Meherwan Jessawala—A Personal Reflection

Meherwan will be missed, and I say this knowing he would not like it. He always and immediately deflected compliments paid him, asking people to remember Him, the Lord, Meher Baba. When I would approach Meherwan on the veranda of Mandali Hall at Meherazad, he would point at me, then point to the door of Mandali Hall, saying, “Greet the Beloved first!”

Meherwan revealed hints of his own internal life with Baba in many ways. Once in Mandali Hall, a pilgrim asked, “Meherwan, in all your years with Baba, is there an experience that stands out as especially significant?” Meherwan paused a moment, then said, “I just would never think like that. I am remembering Baba now, in this moment. I don’t think of the past.”

Meherwan Jessawala in Mandali Hall.

Meherwan shared something deeply personal with me once after I lamented to him that, although every moment provides us an opportunity to please Baba, in my case at least, every moment just brings another failure! I don’t remember his response there in Mandali Hall, but later that morning he took me aside. He told me that the great souls experience this suffering acutely; yet, this suffering is also their greatest pleasure. Meherwan said that they protect this suffering/pleasure within themselves and never allow anyone to see it.

Sometimes it would take me days of follow-up questions to understand just a sentence or two of Meherwan’s. For example, one day a pilgrim visiting from Delhi who was new to Baba said she was feeling Baba’s love so powerfully that she would literally shiver. Meherwan told her, “Be stable. You are His now. You have no need to worry about anything. He will take care of everything.”

The next day I asked Meherwan what he meant by “be stable.” He talked about holding Baba’s love within. I admitted that I am a sentimental type, and when I feel Baba’s grace and His love, cool tears will come unbidden. I asked, should I hide them? Meherwan said that they should not be shown in public. How about when alone, I asked, in my own home? Meherwan said this was still public. He said we “should swallow the tears, take them inside … they are Baba’s love … better to keep them. Why let them fall to the ground and be wasted?”

After still another day I asked Meherwan specifically, how are we to do that? How does one take the tears within? He said it comes naturally, that it will happen over many lifetimes, that we should remain patient. I expressed frustration—perhaps it was exasperation: it seems all spiritual growth happens over lifetimes! Meherwan sympathized and said gently, yes, there will be great impatience. He said we should feel infinitely impatient because that will help. He said we are also to feel infinite patience, that it is all a natural process—it cannot be hurried. I pressed him, asking whether there is anything we can do of our own volition. Meherwan said no, it is a natural process and cannot be hurried.

Meherwan Jessawala.

Meherwan was never hesitant to talk about the ineffable. Somehow the subject of Baba’s suffering came up when a friend and I were alone with Meherwan on the veranda. Meherwan said that after Baba dropped the body, His suffering was assumed by the mandali. One of us wondered aloud what would happen in the fast-approaching future. Meherwan downplayed any special significance, and said simply, “Then it will be passed on to you,” meaning Baba lovers. “Each to his own capacity.”

Meherwan was warm and giving in even the smallest, stolen moments. One day last year I was alone in Eruch’s room when Meherwan came in. I think I must have startled him and I felt apologetic because he was clearly expecting to be alone. I told him I was just leaving and he told me no, I should stay. Since he wasn’t leaving either, I pointed to the photo of Eruch and Baba on the bed, and told Meherwan how much I love it. Baba is looking at Eruch, and Eruch is just beaming—he seems to me to be feeling like he had just pleased Baba. Meherwan said yes, there was nothing better than pleasing Baba. Then he said, “But the stakes always grew higher … and it became more and more difficult to please Him.” He said this with a small smile.

This is the framed photo which is on Eruch’s bed.
(Photo courtesy of MN Publications)

Meherwan’s smile was always heartwarming. What great fortune to have known him, to have received his gentle generosity.

And to Meherwan, the greatest compliment I can pay you is one I trust you will like: you let me see the depth and the authenticity of your devotion to Baba, and there is no better way you could have pointed me toward Him.

Meherwan with the author.

—David McNeely for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 1 September 2016