MANPUR JESSAWALA (Manu)
(Sister of Eruch)
Manpur Jessawala, Eruch’s sister, lived in the mandali for a number of years till Baba directed her to live in Poona along with her family. Her father Papa Jessawala and mother Gaimai both were devoted to Meher Baba
Some of her life time events and contact with Meher Baba is described as under:
On 22nd May 1927, Baba went to Akbar Press (Ahmednagar) for the navjote ceremony of the two Jessawala daughters Manu and Meheru.
In 1937, Pappa Jessawala’s heart had bowed at Baba’s feet upon witnessing the glorious spectacle of the Master’s birthday celebrations. He returned to Nagpur and sent his family to Nasik for two months during the summer — his wife Gaimai, eldest son Eruch, 20, daughters Manu, 19 and Meheru, 17, and a younger son Meherwan, 7. They arrived in Nasik around 15 April 1937 and resided at the Pichy Phipson Sanitarium near the retreat.
On 19th February 1938, lovers arrived for the three-day celebration, almost 500 lovers from Bombay, Poona, Ahmednagar, Nasik, Navsari, Nagpur and other towns and cities. More than 200 came from Bombay. Manu Jessawala and his family members came from Nagpur.
Manu’s mother Gaimai stayed with the women mandali in the P.W.D. bungalow along with her daughters Meheru and Manu. Baba gave nicknames to Mani Desai and Mani Jessawala to distinguish them from his sister Mani. Mani Desai was to be known as Mansari for she came from Navsari and Mani Jessawala as Manpur or Manu for she was from Nagpur.
On 8th December 1938, Baba left Meherabad Hill in the Blue Bus with the 20 women disciples. Manu Jessawala accompanied. She was 19.
3rd May 1939, was Manu Jessawala’s birthday, and to celebrate Baba asked the women to stage a play. Mani, who was quite talented at such endeavors, wrote a humorous skit parodying the present world leaders. Mani took the part of Hitler, Katie was Mussolini, Rano was Prime Minister Chamberlain, and Meheru and Naggu had other roles. The skit was performed before Baba and the mandali in the evening and all were amused. Exactly four months later, the Second World War was declared. No doubt Baba was working through this seemingly innocuous play by a few of the women.
In 1939 Manu Jessawala stayed in Links bungalow with other 24 women living with Baba.
While Baba’s mother was in Bangalore, Gaimai (Manu’s mother) once fried eggplant for Memo, as requested by her, and sent it to her. As Manu was carrying the tray up to Memo’s room, Baba happened by and asked Manu what she had in her hand.
Manu said it was fried eggplant for Shireenmai. Baba took Gaimai severely to task, “You want to kill My mother by giving her eggplant? Haven’t I told you that eggplant is not good for you?”
In fact, Baba did not wish Memo to be given special food; He wanted her to eat what was cooked for all. While rebuking Gaimai, Baba was eating the fried delicacies Himself, and eventually ate the entire plateful. Memo had come down by then and was silently observing the scene. At last she burst forth, “Merog is eggplant good for you and bad for me?”
Baba replied, “You are old, Mother, and elderly people should not eat eggplant!”
In 1942, Baba decided to move His seclusion towards Maharashtra and this was arranged in Lonavla. So Baba with the men and women mandali entrained for Lonavla on 10th September 1942 with Manu Jessawala and other women numbered about 30.
On, 15th February 1949, Baba, went to Khushru Quarters, where Baba met Gulmai and Meheru Damania. They arrived at Bindra House, Poona. From there, Baba and the women boarded a night train to Belgaum, with Manu Jessawala and others joining them.
Once introducing Manu Jessawala, Baba commented that she was Eruch’s sister. He pardoned her for coming for darshan, commenting that it was not the time for His close ones to take darshan. Referring to the Jessawala family, Baba remarked, “All are gems,”
On the night of 28th May, Rano was stricken with a severe attack of gastroenteritis, with constant loose motions and vomiting. Baba was of course informed. He visited Bindra House the next morning, but before getting out of the car he drew three crosses on the ground with His walking stick. He sat for a few moments looking at them and then rubbed one of the crosses out.
Inside, Baba comforted Rano and then instructed Manu to prepare some lime sherbet. He dipped His finger in the glass and, placing some of the liquid in a teaspoon, He fed it to Rano. He told Manu to give it to Rano, sip by sip. If Rano could finish the whole glass, she would be out of danger. Rano was told to repeat Baba’s name seven times while sipping the sherbet from a teaspoon. With great difficulty, she did so and began feeling better.
In 1961, once, during darshan, Manu Jessawala sang one of Tukaram’s abhangs. Baba looked solemn as she sang and then commented, “Tukaram wants one to surrender completely to the Perfect Master. But I rarely find anyone who surrenders to me as he ought to.”
Mehera’s birthday fell on 23rd December 1962 that year, according to the Parsi calendar. Khorshed from Bombay was a guest at Meherazad that weekend, Manu Jessawala was present and she was allowed to stay for a month at Meherazad with the women mandali…
1963, at Guruprasad, Baba asked Eruch’s sister, Manu Jessawala, to sing a few bhajans. In spite of not having practiced for a long time, she sang and also played the harmonium well.
Every year Baba would visit Guruprasad in summer. Manu Jessawala, and other four would have the palace cleaned and everything prepared. However, no one was allowed to be present to receive Baba when He arrived, except for Meherjee, Meherwan and Jehangu.
Mehera’s birthday was celebrated privately at Meherazad on 22nd December 1966. Every year a few close ones were invited on that day from Bombay and Manu Jessawala from Poona.
References/Images from: Various Lord Meher volumes, discontinued website's ambprasarkendra & love-remembrances, images and dates, stories etc from respective copyright owners websites or publications used with permission - i.e. In His Service, Glow International, MeherBabaTravels, MSI and MNP Collections, from AvatarMeherBabaTrust, BelovedArchives websites and from various other website sources, Books, journal etc. More information where ever available with us like letter scans, stories etc are added. Kindly feel free to Contact us with any updates, photos or corrections etc.
- 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
- Kitty Davy
- Manu Jessawala
- Margaret Craske
- Mary Backett
- Nadia Tolstoy
- Nonny Gayley
- Princess Norina Matchabelli
- Roshan Kerawala
- Shanta Devi
- Shirin Sheriar Iran