Roj Ashtad Mah Sherevar, 1381 Yz.
I was most surprised and shocked to hear this statement. But at least I realized that this garden was the residence of some great advanced soul. Now I am a traditional minded person and have great faith in religious men of all faiths. As a believer, it was easy for me to accept that an advanced soul would know that I would be coming here. My mind was therefore a little relieved, though still asking a hundred questions. I followed the man as he entered the orchard. As I walked behind him, my mind was amazed at the sight of the various fruit trees all around. It was as if I was in paradise. Birds were chirping away and flying here and there. Huge bunches of grapes hung from verdant grape trees,
whereas the most amazing peaches were in such bountiful number that the whole tree was clothed in pink.
The sparkling waters of the canal were gurgling away around the trees and there was an amazing feeling of peace and tranquility in the whole area. After about a ten minute walk through the orchard, I saw a decent sized cottage in the distance. The cottage had a verandah, in the corner of which stood a small bench. The attendant asked me to sit down on the bench and remove my shoes, before we could proceed inside the rooms.
The cottage itself was very neat and clean. At various places, vases of colorful flowers were placed, which gave a most pleasant aroma. After removing my shoes, I followed the attendant inside. After we passed two rooms, we came into a room which was very clean and plain. In the center of the room was a cotton dhurrie, and seated on the carpet was a most holy looking man. Seeing us, the holy man got up and came up to us. He looked at me and passed his hand behind my back and gently patted me and said, in Gujarati: ‘You must be tired after the walk. Sit down, my son!’ The Mahatma sat down, and I too sat down in front of him.
Now I could observe him more closely. He had a most god-like visage. He was about 80 years old and had a very long white beard. His eyes were most striking. They were light green, like grapes and an amazing energy was flowing out of the eyes. The hair on his head was long and covered with a plain cotton dupatta. He was clothed entirely in white, giving the appearance of an angel. I was feeling most inadequate and out of place in such a holy and imposing presence. My mind was most disturbed – what do I talk to him about?
The Mahatma sensed my discomfort and began asking me simple questions to put mind to rest. ‘How are you, why have you come to Lyallpur, how do you find it here?’ The only reply I could give was: ‘O great sage, I feel most fortunate to have had the Darshan of a holy person like you. I request you to allow me the opportunity of seeing you more often.’ The Mahatma replied: ‘my son, this poor cottage is yours and you can come here whenever you want.’ I was very amazed at the fluent Gujarati that the Mahatma spoke, but surmised that an advanced soul like his should be able to speak in any language, should the need arise.
The Mahatma then asked me as to how Seth Rustomji was. I was surprised that he knew Rustomji and also more surprised that Rustomji had not told me anything about the Mahatma. The Mahatma replied: ‘Rustomji has never ever come here, although I know him very well. The privilege of getting Seth Rustomji here is yours, Pirojshah, therefore please do so the next time you come to visit me!’
As we were talking, a man came into the room carrying a glass of warm milk and handed it to me. Another man came in with a tray of cut fruit and placed it in front of me. Now I was in two minds whether to drink the milk or not, since milk does not agree very well with my constitution. The Mahatma sensed my hesitation and said: ‘do not worry, my son. I will not give you anything that will harm you. This will benefit you. I drank the milk and had some of the fruit, while discussing many of the questions which were in my mind with the Mahatma. The holy man replied to my queries in a most philosophical manner, making my mind calm and clear.
I discussed many of my problems and experiences to which the Mahatma explained that he who was truly looking for the truth on the religious path would be automatically guided to a master by nature. After nearly two hours of discussions, I requested leave to go back. Mahatma was most loath to let go of me and requested me to stay the night there. I explained that I had to send the report to my head office today and would have to go. The next time I came, along with Rustomji, I promised we would stay the whole day.
The Mahatma agreed and we parted, after thanking him most deeply for the enriching experience I had today. The same attendant was waiting for me outside the room and we began walking back to the gate of the orchard. As I discussed my meeting with the attendant I came to know that the Mahatma had made this area his residence many years ago. He could speak any language he wanted. His diet was only fruit and milk, and he used to have a bath with cold water, regardless of the season. He was an exponent of Hatha Yoga and Raj Yoga and had the ability to peer into the past or the future with ease. He was also well versed in alchemy and could demonstrate any skill or technique required.
As I walked along, I offered silent thanks to the Creator for letting me meet such an advanced soul. The attendant left me at the gate and I slowly made my way home in my tonga, wondering about the things I had seen and heard today.
[to be continued…]
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram