PREM ASHRAM MEMORIES
Recorded by Irwin Luck; translated by Farhad Shafa, 1976.
Mr. Esphandiar Vasali in his house at Kashanak, Tehran, Persia, reminisces about his days in the Prem Ashram of Meher Baba.
At the age of sixteen, when I was going to school in Yazd, something happened. And that was the fact that Meher Baba had opened the school near Ahmednagar where children could study up to the seventh English grade. At that time, I really didn't have much liking for studying. The uncle of my mother, Mr. Baidul, came to us to take me to that school. My father did not want me to leave, but. my mother was very anxious for me to go, and she made my father agree to this. We left with Mr. Baidul for Meher Baba's school.
When we were on the boat and we were approaching around Karachi, the sea was very stormy. It was in June. I got very ill in the ship. That very night, I was so ill that they took me to the doctor and gave me two shots. But I didn't get well; I was still sick. I finally managed to go to sleep in the middle of the night. I had seen Baba's photo before, and I saw that in my dream. The next day when I woke up, I had completely recovered, and there was no need for the rest of the medicine. I was well till we reached Bombay.
With Baidul we got on the train and we went to Ahmednagar. From there we left and went to Meherabad. When we reached Meherabad, it was early in the morning, about seven o'clock. There were fourteen of us who had come from Yazd for Baba's school. He arranged the children according to their heights in front of Baba, and the shorter ones were in front, and I, who was the tallest, was at the end of this line. Baba came and patted everybody on the head, but as soon as he got to me, he left, and he didn't pay any attention to me; he stopped patting and he just left. This made me SO unhappy. And I started to think to myself, "I'm a human being, too. How come he didn't pat me like the rest of the children?" This was a big lump in my heart for several days.
Finally all the equipment for school was ready, and we started to go to the classroom. When in the classroom, we were busy studying, and of course Kaikhusra Afseri would read us mystical poems. This was part of our courses. In one place in the Bustan of Sa'adi it says that man will reach a place where he will see nothing except God. I asked him, "Is that correct? Can man reach a place where he will see nothing except God?" And he answered, "Yes." And then he read many other poems of Sa'adi for me.
From that time on, I lost my natural state, and the way I felt. I couldn't read or write anymore from that time on. A few days passed like this, till finally the principal of the school told Baba that I wasn't paying attention to my studies, and what should he do? I was all in the state of not knowing where I was, and repeating God's name. I wouldn't pay any attention to anybody or anything. I wasn't aware that here was a school, and that people were sitting there and studying.
I wouldn't pay any attention to the teacher either, except once when I paid some attention to him, and that was Baba's will. I all of a sudden saw that Kaikhusru Afseri stood up, and as soon as I turned around, I saw Baba standing behind me, and I stood up. Baba asked: "Why aren't you studying?" (of course, with gestures) I answered, "I can't." He asked: "To your mother, do you want to return to your mother?" I said, "No." "To your relatives, to your uncle?" He said: "Then what is the matter? What is the reason that you can't study? Why don't you study? And so I told him, "I want to go towards God and towards knowing God." He said: "All right, if you listen to what I tell you, whatever it is that you want, if you really want it, I will give that to you. But only if you obey me and listen to what I say."