The Bujaawe Naar Arti, Part 2:
Singing at Meherabad and Meherazad
The Bujaawe Naar Arti, composed by Meher Baba Himself, is an exquisite piece of music, so it’s wonderful to think that it gives Him pleasure when He hears it sung daily at both Meherabad and Meherazad.
At Meherabad, arti at the Samadhi is open to everyone—all are welcome. Arti begins every morning with the Parvardigar, Repentance, and Beloved God prayers which Baba wrote. Next, the Bujaawe Arti is sung, followed by an English-language arti. Then, after a moment of silence, anyone may offer other artis, songs, readings or poetry.
In the evening, the prayers are repeated, followed by one of the three Indian artis, including the Bujaawe, which are rotated each night. Then, one of the English-language artis is sung and a moment of silence follows. After that, people may sing and play other music or recite writings of their choosing.
At Meherazad, the arti is quite different from the busy and sometimes crowded arti at the Samadhi. The Meherazad women mandali began singing the Bujaawe every day in Baba’s Room after He dropped His body in 1969. For them, the arti was a sweet, intimate, private time.
Mehera would offer flowers in Baba’s Room every morning and evening before arti, often becoming lost in her thoughts of Him and in choosing just the perfect rose. Most often, she would kiss each flower or touch it to her heart before she lovingly placed it exactly where she felt it would please Him most.
In the morning, after Mehera had offered the flowers, the women would begin arti with two prayers—Parvardigar and Beloved God. They didn’t recite the Repentance Prayer because, as they often told Baba lovers, “Why say the Prayer of Repentance in the morning when you’ve just woken up?”
In the evenings, the rest of the women mandali would read in the Sitting Room while Mehera, totally focused and lost in her incomparable love for Him, would offer fresh flowers to her Beloved in His Room. When Mehera had finished her offering, the women would gather in Baba’s Room and begin their arti by singing the Bujaawe Naar. Because Baba had once said that this arti should not be sung slowly like a dirge, they were always mindful to keep the tempo up. The Bujaawe was followed by the Repentance Prayer, after which the women would take Baba’s darshan in turns. How we must all wish we had been there!
There are few details about when or where the men mandali sang the Bujaawe. As far as we know, Eruch never mentioned the men singing it together at Meherazad, but both he and his brother, Meherwan, remembered Baba asking the mandali and male guests to sing it in the Sitting Room of the Main Bungalow during the housewarming celebration in 1948. The men stood before Baba, Who was seated on the gaadi. But as they stumbled through the Arti, it soon became apparent that they didn’t really know it! So Baba gave them hints with gestures to help them sing it! (For example, Baba put His hands together to form a “ship” and then gave His hand gesture for the “ocean”.)
As recalled by Roshan’s daughter, Mehera, Baba told Roshan Kerawala that the Bujaawe Arti was the most potent of all the prayers* in this Advent and He said He would be present wherever and whenever this prayer is sung. Today, the Bujaawe Naar is sung at Baba centers, meetings and gatherings in both the East and West. No doubt it will be sung around the world in the years to come—until He returns again to sing it with us.
—Cindy Lowe for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 5 November 2015
*Although in common parlance we often separate the sung “arti” from the spoken “prayer”, an arti is also considered a prayer.