The subject on our walk this morning was prayer. Well, it was actually birds and animals and speech to start with! A Koel (a type of cuckoo that calls out loudly during the monsoons) was calling out hoarsely, and I said, "Listen, it's got a sore throat!" Meherwan commented that it was strange how they also got hoarse, and how only humans have the gift of communication. Parrots and mynah birds can imitate human speech but they cannot understand it. And Meherwan said, "That's just like us when we pray or chant mechanically." So we got discussing about prayer and how the sound of sacred words has a healing, cleansing effect.
Meherwan started talking about Sheriarji, Baba's father. It seems that he had a beautiful speaking voice and when he prayed it was a very wonderful experience listening to him. But his prayers were also very effective. Mani used to tell how once when Mehera was very ill and Baba was away on one of His tours, Sheriarji asked if he might come and pray over her. When he came he started praying and indeed, Mehera soon recovered. Not only that, her immunity levels were very high. She herself said that she didn't get infections when everyone around was suffering coughs and colds, etc. because of Sheriarji's prayers having a long-term effect on her.
Sheriarji was always taking the Lord's name. Mani said that when he got very angry with one of the children, his strongest censure was "Khodai tahru bhalu karey". May God do good for you...Even when he was swindled of all his businesses, that was what he said to his erstwhile partner after the judge had pronounced that he had indeed signed over his businesses voluntarily. And he was constantly saying "Yezdan, Yezdan". Baba loved His father deeply, because Sheriarji's love for Baba was that of a seeker for the Sought. That the One he sought happened to be his own son was not the point. Baba knew what his father had suffered to find Him. When He was touring with the women Mandali in the North of pre-independence India (Quetta and those areas) He would stop sometimes and point out how luxuriously they were travelling, and add, "My father walked all this way, suffering hunger, thirst, heat and cold. He didn't care for his own comfort and only thought of finding Me. My father has no comparison in this world."
Maybe I can pray like this one day. My praying is more like "Monkey Mind taking Darshan" which is the opening offering in Steve Klein's new book. If you haven't got this great work of mixed prose and poetry then do. Written in Steve's inimitable style, it is a delight to read.