RUSTOM JAFRABADI IRANI (Baidul)
Rustom Beheram Jafrabadi, 32, was employed at a teashop opposite Char Bawdi where Babajan would visit daily and drink several cups of tea. During this period, a rustic Persian farmer, Rustom Jafrabadi who had migrated to India from Iran discovered his place in Meher Baba’s circle.
During his lifelong association with Meher Baba He encountered many events and had conversed with him. Few accounts are under:
One day Behramji (Baba’s Brother) met Rustom Jafrabadi in the teashop and told him about Baba. Jafrabadi was greatly taken by Behramji’s comments and soon after went to Sadashiv’s house to meet the Irani Master. Without introducing himself, Jafrabadi paid obeisance to Adi Sr., mistakenly believing him to be the Master. Adi was taken aback, and the other men burst out laughing at Jafrabadi mistake. After a short while, Baba entered the room and enjoyed the humor of the incident. He welcomed Jafrabadi and later talked with him at length.
Baba told him, “I am leaving soon for Bombay. If you come with Me, I will get you a better job and also see to your spiritual advancement.” To the surprise of all, Jafrabadi was immediately resigned to sell his property and join the Master. He was shown all the conditions to be followed while in Bombay and he agreed to sign the paper then and there. Thus this husky seeker of truth was trapped in the net by the bait of material improvement and spiritual advancement. Later, he acquired the nickname Baidul.
Baidul had been sent in advance to Persia with the boy Ali Akbar, whom Baba had directed to remain at His family’s home. On 14 June, Baba had sent Baidul a telegram in Yezd, instructing him to meet them in four days in Mashad. After Baidul rejoined the mandali, Baba was driven from Mashad to Duzdab (Zahedan).
Rustom Jafrabadi’s poetic spirit was roused when he heard about the new pastime of writing ghazals. This rustic fellow wished to try his hand at it, convinced his compositions would transcend the Persian poets Saadi and Hafiz!
When he began writing, Baba would assemble all the men to hear his verses. Although they were awful, Baba praised his efforts to the heavens and encouraged him to write more.
Jafrabadi was, therefore, under the impression that he was becoming an accomplished poet. On the evening of 27 July 1922, while he was returning in a tram to the Manzil from his job, his mind was so engrossed in his newest composition that his intoxication carried him several stations beyond his destination.
When Baba found out about it, he gathered the men and advised Jafrabadi, “Continue writing poems in your spare time, but for God’s sake don’t do it on your job or in the tram!” Baba then told the other men, “Jafrabadi is about to become a famous poet — a suitable nom de plume should be found.”
Many pen names were suggested, but Ghani’s was approved. Ghani said, “Bidal was a well-known Persian poet, but since Jafrabadi’s couplets are far superior to his, we should call him Baidul.” Everyone liked the name (which in Persian means marble) and Baba instructed that, henceforth, Jafrabadi should be known as Agha Baidul — the Great Baidul.
Baidul then earnestly requested of Baba, “When I start writing poetry, the onrush of thoughts is so great that I cannot cope with it. I pray to you to instruct someone to write down what comes from my lips at that very instant — otherwise it will be lost forever.” Since Ghani had thought up his new name, Baba appointed him as Baidul’s secretary with instructions that whenever Baidul felt inspired, Ghani should immediately write down his poetic inspirations.
On one occasion, Ghani was in the toilet, and Baidul went there and started knocking on the door. “Ghani, come out immediately!” he said urgently. “The muse is inspiring me! If you don’t come out soon, I will not be able to recover all these wonderful lines.” He was so insistent that Ghani had to quickly button his trousers and write down Baidul’s spontaneous creation. Ghani related this incident to Baba who was much amused.
Baidul took up his new post with zeal and began preaching to the children about the opportunity of being in Meher Ashram and the school, encouraging them to meditate on Baba. His enthusiasm was so pronounced that those children who usually only paid attention to their studies would start meditating as soon as they knew Baidul was approaching. No sooner would he walk away than their feigned meditation ended. But some of the boys were truly love-stricken and were having extraordinary inner experiences.
Baidul was also directed by Baba to keep watch on the other mandali. He was to “report the minutest defect at Meherabad during school hours.” Baidul would also sneak up to the mandali’s quarters at night and, standing quietly on one side of the bamboo matting, listen to their conversations. He would then report any indiscretions or complaints he had overheard to Baba, who would later rebuke the men involved.
One night Rustom was talking with Pendu and a few others in their quarters. Baidul quietly came and stood on the other side of the bamboo partition. The mandali by now knew who was betraying them. Rustom silently rose, stood on a chair and took a bucket of water and dumped it over Baidul’s head. Thus the men joined forces in opposing this “traitor”; nevertheless, Baidul faithfully carried out his C.I.D. duties.
In obeying Baba’s orders one had to be steadfast in facing all resistance. Every man was working under some difficulty or pressure, and being together in such close proximity was like a living death to the ego. Still in such situations, love continued to thrive, and though one might be at odds with another for a while — or even consider another an enemy — internally we were always brothers before our Compassionate
In 1929, Baidul and Mehrabanpur, with six of the boys from the Meher Ashram, had been sent to Persia five months before. As Baba and the group were nearing the town of Jafrabad, Baidul’s native place, Baba unexpectedly asked, “Where should we go, to Jafrabad or Yezd?” Baba then sent Raosaheb to Baidul’s house in Jafrabad. Baidul, Mehrabanpur, and the boys came to meet them and had a joyous reunion with the Master.
Baidul had been ordered to proceed to Persia to bring his family to India to live in the ashram. Mehera’s mother Daulatmai had been staying in Persia for a year by Baba’s order and originally Baidul’s family was to have returned with her at the beginning of March. But Baidul’s eldest daughter had fallen very ill and died on 18th March 1939. His daughter was only eighteen years old, and Baidul had been feeling very depressed about her loss. He would occasionally sit alone silently weeping. Even though such tenacious men as Baidul had surrendered to the Master, they were not spared suffering such human sorrow.
Baba met Baidul on 12 April 1939, and consoled him:
Those who die thinking of Me come to Me. They are liberated from the chain of birth and death and see me perpetually. It is because you cannot see that you feel the separation. If you feel sorry, feel not for the dead, for they have come to Me, but for the living who are in precarious conditions.
Bring the family back within three months. You have lots of work to do for me in the future. So leave your wife and children in my care and pay attention only to the work I entrust to you.
In 1942, during seclusion, Baba expressed a wish to hear qawaali singing and, on 18th July, Baidul brought a local qawaal with a group of musicians. The singing began, but within two minutes Baba left the room and beckoned Adi to follow Him. With the door shut to His room, He revealed to Adi, “To lessen the great Universal burden, I wanted to take it easy and relax by hearing a qawaal. From where on earth did Baidul bring this man? Is he singing or what?”
Baba sent for Baidul and asked him sharply, “Who have you brought here? That man can’t sing!”
But Baidul assured him, “He is a famous qawaal. Just come and listen. Give him a chance. He was only warming up.”
So Baba went back to listen again, but after ten minutes he motioned to Baidul to send the group away after paying them. When the singer and musicians had left, Baba asked Baidul, “What did you pay him?”
“Five rupees only. He agreed to sing the whole night for that amount.”
“And his tonga fare?”
“It was included in the five rupees.”
“You brainless Irani idiot!” Baba fumed. “Can any real qawaal ever agree to sing for such a sum? You should have had some thought about me! That rogue knew he couldn’t sing, so he accepted five rupees.
“You are stupid enough to be happy thinking you had struck such a good bargain. Has your father ever heard qawaali music?” Baba then shook his head and chuckled over Baidul’s miserliness.
In 1946, at Mahabaleshwar, Baidul was the manager of the mast ashram during the first two weeks of its functioning, and thereafter Kaka and Pappa Jessawala managed it together. Once, when Baidul was managing matters, an amusing confrontation took place between Kaka and him. Kaka brought a mast one day and, without asking Baidul’s permission, took a gunny sack to make the mast comfortable.
This small incident immediately gave rise to a heated quarrel between Kaka and Baidul. Overhearing them argue, Baba called them, and in the presence of the other men asked Baidul what the ruckus was about. “I am the manager of the mast ashram and Kaka, without asking me, took a sack,” Baidul replied. Baba gestured to Kaka, “Why did you do this?” “It was lying unused,” Kaka said. Baidul interrupted, “It was not lying about. Kaka stole it for his mast. He is very careful with his masts, but not with mine.” “That is because your masts are not masts but mad persons!” Kaka taunted.
“Your masts are mad!” shouted Baidul. “You think after all these years I cannot tell the difference between a mast and a madman? What do you take me for?” “What do I take you for? You too are mad!”
There was an intense argument between them, and Baba encouraged both by slyly winking at Baidul, indicating that he was right and Kaka was wrong, and then winking at Kaka that he was right and Baidul was wrong. But the funniest part was that during this verbal battle, Baidul’s dentures kept falling out. He would put them back into his mouth and continue vilifying Kaka. Baba was highly amused by the scene, and when both began debating about which plane each one’s masts were on, Baba could hardly contain himself! “My masts are all on the fifth and sixth planes,” Baidul shouted. “You have brought only insane-wallas!” “Is that so?” Kaka hotly replied. “My masts are of the sixth and seventh plane! But how can an uneducated Jungli Irani like yourself recognize their worth?”
Baba was laughing and laughing and asked, “But how do you two know which plane your masts are on?”Both kept quiet, and Baba observed drily, “It is a matter of great honor and privilege for me that both you ‘Sadgurus’ are staying with me, as only a Sadguru can know which plane a mast is on!”This ended Kaka and Baidul’s argument — at least for that day. Baba really enjoyed their battles of wits, especially when Baidul’s dentures would fall out and he would quickly plop them back in so as not to lose the edge.
On 3rd June 1947, Baidul succeeded in bringing the great seventh-plane majzoob, Chacha, to Satara. Upon his arrival, Baba was very happy and remarked, “Chacha alone is worth 100 masts!”
It is a marvelous tale how Baidul managed to bring Chacha from Ajmer, where the majzoob had hundreds of devotees of his own who would never allow him to leave. At the end of May, Baidul had gone to Ajmer to try to coax the majzoob to come with him, but had no luck. A pilgrimage festival was being held at the time near Mu’inuddin Chishti’s tomb, and many devotees had gone to attend it, leaving Chacha relatively alone. On the night of 31 May, after hours of ineffectual pleading, Baidul grasped the majzoob’s hand to lead him away, and to his surprise, Chacha rose and followed. They climbed into a tonga, but to avoid being recognized, Baidul later hired a taxi to drive them 30 miles away to an out-of-the-way station, where they boarded a train for Bombay. Had he taken the majzoob to the Ajmer station, the local people would have recognized Chacha and prevented Baidul from spiriting him away. From Poona, they journeyed by bus.
In 1950, at one point, Baidul remarked to Pendu that Baba had been teasing and pestering him since morning. Overhearing this, Baba asked Baidul whether this wasn’t criticizing him. Baidul replied that he was simply “informing” Pendu of how Baba had lost his mood that morning. Baba asked Eruch if Baidul’s statement did not amount to criticism. Eruch’s opinion was that, according to his way of thinking, Baidul was merely telling Pendu a fact; it could not be called criticism but a piece of information which conveyed Baba’s mood that morning.
After His contact with Gathriwala, Baba proceeded toward Shah Serai to contact an old Maulana (Muslim learned man). In his search for this Maulana, Baidul came across another mast also called Maulana. He was reputed to be very religious and a servant of God, for he always had a copy of the Koran in his hand. Baba contacted him, bowed down to him and gave him a ten-rupee currency note. Smilingly, Maulana stared at his coat pockets, as he seemed undecided in which pocket he should keep the note. He began putting it in one pocket and then, after some thought, transferred it to another. This he did several times without arriving at any definite conclusion as to where to keep the note. This amused Baba.
Baba remarked, “He is like a child,” and he sent Baidul to ask him when he would be willing to come to Dehra Dun. Baidul asked, but Maulana refused to come. Baidul then tried to induce him by saying that in Dehra Dun he would be kept comfortable with very good food and new clothes. But the Maulana did not agree.
In 1953, while in Dehradun, Baba decided to make indirect contact with four saints. After bowing down the feet of Baidul, Baba embraced him and said to convey His blessing to Saint Ishwar Singh and Saint Mangat Ram. After seeing the two other saints and bowing down to them, Baidul returned and informed Baba, who inquired, “What did Ishwar Singh say?” He asked me, “Who Meher Baba was.” Baba asked, “How did you answer?” I told him, “He was a great saint.”
This upset Baba, and He stated at length: Do you take Me for a saint? Is this how your heart speaks? Had you said Baba is an ordinary man, I would not have felt bad! After 30 years of association with Me, you still call Me a saint? Truth and honesty demanded that you should have told him that you don’t know who Meher Baba is, but still you have accepted Him as your guru. Were this question put to Dr. Deshmukh, he would have immediately replied that Baba is the Avatar! I don’t mean that you should have declared that. You could have safely said that I was your Master. What was the idea in telling him I was a saint? I am not a saint! At the moment there are a number of saints in Dehra Dun, Hardwar and Rishikesh. Here on Rajpur Road [the locality of Baba’s residence] are four saints — Anandamayi Ma, Mangat Ram, Ishwar Singh and Miran Bhai. Only yesterday, I explained to the mandali about saints, in the words of Kabir:
The advantage one derives by pilgrimage is one.
The benefits one derives by visiting a saint are four.
But the benefits one derives by meeting a Sadguru are numberless!
At times, Baba would purposely create strife among the mandali. In this way, feelings remaining hidden would surface and be dealt with.
In year 1955, Baidul another doctor of sorts was treating people in Satara. Years ago in Iran, Baidul acted as a doctor and used to cure those afflicted by invoking Baba’s name and intervention, and then administering boiled garlic oil. In Satara, he would sit under a tree away from their bungalow on watch, and 70 to 80 persons would daily come for treatment. Baidul would quickly dispense with his patients, giving the same homeopathic medicine to every person (no matter what the ailment was!) and return to Rosewood within half an hour.
Residing near Rosewood was a Christian civil surgeon, Dr. A. E. Fernandes, whose young son was much troubled by a chronic throat ailment. The surgeon had done his utmost to cure the boy, but to no effect. One day Baidul visited the family, and the doctor’s wife told him about her son’s affliction. Baidul immediately gave his “medicine” to the boy, and amazingly the boy recovered in a few days.
September 5th was Pendu’s birthday. That evening, the mandali were sitting in Rosewood wondering how to celebrate it. Their daily fare consisted of plain rice and dal in the afternoon, and a vegetable and chapati in the evening. Since nothing special could be cooked without Baba’s permission, food was not considered. Instead, they decided to enact a humorous play for Pendu.
Unannounced, a servant from Dr. Fernandes appeared carrying a box full of freshly made sweets. He inquired, “Where is the Doctor Saheb?” Nilu and Don were pointed out, but the man said, “No, no, the other doctor who visits the civil surgeon.” Since no one knew of Baidul’s secret activity, they did not know whom he meant. At that moment Baidul entered the room, and the man said, “Here is the man. I wanted this doctor. His treatment has proven beneficial to my employer’s son. He has sent this for him.”
The quantity of sweets was sufficient for everyone, and Pendu’s birthday was joyously observed. The civil surgeon’s trust in Baidul was so great that at times he would take him to the hospital in his car to examine a patient not responding to his own treatment. Soon after this incident, Baba had Baidul stop acting as a doctor. Baidul’s power was not in his medicine, but in his taking Baba’s name whenever he treated someone who was afflicted.
In 1956, winking at Baidul, Baba asked him in front of Nilu, “What was that you were telling Me the other day about Nilu? When he was in college, who had beaten him with a shoe?” Baidul took the hint. He replied, “At college, Nilu was in love with a beautiful girl, and when her father came to know of it, he beat the hell out of him with a shoe right in the middle of the market!”
Nilu grew livid with anger. “Why do you believe these lies from this Jungli (ignorant) Irani?” he asked Baba. “When I was in college, where was he?” Baidul answered, “I was with you!” Nilu threatened, “If you tell another lie, I will beat you with a shoe!”
Baba gestured to them to calm down and inquired what the real story was about the girl. Nilu replied, “It may be something, but why does this illiterate Irani butt his nose into it?” Baidul said. “If I am lying, then why don’t you speak the truth?” “Who are you to tell me?” Baidul replied, “Who are you to hide it?” Nilu said, “Baba, tell this idiot to leave this instant —else I won’t let him leave without a thrashing.”
Baba pointed out, “Baidul is much stronger than you. He might beat you up.” “But why does he lie about me?” “He must have heard something … I too feel there must be something to it.” Baidul said, “I will prove it to you, Baba. Then you will believe me.” Nilu demanded, “What proof can you bring?” “I will bring the girl herself and let her tell you.” Baba raised an eyebrow, gesturing, “So, there was a girl you were after.” Nilu replied, “I was not after her, Baba. I never touched her! But she did love me and is still unmarried to this day because of me.”
“Then why haven’t you ever told Me of this before? Why did you hide it from me all these years? It is good that Baidul what connection did I have with her that I should have told you about her?”
“She is still unmarried because she loves you, isn’t she? Therefore, her sanskaras are with you; and, by your staying with Me, I will have to bear this burden. Had you informed Me, this burden would not have been on Me. All right, now don’t worry about it.”
Nilu had completely forgotten this old romance, and Baidul, himself, knew nothing of it. But, by sparking this quarrel between them, Baba brought the secret to light, and in so doing, freed Nilu from what was hidden deep inside his consciousness.
In 1959, Once, Baba lovers of Poona conducted a programme in Poona and Baidul’s boasting went too far, Baba sent for Baidul and stated, “Tomorrow, visit the Telugu locality of Poona and speak to them about me. Take Krishna Bundellu’s father with you and do the work well.” Baidul did as ordered. When the Poona Center workers appeared the following afternoon, Baba asked Baidul, “Tell Me in detail what you did yesterday.” Baidul replied “Yesterday’s work went off very well, “The Andhraites were impressed and all are coming here for your darshan.” “Then you have done a good job, haven’t you?” “Yes, very good work was done. I was roaming about the area all day long and got quite exhausted. I did a lot of work.” Baba admonished, “What? You wild barbarian, Jungli Irani!” Baba said, appearing to be angry. “Have you the face to do such work? What work could you possibly do? Who knows you? Don’t you realize that I alone do my work?” Baidul said “Yes, Baba, only You do the work.” Baba said, “Then why do you take credit for it, saying that you did it? You were quite put upon to do it, weren’t you?” Baidul answered, “Yes, Baba. I became very tired from the hot sun, moving about the whole day.”
“But what is so great in that? If there was a will to obey Me, you would not have spoken about tiredness. You should be ashamed to say such things in My presence. Turn into dust; only then will you do My work! Why do you praise yourself? You are full of ego! What work of Mine can you ever do? Only he who sincerely believes that Baba alone does His work can help Me. Have you the faith to do any work?”
Thus Baba kept berating Baidul, and the Poona workers, sitting as silent statues, listened morosely.
Baidul was made the target that day to teach them a lesson, and from then on they never boasted about their “achievements.” To impart a moral to others, Baba would always use the mandali as targets, as they could bear the deep wounds He inflicted.
In 1963, Baidul was staying with his wife Soltoon and daughter Dowla’s family in Poona. But on 10th April, he suffered a stroke. Baba went to their home that morning to comfort Baidul and had him admitted to Dr. Grant’s Ruby Hall Clinic near Guruprasad. As a result of the stroke, Baidul became paralyzed on the left side of his body. A few weeks later, on 29th April, he was shifted to Meherabad to recover under Don’s care.
On 26th August 1965, Baidul was diagnosed with typhoid. Sidhu was again called to Meherazad for a week or ten days to help look after him. Sheroo, Jehangu, Gulnar and their daughter Mehernaz were permitted to come to Meherazad on the 28th.
On 24th March 1968, Aloba took Baidul to Bombay, where he stayed with his daughter Sarwar while Baba was at Guruprasad.
Baba said, “Baidul is the Sardar (Chief) of masts. In mast work tops the list. The personal services rendered by him to Me are unique.”
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