The New Life: Begging in Benares

[Conditions for begging in Benares laid down by Baba]
From Benares onwards, the begging will be natural. For training purposes at Benares, we ought to have a method. This does not mean that such a method will be applicable out on the streets in all respects.
So, for begging in Benares, the four prerequisites are the following:

  1. Bare feet;
  2. Kafni (long robe reaching to the ankles);
  3. Brass bowl (the brass pot provided);
  4. Jholi (cloth satchel with pockets to receive different kinds of breads, grains or anything that is dry and uncooked).

In begging, do not touch women; but you can ask and accept alms from them, as well as from men.
While begging, you have to say to women, “Ma, premsay bhiksha dijiye [Mother, give alms with love].”
And to men say, “Bhaiya or Bhai, bhiksha dijiye [Brother, give alms].”
No sooner you get bhiksha, irrespective of quality and quantity – dry or cooked – walk away immediately and place the same before me. If you are refused bhiksha at one particular door, go immediately to the next one, then again to the next one and so on.
Do not go intentionally to sweetmeat shops. Do not beg at any shops or catering houses. Rather, go to private dwellings and houses.
Two in a pair should go together and return immediately when both have received bhiksha.

[24th November 1949]
As soon as he came to the companions that morning at seven o’clock, he ordered them to go and wash their feet. On their return, he touched their feet with his hands and then touched his forehead. He directed Dr. Ghani to read out this prayer, which he had previously dictated:

Today, the 24th of November, is a very significant day for me in the New Life. I ask the most merciful God to forgive me and my companions for any shortcomings and any conscious and unconscious mistakes done singly or wholly or toward each other, or personally or impersonally, relating to the conditions or otherwise, as also for any lusty, angry, greedy or Old Life thoughts or desires.

I ask God to give full strength to me and to my companions to stick to the oaths and conditions 100 percent, because He, the All-knowing, knows that from January 1, 1950, there has to be no compromise whatsoever for me and my companions in relation to our oaths and conditions.

I forgive you, my companions, and ask you all to forgive me, and I ask God to forgive us all, not merely by way of ceremony but as a wholehearted pardon.

Meher Baba, in the guise of a beggar, walked one kilometer to Dr. Nath’s house at 9:45 A.M., accompanied by Donkin, Eruch and Babadas. He was attired in a white kafni; an ocher-colored satchel hung from his left shoulder, a brass pot was in his right hand, his head was uncovered and his feet were bare. The Lord of the universe had become a beggar, going to the house of a family who had never seen him before but who were grateful and happy in the blessedness of carrying out his wishes.

When Baba reached the doorstep of Dr. Nath’s home, the entire family was standing waiting for him, all attention focused on his beauty, his grace. They had been cautioned beforehand not to salute him in any way – no homage, no garlanding or folding hands – not to touch his feet and not to ask any questions.

It was a solemn moment. Baba stood outside the doorstep. Dr. Nath gave him and the companions cooked and uncooked food as alms. Baba walked a few paces up and down the veranda and then left. The Nath family were absorbed in his love; not a word had been spoken. Their lips were silent, but their hearts were in turmoil – and the voices of their hearts only the Lord could hear.

Baba walked back to the Nichi Bagh bungalow with the alms, followed by Eruch, Donkin and Babadas, and he and the companions had a joyful meal., p2834 and p2837
November, 1949; Benares (Training and Practice period)

[First Photo was taken the second day when Baba went again for begging; Adi and Gustadji are with Baba, 25th Nov 1949]

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