Symbols of the world's religions



Najoo Kotwal

Whenever Baba gave someone an order, He expected absolute obedience. It was the yoga of the day, for to Baba, yoga meant control of thoughts, words and actions. He wanted those living in His ashram to be unselfish, even self-sacrificing, as they related to others as if they were a biological family with Baba as the Father. Everyone was expected to get along well, accommodating one another's needs. All were to respect and assist those who were ill or elderly, giving help wherever needed and performing duties cheerfully, just as Baba had dictated.

Words were also important. If there was a quarrel, Baba would hear both parties out and then ask them to embrace each other and forget their differences. No one was to backbite or criticize others. In order to keep from doing this, one had to focus on Baba all the time.

One amusing incident that illustrates Baba's insistence that we accommodate the needs of others concerned Banufui, Mummy's aunt, who had a habit of inhaling snuff. When the women were gathered to hear Baba talk or to entertain Him, she would sometimes take a large, noisy whiff of snuff and then sneeze loudly. We children would laugh, but Norina was disgusted by this habit and showed great annoyance.

Baba always looked surprised at Norina's shudder. He never said anything to either Banufui or Norina, but one evening He gave Banufui a loving smile and handed her a large box of her favorite snuff in front of all the women — not to show His approval of snuff, but to teach everyone that in community living, people must tolerate the long-time habits of others, such as snoring, belching or sniffling, even though some might find such behavior objectionable. From that day Norina stopped showing her disgust.


2006 © Meherwan Kotwal


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