Sunday, December 9, 2012

Merwan as the Manager of a Theatrical Company

In 1916, after his God-realization by Hazrat Bababajan, but before he had fully come down to full gross consciousness, Meher Baba, still known as Merwan, was obliged to obey his mother and take a job with the Khatao Theatrical Company in Calcutta. His first job as the company's manager was to travel with the actors to Lahore in Northern India (now Pakistan). His duties for the Theatrical Co. included managing the costumes and props during the performances. This work led into the late night. During the day when the rest of the group was sleeping, he would rise early and quietly slip away to a deserted place, where he would bang his forehead against a flagstone for hours.

During this time Merwan was obliged to play the role of a businessman, dress in a suit and tie, eat rich food at restaurants and attend parties. The following photo is much like Baba may have looked during this period as manager of the Theatrical Company.

Merwan Irani dressed as a business man, 1922
See this clarification of date
Durring this period Merwan wrote to his brother Behram in Poona.
Dear Behramji,
Circumstances compel me to do things which I do not like to do. I am obliged to eat all sorts of things that I have no taste for and keep myself dressed in clothes I have no desire to wear. Oh God! What entanglements! What sort of bondage is this! (Lord Meher, p. 230)
In Infinite Intelligence, written about 10 years later, Baba used the analogy of a theatrical company to explain how sanskaras work. The analogy goes like this:
  • Theatrical company = subtle and gross universe. 
  • Owner of the company = Sanskaras
  • Part = subtle and gross form. 
  • Play = Life.
  • Acting = The experiencing of the fine impressions in subtle and gross form, i.e. the mind's taking subtle and gross experience through the subtle and gross body. 
  • Actor = Mind. 
  • Feelings of happiness, sorrow, etc. = Experience.
For more on Baba's analogy using the theatrical company, see Intelligence Notebooks, p. 160.

I find it distressing that Baba found the clothes that 'circumstances compelled him to wear' ones he had no desire to wear. So I have included a photo of Baba well-at-ease in the kinds of clothes he apparently preferred, and presumably eating the kinds of food he liked to eat (vegetarian rice and dal as I understand it), five years later after he had completed his 'coming down' to full gross consciousness through the help of his masters.

Meher Baba well-at-ease in his first ashram,
Manzil-e-Meem, Bombay, circa 1922

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