20130203 – Events of January 1969 – Part 11 (final)

By 4:30 A.M., on February 7, all had gathered at the Tomb. Twenty minutes later the women mandali entered. Everyone stood and repeatedly sang, “Satchitananda Paramanand, Meher Baba Vidyanand.” Several thousand were present and exactly at five o’clock, all joined in three loud cheers of “Avatar Meher Baba ki jai!”

The women garlanded Baba, the doors of the Tomb were opened and they departed. The final darshan began. Only a very few were allowed to descend into the crypt and touch Baba’s feet. There simply was not time for everyone to have that privilege. After 7:00 A.M., no one was allowed to enter the Tomb except the two men on duty, one at the door and the one fanning Baba. Many were given the privilege of this duty for two minutes each.

After sunrise there was a tremendous rush of people to Meherabad, as newspapers in Poona, Ahmednagar and other areas publicized that February 7th would be the final day of darshan and Baba’s body would be interred at 12:15 P.M., exactly seven days after he dropped his body.

By 11:20 A.M., everyone present had taken their last darshan of Baba’s body. Exactly at 12 noon, Kenmore said the Parvardigar Prayer, and at 12:15 P.M. again three loud cheers of “Avatar Meher Baba ki jai!” rang out. The doors of the Tomb were closed temporarily, while Baba was covered with a clean sheet. Eruch removed the ice blocks, passing them to the other mandali who stood around the crypt. These were passed to the Westerners who stood outside. When all the blocks were removed, the pink cloth around Baba’s head was changed for the last time. His hair was brushed, the scarf around his head straightened, dust particles on his face gently wiped away, and he was adorned with fresh roses.

Mehera, Mani and the other women mandali then came to the Tomb to have their last darshan. Soon, Baba’s physical form would no longer be visible. All stood silently around the Tomb. A quiet peace reigned. In the pin drop silence, only the heartbreaking sobs of the one who loved the Only One as he should be loved could be heard. Mehera and the other women fell at Baba’s feet. Tears containing the memories of many years poured from their eyes. After Mehera garlanded and kissed Baba in final farewell, the women stepped out of the Tomb.

All the men mandali then went inside the Tomb. The wooden coffin lid was passed through the door of the Tomb by lovers standing outside.

Just before it was placed over Baba, Eruch went down in the crypt and placed a very fine scarf given by Mehera over Baba’s face. The coffin lid was hoisted up by the mandali standing on the crypt’s landing. Amidst loud cries of “Avatar Meher Baba ki jai!” the lid was slowly lowered over Baba – sealing him from sight for all time. Mehera and the other women watched from the north window.

After the coffin lid was in place, the men mandali came out and the women went inside once again to lay a large garland of roses over the coffin. After Mehera and the others left, the men went in to strew flowers over the entire coffin. A ghamela (iron pan) full of earth was brought inside, and each of the men mandali scattered a handful of earth over the coffin.

Since several thousand men, women and children were waiting outside, and it was decided that instead of each lover walking inside the Tomb and placing earth on the coffin, they should only touch the earth at the threshold, which would then be emptied over the coffin. In this way the long queue began, and the crypt was filled with earth. A stone slab was put between the crypt and the steps leading to it. The steps were covered with earth.

Because it was Meher Baba’s birthday (according to the Zoroastrian calendar), prasad was distributed to all who came for darshan. After nearly five hours, by 5:00 P.M., the crypt was filled with earth. The floor of the Tomb was swept and cleaned. Baba’s seven-colored flag was draped over the earth. The women mandali returned to the shrine again to offer flowers to their Beloved Lord.

In March 1969, the “Darshan of darshans” was held at Guruprasad as Baba wished, and people from all over the world started coming to Poona and Meherabad.

According to one newspaper in Bombay dated February 11, 1969, the headlines read Torrential Rains Flood Mecca Mosque For First Time In History. The following is the translated newspaper article:

For the first time in history, flood waters have engulfed the grand mosque here and have risen to a height of two meters around the sacred Kaaba.

The flood waters left behind a thick layer of mud on the marble flooring of the courtyards and the chambers of the mosque. For the past ten days, hundreds of Muslims have worked around the clock to restore the shrine to its original state. Mecca, situated on plains surrounded by hills, has been badly hit by torrential rains which have fallen on Saudi Arabia’s coastline over the past weeks.

An interesting note added by an observer of the event was that coincidentally it took one week from January 31, 1969, to February 7, 1969, to clear the flood waters from the Kaaba. This coincided exactly with Meher Baba’s seven-day entombment on Meherabad Hill*.

The Ancient One drew back his bow and released the arrow carrying his Word. The arrow lodged in his lovers’ hearts and made a deep wound, through which the Word can be heard. The wound knows that Meher Baba is everlasting, and longs to attain that state. As time passes, the wound makes itself deeper and deeper, seeking to grasp the meaning of the Word. It prays to the Beloved to put more salt on it, so that it can fathom the profundity of His Word.

Age declared, “Beloved Baba, truly you did not come to teach but to awaken, and this Word of words that you have dedicated to the world will gradually penetrate its heart and awaken it to your Truth!”

Beloved Baba, may our heads remain forever bowed at your feet, and may our memories of you become our every breath.

–www.lordmeher.org, p6734

 

*  To Aloba (and many of Baba’s Muslim followers), this symbolized the transfer of world pilgrimage from Mecca to Meherabad.

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