The following is from: Lord Meher, p. 119 SHAHR-YAR MOONDEGAR IRANI
IN SUCH TROUBLED TIMES, Shahr-yar ((later changed to the familiar Sheriar -vshr)) Moondegar Irani was born in the town of Khooramshar, in the Zoroastrian community, on March 21st, 1853. Shahr-yar’s father, Moondegar, was a poor man like most Zoroastrians. For how could the Zoroastrians – who were considered kafirs – prosper in this land of religious strife? Moondegar’s job was that of a caretaker of the local Tower of Silence, the place where the Zoroastrians brought their dead to be devoured by vultures. It was a lowly job, but with his earnings he somehow managed to support his family of two sons and one daughter. Shahr-yar’s mother had died when he was only five years old and Moondegar was profoundly grieved by her passing.
Moondegar was not an orthodox Zoroastrian, nor was he a zealot. He had his own religious feelings and would participate in both Mohammedan and Zoroastrian festivals. It is said that he saw divinity in everyone – the soul in every man. Moondegar was an enigma to his Muslim neighbors because he was a devout follower of a Mohammedan saint – a wali-Allah – in Khooramshar, and was often seen going to this saint. Because of his devotion to this Mohammedan saint, Moondegar and his children were spared the more cruel blows of persecution that faced most of the Zoroastrian community.
Moondegar also practiced the tenets of his ancient faith and was an exceptionally good man who never neglected his paternal duty toward his children. It is said he considered the persecution at the hands of the Muslims as a means of spiritual self-effacement. Although poor, he constantly remembered God, and because of this he thought himself more fortunate than any wealthy person.
After his mother’s death, Shahr-yar was well cared for by his older sister, Piroja. Shahr-yar did not go to school but would accompany his father to the Tower of Silence each day, where he would play alone or muse with the spirits that hovered there. The young boy had a contemplative nature and this was where he would pray and meditate. In Persia at that time, only the children of the rich could obtain a formal education; there was no chance of admission in school to a poor Zoroastrian. …
So, according to the above, I misremembered when I wrote in the last post that Sheriar was initiated by a Muslim Sufi. It was his father, Meher Baba’s grandfather, Mundegar Irani, who had the formal initiation. What Sheriar had was initiation by “propinquity”* ((What was the name of Dobie Gillis’ girlfriend who had the propinquity shtick? Thelma? -vshr)) Sheriar was an ascetic character from birth, and he had spent his whole childhood in the presence of his saintly father who undoubtedly WAS properly initiated, at the Tower of Silence which was a sacred place. He didn’t need formal initiation. And the proof of that is the following incident, which got him generally recognized as a legitimate Sufi Dervish.
*propinquity – this is also the basis of my claim that Baba’s sister Manija S. Irani, who had a similar kind of childhood to the nth degree, was a bona fide Sufi Murshida. I know that because she transmitted to me. That means I’m still a valid Sufi, despite being thrown out of Sufism Reoriented by that pontificated clown, Dr. James S. B. MacKie.
The following is from: Lord Meher, p.121.
One day, the boy’s roamings brought him to the town of Bafte Badnyan. Exhausted and hungry, Shahr-yar approached a bakery, begging a loaf of bread for his evening meal. The baker was about to give him the bread when an older Muslim ascetic arrived, who would daily receive a loaf from the shop.
The baker looked at the emaciated boy with pity and then told the Muslim ascetic, “Today you will not get bread because I am giving your portion to your little brother.”
The older ascetic became incensed at being denied his alms and began quarreling with the shopkeeper, “I am a true fakir!” he shouted. “This boy is false. Are you really going to feed this rascal instead of me?”
“You get bread every day,” argued the baker. “Why are you grumbling if I give it once to a chance wanderer? He is such a young dervish.”
The older fakir gave Shahr-yar a contemptuous glance and then retorted, “You call this brat a dervish? You fool, I am a true fakir! This boy is nothing but a beggar!”
The heated quarrel went on while a crowd began to gather. At last the Muslim said, “If this boy is a real dervish who loves God and is not a hypocrite, I challenge him to answer my questions.”
Shahr-yar wanted to avoid a debate, and was ashamed of the fakir’s rude behavior, but the shopkeeper and others in the crowd urged him to accept the challenge, so a vigorous debate about God ensued. With sharp wit and keen intelligence, the boy replied to every question the fakir could pose, while the crowd cheered him on. The fakir, who had gotten the worst of it, was thoroughly embarrassed and finally retreated under a barrage of abuse from the crowd, while Shahr-yar was rewarded with a delicious supper. The boy had now become recognized as a Sufi dervish. ((My emphasis -vshr))
In other words, Sheriar Mundegar Irani, Meher Baba’s father, became a Sufi Dervish in exactly the same way that Buddhist monks became Dharma Masters, and lineage holders, throughout most of the history of Asian Buddhism – by defeating an opponent in a public debate, in an Asian populace which knew enough about Dharma to be able to see and immediately identify victory in such a debate.
Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!