The miraculous life of our Master – part 20

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Roj Khordad Mah Tir, 1379 Yz.

Over time, the bond between Bahmanshah and Ustad Saheb grew. Bahmanshah used to go everyday to the Master’s house and do whatever work or errands were given to him by Behramshah. We have seen earlier that Behramshah’s children did not live very long. A few days before the first birthday of his girl, Tehmina, the child fell ill and soon developed pneumonia. At this time of crisis, Bahmanshah was at the side of his Ustad, calling the doctor home, getting medicine from the pharmacy and helping out in whatever way he could. Despite the doctor’s best efforts, the child’s health deteriorated until finally one evening the doctor came home, had a look at Tehmina and told Ustad Saheb that it would be all over in a few hours. Behramshah was deeply saddened and went over to his easy chair and sat down dejected. In his times of crisis, Ustad Saheb always used to remember his Master, Sraoshavarez Marzbanji Saheb and ask for his help. As he lay on the easy chair, Ustad Saheb dozed off, only to suddenly wakeup and exclaim: ‘My Ustad says to give the child her mother’s breast!’

Behramshah got up and saw that Tehmina was in deep sleep, her eyes had rolled up and there was no way in which she could be fed. He explained to Bahmanshah what he had been told in his sleep. Bahmanshah went and repeated what had happened to Behramshah’s wife. Goolbai immediately bent down and gave the child her breast. To the amazement of all three, the child opened her eyes and immediately took the breast and those lips, which minutes earlier could not even take any medicine, started gulping down the mother’s milk greedily. She went through the night and by next morning the fever had subsided and the child recovered. As Bahmanshah fetched the doctor, who was expecting the worst, but was amazed to see the child not only alive but doing very well, both he and Ustad Saheb offered their heartfelt thanks to the miraculous help given to them by Sraoshavarez Marzbanji Saheb.

Soon Tehmina’s second birthday approached. Behramshah was happy that his child had survived and decided to give a party. He first went to invite Manchersha Master for the celebrations. Bahmanshah readied his bullock cart and took Behramshah to Manchersha’s house. After the invitations were over, Bahmanshah made all the other preparations for the party including the food and drinks. On the night preceding the party, Bahmanshah Hakim had a dream. In his dream, Bahmanshah saw that he was standing on the banks of the Tapti in his normal prayer place. As he stood, he saw in the distance on the banks two very bright and luminous priests. As they caught his eye, they gestured to him to come near them. As Bahmanshah approached them, one of the two priests spoke to him: ‘At tomorrow’s birthday party tell Behramshah that Rashidji Saheb sends his greetings and congratulations to him!’ ‘If he asks for proof, repeat these words to him..’ As the dream ended, Bahmanshah got up.

At the party the next day, Manchersha Master got up and raised a toast to Tehmina’s and Ustad Saheb’s health. Then others raised toasts. Finally Bahmanshah got up and raised a toast. ‘Rashidji Saheb sends his salaams to you Ustad Saheb, on this happy day!’ As everyone else went very quiet, Behramshah immediately asked Bahmanshah for the proof. Bahmanshah recounted the entire dream and then repeated the phrase which the priest in his dream had asked him to. When the verification was done, Behramshah looked very lovingly towards Bahmanshah and said: ‘Remember my boy, you will advance very far!’ The Master’s words were to prove prophetic.

My dear readers, I had the good fortune to interact with two senior priests of Surat in whose good destiny it lay to say prayers for Bahmanshah Hakim’s departed family members. Both these priests told me that Bahmanshah was a most extraordinary man. His vast knowledge, deep humility, immensely powerful body yet saintly looking face, with a long beard and that spark in the eyes which comes only to someone who has seen the hidden side of nature, all combined to make him a person who immediately aroused awe and respect all around. To those who were interested, Bahmanshah would take them deep into the science of Khshnoom, patiently yet expertly explaining the mysteries of the ceremonies and rituals that we priests do day in and out. He was a great stickler for Tarikats. He would regularly talk about Tarikats to the priests assembled in the Atash Behram and give them very practical hints about how to maintain their purity and piety in those days.

Bahmanshah would get his ceremonies performed only by priests whom he personally trusted and before the commencement of the ceremony he would himself draw out well water and use it to wash the Urvisgah area (where the Baj and other Pav Mahel ceremonies are done), cleanse all the utensils and implements of the ceremony, and only then let the priests do their part. As the ceremony would progress through the night, Bahmanshah would stand throughout outside the Pavi, his eyes closed, his mind focused on the ceremony and his lips moving in some silent prayer. These priests told me that Bahmanshah would stand for the six-seven hours it took to do the Vandidad ceremony in the night, constantly praying without any break, in one position. When the ceremony would finish, he would still be in prayer and only break his stand after some time.

In the Avan month, Bahmanshah Hakim would be seen at the Mulla Khadki Ibadatgah, a small prayer house built by a Parsi many years ago on the banks of the Tapti river at Surat. He would stand on the banks of the river for hours together, praying not one but multiple Avan Yashts. On the Baj days of his departed family members, Bahmanshah would pray through the Aiwisruthrem Gah a number of Sarosh and Patet prayers for them. In the morning he would be back at the house of his Master, doing the house work and running errands. When Ustad Saheb was tired, Bahmanshah would with great humility massage the Master’s legs or just sit beside him quietly as the Master would talk about some of his amazing adventures or the three years spent in Demavand. My friends, I am trying to show you the deep bond that had developed between Bahmanshah and Ustad Saheb. A great Master always gets great disciples, and without doubt, Bahmanshah was one of the greatest we have known.

The strict life of Tarikats, incessant manthravani and the blessings of Ustad Saheb at last worked wonders for Bahmanshah and he was blessed with the vision of Sraoshavarez Marzbanji Saheb in his dreams on a regular basis. His life turned around and Bahmanshah would not take a single decision without taking the permission of the Sraoshavarez. Yet the most important role which he would play in ensuring the future of Khshnoom will be explained later. All this would have remained untold had it not been for the smear campaign against Behramshah run in the Parsi papers years after he had passed away. Despite being of very advanced age, Bahmanshah Hakim came down to Mumbai and dictated his miraculous experiences to Seth Jehangir Chiniwalla, another ace disciple of Ustad Saheb and had the same printed in the Parsi Avaz paper. I have only very briefly taken some points from this article to give an idea to my readers as to the spiritual caliber of Bahmanshah Hakim. The many anecdotes and experiences he has written in this article may perhaps seem impossible and difficult to believe today but his inherent honesty and great humility shine out and prove what he was saying was absolutely true.

A true disciple to the end, Bahmanshah was present on the day Ustad Saheb passed away and it was Bahmanshah who gave the last bath with Taro to the body of Ustad Saheb and it was Bahmanshah who put the body on the stone slabs and finally performed the Sachkar and handed over the body to the Nasseh-salaars! What a life of devotion, prayer and miracles! Bahmanshah lived to a ripe old age and passed away on 9th March 1960, nearly 33 years after the death of Ustad Saheb. Let us pray one Ashem Vohu in the memory of this great soul and wish that the Ruvan of Behdin Bahmanshah Behdin Dosabhai progresses onwards and showers its blessings on our troubled community!

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram

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