The 'Don't worry, Be happy' message that Meher Baba gave us is well known. It's been the punch line of a song, the cards with His message have brought many to Him over the years, and most think of it as a feel-good quote from the Avatar.
Many years ago I was on a visit to India with my son Sheriar, then just a toddler. I was at a really unhappy stage in my life, my marriage was in the doldrums, I was really not happy and it showed. On a visit to Meherazad Mani (Baba's sister), in her loving manner, decided to have a talk with me about it. She asked me to come with her to her verandah to fetch some toys for Sheriar and the other kids to play with. Once there, her true motive for the invitation became clear, and she asked me some very pointed questions about my life, my marriage and my plans for the future.
Since I needed to talk, I told her all that was going on. After hearing me out patiently, Mani did not, as I had expected, give me a hug and say 'Baba will take care of it all, leave it to Him.' She started reminiscing about when I was a baby. She reminded me of how He was always so careful to ensure that I was happy. My parents had an order that I should never be smacked, even when provoked. He had told them, 'If you hurt her, you will be hurting Me.' Mani then went on to ask what I understood from Baba's 'Don't worry, be happy' message. When I said something trite, she turned to me very stern and serious.
This is what she said. 'Mehera, this is not just something to print on cards and Baba pictures. This is His most important order to us. If we live our lives in a way that lets us follow this order, we help Baba in His work. Remember that He wanted you to be happy. We owe it to Baba, if not to ourselves, to try to follow this order in our lives. If something or someone stands in the way of your following His order, then you must do everything in your power to get rid of that thing or person.'
If this sounds like Mani was advocating that marriage is not important, then it is not so. She was aware of how many years had gone into my trying to stay with my ex-husband. She also knew that I was concerned about how the break when it came would impact on my relationship with the Mandali. What she was making clear was that when you have done everything in your power in any given situation, and it still did not work, it was time to let go. I always knew that when it was time to let go, Baba would let me know. And He did. It was a further three years down the line, but it happened. At that time Mani's comment was, 'I am happy. I've been waiting six years for you to say this to me.'
Apart from the message Mani gave about Baba's order, what was driven home to me was how vigilant and observant she was. She had realized three years before our conversation, that I was not happy. She had not said anything to me in all this time, observing what I did and what the results were. Only when she was convinced that I had put in 110%, did she speak to me about it. Lovely Mani, how I miss her! Oh, and in case you are wondering, we did take the toys out to the kids to play with, eventually!