After a difficult journey to Shirdi, the villagers there refused to allow Merwan (Meher Baba) to see Sai Baba. Merwan spent the night under a tree and the following day Sai Baba sent for Merwan. Sai Baba was then seventy-seven years old, white-bearded with a head of snow-white hair, dressed in a white kafni gown. Khodu, an accomplice that was with Merwan, nervously walked up and bowed at Sai Baba's feet and when he did, the old fakir slapped him on the back so hard that it knocked the breath out of him!Reading an xp like this would have normally sent me into a high, but for that dratted misspelling:
Khodu was startled, and then Sai Baba inquired, "Who is your friend? What does he want?". Khodu replied, "His name is Merwan ... Merwan Sheriar Irani; he is very devotional and eagerly desires your darshan, holy one. Babajan, in Poona, has told us about you, Sai". The old fakir's eyes were aflame. "Oh, no!" Sai Baba suddenly cried. "No, I won't ... I won't allow him to see me! I won't let him come!" The old fakir's eyes then gazed upon Khodu and he said, "Give me all your money, all of it!" Khodu did, then Sai Baba said, "Now go and tell your friend I won't see him, he cannot come to me!" Khodu left and reported to Merwan, who shook his head and said, "No!" Let us just wait. I must see him and I will." Later, Sai Baba was on his way after performing his lendi in a field with a large procession following, a band playing and the atmosphere very joyful though at the same time solemn with reverence. Contrary to what Khodu had said, Sai Baba now appeared to be in very good mood. As Sai Baba was about to pass him, Merwan stretched himself full length on the ground in front of his feet. Seeing him in the shashtang namaskar -- bowing at full length to the Master's feet -- in a deep, deep voice as if rising from the very depths of the ocean, Sai Baba uttered one majestic word, the Mohammedan name for Lord Vishnu, "Parvardigar!" -- meaning God-The-Almighty-Susutainer! Sai Baba's eyes were lustrous with universes shining out of them as he conveyed this holy word! The old fakir's lustrous eyes were sending a message to Merwan but to the ignorant, his word was inexplicable. For at the instant when Sai Baba had spoken, Merwan had become all-powerful -- Sai Baba had given him infinite power!
SusutainerAlmost fell off the chair, rolling in laughter. Immediately, my mind was recalling the silly way that S Nagendranath said "Maruti Susuki" at an IIM.A fest in 1987.
On page 830 of the Gospel, Ramakrishna says:
God talked to me. It was not merely His vision. Yes, He talked to me. Under the banyan-tree I saw Him coming from the Ganges. Then we laughed so much! By way of playing with me He cracked my fingers.Wonder which is greater: laughter or spirituality. Sometime in June 2004, I was reading in the ToI Sacred Space that the most austere penance is no match to being cheerful :-)