MEHERWAN B. JESSAWALA
Meherwan B. Jessawala was son of Papa Jessawala and younger brother of Eruch B. Jessawala.
Meherwan came to live with mandali as a child with his family. When he grew up Baba sent him to live in Poona. There after he shouldered family responsibilities with short stays with mandali.
Some of important life time episodes and his conversation with Meher Baba are produced below.
Once, Nariman Dadachanji brought beer at Meherazad and asked for Beloved Baba’s permission to serve it to Mandali and Baba gave him permission to do so. Meherwan Jessawala (Eruch’s younger brother) was visiting Meherazad at that time, so natural he was included in the treat. Nariman gave beer to all thee Mandali and Meherwan Jessawalas in his room as the villagers and workers were not supposed to know that alcohol was being served. After dirking everybody retired to their respective rooms at night.
Next day Beloved Baba asked Mandali if they enjoyed the cool bear. When enquired specifically from Aloba to which Aloba replied “yes, very much!” Then Baba asked Meherwan whether he liked the drink, and Meherwan replied that he did not like it but made him dizzy. Hearing this, Beloved Baba instructed Meherwan that in future no more alcohol for him, and this should be treated as His order. Ever practical Eruch, asked Baba as to what about some medicines where alcohol; is present. To this Baba responded that in medicines alcohol was allowed and that there is no problem. Meherwan was very young when Baba had given this order to him. Throughout his life Meherwan did not eat any chocolates, cakes and any other dish with even a dash of alcohol. Even the medicines containing alcohol were rarely consumed by him.
During one of Darshan program, someone asked Baba as how anyone can recognize a saint. Baba replied pointing toward corner of Guruprasad hall. In the corner a young Meherwan Jessawala was sitting quietly. And he indeed is a saint as pointed by beloved Baba.
Naja Irani was Baba’s Cousin. Baba once asked her read the letter which He asked her to write his family and friend, in presence of everyone. She was reluctant to do so. Baba kept her coaxing her and finally she had to read letter. She began the letter as “Dear Saint Meherwan” and suddenly there was a burst of laughs and giggles. Immediately Baba turned towards the ladies and said that Meherwan is indeed a Saint and everyone turned serious and quietly listened to the contents’ of the letter.
Referring to Meherwan Jessawala, Baba complimented him, “He is Eruch’s brother and My jewel, an original jewel. From head to foot he is Mine.
In 1934, before leaving Meherabad, Baba sent away the boys, Meherwan Jessawala to Akbar Press to stay with his relatives and Dadi Kerawala to his family, telling them, “I will call you later.”
Jessawala’s young son Meherwan had proven to be a burden to his relatives at Akbar Press where Baba had placed him before leaving on the tour. Gaimai’s sister Shirin’s husband Jehangir Damania would continuously write to Gaimai to take Meherwan back, claiming he was too much of a nuisance to look after. Gaimai seemed anxious one day and Baba asked her the reason.
She said, “For us, you are put to so much trouble. Now there is Meherwan to worry about. We have come to you with only problems.”
Baba asked, “Do you love Meherwan or Me?”
Gaimai replied, “To dedicate my one Meherwan at your feet is not enough; even were I to surrender a thousand sons, it would be nothing.”
Her reply made Baba happy and He consoled her, “As you have come to Me leaving everything behind, what trouble it will be to Me?” Then He said, “You are not worthy of being Eruch’s mother, but you are worthy of being My mother!”
Baba permitted the Zoroastrian thread ceremony of Meherwan and Sam to be performed on Sunday, 9th April 1939, Pappa Jessawala came for the occasion and had the ceremony performed at a local agyari by its resident priest. Masaji prepared a feast for the 200 attendees. The two boys were taken to meet Baba after the ceremony. The priest too wished to meet privately with Baba but Baba, for his own reasons, refused to see him. (Although Baba granted interviews to some of the sincere guests the next day.)
Around Christmas and New Year’s Eve, each group put on a short skit. In the play, Meherwan Jessawala was made a butler, and Mani his Muslim boss. But, instead of bringing the tea tray and saluting Mani, little Meherwan took the tray to Baba and saluted Him, which made Baba laugh so hard, He was pink in the face. Meherwan then proceeded to upturn the tea tray he was supposed to serve and fumbled his lines, which he recited off cue, despite what Mani had taught him.
In 1942, during train journey on the way to Lonavla, there was a frightening incident, as Meherwan Jessawala relates: “We were all in a compartment when Baba suddenly became very pale, unable to lift His hands and feet. His eyes were open, but He appeared totally drained of blood, and as if He was passing away. He lay there helpless, unable to move and totally limp.”
All rushed forward to revive Him. Rano administered a few drops of Coramine (a central nervous system stimulant) and within a few minutes Baba recovered. Meherwan concluded, “During times of great internal working, Baba would suffer such spells.”
Meherwan was in college at the time, studying for his Bachelor of Science degree. The day of his final examination was approaching, and while searching for bungalows he had no time to study. As a reward for their success in finding a suitable residence, Baba made an exception to his ban on visitors and sent for Pappa, Meherwan and Gadekar.
During 1954, Meherwan had not seen Baba for more than a year. He was shocked by Baba’s condition: “I had never seen Baba so physically depleted. He was in a terrible state, so thin and frail that His neck was like a chicken’s, and He had to be supported to walk. Because of piles trouble He could not even sit, and for the duration of our visit, Baba stood. He was totally emaciated. Yet the smile He gave to greet us was His usual one and He embraced us.”
Baba expressed His pleasure at the procurement of Guruprasad, and then asked Meherwan, “When is your exam?”
In a few days,” he replied.
“Will you pass?” asked Baba.
“Of course,” Meherwan assured Him.
Eruch interrupted, “He has not studied at all, Baba! He has not had time. So how can he pass?”
Therefore, Baba ordered Meherwan, “All right, now start studying.” Only four or five days were left, but Meherwan concentrated and passed his final exam.
On 18th June 1954, the following men arrived in Satara for the cricket match. Meherwan Jessawala participated.
A Match was played at Udtara a distance of twelve miles. Eruch drove Baba in Meherjee’s car to Udtara, near the road, as they were leaving Udtara, Baba had remarked, “Remember this place.” The men did not understand why Baba had said this. But they learned the significance of Baba’s words a year and a half later, when Meher Baba’s second automobile accident occurred near this spot.
Baba convened a small group meeting in Rosewood in April 1955 to announce and discuss certain plans, including his intention to go into seclusion for three months. Close ones in Baba’s contact including Meherwan Jessawala. Some from different centers in India were also called.
After road accident in 1956, Baba did not like staying at Dr. Bansod’s nursing home — it was too small and he was uncomfortable — and he said he would not stay there longer than necessary. So Meherwan Jessawala and Meherjee hurried to find a suitable house in Poona. They managed to rent a small, quiet house near Meherjee’s own home, a bungalow named Silver Oaks, at 23 Salisbury Park Road. Baba was taken there on the 11th afternoon. A special bed was kept for him, and Dr. Bansod and a civil surgeon named Dr. Virkar put His leg in traction. But, that evening, Baba again had severe pains and spasms, and the doctor had to be called in the night.
Referring to Meherwan Jessawala, Baba complimented him, “He is Eruch’s brother and My jewel, an original jewel. From head to foot he is Mine.”
Rano became ill in May, as did Pappa Jessawala and Roshan’s baby. On the night Rano was stricken with a severe attack of gastroenteritis, with constant loose motions and vomiting. Meherwan Jessawala brought a female doctor who prescribed medicine for her, and Meherwan did not get any sleep the whole night.
Before leaving, He told Meherwan, “You did not sleep last night, so tonight go to bed at ten o’clock. This is My order.”
Meanwhile, Meherwan was at his office nearby, and when Baba returned to Guruprasad he had the car stopped outside the office. Meherwan was summoned and Baba again reminded him to be sure to sleep at 10:00 P.M.
That night, exactly at ten o’clock when Meherwan was about to go to bed, Pappa shouted for him. Meherwan was in a quandary; Baba had ordered him to go to bed at ten o’clock, and now this unexpected situation had arisen.
Meherwan lay down quickly to fulfill Baba’s order and then ran to his father’s bedside. He found Pappa breathing with difficulty and sweating profusely. Anxious about Pappa’s condition, Meherwan went out to bring the doctor, but it was too late. Pappa’s time had come. He died of a pulmonary embolism at the age of 74 with the word Baba on his lips.
Guruprasad was informed and Baba sent Nariman and Meherjee to Bindra House. According to Baba’s instructions, Eruch stayed at Guruprasad. Pappa was merged forever in Baba’s Ocean of Divinity. Meherwan was not upset over his demise — he was worried about his own disobedience to Baba’s instruction.
On Sunday morning, 1st October 1961, Habib Qawaal came to Meherazad at 9:00 A.M. and sang before Baba. Baba enjoyed his performance. A few persons from Ahmednagar had been called, as well as Meherwan Jessawala, who arrived that day from Poona and stayed overnight at Meherazad.
Soon after their arrival, on the evening of 3rd April 1962, Pendu had much pain passing urine and was admitted to the Jehangir Nursing Home. He had to have a prostate operation, but when the surgery failed to relieve his condition, he was operated upon a second time. This operation failed as well, but fortunately the third attempt (on 9th May) was successful. As Meherwan Jessawala pointed out, “It was so obvious that such a capable surgeon would not fail three times. All these procedures were extremely painful for Pendu, and it looked as if Baba was making Pendu share in the suffering that was always the lot of the mandali who were with Baba.”
On 23rd October 1962, Meherwan Jessawala with others was coordinated the Westerners’ stay in different hotels for East West gathering.
Mohan-Saigal gave a performance at Meherazad from 1:00 until 5:00 P.M. on 28th September 1963, a wonderful musical feast of ghazals. Meherwan Jessawala and many from Ahmednagar and few from Bombay were present, including all those from Upper and lower Meherabad — about 105 persons. Baba had enjoyed Mohan’s singing in Guruprasad and was delighted to have him at Meherazad.
At Guruprasad, Meherwan Jessawala presented Baba with the special folding toilet seat he had designed and had made for Baba’s convenience, according to Goher’s instructions. Baba was quite pleased with the device.
On 7th February 1966, Meherwan Jessawala arrived Poona for his annual stay at Meherazad for Baba’s birthday. While he was there, Meherwan would help his brother Eruch with the correspondence, which always increased at this time.
During 1967, sometimes the work would be so intense that Baba said He would feel faint. Bhau was instructed to tie a sash around Baba’s waist and around the chair to prevent Him from falling off. As Meherwan Jessawala recalled, after one of his stays, “It was tremendous work that was being done. Soon after the work was over and we would be called, we could see the physical part of it. Baba’s body was so fatigued and tired out, as if all energy had been drained from Him. He would be covered with sweat and very tired.”
On Sunday, 13th October 1968, at 8:30 A.M., Baba held a meeting to inform His main workers of his decision to give darshan the following year from 10th April to 10th June 1969 at Guruprasad. Besides the resident men mandali, Meherwan Jessawala from Meherabad was called to Meherazad
Recently, Meherwan B. Jessawala joined Baba in year 2017.
Meherwan Jessawala, brother of Eruch Jessawala, passes away at India on this 16th Day of July 2016, after short illness and surgery. On Sunday 3rd July, dear Meherwan had a fall which fractured both his hip and shoulder on his right side, and was taken to hospital in Pune. He had surgery on his hip, but complications later set in which affected his breathing. Thankfully, these eased yesterday, and Meherwan was more comfortable, before he eventually passed away. Throughout it all, Meherwan constantly remembered his Beloved by repeating Baba’s name.
He and his entire family, of course, were deeply devoted to Baba and gave up their comfortable life in Nagpur to live close to Him from 1938. The new family home, Bindra House in Pune, hosted Beloved Baba and His Mandali on many, many occasions. Meherwan spent much time as a young boy with Baba and the ladies Mandali, and joined the Blue Bus tours. While living and working as an adult in Poona, he was frequently called on by Baba to help with various arrangements for His visits and tours. Baba would call Meherwan to spend one month a year at Meherazad and for other special occasions.
Meherwan became a full-time resident at Meherazad soon after Beloved Baba dropped His body. In those years, he was quite a silent presence, listening in the Hall to Eruch and Mani’s talks, and quietly serving in various ways in the background. He served on the Trust Publications & Copyright Committee and was one of the editors of Infinite Intelligence. In latter years, Meherwan wrote his memoirs – not yet published – and gave many talks for pilgrims in Mandali Hall about Beloved Baba, drawing on his lifetime of experience with Him and His Mandali. His most frequent words to all were, “Remember His name, repeat the name of Meher Baba.” Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai to dear Meherwan!
Meherwan Byramshaw Jessawala
Date: Friday, 15th July 2016
From: Shelley Marrich, Mehera Arjani, and Dolly Kerawala
Beloved Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!
Meherwan Byramshaw Jessawala was born on November 22nd, l930 into the loving family of Gaimai and Pappa Jessawala who were already devoted lovers of Meher Baba. From the age of 7 years Meherwan became an ashramite, moving to the Meherabad ashram with his mother and sisters, Manu and Meheroo.
Eruch, Baba’s close disciple and companion, was Meherwan’s older brother. And because Meherwan took responsibility for the care of the family, Eruch was completely free to be with Beloved Baba. He often expressed his gratitude to Meherwan for enabling him to be with Baba with complete peace of mind.
For many years Meherwan worked in the insurance field and then transferred to Meherjee Karkaria’s business, White Cloud Paper Mills, from which he retired in the late l980’s.
In very early l940’s the family moved to Poona where they settled into Bindra House and waited for Baba’s call with packed suitcases and a sense of anticipation. However, the call came more than 50 years later when Bindra House was sold and the family finally shifted to the Meherazad ashram lock, stock and barrel.
In the ensuing years Meherwan would share stories of his life with Meher Baba in Mandali Hall at Meherazad. After some time he became the last of the close disciples living there and was a continual source of inspiration and example of how to love God.
Once when Baba was asked what does a saint look like, He simply pointed at Meherwan. Despite Meherwan’s admonitions to love and think only of Baba and repeat His Name constantly, he was much loved by the Baba community around the world.
On July 3rd of this month, Meherwan fell just outside the door of his room at Meherazad upon returning from lunch, breaking his right hip and shoulder. He was soon admitted to a Pune hospital where he underwent hip replacement surgery on the 5th. Although the operation was a success Meherwan’s general condition, due to age and his illness Myasthenia Gravis, began to deteriorate until he went into respiratory failure at 3:45 a.m. this morning, July 15th, and quietly slipped away into his Beloved’s arms.
How much Meherwan will be missed is inestimable. He was friend and guide to so many, particularly his family, and especially his nieces Mehera Arjani and Dolly Kerawala. His very presence in this world enticed Mehera to work hard at her recovery from the stroke she had in November and he was a tremendous support to Dolly who is Mehera’s primary caregiver. His care and concern for others was unfailing. Even in his last days when he was suffering so much, he always thought of and asked after others. When the question, “How are you” was posed, his answer would be, “I am fine” (even though he wasn’t), followed by some expressed concern for the one who asked the question.
Meherwan, all those of us who know and love you join together to say how grateful we are for your very being. You remained focused on your Beloved, repeating His Name till the very end. It has been our great honor to have been in your company.
With love in Beloved Baba,
Shelley Marrich, Mehera Arjani, and Dolly Kerawala
15th July 2016
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