaz is buried here and not there. A lot of these things are a little bit confusing, and whatever clarity you can give to new Pilgrims coming, it will be very helpful, because we would rather refer people to you and to Bhau (and to Lord Meher of course) than to our own understanding, which is very limited.
Meherwan Jessawala: If your understanding of what you have all said is very limited, mine may be even more limited. But, in any case, talking about circles, you had mentioned that people want to know about Baba's circle. In the early days when our family joined Baba, in 1938, Eruch's duty was to accompany Baba up the hill in the night, where he retired, and when He came in the morning, he would accompany Baba from the hilltop to the Mandali's quarters, and then be in attendance with Baba the rest of the day.
One of those times when Eruch was taking Baba up the hill in the night, Baba turned round and asked Eruch, "When I go up, and you go back there, what do you all do? What do you all talk about?" And Eruch said, "Baba, they are talking about circles, and all those things, and I don't understand anything about all this." He said, "Yes, fine! Do one thing - you have large ears - hear from one, and let go from the other. Pay no importance to all this. Don't worry about circles, or anything. Just love and obey Me, is all I want, and you don't involve yourself in all this."
This was the lesson that Eruch got, right from the beginning.The thing is, to cease giving importance to the self, and focus upon the Lord. That's what those people who stayed with Baba for most of their lives, and spent their lifetime with Him, they just were there to love, serve, and obey Him. Some of them used to indulge in all these talks, but really speaking, everybody's thing was just to focus on Baba. That is what Baba meant.
One day in the later years, He was saying, "What is all this talk about being Mandali or not being Mandali? Who are the Mandali and what are they? What's all this talk going on? Anybody who loves Me and obeys Me, whether here or there, he is My Mandali, he or she." He used to say such things in various occasions, but later on Baba specified that "Those people who are staying close to Me, following My day-to-day orders, and (who are) in My close physical association, and who love and serve and obey Me in all respects, and with whom I feel at home, they are My Mandali."
There are so many things that go to... they think that, "so-and-so is Mandali, and so-and-so is not." It's none of our business. Neither did Eruch ever assert himself to be a Mandali, or any of the Mandali did that, for that matter. Their focus was on the Lord, and they gave no importance to themselves, and just wanted people… tried to guide people in the same way. They felt that they were just pointers to the Lord, to Baba, nothing else. That's what they felt, in reality. So at least that's what Eruch used to say to us, that "I'm just a pointer, don't look at me. I'm nobody. Let your focus be only on the Lord."
That's how the Mandali used to guide people to being with Baba, totally focused on Him, and not to let their minds be diverted to anybody else, or anyone, or give any importance to other than Baba. In my close association with Eruch, who was one of the close Mandali of Baba, because he spent his entire lifetime in close association with Baba, serving Him, being His personal attendant all those years, I learned a great many things from him, as to how to obey Him.
He wouldn't make any show of obedience or anything, but the way he led his life, the way he was so detached from everything, and yet he was so concerned about the family and everything, that was the example that I could imbibe, and that has remained with me. And the focus of the Mandali was with Baba, and they led such lives that they provided a lot of guidance to the new pilgrims who came along.
They (the Mandali) gave them all the ways in which Baba used to live, how He lived, how He was leading the normal human life, and yet, how at the same time, they felt His Divinity also. They had the first-hand experience of Baba being both God and human at the same time. They therefore had the capacity to guide people to what they should be doing. A lot, many pilgrims benefited by that, the way Eruch would tell stories about Baba, and the way he recounted them.
He could bring Baba's physical presence to life, while talking - same with Mani and Mehera, and all these close people who were with Baba. They did all this to bring Baba alive to the pilgrims, which the current generation now unfortunately don't have any more.
They have left this legacy to us, to follow what they have said: to be focused on Baba, to love Him, to serve Him.
Interview with Meherwan Jessawala in Meherazad, Ahmednagar
13 February 2013
Meherwan Jessawala: As an example I'll tell you. One day we had - we were all here in Meherazad on the occasion of Baba's Birthday. So what had happened is, Nariman, Meherjee, they were also here, they were called. They used to stay in the room opposite the Mandali Hall. Baba was with us during the day. Then as He was about to leave, Nariman stands up and asks Baba, "Baba, can I have your permission to serve a little beer to the Mandali?"
Baba thought for awhile and said, "Alright, let them have a bottle each." So saying, He left. Then after He left, they quickly made all the preparations. They made sure that all the servants left, because otherwise, you know, people outside may misinterpret what all this was about, as if Baba's people indulging in drinking and all that. That was never the case: since Baba had given the permission, they sort of took part in it. Eruch took great care. He told Nariman and all, "Don't mention anything about this until all the servants leave. See that no outsider is here. Then we close the door and windows, then we'll have a quick drink and go. I don't want a big show of all this."
He was so mindful about Baba being… Baba's interest being safeguarded, that his attention was not on other things - To be careful about not letting this out, I could see that. So after all had come inside, he saw to it that there was nobody around. Then the bottles were given. Then what they had: one bottle each. I was also given. I'd never drank alcohol before that, to that... in that manner. They all had a swig of the bottles. Eruch was all the while feeling that we should hurry up. After everything was over, he said, "Now, let's all go." He packed up all of us, and I was not able to drink it fast enough... so he was after me to finish it. It was as if there was no enjoyment in it, you know, despite all this.
Then after all that was done, he took all those empty bottles, and removed all the labels from them, and personally washed those bottles, and cleaned them up, as if they were some old bottles that were for water or something. He went to all that extent to see that that was done. It was a great task for him, you know?
Thereafter all left. I was feeling a bit dizzy, because I never had this much. Even though it was just a mild beer, it got hold of me and I was quite dizzy. Anyway, I think the next day or something, Baba came, and He started to enquire, "Well, did you all have your beer?" Everybody said, "Yes, Baba." He asked Aloba (now Aloba is Mohammedan, you know, not supposed to have alcohol)… Baba asked him, "Did you have?" He said, "Yes, Baba, since You allowed us, I had a swig." He said, "And how did you feel?" He said, "I felt quite fine." Others, they also felt fine.
Then He asked me, "How did you feel?" I said, "Baba, I felt a little dizzy." He looked quite seriously at me, and He says, "Alright, from today, no alcohol. Stop." I said, "Yes, Baba." In any case, I was not fond of it. But He gave that order to me, "No alcohol from now." You know, then Eruch asked Baba, "Baba, does that mean that he cannot have any medicine having alcohol in it?" You see how much attention the Mandali paid to His orders? Baba says, "Yes, if it's in the medicine or if the doctor prescribes it, it's fine. But he shouldn't in the normal course have alcohol."
His reach was that much. Otherwise I wouldn't have known this, and medicines did have alcohol which I had to take, and that would have violated His order. He was mindful of that… That's how by his very life he demonstrated how to obey the Lord, how to have constant attention upon Him, and His least order, so that it is not violated. That's how he was living his life, and we had that living example in our family. We looked forward to him for guidance.
In many subtle ways, he would guide us, not barging upon anything, but the way he lived the life, it was in that. When he would come home after being with Baba for some time, my Dad would start giving his tale of woes for hours together. Eruch would stand at his door and listen to Papa, very patiently, for hours and hours - my Dad lying there, just complaining about all sorts of things. Eruch would not say a word. Just heard that, then he would console him. He was carrying out his responsibilities to the family very diligently, because of Baba.
In such ways, we benefited by his presence. That's why I feel the current crop of the people who come, the lovers, the pilgrims, they should give this sort of importance to the Mandali, of their obedience, about their one-pointedness to Him, and their focus on Baba, and such things, and they are a sort of the beacon light to guide people onwards.
But then by themselves, they paid no attention to themselves, they gave no importance to themselves, and of course when the time came to (give) some correction, they were quite firm about it. But at the same time they were very loving.
We have all this guidance from the Mandali. That's why there is the importance of Baba's Mandali. That's what I have to say.
Interview with Meherwan Jessawala in Meherazad, Ahmednagar
13 February 2013
Interview question: Any more examples come to your mind about Eruch's obedience to Baba?
Anything that might be helpful for a new pilgrim who never met a Mandali, and don't even know what obedience means, really speaking?
Meherwan Jessawala: His obedience to Baba was such, and his love for the Lord was so intense and quiet, that… You know, before joining Baba, he was engaged to marry a girl. Then he joined Baba... during the engagement Baba had come. He Himself arranged for Eruch to get engaged with Khorshed, one of our cousins. At the same time my other sister Meheru, Baba... He got her engaged to Khorshed's brother Savak. The two engagements were done together, and Baba Himself performed the engagement ceremony, quite solemnly at Akbar Press, our Uncle's place (in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra State, India). This was some time before we joined Baba in the ashram.
Then in 1938 Baba asked Eruch to, "leave all and come, whether your whole family can leave all and come?" He said, "By Your Grace, anything is possible." Baba was happy. He said, "Then ask all your people to leave all and to follow Me."
We had a big bungalow, servants…, my Dad had a very responsible Government post, highly paid. We were living in great style, in Nagpur. Baba gave only 3 months to dispose of everything, sell it off, and bring whatever money and hand it over to Him. We should all join the Ashram. That was Baba's miracle that we were able to achieve this.
Eruch had to do all the thing. My Dad was very practical minded, and he acceded to what Baba wanted, and that surprised Eruch so much, that he felt how Baba's Grace can help. Everything went off - the bungalow was sold, the servants were disposed of, the whole estate was sold off. The contents were taken to the market - he would himself take servants, crockery and other things in the market, and saw to it that everything got done in the deadline that Baba had given.
Everything was disposed of at throwaway prices, and there were huge crowds in our bungalow. The whole town had come to grab things they could lay hold of: costly imported crockery and every... my Dad used to live in great style. All this was done. Eruch was all the while focused to see that the deadline was maintained. Within 3 months they were to join, and he did manage to do that.
We were asked to join on 1st of August 1938. But Baba told him that when you come, don't send the car. He had a brand new imported Auburn car from Germany. It was the only one in the country. Baba said, "Bring the car along." He said "Fine." Then what happened was, that while the selling and all that was going on, my Dad tells Eruch, "Please ask Baba, can I continue with my service for 6 months so that I can get the pension? Six more months are left for my voluntary retirement. If I work for 6 months more, I start getting half the pension." He wired Baba, and Baba immediately wired back, 'Tell your Dad to complete the period of service for the retirement and then join."
Dad was there, and he was continuing with his work. He told Eruch, "I am not having the time to do anything. You do all the things. I'll just sign where it is required to be signed, on the documents for transfer and this and that." All this was being single-handedly managed by Eruch. I don't know how he did it.
Then, finishing all this... and while going, my Dad says, "I need the car for my duties, so can we leave the car here, and then I'll bring the car along after 6 months?" Eruch thought that was fine. Since Baba had asked him to carry on, perhaps that meant that the car would be left with him, like that. He left the car there, and we all came. On the first of August (1938) we arrived. He came there, and he felt a little proud that he was able to accomplish something which was Herculean, within 3 months to join Baba on the 1st of August, and we just managed it.
When we came in - when we stepped in - Baba said, "Well, it's all done?" Eruch said, "Yes, Baba, "I" was able to do all the things on time, and managed to come with all the family here." Baba said, "Did you bring the car along?" Then he said, "No, Baba, this is what happened." Baba tells him, that "this is a scar that will remain on my chest. This is a scar that you have left on my chest. You have disobeyed Me."
Instead of praising him, Baba immediately let him know that it was He who had managed the whole show, not that he had done anything, but it was He who was doing everything from behind. It was a great lesson to him. And Baba... after all the effort he made, Eruch gets this compliment, that "You have left a scar on My heart." Just imagine: the first initiation of obedience.
Pardon? What's that?
Interview question: (speaking in Hindi, then) You were talking about that.
Meherwan Jessawala: I was talking about the (engagement)… so that was done and then it was forgotten. When we all joined Baba, the engagement was forgotten, everything was forgotten. Eruch continued to be in the Ashram and with us all. We were sent from place to place by Baba, settling in various places. Then one day, when Baba had come to Meherazad, and Baba was there, the boy used to go to Akbar Press to get mail at that time. The mail used to come to Akbar Press, so the mail boy tells Eruch that there was a great fight in the house today. That the man there, he was in a fit of rage, and he was throwing out Baba's things from the house... He was saying, "What of this? My daughter has been engaged to Eruch, and nothing has happened so far, and they are all with Baba in the Ashram there, and my daughter is just pining away here." He was anti-Baba, my uncle, and this was a good excuse for him to do all this.
Interview question: What was his name?
Meherwan Jessawala: Jehangirji, Jehangir Damania. He was doing all that, and my aunt had fallen for Baba, so she bearing up with all his taunts and all - he was a drunkard, and he was not a good person. Anyway, so the mail boy tells Eruch that this is what had happened. Eruch got very disturbed, and he said, close to Baba - Baba was sitting in the Hall - and he tells Baba, "Baba, I want to get married." Baba said, "What's this new thing?" "No, Baba, because of me, the people are bringing You into disrepute, and I can't bear that. I just want to get married and fulfill the obligations."
Baba says, "What happened?" Then he explained. Baba said, "Alright, you want to get married?" Baba fixed a date and then both the pairs got married in Akbar Press. During that marriage Baba Himself was present at Akbar Press, in a secluded little room. He watched the entire wedding ceremony of Eruch and my sister and their opposites.
After the marriage was over, then Eruch with his wife Khorshed, they came along. Baba said, "Now you are both married, isn't it?" Eruch said, "Yes, Baba." "Now, hereafter, I suppose you'll have to go with her and stay with her, and what about your honeymoon? Who will look after me when you go?"
Eruch said, "But I'll be there, Baba." He said, "But how could you be there? Now that you're married, you have to go." He said, "That's fine, but even though I'm married, I can still continue to do this." Baba thought for a moment, and then says... He called both of them together, and He said, "Supposing I ask you to stay as brother and sister for the rest of your life? Is it acceptable?"
Eruch of course said, "Yes, Baba, whatever you say." Then He asked Khorshed - she was also loving Baba very much - He asked her, "Is it all right for you that Eruch will stay as a brother to you, and keep serving Me?" She said, "Yes, Baba, nothing could be more good for me than this." Baba says, "Fine! From today you both are brother and sister." That was the end of Eruch's marriage. But he went to that extent to see that Baba's name was not marred. He got himself married. Then she came and settled down with us, and not many things followed thereafter. But this is how he obeyed Baba. That's all.