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"O Parvardigar, the Preserver and Protector of . . .??!" I couldn't even remember a word beyond this. So Baba waited for a while, and I tried again. Eventually, He gestured, "Go get the book." Never again did I attempt to recite it by heart. I always read the Prayer in front of Him. To this day, I don't know any of the prayers by heart.


So I had to read them out from the prayer book every time He asked for the prayers. All would be there. Baba would join His hands and stand as one of us in our midst, and his look and His gaze would be of one deep in the act of adoration, totally absorbed, participating in the prayers. The God-man participating in the prayers means He is totally absorbed in the prayers He has given humanity. He becomes one of us and He is with folded hands, with all attention, adoration and reverence on behalf of His loved ones.


After the prayer ended, with "You are named Ezad — the only One worthy of worship," He would bow down like this in the act of worship. After a minute of this, Baba would want the prayer to be followed by the Prayer of Repentance. Everyone would be in readiness as I would begin to read out "We repent, O God most merciful . . .


His gesture for Repentance Prayer was that He would begin to softly slap His cheeks with both hands. Now this is the gesture denoting repentance (Eruch slaps his cheeks). It’s not just this . . . patting your cheeks. Among the worshippers, may they be Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians while the prayer for repentance [sic]* it is customary for the one to slap one’s cheeks with both hands while saying "I repent . . . , I repent . . ." The mandali were with Baba for the prayer but He didn't want the mandali to slap their cheeks as a mark of repentance, because it was He who did it on our behalf. We could hear Him constantly slapping His cheeks during the entire prayer, but this was not at all disturbing as He slapped softly but audibly.


Once Baba guided me to say at the end of this prayer. "Amen"; so I do it every time I end the prayer.


Q.: What about the Mandali's Prayer? Was it given by Baba?


A.: Yes, He gave it, but we didn't recite this out loud in His presence. It was given to the mandali as their personal prayer.


The sequel to the Prayer of Repentance in presence of Baba was very thought provoking. This is how it was: He would sit down in Mandali Hall after the prayer on His sofa chair, and some sort of a high footstool would be improvised in front of Baba, so He could easily bend down while sitting and place His forehead on the foot of the mandali. He would gesture, "Put your right foot here. At the moment of contact, when My forehead touches you, you call out aloud one name of God that's dear to you, as many times as My forehead touches your foot."


So Zoroastrians used to call out "Ahura Mazda" at the moment of contact . . . "Ahura Mazda" would be heard by the rest of the mandali each time Baba made contact. It might be six or seven times — we wouldn't know the number of times He'd want to do it. The Muslims said "Allah" aloud at the moment of contact. Christians called out "God the Beyond". And some called out  "Parvardigar." The Iranis called out "Yezdan." The Sikhs were heard saying "Wahi-Guru," which means God in the Beyond Beyond State. We were a cosmopolitan group around Baba. It would not be a crowd, but just a few mandali — about ten, eleven or twelve of us around him, that's all, but we were a cosmopolitan group!


So this would happen, day after day; sometimes for months together there would not be such prayers, and sometimes it would be a daily affair. There was no set schedule, no such things as a daily repetition. Yet, if it was His pleasure, you had to present yourself at the time of the prayer call, when you had to leave everything and be in attendance.


Now there was a certain person, much loved by Baba and all mandali. He was a Doctor of Philosophy and Head of the Department of Philosophy at a University in India. He had standing permission of Baba to spend his Christmas or summer vacations in the presence of Baba. He could come to Baba during his vacations, wherever Baba was stationed at the time, whenever he had no other personal work. He naturally took the first opportunity to come to Baba.


But each time he had come before, there had been no such prayers during his stay with Baba. Then came a day — I still remember it — when he arrived at Meherazad just as


*words missing in printed text - may be, "is being recited." - webmaster


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