I was checking my blog again after a long absence. I have had a lot on my plate recently, with my mum's health not getting any better and my caring duties with Manu Jessawala. Also, on a happier note, my son Sheriar is visiting for a couple of weeks for the Easter break.
I noted that there was a response from Mehernath Kalchuri via Robin Oppenheimer to the "Reality Checks" posting. Everyone is welcome to leave a comment, but I would request that each person speak for him or herself. You are welcome to post your own views, whatever those views may be, I am happy for you to do so. However, posting via a third party is not really necessary (if one has time to compose and write out a response to give to someone else to post, it's quicker to post it oneself) and gives an impression that the person using a proxy feels above commenting for him or herself.
I read Mehernath's comment via Robin with some surprise and concern. I note that he said "I have the utmost respect 100% for His Mandali. The jealousy I spoke of relates to our current situation. Some people are spreading rumors, making allegations and defamations, out of jealousy and ignorance." Whatever the current situation, whatever allegations and rumours/defamations are being spread, a talk about life with Meher Baba is not the venue to air these views. It has caused confusion and distress. There are other platforms better suited for such clarifications.
Mehernath gives some views on Beloved Baba's discipline and life of action, especially with reference to His Mandali. I believe that Baba's discipline was total - He expected inner and outer discipline and implicit obedience to His wishes at all times - and as my uncle Eruch often said, Baba emphasised outer discipline to habituate His Mandali to cultivating and practicing inner discipline. I've often thought that discipline in the gross world leads to the mind getting disciplined and ultimately being brought to the point of surrender to Baba.
Like Mehernath I too was brought up with Baba from the time I was born (1959) to the time He dropped the physical body in 1969. After that time I have lived and worked closely with His Mandali who were like family to me. I do know that Baba was very hard on His close ones, several of them were from my own family! What does telling inaccurate stories have to do with Baba being very hard on His near ones and giving them affectionate names like "Fool #9"? I'm confused. I read Sheela's book and found it inaccurate in several instances. That was what I commented on, and also her sharing of certain events that didn't serve any purpose - i.e. Mani's being called "white pig" by Sheela as per Baba's order - and the lack of confirmation we have about such instances. Mani is no longer with us, and since there were no others present, this is not verifiable. There are clear implications that the other Mandali were jealous of Bhauji, which is also incorrect. Had this book been published 15 years earlier and some of the Mandali whose stories are told were given a chance to read the manuscript, we'd have a more accurate, truthful and verified version of the events that are recounted.
Kendra (Crossen-Borroughs) comments that it should have been made clear that the conversations with Baba are not verbatim. They are Sheela's recollections. Someone reading the book could be thinking these are Baba's actual words, which is simply not the case. I totally agree with this. There is nothing more dangerous than re-writing the advent of the Avatar and putting out literature that puts words into the mouth of the Silent One. It is easily done. I could do it, so could anyone else who was in my position or Sheela's. As the Mandali and the close ones go, it is our generation that are the last ones left of those who had close contact with Meher Baba. It is our responsibility and our sacred duty to Him to make sure that we give as accurate a version as is possible. And if inaccuracies are noted, then it is the duty of those who were also there to ask that these be corrected. We are very fortunate to have been in His physical presence and to have had a very close and loving connection with Meher Baba. Bearing this in mind it is imperative that we don't exploit it in any way. Jai Baba to all.