AS THE DAYS went on, things became harder, and because of the intense heat, arduous physical labor and each man’s own strong personality, tempers would flare. To make the mandali gain more control of themselves, Baba stated the following two rules:
Each morning every member of the mandali should touch the feet of every other member and say, “You are my brother!” During the 24 hours of the day, if anyone expresses anger and speaks bitterly to anyone else, I should be informed immediately. I will then fall at the offender’s feet and salute him.
Barsoap, a Muslim, countered, “The first rule is against the shariat (customs) of my religion.”
But Baba explained, “This rule only requires the touching of the feet with both hands; there is no question of either bowing down or laying one’s head on another’s feet.” However, Barsoap insisted that it was against the shariat to touch the feet of another. So Baba instructed that, instead of touching the feet, Barsoap should shake hands with the other men.
Ramjoo was also a Muslim, and Baba then asked him, “Do you find any religious difficulty in following this?”
Ramjoo replied, “I do not consider the rules to be against the shariat, and I accept the first rule. But I will not report to you and allow you to touch my feet.”
Padri and Nervous also refused initially to abide by the second rule, but they agreed after Baba explained to them that it was his order.
Baba then called Ramjoo aside and told him, “You have done what Barsoap did. Accept my wish on principle and carry it out without the least hesitation. What shariat can exceed my wish? My wish is religion and my wish is shariat; and he who obeys it obeys the shariat and fulfills the tenets of his religion. Always be mindful of my wish regardless of anything else.”
Ramjoo explained, “But I would not like it if you touched my feet … I revere you.”
“Why do you talk about likes and dislikes?” Baba retorted, “You should like whatever I like. If you don’t follow my wish, how could you revere me? You cannot be a slave to your own wish and revere me at the same time.”
Ramjoo replied, “It will break my heart to see you touching my feet!”
Meher Baba answered, “And it will break my heart not to touch your feet!”
Ramjoo was quiet and could not say anything else. Baba then freed him from observing the second rule, telling him not to worry and to forget it.
Lord Meher, Original ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 2, pp. 617 – 618.