Symbols of the world's religions



Eruch Jessawala

When on October 16, 1949, we turned our back on our old life with Meher Baba to follow Him into a new life, we had no idea what this new life meant except that we had to follow and obey Him, letting go of our old ways and accepting a state of helplessness and hopelessness that would lead us towards spiritual freedom which is absolute and unlimited.

We wandered from place to place begging for food, but it was only later that we understood the true meaning of this really symbolic act which was to beg for and constantly yearn within the heart for the love and compassion of the Lord and that He should remain our constant companion.

It was as early as 1931 during Baba's first visit to the West, according to a disciple who was present, that He used the term 'new life.' This is the story.

On an open day when people could come to meet Him and receive His darshan, a young woman entered the room, looked at Him and then fell on her knees and started to cry inconsolably. Baba placed her head on His lap and comforted her for some time while all activity in the room came to a standstill.

Baba then cupped her head in His hands and looking into her eyes, said, "You are so beautiful, healthy and strong, yet so very miserable." Again she burst out crying and amidst sobs responded, "Yes, I am beautiful and healthy and also very wealthy, yet I am miserable to a degree that there is no way out for me except to commit suicide."

Baba looked at her very solemnly and said, "Then why don't you commit suicide?" and saying that He pressed her head to His feet and again said, "Commit suicide!" A few moments later, Baba raised her head and told her, "Now you are no longer yourself, begin to live the new life. Think of Me, remember Me and love Me." He then directed her to sit in a corner and after some time had passed, He called her to Him again, embraced her and asked her to leave.

Addressing the people in the room, Baba said, "You all saw the lady who wanted to commit suicide. I want each of you to commit suicide the way she did. People who generally resort to suicide adopt the suicide of the coward, but the way she committed suicide is the suicide of the brave. I want each of you to follow her way, then begin to live the new life."

Meher Baba said that the New Life was eternal and even if there were no one to live it, it would continue. It is therefore appropriate to relate the following story.

Some years ago a young American woman came to Ahmednagar and spent many happy days with us during which time we narrated incidents of our life with Beloved Baba, and at the end of three weeks we gave her a send-off on a Sunday.

On the next day I received a telephone call from her marked by a sense of urgency in her voice. She wanted to meet me for just five minutes more before she left and said it was a pressing matter. I told her that Monday was always a busy day for me at the Trust Office which left me no spare time for interviews and I also reminded her that I had already shared all my time with her during the past three weeks. But she was so insistent that I finally agreed to see her.

She arrived at the office in the afternoon and I received her on the verandah, but on seeking the reason for her request to see me, she remained speechless and unable to express herself. Finally, when I told her it was unfair that she should waste my time in the midst of a busy schedule, she found her voice and said, "I have nothing to say. All I want is to hear one more Baba story as a parting gift."

I was completely surprised by this request but I could not deny her and complied with the only story that popped into my mind — the one about the young woman in Europe who wanted to commit suicide. She was very happy to hear that story and after a second farewell, she left us.

A week later during a gathering at Meherazad, one Baba lover came over to me and asked softly in my ear, "Have you told any lady to commit suicide?"

Taken aback at the question, my first thought was of the recent American visitor and fearing the worst, I wanted to know what had happened. My questioner then explained: "Your story about the woman who wanted to commit suicide touched the American lady deeply. At the age of sixteen and after going through many years of misery, she had vowed that if on her twenty-first birthday she did not see a ray of hope in her life, she would commit suicide wherever she was.

The day she called you was her twenty-first birthday and your story went straight to her heart. She immediately saw Meher Baba as the real hope in her life and she returned home with the determination to start a new life. She asked me to convey her love and gratitude to you."

I heaved a sigh of relief and thanked Beloved Baba for His Compassion. It then dawned on me how the New Life continues to live and will continue to live even if there is no one to live it. Meher Baba's New Life was a blueprint for our life for we can find examples in it to help us in every incident; to be cheerful under all circumstances, to try and curb our anger, and never to worry about the future but to depend solely on the Lord's will.

It is true that during the New Life phase Baba did want us to curb our anger, but at times we expressed our feelings freely. One day when a certain individual came to Baba with the request that he be blessed so that he might control his temper, Baba told him, "Do you want Me to bless you so that you become like a stone without any feelings? Man is made of anger, compassion, charity and a lot more.

I want you to express your feelings and not suppress your anger, so what you should ask for is the strength to make you aware of your anger. After that ask the Lord's pardon and forget the incident. You should be aware that you have lost your temper and at the same time make amends."

The New Life alone or Meher Baba's entire life are models for humanity to emulate.


THE ANCIENT ONE, ed. Naosherwan Anzar, pp. 38-40
1985 © Naosherwan Anzar

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