Thursday, 4 December 2014

The True Meaning of Surrender - Mandali-style.

Surrender has been a subject that has been much discussed at Meherazad and elsewhere.  On my trip to the west coast of the USA Meherwan Jessawala asked me to make it a part of my talks in each group I visited, and I did so.  A lot of those present were able to benefit from his wisdom and so was I.

Today I am going to share two stories of surrender, one so poignant that it will break your heart and gladden it at the same time, the other a more humorous one that will amuse you.

Baidul and his family lived in a poor part of Iran.  There was not much work, life was hard.  He and Soltoon had three sons and two daughters to raise.  Things were so bad for the family that the two older sons died of, well, deprivation. Baidul was very scared that the third son too would die, so he sent him to Pune, to his younger brother's home.  He asked his brother to take in his son, treat him like his own and give him an education. His brother promised him he'd do just that, so Baidul left his son with his brother.

The brother did not, unfortunately, fulfill his promise.  Instead of sending the boy to school he worked him mercilessly.  The boy was nothing more than an unpaid servant, often starved and beaten for not doing enough.  He was a mere child but was expected to do a man's work and more.  One day he could do no more, and collapsed.  His uncle, instead of realizing that the boy was exhausted and weak, lost his temper and kicked him hard in the stomach.  So hard did he kick him that the boy had internal bleeding and died.  Baidul knew nothing about this. 

A few years later the whole family moved to India and settled in Poona.  Baidul found himself serving Beloved Baba as a member of His mandali.  However, somehow the news came to Baidul that his only son had died at the hands of his brother.  He was devastated and went to Baba to ask Him what he should do now.  Baba gestured, "Go to your brother, fall at his feet and beg his forgiveness that you burdened him with the care of your son."  Baidul didn't wait to be told again.  He left Baba and went to Bombay, where he met his brother and did exactly as Baba had told him to do. The brother didn't say anything, remorseful or otherwise.  Having carried out Baba's order, Baidul returned to Him, and Baba told him, "It is over now.  All finished."  That was it! Neither Baidul nor Baba ever mentioned the matter again.

Such is surrender.  

Here's the funny story, which Meherwan told me to specially share with a friend who was having to face a lot of criticism, but which is specially about total surrender to Him, no matter what he dishes out (pun intentional):

When Beloved Baba, the women and men mandali were staying at Rishikesh, Naja feel ill and could not cook for the group.  So Manu Jessawala and Katie Irani had to take up the cooking.  Both were young girls, and both were very timid.  Yes, Katie was really timid too.  She never lifted her head up or spoke back to anyone.  There were certain ladies in the group who took great pleasure in constantly criticizing and poking at both of them.  They would go complain to Baba about each meal, find fault with whatever they did, no matter how hard they worked, it was never good enough.  Things got so bad that Manu had a nervous breakdown, and she was out of action.  Katie now had to cook for the whole big group single-handed.

Instead of giving her a break and helping her, the critics continued without any consideration or thought of her condition.  One day, after a particularly bad bout of complaints Baba lost His temper with KATIE!  He told her that because of her incompetence He had to listen to these complaints and it was interfering with His Universal Work, so what was the use of her being with Him?  In Gujarati He said to her, "Go, blacken your face and never show it to me again.  I don't want you here with Me."  Katie was shocked and deeply hurt.  She didn't care about the critics, but that she had interfered with Baba's Work and caused Him any problems, that was unbearable for her.  She immediately left Baba's presence and went to her bed to pack and leave.

As she was packing, tears ran unchecked from her eyes.  She was crying so hard that she didn't see Baba come up behind her.  He turned her around and seeing her crying, gestured, "What?  Why are you crying?  Do you know how much suffering I go through each second for the whole Universe?  Can't you even bear this much from Me?"  Katie wiped her eyes and said, "Baba, I am crying because I have caused a problem for You, interfered with Your Universal Work.  I don't care otherwise for anything.  I am going away, Baba, because I don't want to be a hindrance and load on You."  Hearing this Baba embraced her and said, "I can say anything, but remember that I know your heart.  I know that you do everything for Me, and so I am pleased with your work.  From now on, if anyone says anything to you about the food, you have My permission to tell them to eat what you cook or stay hungry."  

This was the best prize Katie could have wished for.  That her beloved Baba recognized her work for Him was the only thing that mattered.  From that day forward she never took any nonsense from anyone, and would give them back as good as she got.  In fact, this became a game in later years.  She would come over to the men's side at Meherazad in the evenings, and Eruch, Aloba and Falu would tease her about the food.  They would say, "Katie, what is all this grass you constantly send us?  Send us some big chunks of meat!!"  And Katie would reply, "Yes, you go buy the meat and bring it and I will cook it.  Otherwise, shall I just cut some chunks out of my arms and thighs so you all can have a feast?"  It cheered everyone up and was a lot of fun to watch!  

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