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4

 

Upasni Maharaj and during the last year of my schooling I wrote a number of letters to him in Marathi to which I got loving replies through Doorgabai. The first post card received which I could trace in my record are the post cards dated 8-7-1921; 17-7-1921; 30-7-1921; 30-8-1921; 20-11-1921; 13-12-1921; 5-2-1922; and a letter under cover of 21-7-1921. These letters were full of Maharaj's affection and advice for me to study hard, to look after my health and to live according to his advice and that all would be well.

 

From Merwan, who was to be called Shri Sadguru Meher Baba and later Avatar Meher Baba, I received a post card which was of 30th September 1921, and which he wrote to me in Marathi on behalf of Doorgabai. It reads:

 

"Son Ardesar* - Greetings to you from mother Doorgabai. Your letter was read. She was glad to hear of your health being good. You should look after your health and pay attention to your study and not to worry about anything else. Have trust in Baba **[Upasni] and keep happy. Trimbak*** greets you.

Sender: Doorgabai”

 

After appearing for my matriculation examination, I came home to Ahmednagar, and was waiting for the result. My father had built a new three-storied house in Ahmednagar, in the Shani Gally locality, near the old Parsi Dharmashala, where my parents lived for nearly two decades. Gulmai was ever eager to invite Upasni Maharaj to this new house for the house-warming ceremony, much against the wishes of my uncle Kaikhushroo. My father Kaikhushroo was wavering between the two opposite pressures of my mother and my uncle. At last my mother managed to prevail upon my father and Maharaj was invited. He stayed in our house for over a week. Hundreds of persons of all classes and religions from Ahmednagar came over for his darshan and Gulmai and her new home became a notorious subject of criticism from the Parsis of Ahmednagar, who were about 200 in number, and who viewed the event as irreligious and bespoiling the fair name of the Zoroastrian community. I was in my teens but could appreciate the entire brunt of adverse criticism eventually absorbed by Gulmai, in her frequent altercations with my father, who had to be in the forefront of the attack from the orthodox Parsi element.

 

Gulmai was an emblem of silent suffering. She was of a very quiet temperament. She had a delicate fair body but a stout heart. She was born in Bombay and her father was a carpenter. She had one sister and one brother. She could not easily mix with people, having led the best part of her married life almost by herself and her children, to whom she could not give what she wanted. She had to depend on other members of the joint family for food, clothes and all other necessities of life for a number of years. This, coupled with her nature of not depending upon others and her deep affection for her husband and children, could not let her live happily. Deep inroads of suffering were created in her finer mettle and thus there was a growing dissatisfaction with life and surroundings. Nothing that she wished for, nobly and helpfully for her children, she could do, as she was always heard to say, without stretching her hand to a family member for a coin or a word of sympathy, despite the fact that her husband was the main source of initiative and energy for the roaring business which was built up by him out of almost nothing. My father was known for his loud thinking and vigorous activity, which enabled him to make a good name and earn money in Ahmednagar, but he sadly lacked in giving attention to his wife and children, which he ever wanted to do but could not. Gulmai suffered at his hands indirectly and everything that seemed to others to go well came to a break.

 

* I adopted the name Adi later

** Upasni

*** Doorgabai’s son

 

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