KHORSHED BANU IRANI
(Mother of Dr. Goher)
Khorshed Irani was the daughter of Kaikhushru Masa and Soonamasi
Khorshed’s father, Kaikhushru Masa, was spiritually inclined. Before Khorshed was born, her father performed a severe penance, known as “chilla-Nashini”, where an aspirant draws a circle around himself and vows to stay inside the circle without food or sleep for 40 days and 40 nights.
It is a dangerous practice, for the aspirant must withstand the onslaught of terrible apparitions and other mental torments. If he steps outside the circle, it could mean madness or death; if he succeeds, whatever he desires will be given to him.
Kaikhushru, a jeweller by trade, entered the circle in the hopes of gaining great wealth. Despite being frightened by visions of devils and demons tempting him to step out of the circle, he remained inside it for 39 days. On that day, he saw a vision of ‘Lakshmi’, Goddess of Wealth, but instead of showering him with wealth, she held out a baby to him. When Kaikhushru protested that he was after riches, the Goddess told him that he would gain much more through this baby girl, whom he should name Khorshed.
When Khorshed herself was eight, she was playing outside one day when two tiny fairies appeared. They led her by the hand to the terrace, where Khorshed saw a vision of Lakshmi, seated on a golden throne. Flowers were draped over the Goddess, and perfume filled the air, Lakshmi asked Khorshed to promise her never to marry. Khorshed did so, but the Goddess told her, “Think it over carefully before promising.” The Goddess made her promise three times.
Once Khorshed had firmly agreed not to marry, the Goddess held out her hand and allowed Khorshed to wear her crown and sit on her throne. When she did so, Khorshed too began shining like the Goddess.
Then Lakshmi showed her a vision of men behind bars and said, “The men of the world are giants, kept behind bars. Never trust them. I am showing you this to warn you. Be careful, and always remember your promise to me not to marry. It is for your own good.” Khorshed never told her parents about this vision, since she thought they would not accept her vow. But when she came to Ahmednagar for Rustom and Freiny’s wedding, she heard the discussion in Baba’s presence about Mehera’s marriage proposal and became worried that Baba and might tell her to marry.
So one day, later on, when she was at Meherabad, she saw Baba and ran after Him to ask about it, calling,”Merwanji!” Baba turned and said to her, “I know everything. I will never ask you to marry.
On 9th May 1922, Baba travelled by train from Bombay to Sakori. Kaikhushru Masa, his wife Soonamasi, and their twelve-year old daughter Khorshed met Him on train. Kaikhushru Masa was a frequent visitor to Sakori, Kaikhushru Masa had seen Baba at Sakori, and his wife Soonamasi most likely met Baba a year prior at the opening of Sarosh Manzil in Ahmednagar. But for their daughter Khorshed, this meeting on the train was her first encounter with Baba, to whom she would soon dedicate her life.
In 1922, before leaving for Bombay, Soonamasi and her daughter Khorshed met with Baba in private. He inquired how Soonamasi liked it at Sakori, and she replied that she liked it very much. “Will you come and stay with Me?” He asked.
“When?” asked Soonamasi.
“Not now but later after I have arranged a place. I only wanted to know if you would.”
“Promise Me,” He said, and Soonamasi held out her hand in promise.
Khorshed was keenly interested in their conversation and thought: “Why is Meher Baba only asking Mother? He must ask me to come and stay with Him, too!”
However, He only remarked to Khorshed, “Be good. Think of Me and we will meet again.” Baba was deliberately ignoring her so that Khorshed would become more eager to join Him.
In the same year, Baba visited the house of the jeweller Kaikhushru Masa in Parel. Kaikhushru Masa was absent, but his wife Soonamasi and daughter Khorshed, along with an aunt Motibai, were having lunch. Mounting the stairs, without knocking, Baba entered their house and went straight into their kitchen. The Master was dressed in His usual attire — a long white shirt, white cotton pants and an Irani kerchief around His head. Seeing this stranger burst in upon them, the aunt exclaimed, “Who is this madcap?”
Soonamasi and Khorshed immediately recognized Baba, whom they had met in Sakori in May. Both received Him with great reverence, while Motibai felt quite ashamed. Baba informed them that He was now residing in the city and said, “Tell Masa to come and see Me at the Manzil early every morning, before going to his shop, and in the evening also. Khorshed, too, should visit Me daily after school. Soonamasi, you may come at any time during the day.” Baba then departed, leaving them excited at the prospect of seeing him every day.
Khorshed began going to Manzil-e-Meem each afternoon. Sometime later, her cousins, Piroja and Dolly (Gulmai’s daughters), came to Bombay to study, and all three girls would visit Baba. He would ask them what they were learning in school, and they would reply with innocent candor. Occasionally, He would play a particular game with them. The girls would stand together in front of Him, with their hands on both ears, and Baba would pretend to throw a ball at one of them. If, in her eagerness to catch it, one let go of her ears she was out. Likewise, if Baba actually threw the ball, and it struck her before she was able to catch it, she was declared out. Baba became an animated playmate for these children
Soonamasi Irani, her husband Kaikhushru Masa, and their daughter Khorshed had come from Bombay to attend Rustom’s wedding. On one occasion, Baba advised Soonamasi and Khorshed to stay in Ahmednagar so they could regularly come for His darshan at Arangaon.
Before leaving for Sakori, Baba told Kaikhushru Masa, Soonamasi and Khorshed to move from their home in Parel to the portion of the Irani Mansion house in Dadar which He had been using for the mandali and Circle & Company.
In 1924, Baba housed Mehera with Khorshed and Khorshed’s parents in Irani Mansion and they would daily come to the Bharucha Building for Baba’s darshan. One day Baba, accompanied by Gustadji, visited the ladies at Irani Mansion and asked Mehera and Khorshed to sing a favorite song. Khorshed sang one about Lord Krishna.
On 19th May 1924, Mehera came to Meherabad with her mother Daulatmai and sister Freiny to participate in Upasni Maharaj’s birthday celebration. Jamshed’s wife, called Big Khorshed because she was several years older than Khorshed (Soonamasi’s daughter from Bombay), joined the group and was known as Small Khorshed.
After arriving in Bombay on 3rd June 1924, Baba & group resided at No. 6 Irani Mansion — the home of Kaikhushru Masa. Soonamasi and Khorshed attended to Baba’s wishes there and preparations for the journey to Quetta were speedily executed.
Arriving back in Bombay on 25th July 1924, Baba and His group stayed at Kaikhushru Masa’s apartment at Irani Mansion. Soonamasi and especially Khorshed were happy that Baba had returned.
One day at Irani Mansion, Mehera and Khorshed decided to cook doodh pak with puris — a sweetened, thickened milk-based dessert with small, round, deep-fried wheat puris. The milk would not thicken, so Mehera added flour to it. When it was served to Baba, He inquired, “What is this? Who has cooked it?” Soonamasi replied that they were doodh-pak puris prepared by Mehera and Khorshed. Baba sent for them and asked, “Have you ever seen doodh pak puri in your life? Has your father ever tasted it? Is this doodh pak or gruel for a sick man? Do I look ill to you?”
In 1933, before leaving for Bombay, Soonamasi and her daughter Khorshed met with Baba in private. He inquired how Soonamasi liked it at Sakori, and she replied that she liked it very much. “Will you come and stay with me?” he asked.
“When?” asked Soonamasi.
“Not now, but later after I have arranged a place. I only wanted to know if you would.”
“Promise me,” he said, and Soonamasi held out her hand in promise.
Khorshed was keenly interested in their conversation and thought: “Why is Meher Baba only asking Mother? He must ask me to come and stay with him, too!”
However, he only remarked to Khorshed, “Be good. Think of Me and we will meet again.” Baba was deliberately ignoring her so that Khorshed would become more eager to join Him.
In 1936, Baba had sent Soonamasi and her daughter Khorshed from Ahmedabad to Ahmednagar with orders that they should remain there unless otherwise instructed. While Baba and the mandali were touring Gujarat, Soonamasi’s husband Kaikhushru Masa became seriously ill in Bombay. Although Soonamasi received a telegram urging her to immediately come to Bombay, she did not go. In a few days another telegram was received about his condition, but Soonamasi obeyed the Master’s orders and did not leave. Even a third telegram, saying that Masa’s illness had taken a turn for the worse, was disregarded.
After Baba returned to Meherabad, He called Soonamasi and Khorshed to Him. When he was informed about Kaikhushru Masa’s illness, He asked, “Why didn’t you go?”
“How could I break your order?” Soonamasi replied,
“What if Masa had died?” Baba asked. “Then what?”
“So what?” Soonamasi answered. “Everyone has to die sometime.”
“What will your relatives say about your behaviour?”
“I don’t care about what anyone thinks. What do I have to do with the world when I am at your feet?”
Baba then smilingly told her, “Had you broken My order, Masa would have died; but now he won’t. You have saved him by obeying My instructions.” Baba at once sent her and Khorshed to Bombay, and Kaikhushru Masa’s health improved as soon as they arrived.
One day Khorshed (Goher’s mother) came to Meherabad with her sister, Soona. After their initial meeting, Baba directed the two women to embrace all the women mandali. But when they saw Gaimai and Manu Jessawala emerge from the kitchen covered with sweat, instead of embracing them, they folded their hands in greeting from a distance and walked away.
But nothing ever remained hidden from Baba. When they came back to him, he asked, “Did you embrace everyone?”
They spoke the truth and said they hadn’t, explaining that Gaimai and Manu were covered with so much perspiration that they just said hello. The two women did not wish to have their nice saris stained with perspiration. Consequently, Baba took them before Gaimai and remarked to Khorshed and Soona Irani, “Your luck will flourish by their sweat because they are working for Me! Embrace them heartily!” Both embraced Gaimai and Manu, as Baba watched, smiling.
In 1938, Khorshed and her husband Rusi Pop were debating whether or not to turn over all the property to Baba and remain dependent on Him. Several meetings were held about this with Baba and the different members of Adi Sr. and Sarosh’s extended family. In the end, the couple decided to dedicate everything to Baba and He agreed to assume responsibility for the family’s maintenance and for Goher’s continued education.
Khorshed Irani had been an early mandali member and while she had been living in Bombay since the New Life, she was called by Baba to live with mandali from time to time.
She died on-24-5-1968
Baba said on her demise “Dear Khorshed has come to Me to rest eternally in Me.”
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- Adele Wolkin
- Anita de Caro
- Aranvaz Dadachanji
- Delia De Leon
- Dolly Irani
- Elizabeth C. Patterson
- Enid Corfe
- Gaimai Jessawala
- Gulamasi Satha
- Gulmai K Irani
- Gulnar Sukadwala
- Hedi Mertens
- Helen Dahm
- Irene Billo
- Ivy Duce
- Jane Barry Haynes
- Jean Adriel
- Jeanne Shaw
- Kakubai Deorukhkar
- Katie Irani
- Kharmen Masi
- Khorshed Irani
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- Manu Jessawala
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