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JANUARY - MARCH,

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1998


Editor's Corner by Dina Snow

Jai Baba folks and a happy New Year to you all!

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s we were ready to go to press, yet another of The Beloved's close ones left us and joined Him. Minoo Bharucha finally got his wish and is merged in the Ocean of Love. We did not have the time nor space to print nearly as much as we would have liked to about Minoo, who was so very dear to so many people. There have been many stories posted on the Baba Listserv with people telling us personal anecdotes of times spent in his company; but there are approximately 360 people on the Listserv and probably a thousand or more who read the LampPost. So let's share your stories with all of us. We invite you to send in your fondest or funniest memories (for Minoo could be quite a card!) and any especially good photos you may have. We

will give Minoo his own spread in our April issue. But remember the deadline for submissions is February 8th. At this point we are not exactly sure just who will be doing the design and layout ofthat issue... David McNee1y (October '96, April '97 issues) will be in India, Tom Hart, (July and October '97 issues) will be either on his honeymoon or a very newlywed (and even I wouldn't ask him to spend 8 hours a night for three straight weeks working on the LampPost!) So that leaves Liz Gaskin, the Australian designer of the beautiful January issue you are now holding... It does seem that Baba has been giving these wonderful and talented people a baptism by fire for their frrst issue and then allows them to do the next issue and really enjoy it! If there are any other professionals out there very proficient in Adobe PageMaker, with the desire and the time on their hands, please contact us, we'd love to hear from you. Responding to our request in the last issue for your yearly donation, we have been getting some wonderful letters from many of our readers as they pop a check in the mail, telling us how much the LampPost means to them. Ten dollars will just cover costs, but many of you have sent $20, $30 and even $50. Thank you all so much!

The money is very important to our continued ability to publish, but far more than that, is the knowledge that this magazine means so much to you. It is a wonderful validation to the folk who put in so many hours (months!) putting it all together. As we go to press, we have received donations from 89 people. We have over 800 on our subscription list, so except for those who have sent a check within the past few months, we would really appreciate your help in our continued ability to bring you the Love Street LampPost. Don't forget to send us your jokes for the Humor for Huma page (a joke you would have told Baba if He had called upon you to entertain Him!) We are also looking for more of the marvellous Baba insights our very youngest Baba lovers have been saying. (As in 'Kids Say the Darndest Things!') Cynthia Barrientos is collecting them, so email heratCybar7@AOL.COM or send them to the Center here and we will forward them on to her. Remember-this is your magazine-what you send to us is what we can share"with our whole Baba family. Enjoy!

CALENDAR OF EVENTS Calendar of Events for Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California

FanoiMeetings Th~u mutingr art anJO/uJ 10 the discussion ofBelO'tltd Baha and b<gin 01 6:00pm.

All nJtnls, un/ell o/hiTWist noted, art held al the Cmltr: 1214 S. Van NmAv<. Lor Angdes, CA (213) 731-3737. MUlingr artfru anti open to the puhlic.Ifyou have ideas or re'fUests fir jUlure programs, conlacl Mah.. Charboni 01 (714) 725-9552

January 3rd, 17th, and 31st February 14th and 28th March 14th and 28th Coordinated by: Dr. Mahmoud Ajang.

Arti Join us at the 'Dome' 6:30pm every Saturday night to sing in Arti to Beloved Baha. Bring your favorite song to share.

Monday Meetings 'Lord MlhlT Readings. 'Drop into drink the nectar of Mcher Baba's divine love. Readings and discussion ofl..om Mcher, by Bhau Kalchuri. Coordinated by Fred Stankus. Begins at 7:30pm.

JANUARY January3rd

Saturday Meetings New Starting. Ending timeJor Saturday mutings!

My Lift wilh M<her Baba. Judy Stephens (Page) whose been

with Baba since the '60's and is a current resident of India will be sharing stories ofher life with Meher Baba. Saturday 7:00pm. January 10th CUlla Night. Come to Fred and GiGi's famous Gutta night for an evening offun, food, high spiritual humor, and friends, all focused on Beloved Baba. Saturday 7:00pm. January 17th In the PrlUnct oj/he BlIDfJuJ. Tonight our dear Marguerite Poley continues the fascinating story of her life and the circumstances that led to her meeting Mcher Baba. We arc fortunate to have so many in OUT midst who actually met Baba. Saturday 7:00pm.

By request Saturday meetings will start at 7:00pm sharp and end by 9:00pm. FEBRUARY February 7th Living in Indiafrom 1974101979. Come and hear of Vesta

MARCH

Clinton's life with Mchera and of her work at the Mcher Free Dispensary in Meherazad. Saturday 7:00pm.

March 7th DinnaAuction night. Tonight the Center's Annual Dinner Auction will be held at Mehcrabode. This is going to be a very fun evening, so make your reservation early. I,ook for a registration packet in the mai1. Saturday. The time win be announced later.

February 14th Baha, You ar~ my Va'~ntin~. Come celebrate Valentine's night with the Ocean oflovc, Meher Baba. Music, Games, Poetry, unseen Baba films, and lots of fun. Ilosted by Dina Snow. Saturday 7:00pm. February 21st A D</ightfUl Evening 'Wilh M<her Baho, Inlimat< Family.

January 24th &tUT1lurfrom India. Tonight our pilgrims having recently returned from the 'I lome Sweet Ilomc' Mchcrabad and

Rejoice in Baba's life tonight with our dear guests 路Francy Irani'(Baba's sister-in-law) and her daughter Shireen Bonner (Baba's niece). Saturday 7:00pm.

Mehera>.ad, come to share news and untold stories. Saturday 7:00pm.

February 25th 104lh Birthday o['The E'fJ<T Living Perj<cl 0.<.' A glorious

January 30th AmorJilhi. Tonight we mark the passing of the one who never dies, Beloved Avatar Meher Baba. Special guest Thorn Fonson, who has worked on the restoration of the Samadhi, will be sharing his stories along with slides. Ilosted by Pat Griffin Friday 7:00pm.

celebration of Meher Baba's life through Readings, Poetry, Music and Dance. Special guests Francy Irani, Shircen Bonner and ever-charming Jack Small singing. Wednesday 7:00pm.

March 21st M<her Babo and Hollywood, ParllL Join us for a lovely talk by Jeff Maguire about1934 trip and Meher Bab"s Film PmjecL

Mareb22nd Th< Hollywood Tour. Join us in a tour of Iiollywood sites visited by Meher Baba in the '30's and '50',. Coordinated by our sweet Billy Goodrum. Sunday 12:oopm.

February 28th Add<, Babo Treasurer. Adele Wolkin, who met Meher Baba

January 31st Amar/;/hi Film Night. Come to film night and sec our Beloved's radiant human form on film. I losted by Charlie Morton. Saturday 7:00pm.

Mareb 14th Prrsian Nn禄 Y~ar. Ring in the Persian new year. Special guest, Dr. Ghafari from Northern California will talk about Meher Baba 'In.e One in the many.' Stories, Dance, Music and refreshments. Saturday 7:00pm.

in 1952, has accumulated a vast collection of photographs, cables and countless other Baba treasures. Tonight she continues to share her archives. Ilosted by Fred Stankus. Saturday 7:00pm.

March 28th Th~Jok~lon Us. Meher Baba says "I,ife isa jest." Come and share your funny Baba stories from your life with the 'Wryest ofthe Wry.' Moderated by Mitchel Rose. Saturday 7:00pm.


A publication ofthe Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California

£oveStreet ,LamtfPost' w-elcoll1e The £oveStreet £amtflbs~ is dedicated with love to Avatar Meher Baba. Its primary purpose is to contribute to a sense of community among all His lovers by providing a place for sharing His remembrance. All members ofthe Baba family are invited to contribute to this feast of Love. Your stories, photos, art work, poetry, letters, articles, and humor are all actively solicited. We seek expressions of Baba's message of Love and Truth. Please submit your text on computer disks if possible (in any software format); typewritten copy on white paper is also acceptable. Be sure to clearly identify all submissions and properly credit every quote or reference.

submissions, subscriptions, donations: Love Street LampPost Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California 1214 South Van Ness Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90019-3520 phone (213) 731-3737 e-mail Bababooks@ao1.com

deadlines for submissions: Jan-Mar issue Apr-Jun issue Jul-Sep issue Oct-Dec issue

: November 8 th : February 8th : May 8 th : Aug 8th

Love Street Bookstore: Dina Snow (at the addresses above) (310) 837-6419 between 7:00 and 11:00pm (310) 839-BABA (2222) 24-bour fax or e-mail Bababooks@ao1.com

Love Street LampPost: editor art direction design and layout digital scanning distribution

: Dina Snow : Avatar Meher Baba : Liz Gaskin : Thomas Hart : Chris Lyttle and Don Douglas

features: Meher Baba Meher Baba on Prayer EruchJessawala Eruch on the Master at Prayer Bhau Kalchuri You Alone Exist Meher Baba A Ghazal M K Shubat-Hage, L Berry & A Wolkin Dana Field Jamie Newell Minoo Bharucha Meher Baba Meher Baba on Worry Meher Baba 1965 Birthday Message

,LoveStred'£am:flbst'

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special features: The New Life Sahavas at Meherana Dina Snow Fifty Years with Meher Baba Marguerite Poley Anne Makeig A O1ll1t for Baba A Wedding at Meherabode Pamela Wolfe Linda Zavala Roshan Kerawala's Story, part II Little Ways of Letting Us Know Jane Barry Haynes I Won't Hold Back Life Gabriella Tal How It All Happened Ward Parks Pictorial Festival of the Arts at Meherabode Dear Baba-farnily, Jai Baba! (A Letter from the Trust) Bhau Kalchuri An Invitation to Avatar's Abode 40th Anniversary in June, 1998

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: ; : : : : : : : '

miscellaneous: Monkey Mind Takes Darshan Jamie Newell at Meherana

Steve Klein Dina Snow

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Dina Snow Mahoo Ghorbani Marguerite Poley various contributors various contributors Dina Snow Michael Ramsden ,

.. .. . . . .. . .

Heather Nadel Michael Ivey

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Steven Goodman

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departments: Editor's Corner Calendar of Events Humor for Huma Notes from the Internet Children's Corner The Love Street Bookstore Center Report Announcements (Meetings, Weddings, etc)

reVIews: The Samadhi-Star oJInfinity The Samadhi-Star oJInfinity A View oj God-Meher Baba

credits: The is published quarterly, in January, April,July, and October, All contents © 1997, Avatar Meher Baba Center ofSouthem California. All quotations ofAvatar Meher Baba or books, © AM BPPCT, India.

. . . J J J

Cover: Panday Back cover: Panday Photos: See page 2 All other words, images, and graphics in this publication are property of their respective copyright holders. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited by law.


Meher Baba on Prayer [There has been much discussion-pro and con-regarding prayers. Some people want the threeprayers Baba gave us saidat every meeting, others would rather not say them in unison with the group, butprefer them to be something very private between Baba and themselves, to be said at home or whenever the mood strikes them. Here at Meherabode we attempted to make everybody happy by having Arti heldseparately in Baba's Room in the Dome. So those who love to be apart ofa large group allpraying together to the Beloved, and singing His songs ofpraise, assemble in the Dome at tpm before the Saturday night's program starts. One of our Saturday programs was hosted by a member who expressed concern at the development of ''Baba-ism''-feeling that the worship of Meher Baba was becoming too ritualistic. There was concern by many that the spontaneous expression oflove we feel for our Beloved was in danger ofturning into a religion with all the attendant rites and ceremonies. Yet Baba repeatedly told us He had come to do away with such things. But He also stressed the importance ofprayers, telling us what was the right way to pray, andjust what constituted a goodprayer. Ed . Following is a selection of The Avatar's words on this subject.]

Prayer as Inner Approach by Meher Baba

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or most persons, the outer ceremonies and rituals prevalent in the diverse religions are the established approach to God and Divinity. They are regarded as indispensable. However, they are neither essential nor necessary, though at times they have been allowed or given by Masters byway ofinevitable accommodation to human weakness. They may also be practiced with benefit when they are thus allowed or given by a Master, but only during the period for which they have been prescribed, and in the context in which they are intended to be given effect. They have

no lasting value nor can they be made eternally binding. They were never essential or indispensable; they are never essential or indispensable; and they will never be essential or indispensable. Let us take for example the stern discipline and fasts associated with Ramadan. No doubt they serve some spiritual purpose. But one way of looking upon it is to regard them as a sort of compulsory rationing of food and water in those areas where they were rare, and where such control was necessary in the interest of society. It is not necessary to convert the instructions of the Prophet into inflexible and eternal rules ofdiscipline. In the context in which they were given they served both material and spiritual purpose. What constitutes the essence of prayer? Many prayers to God are current among the lovers ofGod, arising as they do from diverse cultural contexts. Some of the prayers invariably contain an element of asking something from God, either material or spiritual. In fact, God is so merciful and bountiful that even without their asking He always gives much more than His lovers can receive. He knows their needs more deeply than they do. Therefore the element of asking something from God is superfluous. It often mars the inner love and worship which a prayer tries to express. The ideal prayer to the Lord is nothing more than spontaneous praise ofHis being. You praise Him, not in the spirit of bargain but in the spirit of self-forgetful appreciation ofwhat He really is. You praise Him because He is praiseworthy. Your praise is a spontaneous appreciative response to His true being, as infinite light, infinite power and infinite bliss. It is futile to attempt a standard prayer and hold it up as an ideal for all people of all times. The glory of the Almighty transcends all human understanding and defies all verbal descriptions. Eternally fresh and selfrenewing in its unlimited amplitude, it never fades. Nor is it ever confined within the limits of the best of hymns.

The ritualistic and repetitive expressions ofprayer do not and cannot do justice to the innermost essence of prayer, which is adoring love for the eternal Beloved. To attempt to standardize prayer is to mar its intrinsic beauty. If you pray with a motive to do good to some one, your prayer may actually bring about good both to him and to yourself. Some people pray for the spiritual benefit of those who have done them some wrong. There also, they are helping others spiritually. But all prayers with a motive fall short of the ideal prayer which is without motive. In the entire spiritual panorama of the universe nothing is more sublime than a spontaneous prayer. It gushes out of the human heart, filled with appreciative joy. It is self expression of the freed spirit without any actuation of a motive. In its highest form, prayer leaves no room for the illusory diarchy of the lover and the Beloved. It is a return to one's own being. From BEAMS FROM MEHER BABA, by Meher Baba,pages 72-76, Š 1958 by Sufism Reoriented, Inc., USA.


Eruch on The Master at Prayer

LIFELESS FORMS

Adapted from recordings by Tim Owens at Meherazad, 1980.

CEREMONIES

Q. What about the prayers Baba has given-can you tell us about the circumstances under which they were initially given and any significance they might have that we might not know? A: Regarding the circumstances surrounding the prayers given by Baba, He has given us many prayers besides the ones you read about or recite, such as the Master's Prayer first given to us in Gujerati language on 20th August, 1953, at Dehra Dun, and the Prayer of Repentance, which was given to us earlier. I have a prayer book with me of prayers given to us by Baba, which He wanted us to recite before Him time and time again. These prayers are all new to you. There was nothing particular about the situations which led Baba to dictate these two prayers; when He gave out the Prayer of Repentance and the Universal Prayer, it appeared a simple and natural thing for Baba to dictate something. The Lord gets a whim, He says, 'Come, take dictation.' He dictates the prayers, and the prayer then becomes universal. People love it, recite it. In the same way, when He first gave the Repentance Prayer, He would say, 'Come now, recite this.' So we recite it, and that's all. Now we find so many Baba lovers reciting the Prayers, and many knowing them by heart. Q. When He gave these prayers, did He just rattle them off, perfectly composed, or were they revised? A: When a prayer was given by Him, it remained a prayer. Some words were in Gujerati, Urdu, some in Hindi or Persian, most in English. Then we'd do a little dressing-up in English and read it out to Baba, and He'd approve what He had dictated. He also inspired the ones who would do the dressing-up. The whole thing was 'rattled out' in the first place, given quite spontaneously. Q. Without a stop? A: Yes.

AND

by Meher Baba

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ften the aspirant is concerned in the early phases of his awakening by his attitude towards established religions and their rituals. All ofthese have a tendency to encourage the spirit oflove and worship, and as such they help to a limited extent in wearing out the ego-shell in which human consciousness is caught. But ifthey are followed unintelligently and mechanically, the inner spirit oflove and worship dries up. Then they harden the ego-shell instead ofwearing it out. Rituals and ceremonies cannot carry one very far towards the path, and if they are unintelligently followed they bind as much as any other unintelligent action. In fact, when they are deprived of all inner life they are in a sense more dangerous than other unintelligent action, because they are pursued in the belief that they help towards God-realization. Due to this element ofself-delusion, lifeless forms and ceremonies become a sidetrack to the. path. Through mere force ofhabit one can become so attached to these external forms that intense suffering may be required to dispel their imaginary value.

liSTEN, HUMAMTY, ed D. E. Stevens, p. 176 Š 1982 AMBPPCT

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hen we were on The New Life, He gave us this prayer and told us to recite it every evening: Yesterday passed somehowToday passes by this wayWho cares for tomorrow? Or, colloquially, to hell with tomorrow! Then He tells us, this is our prayer; He wants us to say: 'I'm not the body, I'm not the mind, I'm not this, I'm not that, I'm nothing but the living lie of that Truth that is me; and unless the lie is dead the truth cannot live. (be known). This is the poem read out at 6:45 p.m. 7th October, 1953. It is the occasion when He gave up the alphabet board. It is the last thing He dictated on the board: o Sai Baba, 0 Upasni Maharaj, 0 Babajan, 0 Tajuddin Baba, 0 Narayan Maharaj,You the five-in-One and the Onein-five, the divine Beings representing the Absolute One! I bow down to You in perfect

homage. It is due to you five Men-gods that I am what I am, the Ancient One, the Everlasting One. May the Beloved God with whom You five are one, for whom you five are working universally, give me in your N ames, the strength, the power and the wisdom to fulfil all that I have taken this form for, and see that what all I have declared at the last Meherabad meeting comes to pass. 1 now give up using the board, it being my gesture before God for breaking My Silence soon. The Prayer for Baba's lovers and mandali was dictated by Baba on 25th August, 1959 at Meherazad:

Beloved God, help us all to love You more and more and more and more and stillyet more, until we hecome worthy of union with You; and help us all to holdfast to Bahas daaman till the very end. (continued on next page)


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ne thing you should remember, whenever Baba expressed His desire that we should collect ourselves and gather for prayers, it was a serious and solemn affair. We still have that water pot and that blue basin here in Mandali Hall with which He used to wash His hands and face before the prayers. He would not only participate with us in the prayers, but prepare Himself for such prayers. He didn't say anything to us, that we should keep prepared for prayers; but knowing His ways and how He would want us to keep clean and tidy for prayers, we also remained prepared, not knowing when He would ask us to recite the prayers. We would keep our feet ready, washed and clean, for who knows when He would want us to put our foot forward for Him to bow down to; with the God-man putting His head on our feet, we couldn't stand around dirty or with wet feet! We had to keep ourselves clean and prepared for all such occasions. But many times, we were caught unawares; then He would say, 'It's all right, it doesn't matter.' He would be the first one who kept Himself prepared for the prayers, after having washed His hands and splashed water on His face, and after properly drying His face and hands with a napkin He would call the rest of the mandali in His presence. He wouldn't want anybody to miss the occasion. He wanted all His mandali around Him at the time of prayers; then He'd start. He would stand up and gesture, "Say the prayer." Naturally, in the beginning, we had read it out-the Master's Prayer. It came to my lot to read the prayer aloud while all would remain silent. All present had to be silent, while anyone person would recite or read the prayer. Baba would stand up and remain standing during the whole prayer, and all of us would be standing around Him in a circle. He remained the central figure, either here or at Guruprasad or anywhere in the country, wherever He chose to pray. At the time ofreading aloud the Master's Prayer, I once felt that Baba would want me to recite it instead ofreading it out. So I tried to learn it by heart; also in case no prayer book was available. I felt confident that I could now do away with the book, when Baba called as usual for the prayer book I replied, 'Baba, I have learnt it by heart.' 'So you learned the Prayer?' 'Yes, Baba.' 'Good, recite.' '0 Parvardigar, the Preserver and Protector of...??!'

"The idealprayer to the Lord is nothing more than spontaneous praise ofHis heing." I couldn't even remember a word beyond this. So Baba waited for a while, and I tried again. Eventually, He gestured, 'Go get the book.' Never again did I attempt to recite it by heart. I always read the Prayer in front of Him. To this day, I don't know any of the prayers by heart. So I had to read them out from the prayer book every time He asked for the prayers. All would be there. Baba would join His hands and stand as one of us in our midst, and His look and His gaze would be of one deep in the act ofadoration, totally absorbed, participating in the prayers. The God-man participating in the prayers means He is totally absorbed in the prayers He has given humanity. He becomes one of us and He stands with folded hands, with all attention, adoration and reverence on behalf of His loved ones. After the prayer ended, with 'You are named Ezad-the only One worthy of worship,' He would bow down in the act of worship. Mter a minute of this, Baba would want the prayer to be followed by the Prayer of Repentance. Everyone would be in readiness as I would begin to read out 'We repent, 0 God most merciful...' His gesture for Repentance was that He would begin to softly slap His cheeks with both hands. Now this is the gesture denoting repentance (Eruch slaps his cheeks). It's not just this...patting your cheeks. Among the worshippers, may they be Muslims, Hindus or Zoroastrians, while the prayer for repentance is being said it is customary for one to slap one's cheeks with both hands while saying 'I repent..., I repent...' The mandali were there with Baba for the prayer but He didn't want the mandali to slap their cheeks as a mark of repentance, because it

was He who did it on our behalf We could hear Him constantly slapping His cheeks during the entire prayer, but this was not at all disturbing as He slapped softly but audibly. Once Baba guided me to say at the end of this prayer, 'Amen'; so I do it every time I end the prayer. The sequel to the Prayer of Repentance in the presence of Baba was very thought provoking. This is how it was: He would sit down in Mandali Hall after the prayer on His chair, and some sort of a high footstool would be improvised in front ofBaba, so that He could easily bend down while sitting and place His forehead on the foot of the mandali. He would gesture, 'Put your right foot here. At the moment of contact, when My forehead touches you, you call out aloud one name ofGod that is dear to you, as many times as My forehead touches your foot.' So Zoroastrians used to call out 'Ahura Mazda' at the moment of contact. 'Ahura Mazda' would be heard by the rest of the mandali each time Baba made contact. It might be six or seven times-we wouldn't know the number of times He'd wa.nt to do it. The Muslims said 'Allah' aloud at the moment of contact. Christians called out 'God the Beyond'. And some called out 'Parvardigar. 'The Iranis called out 'Yezdan' The Sikhs were heard saying 'Wahi-Guru,' which means God in the Beyond Beyond State. We were a cosmopolitan group around Baba. It would not be a crowd, but just a few mandali-about ten, eleven or twelve of us around Him, that's all, but we were a cosmopolitan group! So this would happen, day after day. Sometimes it would be a daily affair and then sometimes there would not be such prayers for months at a time. There was no set schedule, no such things as a daily repetition. Yet, ifit was His pleasure, you had to present yourself at the time of the call to prayer, when you had to leave everything and be in attendance. In later years-in 1968-when His health was visibly deteriorating, going from bad to worse, He ordered the prayers to be read out daily. He was in seclusion, and all we could hear, all the time, was a sort of thumping noise, as He pounded His thighs with His fist, especially His right thigh, continually. There was no elasticity left in His thighs - they were just like logs ofwood. There was nothing much left of His legs, as


the muscles of the thighs had lost elasticity and had become solid lumps-having no weight-bearing capacity. At the time of the prayers, Baba would ask someone to help Him stand up, because one must stand up for prayers; and He said He had to participate in the prayers. So He started with one person helping Him stand up. Then I would begin to read the prayers. Often He would gesture, 'Let's finish it off , soon. Now the prayer He had dictated for humanity is meant for human beings to say with all their heart and soul, so you can't rush through any prayer, much less the Master's Prayer. Yet, the author, while He participates as one of humanity, says 'Finish it off s.oon!' So naturally I say it out a little bit more rapidly, knowing that His health condition does not permit him to stand up for a longer time. Then as months passed, it wasn't possible for Him to stand alone; someone had to hold Him. And all the time, He remained standing with hands folded and joined like this (Eruch demonstrates). The time came when He gestured 'Read it faster.' So I read the prayer faster and more rapidly each day. Then two people had to hold Him, and He looked as if He wasn't there with usfaraway, somewhere else... but He continued to participate as solemnly as ever before. Then He'd say, snap-snapping His fingers, 'Hurry up, hurry up, read it fasted' Later on, at the very end ofthis period, I'd read it very, very rapidly, skipping periods, commas, and so on. One day it came to such a pitch, when He gestured 'Do it-snap!-fast! I can't stand up any longer!' I rattled offthe prayer at such high speed that it echoed in my mind as if I were an express train, going through a station without any stops! I'm in the midst of reading like this, all of a sudden I burst out laughing, because it was so ridiculous to me to pray like that! I could hear my own voice echoing as if I were rattling through all the stations. The picture came to me ofa speeding express train, and I laughed loudly, halfway through the prayer. Then I controlled myself and resumed my reading of the prayer. Baba didn't say anything, He just stood there; everyone around me was serious. Mter the prayer ended, He sat down in His chair. Everything was done as usual. He bowed down to each one of us. Everything was

crhe Christian ~ayer 6y!}£vatarJieherJJ3aba <fn thename.l!Jt6e:father, anal!Jthe ..son, and"rfthec'ffO~ (j6ost: o ~dirHear myyrayer andtetmy cry come unto f1".hee; erhOU who art the fjoa rf the fjo" theyather.!Jf6nfghty, the :father e.verCasting!

o fjodi.9!{m{qhty :rather! erhe.J:e..,rrfl!J..I.!!!as! erhe ~4~S! .9f{{the earth aoth worshfp erhee. er0 erhee a{{angefs, to erhee the heavens anaa{(powers, erOerhee arrsaints. anaa{{6eings with unceasing voice £0 cry: er6eetfo~!erheetfo§!l!JrtfOlies!

J'uffare the heavem anat6e earth, Cftlie. Jd'!Jesty efcr6y fj{ory. erhou the fjCorious! erhouthe e.xaUeaejJufjjence; erhou the !l:!aisewort6yin theassem6fage efthe ~l!J'hets; a"hoU the Ce{estia{fJ3eauty! erhouart the e.terna{..song iftbyCovers. erhou who are ack.now{~ed; yraiseaanaworshjppea throughout tbewon"in arrChurches,..synagogues,JI.!osques, et:emyfesana ~oaa5: ero erhee tfmost hum6§! 60w dOwn. erhou efCUn60unaeaJd'!Jestyrerhou art tlie J'ather eftbe Creation; e:t'hy cTrue..9faora6fe ana011§! fl3egotten ..son, et'be christ, et'hou art the ~ cf fjtOry, tbe ..saviour efJdankind;tbe.9fncient one, the cH{qhest ifthe cH{qb! b christ! et'heJrtessiah!

et'hou e!fthe yather e.verfasting are the ..son e,ver{asting: et'hou 0 JdostJdercjfu{.J:e..,rrii 6astak.en f!}1onet'6ee to deliver manftom 60naage-ro e.tema{fjCory:

o .erbegncJentOne! er6e ,¥emer!

et"hoU, 6avingfirstovercomethe sting rf {qnorance" d1dSt open to arrtbe ~£om l!J fl3liss, ~wfetfgeana~wer! <fmost 6umb§!yraise erhee,O my fjodi <f mostJirm§! acfnowfetfge erhee, 0 my fjodi o my..sou(efoSou{i <fbeGeve in erhee, 6ecause et'hou art et'rut6 <ftseff, <fworshfp et'hee, 0 cH{qhest rft6e cH{q6;6ecause cr60u art the on§! one worthyef.9faoration; <flove et'6eea6ave arrthings anabeings! because et'hou art~eWivine rftseff, <fbeseech et'hte, because et'60u art <ftseff; 1t!ffer tt'bee affmythoughts, woras atufactions,mysr#Jeringsanamyjoys, 6ecause·et'hou art the on~ fl3elOvedi

*eny

rrtlierifore6eseec6 crhte, my fjodi 4!!lef~as! crhe("ff{q6est efthe('J£{qh! et'he.9fncient One! ero bave mercy on me, accordlngto et:6y QInbounMJdercy, anafer my cry come:-unto et'6ee:

o myfl3eCoveJ! 6'1fferme not t06estgiarateaftom t1f6eejOr ever anaever! J7{men!

THE GOD-MAN, CB. Purdom pp 236-237

finished and we settled down. Mter a while, He asked 'What made you laugh? What made you do that in that Prayer?' So I said, 'It happened uncontrollably, because I could hear my own voice rushing through the whole prayer. It appeared to me I'm a railroad train rattling through all the stations without stopping, without caring for passengers. It was so ridiculous that I burst out laughing.' He gestured, 'You're mad! You have no idea what is happening here. To you it seems ridiculous. For me it is no joke in this state of My health, to participate in this prayer. I

have given it to humanity, to posterity, to say it. And, whenever anyone recites it after I pass away, because ofMy participation now, it will help the one who repeats this prayer. So that is why I want the prayer said; it has nothing to do with your speed or how you read it out, or anything of this sort. All that matters is My having participated in the prayer. So every time anybody repeats the prayer, I am there with him, My presence is there.'


"OM Parabrahma-Paramatma," "Ya-Yazdan, La ilaha illallah," "0 God, Father in Heaven!"

The Prayer

of Repentance We repent, 0 God Most Merciful; for all our sins; for every thought that was false or unjust or unclean; for every word spoken that ought not to have been spoken; for every deed done that ought not to have been done. We repent for every deed and word and thought inspired by selfishness, and for every deed and word and thought inspired by hatred. We repent most specially for every lustful thought and every lustful action; for every lie; for all hypocrisy; for every promise given but not fulfilled, and for all slander and backbiting. Most specially also, we repent for every action that has brought ruin to others; for every word and deed that has given others pain; and for every wish that pain should befall others. In your unbounded mercy! We ask you to forgive us, 0 God! for all these sins committed by us, and to forgive us for our constant failures to think and speak and act according to Your Will.

[This prayer was dictated by Meher Baba in 1952]

[From an interview with Bhau Kalchuri by Ward Parks about the writing of the "You Alone Exist" prayer (see page 9), originallyprinted in The Meherana Messenger. Reprinted by permission.]

O

ne day Baba told me a prayer ought to be included in the book He was having me write- The Nothing and the Everything, and He told me to compose it. Now in 1960 Baba had given me a line of poetry, and I had kept it unused. But when Baba told me to compose the prayer, I remembered that line and wrote six couplets to go with it. The next evening when I went for night watch, Baba asked me, "Did you finish the prayer?" "Yes, Baba." "Then bring it." So I brought the couplets and read them out. Baba was in a very good mood, and when He heard what I had written, He Himself began to compose, drumming His thighs as He did so. In the end the poem included 28 couplets, ofwhich I had actually composed only six and Baba the rest. But Baba inserted my name in the final couplet, as if I had written the whole thing. This is the prayer entitled: "You Alone Exist." When we were staying at Guruprasad in Poona during the summer months, Baba had His nephew Shiroo sing this prayer out before His lovers who had come for darshan. At the time I was upstairs doing more work

on the book. At three o'clock when I came down for my usual evening session with Baba, some one was laughing at me. "What happened?" I asked, "Why do you laugh?" "What kind of prayer have you written?" he replied, "You are a pig,"You are a stone,"You are a mosquito.' Is this how one prays?" I did not reply, but when I came to Baba, I broached the subject "Baba," I asked, "should I change this prayer?" "Change?" Baba gestured in surprise, "Why do you want to change it?" "I will use better words", I said. "Pig, gnat, mosquito-these aren't good words in referring to God." "Listen to me," Baba replied. "You have no idea about the importance of this prayer. It is the only prayer which conveys the allpervading nature ofGod. God is in the good and God is also in the bad. Don't change a single word. You have no idea: in the future this prayer will be recited in every house." So I kept the prayer as it was. But later, when Baba had dropped His body and pilgrims were coming to Meherazad, I told a pilgrim about the prayer; and he told others, saying, "Bhau has a very sublime prayer composed by Baba Himself." And when the man who had been laughing at me heard this, he said, "Yes, this prayer is really sublime." And I thought to myself, this is the very man who was laughing at me, and now he praises the prayer for its sublimity. But I said nothing.

[Theftllowing is taken from a tape ofEruch giving a talk on Prayers, recorded Nov 7,1977}

About prayers, Baba has always said: "Pray. It is good to pray. But the prayer that reaches Me is not a long list of your wants: That will never reach Me, but just say My name. Even if it be just My name, it will reach Me. But then, mans heart is such, when it pours out, it pours out in many words. So let those words help you to glorifY Me, and even if there is a long, long list of all the glories that you attribute to Me, that will reach Me. But when you pray asking me for something, that prayer does not reach Me. But ifyou ask Me and don't expect an answer, then that reaches me, too." Sometimes we follow Him the way that He wants us to, and sometimes we make Him follow us, and that's where the trap is... religions crop up, dogmas form, churches, temples and mosques are built, trying to edify Him. But we forget Him and adore the mansion of the Lord. As Baba Himself has put it, very humorously, You pray, you pray with great devotion, but you pour your devotion into the prayer and you forget the Lord to Whom you pray. You remember the prayer and forget the Lord!"


You Alone Exist A Prayer by Meher Baba and Bhau Kalchuri

o

h priceless treasure of Knowledge! You are within and without, and You are the Ocean of Mercy. You are in all the worlds; You are the Ocean of attributes! Oh Meher God-Incarnate, You alone exist! You are Yezdan. You are Ezad. You are Allah and Ishwar. You are Ram and You are Buddha. You are Beloved Lord Krishna Who with one finger lifted the mountain; You alone exist! You are the Beyond God and the Beyond-Beyond God also. Oh Ocean of Kindness, You alone exist. You are Mohammed, You are Perfection Personified; You are Knowledge Itself, and You alone Exist. You live in everyone and You are everyone. Oh Beloved, You are the Enlightened One, and You alone exist. You are with attributes and without attributes! You are the sole player in the divine game. You alone exist. You are matchless, the Only One! You reside in every heart, and You alone exist. You are eternally motionless, and immovable is Your abode. You are the Highest, for You alone exist. You are the Doer, the deed, and the cause of doing! The sustainer You are, and the Master of Masters. You alone exist. You are the seeker, the worship and the Sadhana. Oh Meher, God-Incarnate, You alone exist! You are in front and behind, You are above and below, o Lord, You live in every house, and You alone exist. You are beyond Beyond. yet You remain within everyone. You are All-Pervading, and You alone exist. You are in each neighborhood. You are the Sustainer. You Yourself are all worlds, and You alone exist. Everywhere, whether above or below You are complete; You alone exist. You are unseen, yet seen also. You live in everyone forgiving each his sins. You alone exist.

There is no one without You! You are manifesting and unmanifest as You alone exist. You are man. You are birds. You are fish and animals, for You alone exist. You are bugs and gnats, You are snakes and scorpions. You are ants and mosquitoes, for You alone exist. You are insects. You are lice. You are dogs, asses and pigs. You alone exist. You are deer and elephants: You are cats and monkeys; You alone exist. You are the moon and the stars, the dawn and the night. and the sun and also the light. You alone exist. You are wind and water, and the animals of the water; You alone exist. You are silver and gold, You are copper and iron, You are brass and stone; You alone exist You are tea and coffee, and the sugar also; You alone exist. You are paper and the book, You are the school and office; You alone exist. You are pen and ink and You are the gifted writer. You alone exist. You are the door and window. You are the marble floor; You alone exist. You are the medicine and the disease and the doctor also; You alone exist. You are the game and the player and the spectator. also; You alone exist. You are the flower and the thorn, and You are the fragrance. You alone exist. You are the singer. You are the musical instrument. You are the sweet tunes, for You alone exist. You are the prayer and the words of the prayer. You are the forces of evil and the powers of light. You alone exist. You are the soldier, the army and the Supreme General. You alone exist. You are the sailor the ship, and the wide Ocean; You alone exist!

You are the storm's turbulence and the tranquil waters. You are the Pearl and You are the shell. You alone exist. You are the shore, the ferryman and the Sea also, for You alone exist. You are the beggar the giver and the charity; You alone exist. You are the slave and the Lord; You are the Beyond God. You are God. You alone exist. You are Mother and Father; You are Master, brother and friend. You are family and relatives; You alone exist. There is no one besides You! Eternally You are, for You alone exist! You are Pran and You are heart You are also the Beloved of the heart; You alone exist. You are the Beloved and the Lover, and You are the nectar of Love as You alone exist! You are breath and life itself. Our minds are enthralled by Your beauty! For You alone exist! You are the house. You are the inhabitants and the bricks and furnishings. You alone exist. You are the worshipper his worship, and the One worshipped, as You alone exist. You are Consciousness and the Way to Consciousness! Oh Meher, God-Incarnate, You alone exist! You are Khwaja, You are Qytub! You are Pir and Qalandar! You alone exist. You are Hafiz, You are Sanai! You are Dara and Alexander! You alone exist You are Jesus Christ! You are Elahi! You are the Ocean, infinite and pure; You alone exist. You are the Koran and the One who prays! You are Vali, and You are the Messenger, You alone exist. You are the Beginning and You are the End. You are also beyond the Beginning and beyond the End. You alone exist. You are infinitely beautiful and infmitely close! Oh Meher, God-Incarnate, You alone exist! You are Brahma and You are Vishnu; You are the guileless Shankar. You alone exist! Bhau says "0 Beloved Meher You are The Word and You are The Letter! You alone exist!"


A Ghazal by Meher Baba This world exists; but is not your final abode. Turn your face toward God. How long will you live in this transient world? It is a testing ground of virtue and vice for you to experience. Slacken not your effort in worshipping God; look upon every breath as your last. You know not what will happen tomorrow; so be prepared today for the future. Conditions in the world have not changed but marvelous have been the visitors to this world. From the garden of this world have departed millions of beings like nightingales; hundreds of thousands more will come and go. Atma, the Soul, is one; varied are the bodies indeed like the many sons of one Father cherished. Behold there, on the meadow of love, many a rider of variegated colors flourishes. Avatar Meher Baba

P

rayer to God or Avatar is like a spiritual shield and is indispensable for the protection of our mischievous mind; from where our thoughts originate, thoughts are turned into action and from where our decisions and responses originate. So we know that our mind is the main arena of our daily battle, more so in case of the persons spiritually inclined where spiritual battle is fought every moment of one's life and the battle has to be faced and protected with the shield of one's prayer to the Lord and seek His unfailing help to take up right decisions, give correct responses, bring good thoughts in and act accordingly. In this regard, a small prayer is suggested"Take my hand LORD, And lead me through each day, step by step, and Remind me that, I cannot do everything I wish, Nor do any of it perfectly. Only You are perfect, and with Your help, I can do my best, Help me to remember to ask for that help." From MUCH LOVE, by T.K Ramanujam "Anuj," Š 1994 by Avatar Meher Baba InfOrmation, Madras, India.

Without adversity there is no rest. In hardship and sorrow be grateful and at peace. In distress, always keep content; have patience and at all times be at ease. Continuously washing your clothes is a waste of time; instead, purify your heart with the thought of God divine. Behold, at the feet of one God in form, every moment hundreds of souls lie in sacrifice. Do not take forbidden intoxicants; better to live a life of honor and esteem. Learn to live in the unique intoxication of the early morning love of God. God is matcWess, one in all! See Him in your heart. See Him also as the God manifest, the God concealed, the God within you and the God without. Man, in your boast you lost the status of an angel, pride has reduced you to a devil. Oh Huma, in this world of passing show, behold, like you, such innumerable players come and go. -Meher Baba. Written in the early 1920's. From LORD MEHER, Volume Two, p. 417


[This is an excerpt from The Meher Baha Journal May 1940, reprinted in Treasures from the Meher BahaJournals, in the chapter "Excerptfrom 'Sacred Verse in East and West' hy Will Back.et. '']

O

n a another occasion at Meherabad after Meher Baba had been explaining the Bhagavad Gita to some of the Western disciples, He gave them the following Western hymn to memorize and added: "Everything in the Gita is expressed in these few lines by the Western mystic." Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

The Master's Prayer o Parvardigar, the Preserver and Protector of All, You are without Beginning, and without End; Non-dual, beyond Comparison; and none can measure You. You are without colour, without expression, without form and without attributes. You .are unlimited and unfathomable, beyond imagination and conception; eternal and imperishable. You are indivisible;artd none can see You, but with eyes Divine. You always were, You always are, and You always will be.

Take my hands and let them move At the impulse ofThy Love; Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for thee.

,You are everywhere, You are in everything; and You are also beyond everywhere and beyond everything. You are in the fmnament and in the depths.

Take my voice and let me sing Ever only for my King. Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee.

You are manifest and unmanifest; on all planes and beyond all planes. You are in the three worlds; and also beyond the three worlds. You are imperceptible and independent.

Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use Every power as Thou shalt choose.

You are the Creator, the Lord of Lords, the Knower of all minds and hearts. You are Omnipotent and Omnipresent. You are KnowledgeInfinite, Power Infinite, and Bliss Infinite.

Take my will and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne.

You are the Ocean of Knowledge, All-Knowing, Infinitely Knowing, the Knower of the past,.the present and the future, and You are Knowledge itself.

Take my love, My Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.

YO!! areiAJ!':'merciful,andeternally benevolent. You are the Soul{5f souls,theE)newith infinite attributes.

by Frances Ridley Havergal, 1874

{The foUowing is excerptedfrom one ofMani's letters}

"My soul is like a rusty lock, Oil it with Thy grace. And rub it,'rub it, rub it,Lord Until I see Thy Face." toacc~ptthe ~ru~)'

You

are the Aricient Ope, the· Fl~ghestofthe High.

You,ar~}PrabhuandRarameshwar; ¥~u are theBeyond~Gpd, and the Beyond""BeyondLGod also.

...This little prayer we read in a book

May His love teach us the oil-

You are theTrinityofTmth, Knowledge: and Bliss. ¥ou, are theSource ofTruth, the Ocean of Love..

You are Parabrahma;Paramatma;A.11ah;Elahi; Yezdan; Ahuramazda; and God the Beloved. You aren~.medtE~d;··fhe,~rt;lY~rie,worthyofworship. with IThisprayerwas .dictated by Meher·Babain. 1953]


Dana Field A biography by Mary Kay Shubat-Hage, Lynne Berry, and Adele Wolkin

Born: David Kasakevitch in KIintsy, Russia on June 28, 1910. Later changed his name to David Cossak, then to Dana Cossak Field in 1941. Died: November 1, 1997 at 12:12 p.m., Huntington Beach, CA

A

s lovers of the Ancient One, life really begins at that moment when Baba consciously comes into our lives. For most ofus that celebrated event is a cherished internal contact. Baba comes for all of humanity, but there is a handful ofsouls who have the good fortune to have been in His physical presence. Dana Field was one of these lucky few whose destiny was to be with Baba on four occasions. Dana first met Meher Baba in New York in 1954. He was present when a men's darshan program was announced. Adele Wolkin was part of the group, and recognizing Dana as an intense and sincere seeker, encouraged him to go. Dana got his invitation and was nne of the lucky few to attend the Three Incredible Weeks. His second and third meetings with Baba were in 1956 and 1958 at Meher Spiritual Center. The 1957-58 "Awakeners" give detailed accounts of these blessed days with Baba. Dana also attended the East West Gathering in India in 1962, his last visit with Baba. Dana was a caretaker at our former L.A. Baba Center in the early '80's. When he suffered a stroke in January 1990, he had just finished typing his last manuscript on education and evolution in relation to Meher Baba's writings. How far Dana had journeyed from the Russia he escaped in 1922 as a persecuted young Jewish boy, to being in the love-orbit ofHis Beloved! The suffering he experienced as a child helps explain why Dana was quite harsh on himself and sometimes unnecessarily critical of others, yet underneath it all filled with enormous love for Baba. Since the stroke almost eight years ago, Dana was confined to convalescent hospitals.

Dana Field with Marguerite Poley. Photo taken at Meherabode in Los Angeles on July 9th, 1997.

His visit to our new Center last summer during Bhau's trip made him very happy to feel so much love and see many friendly and familiar faces from his earlier days at our Center. Dana lived a life worth living: he whole-

heartedly loved, served and remembered his Beloved Meher Baba. Memorials in Dana's remembrance may be made to the Avatar Meher Baba Trust to which Dana faithfully contributed until his stroke.

Ahmednagar, 25th August, 1983 Jai Baba dear Dana, Your letter of12th reached me yesterday. You askfOr an item ofBeloved Baba. Ifyou like, 1 can send some ofBeloved Baba's Hair (from dear Mehera) with anyone coming.from LA. But in any case dear Dana, you yourselfare a Baba relic (as we are), touched and embraced by Him, and His Love will protect you wherever you are... AsfOr developing ofintuition, 1 do not have enough ofit to comment on, dear Dana-Ifeel that if we can develop our lovefOr Baba (more and more by His grace) till we can love Him as He should be loved, that is all-sufficientfOr a lover's goal. 1'es indeed, Rano's book is quite a gem. She sends you her Jai Baba. My Jai Baba to you too, with much love.from all your family here, and a united Avatar Meher Baba kiJai! Your sister, Mani


Service by Dana Field To be Thy slave Is myfreedom: This is the tie I fervently seek. To think of Thee In silentjoy And serve Thee In utter secrecy) This is my wish. Meher Baba with Dana Field.

Minoo Bharucha On Friday, December 5th, at 12:05am Minoo Bharucha, long time follower of Avatar Meher Baba and former disciple of Upasni Maharaj, who also knew Narayan Maharaj and had met Babajan, died of apparent heart failure at Deepak Hospital in Ahmednagar. Earlier in the evening he had been taken from Meherabad to the hospital. Minoo was 93, yet very active right up to the end. He was often seen riding his bicycle around Meherabad. His body was cremated around 11:30, Friday morning, at Meherabad.

Memories ofMinoo byJamie Newell

I

was very saddened to learn of our dear friend Minoo Bharucha's final departure. Not for him, of course, but for me and my wife Zo, for those who knew him, and for those who never will. Those who only saw him in passing knew him as a great wise-crackingjokerwho delighted in making the pilgrims laugh, but he was also a man of profound depth, a true lover of God, and a true disciple. I'm so thankful that Zo and I

were able to see him one last time this past August at Meherabad. His hearing was almost completely gone, and it was clearly frustrating for him to communicate with others, but he could still draw a crowd at tea time. Pilgrims still listened in amazement to stories of his time with Meher Baba, Upasni Maharaj, and Narayan Maharaj. He would also tell of how, as a boy, he and his school chums would run in horror when they saw Hazrat Babajan coming, for they thought she was mad and were afraid of her. Zo and I had the great good fortune to spend countless hours with Minoo over the years. Whenever we visited Meherabad Minoo would enlist us to round up pilgrims to come to his room for tea. We would all pile on to Minoo's bed, line up chairs, and listen to Minoo tell his matchless tales. Often I would have to interpret for him, as many Western ears had trouble with Minoo's thick Indian accent. I'll try now to interpret for Minoo one last time. Minoo Bharucha grew up in Pune and went to what he called "the Parsi High Schoo1." His classmates and cohorts there were Padri, Pendu,]al (Baba's brother), and

Behram (also Baba's brother.) He said that they were a gang of friends, and got into all sorts of mischief together. Ofcourse, at this time Merwan had not yet been kissed by Babajan, and there was no hint of what was to come. Mter high school Minoo went to a college of engineering to learn to be an electrical engineer and lost touch with his old friends. Upon graduation from college in the late 20's, Minoo got a job in N asik, at the power station there. Serendipitously, this power station was only a few kilometres from where Meher Baba's Nasik Ashram would eventually be located. After he had been working in N asik for some time, Minoo was walking down the road one day and was delighted to see his old school friend Behram. They exchanged pleasantries, and Behram told him that Padri and Pendu were also staying nearby, and that he should come and have lunch with them. This Minoo did and as a result he had the unfathomable good fortune to meet and dine with Meher Baba himself. Baba told Minoo he liked him, and he should come back to visit whenever he liked, which Minoo did. At frrst Minoo would fold his hands in (continued on page 17)


The New Life Sahavas at Meherana E

ven before the weekend began, volunteers worked frantically (but steadily) to construct the pandal housing the outdoor dining area and the Love Street Bookstore. The theme ofMeher Baba's New Life was beautifully carried home throughout the weekend with Jamie Newell's music, and through the humorous tales (all true) and music of special guests Rustom and Sohrab Irani.

Lynn composed this little introduction ditty to 'Double your pleasure, Double your fun:' "My name is Teri, My name is Lynn,

We are the twins introducing the twins. They made Baba laugh, you know that it's true. /! Hole in the Bucket" will make you laugh too.' So double your pleasure, double yourfun, With Sohrab and Rustom, Baba's dear nephews, The fun has begun.'''

Above: Baba's twin nephews, Rustom and Sohrab. Top Right: The giant Mischievous Chicken created in the children's workshop. Right:]amie Newell sings to Baba. Below: Twins Lynn Maguire and Teri Adams introduced Rustom and Sohrab. [The following was transcribed by Phillip Creager from a videotape Eruch, who was reading Baba's wordsfrom his notebook.]

of

The principal of St. Vincent's High School in Pune had written to Baba about his delight that Baba's twin nephews, Rustom and Sohrab, were attending the school. Baba replied (on 2 May 1959): "My nephews Rustom and Sohrab should learn to think well ofothers, see good in others, make others happy, tell the truth, shun all hypocrisy, and learn to love God. This is true education. All other education is oflittle use. Those who educate themselves as above are my real relatives."


Fifty Years with Meher Baba "The First Fifty are Always the Hardest" by Marguerite Poley as told to Nancy Merwan

Above: The Dhuni at Meherana Sahavas.

Below: That Mischievous Chicken and "Baba. " John Mathew Echeveste

Marguerite Poley on Meher Baba's right.

M

arguerite's life has been incredibly fascinating, in many instances unbelievably tragic, or as she would describe it, "never a dull moment." I would love to have seen her stunt riding in the circus. She says that "outside of being with Baba... the happiest time in my life was being with horses." She is a gifted artist, a born teacher, and has spent close to forty years of her life working with animals. Marguerite was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1909. She was an only child. When she was two, her family moved to beautiful Montreaux, which is near Lausanne. Marguerite enjoyed a happy, idyllic early childhood as daddy's little girl. Her father loved horses and inspired her own love for horses. After the sudden death of her father when she was ¡nine, Marguerite's life changed significantly. She became "...quite an unruly child and my mother decided to send me to a convent boarding school in Germany... it was a very, very strict school, but the Franciscan nuns were so

wonderful that I dearly loved them ..â&#x20AC;˘" Marguerite finished school at sixteen. She and her mother (on the recommendation of two friends) -were admitted to the United States in May of 1925. Her frrst summer in America was spent working on a farm in Ohio. In the fall, she and her mother moved to Cleveland where she engaged in several occupational endeavors, "I wasn't entirely happy because I wanted to have more to do with animals and horses..." At a horse show she met Adele Parker, a well known lady in equestrian circles, who took on Marguerite as a protege. Marguerite became a stunt rider at state fairs and also a circus performer, touring throughout the U.S. and Canada. She was written up in the Billboard publication many times. 1935 she was on tour in Canada where it had rained heavily. She was (continued next page.)


doing an act standing on a horse when the horse's hind foot slipped in the mud; she was thrown off and he fell on her. Her back was seriously injured. She was attended by doctors for several months. Unable to do many of her riding stunts, she eventually left the circus in 1937. After that, she became a "jack of all trades." She was working in an aircraft parts factory in Los Angeles on the last day of November, 1944: "...1 was inside a power shear... the air was full of electricity and this new hairnet I had put on my hair... caused an electric static which pulled my hairnet into the machine..." Her hair and scalp were pulled into the machine. It was a horrific accident and her suffering indescribable. She endured weeks of hospital care and over two years of being in and out of hospitals, suffering skin grafts which didn't take. She was tormented, "I studied different religions. I wanted answers to what had happened to me, I felt I didn't deserve it. I read everything..." In 1947, Marguerite and a friend heard about a master called Meher Baba. Although warned against Baba, they went to Meher

Mount in Ojai where they met Jean Adriel. They looked around, saw Baba photos, and although Marguerite was unimpressed, her friend boughtJean's book, AVATAR. A few weeks later, the friend called to say the book was very unusual and that she was mailing it to Marguerite. It was late September, 1947: "Lo and behold, somewhere in the book I read something and I heard this voice as you can hear my voice now, 'This is God.' I was in seventh heaven for two or three days, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep... I was perfectly happy that Meher Baba was God." Mter Marguerite's bliss experience, she eagerly waited for Baba to come to America. "...1 had to wait from 1947 until 1956, nine years, before meeting Him ... here comes Baba with His entourage, He walked slowly but He had a particular way about His walk, majestic in a way. He walked towards me and embraced me and when He embraced me I had such a shock, I saw His arms go around me but I couldn't feel anything, couldn't feel any arms at all... but I tell you it was such a wonderful feeling... I was in a daze and I forgot where to drive and got lost... I don't know how we got there

----O--l

I

I

Marguerite Poley in action.

but we finally got to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel..." Baba was in Los Angeles for four days in 1956. In May of 1958, Marguerite had another opportunity to be with Baba. "1958 stands out as one of the greatest years of my life because that year we went to the Meher Baba Sahavas at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was an unspeakably beautiful experience to be near Baba... one time we were in the barn where Baba gave talks everyday. He told us to close our eyes. Then Eruch, who interpreted His gestures, told us that Baba had forgiven us all our sins from the time we sinned in this life until now. Everybody was so overcome, I cannot adequately in words express the feeling that overcame us... we just couldn't believe this profuse love, it was almost impossible to grasp... it was almost too much to bear it was so powerful..." "One day after being with Baba I was very thoughtful about things that had been talked about. I reluctantly left and very slowly walked towards the exit and all of a sudden, I happened to catch Baba's glance, who also was moving very slowly with His Mandali to go out. When I saw this glance I felt impelled to go towards Him, it was just like a magnet. So I walked towards Him and just as I was about to be very close to Him, He started looking everywhere, to the right, to the left, up and down. I quickly sensed I shouldn't get any closer, I was very close already, so I stopped to let Him pass. So He just passes and as He passes, He picks up my right hand and kisses it just in front of the wrist. I was completely overwhelmed and I cannot tell you the feeling that overcame me. I thought I was in a dream." Marguerite is a remarkable woman; courageous, loving, talented, passionate about things close to her heart, and a lot of fun to be with. She says, "...you have to have joy... if you have joy, you can put up with a heck of a lot... it takes the thorns away..." "...without being too attached to things of this world, enjoy what you can... because we're here to enjoy and to love and Baba certainly is the ultimate example of love."


("Minoa" continuedfrom page 13)

'Namaskar' to Baba, but, being a Parsi, he had no appreciation for the Master-disciple relationship, and could not conceive ofa man calling himself God. As time went by, however, Minoo was more and more drawn to and amazed by Meher Baba. One day he asked Baba ifhe could bow down to him, as the Mandali did. Minoo says that Baba then looked at him sternly and snapped his fingers several times to indicate: "Yes, quick, quick!" and Minoo began a lifelong practice of taking Meher Baba's darshan.

H U M

o R

for HUOla

[After the 1958 Sahavas,Adi sent a letter saying that Baba wanted everyone who hadattendedthe Sahavas to write to Him. Marguerite panicked because she didn't know what to write, so she silently asked Babafor help. Then she remembered that Baba sometimes asked to be told afunny story or a joke, "...1 had just read this little story... 1 k.new 1 had to write something so 1 sent Him the joke.")

Jokefrom Margeurite to Baba ~ here was this gardener who loved to ~ garden, to pick out plants and things. He was constantly faced with an unkempt lot near his home and he hated it. One day the owner ofthe lot showed up and asked the gardener if he would clean it up a bit and maybe plant a few things to make it look better.The gardener wanted to know if he would be paid for doing this work. So the owner looks at him and says, "yeah, okay, I'll pay, go ahead." So the gardener did go ahead. He cleaned up the lot, planted seeds and did all the things he wanted to do. A newcomer in the neighborhood, an old lady who had come to live with her daughter, had seen him plant the seeds and work the lot. Eventually the seeds became blooms and everything looked so much better. The old lady saw the gardener who had done the work, this man who loved gardening and she said, "Oh, isn't it marvelous what God and you have done with this place!" The gardener replied, "Yeah lady thanks, but you should have seen it when God took care of it alone!"

O

ne day, while sitting around after a meal Minoo began reading the 'Meher Message' magazine that was being published at that time. It was through this magazine that he began to get some inkling of who Baba was. He also began to read about Baba's Masters and wondered if he shouldn't go and meet them, as he was particularly interested in Upasni Maharaj. He asked Baba about this, and Baba encouraged Minoo to go and see Upasni. Baba would then call Minoo aside, after he had visited Upasni, and asked Minoo to tell him what "the old man" had been doing while Minoo was there. It seems that Baba knew all along of Minoo's connection with Upasni, and perhaps that is why he encouraged Minoo to continue seeing him. Many pilgrims have also had the wonderful opportunity to meet Minoo's very sweet and devoted wife Aimai (pronounced: eye - my). Aimai also spent time with, and was much loved by, Meher Baba, Upasni Maharaj, and Narayan Maharaj. Both Minoo and Aimai were particularly close to Upasni, and Upasni was very fond of them. Upasni visited them often in their home where they kept a special swing-seat prepared for him. Upasni was particularly fond of Aimai, and she lived at his Ashram for many years during a period ofillness and recovery. In 1980, or '81, Minoo and Aimai moved to Meherabad and lived in the 'Interview Cabin' where Ted &JanetJudson now live. Every evening they would walk incredibly slo-o-owly up, and then down the hill (Aimai was very tiny and frail, and walked very slowly). They were always very loving and sweet together, and had many little private jokes. Zo remembers seeing Aimai sitting against the wall in the back after Arti one

night. Minoo had just taken Darshan and walked by her. He stopped in front of her, and without speaking, they stared into each other eyes, looking as if they were very mad at each other. Finally Minoo, without taking his eyes off of Aimai, suddenly grabbed the flashlight that she was holding on her lap, and they both burst out laughing. Very sweet. Our first tea with Minoo was with him and Aimai in the 'Interview Cabin.' They both regaled us with tales oftheir times with Baba and the Perfect Masters. One of the most unique things about Minoo is that he enjoyed the distinction of having been told by both Upasni Maharaj and Meher Baba that this would be his last life. Minoo usually would not like to talk about this, and would discourage people from discussing it if someone brought it up. Even so, he once told us that, when Upasni had told him that this would be his last life, he went and asked Baba if it was true. Baba said, yes it was. Minoo was amazed and said, "Baba, do you mean that if I went to the powerhouse (the Nasik power plant where Minoo worked) and grabbed the power lines with both hands, I would be free of all this?" Minoo said that Baba then looked at him very seriously and said, "Yes, but that would not please Me." Minoo was best known to pilgrims as a jokester and wise guy who loved to laugh at his own expense. Minoo particularly loved puns. The following are a few ofmy favorite 'Minooisms': "Peter Nordeen comes {rom 'machine-gun))) (translates as: Michigan). "Come, we'll stay up and drink whiskey in the night, and eat turkey pies and 'filet manure))) (fillet mignon). "Do you know the Countess 'Malaria'?" (Valeria). And many more jokes, running gags, mannerisms and spoofs. Though Minoo loved to joke about drinking whisky and cognac, all should know that he never touched a drop. Though he teased about wanting dancing girls, or a young wife, he remained faithful to his beloved Aimai even long after she was gone. It was obviously painful for him to talk about her after she passed away, so he kept himself, and us, too busy laughing to think about it. I already miss Minoo very much. I know that I am a better man for having known him. Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!


Meher BabaonWorry [If anyone phrase summed up the teachings of Meher Baba, it might well be Von't worry be happy. 'He stressedthat so much, He told us over and over again how very important it was to keep a cheerful outlook and not expend psychic energy on worry. ~ have gathered here just a small selection of the many profound, and oJtimes humorous lines He gave us on that most insidious ofhabits. >/< Ed.] J

"Don't Worry. Worry accumulates and grows in strength, it becomes a habit long after the original cause has ceased to be. " -Avatar Meher Baba

"Do not worry. Be happy in My Love and continue to holdfast to My damaan to the very end. Rest assured that alii will be divinely well. God does not abandon those who trust Him. "

Why worry?! Worry is unnecessary. Necessary worry is notgood, but unnecessary worry is madness. IfI say: "Be happy!"be happy at once! Forget. Away with it! Why brood? I never brood. Laugh! Be cheerful! It is all illusion-why not be cheerful, happy?

Start now!!


HI AND LOIS WALKER & BROWNE

â&#x20AC;˘ {We are not sure when Avatar Meher Babafirst said those very memorable words: "Don't Worry-Be Happy." But, we can be sure that there was not as much worry in the world then as there seems to be now! Infact, worry has become so allpervasive that even this recently publishedcomic strip portrays a baby worrying about worry! Ed.J

You worry now about some condition, yetyou have experienced all conditions. You have been blind, sick,poor, old,young, beautiful, ugly. You worry about your childrenyou have had numberless children, and they have had numberless parents and children. You worry about your job--you have been in every sort ofoccupation. You worry about your wife--you have had so many wives. You have been everything and experienced all conditions, andyetyou worry about the slightest thing that happens to you.

Do your best then leave the rest to me. Dont worry, be happy andI will help you. There areJew things that exhaust energy so much as worry. Remain cheerful in all your trials and know that I am with you.

II '.. â&#x20AC;˘. ~.:

ReadGod Speaks--you cangrasp it. Ifyou understand it properly, you willfind that there is nothing in the world to worry about! Whatever happens, happens due to impressions or "sanskaras. " Sanskaras make the Dream ofCreation appear to be real and lasting, and they create undue worrles. So-called "goodtimes"are like happy dreams. Owing to the congenial atmosphere, they become a long and pleasant sight, and you want to enjoy them more and more. But when you awake from sleep, you find that the world ofdreams has no value. "Bad times" are like frightening dreams. You crave to remove Live more and more in the present yourselffrom such situations as which is ever beautiful and which quickly aspossible. IffOr example, in really stretchesfar beyondthe limits addition to this, a tigerjumps on to of the past and the future. If at all you in your dream, you awaken you want to worry, let your only instantaneously. worry be: how to remember Me constantly. This is worth worrying 'The lines have been gatheredfrom a large selection ofbooks by and about Meher Baba about, because it is the antidotefOr worry.

While talking to a woman atMyrtle Beach in 1952 Baba said: "Iloveyou, do not worry aboutyour weaknesses. Eventually they will go; even ifthey linger, love will one day consume them. Everything disappears in the Ocean of love. Because I love you, you have a pool of love within you. When you feel wretched, when you fall in your weakness, have a dip in thatpoolof love. Refreshyourselfin thatpool of My love within you. It is always there. Even if you wash your weaknesses every day in that pool, it will remain clear. Don't worry. Baba loves you, that is what really matters. "

19

11


A Q!Iilt for Baba by Anne Makeig

T

he idea of making a quilt for Baba as a gift to Meherazad started small, like a seed that would grow. Mehera Makeig heard about a technique for making quilts using iron-on pieces of fabric, and found that family and school groups enjoyed working together on "quick" iron-on quilt projects. As Mehera thought she would have free time at this year's Los Angeles Sahavas, she proposed a quilting workshop to the Sahavas Committee. The idea grew, and eventually we made quilt square material available for all at the Sahavas, as well as to several others who later wrote, phoned, or emailed requests for squares to work on. As Mehera ended up working full-time at the Sahavas on childcare with Betty Loman and family, I manned the quilting table which we set up outside the dining hall covered with pencils, iron-on fabric swatches, scissors and embroidery thread. Mehera r~membered to add flowers and a photo of Baba but forgot to bring embroidery needles, so we struggled with huge needles meant for darning socks, or tiny ones we couldn't get the embroidery thread through. We all managed happily anyway. The table didn't take much supervising. People picked out a cloth square, some patches and scissors or thread and sat down to work. It was so nice to watch. Many times the tables nearby were full of a group of women-talking, laughing, and sewing, their happy chatter tinged with a sprinkle ofBaba's magic presence and the delight of being together making a gift for Baba. Most ofthe time I stood behind the table, smiling inside, feeling Baba's sweetness and humor. It was touching, too, to see someone come up, take a square timidly, unsure ifthere was anything beautiful inside that would come out for Baba. But it always did. People would bring back their completed square, so proud and happy. It tickled me to see men join in, too. I loved it that they didn't exclude themselves.

Maguire and Teri Adams at the sewing machine, me at the iron or in the kitchen fIxing lunch for all, and Mehera coordinating everything gently. Amidst laughter and goodwill, the quilt began to take shape. Sometimes the Center seemed full, everyone fInding a job or creating a new square in his or her particular style. These quilting bees One made a beautiful pink rose any were also full of stories. One Saturday, Mehera looked Jeff Maguire in the eye and seamstress would be proud of. Mehera told him we needed a few more squares to encouraged some of the shyest ones by complete the pattern and he should make showing them Mitchell Rose's unique one. Actually, he made two, a beautiful flower "minimalist" square ("Oh, I could do something like that!," they'd say). So many with Baba's embroidered image and a second stories come to mind. Each square had a which says, "Baba loves Buddy loves Baba" (his dear puppy!). Danny Maguire made aBaba man-in-the-moon (with sunglasses), and Teri made two beautiful depictions of Mehera and Mani. I can't forget Wendy Ward's square. She must have spent a hundred hours on it, an embroidered masterpiece both artistic and inspirational. The stories roll around inside me. Top: The quilt being stitched. Some were so touching. Above: The quilt on Baba's bed at Meherazad. I remember one whole story. Children came by too, and invented new ways of making squares, not limited by prescribed imaginations. When the Sahavas was over, Mehera and I had a pile of nearly a hundred quilt squares-and no idea of what to do with them. Lynn Maguire offered to organize a quilting bee at the new Los Angeles Center, hoping Mehera could figure out by then how to actually make a quilt. Back in San Diego, Mehera found a local quilting expert who seemed delighted with the project and didn't object to frequent phone calls from home and Los Angeles saying, basically, "Help! Now what do we do?" For the next several weekends, Mehera and I drove up to Los Angeles to quilt at the Center. Sometimes, we'd be a few, Lynn

morning when the sound of sewing machines was punctuated with sniffs and wiped tears. I hate to leave anyone out of this story, but the story of the quilt is like the quilt itself, each square a bit ofsomeone's heart. With Baba's usual timing (and twinkle), the quilt was almost fInished when Mehera left for Meherabad. As she was stitching the final details on the plane, she imagined asking the stewardess to announce a quilting bee in row 23! She arrived on August 19exactly one year since our precious Mani joined her God Brother. Mehera carried a present for Meherazad from us all that I think Mani would like very much.


A Wedding at Meherabode by Pamela Wolfe

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n Sunday evening, October 5,1997, Tamara Mark and Donald Short were married in the first wedding held at Meherabode. The ceremony took place on the lawn in front of the entrance to the Dome. A beautiful arched trellis ofroses and greenery, erected in front of the fountain, provided the backdrop for the wedding party. The couple received two special Baba blessings before their ceremony: the night before the wedding, at Margueritte Poley's request, Baba's sadra was taken from its glass case and made available for darshan. The next day, moments before the ceremony began, Wendy Ward approached Tamara and Don separately and gave them a smudge of dhuni ash from a 1954 dhuni that Meher Baba attended. Baba's chair inside the Dome was lovingly decorated with roses and other graceful flower arrangements. It seemed to absorb and radiate the golden light of the day. Tamara took the Beloved's darshan, then emerged, the radiant bride, took her father's arm as a trio struck up the Wedding March, and went to join the bridegroom. Tamara and Don had asked several friends to join in the ceremony. Lois Jones read a Kahlil Gibran poem on love, Debra Ashe sang an original song, 'Tve Been Waiting for You," and Lynn Maguire read a special blessing sent from Bhau Kalchuri, and her son Danny recited the "Beloved God" Prayer. Prior to the ceremony Chris and Pris Haffenden played their beautiful guitar and oboe version of "Begin the Beguine," along with a song composed especially for Tamara and Don. For the frrst dance Billy Goodrum performed John Lennon's "Grow Old with Me."When Tamara and Don began dancing the room was abuzz with chatter and revelry, but as Billy's song continued, the room progressively quieted until the song ended in a moment of complete silence. Michael Campagna's band played music for the dancers long into the night. As the happy couple departed, they were showered with bubbles. As the filmy iridescence played around the couple,joy and

'[he thread which joins two souls when stretched becomes the path to Bod. -21afiz love seemed to dance in all hearts. Whether one was physically present or not, it seems a special blessing for all of us to have had a wedding at Meherabode. Weddings are events to celebrate much that is hopeful and joyous in life, they are a celebration ofunion in love, and a reminder of our own eventual union with our dear One and Only Beloved awaiting us all in His Infinite Ocean ofLove.

Above: Tamara Mark and Donald Short. Right 1: Tamara and herfather. 2. The rings are exchanged 3. Tamara and Gretchen. 4. Baba lovers Mitchel Rose (cinematographer), Deborah Ash, and Michael Campagna.


Monkey Mind Takes Darshan by Steve Klein

a Parvardigar, the preserver andprotector ofall.

up at exactly the same time than we are on actually repenting.

T

he preserver and protector of all... the preserver and protector ofall? What does that mean? Preserved and protected from what? We all die. No one is protected from disease, or suffering. So how are we.. .?

o Baba, listen to me! What am I doing here? Maybe it would have been better to stay home and occasionally think of God than to come here to His Tomb and make a mockery of His prayers.

...and without attributes. You are unlimited and unfathomable, beyond imagination and conception.

Mockery? So who's maklng a mockery? It's true I can't control my mind, but at least I'm not the one making such an elaborate show ofbowing down in the Samadhi. What is it now, five minutes she's been in there? What's she doing, telling Baba her whole life story? Who is it, I wonder?

Well, at least that's true. I can't conceive of what even half of this means, and I can't begin to imagine why it's so difficult to keep my mind from wandering. I wonder if there's something special about the prayer, something which makes it impossible to pay any attention to it once you begin. I don't have this much trouble reciting anything else. Why is it that the only way I can say the prayer is to simply chant it as meaningless sounds, but the second I actually try and put my heart into it, and think about what I'm saying, then I can't m~ke it through a single line? Oh well. Maybe if I recited it as loudly as that fellow over there, I'd be able to concentrate better. My goodness, he's practically shouting. Well, who knows, Baba calls Himself the "Ancient One," maybe he thinks He's hard of hearing. And just listen to the drama she's putting into her recitation. She must think she's on stage. Or maybe she thinks God will be convinced she's sincere if she puts a little vibrato into her voice as she recites His attributes. Oh, that's nice! Not only are you not paying attention to the prayers, but now you're using them as an excuse for backbiting!. I admit it, it's true, but at least it gives me something to really repent about when I say the repentance prayer. But tell me, do you think it's a false or unclean or unjust thought to wonder why we all have to say the prayers at the same speed? I mean, we must be spending more time concentrating on making sure we end

What difference does it make? Just forget it, don't worry about anyone else, just think about Baba. Right, think about Baba, that's the ticket. Think about... aha! So that's who it was. But she's been here for weeks and is staying another two months. She can spend all day long in the Samadhi if she wants. So why does she have to get so devotional on my time? Doesn't she know there's a long line of people waiting to take darshan? Oh, that's great! Now you're even criticizing how people bow down. For all you know she was overcome with emotion. Come on, who are you trying to kid? Well, it happens, you know. It could even happen to you someday. Fine, I'm ready. Let it happen. But until then, let's just go about our business without all these big hypocritical emotional displays.

very existence glorifies you. You are glory itself You are your own praise.

o my Lord, let me give my life for you. No, even were 1 to give you my life a thousand times, it would not be enough. I can never be worthy of you. But please, I beseech you, let me be consumed in your service. Let me plunge into the fire of your being, let me be reduced to ask and smoke like incense burning before you. For what else is there? There is only you. You are. You... you... you... What was that? Did I just have an experience? Could it be, after all these years, I've finally had an experience? What are you talking about? Just now, I felt so much love, I felt... You felt love? Well, maybe not love exactly, but I had such a strong feeling of unworthiness, and of wanting to sacrifice myself for God. I saw God everywhere, 1... You saw God everywhere? Well, maybe I didn't actually see God, but I felt as if God were everywhere. 1... You felt it? Come on, give me a break. I tell you I've never felt anything like this before. So what are you going to do now, write a poem about it? Well, why not? Some experience. You feel one tiny spark of something and now you want to dissipate the whole thing by spewing it out in words. It's not that. I want to share the... Share what? You don't have anything to share. What do you mean. L.

As ifyou can tell what's an emotional display and what's a genuine feeling?

Beneath the never-ending chatter of the mind is stillness.

Well, I can certainly...

And deep within that stillness, like a rising sun, dawns the fact that You are there. You have always been there and You always will be there. The surface of the ocean is constantly churned by the wind, but my heart is beginning to drown in the depths of the certainty that You alone are.

SHUT UP! Stop this incessant chatter. 0 Baba, what a burden the mind is, always racing in circles. Why do I let myself get caught up in it? Just let it go, ignore it, let it go... go... go... god... god...

o my God. 0 God, how unimaginably great you are. There are no words with which to describe you, 0 Lord. There is no way to even praise you. You simply are, and your


Roshan Kerawala's Story, Part II by Linda Zavala [In the October issue we finished with the strange happenings at their wedding in 1958. We continue with the many interesting stories Roshan shared with us during her stay in Los Angeles last year. Roshan tells us Baba was always watching over andguiding their lives.}

A

fter the wedding, Baba told us to come to see Him the next day at the Botanical Gardens where He was staying. So with our arms full of gifts, we took a big horse chariot called a buggy and showed Him all the gifts we had received. Then Baba asked "Sam, do you have plans for your honeymoon?" Sam said, "Yes Baba, I think we will go to Delhi to see the Taj Mahal." Baba laughed and laughed and then said to Eruch, "Look at your cousin. He has gone all over the world and he doesn't even know that the Taj is in Agra!" Baba, again laughing, asked, "Sam what will happen after that?" He then said, "Since you are going up to Delhi, why don't you take Roshan to Kashmir?" At that time, in the Zoroastrian religion, most people give money to the wedding couple. The money we had been given was Rs. 3,000. And on those Rs. 3,000 you would not believe how much we did. We went from Bombay to Delhi, Delhi to Panipat always travelling ftrst class. From Panipat to Kashmir we took a plane - my frrst air flight. When we arrived it was raining. Even in March it had not yet become springtime in Kashmir. But as the plane landed we noticed that there was bright sunshine. We stayed in a posh hotel for twenty days, and there was bright sunny days throughout. Every night when we would go to dinner in the hotel dining room, the waiter would say to us in Hindi, "we have never had this much sunshine at this time of year!" The very day we left, it started . . . rammg agatn. In 1959, my ftrst daughter was born. Baba named her Mehera. When I was seven months pregnant there was a Zoroastrian celebration for me. When the woman is seven months pregnant we call the families, and we have a big dinner and then we

Above: Roshan Kerawala. Below: Mehera and Sheriar.

distribute sweets to the families. The mother-to-be is given a new sari and new clothes by her mother. The mother then places all kinds of grains and fruits and a coconut in her daughter's lap as she holds up her sari skirt to receive them. Then you have to bow down to your mother and then go and take Baba's darshan. Since Roshan didn't have her mother, Baba said, "I will do that ceremony for Roshan." So Baba came to Bindra House. He is sitting on a sofa and tells Gaimai, "Keep everything ready." So everything is ready on a big plate. Baba told

me to put on my sari and then said, "Hold up your sari and He placed everything in there. Then He gave me a coconut. From His pocket, He took out one single old time rupee which was made of silver. He put it into my hand and told me that when I start getting pains in my stomach I must keep that rupee in my hand at all times when I go to the hospital. I wrapped the coin in a hankie I had. Then Baba said, "Give it to me." He held it, then He gave it back and said, "Keep it safe." Then He told everybody in the room, "When the pains start, she will take my name. But, all of you in the house should take my name, even for 24 hours, no break." Then He told Eruch's mother Gaimai, "When it is time to go to the hospital, you stay with her all the time." When my time came, she was chanting Baba's name all the time. When the baby was born Gaimai was saying, "Baba, Baba, Baba." The nurses said, "No, it's not aBaba, it's a baby!" "N ow, in 20 days after she was born, Baba came from Guru Prasad to visit us. Baba came to see her at Bindra House and told us that neither I nor any of the family members could kiss Mehera. He said that they could hold her but none of the family members could kiss her. He explained "If you kiss her, the energy I have put into her will be spoiled. Another thing is that this child is never to be scolded, and you must never beat this child. If you do that I will be hurt." So we never kissed her. It was very very difficult for me to control myself. Then later on, the second child was born, and Baba never gave me an order about that child. But, years later Baba said, "Now, you can kiss Mehera, but also, you must not ever scold or beat this second child. I have brought them into this world for my work. I give you the responsibility of bringing them up in such a way that they will be worthy of doing my service when I want them." N ow the girls are grown up and Mehera is moving to Meherabad. Sam and Roshan reside in Meherabad for much of the year.

r


Review by Heather Nadel

B

al Natu's new book is entitled The Samadhi-StarofInfinity, and he has kindly kept a copy at the Samadhi portico for Baba-Iovers to read. Anytime of the day, you will find someone sitting on one of the benches there engrossed in this wonderful book. On November 5th, Bal came to Meherabad to offer his creation to our Creator at the Tomb. As such occasions with Bal are always a treat, lots of people joined him, including Dagmar Lai who had taken the marvelous cover photograph of a rainbow arching over the Samadhi dome. Dagmar's "coincidental" visit at the time is what Bal would call a "happening," one of those sychronicities that swirl around Baba. The happening that swirled around this dedication was joyful and spontaneous; all sorts of things happened! Balaji with deep love and reverence offered his book to Baba along with garlands, the Master's Prayer was recited in Norwegian, there was an impromptu cello concert and some Mongolian throat-singing, a number of people just "happened" to come upon the scene, and many tears flowed. In short, it was a~ occasion only Baba could create, and after Bal left for Meherazad, those who had enjoyed it came down to the Pilgrim Centre, full of laughter, faces aglow, and told everybody else all about it. Later on Bal shared with me a letter that he had written to the publisher, when they were trying to choose between two different photos ofBeloved Baba taken when He was lying in the Samadhi after dropping His body in 1969. Bal calls this image of Baba "The Universal Face," for reasons you will come to know when you read his book. There is a little story that goes along with the picture he selected. To quote Bal: "There is something I wish to share with you regarding The Universal Face and the question you have asked about choosing between two possible versions ofthe photo. "When I took the framed copy of The Universal Face [photo] into the Samadhi at Meherabad for the first time, along with a framed photo of Babajan, it was September 21, 1995. I took these two framed pictures because I had a

dream in which I saw Babajan and Baba. I did not know then, or rather I did not remember, that it was on this same date, September 21, that Babajan had put aside her body in Pune in 1931. During my visit that day, Bill Stephens was the only other person inside the Samadhi. When he later visited Meherazad he told me about the 180degree rainbow shining over Meherabad Hill that same day, and that Dagmar Lai had

taken a picture of it. Her picture shows the rainbow shooting from the Samadhi's finial as ifBaba's divine energy is being dispensed from His Universal Face in the crypt. And this is the picture [of the rainbow] which will appear on the book's cover. Since then the same framed picture of The Universal Face has rested on my table, and was there throughout my writing 'The Samadhi-Star of Infinity.' Especially the contents of the (continued nextpage)


"The Samadhi Star ofInfinity" hyBalNatu Book review by Michael Ivey

"I am never born,

-" 1 never dIe

W

ith this quote from Meher -Baba, Bal N atu begins his latest contribution to the beautiful body of narrative story-telling and heart-felt anecdotes for which he is known. On the surface, it sounds paradoxical to start a book about Baba's tomb-shrine with His saying that He never dies. But in this case, The Samadhi-Star of Infinity, uses that very paradox to make its central point. Actually there are two central points in this book. The frrst is that Baba is, as He says, very much alive and available to all who call upon Him-especially at the Samadhi. The second has to do with the sub-title, Star of Infinity. Bal uses that term to refer specifically to the point between Baba's eyebrows, where Babajan gave Him the kiss of God-Realization; where the stone hurled by Upasni Maharaj drew the Avatar's blood and initiated the conscious link between God and the gross plane; and where Baba pounded His own head against a stone in the agony ofintegrating the super-conscious state with the gross. So, what appears to be a sub-title in this case refers to a topic of equal if not paramount importance to the central concept of Baba's living presence at

Bal Natu at Meherazad.

the Samadhi. I have to admit that Bal Natu is my favorite author. Not just my favorite Baba author-my favorite author, period. Bal has a unique blend of innocence and insight, coupled with an honest humility. Bal is always insistent that his observations are not meant to be codified, they are simply his personal thoughts and methods for

(Review continuedfrom previous page.)

chapter entitled "The Universal Face" were as though coming to me from this face [of Beloved Baba in the photo]." Nowadays I enjoy reading a few lines from the book after coming out from the Tomb. The following touched me very deeply. Bal writes: "So how can we ever fathom the spiritual importance ofthe Samadhi in relation to any other place in the world? When anyone visits the

Samadhi, this becomes the most significant moment in that individual's life. It is the blessed time of being in the Avatar's company." -Heather Nadel in correspondencefor the Avatar Meher Baha Trust

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approaching Meher Baba as the focal point of his life. "Every individual's relationship with the Avatar is an absolutely unique and uniquely personal matter," Bal states in the preface, and then proceeds to describe his uniquely personal stories of the power radiating from the spot which contains the body of the modern Christ. This power is experienced in different ways by each pilgrim who enters the Samadhi. In my own case, my first visit to the Samadhi was greeted with a delicious coincidence. While growing up in Texas, my family was Southern Baptist. Church life was a major part of my youth. Early in my life I developed a favorite among the dozens of standard hymns that were sung in the church. The hymn was called Higher Ground, with the lyrics referencing the attainment of a standpoint which is above the world: "A higher plane than I have found. Lord plant my feet on higher ground." By the time I first traveled to the Samadhi (February, 1988) I had already accepted Baba as the Christ ofthis cycle and had incorporated the concept ofthe periodic advents of the Avatar on the Earth in previous forms that had also included Jesus. As I stood in line to enter the Samadhi, I was reflecting on the path that had brought me to this obscure spot in India. I remembered my love for God and Jesus as a child and tried to comprehend to some small degree how the old concepts had been allowed to die so that the new 'wine' could find its place in my heart. So, as the person in front of me crossed the threshold of the Samadhi, Ted Judson started singing the next song. It was Higher Ground. I entered Baba's Samadhi for the first time accompanied by the strains of my favorite childhood hymn. What a perfect 'welcome home' statement it was for me. So, I guess that's an affirmation from my personal experience of what this book is all about. It starts with the living presence of the modern Christ at His tomb (a term which Bal has come to accept as an acronym for Timeless One Meher Baba) and gradually moves inside to the living presence of the Christ within.


B

eloved Baba had waked me at dawn. The thought came to me: If only I could read for the Beloved the portion in the Jesus book of Norina's that spoke of the Magdalene's first meeting with Christ. It had moved me deeply. I went to the Center early. As I came down the path I heard Adi's voice call: "Elizabeth-Jane-come now." I ran-and saw Elizabeth approaching; we entered the Lagoon Cabin. Baba was looking radiant. He had us sit right in front of Him. Now Adi's voice spoke as Baba gestured: "Where

Little Ways of Letting Us Know He Knows All byJane Barry Haynes

1ellers for

MEHER BABA The j\ncien tOne

26

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is this book that Jane loves so, Elizabeth?" She did not reply at fIrst, then said, "You mean the Jesus book, Baba?" He nodded. "It is at home, at Youpon Dunes." He then said: "Elizabeth loves Jane, but she loves Baba much much more. Now come. And gestured for us to come to Him." As we knelt before Him, He caught each of us in one of His arms in a viselike grip. With all His suffering and supposed weakness, His embrace was like iron. We knelt in the crook of His beautiful armsone on each side. I felt great compassion flowing from Baba. His Love was like a great ocean enveloping us. Later Mani wrote that Baba had said Elizabeth and I were spiritual twins. It is my belief that it was at that moment that He effected this bond; or perhaps He renewed an earlier one from long ago. He then said, "Elizabeth you go and fetch the book. Jane will read for Baba." My heart leapt up within me; I knew that He knew all; He had known when I was reading it over and over the previous year in pain and in confusion. I literally staggered out ofthe Cabin and Elizabeth left in the car. As I stood there, I thought, oh, I look so untidy. That second, Adi or Eruch came out and said, "Baba says tell you that you have plenty oftime to go to the Log Cabin [where Elizabeth stayed] and refresh yourself"! What tendernessconstant little ways of letting us know that He knows all. I raced to the Log Cabinbrushed my hair-washed my hands-I felt inside to return. Adi came out and said, "Baba says to tell you Elizabeth is coming." I looked towards the drive into the Center, and in a few seconds, the blue Ford appeared! We entered the cabin. Baba had me sit in the chair opposite Him. I opened the book to the passage and began to read (though I knew it almost by heart, so that I was able to look up at the Beloved most of the time). As I read the words, I saw Baba's beautiful hands moving very swiftly-or rather His fIngers. His hands were on the arms of the chair. I thought: Oh, I am not doing it well, Baba is bored-or a similar ignorant thought. In a split second Baba became motionless, absolutely still, and His eyes never left my face. (In time to come Elizabeth explained that when Baba's fIngers flew in swift motion, He was working in a special way.)


I continued, fully at ease, to my amazement. I had expected to be nervous as I always am; but I was at peace. I finished; the last lines are "And I know not-I only know that on that day I became a woman. I became Miriam, Miriam of Migdel." As I closed the book, Baba looked steadfastly at me with a serious look ofsweet Compassion. He then gestured with His right hand towards His heart and said through gestures (Adi or Eruch must have spoken the words, as they were not with Baba's inner voice): "The way that you have done this for Baba touches Me very much. For you see, Jane, I was Jesus Christ. Now, come." I ran into His arms and knelt at His feet. Baba's embrace was indescribable. Even the greatest mystics and saints and close ones of the God-Man can never place in words this Divine Embrace. So how can I, the most miserable sinner of all? I only know that all was swept away-all that had gone before. There was only this now that told me: This is the Christ. This is All. Baba gestured then: Sit. And inside it was as if He were saying to me: No, you do not know; not really know; but I will show you. So it was on that day, May 28,1958. All the pieces had fallen into place; and only now, years later, I begin to realize that while I had thought that my love for Christ had been a stumbling block towards my recognition of Meher Baba, this in one sense was true. But that in a deeper sense I could never have come so completely to Him without this love. Without this deep memory, this recognition. He had lifted the veil; then confirmed it in the most natural way. He had accepted me just as I was. r~路 From LETTERS OF LOVE FOR MEHER BABATHEANCIENTONE, compiledand edited by Jane Barry Haynes, copyright 1997 EliNor Publications, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA.

"[ Won't Hold Back Life" A New Tape by GabriellaTal

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midst the resignation to God's will which I felt through all ofRumi and Hafiz, I found and grasped this thread of hope. From deep within the surrender, comes the trumpet sound of His glorycalling "I Won't Hold Back Life!" It meets my exhaustion-my spiritual and physical demise with a sweet defiant smile. Gently gently then, He leads me back to the resurrection of the moment, to the acceptance of the day, to the sweetness of His beautiful smile. This tape comes out about 2 years after my accident. For those who don't know, I was hit by a car November 1, 1995. Many ofyou have held me in prayer or in your loving arms-physically or emotionally, since. I thank you. The healing has been significant. From a spinal cord injury at T12 (mid back) which left me wheelchair-bound, I have regained feeling down into my thighs and movement now into my quadriceps. Trying everything out there from alternative healing methods to a radical nerve transplant surgery in Argentina this past July, I've come through the fire with some improvement and a new view. It's hard to reduce to words, but "patience," "peace," and "acceptance" have come to have new meaning for me. So has the word "belligerence." I wrote to Lorraine Brown recently, "I have courted acceptance and belligerence both as spiritual imperatives during this time-knowing my pigheaded will has a vital role to play in improvement as well as my swan-like surrender towards peace of mind. It is a balance a tightrope walker would envy and the way continues to be treacherous and demanding to avoid a plunge from gracewhich would come if I give up either of the two polarities-like guy-wires they

anchor me and keep me sane and growing." Real healing is ofthe soul. And as my soul soars in His love, I can heal the heart, mind and body a bit too. Singing is a way to soar to Him. I am most grateful for His gift of song. He spared my upper body completely, so I can sing-my greatest joy and I can still do Polarity Therapy-my vocation. This tape, dedicated to Mani, honors my true heroes-Rumi, Hafiz, Bhau. Mark and I put music to and sing their poems for them. I also honor the new heroes I have met these two years pastthe amazing people I have met on the road of disability. I hear them in my voice too: Del, 20 years in a wheelchair who took me under his wing as I had to learn this new reality, Peggy, who had her entire pelvis and leg amputated to have a few more years with her family, Zen and Michael-two men who live the challenge ofquadriplegia never losing their sense of humanity... I could go on and on. I am just a babe amidst such dedication to God. The sign of it in these beautiful people is the willing cheerfulness which is born out of their honest grappling and wrestling with the Beloved. I know we are all like that. Physical suffering has been a new horizon for me to experience. But all my dear friends suffer and serve Him in their own way. We are all in the same seed-case, the soft fluff of His love about us. So life-no it can't be held back, I realize. And it prevails in the oddest of bodies and circumstanceswhich is all of us. Great thanks, as always to Mark Malachi for his talent, dedication and support as we made this tape-collaboration a reality. Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!

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[Correction: The last issue of the LampPost erroneously included a review ofthe video, ~ View ofGod-MEHER BABA through the Eyes ofBhau Ka/churi" by Steven Goodman that, unfortunately, wasn't by Steven Goodman. 1# don'tknow how the mix-up occurredandwe do apologize, but the real review by the real Steven Goodmanfollows here.1

A View ofGod -MEHERBABA Through the Eyes of Bhau Kalchuri by His Hand Productions Reviewed by Steven Goodman

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ven though it was intended for the general public, whether you've been with BABA for two weeks or thirty years, this video interview of Bhau Ka1churi, intimate Mandali, is as informative as it is full of Love. Beginning with wonderful views of the Beloved, accompanied by clear, concise narration ofBaba's life (by PeggyJoyce),Jeff Maguire leads Bhau into some eternal questions and delightful stories. From the Banana and the Scientist, to Baba's active i~fluence after dropping His body, discussion is perfectly timed for fatigued western minds. Intermittent with the interview ofBhau aTe lovely scenes of Baba* accompanied by Mani playing sitar and singing, and 3 wonderful songs written by Bhau in recent years that make you want to sing along. They were put to music by Bhau and Janice Rieman. Especially captivating is the striking sychronicity of the music to Baba's playing the cymbals. In Bhau's effable way, he captures the mind while Baba is busy capturing the heart. Take a break from this sophisticated age of paying bills, and give your heart a treat: see "A View of GOD" with God. And see it several times; we got so much more out ofit on each viewing. Better yet purchase a copy because ALL of the proceeds go directly to the Trust's Conservation Project. *Theflotage of Baba shown was excerpted from ''Meher Baba's Call" and "The Ancient One" by Meher Prasad.

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Notes

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have been a follower ofBaba but a short time by many standards, just a few years, but have been a seeker for most ofmy life. My story is one of playing the intellectual 'god in a book' game until I began to learn of the Love and Joy that is Baba. I continued to search for Baba in my head also, but slowly learned that the heart yields more intense training! So I am new to the days of bliss followed 'by the roller coasters of challenges, the ongoing releases so familiar to most of you. Perhaps the most important lesson I am learning is to trust that Baba is everywhere in the eyes of everyone and that messages and insights abound in the stillness of the heart. I have had the pleasure of being surrounded by friends who are Baba lovers, and have found that sharing day to day keeps the ember alive and burning within, as ifour collective bonding strengthens my own sense offeeling enfolded in His Love. It also seems that Baba often works in waves, testing this one here and that one there, and that the balance often comes from the sharing - that letting go ofthis attachment or that issue or that illusionary idea. Some days are harder and today is onebut then the lesson for this day was more intense than most-did my closet ever need a spring cleaning! The magic ofdetachment and surrender dangled and danced until I got the message loud and clear once again, knowing full well that I still only see the tip of the iceberg, but glad to be there none the less! To even be writing this story is for me a blessing, one that could not have been possible without the loving support of close friends as well as guides I have met along the way as I traveled to the Center over these past few years. These wonderful souls, gifts from Baba, have been slowly teaching me to embrace Him all day, every day and to hold on tight to his daaman no matter the challenge! With deepest gratitude from Our Loving Baba! -Cathy Kahrs

the

Internet

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ovember 23rd was the wedding of Dara and Amrit's son,Jamshed Irani. Dara is the son of Baba's brother Adi, who lived in London for many years.Jamshed has a graphic design oriented advertising business in Pune (he does Web pages), and his wife, Farah, works for Birla AT&T, the GSM cellular company that provides access to Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, including Ahmednagar. (India is not what it was even 5 years ago.) About half of Meherabad emptied out to attend the wedding and reception, which was held at the Aurora Towers Hotel in Pune. The Zoroastrian ceremony was a first for many of the foreigners, and the reception was true to the second of the three basic tenets of the Parsi and Irani religion, "Good food, good drinks and good times." -James Cox

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ews from Meherabad, 24 Nov '97 J ai Meher Baba! For the Meher Nazar Trust Office Computer project, two IBM Compatible 166 Mhz Pentium MMX Computers have been installed. One for accounting with a wide carriage Letter C2!Iality printer and one for Bhau's work with an Ink Jet printer (basically word processing); and a UPS for each. Site preparation is still in progress, but the electrical work has been completed, and the computers are up and running. Training for the staff which includes programming has begun. Trust letters are now being written on the computer. Several accounting Data bases will be written (mostly) by the staff as part of the training. 5 students are in the class and doing well. (I have an Indian assistant, Sujeet Hanspal, who has a masters degree in computing from a University in Pune helping me with the class.) The Amartithi registrations plan to be processed by computer in 'Nagar and transferred to the Meherabad computer by floppy disk! The programming work to be done mostly if not all by the staff in 'Nagar. Automation comes to the Meher Nazar Trust Office! -In His service, Jerry Edwards 1~


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little girl was told to draw her conception of the Hebrews' flight into Egypt. She came home with apicture of an airplane, the passengers all with halos and one person up front without one. When asked about it, she explained, "Oh , that 'P . th e pot. i1 " s ontlus,

The Lord's Prayer has always been easy for kids to misinterpret, either through poor enunciators or: from mumbling congregations. One little boy, always a classic joke, said "Harold beThy name." Two other lesser known prayers though, are a litde girl saying: "Give us this day our jelly bread." Or the little New York boy who petitioned God to "Lead us not into Penn Station."

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kJ love small animalll. For thl.'y arr. part of my crr.ation; But I love children much more. .'or with them. I am the elernal child And tht'y in their happy play aT(' my J)laymal.ell.

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-MEHER UADA

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Left: Drawing by Shannon Hage


How/tAll Happened

HOW IT ALL HAPPENED

A Film Treatment by MeherBaba and the Creation of the 'Soundtrack' by Ward Parks

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he Ancient One sows deep. The seeds ofHis divine creativeness sleep through many long winters; but when the season of awakening arrives, the world's wide landscapes are filled with its flowers. My story here-about the making of a cassette album-concerns merely one small bud that has blossomed in my garden; but germ of His working from which this bud grew will one day be instrumental in transforming the world of the dramatic and cinematic arts. The aspect of Baba's working to which I refer was frrst evidenced during His visits to America in the early 1930's. During the 1932 visit to Hollywood-which was attended by wide publicity and fanfareHaba established many contacts within the film industry. Over the next few years a considerable effort was directed toward the c~eation of two films of Baba's inspiration. One of these, entitled "This Man David," was conceived essentially as a spiritual allegory in which a mysterious stranger named David Lord takes up residence in the small town of Middlesville, transforms the lives of many of its inhabitants, and in the end gets lynched in a scene of crowd hysteria. [This play was performed at Mani's request for Baba's Birthday celebration 1996] But it is the second and probably the more significant of these film projects, entitled "How It All Happened," that is our subject here. The inception of the project took place in 1932 while Baba was staying at Harmonon-the-Hudson, forty miles upstream from New York City, at a retreat owned by Margaret Mayo, a Broadway playwright. One day, as the story is recounted in Lord Meher Vol IV, p. 1492: "the topic of making a film on spirituality was brought up; the

Songs by tVard Parks Based on afifm narrative by MEHERBAB CH'-lOMÂŁ

AVATAR MEHER BABA

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theme was according to Baba's explanations on the purpose of creation, the outcome of the universe and the spiritual journey. On December 3rd, Margaret Mayo spoke to Jean and Malcolm ScWoss about her friend who was a movie producer. She then explained to Baba that she could also write a detailed scenario if points were given to her. Baba immediately took her aside to work on the theme. In about an hour Baba finished dictating the whole plot-the beginning of creation, the developing stages of evolution, reincarnation and the stories of three characters through five lifetimes to Realization. After reading it to the group, all said it was splendid, and it was typed ouL" Later that evening, Margaret Mayo's friend, the movie producer Mr. Artkin, was invited over. Baba's story was read out. Impressed, Mr. Artkin said it was a grand idea. "Can it be properly worked into a movie?" Baba asked him. "Certainly," Artkin assured Baba, and the ftlm was discussed further. This film project was an idea that was to develop over the next few years. The plot line follows the careers of three souls, X, Y, and Z, through five lifetimes and traces the course ofspiritual development in human form from the primitive to GodRealization. The first scene opens to a view of three cannibals feasting on a human

corpse and culminates in a murder as two male cannibals vie for the favors of the woman. In the succeeding lifetimes these three souls meet again in a variety of forms and contexts-now as man, now as woman, now as the dominant party, now as the inferior. Of course, Meher Baba has explained the principles ofreincarnation and karma in considerable theoretical detail in God Speaks, the Discourses, and other places; but what is remarkable about this narrative is that it actually dramatizes these metaphysical truths, enabling us to watch the same souls progressing through a diversity ofroles and experiences. While the first three lifetimes depict the soul lost in the broils of reincarnation, in the last two the narrative moves from the outer to the inner worlds, as the leader ofthe three passes through the seven planes of consciousness. These are described in Baba's notes in visual and imagistic detail, and many points of the description are, so far as I know, unique to this particular text. For example, Baba describes the subtle body as similar to the physical body except that it is "smoke-like, vapory, and transparent;" and he characterizes the soul on the third plane as being "engulfed" in a "shattered mass of light."These kinds ofdetails and descriptions are not to be found in Baba's more theoretical


expositions on the planes of consciousness. The climax ofthe story arrives in the fifth lifetime, when the three souls are reincarnated as brothers in a wealthy New York family. An Indian Perfect Master comes to town, and by his grace the oldest of the three brothers attains God Realization. With this the saga ends and the long journey, for this one particular soul, is complete. Over the next five years this story given by Baba, became the center and focus of an on-going effort that involved members of Baba's own circle as well as a variety of contacts from the film world. In May of 1934 Baba dictated more material for the earlier part of the film, in which the story ofcreation is taken from its very outset, with the birth of space and primal energy out of the darkness, through to the end of the evolutionary process [Lord Meher Vol 11; pp. 1873-75]. In a subsequent visit to Hollywood the following December, Baba held meetings with several screen writers, including Norina's former husband Karl Vollmoeller and a friend of Gabriel Pascal's named Hy Kraft [LordMeher Vol VI, p.1937].Although at first skeptical about Baba, Kraft was greatly impressed by the force of Baba's personality, and he agreed to create a screen play based on Baba's story. The screen play went through several versions and drafts, and work on the project continued in various forms for several years. Indeed, in the N asik ashram in 1937, as Margaret Craske recounts in The Dance ofLove, Baba instructed her to choreograph dances for the flim, and Kitty, Rano and Delia were enlisted to help: Kitty by playing over and over again Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony" (the only available musical score) on an old, broken-down piano and Rano and Delia-representing sixty dancers each-by learning the dance parts that she had created. Eventually however, the project was dropped, Baba's contact with the film world evidently having achieved its purpose. And there, for many years, the matter slept. More than half a century later, in late1995, when Alan Wagner and Heather Nadel, director and playwright respectively, for most of the plays performed each year at Meherabad on Baba's birthday, were casting about for a good theme and subject for the up-coming celebration, Eruch drew their attention to an old printed text of" This Man

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Right: Heather Nadel as "Dead Body" in "Opium Den" with Alain Yuell the Dance Director. Lower Right: Costume Director Christine Pearson and Cave Man Mark Keller. Lower Left: Minoo Hamilton, Mark Keller (bearded), Pamela Woo(f, and Alan Wagners kitchen man, as cannibals.

David' that had been preserved for decades in the Meherazad archives. The play that resulted was a resounding success, which emboldened Heather and Alan to take on for the 1997 celebration an even more challenging dramatic production. For Baba's scenario for ''How It All Happened" calls for swift set changes in which the principal actors, reappearing in five radically different ages and cultures, must adopt a series of new roles involving changes ofcostume, race, age, social status, and even sex.

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he birthday plays at Meherabad are always grand events. Well before show time the theater in Outer Meherabad is buzzing with excitement. Shortly before noon the Meherazad Mandali arrive; the capacity audience, probably in excess of five

hundred, takes its seat; the music subsides, the lights dim, and the show is under way. It is one thing to read Baba's text for ''How ItAllHappened" on a printed page, and it is quite another to see it enacted on the stage. For the Meherabad audience this past February 25th the curtain rose to the spectacle of two cannibals-played by Minoo Hamilton and Mark Kellergorging themselves on a human corpse and then, a few seconds later, locked in a deathstruggle as the female cannibal, played by Pamela Wolfe, looks on. In the next act Mark, now a sadistic Turkish sultan, first tortures and subsequently stabs to death an Iranian stranger-Minoo-together with Pamela, his (the sultan's) adulterous wife. In the third act Pamela's character, now an honest Chinese businessman, consigns his

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opium smoking wastrel of a son (Mark) to prison over a bad debt but eventually, melted by the entreaties of his wife (Minoo), learns to forgive, even as the son, for his part, comes to experience the pangs of repentance. But the most remarkable sequence in the play, was Minoo's passage through the seven planes of consciousness in the fourth and fIfth acts. With his admission into the subtle world, a cyclorama curtain opened at the back of the stage and a corps of female dancers, like angel spirits of the higher planes, began to weave subtle and fascinating patterns choreographed by Alain Youell, who flew in from Japan to create this work. The combined spectacle of dance, lights and music constructed an extraordinarily vivid impression of the inner spheres and powerfully conveyed the feeling that these mystic realms that Baba has described in God Speaks and the Discourses are indeed realities that will be brought into our present, living experience in that moment, as it were, that the curtain is drawn aside.

The Making of a Cassette Album by Ward Parks

M

y own part in this production entailed the writing ofthe songs and direction ofthe musical performers. And though I have composed hundreds of songs in the last two decades, I must confess that I have never been faced with a more forbidding assignment. Completely unacquainted as I am with even the faintest "buzz from the astral," how was I to compose-as the script required-a song for each ofthe planes, including the seventh? And yet the experience proved to be a truly exhilarating one, not the least part of which involved a race with the clock. Working long into the nights during the last week before the performance, a hard-worked crew of choral singers, instrumentalists, and sound technicians struggled desperately to master the material and complete the recordings by show time. Mixing together frantic

Above: After the play, Katie Irani, Dr. Goher, and Meheru, with Meherose Hamilton who did narration throughout the play, and husband Minoo Hamilton who also appeared in the play.

activity, exhaustion, and sublime subject matter, these occasions with Baba carry their own distinct intoxication and emblazon ineradicable memories in all those who take part. Mter the play was over, the opportunity arose to make an audio recording of the songs; and this started a whole new chapter in the project for me. When finished, I had written a total of 16 compositions, roughly half of which pertain to the soul while it is still lost in the broils and tangles of reincarnation, while the other halfdepict the soul in its involutionary ascent. As an album "How It All Happened" is very much predicated on Baba's plot line for the film and traces a movement from sheer barbarism through repentance, longing, and inner awakening. The songs of the planes are largely based on descriptions ofthe planes that Baba Himselfgave or couplets ofHafiz which (according to the appendices in God Speaks) refer to particular inner states. For example, concerning the second plane, Hafiz wrote, "How should I reveal to you that last night in the tavern, intoxicated and unsteady as I was, great good tidings were brought to

me by the angel of the hidden world." In the song of the second plane, these lines become: "Late last night when the wine shop with drunken revels swirled, Great tidings came with an angel of the inner world... The song ofthe seventh plane takes many ofits poetic ideas from the ghazal which Hafiz wrote on the night that he was God-Realized. The opening two lines, in fact, are taken verbatim from Paul Smith's rendering: '(Praise be to God for the wonderful wealth Given to me tonight!" This ghazal, for me at least, is surcharged with an extraordinary exhilaration, and this feeling came to me powerfully while writing the song in the early morning hours at Meherabad. Then back in Chapel Hill North Carolina in the basement ofJerry and Cynthia Llewelyn's home, a large group of very talented Baba lovers came together to record it all for posterityand your enjoyment.

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Festival ofthe Arts at Meherabode October 1997

Ahove: A special guest just in from New YorkRaphael Rudd-treated us to some pianistic pyrotechnics. Below: Marguerite Poley in front of her beautiful autumnal landscape.

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Below: Our host, Richard Stermer (aka Richard Arthur) performed some of his own compositions.

Ahove: Gharlie Morton, an excellent artist himself, takes in works from the prolific young artist Vanessa Gounser. Below: George Gerdes gettin'down with some original story songs.

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Step inside

7he ,LoveStreet (]ookstore by Dina Snow

J

ai Baba and a Happy New Year to you all!

Judging by the response to our offer in the October issue to make your Christmas shopping easy for you-you all had a very easy time of it! I can see now that we need to do that every October. Many of you told me that not only was it great that we gift wrapped and mailed your presents to the recipients directly, but that we gave you a listing ofour top 28 best sellers for you to choose from. Come this October, there will no doubt be many an addition to the list we gave you in '97. To start right in with the new items for 1998: The long awaited reprinting of Fragmentsfrom a Spiritual Diary and Forty Messages from Meher Baba by Princess Norina Matchabelli has arrived. EliNor Publications (for Elizabeth and Norina) is <dedicated to the preservation of archival material from the estate of N orina Matchabelli, Elizabeth Patterson and Jane Barry Haynes. Their first publication was the enthusiasticaly received Letters of Love by Jane Haynes (definitely a top favorite on the Christmas lists!) Besides the two titles mentioned above, this book, Norina's Gift, includes an introduction by Charles Haynes and Christopher Wilson tracing the development ofNorina's life and work, from world renowned actress and film star, to cofounder ofthe famous perfumery, to disciple of Meher Baba. Drawing upon her previously unpublished papers and photographs, this opening section aims to give the reader a fuller picture of the remarkable woman whom Meher Baba named "Noorjehan"-Light of the World. It is cloth bound, 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches, 176 pages, 19 photographs. S20

Also eagerly awaited has been the latest in the biography written by Bhau Kalchuri and published by Manifestation-Lord Meher Vols.ll, 12. We now have it. Printing costs have risen and so these magnificent books are now S80 each. Volumes Eleven and Twelve (in the one book) encompass the years 1952 through to 1954. Consisting of 672 pages, it has 175 photographs and begins with Baba's first visit to the Myrtle Beach Center and His car accident in Prague Oklahoma. It culminates with His Declaration of the Highest of the High in Dehra Dun, the Declaration of Avatarhood in Hamipur, and His Declaration of Divine Work in Andhra. We do still have the previous volumes available, except for Vol. III. The only way you can obtain this particular one is to order the entire set (and hurry up about it!) You do get a 25% discount if you are buying all 12 volumes. To do this send your order to Manifestation P.O. Box 2024, Ashville, NC 28802, prepaid, or have your credit card ready and call Bookcrafters at (800) 879-4214. The latest from the pen ofBal Natu is a departure from his previous books, Conversations... and the Glimpses series. In The Samadhi-Star ofInfinity Bal gives us his very personal reflections on the unique significance of Meher Baba's Samadhi. Bal says he hopes his stories will spark lovers' own experiences at the Samadhi, as it did for Michael Ivey. See his review on page 25. In the book's preface Bal says: "Some may find this an unusual book presented in an unconventional style. I would readily agree with them! It is not a chronological account ofmy life with Avatar Meher Baba. Instead, it is my attempt to present a theme connected with the Avatar's Samadhi that has touched my heart, and which I have allowed to flow naturally as it came to me. In this flow there are some personal, even trivial, incidents, some historical facts, and some thoughts on

profound subjects based on Baba's statements." Paperback 125 pages, S12. How It All Happened is the latest from Ward Parks and is the music he composed to accompany the play that was staged at Meherabad for Baba's Birthday celebration 1997. See the article about it on page 30. The tape is beautifully presented with the words to all the songs in the liner notes. S10. We also have two other new releases in the audio tape department. The frrst is from Gabriella Tal-post accident. Gabriella frrst came to our notice a number of years ago with the beautiful Blessingsfor the New Soul. Mter coming to Baba she said she fdt like a new soul and was moved to compose these songs of praise. Her voice is a beautiful contralto but can soar when called for. She writes all her own songs which are profound poems of love to our Beloved. So Close was her next album. In 1996 she was struck by a car and sufferred devastating injuries. It has been a long road back from "the blessings that Baba has given me" see story on page 27. With her partner in song Mark Malachi, they have composed a beautiful album I Won't Hold Back Life, with the words based primarily on poems by Rumi, but also Hafiz and Bhau Kalchuri. The singing is top notch, straight to the heart, and beautifully accompanied by piano, flute and tambourine. It too has all the words printed on the Jay card. S10. The third new tape will probably have a number of people exclaiming "Well it's about time!" Mark Trichka and his fiddle playing wife Lisa Brande, have been playing backup on other performers tapes for a long time, really enhancing the general sound. Among them: Jim Myer, Cindy Lowe, Mani's own tape, and Jamie Newell. [See the article on Jamie Newell on page 39] For those ofus who have heard them live, and its hard to have missed them-as they have performed just about everywhere Baba


Mehera's Garden November 12,1960, Meherazad .. .Baba spends His timepretty equally between our quarters and those

0/ the mandali, and as He crosses to

and.fro to the Hall where the mandali await Him, the garden glows from Him. For the many coloured bougainvilleas and otherflowering bushes are looking their most beautiful at present. As our compound has many trees, many varieties

0/ birds are attracted here.

Only the other day, I saw two little bulbuls with wings aquiver and spreading tail feathers, looking just like miniature peacocks as they danced, their little lungs bursting with love songs. Near our sitting-room window a pair of little honey birds with iridescent wings

lovers congregate-Meherabad, Myrtle Beach Center, Meherana, North East Gathering and many other places-we say Wonderful! This tape entitled Happy Trails contains a lively collection of music including well known Baba songs, three original ones composed for Him by Mark and Lisa, various love songs from the '30's, and peppy bluegrass and swing numbers chosen with the Beloved in mind. To compliment Mark and Lisa's vocals, mandolin, fiddle and guitars, a host of other musicians have contributed their talents on banjo, steel, bass and percussion. $10. Cherie Plumlee had designed a beautiful

Baba Christmas card for us that was too late to be featured here, but we'll show it to you next issue. It is a colored photo ofa youngish Baba with beautiful flowing hair. Thanks to the magic of Adobe Photoshop Cherie has placed a globe of the world, tied up with a golden ribbon in His hand that He is holding out to us. It features a beautiful poem inside on Baba's Gift to Us-Earth. I mention it here because this card is very appropriate for any time of the year, especially if accompanying a gift. The photo is mounted on top quality card stock with matching envelope. $3.50. Till the next time... See you at the Bookstore!

Cherie Plumlee created this Monet-like rendering of Mehera's garden to grace our latest mug. It is in full color on a 10 oz. mug with a wrap around design. $10

shimmering in the sunshine hover to and.fro as they sip the honey.from theflower.

If one had nothing to do,

one could spend hours

watching nature and her creatures and learn muchfrom them. Once heart and mindarefilled with Baba andHis work, there is not roomfor anything else. During this Seclusion period may our hearts be united in a love so strong that nothing can break the links that bind us to our Beloved Baba. Beloved Baba's Love is with you. My love to you each dear ones and to Baba's loving trio, with love to Sadie and Bessie. Lovingly, Mehera From LETTERS OF LOVE FOR MEHER BABA THE ANCIENT ONS, Compiled and edited byJane Barry Haynes, Š 1997 by EliNor Publications


Center Report by Michael Ramsden

A Note FroIn Our Trust--walli by Lynne Berry

~ he Conditional Use Permit .1 Hearing was held October 30th. The AMBCSC was represented by the Board President Mike Ramsden, our Architect James Sonar, Margit Wypyszyk, Fred and Gigi Stankus, Linda Zavala, Bobby Dearborn, Dina Snow and Lynn Maguire. There were many representatives from the local neighborhood and Country Club Park Neighborhood association. Following the presentation by Mike and James in support of our application, several neighbors voiced their personal concerns about our presence. All comments were graciously presented and accepted by the Zoning Administrator. In particular the Vice- Presiden t of the Association, Ms Dinah Roussel, presented a 12 point list ofconcerns from the Association members. This had been most thoughtfully prepared by Ms Roussel who hCid spent hours on the phone answering the community's concerns and formulating a manifesto for presentation to AMBCSC and the Zoning Administrator. The Board President had reviewed these prior to the meeting and found them not to conflict with any of our Articles, By-laws or goals. The Zoning Administrator, after various ,discussions in the question and answer period, then asked both the AMBCSC and the Neighborhood Association to draft a joint statement and submit it to her within three weeks. She also asked the AMBCSC to submit documentation that there was adequate parking for all events to meet Neighborhood concerns and City laws. On Tuesday November 1st the Neighborhood Association Board ofDirectors approved the final draft of the Document. On Saturday November 15th the AMBCSC Board of Directors approved the final draft subject to our attorney's approval. This was secured, and on November 17th the document was signed. During the same period, another document was developed between our immediate neighbors and AMBCSC that will allow us to use the Tennis Court that belongs to the Mansion for parking when there are events that exceed over 80 attendees. Both Documents were submitted to the Zoning Administrator on November 17th. The

Zoning Administrator promised that she would give the application her immediate attention. And that's where it stands at the time of writing. It is probable that we will obtain the Use Permit but the Zoning Administrator may also place limits on us according to legal limitations that we may not even be aware of. However, that is all in Baba's Hands. Assuming that we will have the Permit, the AMBCSC has a lot of work ahead. First: We must attend to the issues that immediately impact the City and our Neighbors. Repair the curbs alongside our property. Restore the grass by the sidewalk and provide for its watering. Prepare the Parking lot inside our property to City Code Standards. Second: We must decide exactly how we want the inside of our meeting place to be so that plans can be finalized and implemented in a prioritized way that uses funds available in the most economical way. These plans can then be submitted to the city for building Permits. Building will then commence to meet City Codes and in time we will obtain our Occupancy Permit. We already have a working plan submitted by our architect which we may choose to accept or modify. Third: Concurrently we must develop a Funding Program that will pay for all the City Code upgrades. We have approximately a quarter to one third of the necessary funds at this time. Much depends on the City's demands and much depends on the amount of volunteer labor that can be used. Fourth: A MEDIUM RANGE GOAL plan for the payoff of mortgage debt that we can all agree to, must be put in place . Fifth: A LONGER RANGE GOAL for further developments of the property can be established. And ofcourse we will need to keep doing all the activities at the Center that we have come to love to do for our Beloved. This is the Labor phase of the NEW UFE. Come and help live it at His Center.

I

f you've been thinking that sometime you'd like to make a love-donation to the Trust, today may be the perfect time. The Avatar Meher Baba Trust runs a first-rate school, provides medical care for villagers and maintains Baba's tomb-shrine and Trust properties. There are also beneficiaries of the Trust whose living expenses are covered by donations from Baba-lovers. All of these worthy projects were specified by Baba Himself, in the Trust Deed. Many of the Trust's charitable projects and outreach projects are carried out by Eastern and Western volunteers. Some projects, however, require the assistance of paid Indian workers, and as India raises its standard ofliving, the cost ofmaterials and labour is on the rise also. N ow this new opportunity presents itselÂŁ Love-donations are also needed for the exciting new project that involves the preservation of articles used and touched by Baba-the precious treasures that mean so much to all of us. Contributions for the archives project will have long-lasting value indeed! If this type of service appeals to you, please make your check payable to "Friends of Meher Baba Trust," and send it to: Lynne Berry 267 Hanover Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 Please note what portion of your donation is for the Trust, and/or for Archives. Jai Baba.

(Announcements continuedfrom page 39)

M

S. Somjai Piyavatkul and Mr. Thomas Hart (of the Love Street LampPost staff) are to be wed on January 24, 1998, in a private ceremony. A reception, by invitation only, will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Rohnert Park, CA following the wedding.


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A Letter from theTrust Dear Baba-family,JAI BABA!

T

he generous response ofBeloved Baba's lovers around the world to the Trust's Archive, Museum, and Research Project is much appreciated by the Trustees of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust. Because ofyour care and concern for Baba's precious and irreplaceable articles, the building construction is now under way.

However, in consequence of this loving response for this project, the amount of donations received this year for the Beneficiaries of Avatar Meher Baba Trust "Firstly" is very low. Therefore we request that unti131st March 1998-ALL donations to the Trust (except for Archive pledges already made) be sent to the Avatar Meher Baba Trust "Firstly." At present, 75% of what is donated to Avatar Meher Baba Trust "Firstly" is utilized for public charitable purposes. This 75%, which represents the share of the Beneficiaries who have passed away, is automatically utilized as Corpus Fund for Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, according to the Trust Mandate. Only the remaining 25% of donations to Avatar Meher Baba Trust "Firstly" can be distributed to the surviving Beneficiaries according to the percentages dictated by Beloved Baba in the trust Deed. Hence, by donating to Avatar Meher Baba Trust "Firstly" for the next 6 months, you will be serving the needs of both the public charitable objects and those of the Beneficiaries at the same time. FROM 1ST APRIL 1998 THE DONATION GUIDELINES PREVIOUSLY GIVEN BY THE TRUST ARE TO BE CONTINUED. They are: APRIL THROUGH NOVEMBER: All donations to AVATARMEHER BABA TRUST "FIRSTLY" should be received during these months. DECEMBER THROUGH MARCH: All donations to AVATAR MEHER BABA PERPETUAL PUBLIC CHARITABLE TRUST should be received during these months. If the amount of a donation exceeds SSO.OO, then the donation must be accompanied by a letter ofinstruction stating that the donation is for the "Corpus Fund ofAvatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust."

Please inform all in your area who would want to know that, because the amount received for Avatar Meher Baba Trust "Firstly" has been so very low, the Trust is now requesting that all donations up to 31st March 1998 should be made to Avatar Meher Baba Trust "Firstly." (signed) V:S. Kalchuri Please Note: An exception to the above guidelines is: individuals who wish to donate a LARGE amount to the Corpus fund of Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust may send their donations at any time of the year.

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1965 Birthday Message MeherBaba

B

e true to the Trust I repose in you and remember Me wholeheartedly. All talk about the Path and the Goal is a lantern carried by ablind man. A blind man needs a staffin his hand; the seeker needs his hand in God-Man's. No sooner you begin to love those whom you cannot love, you begin to love Me as I should be loved. To love those whom you could not ~ hate is natural, but to love those whom you cannot love is to love Me as I should be loved. MEHER BABA CALliNG, ed ]amshed B. Mistry and] Flagg Kris, Copyright 1988, AMBPPCT


Avatar's Abode, Australia 3rd - 8thJune 1998

I

1958, Meher Baba, accompanied by Eruch Jessawala, Nariman Dadachanji, Dr. William Donkin, and Adi K. Irani stayed at Avatar's Abode from the 3rd to the 6th June. This was Meher Baba's last Sahavas outside India. It was during this time that He named the property and said that it will become one of the great places of pilgrimage in the world. The Anniversary of Meher Baba's visit to Avatar's Abode is a special time for all Australian Baba lovers and this is enhanced when the time is shared with Baba lovers from the international community. On 12th April 1958 Baba sent a message to all those attending the Sahavas at Myrtle Beach U.S.A., and at Avatar's Abode, Australia. "I am coming to America and Australia solely to give My Sahavas to My lovers and I want each ofyou to come with the longing to receive just that. 1want this Sahavas to be above all a close companionship between your Beloved and His lovers; and ifyou wish to maintain this unique relationship, then do not come with the question or the desire to seek discourses and explanations. Come with the preparedness to receive fully whatever I may give you, with the thought ofbeing completely resigned to My Will.» Copies ofa brochure giving detailed information about the Anniversary, travel to Australia, accommodation, etc., and also how you can participate in the programs ofmusic, drama, skits or tales, n

internet and this will be advised on the Baba listserv.

etc., are available at most American Baba centres. (For details, contact Dina Snow.) A copy of the brochure and registration form will be placed on the

JIln inf:2itation... ... to the 40th AnnlversaryCeJebration, of Meher. Baba's, visit- to, His 'Abode in ·Australia, .3rd - 8th June 1998

) ....

"Althoiighl am ever wi~h Mylpvers individually. lamal~ays hPPPywhen the;Fgatfierin My lov;,; " . '. s~ ~elebr~t~thiS annh~ersi1riat Myl\bode';with abang and . let ~;' message filI~every cf!rfJerJ)fyoui'h~a[~s. cove to ~o~.~il."

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Jamie Newell at Meherana by Dina Snow

!

amie Newell has always been a crowd pleaser, and never more so than at the ew Life Sahavas at Meherana. Not only did he sing up a storm, but he also gave a workshop on relationships, drawing his words and insight from Meher Baba, Carl Jung and Hafiz (and no doubt a little life experience!). He interspersed his discussion with some ofthe fabulous new songs he had composed using HafIz' words. We were all ready to go buy the new tape of Hafiz, they were powerful songs, but alas, we were informed the tape would not be available for quite a few months! However, no one who wanted to take a little of Jamie home with them left empty handed. The Love Street Bookstore carries fIve of his tapes: The Window To God, The Second Coming, I Dreamed I Saw My Savior, and two Blues albums Blues Is My Business and Zen and the Art of Blues. Jamie does not approach his predilection for Blues as a dilettante, he has done his time with the big guys: While still a teenager in Boston he joined Muddy Waters' guitar player Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson as a sideman. Soon Jamie was traveling in packaged blues shows featuring artists such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Mose Allison, John Hammond, Robert Lockwood, Jr., and other blues greats. The affIliation with Johnson ultimately led to work as a sideman with a variety ofbluesmen including John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jr. Wells, Big Joe Turner, and others. On his latest album, Window to God Jamie is joined by the New Life Revival Band*-Mark Trichka on assorted mandolins, Lisa Brande on fiddle and harmony vocals, and Carol Hamm on upright bass. This addition adds an unmistakable Appalachian/Bluegrass twist to J arnie's folk-bluesy vocals, and creates a powerful backdrop for his original Baba songs. All ofJamie's tapes are $10 each.

*Mark Trichka and Lisa Brande have finally released an album oftheir own, titledHappy Trails. See the story in the Love Street Bookstore report.

B

eloved Baba took one of His jewels, Shirin Vesali, to Himself on Oct. 11, 1997. Shirin was born in Bombay, moved to Iran and married Esfandiar Vesali, one ofthe Prem Ashram boys and was thus introduced to his Divine Master. During 65 years of wholehearted devotion to her Beloved, she and Esfandiar hosted in their home in Tehran many of his lovers, including Doulatmai (Mehera's mother), Adi K. Irani, Meherji, and Aloba. They held countless Baba meetings and gatherings. Her generosity, warmth and unconditional love was that of a true slave to her Lord Meher Baba. Although she suffered from a loss of memory in the last years of her life, she remembered Baba all the time. Her husband told us that on her last night, she awoke from her coma, sat up in bed, and started to clap her hands and laugh joyfully. Certainly our Beloved came to her in her last moments. It is only the Jeweler who knows the true worth of the jewels. Our heart goes out to Mr. Vesali and our Baba family in Iran.

-Shirin Vahidi and the LosAngeles group.

Book in the Making: "How I Came to Baba"

A

group ofBaba lovers has sprung from the Baba Listserv to begin work on a new book of "How I came to Baban stories. The group has formed an editing committee, a layout and design committee, and a fundraising committee. A publisher has also signed on to the project. The group is physically scattered across the United States, and will be collaborating via the Internet. The book is intended for distribution in public bookstores as well as in Baba bookstores. Everyone is invited to share their story for possible inclusion. Writers are encouraged to be personal, and to share their love for Baba. Don't forget to suggest a title!

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Rare Portrait Reluctantly Released to the Public A 14 x 18 inch original drawing ofBaba, by Rano Gayley, c. 1974. It is believed to be the only time that she included a self-portrait with Baba.

Ifyou are interested in purchasing this treasurefor yourself, call Dina:

(310) 837-6419, 7-11pm, PST.

Ifpossible, please limit your text to 2,000 words or less. Submissions should be typed on white paper, saved as a text file to an IBM-formatted disk, or e-mailed as a text file. Please submit your story to Terri Zee, 33 Hidden Valley Rd., Denton, TX 76208. Phone: (940) 321-3401, or e-mail: zee2@airmail.net If em ailing, indicate "Baba Stories Project" in the subject line. Feel free to call, write, or email if you have any questions. Remember, we hold on to Baba's Love by sharing it. Share your stories with us! (continued on page 36)


AVATARMEHERBABA CENTER of Southern California

1214 SOUTH VAN NESS AVENUE LOS ANGELES, CA 90019-3520

NONPROFIT U.S. POSTAGE

PAID

REDONDO BEACH, CA

PERMIT # 196 address correction requested

DATED MATERIAL Please Expedite!


...

-~

APRIL - JUNE, 1998

oX

101

ÂŁoveStreet ,LampPost'

~eherabode '[he 3irst })ear


prayer just what they needed at the particular time they picked up the magazine. We are very happy to have been of service in such a way, and will be continuing that theme in a future issue.

Editor's Corner ]ai Baba to you all.

S

pring has sprung in most parts ofthe coun try, and very welcome it is too! Baba has certainly 'blessed' many hundreds of thousands of people with the opportunity to become detached from their material possessions. The horrendous winter in most parts of the US did, literally, detach many from their homes-our hearts go out to them. We received a great many letters and emails from readers who found ourJanuary issue on

A gentle word to you wonderful folk who send us in articles: it is indeed great that you get them in by the deadline, but just because we receive it in a timely fashion doesn't mean it will go in the next issue. We give priority to the latest news from the Beloved's home, as so many ofyou have told us we are your only contact with the Baba world. We are still sitting on articles submitted 3 years ago! We plan for them to be included, but as in this issue, Tom told me that we were at 52 pages, and as we can't go over 48, we had to start, very reluctantly, pulling articles and deferring them until a future issue. But I can tell you that in the Jilly issue will be the very exciting news of the book that Mani had arranged to be published before she joined Baba. Mani had dreams. Dreams she felt were direct from Baba and very profound. She asked Wodin (an artist residing in Myrtle Beach, who did the illustrations for her delightful book God Brother) ifhe would create a series of paintings to illustrate each dream. This is going to be a fabulous 'coffee

table' book released later this year. Kathy Wiederhold is researching the story now. One thing that was mentioned here last issue, but to which we have received no response-who out there is artistically talented, proficient in Adobe PageMaker, is dying to be ofservice to our Lord, and has 50-60 hours over a three week period to create a LampPost for a thousand or more eager readers?! People's lives are ever changing and Tom and David will not always be available when the time is here to do the design and layout for the next issue. Liz Gaskin did a beautiful job with theJanuary issue, but logistically (and financially) it does not prove feasible to work across the Pacific. David is on pilgrimage at this time and Tom is just back from his honeymoon, so we owe a great big thank you to his long suffering bride Jai, who waits in vain for her new husband to come home from work! Please write, phone, fax or email me if you would like to step up to the plate!

Dina Snow

r

Photograph Credits Page

Source

Page 4,5,17

Lawrence Reiter (Hermes)

Page 7, 10, 11

Dina Snow, Linda Zavala

Pages 8,9,23, 36, 46

Page

Source

Page 28

Marc Brutus

Page 31

Fred Stankus

Page 34

Meheru Irani

Dina Snow

Page 40

Louis van Gasteren

Page 12

Thomas Hart

Page 43

Andy Lesnik

Page 13

Sarah McNeil, Thomas Hart

Page 45

Panday Studio

Page 47 Page 25

James Cox

Photo ofBaba by Hardip Chowdhary

Page 27

Ross Keating

Cover Photos

Dina Snow


.....

-~

A publication ofthe Avatar Meher Baba Center ofSouthern California

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£oveStreet LamfPoSt

welcome The £.oveStreet£amflbst' is dedicated with love to Avatar Meher Baba. Its primary purpose is to contribute to a sense of community among all His lovers by providing a place for sharing His remembrance. All the members of the Baba family are invited to contribute to this feast of Love. Your stories, photos, art work, poetry, letters, articles, and humor are all actively solicited. We seek expressions ofBaba's message of Love and Truth. Please submit your text on computer disks if possible (in any software format); typewritten copy on white paper is also acceptable. Be sure to clearly identify all submissions and properly credit every quote or reference.

submissions, subscriptions, donations: Love Street LampPost Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California 1214 South Van Ness Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90019-3520 phone (213) 731-3737 e-mail Bababooks@aol.com

Meherabode, The First Year Minoo Bharucha Amartithi at Meherabode Grand Opening of the Nizamabad Centre Baba's Special Room Archives Project Update The Theme

Center Report, etc Various Contributors Dina Snow R.S.N. Murthy Jim Migdoll Meheru Irani MeherBaba

. . . . . .

Ward Parks

..

Don Stevens Dina Snow

. .

Amartithi, 1969

Mani S. Irani

.

Amartithi, 1998

Heather Nadel

.

Meher Baba's Poet: Francis Brabazon Divali

Ross Keating Heather Nadel

.. .

Prayer

Various Contributors

.

Meherabad in the 1920's Don Stevens Speaks Reprinting of God Speaks and Listen Humanity

Bringing Together the Religions of the World

,

Bal Natu

.

Loius van Gasteren

.

Beyond Words

Andy Lesnik

.

Editor's Corner

Dina Snow

.

Poetry

Featuring, Faredoon N. Driver (Padri)

.

A Poem

Terri Zee

.

Beyond Words, The Video

deadlines for submissions: Jan-Mar issue Apr-Jun issue Jul-Sep issue Oct-Dec issue

: : : :

November 8th February 8th May 8th Aug 8th

Fifteen Minutes

Love Street Bookstore:

of Silence

Mehera's Beloved A Sacred Blasphemy

Dina Snow (at the addresses above) (310) 837-6419 between 7:00 and 1l:00pm (310) 839-BABA (2222) 24-hour fax or e-mail Bababooks@aol.com

Love Street LampPost: editor art direction design and layout digital scanning distribution

: : : : :

Lucky Escape fOr Baba

. . . .

James Cox The Chicken Joke

. .

Your Bookstore-walli Various Contiributors

. .

John F. Page

.

Notes from the Internet Humor for Huma

Dina Snow Avatar Meher Baba Thomas I-hrt Michael Franklin,'David McNeely Chris Lyttle and Harry Thomas

The £oveStreetLamflbsl is published quarterly, in January, April, July, and October. All contents © 1997, Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. All quotations of Avatar Meher Baba or books, © AMBPPCT, India.

.

Irma Sheppard Rumi Simon Reece Meher Preeti Khilani

Song on Baba

The LoveStreet Bookstore Announcements (Meetings, Weddings, etc)

Craig Ruff

Cover: The Chapel at Meherabode (aka the "Dome"), photo by Dina Snow. Back cover: Meherabode, photo by Dina Snow. Photos: See page 2. All other words, images, andgraphics in thispublication areproperty oftheir respective copyright ho/de Unauthorized duplication isprohibitedby international law.


Meherabadin the 1920's by Ward Parks In correspondence from the Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 7 January, 1998.

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he dust of Meherabad is soaked with wine-the wine of the ever-livingness of His memory, the wine that fills the footprints that He impressed indelibly when He walked there as the beautiful God-Man. As pilgrims walk to and fro between the Pilgrim Centre and the Samadhi on Meherabad Hill, many may never have noticed the strip of land, perhaps a hundred meters wide, that lies between the road and the railway tracks. Today this land is largely an undeveloped field ofcongress grass and wild flowers interspersed with occasional neem, ailanthus, and acacia trees. But in the 1920's it was a vital hub ofactivity. Close to the railway tracks, near the current pilgrim railway crossing, was the old Post Office building where Mehera and other early female disciples resided when they first moved to Meherabad from Khushru Qyarters in Ahmednagar. The Sai Darbar, a hall for darshan and meetings, had been constructed in the same general vicinity, and nearby stood the table-cabin in which Baba wrote The Book.The schools which Baba inaugurated in 1925 and in the following years were, at first, housed in various buildings in this same strip of land, extending from the Post Office as far as the fringes ofArangaon village, where the Meher Health Centre is situated today. But soon the focal point of Baba's schooling activities shifted up the hill. It was in the old water tank, which is now the ground floor ofMeher Retreat (the tall tower

building at Upper Meherabad), that Baba established first the Meher Ashram and later the Prem Ashram. These and other reminiscences from the

early history ofMeherabad through the 1920's have been brought back to my mind over the past few weeks by a pilgrim-visitor who had the good fortune to have been there at the time. Now an old man in his mid-eighties, Esphandiar Vesali was one of a group of 14 boys whom Aga Baidul brought from Yezd (a city in Iran) during July of 1927. Though Esphandiar speaks no English, I still remember some of his beautiful and heart-affecting

stories from an earlier visit ofhis in 1977, when he came with a group oflranians just before the outbreak ofthe Iranian revolution. He recounted at that time how his sudden awakening to love for God came about, shortly after his arrival in Meherabad. During class in the Meher Ashram one day in 1927, his teacher, Afseri, quoted from a poem by Sadi that says that man will one day reach a stage when he sees nothing but God. "Is it possible for man to see God?" Esphandiar had asked. "Yes," Mseri had replied. From that moment Esphandiar lost his ordinary state ofconsciousness and found himself unable to study. In fact, over the next few months a number of the school boys were overpowered by what Baba had awakened in them, and Meherabad Hill became a scene of uncontrollable weeping, or "sobs and throbs," as Ramjoo Abdullah called it in his account ofthis chapter in Baba's life. Thus was born the "Prem Ashram," or the "ashram oflove." On another occasion Baba asked Esphandiar to ride with Him in the handdrawn rickshaw that two ofthe mandali were pulling up the hill from Lower Meherabad. Finding no room to sit, Esphandiar stood beside Baba in the carriage. As it rocked and bumped its way up the path that now leads to the Samadhi, he found he had to hold on to Baba's arm to keep from falling. When they reached Meher Ashram on the hill, Baba told


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him, "Just as you had to hold My arm on the bumpy ride up the hill, in the same way you have to obey Me, as your Master, on the journeyto God." What a superb allegory this is for all of us as we traverse the roads our diverse destinies have laid for us in our journeys to Him! For these past few weeks it has been a moving sight to see Esphandiar, now an old man, sitting on the front veranda ofthe Pilgrim Centre in the late afternoon light as the westering December sun sinks over Meherabad Hill and filters through the neem and ailanthus trees. Though he says little, the old histories of Meherabad that we have read about in books seem to come to life again in the presence of such a one for whom these memories are the defining realities ofa lifetime. How beautiful is Meherabad, where that great Lion oflove scores His indelible mark in the landscape of so many hearts! One day the seeds that He plants there will flower, like flags of love unfolding, in every nation and garden ofthe world.

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Opposite: Baba at Upper Meherabad, near the crypt, 1925. Top: Water tank building with men mandali, 1927. Above: Table-seat under tree struck by lighting. Right: Maps of Upper and Lower Meherabad by Elaine Cox, from the book Let's Go To Meherabad!copyright AMBPPCT

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eherabode The First Year Center Report by Lois Jones President of the Board of Directors

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n the October, 1997 edition of the LSLP, Michael Ramsden reported that four vacant Board of Directors positions (2-year terms) were to be filled at an upcoming election. I am pleased to tell you that Nancy Merwan was elected, and Mehrnoush Lorkalantari and Dina Snow were re-elected to the Board. Per our By-laws, the Voting Membership elects the Board ofDirectors and the Directors elect the officers of the Board. Positions for 1998 are as follows: Lois Jones, President Linda Zavala, Vice-President/Director of Fixed Assets and Legal Mehemoush Lorkalantari, SecretarylDirector ofMembership Mahoo Ghorbani, Director ofPrograms Lynn Maguire, Director ofService/Outreach Golnaz Manouchehrpour, Director of Finance Nancy Merwan, Director ofFundraising Dina Snow, Director ofPublications and Communications

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Our nine-member Board has one vacant position, Director of Personnel. We hope to appoint someone to this vital position soon. Kanji Miyao continues as Treasurer, an appointed position. Michael Ramsden is taking a break from Board of Director duties, but I am happy to report that he will continue to be our Center Representative to the Neighborhood Association as well as serving on a number ofcommittees. We have our work cut out for us over the next two years! December 0ÂŁ'97 saw the City grant us our Conditional Use Permit. (This allows us to exist as a Religious non profit organization in the center ofan area zoned for single family residences.) This permit brings us one big step closer to our Certificate ofOccupancy. We have approximately two years to comply with the city's codes. As this article goes to press, our Voting Members are preparing to vote for an unprecedented two budgets: the 1998 Center Operations Budget and the 1998 Provisional Renovation Budget. The Center Operations Budget addresses

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income and expenses for the day-to-day operations ofthe Center. The Provisional Renovation Budget addresses income and expenses for the work we hope to do on the property this year. Once the budgets arc approved, fundraising will begin! Ofcourse, we will do what we can with the funds on hand, but we will need more income to pay for all of the work. Please see Linda Zavala's article for more details on the work being done. I cannot conclude this article without saying "Thank you" to Michael Ramsden for his many years ofservice as AMBCSC Board of Directors President. We're glad we haven't completely exhausted you, Mike! We look forward to your continued service in as many ways as you can!

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Left: President ex-officio Mike Ramsden is still serving the Board -homemade cake! Seatedfrom left: LoisJones, Linda Zavala, Golnaz Manouchehpour, Mehernoush Lorkalantari, Mahoo Ghorbani, Nancy Merwan, -Dina Snow is behind the camera.

Right: Yard salejUndraiser atAdele Wolkin's house with workers from left: Mehernoush Lorkalantari, Diana Snow, Cookie Riendeau, and Kennedy McIntosh (formerly ofthe Chicago Bulls).

Left: Dale Keeney cleaning up around our Pine trees.

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Inside the Dome

The Transformation

Left: Meheras Room-projected reading and study room. Middle: Manis Room-projected audio visual room. Right: Babas Room with His chair. Amir Chafai is creating a stainedglass window of Mastery in Servitude above the chair.

by Linda Zavala Facilities Use Coordinator

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his March marked the frrst anniversary of the purchase of"Meherabode." After 17 years of fundraising, years of discussion, site searching and saving--Baba turned the key. N ow, sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to realize we are really here. My predecessor, Donna Sanders, not only found the property but capably and enthusiastically nurtured our fIrst months at the Center handling new problems that arose daily. As Facilities Use Coordinator, managing the physical aspects ofthe Center has given me a wonderful opportunity to gain insight into what will be needed by the Center from, literally, the ground up. The place Baba chose for us, as you have seen before in the LSLP, includes a beautiful and extensive garden which never ceases to delight. On every opportunity to visit the Center I am always amazed how Baba found such a place 'smack dab' in the middle of this thriving and noisy metropolis and yet, one feels as if one is in the country with fragrant scents of flowers and gentle

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winds in the afternoon. In the last year we have settled in, worked out the many kinks involved in taking ownership and are now beginning to consider what Baba has in store for us. Your love offerings have allowed us to make important repairs and renovations. With the stout help of Kent Hansen and his workers we modestly renovated both of the bathrooms and replaced a door on the other one. The kitchen has been re-organized so that our ever hungry Baba lovers can eat and chat in comfort. The roof leak was repaired after the first rains and luckily is holding during"EI Nino." We have had the lovely marble floor of the Dome cleaned and polished. Many people have donated furniture and artwork to adorn the meeting hall and Dome. Even the goldfish in the pond below the waterfall continue to thrive. After 25 years ofkeeping Baba's sadra hidden away, a preservation committee has been formed to dispaly it safely along with other precious archive items. Volunteer gardeners come ev-

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ery week working hard to beautify Baba's place. Mehera's rose garden promises to bloom beautifully come Spring. Our frrst goal in becoming "legal"(up to code) was to secure the Conditonal Use Permit which was obtained in December. Now we are preparing to move on to the Building Permit and Occupancy Permit. Obtaining the final permit will allow us to publicize the Baba Center more freely and secure our position in the neighborhood. We will need to raise $60,000 this year and $60,000 next year to complete renovations to secure the final permit. We are calling upon you, dear friends and members ofthe Center, to participate, to share and to help us go forward in spreading Baba's Message and continuing to create this lovely gathering place for spiritual renewal. The donations which you have been sending on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis continue to be a source of help and inspiration that always brings to mind the thought and feeling that we are all one in Him. Whether we

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Clockwisefrom top left: Meeting hall; reading area of the Bookstore;future bigger bookstore sight;from left: Marc brutus, Rosie Choi, Tracy Bleahu help with the annual Love Street Bookstore inventory; life-size painting ofthe inside ofBaba's Samadhi dame murals by Jurgis Saphus.

arc near or far we are all together in our focus ofsharing the love Baba gives continously. You have shown us by your enthusiasm and gifts how this is also your Center and we hope you will come and visit us often. If you wish to move the renovation forward with your donation please note on your check that it is earmarked for that purpose. We can also accept a Credit Card donation for that purpose. One in Spirit, Linda

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Left: The 13,000 squarefoot Milbank Mansion, built in 1912, that maybe one day Baba will seefit to give us! We bought the chauffeur's cottage and 8 car garage, along with the Dome, situated on one acre.

Right: The Meherabode Meeting Hall is at the left end, the Bookstore at the right.

Later in the summer,]ack Small came to L.A. and shared his interesting stories of20 years in India- followed by his renowned singing. In the fall we celebrated Marguerite Poley's 50th year with Meher Baba. Meherabode was delighted to have Murshida Duce's daughter, Charmian Duce Knowles, as guest of honor at our Saturday night program as well as the potluck event the followingday. Charmian shared her heartwarming stories ofmeeting Baba. In the latter part ofOctober, Baba's nephew's Rustom and Sohrab Irani visited Meherabode and kept us laughing at their antics around Uncle Baba. Meherabode's first annual Art festival was celebrated featuring many talented artists who shared their creative efforts dedicated to Meher Baba. Mid November Mr. A.K. Kasthuri, who has been with Baba since the 1930's, traveled to L.A. from Northern California and shared his lovely memories with

us. 1997 closed with the first Meherabode Christmas party, celebrated with music, gift exchange and lots ofother fun things.

Highlights ofthe Meherabode Programs for our First Year

by Mahoo G horbani Program Director

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ow fortunate we arc. Beloved Avatar Meher Baba has blessed us with so much good fortune this past year. Ever since Baba provided us with this lovely center, He has also lured many guests our way. In March, Dr. Farhad Shafa was a very welcome and interesting guest. An Easter celebration was organized by Gigi Driessen and Fred Stankus with an egg-tossing contest along with the traditional easter egg hunt. May saw Craig Ruff, Trust Office Slave, in the States on a sabattical as a guest in our new home. Our Meherabode Grand Opening, as Baba's newest home in the West, was celebrated and officiated by Bhau Kalchuri, bringing a crowd ofover 200 people. Mter the highly successful Silence Day Sahavas, featuring Bhau Kalchuri and many other guests, Bhau gave a public talk at the Center. Bhau was also on hand for our Silence Day celebrations.

All in all, a fabulous first year in our new home! Thank you Baba.

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Opposite, clockwisefrom top left: From our driveway, bambooforest on the left, looking over the expanse ofour lawns to the Milbank's daughter's house (6000 sq. ft.) built in 1927. (We'd like that one too!) That completes the 3 buildings on the 5 acre walledproperty. the Greenhouse andparking lot; the Bookstore with Diana Snow (seated); ... looking towards the Dome; Mario Zavala with Kent Hanson on the roofofthe Bookstore trying out the ironwork; Kent Hanson's worker laying tile in the bathroom.


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Minoo Bharucha

Memories of Minoo from Cynthia Barrientos

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ith a grin on my face, I recall an after noon with Minoo. He cheerfully agreed to make a day-trip to Shirdi and Sakori with a small group ofus. This warm, November afternoon, 1994, we climbed into a van and headed for these towns where Upasni Maharaj and Sai Baba had lived. Minoo knew these places well, so provided entertaining and detailed accounts of life with Meher Baba during those times. When traveling such a distance, we occasionally stopped for opportunities to "ease ourselves," as Minoo worded it. Since toilets, as we know them in the west, are few and far between, these stops were at bushes or deserted buildings. One break was particularly amusmg. A member of our group was a cigarette smoker. He hopped out of the van to "ease himself" and left his pack of smokes behind. Minoo, seated in the front, reached back and quickly tossed them into the bushes. When our friend returned, he questioned the woman next to him as to the whereabouts ofhis pack. She has been known to create mischief now

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and again, so this was not an unreasonable accusation. When she pointed to Minoo and explained what happened, Minoo kept a straight face and prompted the driver to get going. This man wouldn't even begin to consider that Minoo would do this, so proceeded to interrogate the woman. The van filled with laughter, we drove off, and Minoo simply continued to look straight ahead, telling tales of Meher Baba.

Excerpts from the Diaries ofJamie Dillon

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ne day at arti I was standing next to Minoo Bharucha while waiting in line for darshan. Minoo has been with Baba for decades; currently he works as an electrician at Meherabad. He's funny and warm and looks and acts as if he's made out of old, seasoned wood. I waited a while just at the corner ofthe Tomb and followed Minoo's example from a couple ofdays before, ofjust feeling the stone.

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Nothing miraculous, just looking up at the Dome and leaning on the stones and mortar. At arti there was a richly colored green cloth on the marble in Baba's Tomb. After arti, I was chatting and joking with Minoo on the way down the Hill. J al Dastur came up and asked Minoo ifhe'd found the bottle behind a certain banyan tree, which Jal had hidden for him. They really spun this fantasy out, rolling their eyes over the treat that was in store. Gentle reader, I wouldn't want you to get the wrong idea: a million bucks in gold says there's no secret boozing going on amongst the residents ofMeherabad. In line for darshan next morning, I turned around to Minoo, who was right behind me, and asked him quietly ifhe'd found the bottleJal had left for him. He nodded solemnly. I asked him what it had been, cognac? Minoo sighed, "No, champagne!" Minoo made a huge impression on me, with his kindness and his deep concrete humor. Baba was his whole heart. Thanks for the chance to remember him once again.

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Opposite: Minoo on front veranda ofPilgrim Center at Meherabad, August, 1996. Above: Minoo with magnifying glass at "Cafe Bliss,"Amartithi, 1993. Right: Minoo takes tea in the dining hall while sharing his remarkable wit and humor with Anthony Thorpe (background) among others, October, 1992.

From Andy Shott

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n 1992, I was with a small group that got to visit Sakori and Shirdi with Minoo. There are many recollections associated with that trip, but as far as my memories ofMinoo, nothing is so vibrant in my mind as a get-together for tea in his cabin after the trip. The particulars are long-gone, but I definitely remember Minoo pouring some very hot tea and then just as I was beginning to sip, he started telling ajoke. Well this joke hit me just right and I began laughing hysterically. All the time I had no place to put down the teacup, as I was sitting up on his bed. The more I tried to stop laughing and balance the teacup, the more I howled. Others in the room were watching me and joined in the hilarity ofthe situation. Minoo was totally unaware of my predicament, but since everyone was breaking up, he just kept telling jokes thinking he had a great crowd. I remember thinking that it had been years since I had laughed that hard and yet the whole time I was in danger of burning myself, ruining his bed, or Baba knows what if! couldn't control the teacup. Eventually all settled down, the tea was saved and all carne back to normaL No moral, no great meaning, just a simple remembrance ofa simple man who was able to make me laugh and be happy in a way that will be indelibly stamped in my mind for the rest ofmy life.

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Sarah McNeil Write

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hat happened on one ofthose unforgettable tours with Minoo-on this occasion to the mast-ashram in Rahuri? That day in 1988, being the kind of humid sticky day you get in October, the bedraggled group offour Australians, two Americans, and a couple of Brits picking their way gingerly around several large puddles quickly attracted the attention ofan increasing number oflocal youths. Their animated chattering in turn drew Minoo's attention and he went over and spoke with them. With his customary beaming smile he answers their questions. We continue up the path.They draw closer, craning their necks and bending down as if to try and see around us and behind us. There is another exchange between them and Minoo and his face cracks into an even broader grin. "What were they asking you?" we wanted to know. "They ask, are you descendants of Hanuman?You know who is Hanuman? He is the Monkey-God ofIndian mythology who helped Ram. You know the story of how he helped Ram? No? He rescued Sita when she had been abducted to the kingdom of Lanka. You don't know this story?" As we all shook our heads he continued. "Hanuman helped Ram to get Sita to safety

and Ram being so happy, wanted to reward Hanuman. So he said to him, your descendants-they will be the rulers of all India. This is what he said. So now, this is what happened. When the British came and ruled over all India, people say, all local people who know this story, they say these British are the descendants of Hanuman. ow, you see, these village boys, they want to know if you are descendants ofHanuman." "What did you say?" demanded American and Australian voices in unison. Minoo, chuckling, replies, "I told them Yes!" (Exclamations of dismay from Australian and US contingents.) Minoo, however, had not yet come to the best bit ofhis story. "So then," he continues, "They come near, as you see, and they look very curiously at you all. So I ask, what are you looking for? And they reply, We want to see where they have hidden their tails!"

In His Love always, from Sarah

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Don Stevens Speaks How God Speaks and Listen Humanity came to be

[From a talk given by Don Stevens at the Meher Baba Centre in London, july, 1997. Edited by David McNeely.]

Qyite An Amazing Statement

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have heard so many people through the years in different parts of the world say, "Well I really don't know why Baba bothered with writing these books." Rarely was this admitted in public; however, because my deep involvement in these projects is common knowledge, people always seem to have quite a facility to be frank (and sometimes brutally frank!) with me. So I have heard this question asked many times. In fact I know a few people who rather pride themselves on never having read a book ofBaba's. You might be shocked when I say that, but it is quite true and it follows from a very simple line of reasoning which is, as Baba explains-and I think every great mystic explains-Truth cannot be seized by the mind, it is not an intellectual thing. I ask in return: if it is not an intellectual thing, why did the greatest mystic and revealer of truth in our time spend hours and days, as Baba did, on books and messages that He gave out to the public? Almost never did Baba go to a formal occasion where He did not spend some time beforehand dictating to Eruch a message which was to be read out. Also, because these words were given by Baba they do not go just to the mind. The real results happen over a period of time. I had this experience with the Discourses. When I first read them I thought theywere pretty good. But I had not met Baba at that point, and I only thought He was a brilliant writer. A lot of the Discourses I couldn't understand-the concepts were new to me. But later on when Baba

got my nose back into them again, as I read them I became aware that in the intervening years processes had been going on completely unconsciously. What I had read ten years before and thought pretty good (even without understanding many things), were now alive and leapt out at me and were really exciting. So there are subconscious processes going on that are terribly important. But what about this business when people say, "One risks being side-tracked when one concentrates on philosophical words; what you have to do is experience with the heart. Ifyou are filling your head with all this stuffyou are taking time, focus and energy away from heart feelings and processes." I don't know how many times I have heard this sentiment expressed

':As Baba works on these words that He gives out He attaches to each word a spiritual energy ofgreat quantity, great proportion, and the individual who takes the trouble, even without understanding, to read Babas words taps into this gift ofspiritual energy which the Avatar has attached to His own words. "

by people-very deeply honest, feeling, devoted people. Again, I believe it is important to read the words of a great spiritual master such as Baba because they act as seeds. They get planted, and you know they are underground but you forget they are planted; then one day up comes a couple of green leaves that grow a little bit more, and soon you get a plant. I was about two-thirds ofthe way through

re-editing Dr. Deshmukh's edition ofthe Discourses, and by that time Baba was not just the Avatar to me, but also a human being that I loved and trusted and even shared jokes with every once in a while (He had the most wonderful sense of humour; He could crack you up). On this particular occasion we were discussing some ofthe things in the Discourses and I just tossed off that I was not sure that this was ever going to be particularly useful as there were so many people that feel it is impossible to embody the realities of spiritual attainments in words, that words can actually detract-even Baba's words. Baba looked at me as though He had just heard the most extraordinary thing. He looked absolutely aghast. He said, "But Don, how could people ever feel that way about Baba's words?" He said, "As Baba works on these words that He gives out He attaches to each word a spiritual energy ofgreat quantity, great proportion, and the individual who takes the trouble, even without understanding, to read Baba's words taps into this gift of spiritual energy which the Avatar has attached to His own words."Then He looked at me and said "It is your responsibility, Don, to impress upon the people that you are around that Baba has done this. And this spiritual gift that Baba has attached to His words will help them enormously in their own spiritual on-going." In other words, Baba was saying that beyond the intellectual side of the words, the real importance here is that He has touched these words with His own Avataric energy, and the person who takes the trouble to read them will participate and absorb this energy even ifhe or she does not understand intellectually what Baba is saying with these words. Olllte an amazing statement! So I always encourage people to do exactly what Baba says: read His words, especially


God Speaks, and re-read them because they have this enormous quality. I don't think it will be necessarily evident from one minute to the next, or one day to the next, but I am absolutely convinced that they were intended to be important in our lives. And I think we have a responsibility-because of our love for Baba-to follow through on that.

Transcribing Baba's Words from Baba's Silence

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ow.to God Speaks, and how it came to be wntten. When Baba came to America He mentioned some ofthe background ofHis instructions to Dr. Ghani. We were in Myrtle Beach, on His second visit in 1954, when this really came to a head. Baba brought up the subject by saying that when He got back to India in 1952, just after Ghani had died, "Ghani's death was so unexpected, and there were so many things I wanted that man to do in his lifetime." Hearing Baba talk that way was very strange. I was at the point in my relationship with Baba where I believed, yes this man is God, He knows everything that has ever happened. So for Baba to talk about Ghani's death as a tragedy-and unexpected, with a lot ofthings left undone-sort ofthrew me into a whirligig. But things happened with Baba so rapidly... He didn't give me the chance to sort that out in my mind, He just went on immediately and said that unfortunatelywhen he got back to India Ghani had written what Ghani wanted and not much about what Baba wanted. Baba said, "Now I have dictated to Eruch Jessawalla the principle part of a book which I am going to call God Speaks, and we should publish this as soon as possible." Now I want to stop right here for a moment and acknowledge Charles Purdom: a wonderful person, a great scholar, and absolutely devoted to Baba. Purdom pointed out in one ofhis writings that we really don't have Baba's direct words, we don't really know exactly what Baba wanted to say because firstly, Baba was dictating on an alphabet board to secretaries who were trying to keep up with Him, and surely they made mistakes. Secondly, Baba later used even more indecipherable gestures; these had to first be interpreted, and then go through editors who inevitably added things from their own ideas. Purdom was a careful, scholarly man point-

ing out an issue which he felt must be dealt with by later generations in interpreting what Baba had left us. Sometime after Purdom's death this subject came up obliquely-no one accused Purdom of saying things against Baba's manner ofgiving out words-the subject was around and generally discussed. On two occasions when I was in India sitting with just Baba and Eruch, He had Eruch explain just exactly how it was done. Baba felt this information was so important that he had it repeated to me on a later trip to India. Baba wanted it established and absolutely crystal clear that it was a totally fallacious interpretation to believe that He just gave out things through secretaries which were then passed on to us.

"Baba wanted to emphasize how all this material was directly, carefully, and wordfor wordfrom Baba Himself The instant Baba heard an incorrect word or a word that didn't give the exact meaning, Baba would snap Hisfingers to stop Eruch. "

During the day Baba would give material to Eruch, who would take rapid notes (Eruch, by the way, before his stroke seven or eight years ago, had aphotographic memory; in other words, something would register exactly and stay there.) Eruch would sit in his room through most ofthe night and write up his notes, (Eruch would sleep almost not at all-he was known as Mr. Perpetual Motion). He would then come back the next morning and read out to Baba what he had written. Baba wanted to emphasize how all this material was directly, carefully, and word for word from Baba Himself The instant Baba heard an incorrect word or a word that didn't give the exact meaning, Baba would snap His fingers to stop Eruch. They would discuss it back and forth, and because Eruch knew Baba's vocabulary so well he would get the word almost immediately; Baba would smile and they would go on. Baba explained to me that when there was an especially difficult word He would have Eruch recite the alphabet very quickly... when he came to the letter in the critical word Baba would snap His fingers to stop him and Eruch would repeat the letter to make sure it was the correct one. The principle part of God

Speaks (up to the supplement) was given out in this meticulous fashion. Now if that isn't having the direct Avataric words I don't know what is.

Q!1estions for Baba

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hen we were originally working on God Speaks, Murshida Duce asked if I would take the part that Baba had dictated to Eruch. She decided that the material that Ghani had written had so many technical details about Sufi mysticism that-as a great Sufi herself-she wanted to edit that part. This became the body of the supplement. As I went through the part that was assigned to me, the part Baba had dictated to Eruch, I noted down the things I didn't understand or which were not clear to me. When I finally got back to Washington, and Murshida Duce showed me what she had done on the supplement and I showed her what I had done, I was astonished to see that I had written down 52 questions! Murshida Duce was stunned by my temerity-it looked like a vote of no confidence in the Avatar! By the next day she had recovered and said, "It is a lot Don but I think you should type these up, and the next time Baba allows you to go to India you take them along." So on my next visit when I go in to Baba, He is very interested in how the editing of God Speaks is progressing. He asked, "Did you have any particular questions as you went through the material?" I don't know whether or not I was embarrassed to bring out these questions, but I produced the pages. Baba looked at all the questions and was as stunned as Murshida Duce had been. Baba looked quizzically over at Eruch and Eruch looked quizzically at Baba and I am feeling very small sitting at the side. Then Baba says, "Well Don, 52 questions is a lot; I tell you what, you pick out the 26 most important and send them to me." Baba felt really pleased about this and I felt I had got offpretty much scot-free from a really dangerous tactical situation, so we left it like that. Some time later, after I had sent the 26 questions to Baba, I received a rather lengthy letter. Ofthe 26 questions I had sent, there were twelve that He answered. Later on when I


went to India I asked Eruch about the other 12. He said, "I asked Baba about them. He said he would answer them later on." Ofcourse when Baba dropped the body I said to Eruch, "But He promised me!" Eruch said, "Well, He didn't promise in which Avataric incarna. I" non. The questions Baba answered are interspersed throughout God Speaks and comprise a considerable amount. Many ofthe footnotes say Baba was asked about so-and-so, and much ofthe explanatory material was directly from Baba. As you go through the supplement you will notice that there are a number ofsections that begin "Meher Baba says;" all ofthis material came directly from Baba. Murshida Duce independently sent a number of questions to Baba also. Material that seemed tremendously valuable but that wasn't particularly related to God Speaks was put together into two little books which Ivy Duce edited: Life at its Best and Beams.

Baba Asks- for More

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hen I was in India on a visit around 1957-59, Baba had the Sahavas for the four language groups-Gujerati, Telegu, Hindi, and Marathi. Francis Brabazon and I were invited by Baba to be the only Westerners there. At the end ofit when He was going to say good-bye, He had me come up to one of the rooms over the storage tank at Upper Meherabad. He was sitting in a chair looking very formal and regal, Eruch was sitting at the side, and Francis was with me. Baba first asked me for my reaction to what had gone on at the four-language Sahavas. I felt that this had been a most incredible experience and I said that; I guess I repeated it five or 10 times. Baba, wearying at my lack oforiginality, looked over to the side at a table where there was a stack ofpapers. He motioned Eruch to hand them to Him and He said, "Here is a collection of individual addresses that Baba has given out at various different public occasions. Whenever Baba is invited somewhere He always gives some sort ofaddress. Some days before Baba goes, He dictates the address He wants to make and goes over it carefully; so this material has been gone over exactly as God Speaks was. Baba made that extremely clear. He said, "Some of these are several pages long, some only a paragraph or two. Don, it has been some

time since you finished the work on God Speaks, Baba would like to know ifyou would like to take this material and try to assemble it together in some sort oflogical fashion and make something similar to the Discourses out ofit?" I was so stunned by the whole concept that I guess I didn't reply quickly enough. So Baba said. "What about it Don, would you like to do that?" I finally managed to say "Yes Baba, it is a very challenging thing to do, I am stunned by the honour that you confer on me asking me to do it." I meant that sincerely, for Baba was saying--I am giving you my own direct words and going to trust you to put it into a logical fashion and bring out an editorially acceptable book! So I said yes, and then Baba said "There is another thing that comes to Baba's mind, you have been here at this four language meeting and you will have noted that I had two secretaries who have been taking down word for word what Baba has said. Ifyou would like to make the second part of the book your experiences here, I will make the transcripts available from my secretaries. I will give you direct

Baba said: "What about it Don, wouldyou like to do that?" I finally managed to say "Yes Baba, it is a very challenging thing to do, I am stunned by the honour thatyou confer on me asking me to do it. "I meant that sincerely,for Baba was saying-Iam givingyou my own direct words and going to trustyou to put it into a logicalfashion and bring out an editorially acceptable book!

contact with Ramjoo Abdulla. Ramjoo will take the material as it comes from you and look it over, then pass it to Mani. Mani will check with me."That was the source ofthe material for Listen Humanity. Part one contains direct quotes from Baba, and part two has the same degree of accuracy and direct careful review by Baba himself as had God Speaks. I tell you, when I got home to California and looked at this collection ofpieces, sometimes just little strips of paper, I looked at it and said to myself, "God how am I ever going to get all this together so that it makes sense?" Somehow or other I read through the mass,

read through it again rather quickly, then decided to put it into five or six major categories. I would then take each little pile and read through it and then, to my amazement, I found that the material there made total sense! Occasionally I would have to put in a 'but'or an 'and,' but I didn't have to invent anything to hold it together, isn't that absolutely fascinating? Incredible! I wouldn't have suspected that even the Avatar could have done that! Baba gave all this out on different occasions spread over 10, 15, or 20 years, yet when I put all these little strips together there was a consistent story, that was the beauty ofit. This was straight Baba material, and how it was put together is just one of those wonderful Baba miracles that He says He never does!

The Discourses

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he Discourses were given out to two secretaries primarily in the 1930's. I do not know ofany meticulous word byword re-check that was done, but Baba went over the material that was used in group activities around Him for at least 20 years before He went off into the New Life. And I went over all sorts ofambiguous material directly with Baba when I was re-editing the Deshmukh edition. So in my opinion-although I can't say to you that Baba went over them word by word as He did with Eruch on God Speaks-with the manner of reviewing and careful re-editing that went on-I can't imagine any fallacious material being included in the three blue book edition of the Discourses. There are many people who feel the Sheriar edition is not as straight from Baba as the three-little-blue-bookedition which preceded it. I must say that for all the translating work I have done, I used the Sheriar edition. Once in a while as I went through that, because I knew the previous Discourse material so well, I would get a bit of a shock. I think in some cases there was perhaps an over simplification oflanguage which resulted in some loss offlavor and vibrancy, this would be my only criticism. Further than that I am just not capable ofknowing. (From the audience) I have heard over the years people say "Don't trust the Sheriar edition" in the way we almost automatically trust the three volume edition.


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(Don) I know that the most important changes were made by Eruch himself in conjunction with Bal N atu with F1agg Kris acting as secretary. I also know that a great deal ofmechanical change ofsentence construction was done by F1agg Kris and not fully checked with Eruch or Bal so there can be an escape hatch there but I quite frankly don't know the sigffificance. Well, I will go back just for a minute to the start of the translations. You know when you were around Baba and He would get an idea, He would start getting it moving along right away. He had so many cute ways of doing it, getting you trapped when you didn't realize what you were getting into, (I hope He's not listening, or at least is in a forgiving mood!). It was two years after I finished the work on God Speaks that it went out to the press and publishers. Immediately we received letters, criticisms, etc. Not everybody accepted God Speaks happily! We had got that and then Listen Humanity out on the road and I was a little bit exhausted. I'd worn out whatever literary brains I'd had and was just relaxing and enjoying life, and when I got the chance to visit Baba, just enjoying Baba. I would get there for a 2-3 days visit and Baba was all happy and glad to see old Don again. He would sit me down and for 10-15 minutes we exchanged information, "What have you been doing, where have you been traveling? Does your boss allow you to be honest still?" (His favourite question.) I could always say "Yes!" I worked for an honest company and all my bosses knew about Meher Baba. Anyway I was just enjoying life there and Baba had just finished His question and answers. He had this way oflooking at you in the most benign, childlike manner but then would zap you with a question as He did to me then: "And what have you been doing about Baba's words lately?" I thought that putting four years of my life into two books was doing something about Baba's words, but the question sounded as though I hadn't done anything but goof off I thought I would play this one diplomatically and said "Frankly Baba I have just been en-

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joying being here in your presence." When you said something like that Baba would smile and beam at you and you would feel all warm and pleasant. The only trouble was that when Baba would put a leading question like that to you, He would allow you 10-15 minutes to recover and then put the screws to you again. So after the five or 10 minutes grace period was done He said, "But Don, seriously, what are you doing about Baba's words?" This time I answered quite truthfully and said, "Baba, frankly I've had the suspicion I have been just goofing off. I have just been enjoying you and enjoying life, and I know I must really get back again to re-reading your words and perhaps doing some work with it." Three months later on another visit to Baba, He allowed me perhaps five minutes then said, "O.K. Don, what have you done about Baba's

tence structure. And there were certain key words that were used differently from standard English. So I was aware of the fact that when I was reading the five volume edition, I was unconsciously spending about 10% ofmy time re-inverting sentence structure and noting he has made a mistake in this word, it really should be so and so, etc. So I said to Him, "Baba the Discourses are incredible. You know, there are so many of these drop-outs and LSD experimentalists and so on around, who are looking for Truth and who are knocking at your door, I just have the feeling that this is going to be their bible for the future. So what you really need to do Baba, is to get one of the people here to reedit and just gently change the sentence structure, being careful not to edit things out but just to put it into normal flowing English so a person doesn't have to stop and re-invent the sentence structure." And Baba replied, enthusiastically: "I think that is a wonderful idea Don-DO IT!" I hadn't realized I was leading with my chin, so I did it. It turned out to be one of the most superbly gratifyingjobs I have ever done. Baba had made Himself open to me to discuss many different things. He was tremendously generous with His time. So the three big books, God Speaks, Discourses, and Meher Baba, Don Stevens, and Eruch Jessawala, Listen Humanity, and the at Longchamps Resturant, New York, July 22, 1956. two little books, Beams and words?" I had forgotten the whole conversaLfft at its Best, are direct Baba material. There tion and I hadn't done a blessed thing! So there is absolutely no question of where it came was nothing to do but say, "Baba I forgot it." If from. you told Baba you had forgotten something this was about the worst possible sin you could admit to. So I said "Baba I promise you I won't The Translations forget again." It had been ten years since I had read the hen Discourses was all finished I told Discourses, so I went back and re-read them. Baba it was in the hands of the printThings that had seemed nice, but lots oftime ers in Tokyo and that we had decided to print not understandable and not especially excitit in three volumes. Baba then turned to me ing, now were alive, absolutely alive and I said and said "Now that that is out of the way, do "God this is terrific material."This was the old you have any other ideas?" five book Deshmukh edition. Deshmukh was By that time the company had moved me a wonderful person, but as erudite as he was, from California to England and I was in the he sometimes wrote and arranged things in London office, getting familiar with what was an oblique Indian style with an inverted sengoing on in spiritual circles in England, France,

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(Don) I know that the most important changes were made by Eruch himself in conjunction with Bal N atu with F1agg Kris acting as secretary. I also know that a great deal ofmechanical change ofsentence construction was done by F1agg Kris and not fully checked with Eruch or Bal so there can be an escape hatch there but I quite frankly don't know the significance.

Well, I will go back just for a minute to the start of the translations. You know when you were around Baba and He would get an idea, He would start getting it moving along right away. He had so many cute ways of doing it, getting you trapped when you didn't realize what you were getting into, (I hope He's not listening, or at least is in a forgiving mood!). It was two years after I finished the work on God Speaks that it went out to the press and publishers. Immediately we received letters, criticisms, etc. Not everybody accepted God Speaks happily! We had got that and then Listen Humanity out on the road and I was a little bit exhausted. I'd worn out whatever literary brains I'd had and was just relaxing and enjoying life, and when I got the chance to visit Baba, just enjoying Baba. I would get there for a 2-3 days visit and Baba was all happy and glad to see old Don again. He would sit me down and for 10-15 minutes we exchanged information, "What have you been doing, where have you been traveling? Does your boss allow you to be honest still?" (His favourite question.) I could always say "Yes!" I worked for an honest company and all my bosses knew about Meher Baba. Anyway I was just enjoying life there and Baba had just finished His question and answers. He had this way oflooking at you in the most benign, childlike manner but then would zap you with a question as He did to me then: "And what have you been doing about Baba's words lately?" I thought that putting four years of my life into two books was doing something about Baba's words, but the question sounded as though I hadn't done anything but goof off I thought I would play this one diplomatically and said "Frankly Baba I have just been en-

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t joying being here in your presence." When you said something like that Baba would smile and beam at you and you would feel all warm and pleasant. The only trouble was that when Baba would put a leading question like that to you, He would allow you 10-15 minutes to recover and then put the screws to you again. So after the five or 10 minutes grace period was done He said, "But Don, seriously, what are you doing about Baba's words?" This time I answered quite truthfully and said, "Baba, frankly I've had the suspicion I have been just goofing off. I have just been enjoying you and enjoying life, and I know I must really get back again to re-reading your words and perhaps doing some work with it." Three months later on another visit to Baba, He allowed me perhaps five minutes then said, "O.K. Don, what have you done about Baba's

tence structure. And there were certain key words that were used differently from standard English. So I was aware of the fact that when I was reading the five volume edition, I was unconsciously spending about 10% ofmy time re-inverting sentence structure and noting he has made a mistake in this word, it really should be so and so, etc. So I said to Him, "Baba the Discourses are incredible. You know, there are so many of these drop-outs and LSD experimentalists and so on around, who are looking for Truth and who are knocking at your door, I just have the feeling that this is going to be their bible for the future. So what you really need to do Baba, is to get one of the people here to reedit and just gently change the sentence structure, being careful not to edit things out but just to put it into normal flowing English so a person doesn't have to stop and re-invent the sentence structure." And Baba replied, enthusiastically: "I think that is a wonderful idea Don-DO IT!" I hadn't realized I was leading with my chin, so I did it. It turned out to be one of the most superbly gratifying jobs I have ever done. Baba had made Himself open to me to discuss many different things. He was tremendously generous with His time. So the three big books, God Speaks, Discourses, and Meher Baba, Don Stevens, and Eruch Jessawala, Listen Humanity, and the at Longchamps Resturant, New York, July 22, 1956. two little books, Beams and words?" I had forgotten the whole conversaLife at its Best, are direct Baba material. There tion and I hadn't done a blessed thing! So there is absolutely no question of where it came was nothing to do but say, "Baba I forgot it." If from. you told Baba you had forgotten something this was about the worst possible sin you could admit to. So I said "Baba I promise you I won't The Translations forget again." It had been ten years since I had read the hen Discourses was all finished I told Discourses, so I went back and re-read them. Baba it was in the hands of the printThings that had seemed nice, but lots oftime ers in Tokyo and that we had decided to print not understandable and not especially excitit in three volumes. Baba then turned to me ing, now were alive, absolutely alive and I said and said "Now that that is out of the way, do "God this is terrific material."This was the old you have any other ideas?" five book Deshmukh edition. Deshmukh was By that time the company had moved me a wonderful person, but as erudite as he was, from California to England and I was in the he sometimes wrote and arranged things in London office, getting familiar with what was an oblique Indian style with an inverted sengoing on in spiritual circles in England, France,

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Spain, and Italy. I was aware that exactly the same scenario that I had lived through with young people in San Francisco and California was starting to happen in Western Europe. So I said to Baba: "Baba you have a new generation coming up, and a lot of them are not going to be English speaking." He said "What do you think should be done about it?" (You see the way He gently leads you along the path?) So I responded "Well I think you should make translations of the Discourses into French, Spanish, Italian and German, the major European languages.You have people here who can do this.''You know what He said? "DOlT!" I said "But Baba I don't translate." He said, "But you supervise, you get people to do it. You know Baba's words, you know them well. You get someone to do the basic translation then you review it." So that I did too. Today we have a large number of foreign language books, with the numbers growing as we find interested, talen.ted workers willing to do the meticulous, painstaking translations for Baba.

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Reprinting of and

Listen Humanity r

byTerri Zee

When I was a child My nights werefull off iar And sometimes, with a shudder I'd pull the covers near And my onlyfriends were the stars in the sky And a dog that would lie By my side. I pondered over the answers To questions I hadn't asked Andfilt the presence ofangels Fluttering about their task. And then a voice was spoken Into my childhood heart Take my hand and make it yours And we will neverpart.

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ufism Reoriented has reprinted God Speaks in a handsome new edition' a little taller and slimmer than the original, and printed on glossy paper. It has, of course, all the original color charts and fold outs. However, we were told something that may greatly surprise many of us: During final phases of His seclusion in 1967, Meher Baba revealed that God Speaks contained "90% of the Book I wrote at Meherabad in 192526"-the famous handwritten manuscript that has never been found. Bhau Kalchuri, Baba's close disciple, explains that though the style of presentation may differ from the original manuscript, God Speaks conveys

the substance of 90% of the material in Baba's Book. Baba gave the remaining 10% of the substance of the Book as The Nothing and the Everything, which Bhau prepared from Baba's explanations. Baba said to Dr. Harry Kenmore in 1959: ...Take My advice and accept God Speaks as the final authority. Nothing of its kind has been recorded before. And to a group of His devotees in November, 1955: Do read God Speaks. I would like every one of you to possess a copy. If

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... Take My advice and accept God Speaks as thefinal authority. Nothing of its kind has been recorded before. Meher Baba to Dr. Harry Kenmore in 1959.

MEHERBABA NEW EDJT]Ot\

or A MODER\

SrmrTl:\L CL<\SS!C

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you cannot buy it, borrow it and read it.... If you read through the entire book carefully, you will come to know what true spirituality is.

t

UMANITY

...._.- NARRATED AND EDITED BY D. E. STEVENS .

[Available in a 6x9 hardcover edition, 352 pages, 11 charts, $27.00]

A

nother book edited by Don Stevens and just reprinted is Listen Humanity. It is available in hardcover-$20and paperback-S15. Don has written a new introduction and the book features a new cover design. Four thousand of these books have been distributed free to prison and urnversity libraries as well as public libraries across the country. If your local li-

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brary does not have any Baba books and would like to carry them, tell them to contact: Sheriar Foundation 3005 Highway 17 Bypass N. Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 Phone: 803-448-1102

or send e-mail to: Sheriarfdn@aol.com

They will be given free of charge.

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Amartithi 1969 Just Imagine! by Mani S. Irani

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he 'future' began at sunset on the 31st of January, 1969, when we placed the body of our Beloved in the Tomb on Meherabad Hill. Overnight Meherabad was transformed from an isolated retreat into a crowded pilgrimage-ground. It swarmed with people, buses, cycles, taxis, cars, tongas, bullock carts. Padri, who has looked after the place all these years, had a tough job trying to accommodate the hourly growing number oflovers. Every foot ofindoor and outdoor space was used for their camping in during those days and nights. A 'Meher Baba Restaurant' sprang up by the roadside; and a signpost pointed to the footpath leading to the Hill. A railway track runs between upper and lower Mcherabad, and trains obliged by stopping there to disgorge their load oflovers from Bombay and Andhra. Throughout the seven days, and for days after, we could hear passing trains give a long whistle as they went by the Hill-the drivers were saluting the Avatar ofthe Age. Meherabad has no electricity, but there was enough light. There was God's lantern lighting the way for His pilgrims-the full moon shone in a clear sky during the entire Week. Neon lights blazed around the Tomb, shining with the love of His lovers of Vijayawada (Andhra) who had a generator installed and working all night through the Week and after. Crowded at all times was the improvised shade put up near the Tomb to shelter His lovers from the blistering sun. Outside the Tomb's east window is a stone platform where the Prem Ashram boys often gathered to hear the discourses the Beloved gave them through the window, at the time when He was there in seclusion and did not

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step out. Now the platform was serving as a stage for groups ofBaba-bhajan singers from Arangaon village, Ahmednagar, Poona, Bombay, Nizamabad, Navsari, Andhra State, and other places. The singing and music went on from evening till four in the morning, and we thought ofthe smiling remark the Beloved had made on His return from His Andhra tour years ago: "My lovers sang outside my window all night while I rested." They were doing the same thing now. None wanted to leave Meherabad until the Beloved's body was interred. None could say when this would be. The time ofl0 a.m. on February 1 as first declared, was based on medical advice that as the body was not embalmed the interment could not be delayed longer than 20 hours, even though surrounded by a border ofice blocks as arranged. Mehera and I felt that the Beloved Himself would give an indication ofwhen it would be done, that as long as His dear body remained fresh and lovely we would not have it covered up. Even after a week it was not found necessary to place the covering! But as Baba had told us on the last day, the morning of31stJanuary, that after seven days He would be 100% free (from suffering, as we interpreted His hand gestures to mean), we took that as an indication. And so, seven days after the Event, at 12:15 noon on Friday the 7th ofFebruary 1969, the interment took place amid thousands of voices singing His glorious Name and resonant cries of ':Avatar Meher Baba ki]ai!!!... " Of the Meherazad men and women mandali who accompanied His body on that unbelievable journey to Meherabad, the role

of Baba's beloved Mehera was the hardest. But she played it supremely, surrendering the anguish of her heart to the wish of her beloved who had asked her to "Keep courage..." Although we started out from Meherazad on that Friday evening with hearts numbed and empty, our hands had been kept occupied in doing the things that the Beloved would want us to do. In the midst of many practical details that Eruch was seeing to, he reminded me to take along our gramophone and the record of'Begin the Beguine.' Eruch said that Baba had told him, many times over the years, to play this song by His side when He dropped His body. And so on that night of 31st January, and the next day, seven times I played the song of 'Begin the Beguine' by His side-at first in the cabin where His body rested for a while and later in the Tomb. And while the song played, it seemed to convey to us His message that this was not an end but the beginning-the beginning ofHis completed work bearing fruit. A day before dropping the body, even while the movement of His fingers brought on a renewed spasm, Baba told us, "All this, all that I have been through all along, has been a preparation for the Word-for just the One Word!" And with a quizzical smile, He added 'Just imagine!"

[82 Family Letters, pp. 344-346 Copyright 1976 AMBPPCT]

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Amartithi 1998 Amartithi: A Day at the Wineshop by Heather Nadel

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t's 5:15 am, cold, the sun is not up yet. But under the big tent near the Tomb there's lots oflife. The lights have been on all night long, the singing's been going on all night long, the line for darshan has gotten longer and longer all night long. We are deep into Amartithi-31st January, 1998-early morning-Meherabad Hill. Memories of the weeks of preparation are washed away. It's all Now. In the now, we're sitting by Baba's gadi, which is centerstage, on the stage just opposite the Tomb. The gadi as you may know is Baba's mattress-covered, wooden seat/couch/dais on which He sat when holding court at Meherabad. There's a famous photo ofHim sitting on the gadi. N ajoo Kotwal, looking at it the other day, said, "He's in a relaxed pose there. But in the early '40's when we used to sing Arti to Him as He sat on the gadi, He looked much different." She described His pose: one leg up, the other stretched out, His hand on His knee. His eyes flashed back and forth, left to right, right to left, with a most intense, "ferocious" gaze. The gadi is the scene ofone of my favorite Amartithi "traditions:" Kusum Singh and her singing group from Delhi gather there in these early morning hours and sing. Mehera, Mani and the women mandali used to come and sit on the carpet by the gadi after darshan, Mehera gazing at Baba's picture, occasionally touching it, or adjusting a flower, as Kusum and Co. sang in Hindi. This year Meheru was there, representing the women mandali, and the singers began with 'Meher Chalisa,' 40 couplets in His praise by Keshav Nigam, sweeping into 'Sufet Kafniwalla' ("Oh You of the white kafni, to You 100,000 salaams!")

and other favorites, once in a while introducing a new song. One ofthe more recent ones, a favorite ofMani and Meheru, tells ofcoming to Meherabad for Amartithi: what you leave behind when you pack: your desires, your lies, your jealousies, etc.; What you receive when you get here while greeting Baba and the mandali; and what you pack up and take home with you: Baba's love, harmony, joy, remembrance. As Kusum's group sang, a large crowd sat around joining in. A sadhu in long robes and a fantastic hat kept time (well.... slightly outof-time) with long iron tongs. Meheru leaned over and interperted a favorite line, "My leash is in Your hand..." At 12 noon, a group again gathered around the gadi-the women mandali, hangers-on, and many others. The sun was up now, we could see all the crowd, swelled now to many thousands--sitting, standing, filling every foot between the Samadhi and the amphitheatre. It was hot. Across from us at the Samadhi the line for darshan was at its longest. An intensity huge and calm gripped the crowd as 12 o'clock approached. People had come hundreds, thousands, ofmiles for this. "Begin the Beguine" played over the loudspeakers, then singing ofBaba's Name. On the dot of12 silence. Fifteen minutes ofsilence from 12 to 12:15, marking the time Beloved Baba left His form. Thousands ofthroats-silent. The inevitable babies crying near (too near) and far. Dogs barking in the distance. Crows calling from the banyan by the Tomb. But all the rest are silent. This is the heart ofAmartithi, the 15 minutes of intense remembrance of Meher Baba, on the Hill, near His form; His

leaving, His returning, His being with us, all He gives, all He washes away, His coming close. At 12:15, someone starts and all join in the call of "Avatar Meher Baba ki J ai." It comes from the huge crowd in one voice, a thunderous wave ofsound rolling over the Hill with so much in it: praise, gratitude, and the response from thousands ofhearts to His Love. It's 10:30 pm, 31st January. The mandali have gone home, the line for darshan is only an hour and a half. Across from where I am in line, I can see the gadi, and next to it, the lovers from Dehra Dun have started dancing. The loudspeakers at the amphitheatre are silent now, the day-long programs, the bhajans and songs and qawaalis, the movies, a touching play, are over. It's late night at the Wine Shop, and everybody is tipsy. The dancers, spontaneous,joyous, a little raucous, clapping, jumping; a harmonium is there, singers fullthroated, drums--and I ponder the miracle of so much energy on so little sleep. All His familyare mingled up-East, West and in between, old, young, crippled, healthy-Humanity at His Feet. Mani used to recall that in the early '30's before the Westerners came, when their little group ofclose women would sit around Baba as He reclined on His gadi, He would tell them, "Make the most of this time with Me, because one day this whole Hill will be covered with My lovers."

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Amartithi at

Meherabode by Dina Snow

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ur fIrst Amartithi at Meherabode was a joyous occasion, made more memorable by the presence of our two out of town guests-husband and wife team-Thom Fortson andJudith Shotwell. We gathered on Friday 30thJanuary, with all the usual prayers, readings, stories etc. At the stroke of 10.30 pm we began a fIfteen minute silence-coinciding with Baba lovers all over the world as we remembered the moment our Beloved dropped His earthly form and ceased the tremendous suffering He had been undergoing for our sakes. (12:15pm January 31st in India). But before that time came,Thom Fortson treated us to a fascinating slide show and talk about the restoration ofthe Samadhi. He, along with Dot Lesnik and Charlie Morton, was one ofthe artists working over a two year period with infInite care and painstaking precision on every square inch, inside and outside, of the Samadhi. It was amazing to see the detailed photos of the murals as Panday had touched them up in the '50's,graduallypeeled away to reveal the original bright colors of Helen Daum. It was so reminiscent of the restoration ofthe Sistine Chapel-on an infInitely smaller scale. It is interesting to think that one day this little building on the hill will be more famous than the Sistine Chapel! On January the 31st, Judith presented a subject that was entirely new to every one ofus there that night! Thanatology-from the Greek god Thanos-who escorted the departing souls to the river Styx. We started the evening as we always do with Arti in the Dome at 7pm. However, this night,Judith brought her harp into the Dome, and we were treated to some

ofher beautiful music before the prayers. She then fInished with the Gujerati arti. Sitting on the carpet in front ofBaba's chair, listening to her play... the atmosphere was palpable with His Presence. After that we moved to our meeting hall and Judith explained to all assembled just what Thanatology was and how she came to be involved with it. Due to space constraints we cant tell you the latter partbut it was defInitely His hand at work. Loud and clear! Following is an explanation that I think you will all enjoy and may want to utilise at some time. Perhaps some of you may be considering a job change. This seems to be an incredibly rewarding (if not especially lucrative!) fIeld to enter.There is so much more to it than just playing music at the bedside of a dying patient!

Tuning the Harp to the Heart: Circle of Love by Judith Shotwell

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he use of music to comfort and solace the dying is an ancient tradition re-introduced into the 20th century by Therese Schroeder-Sheker, founder and director ofthe Chalice ofRepose Project at St. Patrick's Hospital in Missoula, Montana. She calls this work, MusicThanatology. With harp and voice, music thanatologists provide prescriptive music to lovingly assist the physical and spiritual needs of the dying and those in pain. They

attend the dying person at the bedside, in hospital, geriatric home, hospice and personal home settings. Prescriptive music is music that is delivered with specifIc and nuanced attention to its elements (such as melody, rhythm, harmony, range, scale or mode, use of intervals, sequencing) and their dynamic effect upon the condition of the patient. Most of the repertoire is from a variety ofsacred music and!or lullaby traditions. Because the body is a sensitive receptor for sound, the music usually contains little rhythm and uses only harp and voice, avoiding repertoire that may adversely stimulate the nervous system. Comfort of pain, whether physical or spiritual, is the goal. The attentive loving presence ofthe live musician is key to the effectivity of the musical delivery. Prescriptive music can help both patients in pain and family members in grief It can enhance the presence ofintimacy, beauty, and reverence during the last days of life. The founder of music thanatology describes it as "contemplative music with a clinical application." Judith was in the fIrst graduating class ofChalice ofRepose Project's two year training and certilication program. Since moving to northern New Mexico, she has been working with regional hospices to offer this work to their patients and families as well as to their griefsupport groups. Inspired by many "CCC's" (as Bal calls them!) and the line "keep me in the circle ofyour love" (from a song written by Meheru), she decided to call this work Circle ofLove. Circle ofLove incorporated in October, 1997 and has received Federal taxexempt status as a 501(c)3 organization. This enables Circle ofLove to apply for grants from


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funding organizations and to receive tax-deductible donations.

Fifteen Minutes

To learn further about this service, contact: Judith Shotwell Circle ofLove P.O. Box 212, ÂŁ1 Rito, NM 87530 Phone (505) 581-4715

by Craig Ruff

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Below Left: Thom Fortson. Below Right: Judith Shotwell. Bottom: Arti in the Dome with Judith.

Fifteen minutes ofsilence. You know the day andtime. I was on The Hill. My eyes were closed to the crowd about me. The noises settled down (unlike the dust) To my drifting thoughts: Sometimes remembering Him. His arms open wide like a shoreline ofa lake, Allowing myfoolishnesses to extend so far and no more, Protecting me. Fifteen minutes ofsilence. This sound of thought within turns to one soundfrom without: But this sound makes me read the Book ofthe Heart: A nail is being hammered. A worker outside the tent does not know orforgot The sanctity ofthe time. I don't needto hear this sound again To wonder what it means to me. A nail is being hammered on a Hill in Jerusalem. The Lord is ending his life as a man. That which will take him away from man Is the very thing that he will leave to man, The Cross, tofollow him. The sound ofthe hammer ends. He will be received in man's heart now. There is no sound ofweeping. But tears arefalling in a dijJerent landAnd touch thefeet ofThe Lord. Fifteen minutes ofsilence. And this one sound leads me to another sound Fifteen miles from where I sit on a HilL- Can the shaking ofa man's body have a sound? And that soundawaken the universe into love. Never was there such a shaking. One man's body in spasm upon spasm. Each contraction a shockwave reverberating Throughout the greatness ofhis dream Until it subsides in the beautiful wide reaches ofhis arms, Like the shoreline which protects an unending turbulent sea. That sound, thatfinal suffering, that spasm That shook infinite spiritfree from form, Left allforms free tofollow. Fifteen minutes ofsilence.

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Grand Opening of the

Nizamabad Centre by R.S.N. Murthy

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t was on the 28th ofJanuary, 1972, that the Prayer Hall of the Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre, standing majestically on the rocky Yellammagutta Hillock, in Andhra Pradesh, was inaugurated. Years rolled in the service of the Lord of Love, Avatar Meher Baba, drawing many a yearning heart to the Beloved's threshold. With the increase in the number ofBaba-lovers', the need for the extension of the existing centre was felt, eventually leading to the construction ofan Auditorium Hall, to synchronize with the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Centre on a Global Level. The Mandali of Beloved Baba and the Chairman, Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Ahmednagar, were very appreciative of an East-West Sahavas, as they later called it, and encouraged us right from the beginning. In consultation with the Mandali and a few lovers from the west, the dates for the East-West Sahavas and the inauguration of the Auditorium were fIxed for 6th and 7th December, 1997. True to its name, Bro. Bill LePage from Australia, Daniel Lematais (France), Mark Trichka, Margaret Brennan (U.S.A.), specially traveled to Nizamabad for the occasion, while Miss Shari Johnston, Bros. Ward Parks and James Cox were also the people to represent the West. Bros.Jal P. Dastoor, Sam Kerawalla and Sister DollyJ. Dastoorwere the ones representing the Meherabad/Meherazad Mandali ofBeloved Baba. About two thousand lovers from about 100 Centres Participated in the Celebrations. With the arrival oflovers from different centres all over the country, the roads from the Railway Station and the Bus Station of Nizamabad town, leading to the premises of

the Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Center wore a festive look from the very evening of 5th December, 1997. Mr. M.R.K. Sarma, IAS (Retd.), Editor and publisher of "Beloved Baba," and his wife Smt. M. Vijaya Laxmi from Secunderabad, and Bros. T.D.S Murthy and Tirupathi Sarma from Vizag arrived weeks and days in advance to render their services and to assist in the overall arrangements for the Prak-Pashchima (East-West) Sahavas. The Sahavas Programmes commenced at 8:30 a.m. and lasted till after 9:00 p.m. on both the days ofthe Celebrations. The Programmes were comprised of Bhajans, oÂŁ'wallies and Dance-Drama performances by lovers from different centres. The Programme from the fIrst day of the Sahavas on Saturday, the 6th December, 1997, began with Sister Dolly J. Dastoor lighting the Dhuni at 8:30 a.m., followed by unfurling of the Seven Coloured Flag by Dr. N. R. Rajderkar. At 8:40 a.m., Bro. Jal P. Dastoor inaugurated the Auditorium built on the Southern side of the existing Baba Centre, and at 8:45 a.m., Bro. Bill LePage from Australia unveiled the life-size Photograph of Beloved Baba. After "Welcome Song" by Nizamabad Centre, Dr. R. Nagabhushanam, president, Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre, welcomed the Guests and the Audience. Bro. R.S.N. Murthy, secretary, Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre, then formally introduced Sri Mukka Devender Gupta, Sri Satish Pawar, and Sri V. Meher Narayana (of Mis. Meher Builders) to the audience. The Souvenir Specially brought out to commemorate the occasion was then released by Sister Dolly J. Dastoor, followed by the recital ofprayers by Bro. Ward Parks from

USA, after which, all lovers marched in a procession through the streets ofNizamabad. The big Photograph ofBeloved Baba, beautifully decorated on a Howda (Pavilion,) fIxed on the back of an Elephant named Chanchal, specially brought from Hyderabad, was the center ofattraction throughout the procession. Bro. Bill spoke ofthe beautiful time he had spent with Beloved Baba. Bro. Jal Narrated several incidents which occurred in the lives ofthe intimate Mandali, and the humour Baba enjoyed. Bro. Sam Kerawalla stressed the importance ofobedience, and threw light on the Avatar's infInite patience in cleansing the hearts ofmen. Lastly, Bro. R.S.N. Murthy, Secretary, Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre, gave a vote of thanks. With the exhibition ofBaba's flim, the Celebrations came to an end on the evening of 7th December, 1997. The two-day Sahavas of the Eastern and Western Lovers and the Silver Jubilee Celebrations for the Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre, which were attended by a large gathering reminded one of the 1962 East -West Gathering. And the atmosphere was so surcharged with the love blessings and the Spiritual Presence ofthe Eternal Beloved, that many a lover felt and remarked that it was like a Mini Meherabad, during the Amartithi ofthe Divine Beloved. R.S.N. Murthy Secretary Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre

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fal Dastoor cuts the ribbon at the Grand Opening of the Nizamabad Gentre.

by Irma Sheppard, 5/97, Tucson, Arizona

Mehera's Beloved is sofine; I like him so much I say Be mine, be mine. He smiles And says Yes, I will be yours, All in good time.

In seven hundredyears Gall Me, Gall Me. Here is a dime.

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Baba's Special Room by Jim Migdoll Bangalow, New South Wales, Australia

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ver the years I've been involved in setting up temporary settings for public presentations ofBaba. Perhaps 25-30 times I've organized or helped with film showings and information booths in widely divergent environments-from tents in fields to The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Some ofthese events were incredibly successful (in a visible, superficial sense; ofcourse we never can gauge success from His unlimited perspective), whilst others seemed to be real fizzers. But the one thing that all ofthese events had in common was this: He was there! Every time, without fail, once I'd put up His photo and begun to internally dedicate the space to Him, His presence would begin! It was as though He were saying, okay, you are trying to set up this temporary headquarters for Me, the least I can do is be there. At one point I decided to dedicate a room in my home to Him as well. I reasoned that perhaps what had worked publicly might also work in the privacy ofmy home. Four times I've had the good fortune ofbeing able to set aside an entire room, and three other times I've curtained off part of a room. Here are a few anecdotes which reveal the result: -In Memphis Tennessee in the 1970's, I was in a low point in my relationship with Baba. I was a disobedient and naughty Baba lover. We had an extra room so I just put everything related to Baba in there. It became His room by default. Gradually I began to feel so distant from Him I was ashamed to go in! It gathered dust. Whenever I did go in I was astounded at how strong His Presence was. It became unendurable. The gap between the feeling ofHis presence in that room, and how I was living my life became a huge chasm. Eventually I stopped going in. I would just poke my head in, then close the door and sadly shuffle away. I started to think that the strong sense of His presence must just be my imagination, so

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I tried an experiment. One night during a big wild party at our house, I waited until people would ask me, "What's in that room?" As neutrally as possible I would say, "Go and see." Many of these people had no spiritual inclinations, and yet the whole night there was a steady stream ofpeople coming up to me looking dazed and confused. "What is that feeling in that room?" "Who is Meher Baba?" "My god-that room is incredible. What's in

there?" I would laugh hysterically, but inside my heart was breaking. -In our most recent home which had a fullroom Baba room, we were often visited by a close Baba friend from Sydney. He used to go in regularly, but never said much about it. This friend likes to be a bit mysterious sometimes! Even when I asked him what he thought about Baba's room, he would just say something like, "Oh-it's nice." Two years laterout of the blue-he said to me, "Remember your Baba room at Goonengerry? You know, it felt just like the tomb in there." -A local handyman once came to our home in Goonengerry to install some window screens. The flfSt thing he said when he walked in was, "Oh, Meher Baba." It turned out he had known a Sydney Baba lover couple over 30 years before. While talking to him, we learned that he had recently returned from living in India for 17 years. His time in India was mainly spent in a yoga ashram, but he also traveled extensively and would always visit

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temples, Master's tombs and holy places. This man struck my wife and I as a very sincere spiritual seeker. When he had finished his work it came up in conversation that we had a room devoted to Meher Baba. He said he'd like to see it. We expected him to go in for a few seconds. Twenty minutes later he came out looking stunned! He then told us that he had never felt anything like that room. In all ofthe spiritually charged places he'd ever been he'd never felt such a powerful presence. He seemed to be on the verge of tears, and in a very touching moment he asked passionately, "What I really want to know is: do you think that atmosphere is due to your love and devotion, or is it actually Meher Baba?" I laughed and told him there was absolutely no doubt: it was due to Meher Baba's actual presence. Here are a few guidelines and suggestions I've found helpful in dedicating a room to Meher Baba: 1) A full room (even just a closet) is preferable to a curtained off area; but incredibly, a simple curtain does work. 2) 0 sleeping in His room. This is true in all ofHis special places, and I've found it to be a good rule for my special places too. 3) othing is to go on in His room that isn't directly focused on Him. It is for mediation, arti, singing, reading about Him. It is not for worldly conversations or activities. Nor is it for storage! Never use the room for anything not directly focused on Him. After all, you are in His Presence! 4) Resolve beforehand that His room will remain His room as long as you stay there. 5) I believe it is important to clearly state your intentions to Baba, to consciously dedicate the space to Him. Perhaps to declare-silently or aloud something along the lines of "Baba from now on, this is Your room and I will only use it to be with You."

He is there instantly from the time you dedicate the space, or when you put His photo up; sometimes, I've even had Him sneak in beforehand!

Avatar Meher Baba ki]ai!

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Meher Baba's Poet: Francis Brabazon by Ross Keating Sydney, Australia

claimed painters. In 1942 he again exhibited perienced an artistic epiphany, an experience T:'rancis Brabazon (1907-1984) was born his works with these same artists. According which set the course ofhis life by raising in his in London. His father, although related to Max Harris, the editor of the only Austramind the following two questions: what is the to the Earls ofcounty Meath in Ireland, was a lian Modernist art journal ofthe day, TheAnnature and source of beauty in art, and what Fabian and a great admirer ofWilliam Moris its relationship to truth? To answer these gry Penguins, Francis's 1942 paintings "initiris, his form ofutopian idealism and the rights ated the first appreciation ofthe naive or primiquestions Francis spent the next twenty years of the common worker. His English mother tive symbolism in the Australian art world ... was more of a pragmatist. Francis was to inof his life studying, searching for a suitable artistic medium through which he could ex[His contribution] was the beginning of the herit qualities from each ofthem. In 1912 the notion of innocent vifamily, including Francis sion. It influenced the and his two brothers, entire Angry Penguins emigrated to Australia. community." By about The family settled in 1946, Francis ceased Glenrowan, in the state painting and began conof Victoria (a place facentrating solely on his mous in Australian history as the home of the poetry. During this period of bush-ranger hero Ned the early forties Francis Kelly) and bought a became interested in small farm with sheep, Eastern spirituality. He cattle, wheat and orstudied Vedanta, Taochards. As a young ism, Confucianism and teenager Francis develSufism, and he cultioped a close relationvated the practice of ship with the land. In meditation which he his writings about this used as the basis for his period he describes \ approach to painting. Of himselfweeping at the all these traditions it beauty of the night and was Sufism which atbeing overwhelmed by Ross Keating with his wiJeJenniJer (Le Page) and Francis Brabazon, infront ofMeher House, tracted him the most. He the sheer generosity of Sydney, Australia, 1978, at the time oftheir wedding. became a pupil ofa Sufi the earth. At this time, plore and discover answers. At one point he sheikh, Baron von Frankenberg (Sheikh under his father's guidance, he started to write Mornin) who lived in Camden outside Sydney. was diligently learning piano, attending drawhis fIrst poems. In the mid-forties Francis moved to Camden However, it was not long before a severe ing classes and writing poetry. In the mid-toand lived with von Frankenberg as his mureed late thirties painting became the central focus drought and the ever-growing number ofrabof his attention and he mixed with the fIrst or spiritual student. Under Sheikh Mornin's bits drove the family offthe land. They moved to the state's capital city ofMelbourne when group of Australian modernist painters. In guidance Francis wrote a collection ofpoems 1941 Francis exhibited his works at their fIrst titled One Speaking. The poems show Francis's Francis was 21. In Melbourne he saw the Modernist exhibition along with such artists capacity to penetrate an idea and to express performances ofgreat artists: the dancer Anna as Dobell, Nolan, Tucker and Sinclair, all of its meaning from the perspective of subjecPavlova and the pianists Alexander Brailowsky and Arthur Schnabel. He also exwhom have subsequently become higWy active experience. They also exhibit his skill in

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II t the craft ofpoetry. In one representative poem from this collection, "One Speaking Two" Francis manages to create a sense ofreverential stillness and felt oneness-a sentiment reflecting his Sufi training at the time: In the most intimate dialogues one is speaking and one is responding, re-sounding, according. Heart is in fUllness as aforest morning to Sun, and Will is that sun remounting. Andthe advancing music-saying heart, becomes winged, and bears heart indifferently all and with love to the most exact places.

In the late-forties Francis traveled to America. At the Sufi Center in San Francisco he underwent training to become a Sufi sheik.

Ross Keating in Meherabad

In 1948 he returned to Australia; with the death of von Frankenberg in 1951 Francis became the official head of the Australian branch of the Sufi Movement. In 1952 Francis again traveled to America where he met Meher Baba for the first time. As a result of this meeting he felt the beginnings of a "true creativity" arising in him. The first piece he wrote after this momentous event was the long poem "Dawn through to Sunrise." In contrast to the style of"One Speaking Two," this poems reads like a spontaneous outpouring ofdeeply felt thought which spills out into an assemblage ofimages, events, perceptions and interpretative commentary. Here is a sample from this work: Since the arrow ofFortune's wheel turned my way, And dawn entered my heart Making an accommodation for the sun. I have become a

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gambler in the markets ofthis world, Reckless in the festivals ofmusic, And shameless in regards affairs oflove. There is fire in my skull, And music in the blood ofmy temples: My heart is a meeting place ofpain, And my eyes, wet mirrors ofgratitude.

Convinced ofMeher Baba's spiritual stature, Francis willingly became his disciple. In the same year he returned to Australia and devoted his life to spreading Baba's message through the publication ofHis writings. In 1953 Francis published his first book of poetry, Proletarians- Transition. The unifying theme ofthis work is the challenge it presents to its readers to reassess their values and to use their daily work as an opportunity to draw closer to God. Also during the fifties, at the invitation ofMeher Baba, Francis made several trips to India, and he was the key figure in organizing Meher Baba's two trips to Australia in 1956 and 1958. In 1959, Francis published his greatest poem, an epic book-length work called Stay With God-a title which Baba had given him. It is a powerful and impassioned work which covers a poetic biography of Meher Baba as the Avatar, the divine theme ofcreation, the meaning ofexistence, and the sacred role of art in life. In Francis's words, it was a book, "in praise of Divinity in Man and the assurance ofMan in Divinity." Baba thought so highly of the work that He wanted it distributed "as widely as possible among the general public." In 1959 Brabazon moved to India and lived with Meher Baba for the next ten years. During this period he developed a form of English ghazal which was based upon the Persian ghazal tradition of Hafiz, Baba's favorite poet. The ghazal is a lyric in which the lover (devotee) both complains and praises his beloved (Master) and in the process conveys something ofthe flavour oflove-Ionging; more simply put, it is a type oflove-cry in which the heart and mind of the poet is exposed. According to one authority the word "ghazal" means "the agonized cry of the gazelle when it is cornered after the chase and realizes that the game is up." Something of these points

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are expressed in the following fine ghazal by Francis in which he takes the role of an old man reviewing his life: The young banana plants are birds with green wings rising from the ground; Such was my spirit when I stillthought that Beloved Godcould befound. Now that I have strained the universe through my heart-sieve withoutfinding a trace ofHis Reality, I have ceasedfrom search and await his date ofGrace. Out there is nowhere, nothing-only the Beloved's shadow Embroidered with starstitches which the darkness causes to glow. When Godfirst threaded our souls on his breath for a necklace, He gave every one his own beauty and His singing-place. With thefirst break ofhis Silence there streamed forth the light which became my eyes; When He breaks his Silence this time may I be hurled beyond mere paradise. All works are but attempted corrections ofone initialerror. This is the sum ofknowledge:Truth is in the dust before the Master's door. Since hands must work, use them to fashion a cup ofwine. Then await hisfavour, and all other offers decline.

Although this is a poem about hopelessness and longing it is above all else a positive work. Its positiveness comes from the fact that it does not avoid the reality of lived experience but clearly names it. In fact, this is a poem o/love rather than about love. It tells the reader oflove in the form of the poet's felt response to being acted upon by love-(this is what love can do in a person's life,' is what the lines are really saying. Also, the observations and pieces of advice Francis offers are not something over and apart from love but constitute part ofthe response engendered by love. There is also to be felt permeating these lines something ofthe ghazal flavour oflonging, the ((cry ofthe gazelle," which distinguishes the ghazal from other forms ofpoetry and which makes Francis's ghazals so unique in English literature.


A Sacred Blasphemy Be oJ! and know That the way of lovers is opposite all other ways. Lies from the Friend Are better than truth and kindness from others.

Why I Chose Francis [When we heard that Ross Keating of Sydney Australia had earned his Doctorate with a thesis written on Francis Brabazon, we naturally asked-How come? Baba lovers world wide know how important Francis was to Baba, but out there in the World ofIllusion? Following is his explanation, and the accompanying article is an excerptfrom aforementioned thesis. -Ed.]

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started the thesis in 1991 and it has taken me, part-time, six years to complete. At the University of Sydney, in the Department of Studies of Religion where I completed my doctorate, there was a strong interest in Australian religious art and poetry, with the term 'religious' being defined very broadly, and they accepted my thesis proposal on Francis as contributing towards this area. Francis, I know, would not like the idea of being classified as a religious poet, for he saw himself a simple being, and actually one of the themes in Stay With Codis concerned with his definition ofthis term. Nor did Francis like the idea ofbeing labeled a 'mystical' poet; in this instance he saw mysticism and poetry as two separate paths to God with each having a different practice associated with it and suiting different temperaments. In a way the term 'mystical poetry' was for Francis a contradiction in terms. My thesis is in the form of a biography somewhat in the style ofthis article, but more detailed and critical. Basically it starts from his birth in 1907 and finishes with his death in 1984.Throughout the biography I pay particular attention to the times when Francis publishes his poetry and I discuss his poetry in the context ofhis life. In this regard I have tried to make my comments readable in the same manner as Francis's own poetry is easily readable. My original intention in doing the thesis was to try and include Francis into the mainstream of Australian poets. Francis is really an extremely interesting figure in Australian writing and has a great story to tell. For instance he was one of a small group of artists

For Him The impossible is commonplace, Punishment is reward, Tyranny is justice, Slander is the highest praise. His harshness is soft, His blasphemy is sacred. The blood that drips from the Beloved's thorn is sweeter than roses or basil.

and thinkers who were trying, for the first time in our history, to express something in their work which was uniquely Australian. In Francis' case, however, his interest went beyond the national and he became more interested in defining art itselfwhich, in its purest form, he saw as God's ongoing creativitybringing into the world of form 'truth, love, purity, and beauty.' In the thesis, I have defined Stay With God as a modem spiritual epic, a unique work, written in the style of, and having the content appropriate to this age. I think it was Pound who said something like "The role ofthe poet is to keep the language of the tribe fit and healthy," and this is exactly what I feel Francis has done in Stay With God. In this great poem Francis fuses words with their true meaning so that simple words can once more be used as instruments which can lead a seeker towards the truth. Francis can do this because, above all else, he is an honest writer, a poet who refuses to compromise his art for anything else but the truth. While it could be said that Eruch, and many of the other mandali, were Baba's voice, as they interpreted His gestures, Francis was certainly Baba's pen, for in reading his work and especially Stay With Cod, one feels the same type ofinner clout and sharpness which one gets upon reading instances taken from Baba's extraordinary life.

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When He's bitter it's better than a candy-shop. When He turns His head away it's all hugs and kisses. When He says, "By God, I've enough ofyou!" it's like an eternal spring flowing from the fountain of life路 A ''No''from His lips is a thousand times "Yes." On this seifless path He acts like a stranger yet He's your dearest friend. His infidelity is faith, His stones are jewels, His holding back is giving, His ruthlessness is mercy. You may laugh at me and say, "The path you're on is full of curves!" Yes-for the curve of His eyebrow I have traded my soul! This curvy path has gotten me drunk, I cannot say another word! Carryon, my glorious heart, finish the poem in silence....

o Shams, Lord of Tabriz, What sweetness you pour upon meAll I need do is open my mouth and all your songsflow out. [by Rumi, from the book, In The Arms of the Beloved Translated byJonathan Star, TarcherlPutnam.]

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Poetry

Divali

To April, 1953 Prologue 1

Heather Nade1,

1. Our Guru, an Incarnate One, gave us a lead, Poona ]hopdi 1922: Since then, we've followed His Guide, indeed, But oft He said, we very much need, Agreements and circulars.

correspondence for Avatar Meher Baba ust, October, 1997.

J ere in India we're in the midst of the , .lDivali season, the Festival ofLights. All ound Meherabad and Meherazad you hear 'ecrackers and broadcast music-a real ca,phony. It's the biggest holiday of the year r many Indian people, a combination of hristmas and New Year, bringing all that les with them: presents, new clothes, special ad. The other day, as Eruch was ambling along .e Meherazad veranda, I asked him about e meaning behind the celebrations. He and li Natu explained that Divali is a celebram of Lord Ram's re-entry into His city yodhya after 14 years of exile. It is a trinph ofLight over Darkness. On the night 'Divali, you find small earthenware oil lamps .in front ofeach hut, house, apartment, and .elter, and colorful chalk designs marking the Ltrance. A welcome to Lord Ram, the joy of is return expressed in lights. Later in the day I asked Goher ifBaba had Ljoyed Divali. She said, "Oh yes! He liked .e lights, the colors, the flowers... One year e had us light 100 lamps in Meherazad!" I ved to think ofLord Ram returning as Meher Iba, and smiling upon His welcome all over

;am.

It is still observed with lights and colored lalk designs at Meherazad. Mehera and [ani used to be experts at these designs, oc.sionally plotting them out on paper first and en skillfully pouring the chalk through their 1gers to make the delicate designs on the 'Ound. Peacocks, birds, lamps, flowers, ... all IrtS oflovely things turned up. At Meherabad, tiny oil lamps are lit around :is chair in Meherabad Hall. I remember in

the days when Padri was here, the servants would line all the upper ledges ofthe hall with the little lamps, and he would turn out the lights. Despite his gruffexterior, the old man was a real romantic at heart. When once we asked him what had attracted him to Baba in the beginning, he replied with one word: "Charm." Except for the Avatar ofcourse, very few thmgs are more charming than this large hall on Divali, filled by flickering lights, with Baba's chair alone at one end holding His picture. The Pilgrim Centre dining hall maintains a little Divali tradition ofcandlelight for supper, amidst tables lined with orange marigolds and yellow chrysanthemums. You get in line for dirmer (the buffet table is also candle-lit) and you have to be careful not to get flowers in your plate. In the center of the food display under an elegant brass oil-lamp are Beloved Baba and Mehera, standing and smiling in a photo: charm personified times two. As I left the dining hall this year, after basking in the ambiance ofthe soft light, I remembered a story Mani used to tell about Baba. It seems that on one occasion the Western ladies, led by Norina, wished to give Him a candlelight dinner, and arranged the table accordinglywith candelabras. Baba came in, and seeing the beautiful arrangement, admired it and signified His pleasure to N orina, who stood by beaming. Then, just has He was about to sit down, He turned to her and gestured, "Now let's have some lights!" So they did-electric ones ofcourse!

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2. Our first circular was born in Bombay, 1922: It said,]une the month and tenth the day, 1923: But we forgot it in the month ofMay, 1923. 3. Began then our training in right earnest, At Arangaon: Calm, serene were we, yet full ofzest, Ghamela Yoga:* Soared we high, thinking it our lives' test, We grumbled not. Circular Yuga 4. Some Wine He gave, then we partook, Discourses: Some paper He gave for us to look, An agreement: ONE look only, brought us to look, For life. 5. As I said, ofWine we did partake, Discourses: These our spirits buoyant did make, Agreements: Besides our agreements, for others' sake Were circulars. 6. Agreements and circulars came and went, For 30 years: To devotees, disciples, East, West were sent. But April's circular had almost rent, These 30 years'. 7. Here goes the month ofApril's end, 1953: Which in November did much portend, 1952: That it'd surely the Creation send, Univer;.1


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Poetry

Divali

To April, 1953 Prologue

by Heather Nadel,

1. Our Guru, an Incarnate One, gave us a lead, Poona]hopdi 1922: Since then, we've followed His Guide, indeed, But oft He said, we very much need, Agreements and circulars.

In correspondence for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, October, 1997.

H

ere in India we're in the midst of the Divali season, the Festival ofLights. All around Meherabad and Meherazad you hear fIrecrackers and broadcast music-a real cacophony. It's the biggest holiday of the year for many Indian people, a combination of Christmas and New Year, bringing all that goes with them: presents, new clothes, special

food. The other day, as Eruch was ambling along the Meherazad veranda, I asked him about the meaning behind the celebrations. He and Bal Natu explained that Divali is a celebration of Lord Ram's re-entry into His city Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. It is a triumph of Light over Darkness. On the night ofDivali, you find small earthenware oillarnps lit in front ofeach hut, house, apartment, and shelter, and colorful chalk designs marking the entrance. A welcome to Lord Ram, the joy of His return expressed in lights. Later in the day I asked Goher ifBaba had enjoyed Divali. She said, "Oh yes! He liked the lights, the colors, the flowers ... One year He had us light 100 lamps in Meherazad!" I loved to think ofLord Ram returning as Meher Baba, and smiling upon His welcome all over

agam. It is still observed with lights and colored chalk designs at Meherazad. Mehera and Mani used to be experts at these designs, occasionally plotting them out on paper first and then ski11fu11y pouring the chalk through their fIngers to make the delicate designs on the ground. Peacocks, birds, lamps, flowers, ... all sorts oflovely things turned up. At Meherabad, tiny oil lamps are lit around His chair in Meherabad Hall. I remember in

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the days when Padri was here, the servants would line all the upper ledges ofthe hall with the little lamps, and he would turn out the lights. Despite his gruffexterior, the old man was a real romantic at heart. When once we asked him what had attracted him to Baba in the beginning, he replied with one word: "Charm." Except for the Avatar ofcourse, very few things are more charming than this large hall on Divali, filled by flickering lights, with Baba's chair alone at one end holding His picture. The Pilgrim Centre dining hall maintains a little Divali tradition ofcandlelight for supper, amidst tables lined with orange marigolds and yellow chrysanthemums. You get in line for dinner (the buffet table is also candle-lit) and you have to be careful not to get flowers in your plate. In the center of the food display under an elegant brass oil-lamp are Beloved Baba and Mehera, standing and smiling in a photo: charm personified times two. As I left the dining hall this year, after basking in the ambiance ofthe soft light, I remembered a story Mani used to tell about Baba. It seems that on one occasion the Western ladies, led by N orina, wished to give Him a candlelight dinner, and arranged the table accordingly with candelabras. Baba came in, and seeing the beautiful arrangement, admired it and signified His pleasure to N orina, who stood by beaming. Then, just has He was about to sit down, He turned to her and gestured, ('Now let's have some lights!" So they did-electric ones ofcourse!

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2. Our fIrst circular was born in Bombay, 1922: It said,]une the month and tenth the day, 1923: But we forgot it in the month ofMay, 1923. 3. Began then our training in right earnest, At Arangaon: Calm, serene were we, yet full ofzest, Ghamela Yoga:* Soared we high, thinking it our lives' test, We grumbled not. Circular Yuga 4. Some Wine He gave, then we partook, Discourses: Some paper He gave for us to look, An agreement: ONE look only, brought us to look, For life. 5. As I said, ofWine we did partake, Discourses: These our spirits buoyant did make, Agreements: Besides our agreements, for others' sake Were circulars. 6. Agreements and circulars came and went, For 30 years: To devotees, disciples, East, West were sent. But April's circular had almost rent, These 30 years'. 7. Here goes the month ofApril's end, 1953: Which in November did much portend, 1952: That it'd surely the Creation send, Univer-

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sal succour. 8. But my friends much do I regret, About April: For April's end never did beget, The result: And another cirular'll make us forget, April '53. 9. And give us time as July, October, or June Of any year: No doubt we SHALL still play the tune, And grumble too: And e'en under the sod, won't be immune, To future circulars.

Epilogue 10. Tho' this seems today a tale ofwoe, Worry not: For us, from Destiny there's no go, That's the Law: Let's face it all, let's not say, "No," To our Saqi.**

FOR HOME CONSUMPTION ONLY PS. All rights reserved by the writer himself who, due to an impulse, lost mental balance temporarily and departed from his life-long calling of Grease and Oil, to write something like poetry (?). P.PS. As this poetry is being dispatched, he has almost regained his normalcy(?). *Ghamela Yoga: a path or yoga ofhard physical labor. ** Saqi: Lit., a cup-bearer. The spiritual tavern-keeper who dispenses the wine ofDivine Love. ***Atma: the individual soul. From Poems To Avatar Meher Baba, copyright 1985, Manifestation Inc., North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Song on Baba by Mcher Preeti Khilani-agc 10 Bombay, India 1996

I see him everywhere when I rise in the morning and see the Sun, in the sun I see a Great One. Who can that be? Yes, He is Meher Baba. When I go to school and read my books, I see someone with very good looks. Who can that be? Yes, it is Meher Baba. Sometimes when I cry and I wipe my tears with my hands, in my hands I see the King of skies and lands. Who can that be? Yes, He is Meher Baba. When I sleep at night someone comes and kisses me goodnight.

11. Let Maya, her utmost try to stave The result: Let's face our facts, and let her rave As ordained: But from our Saqi's tavern evermore crave The Wine.

Who can that be? Yes He is Meher Baba. He was Sitas Ram and Radhas Sham, and now he is our Beloved Meher Baba .'

12. The Wine that Maya hates in her creed, Illusion: With which, her utmost tries to lead From Truth: The Atma,*** that anon wants to be freed Forever. Padri on his motorcycle in front

13. 'Tis true, from Eternity He has sown The Seed: And fools we shall be ifwe moan About time: ONE THING to sate us, Eternity's Throne Is His Grace. 14. The Seed was sown, I repeatedly say, From Eternity: Let Maya, her game ofIllusion play, For others: Cheat her, defeat her, for our Saqi's Day Has arrived. Written without any malice to anyone; but presented with profound apologies to the Saints-past, present and future-sinners dead or alive, not excluding the poets.

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ofthe old Mandafi Hall.

Lucky Escape for Baba by Simon Reece

If i 'd been one ofYour mandali, ifYou'd chosen me at all, to live with You and serve You, i'd have driven You up the wall.' What trials and tribulations: i'd have put You to the test, i'd have You tearing Your hair out, i'm more trouble than all the rest. Mehera loved You as You should be loved, She stayed at Your right hand. Eruch and Mani were so dutiful, Your wish was their command.

But with my mind working overtime, and always asking "Why?" Unable to see that my ego needs to die; I think I must have misheard when Kaka made such a fuss. I really was quite sure he said: "No obey-just discuss.'" So, Baba, when You come again as Avatar on Earth, spare Yourse!f, and don't choose me, i'm more hassle than i'm worth. For the sake ofyour universal burden, unless You want it double, give me Realization straightaway and save Yourselfthe trouble.'

by Padri

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Prayer [In the January issue our lead article was on Prayers and wefeatured the main prayers that Baba had given us, and His words on how to pray. Due to space constraints we had to leave the following prayers out. These are not the 'biggies' by Baba, but never-the-less are thought provoking. Thefirst is by a Baba lover in Kentucky. -Ed.]

Prayer

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eloved Meher Baba, Make my life Your Arti. Let this soul sing Your love as it sails home to You. Mold me into Your instrument, a channel for Your creativity, a funnel for Your love. Empty my soul like a hollow reed, and fill it with Your Name, to permeate each breath. Let me welcome the precious gift of each moment, with thankfulness and renewed openness. Let my heart dance to the beat ofYour song. awakening each sense to Your presence. Let each thought and action Hum Your praise, and resonate with Your Love. Let each step draw this heart, like a magnet, closer to You. As the rose opens, each petal unfolds, releasing it's sweet inner fragrance. This life is gently unfolding, releasing Your pure nectar, revealing the next step towards Home. Avatar Meher Baba kiJai! Jeannie Taylor

Paradoxes of Prayer

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asked God for strength that I might achieve; I was made weak that I might learn humblyto obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things; I was given infrrmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy; I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness that I might feel the need ofGod.

I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak. I wondered why God didn't show me. He said" But you didn't seek" I tried to come into God's presence; I tried all my keys at the lock God gently and lovingly chided, "My child, you didn't knock" I woke up early this morning, and paused before entering the day; I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray. (author unknown)

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for but everything I had hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. (author unknown)

Time to Pray

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got up early one morning and rushed right into the day: I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray. Problems just tumbled about me and heavier came each task "Why doesn't God help me ?" I wondered. He answered, "You didn't ask"

Prayer

O

h, Baba! Your Mercy is without bounds! Your Mercy is beyond understanding! When someone asks for Your Grace wholeheartedy, Your help is there even before the request is formulated in the mind (truely, the heart is before the mind)! What, therefore, can one to whom You have displayed all your finery, Your Treasury of matchless beauty, request? Even this, the least ofYour blind witless beggars, can only feel shame to ask You have given and are giving and always will give more than this wretched, cracked and dented goblet can ever contain! Only let me, Oh Lord, never cease to rememberwith gratitude Your Mercy. Gary N cdzweck


Heard on New York talk radio:

Bringing Together the Religions ofthe World

"When you go to bed tonight, here is a prayer to say:

'Dear Lord, please treat me with the same kindness, compassion and mercy tomorrow as I have treated my neighbor today.' ...and ifyou can't say that prayer, you'd better mendyour ways. "

Anuj writes

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rayer to God or Avatar is like a spiritual shield and is indispensible for the protection ofour mischieveous mind; from where our thoughts originate, thoughts are turned into action and from where our decisions and responses originate. So we know that our mind is the main arena of our daily battle, more so in the case ofthe persons spiritually inclined, where spiritual battle is fought every moment ofones life and the battle has to be faced and protected with the shield of ones prayer to the Lord. Seek His unfailing help to take up right decisions, give correct responses, bring good thoughts in and act accordingly. In this regard, a small prayer is suggested"Take my hand LORD, And lead me through each day, step by step, and Remind me that I cannot do everything I wish, Nor do any ofit perfectly. Only You are perfect, and with Your help, I can do my best. Help me to remember to ask for that help."

[From Much Love, by TK Ramanujam, /lnuj." Copyright 1994 by Avatar Meher BabaInformations, Madras, India.}

by Bal Natu

B

aba dictated the Repentance Prayer at Meherabad in November of1952, and the Master's Prayer in Dehra Dun in August of 1953. The Master's Prayer was originally referred to as the Universal Prayer. By the time it was sent to the West, it was known as the Master's Prayer because ofBaba's participation in offering it. Let me admit that when I frrst read the Universal Prayer, I was not impressed by it. But since Baba had given it, naturally I had a deep respect for it. When Baba first gave the prayer, He made it clear that He wanted His followers to recite it daily for a certain period, and while I was happy to comply with this, the prayer did not appeal to my heart the way it should have. Unlike the prayer of Saint Francis or some of the prayers in the Upanishads, the Master's Prayer seemed rather remote, being neither moving nor poetic. It seemed, to my limited understanding, to read like a dry collection ofdivine attributes which did not have a great deal ofsignificance forme. I was also a little hesitant about the use of the word "we" in the Repentance Prayer. I wondered why I should share in other people's repentance when I hadn't participated in their sins! So, sometimes when I recited this prayer by myself, I would change "we" to "I," since it was "I" who was repenting. Baba had made me feel so natural in my relationship with Him that I did not feel the slightest guilt about doing this. Then, in the '50's and '60's, Baba gave me more and more opportunities to spend time with Him and also to participate in these prayers in His presence. This gradually changed my perspective. Baba's attitude towards the prayers, I saw, clearly reflected the

importance they had for Him in His universal work. Before reciting them, He would wash His hands and face and straighten His coat or sadra. Then, with great solemnity, Baba would join His palms and listen with closed eyes while the prayers were read aloud by Eruch. The look ofprofound and reverent absorption on Baba's face at such times impressed me deeply. As He listened to all the attributes ofGod in the Master's Prayer, I could see that they were clearly not just a dry catalogue of terms to Him. One had the vivid impression that Baba was inwardly experiencing each of these attributes which, for me, had only been high-sounding phrases. I could not help but begin to develop an appreciation for these superlatives, as they were obviously charged with deep significance. When the Repentance Prayer was read out, a deeply penitent look would come over Baba's face and He would softly tap His cheeks with His palms. Through the recitation ofthe prayers, I felt that Baba was bringing together the religions of the world "as beads on one string." His hands were joined in the fashion common to both the Hindu and Christian traditions, and yet the Master's Prayer begins, "0 Parvardigar," a Sufi term used by the Muslims. As the prayer was read, He would sway from side to side in the manner ofthe Zoroastrians. Thus, the major religions were symbolically represented through Baba's external actions. He participated in these prayers hundreds oftimes.

[From The Samadhi-Star ofInfinity, pp. 6567. Copyright 1997 Sheriar Foundation.}

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Archives Project Update Avatar Meher Baba Trust Archives and Museum Project Circular Number Three December, 1997

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AI BELOVED MEHER BABA to you all, Baba's dear ones in the East and West rom Avatar Meher Baba PPC.Trust Archives and Museum Committee. As you know, because ofthe love-gifts ofBaba lovers worldwide, we were able to break ground for the Archives, Museum & Research Building at Meherabad on May 1st this year. Ifyou were to stroll around Meherabad Hill, so blessed by the Avatar's footprints, you would see that the excavation for the building to preserve Baba's precious items is complete, and the foundation that is now being worked on is nestling in the side ofBaba's sacred Hill, near the site where Baba, seated on a white donkey, was photographed with his beloved Mehera beside Him in the 1930's. You would also see that the steel reinforcing ofthe framework of the building is coming up, and you would hear the sound ofthe fink-fink ofsteel on stone as masons, hard at work, shape gray stones for the plinth. Although Baba lovers wished the mandali a restful summer, this year Beloved Baba planned it otherwise for us. Amidst extensive repair work on different buildings in Meherazad, at the request ofsome members of the Archives Committee, we also began delving into our memories of the past with Baba. The purpose was for the mandali to record on tape the history ofthe buildings of Meherabad and Meherazad, and the Baba items they contain. Through these recordings, we hope the daily, personal details ofthe human side of Beloved Baba, the God-man, have been captured. These interviews of us mandali are continuing to be recorded as time and health permit, and the transcription of the audio tapes is ongoing. This "history-taking" precipitated an unexpected emergency conservation project. When Dr. Goher talked about Baba's health

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and medical care, she brought out Baba's xrays, taken from His first car accident in 1952 up to 1968, and found that, although housed

loving generosity ofBaba lovers in the medical and health-related professions and other Baba lovers, these x-rays have now been archivally copied and will eventually be stored in freezers at Meherabad and another site for safety, thus preserving these irreplaceable images which record some of the physical suffering Beloved Baba underwent in His manform. During the time Beloved Avatar Meher Baba was in our midst, the work He did, the darshan programmes He gave, His vitality, His love, His very presence, were overwhelming, much larger than life. So it was impossible to think ofa life without Him; no, never without Him, but without His physical form. This time of His being on earth was, as Mani called it, Act 1 in His Divine Game. After Baba dropped His body, all His close mandali found it almost impossible to pick up Top: Foundation ofthe Archive building. the threads oflife and feel Bottom: Workers laying the stone walls. our way out of the darkness of despair and pain. For us women with care, they were in varying stages ofdeterioration and in danger ofbecoming unreadmandali, willing ourselves to be useful, and able. With the help of Sheriar Foundation's thinking ofwhat would console Mehera, looktechnical expertise, a specialized conservator ing through Baba's articles helped a great deal. in the States was recommended, and the 136 Just to touch His clothes was to feel His closex-rays (including Mehera's and Mani's) were ness, especially for Mehera. She would very hand-carried to him. Later some others alwillingly be involved in the work, but often we noticed her sitting motionless, a sadra or a coat ready in the States were added. Through the

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in her lap, in deep reverie, silent tears running down her cheeks. This phase of the Avatar's Advent Mani referred to as the start ofAct 2, when the mandali were pushed onto the stage. After Mehera joined Beloved Baba, Mani sometimes used to say, "Act 2 is now nearly over," and now that Mani too has gone to Him, it seems that the start of Act 3 is closer at hand. More than anyone else, it was Mani who gave the initial push, officially, to the conservation project that is now under way. Keeping Baba's treasures as lovingly, carefully, and professionally as possible was a top priority for her, so much so that she was moved to voice her wishes on the subject in a letter written June 9th and 10th, 1996, two days before she was admitted to the hospital in Poona for her final stay. Writing this letter when she was so ill required great effort on her part, and it tuned out to be her last letter as Chairman of the Trust. It was in reply to a request for guidance on the part of an American Baba lover, who found herself responsible for some precious items ofBaba's, that had been in the care of a long-standing Baba lover who had recently died. The following is an excerpt from Mani's letter: "As Baba made it clear that Meherabad would become a place ofworld pilgrimage, we are building at the root, Meherabad, a repository for Baba's personal items to be stored and presented until the time when they may be shared with the countries ofthe world which will be awakened to Meher Baba. Recalling His words, "the whole world will come to know and love Me," it becomes our responsibility to ensure that in the future all countries around the world will be able to have a personal item of Beloved Baba's to conserve and share. As the USA seems to have an abundance ofHis precious things when compared to other parts ofthe world yet to be awakened to Him, we are advising individual Baba lovers in the USA who ask our advice to help right the balance by giving or bequeathing such personal Baba items to the Avatar Meher Baba Trust for preservation and sharing with the world in time." Although the letter makes special mention of the USA, the responsibility for providing for the future care ofBaba-treasures rests with all those who are entrusted with the privilege ofcaring for something ofHis, wherever it may be. Not long after writing this letter, while still in the hospital, Mani even asked her own fam-

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ily in Poona to give certain Baba treasures of theirs to the Trust for future sharing with the world. She felt, as we do, that Baba treasures are Baba's, and the Baba community are but their fortunate caretakers. So now it is our desire to impress upon all Baba lovers who have Baba-items the enormity of the responsibility you bear for safeguarding His things. This responsibility is both to preserve them with great care while they are in your keeping, and to select heirs for them that will be equally responsible in the future. We would like to think that these treasures will always remain in the hands ofpeople who will both savour the remembrance ofBeloved Baba through them, and who will also understand their continuing need for special care. If you are doubtful about the continuity of their future safety and sharing after you are gone, we earnestly request you to consider leasing Baba-items to the Trust (through a deed of gift or bequest in your will) as Mani suggested in her letter, to ensure their museum-quality conservation and accessibility for future generations throughout the world. In the meantime, we ask each ofyou to take the appropriate measures to safeguard whatever item is in your custody. To help you, we have compiled a list of simple steps in a separate write-up entitled Tipsftr Preserving Your Precious Baba Treasures. Many items may already be old and fragile, and in need ofimmediate attention. Even things that may not appear fragile are deteriorating, and much can be done to slow the deterioration and prolong their life significantly. As detailed in Tips, the primary hazards come from handling, sunlight, artificial light, extremes oftemperature and humidity, mold, dust, pests, and acid-exuding papers or containers, and, ofcourse, Father Time. For further information, you may contact this committee, do A.M.B.:P.:P.C.Trust, or Dot Lesnik, who is helping the Trust with this preservation work. Dot's address is 265 Briarcliffe Acres, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29572, U.S.A., telephone 803-272-6868, or e-mail dlesnik@ao1.com. [Tips was published in full in the Winter-Spring issue of the LampPost, on page 32. -Ed.] When we speak of Baba-treasures, we mean any personal item of Baba's (such as hair or nails, a handkerchief, or sadra), or any object bearing His signature, or anything touched by Him. All these need to be attended to from the viewpoint ofconservation.

In another category, so do Baba's and the mandali's letters, telegrams and other documents which directly portray Baba's relationship with His lovers and His attention to the tiniest details oftheir lives. As well as Baba's beautiful image in photos and films, and the mandali's stories that you have recorded on film, videotape and audiotape. All these, we feel need to be copied and preserved for Baba lovers to come. Since these items can be duplicated, we ask that you consider ensuring that the Trust Archives has a high quality copy (or the original, ifyou feel so prompted). Ifyou are able to arrange this, please have it hand carried (not mailed) to India by a reliable Baba-pilgrim. If you have any difficulty in duplicating the item, do let us know. And please write down and send us any information relevant to the item to shed light on its historic content. Continued nextpage.

Remember the Trust

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vatar Meher Baba has given us an extraordinary privilege to let us participate in His very special Trust work. Meher Baba tells us that He is the Personage by whom serving we serve the whole universe. Baba Himselfestablished the Trust to carry out His wishes once He dropped the body. The Trust supports beneficiaries named by Baba, as well as funding the many charitable operations at Meherabad. Ifyou wish to contribute to this most worthy of causes-Baba's Trust-please make your checks payable to: "Friends of the Meher Baba Trust" and forward them to: Lynne Berry 267 Hanover Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626. :P.S. If you wish to receive a copy of Bhau's recent letter regarding the immediate need for funds (printed in the last LampPost), please contact me and I will gladly send you a copy.

Jai Baba! Lynne Berry

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As time passes, and as the light of Meher Baba's Divinity illuminates the world, naturally the memory of His humanitywill need to be nurtured. In centuries to come, the things that Meher Baba touched or used or wore, the pictures of Him, the letters He wrote, and other articles bearing the personal imprint ofHis humanity, will serve as tangible links to help people remember His life as Man more intimately, just as they helped Mehera so much to feel His eternal closeness. To preserve these treasures for as long as possible is one of the duties unfolding before us now, as we prepare for the opening ofAct 3, the age ofHis lovers. So it is essential that this work, begun by the

mandali, be on a fum footing, so that after we are no more, it may continue in the same spirit. Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!!! Meheru R. Irani, Bhau Kalchuri, andthe members ofthe Avatar Meher Baba TrustArchives andMuseum Committee.

Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust Post Bag No. 31, King's Road Ahmednagar 414 001, M.S., India

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This photo, personally signed by the Mandali (on the original only-but the reproductions look every bit as good!) is the LampPost's way of helping to raise money fOr the building of the Archive Museum. The 8 x 10 color photo sells fOr $25, with $20 going direct to the Trust. So far we have been able to send just over $2000. Would you like to help? Order through the Bookstore.


Announcements Mehermas Fly to India Sweepstakes Winner!

B

renda Harold ofCharleston South Carolina was ecstatic when she received our phone call telling her she was the winner! She was thrilled to find that Baba had answered her prayers and given her a way to return to His home. Second and thirdprizewinners, Sebastian Baker and RobertTurnage each received a book. Thank you so much to everyone who participated-your donations help tremendously.

Errata

W

e received the following letter from Donald Mahler for publication in the January issue, but it was inadvertantly omitted-our apologies-and for the original mistake in the transcribing ofhis talk. "Upon reading the report of the L.A. Sahavas in the October issue I was surprised to see that there seems to be some confusion in the reporting ofwhat I said during my talk. Although the speed with which I was able to overtake and pass the said young man and arrive ahead of him at the Barn in order to protect our job of carrying Baba in the chair would be enviable to me now, rather enfeebled after the passage of almost 40 years, I never said, or even thought of that feat as "an act as near to perfect as I have ever done." What I did say and indeed always say when asked what it was like to carry Baba, is that it was something, perhaps the only thing, I have ever done that was anything like perfect. I do not take any credit for this and indeed don't even understand what it means. Perhaps in doing something so directly for Baba, something that was asked for by Him and shared by me with the other male dancers, I was allowed to have a very small glimpse into and dare I say participation in, His perfection. I cannot claim to know or understand. With much love to the L.A. group-thanks for your friendship and support."

New Stermer

S

ophia Ariana Stermer was born to proud parents Richard and Maria on December 21,1997. Our hearty congratulations and a very heartfeltJai Baba to all three!

Audio Tape Lending Library

D

o you ever find yourselfin a "dry spell" spiritually? Are you bored from listening to the same old negative news, weather and travel on your way to work? Would you rather have something inspiring to listen to? Do you need an interesting theme for your Baba meetings? ...Well the audio library has many interesting, intellectually stimulating discourses on life with Baba. We have over 150 titles just waiting to be delved into by inquiring minds. What unsuspecting treasures to behold! Don't waste your time on this tired old world any longer. Make your choice to move into the cosmic Baba linkup. Lynne Berry (official tape walli) is ready to assist you. For catalog or info write to: AMB Lending Audio Library do Lynne Berry 267 Hanover Drive Costa Mesa, California 92626

The First Dance, to the tune of the 7th most requested wedding song: Unchained Melodj.

Tom Hart, of the Love Street LampPost stajJ and Somjai Piyavatkul ("]ai" for short!) were married on January 24th, 1998! Jai and Tom prepare to cut the cake!

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Notes from the Internet from our man in India,]ames Cox

January 1st, 1998

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n interesting aspect to life in Meherabad is that for some reason Birla AT&T chose to sellect Ahmednagar, along with Bombay, Pune and N asik for their initial cellphone launch, all cities closely connected with Avatar Meher Baba. From 'Nagar you can call locally to Pune as well as Goa with your cellular phone, and sometimes, like today, the cellphones were the only phones working. The Department of Telecommunications has also just doubled the exchange capacity at Meherabad, and is planning to install a UHF tower in the next couple ofmonths, so that our line quality and reliability will improve considerably. Later this year they have a fiber optic cable extension to Meherabad on the drawing board, and I have been informed that Ahmednagar will get an internet node after March, 1998. While in the Western scheme ofthings this might not seem particularly unusual, in India it is incredible, and maybe even unique for a town the size of N agar. The framework certainly seems to be getting laid for the imminent incorporation of Meherabad into the global telecommunicationsnetwork.

January 31st, 1998

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t is now the afternoon after, the time for long sleep and no electricity, as the 29th Amartithi ofAvatar Meher Baba has come to a close. The electrical connections are already being restored to their former configurations, and most ofthe participants are sleeping the sleep of the exhausted. Probably somewhere between 15 and 20,000 people attended, slightly less than the year before by whatever estimates we have, and the first year since the GulfWar, I believe, that the number has actually dropped from the prior year. After Amartithi is over, it is always a litle surreal to look at the vast pandal, the emptied stalls and the vacant paths, remembering how it was

hardly 24 hours before. The rate at which Meherabad fills up, is transformed for Amartithi, and then empties out, reverting to its previous existence, is something ofa minor miracle in itself.

February 13, 1998

M

eherabad is quickly filling up for Baba's Birthday, old friends by the dozens, with more than 130 foreigners and over 500 Indians expected. Even the theater can't seat so many, but the preparations for the play are still proceeding along feverishly, as always, crammed into the last minute. This year the Birthday coincides with the Hindu observance ofMaha Shiv Ratri (the Great Night ofShiva), when the demons and ghosts are supposed to come out on the earth. Generally, nothing auspicious is undertaken on this day. The weather is still cool and clear, with nights down to about 60 degrees F, and the days in the 80's, quite sunny, dry and the grass has browned out once again. Baba's Archive Building is almost up to the floor slab level, the road over the tracks, through Arangaon and up to the hill has been paved (then promptly mangled by an army tank maneuver), there is a new access road next to Adi Dubash's house (not paved), going back to the hospital and the stretcher in Baba's Cabin by the Samadhi has been encased in wood with a glass top. It makes me wonder how many more years you will even be able to go into the Samadhi. Things are changing. The resident/spiritual trainee visa situation also seems to have been miraculously resolved from Delhi by the Trust somehow getting the status of an educational institution, despite the fact that most people had completely given up on this line ofapproach. I don't think anyone is exactly sure how this happened, and to me, you could even call it a miracle. As far as I have been able to find out, there is no limit

now from the Government on the number of foreigners that the Trust can sponsor in its Spiritual Training Program for visas. Additionally, some ofyou may not know, but now the Indian Government is granting Americans 10-year tourist as well as business visas, evidently for the asking. Oh, and I almost forgot,} a1 and Dolly have got two new peacocks to replace Moti and Malika, who previously bought it (died). Volleyball continues in the afternoons, and after a hiatus oftwo days, The Kleiner has returned, to once again terrorize the hapless wretches that are so unfortunate as to play on his team! That's Meherabad. Jai Baba! -James Cox

February 25th, 1998

I

have just come down from the Samadhi where around 300 people had gathered at "five-o'clock-in-the-morning," to wish Avatar Meher Baba a happy birthday. The sitting area in front ofthe Tomb was decorated with profuse amounts offlower and cloth buntings while many Christmas Tree type decorations hung below the beams, and for some reason in this predawn dark, the regular bulbs had the feeling ofcandlelight. Chai (Indian Tea) was being served in front ofMansari's kitchen, and there was a slight coldish breeze from the southwest, just enough to straighten Baba's lighted, multicolored flag, which flew over the tower. We stood in line shivering and listening to songs for two hours as we waited for our turn to offer Him our own flowers and birthday greetings. Every year on this day, I get out ofbed before dawn, and think, "It's not so cold, I really don't need to dress warmly," and I proceed to (Continued on page 42.. .)


Humor for Huma Orawmg done by Meher Saba, July 30, 1953, of Himself as a Chicken.

[In ourjokefor Baba today we have assembled answers that many ofthe world's greatest thinkers might have given us when asked that very profound and age old question.]

~y Did the Chicken Cross the Road? Plato: For the greater good. Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability. Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I'll find out. Timothy Leary: Because that's the only kind oftrip the Establishment would let it take. Douglas Adams: Forty-two. Nietzsche: Because ifyou gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you. Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronictitiously brought such occurrences into being. Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road. Ludwig Wittgenstein: The possibility of "crossing" was encoded into the objects "chicken" and "road," and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Sappho: Due to the loveliness of the hen on the other side, more fair than all ofHellas' fine armIes.

Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

Henry David Thoreau: To live deliberately ...and suck aU the marrow out oflife.

Buddha: Ifyou ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Salvador Dali: The Fish. Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees. Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.

Stephen Jay Gould: It is possible that there is a sociobiological explanation for it, but we have been deluged in recent years with evidence about the genetics ofbehavior, and we do not know how to obtain it for the specific behaviors that figure most prominently in sociobiological speculation.

Epicurus: For fun. Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn't cross the road; it transcended it. Johann Friedrich von Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken's dominion maintained.

Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain. Werner Heisenberg: We are not sure which side ofthe road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

Hippocrates: Because ofan excess ofpleghm in its pancreas. Meher Baba: Because it was... The Mischievous Chicken!

David Hume: Out of custom and habit. Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road? The Sphinx: You tell me.

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Beyond Words The Video [The following is taken from the 12 page color brochure that comes with the video. Louis van Gasteren's words, copyright 1997, Spectrum Film, Amsterdam. Excerptsfrom Eighty Two Family Letters, written by Mani, copyright, Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, India. Used by permission.]

Filming the Avatar of the Age Meher Baba

While working on this film in the United States, I met in short order three people who mentioned Meher Baba to me: Robert Dreyfuss, Rick Chapman, and Irwin Luck. As a cabdriver, Luck drove me to the airport on my way back to Amsterdam. On my question: "How are you today, Mr. Luck?," he answered: "Well, sir, since I have been in India and had the opportunity to meet Meher Baba for just 30 seconds, I can manage for the coming 3 years, or so."That struck me. It was then that I developed the idea ofgoing to India to ask Meher Baba: "Is God in a pill?" I wanted to confront in my film the con-

by Louis van Gasteren

B

eing a fIlmmaker of features and documentaries since 1952, in the 60's I had begun the making of a film entitled There is no Planefor Zagreb. The subject of this film was partly autobiographical but it dealt as well with all sorts of associations, brainwaves and memories, my thoughts on fIlm making as such, the illusions with which we have to deal, the interpretation ofevents which occur to us. On my search for what I saw as the essence of human existence, I got in touch with many interesting individuals including the promoter of LSD, Timothy Leary, who thought that God could be found in a pill. Such a notion did not, however, prevent a young poet from jumping out ofa window while under the influence ofLSD. He died, and his parents initiated a lawsuit against Leary, holding him responsible.

Meher Baba and Louis van Gasteren, 1967.

trasting ideas ofTimothy Leary, a man who was being held responsible for the death of a young poet, and those of Meher Baba, of whom I had heard the beautiful saying: "I love you more than you can ever love yourself." I wanted to universalize the griefofthe parents and give some counterweight to Leary by presenting a man who really knew what life is all about. I got in touch with Baba, ask-

ing him ifhe could see me, and he agreed. At that time, September 1967, Baba was in seclusion, but he came out of it to have a talk with me, in Mandali Hall at Meherazad. Baba was sitting in his chair. Bhau was there and Eruch who translated Baba's gestures. I explained to him the philosophy of Zagreb: that I for instance waited for hours and hours with the camera to flim the first autonomous step of my little daughter. That she had to walk from that moment on for the rest of her life. That during one's life you have to use your feet, that you have to go from one place to the other, that you have to run. I told him that I had met Timothy Leary and that I wanted to ask him ifthere is any function ofusing drugs, if-in other words-God is in a pill. My soundman, Peter Brugman, described Baba after this meeting as if he could look right through him. In other words, Baba was transparent for him. In my opinion, this observation showed the egolessness ofBaba. During the meeting with Baba I felt as ifI had known Baba for a long time. I experienced Baba as my brother, sharing with me a deep feeling ofaloneness. In fact, I would have lovedjust to sit with him without talking, without saying a word, and there would have been communication and an even greater feeling of


togetherness. In a way, I felt sorry that I had to ask him questions and to explain my intentions. Ifthe camera and the crew had not been there, I would have been very pleased just to be in his presence in silence. After the meeting, Baba gave me a turban, which I wore during the interview the next day. On the 20th of September, we did the shooting ofBaba washing the feet ofthe lepers, and ofBaba answering some ofmy questions sitting in front of Seclusion Hill. After the shooting we went to Meherabad to film Baba's tomb and Mohammed the Mast, as well Baba's room. Baba was very cooperative and happened to be very camera conscious. It became clear to me that he really wanted to be filmed and that he kept everything constantly under control' even checking whether the camera was working when filming him. Eruch interpreted Baba's gestures, and for me, it is still quite moving to see and hear the interaction between Baba and Eruch, with Baba correcting Eruch when his interpretation was not following Baba's intentions and Eruch searching all the time for the right words. After my arrival in Holland, I had to face a lot offamily problems, the sickness ofmy wife, later a separation, and I was not able to finish There is No Plane for Zagreb. So, my film of Baba remained in the cans for 30 years. During these last 3 decades, I did show the film to many Baba lovers who asked to see the material in my place in Amsterdam on their way to and from India. One such person was Paul Comar who strongly encouraged me to make the footage ofBaba available to Baba lovers without waiting for the finishing of Zagreb. He encouraged me as well to revisit Meherazad and the mandali; and in August 1997, I followed his advice. I put the cutting copy on a VHS tape, showed this tape to the mandali, and their happiness in seeing the footage made clear to me that it was time to produce the flim on VHS for Baba's lovers. Andy Lesnik of Sheriar Foundation gave me his support and promised that Sheriar Foundation would help me with the distribution. And now I am happy that my film material on Baba has become available for Baba's lovers and that they don't have to wait until I have finished my Zagreb flim. [Amsterdam, November, 1997. Copyright 1997.]

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Excerpts from Eighty-Two Family Letters by Mani [From the Seventy-Fourth Family Letter, Meherazad 1st September, 1967] ...Baba has also announced that He will step out ofseclusion one morning before November, for three hours only. He will do this in order to wash the feet of twenty-one lepers, men and women, who will be brought from Ahmednagar to Meherazad for this purpose. After washing their feet and bowing down to them, the Beloved will give to each one of them some wearing apparel or material that will serve to clothe the recipient's body. And with this tangible prasad will be the unseen gift of the Avatar's blessing, His unbounded Love that heals all pain ofignorance, that melts away sanskaras of lifetimes - the Gift from the Only Giver, given in silence. Many a time Baba has bathed the lepers-"beautiful souls in ugly cages" as He once said of them-and bowed down to them. This time it will be from His Seclusion, Baba has not yet fixed the day. His coming out for this work with the lepers will not mean the end ofHis seclusion. It will mean only a "stepping out" for the duration of three hours, after which He will resume His strict seclusion. Only those who have been directed to make arrangements for this leper-work are to be present at Meherazad on the day. However, an exception has been made for certain individuals who are concerned with the completing ofa film being made by Louis van Gasteren, a filmmaker ofHolland. In response to Louis van Gasteren's earnest request to ftlm Baba, Baba has granted him permission to be present during the three hours when He will step out ofseclusion, and to flim Baba during His work with the lepers. From Mr. van Gasteren's letter to Adi we get an idea of the uncommon theme of this 35mm colour film he is making: "NemaAviona Za Zagreb," which he expects to show throughout the world. It is a flim which does not confine itself to a story, but reveals glimpses ofthe poignancy of human experi-

ence, of joy and sorrow, birth and death, of things happening on both sides ofthe globeon which is Meher Baba, the Avatar. Mr. Van Gasteren writes: "The appearance of the Avatar in my flim is more than functional, it is necessary, to give all the other happenings and sequences the final and right dimension. Now you will understand how happy I am with the Avatar's permission." This making ofa ftlm with Baba to be seen around the world, is an endeavour initiated by Baba's brother, J al, who has worked hard towards it for a long time, pleading for Baba's permission again and again. The reward of J aI's endeavour is in sight, for at last the Beloved has given His permission for such a filming. Louis van Gasteren, in concluding his letter to Adi, spoke of the impact that the Avatar's Message had on him. He wrote: "I tell you frankly that the first time I heard of Baba, the line HE LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN EVER LOVE YOURSELF struck me through the New York cabdriver Irwin Luck, struck me since Robert Dreyfuss entered my house with Baba's photograph. It became a line used many times a day within the circle of my friends."

[From the Seventy-Fifth Family Letter, Meherazad, 7th October, 1967.] ...Two days after I posted my letter to you (of 12th Sept.), Adi received a cable from Louis van Gasteren in Holland, saying he was arriving in Bombay with his film crew on 17th and coming to Ahmednagar on 19th for the filming. The time limit given by Baba was 20th September, so you can see what a close shave it was! All the same, as he did keep faith with Baba's word and made it in the given time, Baba gave His permission happily. Baba called Louis to Meherazad at 9 o'clock on 19th morning to see Him for five minutes, and also to look over the site for next day's fliming. Starting very early from Poona with his crew and accompanied by Jal he arrived on time and was taken in to see Baba. Baba gave him 40 minutes instead of5, and some very beautiful explanations in that time-and by that time he had really begun to love Baba. One could


say that he came for his own film and stayed for Baba's film; for he later confessed that his intention had been to flim a few hundred feet, but now he was determined to take in as much as he could for the world to know of Baba through his film. As Eruch later remarked, Louis met the mandali as a filmmaker and parted as a brother. Jan and Peter, the two boys who accompanied him as cameraman and soundman were equally in love with Baba at first sight, and became as members ofthe family during their two visits. The Meherazad family found Louis a most unassuming and congenial person, sincere and earnest, painstaking in his work, and not just a filmmaker but a real artist. However, all these qualities would appear as ciphers were it not for the unit ofhis newborn love for Baba that makes them add up to a fine figure. Louis put consideration for Baba's comfort and wishes before his filming convenience every time. At one point when some alteration had to be made to suit Baba, Louis assured Him with a spacious gesture of his arms, "We will adjust it Baba, it will be no pr.oblem, don't worry," With a marked twinkle Baba said to those present, "My only worry is that I cannot worry!" From his talks with Eruch and Francis, Louis got a much better understanding of Baba's role in his flim; and Francis's powerful explanation ofwhy Baba cannot be compared to any other personality no matter how great he might be in the world, impressed him deeply and cleared up a lot of things in his mind. Admiring their efficiency at the filming which took place on 20th September at Meherazad, Baba said "Louis and his men know their job."That became clear to all who watched them work with their beautiful cameras and latest accessory equipment. The flim is to be in colour and equipped with sound. They filmed beloved Baba washing the feet of the lepers-seven lepers, He finally decided. They filmed Baba in the garden against the luscious bougainvillea vines, and Baba discoursing under the shade of the twin "babul" trees which stand in the field with the Seclusion Hill in the background. They flimed the Meherazad scene, including a sunset from the top of Seclusion Hill, and they visited Meherabad and flimed that place of Baba's also. I must put down beloved Baba's remarks

1]42

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on Louis van Gasteren's visit and the film he came to make. On the morning after Louis's departure Baba said to the mandali: "I felt happy with Louis van Gasteren not only because he is an artist but because he has a good heart. He was impressed very much by my Love, as were his two assistants. Louis is a genius in his art. Because of this, and because of his love for me, I cooperated 100% and he made the most of this opportunity." Referring to the filming done under the "babul," Baba said. "To me it was like again giving a sermon on the Mount. In the two days that Louis spent here and at Meherabad, I could see that he came to understand a bit about me, and he expressed his love for me by speech and action. I know that he will try his best to have the flim shown all over the world. He worked at it with all his heart, and I cooperated with all my heart. So this must bear good results." Among the gems that Louis received from Baba was the following discourse. On his frrst day's visit, Baba said to him: "I am alone even when surrounded by thousands of people because I see only mysc1fin them al1." "As for you, if you were in the Himalayas, you would not be alone even there because thousands of thoughts and desires would be your constant companions."

("Notesfrom the Internet"continued from pg. 38.)

go up the hill to freeze while I wish Baba a Happy Birthday and listen to many wonderful other Birthday offerings. I suppose if my memory capacity extended beyond a year, then I might one day be able to avoid this fate, but the momentum does not seem to be in that direction, and anyways, judging by the amount of others also shivering, it might be a necessary part ofthe atmosphere. Prior to going into the Samadhi, someone also handed me my much delayed subscription copy ofTime Magazine, featuring Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky on the cover. I would suspect that was the frrst time that that picture had been inside Baba'sTomb. Sometimes He apparently has rather odd ways of working. In just a few hours, things will have warmed up considerably, and the traditional Birthday Play will start at about 11:30 am in the "Arts and Entertainment Building." At that time, the temperature in the theater will approach that of a low sauna as the roofis sprinkled to keep it cool enough for people to stay inside, and I will sit there, waiting for the play to start, and think, "Wow, what opposites, I wonder why He doesn't go in for a little more averag-

ing? Baba says the film world has a magnificent scope to tell the world about things that they should know. And by seeing good films, they forget themselves. They put their hearts and minds into the show and forget their worries and the world. Baba says that the most important thing is for one to forget oneself and realize God.

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I suppose it wouldn't serve the purpose. Anyway, Happy Baba Birthday to you all, wherever you are, and whether you are freezing or roasting. Baba would have been 104 today.

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Beyond Words

Louis van Gasteren at the premiere ofBeyond Words at the Meher Spiritual Center, Myrtle Beach.

by Andy Lesnik

T

he history of Beyond Words dates back to 1967, the year in which Mcher Baba stepped out ofseclusion to allow the acclaimed Dutch fum-maker, Louis van Gasteren, the opportunity to interview and film Him. Oftruly historic import, the result is the only existing color flim of Meher Baba in which we hear Eruch interpreting the Avatar's exquisite hand gestures as He shares a series of beautiful messages. The story ofhow this flim finally came to be shared with Baba's lovers is one consisting of many chapters. My own involvement began in May oflast year when Paul Comar-a good friend living in Paris-called out of the blue to tell me that he had asked Louis van Gasteren to get in touch with me. Paul had recently renewed an old friendship with Louis and had in fact invited Louis and his wife Joke (pronounced Yoka) to join him in August on his next trip to India. I spoke briefly with Louis at the time and he and Joke did indeed return with Paul to Baba's home in August, the first time that Louis had been back in 30 years. While they were all there, my wife Dot (who was also

if

there) called to say that it would be good ifI could visit with Louis in Amsterdam on my way back from India in November. The van Gasterens graciously invited me to stay with them for the 2 days that I could arrange to be in Amsterdam. The purpose of the visit was to see if Sheriar Foundation could be helpful in working through the practical details ofreleasing a video ofthe film for Baba's lovers and to ask Louis to make an archival preservation copy of the original film for the Trust to have in its safekeeping. The two days spent with Louis and Joke turned out to be totally magical. We all became great friends within the first hour and the two days were so emotionally charged, I felt as ifI had been with them for 2 months. By the time I left on November 15th, we not only were all set for making the video but we had set Christmas as a release date and I had invited the van Gasterens to come to Myrtle Beach to help celebrate the premiere showing. In the whirlwind weeks that followed, Louis andJoke did the production work for the video and we collaborated long distance on the book-

let and video cover. Amazingly everything was ready in time for a December 23rd premiere at the Meeting Place at the Center. Louis spoke beautifully at the Premiere and passed around to the audience the long red turban that Baba had given him in 1967. He spoke again on the 26th for a second showing. Louis and Joke had a wonderful time in Myrtle Beach and were also warmly received by the Washington and Boston Baba groups, two cities that Louis wanted to visit in connection with his work. At 75, he is still a passionate, brilliant man, always the artist, and deeply moved by the warmth of his reception in the States and by the depth of the response to Beyond Words. In many ways he is a larger-than-life figure, a true original, and as a Dutch video producer told me during the preview screening ofa program being made to honor him on the occasion of his 75th birthday: "We have no one like him. We don't know what to make ofhim. But I like him very much."

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I]


.'

~til

"

Review:

Norina's Gift Review by John F. Page

7\. prina's Gift, recently published by EliNor 1 VPublications in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a book in three parts. The first part is a biography ofNorina Matchabelli. The last two parts are reprints of Fragments From A Spiritual Diary and 40 Messages From Meher Baba-Norina's two books that are long out ofprint. The original books were published in wonderful editions by Warren Healy in Seattle. The name, N orina Matchabelli, has long had a mysterious ring to it. There is hardly a Baba lover still alive who met Nonna (she died in 1957). Of the remaining who have even heard of her, her name is often shrouded in mystery. Many words and phrases have been associated with her: aristocratic, psychic, intuitive, mother, controversial proselytizer of Baba, companion ofElizabeth Patterson, India ashramite, "channeler" of Meher Baba, obedient servant of the Lord, worldly. These seemingly incompatible aspects of N orina's nature are given great exposition in this fine new book which is a labor of love by Chris and Charles. It removes the shroud of mystery and brings Baba's "Noorjehan"-Light ofthe World-into our view and into our hearts so that we may appreciate and understand her. Born in Italy in 1880, Norina led an unusual life. Epitomizing European aristocracy and culture, she was a well-known actress in Max Reinhardt's The Miracl~a religious play and pantomime stage production accompanied by music. An instant hit, she went on to perform the part ofthe Virgin Mary more than one thousand times. For many people watching the production, it was a deeply moving spiritual experience and was a transform-

44

ing one for N orina as well. She later married Prince Matchabelli, a Georgian national hero, and the two of them founded a perfumery that became known all over the world. She met Meher Baba in New York in 1931 through Jean Adriel. Despite many spiritual experiences in her adult life, she was not what would be called a 'spiritual seeker.' Indeed, she ridiculed the idea of the Master-Disciple relationship and said that she would never worship at any man's feet. To continue from Jean Adriel's Avatar, "She [NorinaJ then told me that ever since the moment Baba's feet had touched the shores of America she had done nothing but weep. She had been compelled to cancel all of her social engagements. The old hauteur of sophistication was replaced by child-like wonder." Upon meeting Baba her entire life changed. She recognized in Him her reason for living and knew that He was the One who had been so active in her inner life up to that point. Later, Baba told her inwardly, "You were born to love the living God." She instantly became one of Baba's western mandali (circle members as they were known in those days). Baba treated N orina in a special

way and gave her many responsibilities and privileges. It is noteworthy that she was considerably older than most of the other westerners who were close to Baba. He had her act as a mother to them in many ways... not all ofwhich were welcome!


x:x

t

Norina was multilingual and was indispensable in translating for Baba as they traveled around Europe. In addition, she was occasionally able to use her high society connections to help Baba and His entourage in their travels as they would come up against recalcitrant government officials or hoteliers. Princess Matchabelli was well known and officials would want to please her. Baba told Norina that she had been Saint Joseph, the father ofJesus, in a previous incarnation and that she had also been a number ofother spiritual figures. Norina's Gift is full of letters and other messages from Baba to Norina. Many of these messages were written by Baba in an adoring way. Many also contain little known esoteric goodies. That Baba loved her dearly and treasured her total devotion and service to Him is indubitable. One ofNorina's gifts was her ability to publicly speak about Baba. Indeed she loved these opportunities to evangelize in Baba's cause. She gave countless talks in New York City and other places. In these talks she (what we might nowadays say) 'channeled' Baba. Her own description ofwhat occurred was "a stirring system of wave projections or thought transmissions" from Baba directly to her. She would get up on stage and say that it was Baba speaking through her from wherever He was in the world at the time. As you may imagine, this was somewhat controversial in the Baba community. Some of Baba's lovers thought this was psychic rubbish and others believed fervently that every word she spoke was Baba's! Each side could find support, direct and indirect, from Baba Himself Our dear Beloved, as always, was fanning the flames of controversy making each side feel they were right. Sound familiar? Whatever one thinks of where the words she spoke came from and how much if any they were 'colored' by her, the messages are remarkable and are not to missed! Also included in this book is an account of Norina's and Elizabeth's developing ofMeher Spiritual Center. Fragments From a Spiritual Diary has a forward by Adi K. Irani. It is full of various thought transmissions. Contained is a transcript of a lecture she gave in New York. 40 Messages is mainly a series ofverses received by Norina through thought transmissions and appears to have been composed in India in 1948. One might think that Norina's gift was lit-

II

t

x:x

x:x

erally her ability to 'channel' Baba. Others might think that her 'gift' was her total and complete devotion and service to her Beloved. After you read this book you will know for sure!

The Theme by Meher Baba ~here

is no creature which is not destined for the supreme goal, as there is no river which

1. is not winding its way towards the sea. But only in the human form is consciousness so developed

that it is capable of expressing the perfection of its own true self, which is the Self of all. However, even in the human form the soul is prevented from realizing its birthright of joy and fulfillment because of the burden of sanskaras which it has accumulated as a by-product of its arduous development of consciousness. Like the dust that accumulates on the shoes of a traveler on foot, these sanskaras are gathered by the pilgrim as he treads the evolutionary path. In the human form, which is the crowning product of evolution, the divine life is enmeshed in the sanskaric deposits ofthe mind. The expression ofthe divine life is therefore curtailed and distorted by the distractions ofthe sanskaras, which weld consciousness instead to the fascinations ofthe false-phenomenal. One by one the many-colored attachments to the false must be relinquished. Bit by bit the sanskaric tinder feeding the deceptive flames of the separative ego must be replaced by the imperative evidence of the unquenchable flame oftruth. Only in this manner can man ascend to the height ofdivine attainment; the endless beginning oflife eternal. The life in eternity knows no bondage, decay or sorrow. It is the everlasting and ever renewing selfaffirmation ofconscious, illimitable divinity. My mission is to help you inherit this hidden treasure ofthe Self. [Listen, Humanity, Ed. Don E. Ste'vens, page xvii Copyright 1982, Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust]

ÂŁoveStred ,CamflbSt'


Step Jnside:

7he ,Love Street fBookstore Jai Baba and Welcome!

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f course the great news this quarterindeed, this year-is the release of that most marvelous ofvideos-Beyond Words. You can read the story ofhow it came to be on page 42. When asked to write a review of this fum, one person responded "The title says it all! It's beyond words!" Ifyou don't have a VCR, now is the time to buy one! Speaking as one ofthe lucky ones who met Baba, I can truthfully say-watching this video is second best to being in His presence. It is truly amazing. ($50) Our apologies to all ofyou who responded so enthusiastically to the beautiful mug Cherie Plumlee has created ofMehera's Garden.... we had production problems. Because ofthe subject matter, we wanted it just exactly perfect. Well the manufacturer has finally got it right, but tells us that it will take him a few weeks to make the hundreds we have ordered. But I am expecting to have them all by the time you are reading this. We had to slightly increase the price-they are $10.75 each. However if you would like a set of four, you may purchase that for only $36. For those ofyou who didn't see the photo featured in our January issue, it is a photo taken from the back ofMandali Hall looking over Mehera's garden to her porch. The photo has been digitally manipulated to look like an Impressionist painting. I occasionally get letters from surprised people who have just found out that we have

the plaster casts ofthe Beloved's feet, His hand and His footprints, so I decided to feature them here. The Trust in Ahmednagar gave

permission to the famous Los Angeles artist Jurgis Sapkus to take charge of the precious original casts, and it is he who makes them for the Love Street Bookstore. We know the story of how the footprints came to be made, but how the casts ofHis feet and His hand came

to be taken shall have to wait till another time. Shatrughna Kumar G hil dial, always called Kumar by Baba, was a faithful disciple for many years. One day in 1954, Kumar had the idea that it would be a good thing to have a plaster impression of Baba's foot prints; but he did not tell Baba. Later, while Baba was resting, Kumar requested Mani and Goher to ask Baba ifhe would consent to allow His feet impressions to be made. Kumar explained that even if He agreed to only give His right foot that would be sufficient. In case Baba agreed, Kumar prepared the plaster of Paris powder in a cardboard box. Some time passed and he was called to Baba's room. As he was carrying the plaster, he became extremely nervous as to what Baba might say, or ifhe would like such an idea. When he arrived, Baba promptly gestured, "Yes, all right! But do it now." So Kumar, his heart beating fast, quickly mixed the plaster with water. Eruch and Bhau were also present at this occasion and helped Kumar. Baba graciously placed his right foot in the mixed plaster. After the impression was made He asked Kumar, "What about my left foot?" Again, excited by Baba's request, Kumar quickly mixed the remaining plaster. Then Baba placed his left foot in the mixture. Later, Kumar expressed his happiness at having obtained both feet impressions, having only expected the right foot. He said he had thought at the time: "If you


ask for something from the Master, it is like receiving water. Ifthe Master gives you something, it is like milk. But ifyou extract something from the Master, it is like blood!" Because Baba himselfoffered his left foot, Kumar was made most happy. During this occasion, Baba was in a pleasant mood and Kumar distinctly remembered him remarking afterward: "It is good that you had this idea. It will be good for the future generations." And now we are the future generations. You read in Jim Migdoll's story about setting up your 'Baba room'-well a very nice addition to it would be His feet, His hand or His footprints as a focal point on the table. The feet are finished with a coating that gives the appearance of bronze and are $100. (These are the ones that are in Baba's bedroom.) Both the hand and the footprints are in white plaster and are $40 and $45 respectively. All featured photos of Baba are available for purchase. A final word here in case you skipped over the editorial: we are looking for someone who is artistic, skilled in the use of Adobe PageMaker, would feel privileged to work for Baba, and has about 50-60 hours to give everythree months! Your Love Street LampPost needs you! Tom and David are not always available, and we don't want to let our readers down. Contact me at Bababooks@ao1.com ifyou're willing to help! See you at the bookstore, Dina

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AVATAR MEHER BABA CENTER OF SOUTH ERN CALI FORN IA

1214 SOUTH VAN NESS AVENUE LOS ANGELES, CA

900 1 9-3520

ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

DATED MATERIAL PLEASE EXPEDITE!

NONPROFIT

U.S. POSTAGE

PAID

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ANG ELES,

PERMIT

#

CA

31394


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JULY - SEPTEMBER

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ÂŁoveStreet LampPost'

"The streams of life, with their ancient otigin, are ever ad'qancing onward through the forms that come and go ~~ke the wa'Ves,.of:the ocean." , . ~Ava'" a

1998


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Center Report by Lois Jones President of the Board

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he voting membership overwhelmingly approved the Center Operations and Provisional Renovation budgets. So, we are proceeding with plans to raise the funds needed to meet the conditions of our Conditional Use Per-

.'

mit.

We are pleased to announce that we have completely paid off our second mortgage in the amount of $25,000.00! The interest we were paying 'on that loan will now be applied toward the principal on our remaining mortgage. Meherabode is so beautiful in the spring and summer. It's the perfect time to visit during the day and picnic on the lawn! Do come and enjoy your Center.

Baba's Birthday Celebration at Meherabode

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From the Love Street Bookstore by Dina Snow lai Baba and Welcome!

T

Dina Snow

2

o my surprise, we have heard about only one new book released this quarter. No audio tapes and no video tapes. That's a first! The new book is a very interesting and informative book written by Judith Garbett, who lives near Avatar's Abode in Queensland, Australia. Judith has spent much time with the women mandali, and is a treasure-trove of stories about Baba's closest loved ones. lIer new book is entitled Lives ofLove-The Women Mandali of Avatar Meher Baba... Stories of Their Lives and Recollections of Times Spent With Them. This unique book is based on the stories the mandali told Judith spanning a period of 30 years-during her many visits to Meherabad and Meherazad, the East-West Gathering and the Great

ÂŁoveStreet LampPoSt'

Darshan in Poona. To these stories she has added her own recollections of each of the mandali and the happy hours spent in their company, as well as descriptions of Meherazad and Meherabad. For those who have met Mehera, Mani and the others, this book will remind them of their own times with them. And those who did not meet these close ones of Beloved Baba will gain at least an idea of their beauty and what it was like to be with them. The stories have been checked by each of the mandali, and sometimes even added to by one or another of them. The major part of this material has not been published previously. The chapters on

continued on inside back caver...


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j\ publication of the Avatar J\1eher Baba Cente'r of Soulhern California

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£oveStreet LampPost'

welcome

features:

The Love Street LampPost is dedicated with love to Avatar Meher Baba. Its primary pur-

Message from the Mandali

mandali

l0

pose is to contribute to a sense of community among all His lovers by providing a place for

Dagmar Remembers Anita

Dagmar Lai

10

Memories of Anita

sharing His remembrance. All the members of

Anita Vieillard, Baba's Loving Clown

Anita Viellard

Anita Vieillard

the Baba family are invited to contribute to

Lyn Ott

this feast of Love.

Lyn Ott: A Life Remembered

Your stories, photos, art work, poetry, letters, articles, and humor are all actively solicited. We seek expressions of Baba's message of Love & Troth. Please submit your text on computer disks if possible (in any software format); typewritten copy on white paper is also acceptable. Be sure to clearly identify all submissions and credit every quote or reference.

Services & Programs for Lyn Ott In Appreciation of Lyn Ott

Lyn Ott

11

Max Reif

16

David Silverman

· 17

Greg Butler

18

Ken Nuenzig

18

Bhau Kalchuri..

19

Sheryl and Rick Chapman

19

Jean Bronet.

20.

Greg Dunn

21

Roman Babiak Roman Babiak Moves On Roman's Last Day

Denise Pliskin......... 23

Miki Moo Follows Mansari

James Cox

23

Kendra Crossen Burroughs

4

News From All Over

deadlines: for the January - March April - June July - September October - December

issue: issue: issue: issue:

November 15th February 15th May 15th August 15th

Love Street Boolistore: Dina Snow (at the addresses above) 310 837-6419 between 7:00 & 11:00pm 310 839-BABA (2222) 24 hour fax BABABOOKS @ AOL.COM

credits: editors: copy editor: design & layout: electronic expertise: distribution:

Tom Talley

Janet Luck A Final Farewell Janet "Mehery" Luck

Love Street LampPost Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California 1214 South Van Ness Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90019-3520 213 731-3737 -orBABABOOKS @ AOL.COM

10 12

Tom Riley......... 1S

Lyn Ott

Letter from the Chapman's

submissions, subscriptions, donations:

Julann Lodge Bhau Kalchuri..

Dina Snow & David McNeely Clea Sucoff & Marj Sucoff David McNeely Thomas Hart Chris Lyttle

Happenings at Meher Mount Meher Baba Center in

ew Delhi

Shar Wiseman

Pilgrimage Journal

Jay Schauer

6

Happy 104th!

Jeff Maguire

36

Easter at Meherabode

38

Special Features Mani's Dream Book

Heather

Mani

Judith Garbett.

adel

,LoveStreet £amplDst'

26 28

Further Thoughts on Occultism

Don Stevens

30

The Discourses: Seeds of Doubt

Flagg Kris

33

departments: Center Report

........... 2

Step Inside the Love Street Bookstore

........... 2

News From All Over The is published quarterly, in January, April, July, and October. All contents © 1996 Avatar Meher Saba Center of Southern California. All quotations of Avatar Meher Saba, or books, © AMSPPCT, India

S

Poetry Humor for Huma Children's Corner

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........... 4 Mickey Karger

24

Shireen Bonner

2S

Barbara Richstad

27


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Happenings at Meher Mount by Kendra Crossen Burroughs Meher Mount, California

W

e were delighted to have Raine Eastman-Gannett from Berkeley here on April 18. Raine gave a benefit concert for Meher Mount of ecstatic vocal Hindu and Sufi music. The day began with an introductory talk during which Raine demonstrated some principles of Indian music. This was followed by a delicious home-style Indian vegetarian dinner expertly pre-pared by Shree and Bhanu, two volunteers from Ojai, and served outside thank you Baba for a gloriously warm day). Then we had the concert, with an audience of sixty-nine people filling the liVing room. Raine's sublime voice seemed to me perfectly suited for singing bhajans and ragas. She accompanied herself on the harmonium while her husband, Bill Gannett, played the tamboura. Raine charmed us with her twinkly-eyed explanations of the lyrics. In one traditional bhajan ("Ranga Jina"), the singer says, "Krishna, you're being very naughty, miraculously changing the colors of my sari just for fun. Motherin-law knows very well what color my new sari is supposed to be, and now everyone at this wedding will know how you've favored me, and they will curse

"Krishna, you're being 'Very naughty, miraculously changing the colors of my sari just for fun. Mother-inlaw knows 'Very well what color my new sari is supposed to be... " me, so just stop it! I love you very much, I bow and touch your feet, but please, you must listen to me ... " In the second half Raine performed kawali and ghazals, including-to the surprise and delight of many in the audience who had never heard of such a thing-some English ghazals by Francis Brabazon. Bill impressively recited a ghazal of Hafiz in Persian, along with the English translation. (I thought of it as a Jewish ghazal, since the repeated phrase was "Don't ask!") Everyone joined in on the final song, "Allah Hu." Over the past twenty years, in addition to singing Francis Brabazon's songs, Raine has worked as a studio musician and singer; has created her own choir, the Love Street Singers; has sung first

Dhonna Marie Schwertl &

Ken Neunzig Married

soprano with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir; and has continued studying, performing, and teaching Indian classical and devotional vocal music. The weekend of May 2-3 she returned to Meher Mount for a workshop in Indian singing, and Jonathan and I participated. Only one of the students was an experienced musician, and we inexperienced ones were amazed to find ourselves actually reading the simple saregam notation system in no time and singing ragas and bhajans of Mira, Tulsidas, and others. Jonathan and I had recently attended a bhajan party at the home of an Indian friend in Ojai where we muddled along trying to follow their printed sheets. Next time we're going to really impress them with our new skill!

Notefrom the editor: Everyone is welcomed at Meher Mt. Call Kendra Crossen Burroughs to arrange a visit: (805) 6400000. And now you can visit Meher Mount via the internet! Their home page url is http://members.tripod.com!-Ezadl index.html

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On May 21, 1998, (the third anniversary of their first date of magical hour-long double rainbows over mountain and field!) before more than a hundred guests, and to the tune of "all you need is love" (Kermit's Rainbow Song), and Meher Baba's words on love, Dhonna Marie Schwertl and Ken Neunzig were wed at the Unitarian Universalist society of Oneonta, New York. We welcome them to a new life in Baba.


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here is a brightness that shines from India's orth, shedding light on the poor, the hungry and the disadvantaged of that area. It is Baba's Love, and it radiates from the city of ew DelhLThe collective efforts of the ew Delhi Baba community in developing a Center there for IIis work have been phenomenal. Kussum Mohkam Singh describes the building that houses the Center as a threestory site, consisting of five bedrooms, a dispensary, a sewing school and a large basement for conferences and meals. There is a Prayer IIall with a beautiful Charles Mills painting of Beloved Baba. A kitchen, a caretakers room, and a terrace are on the top floor. And of course, there is a library. The rest of the New Delhi Center is in a half-finished state, but is coming along nicely. The final plastering on the last floor is being completed. Kusum is looking forward to covering the terrace with seven-color plastic sheets. Adele Wolkin provided the very first book for the Center library, and the Center has purchased most of the major books except for the 6th and 7th edition of Lord Meher. Many more books are needed, as well as furniture. The Sewing School has four sewing machines, but the students sit on the ground on mats. The Center currently rents a video machine to show Baba movies once a week. They are looking forward to the day when the library has its own Video/TV. In commemoration of Meher Baba's first public darshan in Delhi in 1952, the Center hosted a "Meher Mela" Sahavas program on December 1-3. Many Baba lovers came from the West and stayed at the New Delhi Baba Center for the celebration. This past year, Baba Lovers have traveled to New Delhi from all over the world. The New Delhi Baba Center prOVides many vital services to the area, including feeding the poor on the last Sunday of every month, and a community lunch every month. The Center's dispensary is fully furnished and has been operational for the past two and a half years, treating over 4,000 patients in that time. Five doctors donate their services, and are assisted by volunteers from the Center. The medicines are prOVided by the Center. For six months, the Center also had a day care service from 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. for working domestic women whose children were roaming the roads. The kids were from two and a half to six years of age. They were given bananas, biscuits and one nutritious meal per day, and of course Baba's Love. Unfortunately their water well failed, and this program has been postponed. Once the water situation is solved, the Center plans to start this much-needed program once again. With all of the trials and tribulations this Center has been through, this is certain....Baba's azar is there, and the love and devotion of the Center's volunteers flow freely to the poor, the needy, and all who seek Baba's Love and kindness. The Light of Compassion truly lives in the hearts of His Lovers. ----------0----------

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Meher Baba Center, New Delhi:

The Light of Lo'Oe

ÂŁoveStreet ÂŁamp1bS~

by Shar Wiseman Meher Ridge Billings, Montana

5


y wife and I recently realized a long-held dream of taking our whole family to Meherabad together. Following are a few notes I've jotted down about my pilgrimage. We arrived in Bombay in the middle of the night as always. Got picked up at the airport in the Swanee by the nice driver sent by Irene et al. in the Trust office. Drove to the Leela. In the coffee shop my family (sons Tim (7) and Kipper (15), daughter Annika (21), and wife Barbara) and I were seated next to a table of four bleary-eyed Americans. I overheard them talking about North Carolina, my home state, and butted in. Turned out that they were all Baba lovers heading to Ahmednagar, same as us. Outside the hotel as we saddled up to go, we bumped into two more pilgrims. One of them was an American from-of all places-Durham, North Carolina. It turned out that Barbara and I had been his Baba connection, and this was his first trip to India. I don't think I could have been more surprised. So 11 of us in four cars caravanned to Ahmednagar. The Pilgrim Center was as wonder-

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ful as ever. Although some of the residents described stress and strain from the unexpected influx of pilgrims (I think 130 or so were scheduled to stay through Baba's birthday), none of the strain showed through. The samadhi is just as wonderful as ever. Just the center of the earth. It was an unparalleled and unexpected blessing to see my whole family one by one laying their heads at Baba's feet. Delivered a letter to Bhau from Ziek and Tony about their wedding. Bhau looking (slightly) skinnier, but just as round and bouncy as ever. I wen t to evening arti. LOOOOOOOONG lines. Next day, Meherazad. A wonderful quiet day. Spent a delightful little bit of time with Bal. I'd been reading his book on the Samadhi and I told him that it was one of the best books on Baba I've ever read. He calls the picture of Baba lying in state at the tomb "Baba's Universal Face." This really resonates in me, in a challenging and incomprehensible way. As we talk, Bal says that the Baba lovers he meets are, for him, "Baba's Living Discourses." What a

sweet wonderful man. lIe is in exactly the same health I've always seen; that is, he still weighs in at about 14 pounds, and has that same bird-like and fluttery fragile-as- blown-glass tough-as -nails quality. Very lively and engaged. Wrapping his head with scarves and hats, wearing sweaters, and all this when it's about 150 degrees outside. Also saw Goher. She is fading like the cheshire cat. Her smile and supremely soft and gentle hands remain, but the rest of her is becoming nearly transparent, as insubstantial as tissue paper. If you want to see her, you'd better move fast. Meheru giving slingshot lessons to the boys. Arnavaz just beaming. Katy looking wonderful. Aloba looking ever more disheveled, like an ex-prize fighter hanging around the gym. Of course, another incomparable blessing, seeing these astonishing living saints greet my children. The new no-hug rule is not being strictly enforced; it seems a comfort designed to give the mandali permission to back off from the demanding pressure of us needy, greedy Baba lovers.


t People now rightly regard a hug from a mandali as a special act, and seem to me to be more gentle and attentive when one occurs. A big thrill for me is singing at the tomb. There were lots and lots of musicians there and we all have this desire to do our bit in front of the Old Man, to lay the offering of our sincere, mediocre music at lIis feet. lIe spins all our straw into gold. The music is wonderful. Lots of Indian music, much of which seems to go on forever, sung from handwritten books of lyrics, often page after page. The long-time pilgrims' and residents' eyes glaze over. Also some teenaged violinist from U.K. plays and plays and plays and plays. Very beautiful, but as she plays variation after variation, people get very agitated about whether they'll get their big chance tonight or not. I think of what it must have been like at Darshan programs, like in the movies: standing in line for hours and hours to have only five seconds at the God-Man's feet, how sometimes, just as someone is weeping and covering IIis feet with garlands, Baba is distracted by Adi or Eruch, not even (apparently) looking at the lover. Many mornings a Ute (Native American) chanted, accompanying himself on an Indian drum which he played like a tom-tom. Also a woman played a Tibetan brass "singing bowl," by striking it, amplifying the ring by circling the rim with a wooden dowel, then sitting down, just like that. Also someone has shlepped a harp to India-"travel size" she calls itbut it's still amazing... the clean, small, pure tones of the harp in the morning air, echoing softly inside the tomb. For the first time I notice how much fat is used in preparing the PC's delightful and tasty meals. This means, I believe, that I am now an Official MiddleAged Geezer. It doesn't stop me from sucking down six to eight eggs at a time, and mounds and mounds of french fries, however. I'm on pilgrimage, so the health consequences are entirely Baba's problem, not mine. Despite my best efforts I get yanked into singing in the chorus for this Birthday Play that's being put on. Every aspect of this play, as I hear about it, irri-

t tates me. I have very emphatic opinions about theatre in general and plays by Baba lovers in particular, and this play is pressing all my buttons. It's just too much. Nevertheless, kicking and screaming internally, I begin practicing the big choral number being recorded for the opening and closing of this production. The bass line (my line) is just about unsingable. I've had an easier time finding the notes in Ives and Shoenberg chorales. I get the distinct feeling that this big Birthday Play is just a giant boondoggle designed by Baba to irritate my theatre aesthetics. More trips to Meherazad. I get my chance to see Eruch. I've really wanted to see him. And of course, he sees my whole family, and makes jokes to me about them as he hugs them one by one. I can't imagine being happier. Impressions about Eruch's health are mixed. Barbara thinks he looks better than ever.. .1 think he looks like his health is failing, particularly his muscular control, but I see that he has developed a skillful ability to compensate for these weaknesses in a way that seems very natural and designed to put pilgrims at ease. lIe leans casually against the wall in Mandali Hall, resting his butt on a window sill, rather than go through the challenge of sitting and standing, for example. lIe no longer bows at Baba's chair. I begin to detect, or think that I detect, dozens of little tricks like that. Later I see him nearly fall just trying to climb a step unassisted, and it confirms my impression that he has carefully reduced his motions to a small set which he concentrates on executing precisely and consistently. My wife, and others, think I'm overdoing the whole thing. Eruch doesn't even pretend the nohug rule exists. lIe hugs everybody enthusiastically, clapping the men on the back, roughhousing with the kids. It is quite wonderful. Quite an honor. Eruch, I notice, likes to call people "brother," while Bal likes to call them "friend." Davonna has really stepped up as Eruch's assistant. She is quite wonderful. They've got a whole schtick going now-sort of George and Gracie in

*

Tim

Kipper

Annika

7


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t Mandali Hall. She tells Eruch's stories while Eruch nods, grunts, disagrees, teases her, adds little details. The story is told wonderfully and the burden of constant storytelling isn't so much on Eruch's shoulders. Even though Davonna is telling the story, her focus is so much on Eruch, it's as though, when it's done, Eruch had done the whole tale and Davonna had done nothing. She has taken on a lot of Eruch's hosting duties as well, asking where newcomers are from, how they heard

about Baba, etc. The elegance and craft of this effort is very touching and very loving. I feel so cared for. News that Anita Viellard has died has just reached Meherazad, so Eruch and Davonna recount the story of Anita telling Baba that she wants to kill herself. Baba says go ahead, do it now by placing your head at my feet. ..now go and live the rest of your life as new. Baba calls this the suicide of the brave. Eruch and Davonna then suddenly remember the story of the woman who calls the Trust office at the end of her pilgrimage. Although she's been at Mandali hall for many hours over the course of days, she begs one final story from Eruch on her 21st birthday. Eruch, pressed for time and not a little pissed by the inconvenience, recites this same story to her over the telephone. Later on Jack Small reports that this woman told him how she had made up her mind years

8

before that she would end her life on her 21st birthday unless she got some clear sign from God that her life was worth living. Eruch's story of Anita was her sign. Both Eruch and Davonna are amazed as they tell this story-they haven't thought of it in years. I feel compelled to speak up and say that I have been to India five times in 15 years, and every time I get to Mandali Hall, this is the first story I hear. I tell them I don't believe that they even have any other stories. At tea in the PC one afternoon, Charlie Gardner tells a story. Someone asked Baba why Mehera's love was so special, and Baba replied, when I ask Goher for a drink of water, she immediately drops whatever she's doing and goes to the water and fetches me a glass. But when I ask Mehera for a drink, she goes to the cupboard where she keeps the special glass that only I use. Even though she washes the glass every day to keep it sparkling clean, she polishes it with the special cloth she keeps next to the glass. Then she pours cool water in the glass, but not to the brim, because she also pours in a few drops of warm water because she knows that's how I like the temperature best. Charlie went on to say that one day Baba, after receiving some water from Mehera (who had been cooking), remarked that the water had a faint scent of garlic. It was an offhand remark, but from that day forward Mehera never touched a clove of garlic again. The next day in Meherazad, I talk a bit with Goher and Arnavaz, and on a whim I step into Mehera and Mani's room. That story came back to me as I look at Mehera's bed. I've never felt much affection for Mehera, she was just too hard for me to understand. Too femi-

nine maybe? Anyway, staring at her bed, I get a picture of her in my head. Glasses of water for Baba. It's as though her love for Baba, all-consuming all-pervasive, was somehow something I could feel! see/smell in that room. I'm bowled over. I sit down next to Mani's bed and I'm bowled over again. Mani and Mehera lived in that room, but there's so little sign of them. The only sign of them are all these mementos of Baba-pictures hung on the walls, taped to mirrors. Twenty-five years after IIis departure and their lives were still focused only on IIim. So little else of them remains. The power of their love and their dedication hits me like a ton of bricks. I weep uncontrollably for about 30 minutes. I feel like an idiot. Finally I pull myself together enough to decide I need to get out of there. I need to go someplace where there isn't so much Baba. For the next 10 or 15 minutes I walk around Meherazad looking for that place where there isn't so much Baba. Come to find out it's a pretty futile effort. Walking around, however, seems to help me get control of my tears. People inform me that Eruch has been looking for me in Mandali lIall. lIe wanted me to tell a story, but by the time I get back he's on to other topics, so I sit and listen. Good thing because I keep fading back into tears. It's that damned story about the glass of water; it won't go away. Eruch talks about his medical condition-he calls his myesthenia "My Sin" for short. And about how difficult it was for him to be with Baba. He found that to obey Baba he would shade the truth and sometimes lie outright if he felt that the situation demanded it to obey Him. "Where's Jay?" Eruch asked during this part of the story. He found me and looked squarely at me. "I began to lie...do you hear me, Jay? I began to lie... " He repeated this question to me a couple of times during the story of how badly he felt about lying to obey Baba. Baba told him that His work with IIis lovers was like making sugar. The stalks are boiled, and as they boil, scum comes to the surface of the pot and is scooped off, until many hours and scoops of scum later, all that remains is the sweet sugar


t syrup. Baba told Eruch that his lying was like the scum boiling to the surface of the pot. As we eat lunch on the veranda, I need some water, and pour myself a glass. That does it. ..I'm a complete wreck for the next hour or so. Barbara tells me that Mani called this "melting." On Sunday evening Barbara and I garland Baba, Mehera, and Mani's tomb at the same time that Ziek and Tony are getting married on the other side of the planet. One morning, sitting at the tomb in the early light, I was so touched and honored and surprised by the unexpected beauty of being there with that strange collection of odd and wonderful pilgrims, all of us facing the tomb as though were seeing the very hub of the world's wheel. My family. My home. Lots of pilgrims for Baba's birthday. Moved to Hostel C. Discovered its wonderful charms-dining al fresco, bathing al fresco, but hot water on tap. Very pleasant. The huge dorm with 15 beds was quieter than the room of four persons I left at the PC. Also discovered a whole class of pilgrims I found very intriguing-all these 20-year-oldAustralian women..cheerful, self-reliant, compact, playful, sweet. I wonder whether they're typical of all Australians this age, or whether this is a special breed apart that has found its way to Meherabad. Baba's birthday. The tomb was decorated for a party. Very wonderful flowers-rows of garlands draped from the awning over the portico, and signs, banners, etc. One sign had fanciful letters that nearly everyone read as "IOU"kind of a profound statement, I thought. Turned out to be "104" (years old), very oddly embroidered. Drummers from the town of Arangoan paraded up the hill. Sounded like a huge marching band. I chased up the hill to see the excitement, and found that it wasn't (as it seemed) hundreds of people, but two young men with bass drums and a very loud and energetic technique. It was amazing to see the mandali visiting the tomb. The men in particu-

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lar were so offhand about coming to the tomb. They just came to the hill one by one, took darshan, and hung around, chatting with people who happened by. Seeing that a long line was forming for darshan, I ducked into line myself. The guy in front of me turned and said hello-it was Bal Natu (!). As we got to the threshold, somebody started pushing a bunch of us inside, for some reason I never figured out. I stood next to Bal while the four or five of us in the tomb individually took darshan, and stood next to Bal as he prostrated himself. aturally I did the same-what a role model ... And the Birthday Play. I dragged myself to go to it feeling like the prisoner to his last meal. What a shock: I loved it! Every aspect of it was so heartfelt, so pure of intention, that all my expectations of irritation just vanished. The music was sweet and enjoyable, the actors charming, the play was light and unselfconscious. I had a wonderful time enjoying it. It so happened that I chanced to see each group of mandali get into their cars to return to Meherazad. It seemed very surprising to see these astonishing human beings get into such ratty old cars. Bhau's 1951 Oldsmobile or whatever it is used to look very prosperous (15 years ago, any kind of enclosed vehicle had a certain cachet in Ahmednagar). Now with all the Tata sportutes on the road, it looks like a major jalopy. Very cool, I must say. Also all the ladies squeezing into their DeSoto like clowns into a circus car. A 1958 DeSoto for pete's sake. Complete with drawstring curtains. How Baba treats his near and dear ones. The lines for darshan around Birthday Artis ... astonishing. Waits of way more than an hour-sometimes almost 2 hours. For our last visit to the tomb before leaving I've forgotten to order garlands from Nanakar, so I buzz down to Flower Street at the bazaar and start buying roses. I can't get enough... "Keep 'em coming," I tell the flower-wallahs as they hold up bunch after bunch of roses, convinced I've lost my mind. I finally get a huge basket of about 500 roses (400 rupees =U.S. $10!). At arti the next morn-

ÂŁoooStreet LamflVSt'

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ing I ask people to help put these roses on the tombs. Most take one or two buds from the basket. I get impatient and start shoveling roses from the basket into people's hands. It's rose time at the samadhi! Roses all over the place! It's a nice way to leave. People sing "Happy Trails" to us. I've cried in sympathy while singing it to others, but now I hear it with so much happiness, tears run down my cheeks. Finally, the return trip. I'm convinced that Bombay is just Satan's way

of beta-testing prototypes for new circles of hell. We arrived at the Leela and hung around waiting for flights like every other westerner in Maharashtra. My young son Tim got a vanilla milk shake at the coffee shop. As he drank it, he found pieces of garlic floating in it (hmmmmmm.... ). The showers at the health club are the best I've ever takenperfect plumbing. Nothing is more pleasant-or sad-than washing off the Ahmednagar dust. At the piano bar in the lobby, on a bet, I sang "Begin the BegUine" at the top of my lungs and the whole placed looked on. It was seven o'clock and I think of that as my Bombay goodbye arti. The whole lobby applauded, but I'd rather have heard

Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!

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Message from the Mandali To : Dagmar Lai Meherazad, 19 February 1998 Dear Dagmar,

Thank you for your phone message and fax of 18 Feb. about Baba's dear Anita's reunion with Him. Last evening at Arti the women mandali placed a special rose on Beloved Baba's bed in His room on behalf of His dear Chuchulu who loved her cher Baba from the moment of His embrace. We are happy that Baba granted her wish to be at home until her last. How blessed she is to have loved the Lord of Love all these years. Dear Anita will be specially remembered by the Baba family for her delight-

ful personality, bubbling humor, and her unique gift of amusing Baba. Both Anita and Roger will long be remembered for their gracious hospitality extended to all Baba-Lovers. We in Meherazad salute Baba's Chuchulu's love for Him with a united "Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!!!" With much love to you and Laura and dear Norman, who were such a help and support to Anita, from all Meherabad men and women mandali.

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Dagmar Remembers Anita by Dagmar Lai

by Julann Lodge

Paris, France translated by Don E. Stevens

San Diego, California

[This article originally appeared in "The Echo," which is published by the Paris Meher Baba group. Š1998 Don Stevens, used by permission.---ed.]

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Memories of Anita

he most important thing in Anita's . life was Meher Baba. Meeting Him during her youth certainly changed her life, and several months spent with IIim-in Italy and in France-became her most important memory. She had a lovely closeness to IIim and had the gift to make IIim laugh. IIer greatest happiness was to be able to speak again and again of her memories. When Anita loved someone, she was adorable, very warm, a real heart companion. When she did not like someone, she was entirely sincere and said what she thought. I had the good fortune to be loved by her, and I loved her, too. She was my first contact with the Baba family, and her warm greeting-without knOWing me in the beginning-completely enchanted me. Our friendship lasted for 22 years. In difficult or painful moments of my life, she sustained me with her love. She was, for instance, the first person outside of my family to visit my daughter Laura, located at that time in a specialized nursery. She had, moreover, a very special relationship with Laura. They had long conversations together: Laura spoke to her of her real worries, and Anita gave advice which Laura listened to.

The death of Roger was a deep wound for Anita, and it took her a long time to get over it. For a while, she did not mention Baba. Then, little by little she saw that Baba had not abandoned her, and her life took on another dimension. When she spoke again of Baba, it was with deepened love and understanding. She told of one day when Baba asked her, "Anita, if I asked you to go about completely nude, would you do it?" And she replied, "With your help, Baba." And I think this is what it was, the deep realization at the end of her life: that Baba had-already at that time in her lifeprepared her to be completely naked, that is to say, alone without Roger, and that Baba's help for her was there. I was not there when, on one more occasion, she was hospitalized in the fall of '97, but she told me afterwards that at that time she was certain she was dying, and that this experience had removed all fear of death. She wished only not to return to the hospital and not to die alone. This wish was granted, as she died in her bed without suffering, in the presence of her dear friend Anne. I think she was able to leave in peace to rejoin her beloved Roger and her beloved Meher Baba.

am very sad to hear about Anita's death. Anita played an important role in my coming to Baba. It's actually kind of a funny story... Before I knew Baba, I decided that lIe was either (1) an egomaniac, (2) crazy, or (3) who lIe said He was. I figured that I could probably tell a lot about Baba based on the kind of followers lIe attracted, so I decided to go to aBaba meeting. After the Baba meeting started, I quickly concluded that Baba was crazy. I stayed away for another year. A year later I was in Paris with my friend Mehera Makeig, who was my original Baba connection. She invited me to come with her to drop in on an elderly lady who had known Baba. As I had nothing else to do that day, and I couldn't see the harm in an old lady, I decided to join her. Well, let me tell you how impressed I was with her. She was the embodiment of culture, and she made a huge impression on me. She was refined, elegant, intellectual, and knew many of the famous artists and thinkers of her time. I was so impressed that I thought, "Well, if this woman believes that Meher Baba was God and she met Him herself, then He must be God." I'm going back to Paris in April, and I'll be sad that I won't be able to see her again.

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Anita Vieillard, Baba's Loving Clown by Tom Talley Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Compiledjrom talks given by Anita Vieillard at Meher Spiritual Center in 1982,1987, and 1988, and at the L.A. Silence Day Sahavas in 1982. n 1931, Anita de Caro was a young American art student. Her primary interests in life were art and painting, and her religious background was Catholic. She was acquainted with Norina Matchabelli through their mutual interest in art. One day Norina told her that someone very extraordinary was coming from India, a spiritual master named Shri Meher Baba. Although not a spiritual seeker, Anita was intrigued and asked if she might be able to meet Him. On November 11 she was brought to Harmon-on-Hudson to meet Baba. Her nervousness about meeting Him was quickly overcome as soon as the door opened and she saw Baba. She had an immediate feeling of familiarity with Him. Baba opened His arms to her and she flew into His embrace. She was so happy she felt as if she was burning, as if she was on fire. Baba said to her, "Do you know who I am?" And she replied, "Yes, Baba." He said, "Who am I?" She said, "You are the source of all goodness." 1 Then she sat at His feet, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, as if she had always sat there. Later during that first meeting Baba asked her, "What do you want to do?" And she replied, "Baba, I'd like to be an artist." So he said, "You're going to paint My portrait." She was taken aback by this request because she hadn't studied portrait painting and didn't feel qualified to paint Baba, but she did not dare say no. (Later she would comment that this was her first lesson in obedience.) Baba continued, "You come in a couple of days with your paint box and you'll paint Me."

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After that first meeting, as she walked out of the room, she felt such a joy that it was" ... as if the whole world had changed. I saw everything golden, everything was on fire. I myself wanted to write poetry, I wanted to say poetry." 1 In a couple of days Anita returned to Harmon to paint Baba's portrait. "I arrived with my paint box and the mandali were seated in a corner, and I arrived and Baba posed. Now it was something very extraordinary to see Baba. He looked at me and I looked at Him. I have no recollection of time. I couldn't tell you how much time it took. All I know, that I was painting and looking at Him, and what was so fascinating was that, you know, the skin changed, the color changed, the eyes would go back, and then the eyes would come forward. I found it most difficult, but at least I tried. And after a while, Baba said, 'Be stopped.' I didn't even think of showing it to Baba. I took the portrait, put it in my paint box. I said to lIim, 'But no one can paint you.' And lIe said to me, 'Why?' And I said, 'Because you are everchanging.' And He said, 'Yes, I am everchanging.' And lIe looked and He pointed to the nature, and lIe said, 'I too am an artist.' "1 Baba asked Anita to come back to lIarmon any time she had a spare moment. So she would come often, and spent a great deal of time in Baba's presence. "I didn't realize I was so fortunate. I didn't take that as something extraordinary. To me, it was very natural. It was natural the joy that I experienced with Him... lIe would take my head [and press on it, much to Anita's delight], and I wouldn't be serious, and Norina some-

times would be shocked. She said, 'You know, darling, you have very bad manners. Now you have to control yourself.' But Baba didn't mind at all. lIe told Norina just to keep still and I should be the way I was." 1 It was at this time that Anita began her role as Baba's clown. "It was most delightful, because Baba would always wink at me, and lIe inspired me with such joy that if I saw lIim a little bit sad I would immediately think of somethigg to sort of, you know, make Him happy."l For example, Baba coughed one day and Anita qUipped, "Baba, that's what you get for talking too much." On another occasion, Baba asked to be driven around Sing-Sing Prison while lIe did some inner work of contacting one of the inhabitants there. Mterwards, Baba said to her, "Anita, make me laugh." And she found that whenever Baba made such a request, she would feel inspired to naturally and instantaneously respond with some bit of nonsense, invent some incredible story, that would amuse Baba. 1 Another time, Anita wasn't feeling very well and Baba came to give her something to drink, and Baba put lIis finger in the drink and stirred it before giving it to her. "I'm glad it's God's finger," she said, much to Baba's amusement. 1 Anita used to spend a lot of time with Norina, going to art exhibitions, etc. But later, when Norina became friends with Elizabeth Patterson, through their connection with Baba, these two would spend a lot of time going places and doing things connected with Baba's work, and Anita would be left behind and

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asked to take care of Norina's cat. So one day Anita told Baba, "You know Baba, I'm jealous of Elizabeth," and Baba said, "Go right now and kiss Elizabeth."l Anita went outside to where Elizabeth was si tting and kissed her on each cheek, and as she did so, she felt that Baba was inwardly communicating to her, "This is my work, and Elizabeth is your sister, and Norina is your sister, and she has work to do."2 After that Anita's feelings of jealousy towards Elizabeth disappeared. Once when Anita and Norina were together and getting ready to go and stay with Baba, Anita was present during a rather stormy telephone conversation between Norina and her husband, Prince Georges Matchabelli. Georges was opposed to Norina's involvement with Baba, but Norina was adamant about going to be with Him anyway. At the end of the conversation, Norina appeared devastated. She told Anita that her husband had said, "He's seduced you, and now lIe's going to seduce Anita also!" After that, Norinajust spent days lying in bed listening to sad classical music up until the time they were to go and meet Baba. When they met Baba, Norina told Him the whole story. Baba replied, "The physical seduction is noth-

Anita Vieillard by Bhau Kalchuri Kushru Quarters, India

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ing. But the spiritual seduction? Ahhhhhhh ... [indicating bliss]" Everyone laughed and it brought Norina out of her depression. 3 In the Summer of 1933 Anita was among those called to come and stay with Baba at a beautiful seaside villa in Portofino, Italy. For Anita, being in that beautiful setting with Baba was like heaven. She describes the Baba of those days as young, walking with a tremendous stride, radiant, and full of energy and vitality. When they first arrived Norina told her, "Look darling, now this place is very expensive. So see that everybody doesn't make too much of a mess." Then Anita noticed some beautiful flowers and thought wouldn't it be nice to cut some and put them on the table for Baba. But as she reached up to get a vase from high up on a cupboard the whole cupboard fell, spilling all the dishes on the floor. Everyone came running to see what had happened. Anita didn't dare look at Norina. She looked at Baba, expecting to be chastised, but Baba caressed her face and sent her to go and rest. l Another of Norina's concerns had to do with the name of one of Baba's mandali members, Kaka Baria, usually

referred to as just "Kaka." Norina was very uncomfortable with using this name while they were in southern Europe, because in Spanish it is the word for excrement. She conferred with Anita about what to do, "Anitina [Norina would often address her with the Italian version of her name], don't you think we should tell Baba that that is a word that we can't use?" But Anita thought it might be upsetting for Kaka if he knew about it. So they decided just to start calling him "Uncle Kaka." 1 On one especially gorgeous day in Portofino, Anita was sitting outside looking at the landscape. It was very beautiful and she was feeling happy. Then Baba came and sat beside her, which made her even happier. Baba said, "You know, Anita, I am both God and man." She was shocked. She replied, "Baba, I don't understand You as a man. How can I understand You as God?" Then, in a humorous vein, she said, "Baba, You don't have to say these things to me. You know I love You anyway. What does it matter? You know, we all make mistakes in life. You know, these things are of no importance." Baba called the mandali over and told them, "You know what Anita said? She doesn't care at all whether I'm God or man. And she even

A group of six people came to meet lllaba at Croton Harmon on November 11th 1931. Among them was Norina Matchabelli, who brought a young lady named Anita de Caro. * Anita was a talented art student in whom Norina had taken an interest and was helping financially. On one occasion, Anita recalled her first encounter with Meher Baba.

go through all this masquerading and fear when it's you! It's incredible!" And I laughed and laughed. Baba opened up his arms and welcomed me. I was absolutely enraptured and felt a tremendous sense of joy. My whole being felt as if I was in a furnace. Words cannot describe the encounter. It was like meeting someone I always knew, as though I had come to my real home. I experienced a great beauty and great joy.

I had been brought up Catholic. Knowing I was about to see him-all of a sudden I was frightened. I thought: "If this is such a great religious man, how am I to behave? I can't shake hands with him. The only thing to do is kneel. I'll make the sign of the cross and say 'Bless me, Father,' and kiss his hand." My heart was pounding with fear. The door opened. Baba was seated Persian fashion. I looked at him and went into peals of laughter. I laughed and threw myself on him. "My heavens! it's you," I cried. "You made me

*Anita later married and assumed her French husband's name-Vieillard

Lord Meher Vol. 4 Pg.1474-1476 Š Lawrence Reiter


t says, you know, I could have made a mistake, and she loves me anyway." 2 The group used to take lovely walks with Baba when they were in Portofino. On one of these walks, Baba decided to take a narrow path along the seaside cliffs. Anita and three others went with Him. They reached a point where the path had given way. Baba and an Indian boy were able to jump past it, but when IIerbert Davy and Vivienne tried, they got stuck and were left clinging to a shrub and a tree, with a probably fatal drop to the sea beneath them. Anita, seeing IIerbert and Vivienne's predicament, just stayed where she was and sat on a small rock, looking out at the sea. She thought to herself, "Well, if Baba is who lIe is, nothing will happen. And if it does, I won't die a coward." She kept reciting, "A Anita coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero only one," over and over in her mind.) Then suddenly Pendu arrived with a rope to pull each one up. And when Anita was pulled up and she saw Baba, it was an amazing sight. He was clapping his hands and facing the sun, and His clothes appeared brilliantly white, and somehow lIe was transfigured into a vision of perfect beauty. "... the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. 0 picture, nothing can ever give me the beauty that I saw." 2 Later, in October 1933, Baba said Anita was to go to an art school in Zurich while the rest of the group continued on to Spain. Anita protested, "Baba, Switzerland is such a small place, and so far away." Baba said, "You're going to Switzerland. It will be lovely for you." When the time came for her to leave she was heartbroken and cried her heart out, but there was no changing it. Baba

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In Paris she had met her future husband, Roger Vieillard. Roger studied line engraving at the same art school that Anita attended, and he also worked and was a tennis champion. She had told Roger about Baba, so Roger accompanied Anita to Cannes to meet IIim. Roger was very impressed with Baba. In later years he translated Baba's Discourses in to French. In Cannes, those with Baba stayed in two separate houses. Ani ta stayed in the house where the women were, which was at a higher elevation than the other house. Baba would often appear tired when lIe came to visit them, and they would put together little entertaiilments for IIim. Anita said it was like waiting for your father to come home de Caro, Eliz:abeth Patterson & Norina MatchabeUi from work. And at Croton~HarmoTl, New York, 1931~32 when lIe did, IIe'd be tired, so you'd want give IIim comfort and lighten IIis burden. You'd want to be very joyful and zerland. happy, to lift His spirits. When visiting Baba visited Zurich in July 1934. the ladies, Baba would say, "IIere is When Baba went to do inner work in heaven. Below is hell." ) seclusion on Fallenfluh mountain, lIe Mohammed the mast had been asked Anita to stay behind and rest in bed and fast until He returned. When brought to Cannes. One day Baba asked He returned, she was astonished at IIis Anita, "Have you seen Mohammed?" She hadn't, so Baba said "You come toappearance. "It was simply glorious. morrow and see him." So she came very When Baba arrived I looked at IIim and timidly down to the little hut they had I said, 'Baba, what authority You have.' built for Mohammed in the midst of this He had such authority; lIe was so radiant. And Baba said to me, 'Yes, but real upper-class French neighborhood. She authority means having great responsiopened the door of the hut to find bilities.' ") Mohammed standing there completely Later, Baba instructed Anita to go to nude and Baba was scrubbing him, while His men were bringing hot, steaming Paris and continue her art studies there, and wait until Baba called her to come buckets of water. She was shocked and shut the door and ran away. But it gave to India. But when the call finally came, it was to meet Him in Cannes in August her some idea of the work Baba was doing in the house below and how diffi1937. escorted her into a taxi and lIe put IIis head in and indicated to her not to cry. The taxi man looked at Anita and said, "Mademoiselle, don't cry, you'll see your father again." 1 At first she didn't like it at the school in Zurich, but after a while she made friends and came to enjoy life in Swit-

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cult it all was. 1 Several of the Cannes group, including Anita, took a trip to Paris. It was Anita's job to warn Mehera if a man was in the vicinity, because at that time Mehera was not allowed to look at any man except Baba. Anita found this very difficult and confusing, keeping a constant lookout for any men in the vicinity and saying "eyes up" or "eyes down" accordingly. She said to Baba, "Baba, didn't you create man also? Now You've made me see them as monsters." 1 At one point during that same visit to Paris in 1937, Baba was looking out a

She 'Was so happy shefelt as if she 'Was burning, as if she 'Was on fire. window with a sad expression, and said, "Ahh, if you were to see what I see... " (In later years Anita was to say she felt lIe was envisioning the devastation of t.he world war soon to come.) Then lIe turned to Anita with great authority, and said, "Anita, if you saw a dog all covered with sores, you'd kill him, wouldn't you?" Anita was taken aback. She could only mutter that she didn't know, didn't know if she would do that. In later years she would say that if Baba asked her that now, she would say, "Yes," because her understanding had grown deeper than it was then. 1 Anita and Roger were married about a year and a half later. Baba had said, "When you love, don't fall in love, rise in love." Anita described their relationship that way, that they didn't fall in love, they rose in love, and their love had become even deeper as the years went on. 1 The war years were very difficult for Anita, living in France. Even so, she felt Baba helping her get through it. When she was in Paris with Baba in 1937, lIe had fed her with IIis hands. Later, during the war, she had the feeling that Baba was "feeding" her, sustaining her, through those difficult times. When Baba visited the West in 1952, it was planned that lIe would spend time in Paris, so Anita stayed in Paris to prepare a house for IIim. But after Baba's

car accident in Oklahoma, the trip to Paris was canceled. She was able to spend time with Baba during IIis visit to Myrtle Beach in 1958. She can be seen in movies of that time holding an umbrella over Baba on some occasions. Even so, there were quite a lot of people there compared to the early days, so she didn't get the intimate, personal time with Baba as she had in the '30s. She felt Baba's work was becoming more and more impersonal. "The Baba of here [Myrtle Beach] was already different from the Baba of before." 1 IIer most profound memory of that visit in 1958 was a time when Baba seemed to withdraw inwardly to do IIis universal work. "I never experienced such a silence, as if the whole universe, for me, stopped ... It has remained as one of the great moments that I have had with Baba. Not a leaf [moved], there was no air [movement], no one walked, no one talked, and Baba with IIis hands, and as if lIe was looking very far ... but

"When you lO'Ve, don'tfall in lO'Ve, rise in lO'Ve. " -Avatar Meher Baba completely silent. It was wonderful." 1 Anita came to India to see Baba at the East-West Gathering in November 1962. Baba was on a pedestal in front of a large number of IIis lovers. Since there was practically no opportunity to be intimate and jovial with Baba, Anita was miserable. IIowever, Baba did joke with her a little. At one point He asked, "Where is Anita? When she's there I can't be serious." Then when Anita was pointed out to Him, lIe looked at her and said, "You know, this is very serious. Now don't you make Me laugh." 1 Even so, in general it was a very sad time for Anita. "So in that terrible sorrow that I went through, I was very unhappy, you know. I saw Baba was sick. We all knew this, the older ones like Kitty, Margaret and all of us. And we all experienced the same thing, but none of us told it to each other, as if we couldn't tell it, and yet I felt as if I would never see Baba again in the flesh. But I

couldn't tell it, I thought maybe it's just me. But when I read Kitty's book, I realized that we all went through the same feeling of sorrow." 1 So with the personal Baba less and less available, Anita felt she had to reach out more towards the impersonal Baba. Concepts Baba had communicated, such as the "Inner Journey," the soul's progress towards knowing its real Self, began to become fascinating to her. And

It's a great adventure, isn't it? she would focus on some of Baba's words, and seek a deeper understanding of their meaning. For example, "I have come not to teach, but to awaken," and "Things that are real are given and received in silence." 1 "And that's where I had to learn the impersonal side of Baba, and in learning that, there are moments which are so wonderful. When Baba says, 'I'm in all of you. I know that I'm in you. You don't know that you're in Me.' And you sometimes have a glimpse, when you're with someone you love and you're talking to, you have a glimpse, and you say, 'Ahh, it's like that thing that Baba wants to make us realize.' It's such a beautiful moment that you experience." 1 Through this process she gained a deeper understanding of who Baba is, and she began to feel more "the sacredness" of Baba. In later years, she summarized her journey with Baba as a progression, "from the personal, to the impersonal, to the sacred." 4 At the conclusion of one talk, referring to life with Baba, both for herself and the audience, she said, "It's a great adventure, isn't it?" Then she chuckled and added, with her characteristic wit, "True or not true, it's a great adventure." 4 1. Meher Spiritual Center,

September 25, 1987 2. L.A. Sahavas, 1982 3. Meher Spiritual Center, 1982 4. Meher Spiritual Center, 1988

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t Lyn Ott: A Life Remembered by Tom Riley North Carolina first met Lyn Ott in Woodstock, NewYork in the summer of 1954 which, as it so happened, was the same summer I discovered Meher Baba. Lyn had recently moved to Woodstock with his wife and lived in a 19th century Lutheran church wonderfully situated on a wooded knoll outside of town. A mutual friend introduced us because Lyn wanted to establish an art gallery in a building he owned down the hill from his house. lIe wanted me, a fellow member of the Woodstock Artist's Association, to submit a painting for his first group show, and so we met. At that time, artistically, Lyn felt an affinity for the non-objective school of art out of New York. My roots were in American impressionism which evolved into allegory and this essential difference in our painterly directions very naturally estranged us for the time being. I first met Phyllis Ott while a freshman at the Tyler School of Fine Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. That was in 1949. She had come to Tyler as a special student in painting after graduating from Radcliffe. It wasn't until the following summer, however, that we became acquainted. The remembrance of my relationship with Lyn is very poignantly linked with his wife Phyllis and to my former wife Yvonne. It is important at this point to realize that from the very beginning Meher Baba referred to Phyllis and Lyn as "Phylyn," joined in one essence. It is within the context of this understanding that I am writing these remembrances. In 1963 Yvonne and I were living in Woodstock with our two children. Yvonne was a practicing physio-therapist. At this time Phyllis and Lyn were also living in Woodstock with their two

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children. Because of my relationship with Meher Baba, the artistic community was well aware of IIim, essentially through the exhibition of my paintings in recurring shows at the Association gallery. My work was allegorical, in very sharp contrast to the domination of the abstract and non-objective influences in the art world. No one inquired after Meher Baba, no one sought IIis presence.

... the four of us were filled with the brightness of Baba's Lave and lifted up together in gladness and oneness. I had heard that Lyn's health was not at all good. The local physician recommended physio-therapy. lIe referred Lyn to Yvonne who had her office in the local medical clinic. During the initial treatment, Yvonne discovered that Lyn and Phyllis had been reading The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo, and so, naturally, the discussion turned to Meher Baba. Within a day or two we were invited to the Ott's house for dinner. I also was a fan of Aurobindo and that evening initiated the most extraordinary discovery. It established a friendship and a communion which was like nothing either they or we had experienced before. We were ecstatic. IIere were people like ourselves who loved Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, the Russian writers, James Joyce, Dylan Thomas, Chinese painting, Indian philosophy and so much more! And besides this they were truly hungry to know more and more about Meher Baba! We were so grateful to have discovered these kindred spirits. I loved their intellectual clarity, and

their perceptions entered into wonderfully wide fields of awareness. What can I say but that the four of us were filled with the brightness of Baba's Love and lifted up together in gladness and oneness. We were intimate companions for months and months after our first coming together. These early weeks brought a desperate illness to Lyn which had been brought about by the use of toluene as a medium for his painting in his studio. It was discovered that he was bleeding internally. The situation became critical and he was rushed to the hospital. We were told of the gravity of his condition and that there was no certainty of recovery. We sent a telegram to Meher Baba, who quickly responded that Lyn would be well again. Throughout this time Meher Baba was in strict seclusion, wishing no one to contact IIim in any way. Phyllis and Lyn longed for nothing more than to see IIim. I was desperate that they should have that opportunity and I communicated inwardly with Baba that this chance might come for them. I advised them to tell absolutely no one but to secure a flight and leave for India as soon as possible. Yvonne supported me in this. They came face to face with the immensity of the challenge of being with Meher Baba. The conflict in thiS, however, was that an order prevailed and Lyn found it impossible to supersede Baba's wish. Phyllis, on the other hand, had a tremendous faith as well as a deep intuition, and determined to go. IIer choice was heroic. I remember saying to her, "When you arrive before Baba, He will say to you, 'I am happy to see you.'" I continued, saying, "lIe will also inquire as to why Lyn isn't with you." Baba did say these very things to her and then added, "Come back and bring

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t Lyn with you." nently closed to any further residency. They did return together, and I rec- Baba asked Yvonne and me to be reommend that anyone who has not heard signed to His will as what had happened this unique experience should inquire was in our best interest. We accepted from Phyllis. It is an uplifting privilege His decision without question. to hear of this event. Phyllis and Lyn were conscious and Sometime later, perhaps it was the educated people, placed on the Meher latter part of 1964, Yvonne and I became Center by Meher Baba for His specific enthralled with the idea of living on the purposes and for the benefit of all those Meher Center near Myrtle Beach. We people-especially the young-who drove there and communicated what we were now drawn there. The Ott's new had in mind with Elizabeth Patterson. house was barely completed when these Her response seemed poised. She heard seekers began to arrive. What they us out very thorfound was a haven oughly and asked of receptivity, an isWhat Lyn and Phyllis gacoe us to please arland of repair. What in the 'Way of understandticulate our conLyn and Phyllis cept in writing to gave in the way of ing, insightfulness and Meher Baba. We unders tanding, selflessness at that time...is returned home insightfulness and beyond measure. and wrote Him. selflessness at that time and thereafter His answer came at once by cable: He very much liked is beyond measure. The hundreds who the idea and approved of our moving came to the Center knew without doubt onto the Meher Center and of design- that the Otts gave unequivocal friending and building our home there. He ship as Baba's Love and work moved added, "If Elizabeth thinks it is practi- through them. And through their work cable to do so." as artists they inspired so many who . Upon Baba's approval of our plan, entered their home. Those wonderful Phyllis and Lyn also wished to commit conversations, the laughter and-what themselves to setting forth in this new unique and incomparable meals! For direction. They then wrote to Baba and that alone there is a special place in were also given permission. heaven for Phyllis. Both our families placed our homes At their best as artists, both Phyllis on the market. The Ott's property sold and Lyn are second to none. Lyn's paintrelatively quickly and they left right ings of Meher Baba transcend portraiaway for Myrtle Beach, but ours was ture and reflect valuable artistic and inaccessible and hidden away on the spiritual insights. Phyllis' work on the mountainside, so it did not sell for quite murals at the Pilgrim Center in India some time. By the time it did finally sell are a manifestation of her artistic caand we had the wherewithal to actuate pacity and her inner beauty. the transition, a significant factor had Lyn once told me that as he knelt arisen which altered our ability to real- before Baba in India he could not recize our dream. oncile the fact that Baba was God and It seems that as the awareness of our at the same time man. Baba told him project became generally known, a good to place both his hands on Baba's face many people, especially those long con- and then said to him, "I am infinitely nected to Meher Baba, suddenly desired more human than you." As I recall this, to have their homes on the Center as I think of Jesus as He wept upon hearwell. ing of the death of His friend Lazarus. Now Elizabeth phoned us, suggest- And as I remember Lyn Ott and am ing that we come to see her for a con- grieved over his leaving us, Shelley's ference. When we arrived, she was hold- poem on the death of Byron comes into ing a telegram which had recently come my mind, "I weep for Adonias, he is from Meher Baba saying that the gates dead." of the Center had now been perma-

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Lyn Ott by Max Reif

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aba, now dear Lyn has come to You. No doubt You are happy and he is free of his sick, blind body and so happy in Your ocean! What a wonderful, generous soul! What a great life in Your Love! To be so inspired as a painter; to meet You in the Body, and then make the radical decision to enshrine Your form in every subsequent work of art; to lose the external vision that as a painter he was so in love with, and to live the rest of his days in "inner vision;" to learn to turn his prodigious vision and talent and passion to the written word, giving us In Quest of the Face of God (a magnificent book about art, God, and civilization), and his long autobiographical opus, Journey Out of Darkness, (still,hopefullY,to be published); to take responsibility as an active participant in literally thousands of friendships in Your love, sharing his house, time, family, sense of humor, love for You, and brilliant, wide-ranging mind with so many, in such utter discipleship to Your Presence-in, with, and all around him; and to support, as a friendly ear and heart, so many artists of all kinds that one person has referred to Lyn as (with a lower case a) an "avatar in the arts;" and certainly not least, to receive phone calls at all hours of the day and night from the brilliant, powerful, and respected, as well as those who may have had no other real, flesh-and-blood friend in the whole world: All these are attributes of a lion of a man who was at the same time a lamb of a lover to You, Baba. This world is a very different place without Lyn Ott. But at the same time, he continues, and will continue to reside in the thousands of hearts his great love and life have touched, the hundreds of paintings that will refresh the eyes and spirits of many generations to come, his eloquent "word paintings" already in the world and yet to make it into print; and not the least, the creative and life-affirmative acts that will proceed unto eternity in hearts and minds he has helped nurture in their journeys to God.

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Services & Programs for Lyn Ott by David Silverman Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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he visitation for Lyn Ott at the McMillan-Small Funeral Home reminded us of yet another of the many gatherings of Baba lovers-at Lyn and Phyllis's, at Florence Childs', at John Dennison's, and at Lyn's own place, where we would all sit around and share our hearts and minds with each other, in Baba's presence, where Lyn would be there helping and guiding, offering his always-thoughtful perceptions and providing a loving environment for talking about Baba. Here, we all sat in a circle near to the casket, which was covered with a beautiful green and white cloth that had previously lain over Baba's resting place in the Tomb before the marble was installed. We talked about Lyn, about our love for him and each other, and his love for us. Leslie Walsh played the guitar and sang many beautiful, touching songs, including one she wrote especially for her father. It was hard to keep a dry eye, but we had each other, and Lyn's loving spirit was there. And of course there was Baba, Love itself, the Sustainer of all, the One Who gives and Who takes away, all at the proper time. In the cremation room, we put roses on the container holding Lyn's body, recited the Parvardigar and Beloved God prayers as well as the Jewish prayer for the dead, and as

Lynn Ott the coat that was Lyn's body was given to the flames, we all sang Meher Baba Vidnyanand. Later in the afternoon there was a remembrance gathering at Dilruba, arranged by Lyn's children Leslie and Chris. There was a lot of good food, and the comfort of many hearts holding hands, as it were. So many attended that there was hardly room to stand. All came to hear and tell about their life with this wonderful man and wonderful soul, who was so close to so many. Chris

did a fine job of coordinating the sharing, and, in a gentle manner reminiscent of Lyn himself, told about what a loving and attentive father Lyn had been, and how he had been almost a second father to so many others. It is beyond my power to summarize everything tha t was said and felt and expressed about Lyn- his marvelous intellect and his wonderful sense of humor, and. particularly his love and encouragement of and attention to and availability for his family and for so many, many people around Myrtle Beach and the country and the world. He truly lived his love for Meher Baba, in service to others, not only in his beautiful paintings of Baba, many of which were co-painted with his wife Phyllis, but also in his just being there for all of us. Lyn was blind, but his heart had an eye that was bigger and clearer than that of most who have physical sight. You could see that eye in his paintings of Baba, in his kind and generous and gentle and loving facial expressions, in the way he moved, in the sound of his laughter, and in his genial conversation. It was an eye that was always looking at Meher Baba, Lyn's Beloved.

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In Appreciation of Lyn Ott by Greg Butler

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Then I heard the news that Lyn had died, I was deeply saddened, knowing that I will miss his humor, his laughter, his personality, his intellect and his friendship. I then picked up his wonderful book, In Quest ofthe Face of God and opened to this passage, on page 20: "I have always had the freedom to explore the vast domain of painting purely for the sake of Existence, which is God. And now that I can no longer paint another painting, still the painter e.xists; but that painter is no longer 'me.' The painter exists in his paintings-nowhere else." . So we still have his paintings, and his words. And as I was reading through his book last night, I could still hear his voice, with his enthusiasm, speaking them. I remember conversations with him from 15 years ago, when he would call me on my toll free number at the Los Angeles Times to discuss Meher Baba's manifestation before Bhau's book was published. Lyn not only loved Baba, he was excited and enthusiastic about Baba. lIe always managed to see things from Baba's perspective.

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woke this morning about five and went out to see Jupiter, Venus and the moon, together in the dawn sky. At six I was still gazing at them, hanging out with Baba. It was a good time for our friend Lyn to travel on. I have a lot of memories of Lyn over the years, working with him on his book, amazed at his command of language which he gained through listening to

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"Jesus Christ, in His unlimited mercy and beneficence, healed the blind. Meher Baba, in His unbounded wisdom and compassion, perfonned an even greater miracle, the miracle of inner 'Vision, which is the BelO'Ved in ones heart. " I remember being dejected about one of our political figures being elected. But Lyn was happy. lIe would exclaim with laughter, "lIe's Baba's man. lIe will help in getting us down on our knees, helpless and hopeless." I also remember portraying Lyn in a film that his son Chris-a film student at the University of Southern California-was making. I had to be the painter, going blind, losing my place in the painting because of my ever-narrowing field of vision. I was able to get in touch with the despair he went through in the final year of losing his sight. Chris shared with me that he would come home from school and see his father crying, not able to find his place in the painting he was working on. But Lyn, as everyone knows, climbed out of that despair and cultivated his inner vision. IIere are his words:

Lyn Ott by Ken Nuenzig hundreds of books on tape. And helping briefly on one of the very large (we used ladders) landscape paintings he did after losing his sight completely back in maybe '79. I remember for me it felt like being in a Renaissance art studio. His

"What is illusion? Illusion is that which is not real and hence false. And what is vision? Vision is the Beloved in one's heart. When I came into the presence of the Beloved in physical form, and He had me sit at His feet, He gestured to His mandali, His disciples, lLyn is very fortunate, for he does not see so much of the illusion.' Without this reinforcement I would not have had the courage to attempt what was virtually impossible. "Jesus Christ, in His unlimited mercy and beneficence, healed the blind. Meher Baba, in His unbounded wisdom and compassion, performed an even greater miracle, the miracle of inner vision, which is the Beloved in one's heart."

I remember, on one of my visits to the Center many years ago, taking Lyn by the arm and guiding him-since I was the one who could see-on a walk to the ocean. But that was just the Atlantic Ocean. Lyn, through the years, has helped me, and I'm sure many others, with his Inner Vision, walk the paths of the Center in our hearts to that Infinite Ocean we know as Meher Baba. I will miss him.

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ability to create a visual work via memory and verbal feedback only was extraordinary. I enjoyed hanging out in the Original Kitchen while Lyn shared his always-original ideas of Baba. Yes, He will be missed. Shared thoughts of love to all those close to him: to Leslie, Chris, Phylis, and the grandchildren. ------0-------1


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Letter from the Chapman's by Sheryl and Rick Chapman California anet "Mehery" Luck, Beloved Baba's songbird, His dear Janet Luck, inspired everyone who had the God-fortune to hear her sing to her Beloved God. For Meher Baba had gifted her with a voice which sprang from her soul and soared to His Divine Ear in the highest heavens. Janet sang as no one else, with her heart in her throat and His light in her eyes, and it was all as natural as a smile, as natural as Baba's gifts usually are. Janet was also gifted with suffering, and in her living with the suffering she experienced, she also inspired. All of us who were blessed to know her will remember the strength of her heart and the strength of her love for her family and her friends throughout her pain: this is spirituality, and Beloved Baba is surely proud of His dear lover who lived so close to Him. Our very dear "Mehery," we will remember you as much as we will miss you! Fly straight, fly fast, fly directly to the Great Loving Embrace of your Divine Beloved, Meher Baba, and into the company of His dearest Mehera and Mani, who loved you so dearly. Now you are His songbird alone, so continue to entertain Him well, and we will console ourselves in your absence with the songs you have left us and the smile you will always be in our hearts. Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!!!

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Janet Mehery Mira Luck May 20, 1953 - April 5, 1998 My darling wife Janet joined her Beloved Lord, Meher Baba to sing and dance in the company of His angels. -Irwin Luck

A Final Farewell by Bhau Kalchuri Kushru Quarters, India

Bhau Kalchuri shared this giftfrom Baba with those attending the Meherana Sahavas this year:

received e-mail from Arvind saying that Janet was hospitalized. And when I read that e-mail, I went to Baba's Samadhi, and I was praying there for her, saying, '0 Beloved Baba, relieve her from this suffering.' Immediately my Mira Auntie Janet appeared before my eyes in pink sari, smiling and very beautiful. And I felt very happy.

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Then I came back from the tomb. At night, I received the phone call from Laurie Blum informing me that my Mira Auntie had passed away. I asked the time, and she gave me the time. It was exactly the time when I was praying and she appeared before my eyes, smiling.

Thursday, April 09,1998

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anet Anne Leach, Baba's Songbird, passed away at 11:45 AM on Palm Sunday, April 5th, at the Grand Strand hospital in Myrtle Beach after a long and courageous struggle with cancer. She died with Baba's name on her lips and lIis sign of perfection made by the fingers of her left hand. She was born in Florida on May 20, 1953 to Cynthia and Ralph Leach, and had one brother James and a sister Elizabeth. When she was quite young, perhaps three or four, and riding in a car with her parents, she saw Baba as lIis car was passing by. lIe was smiling and making the circle of perfection with his thumb and index finger. She tried to tell her parents about this wonderful man who she thought must be the President, or some such important person, but then lIe was gone. She felt quite d~pressed, thinking she would never see this incredible man again. Only much later did she realize that it was Meher B-aba. Although she was never quite sure where this incident happened, she believed it was either in Myrtle Beach or in Washington because she was in both of those places as a young child. While growing up, her family lived all over the world since her father was in the military, so she had the opportunity and was encouraged to learn the music of different cultures. Later on as a student at Northwestern University studying ethno-musicology, she heard of Meher Baba and soon became part of the Chicago Baba group. She first went to India in the late '70s. On Feb. 14, 1980, Janet married Irwin Luck in Miami. They lived for awhile in Somerset, New Jersey and then in 1981 moved to Myrtle Beach. In 1982 Janet gave birth to her son Merwan. Janet had a beautiful soprano voice and was a natural-born actress even when young. While in India in 1987, Mehera asked Janet to play the part of St. Mira in a play for her birthday even though Janet was not an Indian singer. It was difficult for her to learn the Hindi pronunciations and dances necessary

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Janet "Mehery" Luck By Jean Brunet Manalapan, New Jersey

She died 'With Baba's name on her lips and His si/!n of perfection made by the fint,ers of her left hand. for this role. But Janet agreed because Mehera had wanted a Western woman to play the part of St. Mira for quite some time and had even discussed this with Mani back in the '70s. She was personally tutored by Mehera in learning both the bhajans and Hindu dances and Mehera even designed her costume. Janet said she was forever grateful to Baba for the opportunity and experience of being chosen to play St. Mira and to consequently become so close to His beloved Mehera. Much later, when she was quite ill, she recorded these bhajans. An album has been made of her singing and is available for all to hear her exquisite voice. Mter passing away, her body was bathed and dressed in the St. Mira costume she had worn for the play irr India. Prior to her cremation, Janet lay for four days looking beautiful and very

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much at peace with a sweet smile on her lips. IIer body was covered with peach roses placed most lovingly by Irwin and others. The Master's Prayer, Prayer of Repentance and the Beloved God prayer were said by about 60 people, and this was followed by everyone singing Bob IIoldt's song "The Ocean of Love." On Good Friday, a memorial service was held at Mt. Calvary Church in Brooksville, NC just outside Myrtle Beach. This church was chosen because of her beloved friend Bernie White who was her caretaker and companion during the last four years of her illness. Janet had sung in this church on Easter Sunday a couple of years ago at Bernie's request. At least 200 people attended for a most moving and lOVing celebration of Janet's life and work. Songs were played of Janet's singing followed by Julie Kohl Skiff playing "Begin the BegUine" on the violin. IIer friend Maraiya sang a song she wrote for Janet and then her long- . time friend Pam Lane gave a most beautiful tribute to her. Jenny Zenner read a message sent by Sheryl and Rick Chapman, and Janet's niece delivered a message for the family, followed by a reading by Christopher Wilson, and then Charles Haynes gave the eulogy. The service ended by her dear friend Bernie delivering a most moving remembrance and singing of "Amazing Grace." A short closing prayer by Charles and it was over. A reception was held at the home of Laurie and Richie Blum. Janet "Mehery" Luck is an example to all of us who knew of the strength of her love for her family, friends and most of all for her Beloved Baba. We will miss you, dear Janet, but thank you for the beautiful songs you have given us and for your example of how to hold on to Him with cheerfulness and a smile while suffering greatly.

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Roman Babiak Moves On

by Greg Dunn Pleasanton, California

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oman Babiak, most recently of Palo .I'\.A1to but well-known and loved by Baba friends in Los Angeles where he lived from 1984 until 1991, passed away May 16 at the home of Denise and Dan Pliskin, where he had lived for some time. He breathed his last early that Saturday morning after a peaceful night's sleep, with niece Christina Ciepley, friend Kevin Moss berger, and the Pliskins at his side. Roman fell victim to esophageal cancer. Roman was born April 9, 1948, in a small village near Frankfurt, Germany. lIe was christened Jaroslav Roman by his parents, who were from the Ukraine but who had been detained in internment camps during the war. A few years after Roman's birth the family moved to Altoona, Pennsylvania, where Roman grew up, attending a seminary high school in nearby Connecticut as a teenager. Shortly after Roman's graduation the family moved again, this time to Detroit, where Roman attended McComb County Community College before transferring to the University of Michigan. Sometime after leaving col-

lege Roman moved to Chicago, where he lived until relocating to Los Angeles in 1984. During one period in Chicago Roman was an executive for a trade association for the concrete industry, with the responsibility for organizing their trade shows. While in L.A. he worked at a succession of part-time and free-lance jobs, many in the computer industry, and several having to do with electronic musical instruments. After moving to the San Francisco Bay area a few years ago he worked for several more computer companies, including Mindscape (in ovato, a maker of games and educational software), and most recently 3COM, where he was a project manager for the very successful Palm Pilot hand-held computer. Roman is survived by a half-Sister, Maria, who lives in Poland; by his niece Christina and nephew Stefan Ciepley, whose (now deceased) mother was Roman's sister; and by many members of his Baba family who count him as a true brother of the spirit. Roman loved Baba, music, city life, ideas, and laughter. He worked for a pe-

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riod of time with a company known- as Breakaway Technologies, a startup that marketed a musical instrument named "The Vocalizer", a hand-held synthesizer into which one could sing, producing a variety of instrumental sounds such as one might hear from an electronic keyboard. Roman once designed a radical piano keyboard intended to improve upon the conventional keyboard's fit to the human body. Split into two banana-shaped sections and designed to be worn in front of the body, Roman's keyboard allowed the player's hands to follow a natural arc as they moved up and down along the keys. In the years since Roman's invention, split computer keyboards have come into widespread use because the ergonomical deficiencies of the standard keyboard have caused Repetitive Use Syndrome among thousands of typists. Perhaps we'll see something like Roman's ergonomic musical keyboard on the market before long as well. Many of Roman's friends have paid tribute to him in the last few weeks either in postings to the Meher Baba list

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server or in pieces composed for the Los Angeles memorial service. IIere are some excerpts:

strung across the tree. It was the most loving welcome home that I ever experienced."

From Rocky Rodgers: "Roman was the consummate socialite on a budget. lIe was definitely unconventional, quite unassuming and nonjudgmental. lIe befriended everyone and was afraid of no one. It would not have fazed his equipoise in the least to have approached Cindy Crawford to ask her out for lunch: Dutch treat even! And I guarantee you she would have accepted. Because he was Roman. But he would have insisted on paying for everything even if it was his last fifty cents. "IIis charm was based upon a guileless apprecation of people. lIe was not interested in competing with or using people, he just genuinely enjoyed people and they could not resist his honesty and magnetic warmth."

From Julann Lodge: "I was able to drop by Roman's house in Palo Alto as many of his friends did last night, Sunday evening. I was very happy to meet Denise and her family and spend a few minutes with Kevin, who has been with Roman all week. (Thank you so much, Kevin.) Denise was so sweet and welcoming to everyone. What a great family. I was fortunate to have a few moments to spend in Roman's room, where he died. What struck me most about it was the tranquility and peace there. There was a lovely lightness and sweetness in the air. "I just thank Roman for what he taught me through both his gentle life and gentle death. Thank you Roman, thank you. Last Friday night a thought came to my mind: Baba standing by Roman's bed saying, 'I'm a jealous lover. Roman is completely mine now.' It was a comforting thought. How is it possible that Baba's jealousy is so sweet?"

From Fred Stankus: "When my wife Gigi and I travelled to India in November, 1987, Roman house-sat for us. We missed the 1987 ~nnual Thanksgiving feast at our house that year so Roman used some of his creative talent to produce a cardboard cutout of Gigi and Fred in early Pilgrim tall hats with a buckle in front. During the Thanksgiving dinner prepared by Roman and Baba lovers and friends, he used this cutout of GigiFred as a centerpiece on the table. "When Roman picked us up at LAX International Airport two days before Christmas, he was in jolly spirits. He urged us to take rest at home first before we did any Christmas shopping, because the first thing on my agenda was to buy a Christmas tree and get it up qUick. Roman said, 'We'll go out later and get the tree,' Well, we arrived home, and as soon as I opened the door, the scent of pine and evergreen filled my nostrils. 0 Tannenbaum! There it was! The most beautiful Noble Fir decked out with lights and tinsel and angels and Christmas balls. As I looked behind me, Roman was just glowing: he was beaming in a radiance with great joy that could only be love! WELCOME HOME PILGRIMS was printed on a sign and

From Greg Butler: "'You're born, you work, you die, you move on.' -Roman Babiak, May 10, 1998, while discussing his philosophy on life. "And if you are fortunate enough to have a heart as big as Roman's, you touch the lives of many, many people. So Jai Baba, Dear Roman. Your life and courageous death was truly one of Baba's victories. And though you have moved on, you will remain in my heart's memory for the rest of my life. Thank you for your friendship, your encouragement, your generosity, your insight, and your companionship on the long road to the Beloved. You made a difference in my life over the many years I have known you. And in your final days, you taught me how to live. I will miss you greatly." From Tom Hart: "I'm surprised by the depths of emotion that Roman's illness and death has made me feel and am reminded, once again, never to take these relationships

with friends and loved ones for granted. IIave you hugged someone today? Life is so short and goes by so quickly that sometimes it's hard to remain focused on the important things, like love, amidst all the little details of life in illusion. May I never forget the importance of nurturing and maintaining my links to my loved ones. Farewell to Roman, who touched and was loved by so many people, who was unassuming in the world, but kept a high profile in our hearts." From Kevin Mossberger: "Roman meant much to many people. To me, he was the Best Man at my wedding; he was my roommate for three years; and he was my co-worker who started me on my current career. But most of all he was my friend, and above that, a spiritual brother. "I thank Baba that I was able to say goodbye to Roman, as I cannot count how many times he went out of his way for me; I still feel indebted to him. That was how he was-he went out of his way for many people, and he so dearly loved people. "Roman first learned about Baba in the book Be Here Now by Ram Dass; he then saw an article about Baba in a publication, tore it out, then filed it in his 'spiritual teachers' folder, and thought nothing of it again. Later, he got a job with a Baba-Iover in the Chicago area, who then invited him to a Baba meeting. Roman was convinced by the end of this meeting that Baba was God. "When I asked him two months ago about his condition, he said this: 'Death is inevitable. So what if it comes at 30, 50, 70, or 100? It comes. For the person dying, they get to move on to a new adventure in liVing. For those left behind, life goes on and life is beautiful before death and after death.' "And that is so very true. A few days before he moved on, I reminded him of Baba's Wish, to keep thinking of Him and repeating IIis name until the very end. Roman nodded, then said very clearly: 'Meher Baba. Meher Baba.'"

------0------


t Roman's Last Day

*

by Denise Pliskin Palo Alto, California

T

hanks for all your warmth and loving wishes towards Roman. lIe died very peacefully at 8:02 on Saturday morning, May 16. I will briefly tell you how his last day with us went. Friday morning I arrived at the hospital after Kevin Mossberger (from Australia) and Roman's neice Christina had done the night shift for the fourth time in a row. The morning was spent preparing to bring him home (to his physical home, that is). We needed to take care of some difficult issues. I was not sure he could make the trip and I needed a doctor's order that no matter what, the ambulance would bring him home and not take him back to the hospital. We felt that we had to have Roman's final okay on this and Kevin asked him if he was ready to "go to Baba." The answer was yes. At this time

Miki Follows Mansari by James Cox

Roman was in and out of consciousness and could no longer speak very clearly, but his answer was clear. Christina rode with him in the ambulance and I drove ahead while Kevin collected his things and brought up the rear. Roman made the trip well and he knew-there was no question-that he was home. They got him into his bed and I cannot tell you how right it felt. The hospital staff had been wonderful, but there is no place that feels as safe and warm as home. At this point we knew that we had very little time left. Jeff Maguire and Fred Stankus arrived within the hour and when Roman saw them he responded with his glowing smile. There are people who live 89 years and never experience the joy that this man not only felt, but generated. Fred and Jeff stayed for a while and be-

S

ome of you might remember a rather worn-looking, dusty, white dog that used to doze on the wooden bench outside the Samadhi. That broken-down bench is now gone, and so is the dog; his name was Miki, and he was Mansari's last male dog. He had been sick for some time with a strange swelling around his neck; he died at lower Meherabad last Friday afternoon, June 5 th , about 1:30 p.m. Miki was never mushy or fawning on people for attention, and he never bit anyone that I know of, but he fought off plenty of dogs while Meherabad Hill was his territory, and frequently came back qUietly bearing his battle wounds. lIe suffered the clumsy affection of many a child on the bench outside Baba's Samadhi without protest, and when his wounds became infected and obviously painful, he endured the administrations of Jal and others without complaint.

t fore they left they said the Master's Prayer. Roman responded with his ethereal smile and a "JAI BABA." As far as any of us can tell, those were his last words. That night Prasava came and sat up with him so we could all sleep. At around 7:00 I got up, and shortly after I came into the room he started having gaps in his breathing. My foster-son Francesco, who has been one of his main care-takers, got up and we sat with him together. The gaps got longer and longer and finally I went in and got Christina and Kevin. They walked in as he took his last breath. lIe slipped away peacefully with his face inclined towards a picture of Baba. I swear he smiled as we recited the Master's Prayer over him. We spent the morning sitting with him and dressing him for his final journey. Tom IIart came in time to say his final farewell and see him off. We all (including the guys in the ties and the plaid shirts from the mortuary) sang a bad rendition of Amazing Grace before they took him away. lIe would have loved that.

------0-----Sometimes you could not imagine that an animal could bear such injuries and survive, but he did, healing to fight again and again. One was left with the impression that this was some kind of warrior dog, strictly business, and he never looked frivolous or obsequious. When Mani passed away, Miki followed the funeral procession down the hill and lay by the pyre for three days until it burned out, only leaving to get his food, then returning to continue his final shift. And after Mansari died, he did the same watch, but after that he hardly returned to the Hill, as if the charm for him was gone, settling instead in Lower Meherabad for his final days. Like others that have gone before him, he was an expression of an earlier Meherabad which has now slowly slipped away, leaVing us with only the memories.

23


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l! 1) 'JIiS @ 't

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.~_=-_"__

Life Is Eternal

She is an object of beauty and strength and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then some one at my side says: "There! She's gone." Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. lIer diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when some one at my side says, "There! She's gone" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "lIere she comes!"

-------0-------

One Life's Not Enough to Love You

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author unknown I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

.

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I've Passed Away by Mickey Karger I've passed away on palanquins and mattresses of straw, on aeroplanes and baggage trains where fate obeys its law. I've died on fields of battle and fields of flowers wild; while I've never lived past ninetyfive I've often died a child. I've been carried off by fevers and every known disease, bubonic plague and symptoms vague, and once a violent sneeze. I've shuffled off the mortal coil of woman and of man, unhelped by pharmacopoeia or the wafting of a fan. I've been guillotined and garroted, shot and stabbed and hung; at the end of planks, inside of tanks, from cliffs have I been flung. I've felt the link snap suddenly in trenches stained with blood where I died in the arms of comrades half-buried in the mud. I've died in the arms of lovers and once in the arms of a maid who tried to lift me from my chair in the sun into the shade. I remember once I slipped away in the middle of a speech, the papers fluttering to the floor, forever out of reach.

by Mickey Karger

I've watched with growing anguish unassuaged and unrelieved as I died a hardened prisoner unforgiven, unreprieved. I've watched beloved spouses shed tears on my behalf and seen my rivals gather who scarce supress'd a laugh.

One life's not enough to love you, So a thousand times we return To live our lives in a thousand ways, Your grace to try to earn.

I've died in the act of fathering and once to save a life; I've died the death that cowards die to the strain of drum and fife. But of all the deaths I've never died there's one I've yet to try -the death of self to self's travail when to self I finally die.

------------0-----------Each life's a single movie frame, A simple, childish rhyme. How sad it is we need so many lives Yet if we could love for a moment To become that which we were all the time. With all our lives and hearts, We might cancel all our tomorrows We drag our pasts behind us And never have to learn new parts Like Marley's well-forged chain. We wear the fabric of our sins Which shows each bloody stain.

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24


"1 Then my Mother and I went to In-

VV dia in 1968-1969 for the occasion

of my brother Dara's wedding to Amrit, I was 11 years old. I knew that Baba enjoyed entertainment, especially of the sort that made IIim laugh, such as skits and jokes. Since I didn't have any real talents that I was aware of (!) I decided to tell Baba a few jokes that I had memorized, hoping that lIe would find them as funny as I did. On British TV at that time there was a regular comedy show hosted by an extremely funny Irish comedian named Dave Allen. The show consisted of Allen's very witty monologues as well as hilarious short skits, and our family loved to watch it every week. What was so entertaining about the programme, apart from Dave Allen's dry humour and inevitable Irish charm, was his irreverence towards his favourite subject matter: religion; and more often than not, the Catholic Church. Week after week Allen would poke fun at the pomposity of his particular organized religion; for good measure, he would often throw some barbs at other denominations as well (there was a running skit involving the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury sitting in their respective carriages charging at each other, as if in a jousting match!). The humour was certainly irreverent, but it was good-natured too; Allen wasn't attacking God or one's faith in IIim. Allen would end his show as he began it, sitting on a stool with a glass of whisky beside him; and-having pilloried religion for the preceding hourwould say "Goodnight, and may your God go with you!" So, unbeknownst to my father (Baba's youngest brother, Adi Jr.), I learned a few of my favourite Dave Allen jokes to tell Beloved Baba during our visit to India. It did cross my mind briefly that I was running the risk of Baba finding such jokes "cheeky," but I was sure lIe would really enjoy them. I still remember the look on my father's face when I asked Baba if I could tell Him some jokes from the Irish comedian's TV show ... Fortunately, Baba did enjoy the jokes as much as I had hoped, in fact He loved them. He

would ask me to repeat them frequently (which was wonderful for me), and laughed uproariously (but silently) at each telling, as if lIe were hearing them for the first time. lIe was so very sweet. I told Baba three Dave Allen jokes; one about a nun, one about a driving test and the joke that follows, Baba's favourite of all (I would get many requests to re-tell it!). On a final note: supposedly, Dave Allen was excommunicated by the Catholic church. This mayor may not be the case, but one day I hope he might learn that even though the church didn't appreciate his humour, the Avatar of the Age did!

ar _111M•• ao. .a In a village somewhere in Ireland, two naughty schoolboys decided to go out one night to steal apples from a tree growing in a cemetery. The cemetery was surrounded by a high wall, which actually made the boys' task easier, since they would climb the tree, then move on to the wall where they could easily pick the apples. The boys sat astride the wall, each one with his own sack, so they could steal as many apples as possible. They had almost filled their sacks, when one of the boys dropped two apples into the street below, outside the wall's perimeter. "What about those two apples?" asked the one boy. "Never mind for now" replied the other, "we'll divide up the apples equally once we've finished picking them, and we'll remember to include those two outside." So, the boys climbed down, and hauling their sacks, they sat behind a gravestone so they'd be well hidden while they divided up their spoils. They emptied all the apples on the ground, and began dividing them thus: "one for you, one for me, one for you, one for me, one for you, one for me" and so on. Meanwhile, Paddy, the village drunk, had just left the local pub for the night (having had a few too many) and was staggering home as usual. IIis winding

path took him past the cemetery, al as he walked past the high wall : stopped dead in his tracks. "Wha that?" he mumbled to himself. As • stopped to listen, he heard "one for ye one for me, one for you, one for mt: lIe cautiously entered the cemetery a: looked around. lIe saw no one, but COl' hear the same voices coming from t hind a grave stone, "one for you, 0' for me ... " A look of horror came UPI his face and he sobered up instantly a:, ran screaming to the priest's house. r banged on the door, and when t) housekeeper answered and saw Pade she was furiOUS, "Oh it's you, is it, yl old drunk. Now be off with you and stIl waking up the whole village." "N missus, I was drunk but I swear I'm n now. I must speak to his holiness, tl priest." "Away with you, you old foe I'll not wake the Father for your n ings!" And so it went on, until the prie hearing the noise, came downstairs al asked Paddy what was wrong. "Oh I ther, Father, you must come at once the cemetery, for didn't I hear with ri very own ears God and the Devil COUl ing out the souls!!" The priest sigh(;. "You've really gone too far this tir, Paddy-too much to drink. Now home, there's a good fellow." Paddy begged him and swore blh that he was telling the truth, until, j the sake of peace, the priest agreed go with him to the cemetery. "No enough of your nonsense after tonigJ Paddy-you've got to stop imagini such things. Stay off the drink!" As Paddy and the priest approach the cemetery wall, Paddy grabbed h by the arm, and said in a terrified wh per, "See, what did I tell you?" Su enough, to the Father's horror they be clearly heard "One for you, one j me..." They stood transfixed, and t Father crossed himself. "Lord ha mercy, it's true, God and the Devil h2 come down to earth and are dividing the souls." "One for you, one for n one for you, one for me...there, that's then" said one voice, "all divided U] Paddy and the priest stood motionle "Wait a minute" they heard one of t voices say "how about the two outsi the wall?"


t

t

Mani's Dream

Book by Heather Nadel Meherabad, India

B

eing that she was one of the most imaginative and creative people in the world, it is hardly surprising that Mani, Baba's sister, had wonderful dreams-dreams that many Baba lovers have heard her tell in vivid person in Mandali Hall. She loved Baba-dreams, loved telling hers, loved listening to other people's. Following the success of GodBrother, her book of stories of her childhood with Baba, people urged Mani to write another book-perhaps stories of her adult life with Him? She always replied, "If I do, it will be a book about my dreams," her dreams of Beloved Baba and Mehera, of Babajan and other Perfect Ones. Creating a book of her dreams had been in her mind for some years, but in Mani's tremendously busy schedule there had never been any time to do it. Sometimes for fun and relaxation, Mani would come up with a list of her dreams for the dream book. Sheila Krynski, of Sheriar Foundation (the publisher for God-Brother) had heard a

26

whisper or two about the "project" and while in pain, her incredible care and meticulousness in choosing the precise would occasionally send Mani encourwords to convey her "dream pictures," aging messages. In many ways, the her focus on the work despite her worsdream book was always right around the corner, a sweet "dream," the project ening condition, were heartbreaking. And yet, so typical of Mani was going to her when doing do when she fiThis began one of my most something for Baba: nally got old! Little could we touching and heartbreaking to go beyond her self, to never consider her imagine that when times with Mani. own needs or comthe dream book fort. Sometimes she was finally written, Mani would be critically ill. The book would get up from her much-needed nap, tiptoe over to her chair and go over began one morning in March 1996. In what she had dictated, straining to see the previous five months, Mani had unthe words as her eyesight had become dergone two brain surgeries, from which diminished by cataracts. Goher, espeshe had not recovered well. That morning, tired and in pain, while in the midst cially, would be appalled by this, and would urge her to rest. One day, when I of a superfluous editing chore she sudremonstrated with her for getting up, denly conveyed, "Heck with this, why not start the dream book?" Everyone got Mani said simply, "I feel a push to do this. I feel a push." That was when I very eXCited, and she dictated two knew it was not just a recreation or dreams then and there. This began one of my most touching time-pass for her, but something she felt from Him. and heartbreaking times with Mani. The Through the rest of March, with a great effort it cost her to give dictation

ÂŁoveStreet ÂŁamflDS~


short break in April (while the "ladies" went to Poona for their annual break), and then on into May, Mani continued to dictate her dreams. A letter went to Sheila: would Sheriar Foundation be interested in publishing it? (They were.) Soon after that, Mani sent Wodin an invitation to illustrate the book. She had been charmed and delighted with his drawings for God-Brother, and for this new book she particularly wanted the "whimsical aspect" that he brought to his art. Wodin's acceptance made her very happy. When the 23rd dream was finished on the 23rd of May, we were thrilled! It was done! There was some talk by others in the household, "Shouldn't it be 24 dreams, a round two-dozen, an auspicious number?" to which Mani laughed; you can't have another dream on demand! The book was typed and ready to go to the publisher! But that very night Mani had another dream of Baba, the 24th dream, one of the most beautiful and significant of all, which you will find at the very end of her book. In early June, the manuscript was sent off to the publishers in America. The very next day, Mani went to Poona for a medical checkup, was soon diagnosed with cancer, and three weeks later came back to Meherazad to prepare for her reunion with her Beloved. She had been right to "push." In her last weeks, while she could, Mani continued to take a keen interest in the dream book: incorporating some minor corrections in the manuscript, talking about the cover, approving the book's shape and size, setting the direction for the illustrations in response to sketches sent over by Wodin. A few days before she went into a semi-coma, I was able to tell her that the illustrations were going to be in full color, something she had always wanted but had not thought possible because of the expense. Now, a year and a half after Mani rejoined Baba, the dream book is nearly finished. The book design is done, and Wodin has completed almost all of the 24 huge pastel illustrations for it. By Baba's grace, before too long Mani's longtime "dream" will come true. Jai Baba!

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â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘ Kids Say the Darndest Things By Barbara Richstad Columbia, South Carolina

D

uring the winter of 1971-1972, I worked at a daycare center serving the housing projects in downtown Albany, New York. The following stories are from four- and five-year-old AfricanAmerican children; I recorded their questions and comments as soon as possible so I'd remember the wording exactly. One day at the daycare center, a week after I'd started teaching, the little four-year-olds were sitting with me on the floor and Bobby noticed the sparkle of a gold chain at my throat. lIe reached his fingers up, pulled, and discovered my locket, which he opened to find pictures of Baba (and Baba's hair concealed under one of the pictures). Bobby held the locket in both hands, looking at the pictures very seriously. Just then Clayton passed behind him, turned his head to see what Bobby was looking at, saw the pictures, pointed at Baba, and declared, "That's God!" So Clayton passed by and Bobby continued to stare at Baba's pictures, but now muttering, "That's God, that's God." Then he looked up at me and asked, "Who took a picture of God?" I said I didn't know who had taken the picture and Bobby then asked, "IIow do they come down so that we can see IIim?" I stammered out that once in a while God comes down as a man so that we can see IIim. Bobby nodded as if he understood perfectly. Although I never explained more and only said His name, "Baba," many children would dig out my locket, kiss it and say, "I love Baba." One said, "I see his halo." One day I asked Joyce, at the easel, what she was planning to paint. She looked at me, smiled,

and said, "Baba!" One day in the gym, one of the three-year olds from another class came over to me and said, "I see Baba in there," pointing to my classroom. I turned quickly, but wouldn't you know it, I didn't see a thing! Charlene, a five-year-old from another class, looked at Baba's picture for the first time and asked if lIe was my father. I replied, "Yes," and she said, "lIe's my father, too. lIe everybody's father!" Then, a month or so later, Charlene's teacher approached me and told me a few of her girls were playing together and one had said that she didn't have a father. But Charlene declared triumphantly, "Yes you do! Baba's your Father!" Again, a few months later, I was chatting with a group of five year oIds, each teasing the other about "boyfriends," when suddenly Charlene piped up, "Baba's my boyfriend!" And a little while later when I got up to leave, Charlene reached for my locket so she could kiss Baba. Meanwhile, Bobby had graduated to the five-year-old class and I didn't see too much of him. But one day we were visiting and he took out my locket. He pestered me to tell him who Baba is, and I finally said, "Well, who do you think lIe is?" And Bobby replied solemnly and softly, "I think he's God." A number of years later my own young daughter, just learning to talk, became fascinated with a large painting of Baba. I thought, "This is it! She's going to say Parvardigar!" Instead, she said, "Big nose!"

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t

~I

t

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Mani By Judith Garbett

Excerpted from Judith's new book LWES OF LOVE-The Women Mandali ofAvatar Meher Baba © All Rights Reserved

M

ani-Avatar Meher Baba's dear sister, His lifelong loving companion, and devoted tireless worker. She was unusually gifted-her many different talents and capacities endeared her to everyone, as well as gaining admiration and respect. To entertain her beloved GodBrother, Mani wrote many skits and plays, poems and songs. She could act, mime, and mimic someone or something with delightful fidelity. She was artistically creative, even designed and made hand-puppets, manipulating them herself to present a particular show for Baba. She taught or encouraged the other women mandali to act in the plays so that all could help to lighten His burden. She was highly imaginative and innovative, quickly producing unusual or amusing effects and costumes out of whatever basic and often quite unlikely materials were available at the time for her plays and skits. She could sing delightfully, and played the sitar well. For Baba's enjoyment and relaxation in His Room, she often read aloud from His favourite detective or humorous stories, making the characters come alive by her clever voice changes. During Baba's physical lifetime Mani did much secretarial work for Him, spending countless hours at the type-

28

£oveStred £amflDSt'

writer. She also wrote well and in a style inimitably her own. She composed the Family Letters for Baba's approval to send to Western lovers from 1956 to 1969. God-Brother, her book of sparkling childhood stories with Him, was published in 1993; and in spite of serious illness and pain she completed the manuscript for Dreaming Of The Beloved in May 1996, with the loving assistance of Heather Nadel and one or two others who did all the typing for her. Mani was very witty with an infectious sense of humour, and her effervescent personality often helped to lighten and uplift the feelings of those around her. She was also very loving, wise and balanced in her comments and advice. She had an excellent memory and clear understanding of Baba's statements and messages, and wove these into her talks and beautiful stories about Him and her own life with Him. As well as all this, the many years she spent as Chairman of the Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust brought out her impressive administrative abilities in the day-to-day constant workload of dealing with all manner of people and problems affecting the Trust, in addition to carrying on a large amount of correspondence with Baba lovers all over the world.


Mani was beautiful, and often a facial expression or head movement would remind one most touchingly of Baba. She was of medium height with a good figure, had a fair skin, lively brown eyes, and dark wavy hair which later changed gradually to a becoming grey. She moved quickly and gracefully, and one was aware of energy and purpose in whatever she did. For special occasions she dressed in lovely saris, but at Meherazad and in the Trust Office she wore attractive Punjabi outfits which were very practical and suited her admirably. As one of Baba's two closest women disciples, Mani had the inner beauty, strength and purity of spirit which over countless lives finally brought her to be chosen by Him for that role in this Advent. Although she was more outgoing than Mehera, she too had a quiet presence, a gentle but distinct authority which was recognized and unreservedly acknowledged by all the mandali, pilgrims, residents and workers alike. At the same time she was very vivacious, full of fun, always natural, warm and generous, perceptive and thoughtful for others, ever friendly and approachable -a unique and delightful person to know, and spontaneously loved by everyone. Her own total love for her beloved God-Brother and Lord was always there, shining in the clear depths of her beautiful eyes, felt in the circle of her embrace, enriching her actions and words. +*+*+*+*+

From the moment of meeting Mani for the first time at Guruprasad, Poona, on 31st October 1962 in Beloved Baba's presence, and also throughout the succeeding years, I always felt a very deep and strong connection with her as though I had known her in many previous lives. Even during the year before meeting her I had a vivid impression of her personality from letters she wrote to Bill Le Page and his family, but mainly of course from her delightful Family Letters. +*+*+*+*+

On the first afternoon of the EastWest Gathering, Thursday 1st Novem-

ber 1962 when all the Western women were called to the women mandali's rooms for changes of clothing after the sudden rain- storm, I did not talk to Mani or any of the others, being too shy and too overwhelmed by all that had already happened. But on Saturday afternoon I did see Mani, and to this day I do not know how this touching encounter came about. I had not been at all well that morning, and at Guruprasad after lunch was told to see the Indian woman doctor on duty there (not Dr. Goher). Somehow Mani must have heard I was sick, for she came and took me into one of the main rooms, telling me to lie down for a while. She left the room but returned after a few

she will always remain the perfect example of the many attributes which grace a life of unquestioning obedience, one-pointed deevotion and selfless service for the GodMan, A'Vatar Meher Baba. moments with a large square chiffon scarf which she gently spread over me. A little later she came back to see how I was getting on. I said I felt better and would like to go and join the others for the programme. So she led me through the women mandali's rooms, that being the quickest way. +*+*+*+*+

Here is another little picture of Mani, at the Trust Office in 1987: When I went to the office at 3:30 for tea with Mani, she called me to sit opposite her at her desk. Two others were already there, and Mani chatted to us on various subjects. Tea was brought in by Lakshman, the old servant who had been there for so many years with Adi Senior. Drinking the tea, I sat listening to Mani, enjoying being there with her. Now and then she would interrupt her story-telling to read through and sign a letter, or carefully check a draft, making changes here and there. She picked up a postcard someone had sent her and chatted about the

dog pictured on it. Then the woman sitting beside me began talking about her small child, and Mani listened as though it was the most important thing for her at that moment. I thought, 'How lOVing she is always, to everyone!' At Meherazad on 19th August 1996 at 7:01 AM Beloved Baba called His dearest sister to leave her sweet form as Mani to be reunited with Him. At about 6:00 PM that evening her funeral pyre was lit at lower Meherabad. For all those present it was extraordinarily beautiful. It lasted for three days, an unusually long time, with many rare and meaningful occurrences. Her ashes were kept at Meherazad until Saturday 7th September, then taken to Meherabad and placed in the Samadhi overnight. During a touching farewell ceremony at 11:00 AM on 8th September Mani's ashes were laid in her shrine next to the Samadhi at Baba's left hand, as He had instructed years before. I know that everyone-the mandali, members of her family, staff, and thousands of Baba lovers around the worldall who were associated with her, who knew and loved her over so many yea~s, . will always miss her specially-warm and delightful company at Meherazad, Meherabad, the Trust Office and Poona. From far-away Avatar's Abode I too miss Mani. I think of her every day remembering her with love, and continually thank Beloved Baba for allOWing me to spend so much time with her on every one of my many visits. Stories about her and her total love for her beloved God-Brother are already legion, and will continue to be added to over the years as people of all ages and backgrounds remember and talk about their times with her. Mani held a unique place as one of the two women closest to Beloved Baba. In her lifelong work for Him she demonstrated most beautifully that work for Him was ever synonymous with love for Him, and she will always remain the perfect example of the many attributes which grace a life of unquestioning obedience, one-pointed devotion and selfless service for the God-Man, Avatar Meher Baba.

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Further Thoughts on Occultism

by Don Stevens

aving read and listened with great interest to various comments on the subject of Occultism, several thoughts come to mind which I feel are important to add to the record at this time. While personal experiences have been recounted in some instances, and also quotes from Meher Baba's Discourses, there remain two principal areas clarified by Baba himself that are essential to balance out the picture Baba gives us. These are His description of the natural development of occult powers in the spiritual ongoing of the aspirant, and secondly, some of His comments on why and how the Perfect Ones also make use of their own powers to help an aspirant at a critical point in his ongoing. Because of my own predominantly negative personal experiences and reactions to the occult, I have on several occasions committed serious errors in presenting and commenting on the subject. I would not like to see similar mis-

H

takes made inadvertently by devotees of Baba because of incomplete knowledge of what Baba Himself has put into the record to guide us. As I have just completed a project for a Spanish publisher on Baba's life and philosophy, I have abstracted several portions from a chapter on Occultism which cover portions of the two aspects mentioned above, and offer them for whatever light they may bring. "The spiritual path leading to the emancipation of consciousness brings with it an unfoldment of many psychic capacities which are latent in the human soul. This unfoldment increases the scope and range of human consciousness. These new elements often play an important part in helping or hindering the spiritual emancipation of consciousness. Therefore, the aspirant not only has to understand the value of such experiences as unusual and significant dreams, visions, astral journeys, and glimpses of the subtle world, but he also has to learn to distinguish real occult

experiences from hallucinations and delusions. "Although it is customary to exaggerate the importance of occult experiences, it is not uncommon to doubt their validity, and to treat them with the contempt usually accorded to all forms of mental aberrations and abnormalities. The attitude of unqualified contempt for occult experiences is of course most pronounced in those who are not even abecedarians in direct knowledge of the occult. It hurts the ego to admit and feel that there might be vast unexplored fields of the universe that are accessible to just a limited number of persons, and from which one happens to be excluded. The undeserved contempt that occultism at times receives is almost always the outcome of profound ignorance about its real meaning. This attitude of contempt is of course different from a cautious and critical attitude. Those who have a cautious and critical approach and who are endowed with humility and openness of mind are ever ready to recognize and admit occult phenomena when they occur. "An aspirant is usually helped by a Perfect Master through ordinary means, and the Master prefers to take him veiled along the spiritual path. But when there are specific indications, he may also use occult techniques to help the aspirant. Special types of dreams are among the common methods used for touching the deeper life of the aspirant. Masters have not infrequently first contacted aspirants by appearing in their dreams. Such dreams, however, have to be carefully distinguished from ordinary dreams. In ordinary dreams the subtle body is active in exercising its functions of seeing, tasting, smelling, touching and hearing; but the soul is not using the subtle body with full consciousness. As these experiences in ordinary dreams are received subconsciously, they are in most cases purely subjective, relating to physical activities and concerning the gross world, and are the creations of nascent sanskaras stored in the mind. In some cases, however, a dream that is indistinguishable from ordinary dreams may be the reflection in the subconscious of some objective experience of


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the subtle body and not merely a product of fancy."l Such completely contrary reactions to occult experiences is not uncommon, given the diversity of human nature. It does serve to alert one however to the importance of a very careful analysis of this area, whether one is attracted to or repelled by it. Above all, those hypnotized by occult phenomena should be aware of the fact that they will need eventually to refocus on more important avenues of endeavor. Correspondingly, however, those who reject outright the realm of the occult must make the opposite adjustment of gradually accepting this realm for the value that is finally to be embodied for them in such experiences. 2 "The beginner is apt to exaggerate the importance of his glimpse into the inner worlds and to develop an ungovernable craving for repetition of these experiences, or tries to treat them as abnormal phenomena and underrates their significance. Of these two alternatives, the attitude of exaggerating the importance of occult experiences is the most common, because the novelty and rarity of occult experiences are factors that contribute to charging them with overwhelming importance."3 An even more important misuse of these occult experiences that Baba points out is to come to depend on them as a goad to action. The aspirant refuses to budge unless he has a divine portent indicating the way. It is especially in such instances of over-dependence that it is important to be under the direct guidance of a real Master. 4 "In order to avoid the pitfall for the aspirant, the Master takes good care not to cater to his new craving for occult experiences. Such experiences are vouchsafed to the aspirant if and when they are absolutely necessary for spiritual purposes and not when he wants or asks for them. "...The introduction of the aspirant to occult phenomena is necessarily a very gradual and prolonged process. The Master is never anxious to expedite it, as few persons are really qualified to stand the expansion of their experience in this new dimension."5 Although Meher Baba rarely referred to occult phenomena in these words, lIe

*

did frequently discuss the subject of miracles. There is no ready rule to differentiate one from the other. Often, the word miracle is used simply in a polite context for a happening associated with religious exercises and experiences. In other words, the best clarification would be to suggest firstly that all events which cannot be explained through any established physical laws are almost certainly caused by occult forces, and secondly that miracles are always on the white magic side and never on the black. This is by no means intended to belittle events established through the centuries, especially by the Catholic Church. There is every reason to believe that those who caused them or participated in them were in most cases individuals of great spiritual stature. The only point we are suggesting is that the forces involved are impossible to differentiate from what are termed in esoteric literature as occult forces. Indeed there is even a tradition that when Jesus Christ was about to perform a miracle,

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he deliberately established himself on the fourth plane, where the infinite divine forces are readily and naturally available. 6 It is singular that Meher Baba repeatedly made a strong point of IIis declaration that He did not perform miracles. And yet many of those closest to IIim during his lifetime love to recount stunning tales of the most miraculous nature. If Baba was accosted with such a story, at least in IIis later years, he always said simply that lIe had not consciously participated in the event being described. 7 "Even when real occult experience can be clearly differentiated from illusion, it suffers in its power and efficacy if it becomes the object of doubt. This can happen when the person who has had the experience discusses the matter with others who, because of their incapacity to understand such things, throw out contrary thoughts and shake his conviction. For this reason, the Master usually requires a disciple to maintain strict secrecy

31


[t ~ *,ys ---~--~~._-.--.-'.

about his experiences. Even a deep experience is likely to become weak through the contradiction and skepticism of others, unless the aspirant has learned to follow his own inner experience irrespective of what others think or say. If the aspirant is to make quick progress and to profit most from the Master's help, he must develop immense and unshakable confidence in himself and the Master. lIe must not look to others for guidance, because those who will understand his problems or his experiences are very few. The aspirant must indeed be prepared to face the possibility of not being completely understood by any of his friends or relatives, for they may be in the dark about the grounds for his ideology and course of action. "If at the time of its occurrence an occult experience has served the purpose of giving new momentum to spiritual endeavor, it often does not matter if the aspirant considers it in retrospective analysis and thought as being a form of delusion. lIowever, there are some occult experiences that are deliberately vouchsafed to the aspirant in order that they should be standing sources of inspiration and guidance. With regard to these special experiences, it becomes necessary that the aspirant cease doubting their validity and importance. "The general attitude of seeking endless corroboration of occult experiences is definitely unhealthy, and the Master gives corroborative confirmation only when he considers it necessary. Further,

32

he takes the initiative in the way he judges best in the situation. Whatever he does arises from his unfettered discretion and is in no way related to or dependent upon any expectation developed by the aspirant. But when it is spiritually necessary, the Master does increase the efficacy of occult experience by confirming its validity and authority through some direct or indirect corroboration from the aspirant's normal range of experience."8 Meher Baba finishes off this aspect of the subject with a final prod for the aspirant not to neglect his own inner effort in the intoxication of having had some supernatural experience: "The harnessing of occult forces is not to be regarded in any way as a substitute for the inner effort the aspir-

of humanity; yet even they are very sparing and economical in its use. By its very nature, occultism as an art has its own natural limitations. It cannot be widely used for helping the material needs of humanity or helping it in its mundane purposes. The introduction of an uncertain and incalculable factor, which the free exercise of occult power would involve, is bound to create much confusion and disturbance in the ordinary pursuits of man, who must be left to his own limitations, resources, and possibilities for th.e equal and uninterrupted working out of the law of karma. The use of occult power, therefore, has to be strictly restricted to the furtherance of spiritual purposes."lO

1. Discourses, pp.180-181 2. The Master, Š1997 by D.E. Stevens, planned for appearance shortly in Spanish. 3. Discourses, p. 181 4. TheMaster, chapter on "Ocultism" 5. Discourses, pp.181-182 6. For a detailed discussion of just who uses just which powers, see the Supplement of God Speaks, pp. 222-232. 7. The Master, Occultism. 8. Discourses, pp.183-184 9. ibid, pp. 184-185 10. ibid, pp. 195

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ant must make to advance further. When occult experiences are gifts from a Perfect Master, they serve the purpose of unveiling much of the hitherto obscured intuition, removing some of the difficulties leading toward the spiritual path, and filling the aspirant with the great confidence and enthusiasm that are necessary to cope with new requirements at each stage. But the aspirant makes real progress by putting into practice the best intuitions of his heart, not by being the merely passive recipient of occult experiences."9 "In the hands of the Masters of spiritual wisdom, occult power is not only safe but has immense capacities that can be harnessed in the service


The Discourses: Seeds of Doubt by Flagg Kris read the article "Don Stevens Speaks" (LoveStreet LampPost, April-June 1998) with great anticipation, aware of Don's deep involvement and knowledge of Baba's major works. When I read the section on the Discourses, my first reaction was to become defensive about his comments on the lack of trust in the 7 th , 1987, one-volume edition (the "Sheriar edition" he called it). lIe also implied that I personally made changes about which "I [Don] quite frankly don't know the significance." Mter some time my mood changed to distress and a kind of sadness: here

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we were, after almost 11 years, still questioning and doubting. As the article said, "(From the audience) ... people say 'Don't trust the Sheriar edition' ...." Then an obvious solution to this situation occurred to me: Read the editors' Foreword! Mter rereading the Foreword to the 7ili ed. several times, it seemed clearly the best rebuttal. Everything that Eruch, Bal and I did is given in great detail, including the philosophy of our approach and the reasons for a revised edition of the Discourses. The following are two excerpts from the Foreword to exemplify these points:

Avatar Meher Baba's Last Warning to those who love Him, obey Him and all who would want to do so by Meher Baba through Adi K. Irani; July 1968

Baba wants all His lovers to know that: This is a very critical period of the Avataric Age and all His lovers must strive to their utmost to hold His daaman very firmly so that it does not slip out of their hands under any circumstances. It is very important for all His lovers, especially in this critical period not to succumb to lust. Temptations are and will be great, but your love for Him should be greater. Remember Him wholeheartedly and rise swiftly from where you have fallen to march ahead in His love & service. It is equally important at this critical period of the Avataric Age to beware at all times of persons who lead others into believing that they are saintly and pious and profess to possess supernatural powers. However

pious such persons appear to be, a Babalover must never mix such piety with the Divinity of the Avatar! A true Baba-Iover must remember the repeated warning given to all Babalovers time and again to stay away from persons who feel and assert that they are masters and saints and possess powers to help human beings. His lovers and workers should never get involved with such persons and affairs, much less with perverted "helpers of humanity" who have no reverence or regard for the Perfect Masters and the Avatar of the age. Beware of them who exploit spirituality to gain their selfish ends and dupe others in the name of Sadgurus and the Avatar. His lovers and workers should not get intimately involved with the family af-

fairs of one another, and they should not be emotionally upset by the personal affairs concerning any of their families. They should NOT let any personal affairs vitiate their relationships with one another, or affect their efforts in the work they do for the cause of Truth. He wants His lovers and workers who are spreading His message of Love to others, to share His love among themselves and to uphold the spirit of harmony and understanding in His name. He wants them to be less aggressive toward others and less tolerant towards themselves; and above all He wants them to love Him wholeheartedly for He is the Ancient One who loves them more than they can ever love themselves.


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Over the years, readers made inquiries about various points in the Discourses and asked Meher Saba and His close disciples for clarifications. The problems of misinterpretations and the possible need for revisions were addressed by Mani (Manija S. Irani), Meher Saba's sister, in a letter that appeared in The Awakener (vol. 3, no. 1,1955): ''There are those who believe that literally every word in the original Discourses is Saba's and are reluctant to accept any revised version; but actually, though Saba dictated for hours on the board, Professor Deshmukh embellished and worked up the points. Though Deshmukh has undoubtedly done brilliant work in many places we feel there are many places where simplification of sentence structure or correction of grammar would enhance the beauty and simplicity which are the essence of Saba's teachings. . . . Now we find there are places in the original Discourses where Deshmukh obviously misinterpreted the point, with the result that there are several important errors...." This quotation is given here, not to disparage Dr. 'Deshmukh or in any way minimize his and the other editors' monumental work, but to indicate 'that the original edition of the Discourses did contain some stylistic problems and points that needed rectification. The Seventh Edition When the sixth edition was almost out of print, the Avatar Meher Saba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust made plans to have the Discourses republished. At first it was planned to simply reprint the text as it appeared in the sixth edition; thus the initial emphasis was on completing the supplementary material to be added: a new introduction, a glossary, and an index. Sut it soon became clear that some textual changes would have to be made. In the years since the 1967 edition, additional inquiries had accumulated, and some points needed further clarification. As translations were being prepared for French, German, Italian, and Spanish editions, linguistic as well as textual questions came up. It also became apparent that stylistic changes had to be made. The individual discourses, it must be remembered, appeared over a period of years, mostly as journal articles-which inadvertently resulted in inconsistencies in

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spelling, capitalization, use of italics, punctuation, and so forth. Once the decision was made that a revised edition was needed, it was decided that the text should be gone over as carefully as possible. As mentioned earlier, Meher Saba's explanations had become more detailed and profound over the years, as He expanded and further elucidated many points. For instance, terms that had been used in their broadest sense were redefined to become more specific-often coming to mean only

DISCOURSES

one aspect of a larger concept they had earlier encompassed. Meher Saba unfolded the divine theme, in God Speaks and through discussions with His close disciples, to an audience now ready to understand and accept ideas and concepts of greater profundity.

My role in the revision (other than that of secretary) is also specifically discussed in the Foreword. I had no authority or intention to change Baba's words or teachings. We worked on the revision for over four years. For the first

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two or so years, we went over every word and line and inset heading of the text: Eruch and Bal deliberating over every meaning and nuance, seeking precision and clarity; I checking every aspect of capitalization, punctuation, grammar, italics, spelling, and so on. The last two years, while I was out of India, were the page-proof years. By that time the text was set. Of course there were still minor corrections during that time, mostly of a stylistic nature. Due to the great distances between me in Kuwait, Eruch and Bal in India, and Sheriar Press in Myrtle Beach, there were some over changes in the frustrating times of mis-, non-, and slow communications (I'm still upset with Sheriar's change of format of the Glossary). IIowever, these problems were mostly changes due to type and page size and page-proof corrections and mailings, and nothing to do with Baba's textual content. And it is true that very few of these types of changes were cleared with Eruch and Balon individual bases. On visits, general approaches were discussed and agreements reached. All of this does not provide Baba-Iover readers with an "escape hatch," as Don said, for distrusting or doubting the 7 th edition. The Foreword excerpt below describes my responsibilities: Secause people are often wary of any change in a work such as the Discourses, which is much studied and often reread, the editors thought it best to allay any fears of massive revisions by specifying just how the editing was approached and what types of changes have been made. The following criteria and guidelines were used: make as few changes as possible; make textual changes only when points conflicted with God Speaks or later explanations; change obsolete or archaic words and rephrase awkward sentence structure only when the reader might be misled or confused; and correct stylistic inconsistencies. The stylistic changes fall into the follow-


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t ing broad categories: (1) regularizing spelling, hyphenation, grammar, and punctuation, using authoritative style manuals and dictionaries-especially the latest editions of The Chicago Manual of Style and Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, which were the main sources consulted to achieve editorial uniformity in usage, style, and form; (2) arriving at a pattern for capitalizing spiritual terms and applying it consistently, except for rare cases of emphasis; (3) adjusting the spelling and form of non-English terms and names to God Speaks usage or other reference sources if appropriate; (4) eliminating most italics, except for their standard use for occasional emphasis and for the first occurrence of non-English words.

To put all this in perspective, I fondly remember a meeting I had with Mani, Eruch, and Bal at the Trust Office, several years after the publication of the 7 th ed. I cried as I related the years of anger, fears, frustrations, guilt, alienation from Baba and the Baba community I had experienced during and since the Discourses project-having tried to achieve a "perfect" edition. As we dried our tears, they laughed and reminded me that ego-bashing work for Baba never comes out perfectly: only Baba is Perfect. Then Mani insisted that I unload the whole painful experience on Baba's Tomb. I did so immediately, and though scarred, I'm much lighter of spirit. The reason for this article and my message to the Baba family is: Do not allow seeds of doubt to be planted in your minds and hearts about what is now TIlE edition of Baba's Discourses. I close with the final paragraph of the Foreword, but please note that Eruch and Bal had nothing to do with this article: The editors have taken great care to see that the meaning behind the words of Meher Baba in the text remained unchanged when making any revisions. All the efforts of the editors are offered to Meher Baba in surrenderance to His will and pleasure, and it is hoped that Meher Baba Himself will help each reader understand the meaning He wished to convey through His Discourses. The Editors Meherazad, India Eruch B. Jessawala, J. Flagg Kris, Bal Natu 1986

Continuity of Life by Avatar Meher Baba

T

he overwhelming importance of death is derived from man's attachment to particular forms. But death loses much of its sting and importance, even for the worldly, if one takes a broader view of the course of life. In spite of the transitoriness, there is an unbroken continuity of life through these forms-old ones being discarded and new ones being created for habitatin and expression. The recurring incidence of death is matched by the recurring incidence of birth. Old generations are replaced by new ones; life is reborn in new forms, incessantly renewing and refreshing itself. The streams of life, with their ancient origin, are ever advancing onward through the forms that come and go like the waves of the ocean. Discourses, 7th ed. pg. 302 Š 1987 AMBPPCT

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Easter at Meherabode

clockwise from above: Janani Lee, Danny Maguire & Josh Lee have fun painting the eggs. Janani helps hide the eggs. Danny Maguire wins first prize for the most inventively colored egg.

"Whenever people call Me I listen, but not so much as I do to children. Grown-up persons call Me a lot, they cry and they weep, but at times I remain as if I'm deaf. But if children call Me softly, I listen immediately to their sweet voices. My ears are very sharp to their call. Why is this so? Because I am so close to you and with you." -Avatar Meher Baba Letters From the Mandali, Vol. II, pp. 151-152 ed. Jim Mistry, 1983 Š AMBPPCT

38

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From the Love Street Bookstore

...continued from inside front cO'Ver Mehera and Mani take up half the book, and the remainder consists of one chapter each for the other eight mandali. Within these covers I believe you will find all you ever wanted to know about Mehera, Mani, Goher, Meheru, Katie, Arnavaz, Mansari, Rano, Korshed and Naja. The book is roughly 8 Y2 x 11, spiral bound, and has an attractive laminated cover featuring color photographs of each of the women mandali. The 180 pages are in clear type and photocopied on good white paper, and include a glossary, a detailed general index, and an index to the captions of the stories, anecdotes and comments by each of the women. The book is equivalent to around 400 pages of a normal paperback edition. $17 We had an advance of only five copies brought over from Australia for us, and they flew off the shelves as soon as I put them out; so alas, we have no cover to show you! However, we do have for you an excerpt of her story on Mani on page 28. Judith has previously written two little booklets entitled A Garland for Avatar Meher Baba vols. one and two. In them she tells of times with Mehera and how the beloved of the Beloved would show her love for Him in a thousand ways each day. They are beautifully produced booklets, each having a sumptuous color painting of Baba by Diana LePage on the cover. $4 each. any years ago Pascal Kaplan wrote a very informative little book called Understanding Death. It draws upon knowledge given by Baba and general research by Pascal. It can be a very comforting book to give friends who may not

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even believe in reincarnation, let alone Baba! If they are facing the death of a loved one, or even their own, this book will help them to be better prepared. Paperback, $5.

W

e had been out of Jamie Newell's tapes for a while now, but we have just received a large shipment. Seeing as he is the musical guest for the L.A. Sahavas, they will go fast there, but we will reserve some for our mail order customers. Jamie is our most prolific producer of Baba musical tapes and we stock five of them: I Dreamed I Saw My Savior, The Second Coming, Window To God, Zen and the Art of Blues, and Blues is My Business. All are $10 each.

A film that is often shown in the Pil.rl.grim Center is the beautiful Meher Baba in Italy. With a gentle classical music background and an easy-on-theear narration, it tells of the places in Italy visited by Baba. The cinematographer has so cleverly mixed today's footage of the breathtakingly beautiful Portofino and other locations in Italy with stills of Baba and His companions from the '30s that it flows seamlessly from one scene to the next. You are not really aware that you are not seeing live footage of Baba. The video is approximately 45 minutes. $35. e also have five new books to look forward to. Bal Natu has followed up his latest release, Samadhi, with Intimate Conversations with the Awakener. This completes the trilogy of the Conversations series. Sheriar tells us it will be out in time for Christmas. We also hear from Sheriar that the re-release date of Love Alone Prevails, Kitty Davy's great book, comes ever

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closer. .. perhaps by Christmas? Hermes tells us that Volumes XHII XIV of the great Lord Meher biography series could well be out by Christmas. It will have about 700 pages and over 150 photographs. Hopefully it will be available for the usual $80. Bill Stephens is on a roll! Last year's release, Footprints in the Sand, was a very popular book. Now Bill tells us that he is readying his next book for a Christmas release. More about it in the October issue. The book that I know will be the year's best seller is the Mani dream b00.K. Over the latter years of her life, Baba had sent her what she felt were ma;ay very profound dreams. She told them often in Mandali Hall, but as the end of her life with us was drawing to a close she made a heroic effort to put them all down for us in a book. She chose Wodin to illustrate these dreams-the artist who drew the delightfully whimsical sketches for her book, God-Brother. Wodin has been working on this project for almost two years, Sheriar Foundation is publishing it, and it will be ready by Christmas. It will be hard-bound with lavish full-color artwork; but beyond that, I have no details other than that the official title is Dreaming of The Beloved. Watch this column for details!

F

or the October issue I will be repeating last year's very successful listing of the Bookstore Best Sellers. This way you can make your choices for holiday gift giving and let us do the work for you. Looks like there will be a great new selection to 'choose from! That's it for now folks, hope to see a lot of you at the Sahavas. If not. ..see you in the Bookstore.

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OCTOBER -

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o£oveStreet £am

v4vatar ~eher fJJaba's flaB ;}rom ~eherabad ... to ~eherabode

DECEMBER 1998


Editor's Corner Jai Baba to you all. Andyet another one is called home...

A

ugust 5th, and Nana Kherwas granted his devout wish-to be reunited with his Beloved Master. We will miss your embrace N ana Kher, your "Welcome home," your gift of Baba's Prasad, and your leading of the Prayers, but we rejoice in your happiness. In the April issue I put out the call for help in the layout of this magazine - four wonderful women came forth with PageMaker expertise and said they would love to give it a try. Tom Hart is still the head guy, the one that giv~s your LampPost a smooth, seamless, and

professional appearance. Each ofthe women, Betty Lowman from Palo Alto,Cherie Plumlee from Walnut Creek, Babs Gildersleeve from Los Gatos (all in California) and Kathy Hill from Norfolk, VA, designed and did the layout for a number of articles. They then faxed the results to me for editing and proof reading and then sent the disks to Tom to do the grand over-all layout and to make sure they all flowed smoothly into one another. If you can't tell where one woman's work ends and the next one starts, then Tom has done his job perfectly! It would seem this is the way to do it in the future as we all seem to be finding increasingly fewer hours in the day! Noone person has the time to do it solo. David McNeely manfully put the July issue together alone and unaided. Thank you David, great job! (But I think I heard him mutter "Never again!")

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he main theme for our October issue is Sahavas-a word that has been explained in many different ways, but basically is 'the give and take oflove in the Master's company.'

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he peripatetic Bhau Kalchuri was on the move again this year, present at many ofthe Sahavases held across the country. Ifyou have heard only one ofBhau's talks, you will have heard "how infinitely active is our Beloved." The same might be said ofHis Nightwatchman! Bhau the Indefatigable! We have reports from some of the places he visited across the country where he was spreading the Word.

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he Love Street Bookstore tells us about the latest book from Mani, also six new videos released. Choose your Christmas presents from a great selection.

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e have an issue packed with interesting articles and new stories. You will find a fascinating historical account of the Stokes House on Grove Street in New York and also how the Discourses came to be printed in Hebrew, thanks to Ruth Carrie Ben Shammai. Enjoy the read! Dina Snow

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A publication of the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California

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£oveStreet Lamfl'ost'

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welcotne The £oveStred £amplbSi' is dedicated with love to A'vatar Meher Baba. Its primary purpose is to contribute to a sense of community among all His lovers by providing a place for sharing His remembrance. All the members of the Baba family are invited to contribute to this feast of Love. Your stories, photos, art work, poetry, letters, articles, and humor are all actively solicited. We seek expressions ofBaba's message of Love and Truth. Please submit your text on computer disks if possible (in any software format); typewritten copy on white paper is also acceptable. Be sure to clearly identifY all submissions and credit every quote or reference.

Silence Day at Meherabode with Bhau Kalchuri Reflections on Silence Day Why Meher Baba Observed Silence Muzika Welcome Home Nana Kher

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Heather Nadel

5

EruchJessawala

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Sam Saunders

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Various Contributors .:

Departing With Baba Sahavas

12

Meher Baba

13

Robert Dreyfus

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Terry Lucas and Roman Babiak

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Don Stevens

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Huma Alvarado and AnnaLena Phillips

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The 24th Los Angeles Sahavas A History of the L.A. Sahavas Toddy Shop My Favorite Sahavas Young Adult Sahavas at Meher Mount Wake Up Portland, Wake Up!

Betty Lowman

Major Fund- Raiser of the Year

submissions, subscriptions, donations: Love Street LampPost Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California 1214 South Van Ness Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90019-3520 213-731-3737 -orBababooks@ao1.com

10

Heather Nadel

19 20

Meherabode Center and Grounds

Linda Zavala

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Dreams, Reflections, and Hippopotomi A Visit to WODIN's Studio Kathryn Wiederhold Avatar's Abode, Australia {The40thAnniversary} Wedding Bells at Meher Mount

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Dina Snow

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Kendra Crossen Burroughs

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Ed Flanagan

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The House on Grove Street

Consumed in the Flame ofLove

deadlines:

The Story of Baba's Jewel, Carrie Ben Shammai ofJerusalem

for the January - March April - June July - September October - December

issue: issue: issue: issue:

November 8th February 8th May 8th August 8th

Love Street Bookstore: Dina Snow (at the addresses above) 310-837-6419 between 7 and 11prn 310-839-BABA (2222) 24 hour fax Bababooks@aol.com

Etzion Becker

The Living Witness Series {Mehera, Mani}

Wendell Brustman

Mehera, Meher Baba's Beloved

Terry Zagrodnick

Souls On Fire Beautiful Souls in Ugly Cages

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31 . 32

Lani Jones

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as told by Phyllis Ott

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InsideJobs: Stories For Adults and Other Kids

credits: editor: Dina Snow design and layout: Betty Lowman, Barbara Gildersleeve, Cherie Plumlee, Kathy Hill, Dina Snow, Thomas Hart distribution: Chris Lyttle

£amplbSi'

The £oveStreet is published quarterly, in January, April, July, and October. All contents © 1996 Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. All quotations, photos, or books, ofAvatar Meher Baba, © AMBPPCT, India

Kendra Crossen Burroughs

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Editor's Corner

Dina Snow

2

Step ,]"side... 7he Love Stred 7Jookstore

Dina Snow

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Humor for Huma {Children Speak to God}

various contributors

42

Announcements

various contributors

46

Notes From The Internet

various contributors

46

/1/1 words, images, andgraphics in this puhlication are property o/the copyright holders and/or the con!7·i!7lItors. Messages alldphotos ifMeher Baha ©/lvtltar Meher Baba Perpetual PuMic Charitable

Trust, /I hl1lednagar,Iudia, and © Lawrence Reiter. Unauthorized duplication is prohibitedby law.


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Silence Day at Meherabode with Bhau Kalchuri

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ventually we will have a flag pole in the ground as they do at Avatar's Abode (cost prohibits it at the moment.) As an interim measure it is at the entrance and for the "Official Flag Raising" we had Bhau climb a step ladder and place it in the holder. A large crowd was on hand and all was accomplished joyfully and silently. Movies were shown all evening until midnight when, with Bhau present, all erupted in: /ivatar Meher Baba ki ]ai !" I

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our JJutla /wndy o/Los 7/n<J<,I<,s and lI<1artly. /rom y'Jur 7lre!l<!raz.ad 1~lI1dy. 90her and 7lr,,!l<!ru

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ilence Day - 10th of]uly and Bhau was still in town with us. What better day to celebrate and raise the Beloved's Flag. Kathy Williams and her husband Gus had been the happy recipients and carriers of the flag given to us by the women mandali. It was accompanied by this letter which we have framed and which hangs beside the flag when it is inside (see photo on back cover.)

Leaving the Domf after silent prayers.

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4

This flag was flown on Meherabad Hill on the following occasions:

Silence Day 1996 Mani's Interment September, 1996 Amatithi 1997 Baba's Birthday 1997 Mani's Day First Anniversary 1997 Mehera's Birthday

Part qf the assembled crowd holding theframed letterfrom the Mandali.

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Reflections on

Silence Day

by Heather Nadel, Meherazad

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na quiet part oflower Meherabad, there's a little one-room hut in the shade ofa huge banyan tree. The sign over the door says, "The Jhopdi," and it is where Beloved Meher Baba started His Silence. A video ofPadri springs to mind whenever I think abou t the Jhopdi. He is standing in front ofit, bristling with life, tall and thin, and with a long bony finger he dramatically indicates the little room. "On the night of9th July, 1925, Meher Baba went into this hut speaking, and on the morning of the 10th He came out silent." In his person Padri still carried the discipline, the alertness, the emphasis on obedience that stemmed from that early time when Baba started His Silence. Seventy three years later, it is Silence Day 1998, and to the Jhopdi have come a stream ofpilgrims, including the women mandali from Meherazad. They drive up in the big blue DeSoto, and slowly get out of the car, approach the open door, bow down. Inside, theirs are the first roses to adorn Baba's picture, from which He looks out upon the scene, fiery and ineffably sweet, the photo being one of Him taken around 1925. The only sound is from the 7-colored flag on a pole outside, flapping in the mild wind. The ladies move over to the Table House, the big table-cum-room where in those intense early days Baba sat in seclusion writing His missing Book. They bend to take darshan and offer roses at the little door, and when Dr. Goher straightens up, she beams a dazzling smile upon us all, 1000 watts at least, especially stunning coming from the frail little person who was unable to walk without help only 4 months ago. The others also emerge, Goher and Meheru tie a huge garland to the table, and pilgrims stream into the Jhopdi one by one for darshan. As the ladies drive off in silence, with gestures and smiles, waved offby the crowd, I

remember Mehera on Silence Day, bowing to the Table House. Her total absorption and deep reverence was very moving, and I would wonder what she was thinking, what she was remembering from those years that she spoke of so often: when she was young and new with Him, and He was speaking, fierce, strict, incredibly active, so vividly the Master - the Jhopdi portrait come alive. And I remember the suffering that would steal over her face on Silence Day, in between her gracious gestures... a look that startled me the first time I saw it. Over time I came to know, because she would say it often, that to Mehera who loved Baba as God-Man, His Silence was suffering. She made one think of what it must have been like for Him to know that He would never laugh aloud again, never sing, never again voice ajoke, an instant repartee, or shout a reprimand, or converse naturally. And thinking ofHis suffering she would then speak ofHim in His later years, after the accidents, when He was unable to walk easily, sitting in one place for hours in the heat of summer, unable to voice a wish or complaint, or call out or even whisper, and all the while taking upon Himselfthe burden of the world for love's sake. In 1998, 700 silent pilgrims bowed down at the little hut under the banyan and at the Table House. From the books theywere reading, in the thoughts they were thinking, perhaps some recalled as I did, what Baba had said:

"When the Word

ofMy Love breaks out

ofits Silence and speaks in your hearts, telling you who I really am, then you will know that that is the Real'Word you have been always longing

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to hear. "


"Notes From The Internet" Continued from page 30.

Actually, for about 3 months now, I have been hearing stories of wolf sightings at Meherabad, but I thought people were joking. However, Erico told me he had seen wolves 3 times in the last month... big, long ears, dark grey with black fluffy tails, and quite scrawny. He even said that one day, while riding out west of the Samadhi, he came upon a small village shepherdess who was crying. She said the "langa" (wolf) had just come, scooped up a small goat and carried it off in it's mouth. I wonder whether the prohibition against feeding stray dogs also applies to wolves? July 26th, Rain, rain, and more rain! The mangoes are over and apples have started coming into the market, the season is now well into the Monsoon. Last night we got the heaviest rain of the year so far, my guage, which goes upto 4.5 inches, overflowed in a 12 hour period. There are mini-ponds everywhere, and it is still threatening to rain more. It hasn't been a good month for solar energy, but the land is about as green as I've ever seen it. The total rain for the year, sinceJune 1, is about 13 inches, and we are definitely expecting more. This is about double what we had last year at the same point in time, and we ended May with around 24 inches total, pretty good for Meherabad. I think the record rainfall I have seen here in the last 27 years is somewhere around 36 inches, and that was about 15 years ago, when all the pump rooms in the open wells became flooded, and some people even began to say "enough!" Maybe all ofthe tree planting has finally started affecting our climate, or maybe it's just El Nino, but whatever it is, it's certainly welcome. This may be the only time of year when the weather here is cooler than most of America, 74 F as I write, almost perfect. Everyone's health is more or less 0 K, except for Nana Kher, who has been hospitalized with pneumonia and some kind ofheart trouble. The Indian number offoreign pilgrims here remains moderate; there's plenty ofspace at the Pilgrim Center and the rupee is 42.60 per dol-

Why Meher Baba Observed Silence by Eruch Jessawala

W

e would often question Meher Baba about His long silence, asking Him when He intended to break it and one day in 1954 in answer, He just dropped His alphabet board and said, "From now on I will not use the board." We thought this was a hint that He might be about to break His silence but the days passed without incident except that He then started to communicate by using finger gestures. All He would say, referring to His silence, was, "What a binding it is" but it was a binding with a purpose-for our sake. However, one lasting benefit which developed out of this, came one day when He asked us this question: "Why do people shout at one another when they are angry?" We said, "They shout because they are angry and they want to express their anger," and Baba responded, "Yes, they can express their anger that way, but even ifsomeone is seated at their side they will shout at that person. Could they not speak softly?"We volunteered different explanations, saying different things which came to mind at the time, but our answers did not satisfy Baba. So He gave us the answer. "When a person is angry with another person," He said, "that person is far removed from his heart and distance is created between them. That's why the physical reaction is to shout, and the greater the distance, the greater is the shouting. Love disappears and one goes on shouting at the other who in turn barks

back at him. Then he barks and so it goes on and on." But Baba did not stop there as He doubtlessly wanted us to see the same thing from a different angle. So He continued, "Now take the other case of two people in love. When two individuals are in love with each other, how do they speak?" "They speak softly," we answered. "Yes," Baba agreed, "they do speak softly and the greater the love between them, the softer is their tone ofspeech. And when they are still further in love, no words are needed and they just look at each other, and eventually there is not even the need to look-no need at all." Well, that is the reason why Meher Baba observed silence. There was no need for an exchange ofwords. It was very good to hear that, to be reminded that He was so very close to us; as He has said, "I am closer to you than your very breath." Whether the world accepted His closeness or not was immaterial to Him for whom there was no need to speak, and it was so true that whenever people came in contact with Him, although there was an exchange of signs or words through interpretations, Meher Baba always spoke directly to the hearts of people. There is no doubt at all about that, He simply reached deep into their hearts.

ommended! We have three-the ones of Mehera, Agnes Baron and Irene Billo. The Mehera tape is lovely, with a very touching scene in Baba's Room at Meherazad. It's also nice to see beautiful Mehera and all the pretty ladies on the porch admiring her with such love-filled glances. Agnes telling the story of Meher Mount (and gently making fun ofJean Adriel) is a pure delight. Irene Billo ofSwitzerland was areal treat. I was curious about her, as I recalled how she became catatonic in India and had to be cared for (by Margaret Craske, I believe). However,

she does not mention this episode in the video. Yet it is very fascinating, since she is extremely articulate and speaks English very well, and has plenty to say, not only stories but also words of wisdom and inspiration. Plus there's an adorable shot ofIrene making her dog wave into the camera!

The Ancient One, pp. 101-102, Copyright 1985, N aosherwan Anzar.

0

m It's a good time to come.

Video Review from Kendra The new Witness Series videos (from Wendell Brustman) that we got are higWy rec-

Kendra Crossen Burroughs Meher Mount, Ojai, CA Visit the Meher Mount homepage at http://members.tripod.coml ~ Ezad/index.htrnl

Continued

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page 9.


Step inside...

7he 'cove Stred rnookstore by Dina Snow

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hink Christmas! I know this is only October but now is the time to start thinking of all the Baba lovers to whom you would like to give a special Baba gift. And this is the right place to choose those gifts! Last year we started something special that proved to be very popular with you allsomething to make your gifts more beautiful and your gift giving even easier: for an extra $3 we will gift wrap your purchases in very special Christmas or Chanukah paper, bows included. Cherie Plumlee designed a Baba Christmas card, which for $3 (the regular price of all her photo cards) we can add to your gift. You can also purchase them outright to send to your very best Baba friends. See" the inside back cover for the photos. So here follows the top all time favorites. I'm sure you will be able to find something for everyone on your list amongst the following selections! We have six new videotapes and 4 new books-the overwhelming favorite ofwhich is Dreaming ofthe Beloved by Mani. I would think this book will be at the top of everyone's list. These are the dreams that Baba sent Mani in her later years, important dreams, profound dreams. In our last issue, Heather Nadel told us the story ofhow she and Mani and Sheriar Foundation, Wodin and many others made sure that this book would happen. Well it finally has and what a thing of beauty it is! Hard bound, 80 pages, twenty four double page spreads, full color art creations by the artist

Mani chose to do this work-Wodin. The size of the book is 8.5 x 10.5 inches and the unbelievable price is $22. You read it right! $22. There will be an enormous scramble to get this book so get your orders in early. Wendell Brustman has released the first four videos in The Witness Series. There will be many more to follow-see the story on page 31. We have been given the linchpin of the series Meher Baba Lord and Friend, being an hourlongtalkwithMehera. $54.95.

AllThisandHeavenToo, a talk with Mani as she remembers her childhood with Baba is priced at $49.95. The Beloved's Watchdog Agnes Baron remembers Meher Baba, $38.95. Living With God is Irene Billo's tales of her life in Baba's Ashram, also $38.95.

All these videos run about an hour and" are beautifully and very professionally produced. If four new videos are good how about two more?! Many of you may have seen the beautiful film ofMeher Baba in Italy (shown at the Pilgrim Center and Myrtle Beach). We told you about it in our last issue. I t skillfully combines present day black and white footage of all the places Baba visited in the '30's with the still photos taken at the time and a very complete and informative voice over. I t is now available in video format for $35. The latest release from Meher Prasad (the company responsible for almost all our Baba videos) is entitled Mehera, Meher Babci's Beloved. See the review on page X. This tape runs 42 minutes and sells for $39.95. The best-selling video released this year was undoubtedly Beyond Words. Produced by Sheriar Foundation from the 1967 documentary shot by professional fib;n maker Louis Van Gasteren. It is breathtaking (and indeed, beyond words!) in the immediacy of the footage. Short of being in His presence, this is the next best thing! The quality of the 35mm film is unlike anything we have ever previously seen ofBaba. Worth buying a VCR just to view it! 28 minutes, $52. A video that has been out for a few years now but is still one ofour best sellers is Eternal Beloved. Produced by Meher Prasad, it


has a run time of40 minutes and some fabulous footage ofBaba that has been color corrected and sharpened to the point where the quality is just about equal with the recently fumed interviews with Mani, Goher, and the other mandali who tell us what Baba was doing and where He was in the preceding frames. Very well worth the $50! Bill Stephens has given us the follow up to his Footprints in the Sand This one is titled Souls on Fire. Paperback, $12. See the review on page 33 for details. Bal Natu has written the third in the trilogy ofhis Conversations with the Awakener. This one is titled Intimate Conversations and is in the same format as the previous two. $12. Lives ofLove, the stories about all the women mandali, is written by Australian Judith Garbett from over 30 (accumulative) years spent in their company. It was hugely popular when I brought it back with me from Avatar's Abode and sold out almost immediately. We now have a second shipment in. Large format, $17. If you, along with Baba, feel that Francis Brabazon is one great poet, you will really enjQY The Water Carrier. It is written by Robert Rouse, who was one of the original builders ofthe Abode, and whom Baba asked, along with his wife Lorna, to stay on the property and caretake. He has spent many years in the company of Francis. Excerpts have appeared from time to time in the Meher Baba Australia newsletter, but now, hot off the press is the paperback, along with some definitely archival photographs! Robert calls it a mosaic of Francis, and it is a fascinating insight into the workings of the mind of Francis Brabazon. Paperback, 86 pages, $12. The third book I brought back with me from Australia is a coloring book for older children and adults who still love to pick up the colored pencils and color in-especially when it is The Beloved's face you are working (playing?) on. These are excellent 9x12 portraits of Baba that Claire Mataira has done for the cover of the Aussie newsletter Meher BabaAustralia. Surrounding the portrait are all sorts offlowers, trees, animals etc. that make it a delightful pastime to color in. They are in a writing pad format, 15 in all, so after coloring each picture you can tear it offand put on the refrigerator, laminate it, frame it, or whatever. Aussie's coloring book, $5.50 each. At this writing Hermes tells me that Volume 13/14 of the LordMeher Series will be

available by Christmas. I do have all the others as well. Vols. 3,4, and 5 are the only single editions left and are priced at $45. All the rest are 2 volumes combined for $80. Call me for details. Two books that were released this year to great acclaim were from EliNor publicationsLetters of Love and Norina s Gift. Both are hardbound, the former, $25 and the latter $20. Letters ofLove are not just the letters to and fromJane Haynes, Baba and the mandali, but also a lot of information about Elizabeth Patterson and the founding ofMeher Spiritual Center at Myrtle Beach. Norina's Gift is a re-publication ofthe long out ofprint Fragments From A Spiritual Diary and Forty Spiritual Messages. Charles Haynes and Christopher Wilson have uncovered some great archival photographs ofPrincess Norina Matchabelli and combined them with a comprehensive biography, tracing the development ofher life and work, from world renowned actress and fum star, to co-founder of the famous perfumery, to disciple ofMeher Baba. A must for every artist is the wonderful book In Quest ofthe Face ofGod . It is written by Lyn Ott and is filled with full color reproductions of many of his finest works. Large format, hard cover, $30. Danny Ladinsky's two renderings of the works ofHafez still continue to be great sellers. (Also doing very well in the commercial bookstores across the country!) They would also make a wonderful gift for non Baba lovers, simply choose which you think your friend might be most interested in-humor or love. The first one is I Heard God Laughing, $14 and the second The Subject Tonight is Love, $10. They are both absolutely delightful yet profound reading. A book that is only available in India or The Love Street Bookstore is Much Love by T.K. Ramanujam. Ifyou can orily afford one book about Meher Baba this is the one to get. It is incredibly comprehensive: the index alone covers eight pages. Part 1 contains a chronological listing of the events in the life of the Avatar from birth to death; Parts 2- 7 cover all His important messages and declarations, prayers, songs and on and on. Apart from making good reading, having it all under one cover makes it an excellent reference work. It is hardbound, 6 x 9 with 606 pages, and sells for $20. The best selling book in our Bookstore, up until now, has been the autobiography of

Arnavaz Dadachanji, Gift ofGod (excluding, of course, God Speaks and Discourses). It is a very intimate accounting ofher life with Baba and her struggles to abide by His wishes at all times. Paperback, 242 pages, with numerous photographs, $18. Another 'must have' is that wonderful collection of Baba stories from Eruch. If a trip to India is not on your horizon, purchase Thats How it Was and be transported to Mandali Hall, sitting comfortably, listening to Eruch speak of his life in the service of the Beloved. This book is a compilation of 2 other long-out-of-print books plus a whole new set of tales ofadventures with the Master. Hardbound $25, paperback $15, 412 pages. Delving into the musical realm we have the incredibly popular, runaway best-selling CD by Marc DeMatteis-How Many Lifetimes ?Words, music, melodies, instrumentations, it has it all-ballads, gentle sweet numbers, and rousing rock 'n' roll. Christmas special only $12! There is also the double CD from Raphael Rudd TheAwakening. One of the CD's is a re-release of Skydancerwhich contains the exquisitely sung Gujerati Arti by Jane Brown. The other disc in the set is a selection ofsongs and instrumentals Raphael recorded in the late '70's with Pete Townshend and a pick up drummer name ofPhil Collins! $20 is a fabulous deal for two CD's! Relentless Love is a tape (no CD unfortunately) by the incomparable Jim Meyer. It has been around for a few years now, still his latest release though, so ifyou don't already own it, this tape comes higWy recommended. $12. Song ofHuma, VOlume 2 is another best seller. For those of you unfamiliar with this beautiful tape, it was produced by Elaine Cox who took top recording equipment to India and recorded the women Mandali singing the ghazals that Baba had written under the pen name ofHuma in the early '20's. As the women were singing a capella, Elaine then had the recordings beautifully accompanied by some very Indian sounding flutes, tablas and synthesizers. Before each song Elaine reads the English translation so we get the full beauty of the piece. The words are all written on the inside of the jay card, and at over an hour of superb Baba music, $12 is a very reasonable pnce. The tape My Heart is Calling You is also very popular. This is a collection of the songs


t Mani wrote for her Beloved Brother. She is singing and accompanying herselfon sitar on a number of them. The others are sung by people in India at the time-including the Twins singing the song Be Be Be With Baba that Mani wrote specifically for them. $10. Baba Bolio is a tape made quite a few years ago with some great singing and playing from Deborah Ashe and Michael Campagna. The original 1000 album pressing has long since been sold out, but at last it has been re released! $12. The two CD's that are the hot sellers in the Bookstore now are from Muzika-the "Wonder from Down Under" led by Sam Saunders. (See box) It's hard to pick a favourite between A Box ofDreams and The Street ofBarefoot Lovers. The group was singing songs from both albums during the Anniversary celebration, so I got to know many ofthem, but through continual playing upon my return to L.A. I have now formed firm favourites. Top ranking are the ghazals by Francis! You can't go wrong with either CD. $15 each. We have four very talented ladies who create the most beautiful cards for us. Margo Watson and Cherie Plumlee take black and white photos ofBaba, and electronically scan them, color them and place them with a new background-usually a gorgeous field offlowers, or a desert (when Baba was dressed as Mohammed), the barren hills ofCalifornia, or in a sylvan glen, among many other scenes. Whichever way they do it, they look exquisite. Carolyn Parker takes a photo of Baba, places live flowers on it around His face, or a headband, or a garland and photographs the result, to great effect. Diana LePage paints wonderful portraits of Baba. All these cards are glossy photographs on good quality card stock with matching envelopes-$3 each. You could always tell me ofa particular photo ofBaba you are looking for, or failing specifics, what years you liked Him best. That may sound funny, but some people feel that He speaks to them most in His middle years, or, conversely when He was young and fiery, so just ask us abou t what we have in stock. Another item that has to be on everybody's list is the calendar. It's time to order your Avatar Meher Baba Calendars for 1999. It is something everyone wants and needs, to start the year off right and keep it going all year long, because each time you look at it you see

the beautiful face ofBaba looking back at you, read His inspiring words and see just what in the Baba world transpired on what particular day, especially your birthday! See the add on page 22. Christina Arazmo, the very talented Floridian who creates these works of art for us each year has been able to hold the price at $8, a very low price for such a beautiful item. If you buy 5, you get them for $7 each. Any profit from the production of these calendars goes to the Trust. So that's it from the Bookstore. I hope we have helped you decide what you would like to put on your Christmas wish list and given you plenty ofideas to bringjoy to your friends. And that is what I wish for you all. In His love, Dina

''Notes From The Internet" Continudfrom page 6.

Another from Jamie Newell The new video of Mehera, Meher Baba's Beloved by Meher Prasad, is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Beautiful footage of Mehera describing the first time she saw Baba, beautiful still photos of Mehera and Baba, and a wonderfully heartfelt narration by Mehera's niece, and fellow Mandali, Meheru. This is must viewing for those who have never been with Mehera, and a heart tugging joy for those who wish to renew old memories ofbeing with Mehera on the porch, or at "Mehera's Tea." Words cannot describe how wonderful this video is. P. S. (I swear I'm not just saying this because I have a song in the sound track!)

And from Joe Stewart Wonderful video. She is purity personified. This video will bring fond memories to many. For new people coming to Baba the video provides a wonderful insight as to who Mehera was and the role she played in this Avataric age. Continued on page: 13.

Muzika by Sam Saunders Qyeensland, Australia

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uzika has been performing for about 8 years. Originally a South American style band, I decided it was time to become more diverse when a lot of similar but authentic bands started up in Brisbane. But my love for this music is apparent in the instrumentals. The River ofDust: I had been listening to Mrican guitar music and was moved by the rhythm and simplicity. One day, in a state of non-inspiration, I went to Francis' (Brabazon) grave on Avatar's Abode to sit and muse. An idea shot up within me about setting this ghazal to dance music (one of the greatest thrills for a musician is to see people dancing to the music) and I immediately sought out the African feel that I had heard. I already had a basic melody for the ghazal so setting the tune to the rhythm came easily. I laughed at the thought ofFrancis hearing the end result. A Box ofDreams: What a beautiful ghazal! It started off as countrylblues but I pushed it too into the Mrican zone. The OmarKhayyam Suite: This is my mid-life crisis. 'LifeJust Flies' is an adaptation from a couple of translations and worked so well I added another two pieces and made a suite. I think 'Outside The Tavern 'with the kena (Peruvian flute) solo is my favourite. Someone to Wash OverMe: People kept asking "Is this the Gershwin tune?"-I said no. And I was right! About a man seeking the ocean of love. In This World: Starting offwith a counterpoint choral style it launches into a frenzied dance. Shiva's dance. The Street ofBarefoot Lovers: Francis wrote this ghazal after reading a book of that title... about life, love, and poverty in a Mexican plaza. Again the west coast Mrican guitar predominates. In My Heart (In My Soul): Words are adapted from Francis and has an overall South American feel.


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Nana Kher Postings to the Avatar Meher Baba Listserv ding a fond good-bye to our dear brother Nana Kher. Avatar Meher Baba ki Jail Eruch and Meherazad Mandali

From the Mandali

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eloved Avatar Meher Baba's greeting of"Welcome Home!" was received with joy by ana G. Kher, on 5 August, 1998. ana Kher was a longtime lover of Beloved A atar Meher Baba and custodian of Beloved Baba's Samadhi at Meherabad. Our dear N ana Kher is indeed blessed to have won his race into the waiting arms of his Beloved Lord and Master, Avatar Meher Baba. Dear ana's one-pointed devotion and service in the Cause of his Lord is a unique example to the Baba world; an eyeopener for every Baba lover who strives to live a dedicated life in the Cause of Beloved Avatar Meher Baba. All Meherazad and Meherabad men and women mandali, residents and pilgrims from around the world join us in bid-

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n Wednesday afternoon, about 6:30 pm, Nana Kher, Meherabad resident, longtime prasadi at Meher Baba's Samadhi, long-time Baba lover, and formerly a long-time hugger, went to Baba. I suppose there will be someone up there to tell him "Welcome Home," as he told so many of us over the years as we returned to Baba's tomb. N ana, as we all called him, had come to Baba before Baba's New Life phase, and when Baba dropped the body, he was one of the immediate crowd that gathered in early February of 1969. At that time, it was decided that there should be someone at the Samadhi continously while it was open, and N ana was selected to perform that role. In the early years it was only Nana, Mansari, and Jangli Master who sat at the Samadhi, handing out prasad, with the largest share of time, by far, going to ana.

A friend of ours heard someone in Mandali Hall say to Eruch, "You know Eruch, Nana Kher is the best hugger. I think he may even be better than you!" To which Eruch replied, ':Ah, but he's a professional!"

Nana had been in failing health for the last few years, his illness and old age gradually consuming more and more of his energy, but he still regularly attended evening Arti, handing out prasad, until the end. He will be remembered by all of us for his loving greetings and wonderful Baba stories, which he used to tell in the library on top of the Hill just before Arti. He is another wicket gone in a field that now contains only a few. In His Love, Jai Baba, James Cox, Meherabad

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oone could ever welcome me home with the loving tenderness, and the sweet up-turn of his voice, that N ana could. He will be very much missed by many. I remember being told that, when ana first met Baba, Baba asked him if he could obey Him. Nana said, "Yes, Baba!" Baba replied, "would you walk through the city streets naked if I asked you?" Nana immediately stood up and started removing his clothes. Baba gestured to him to sit down and said "I am very short of money right now, I want you to go into town and rob the Bank of India, can you do it?" ana said "Yes, Baba!" and headed out the door to accomplish the task. Baba was very pleased with Nana Kher's obedience and He called him back and embraced him. N ana has been with Meher Baba ever since. Jai Baba, Jamie Newell, Nashville, Tennessee

Jai Baba, Jamie Newell

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ai Meher Baba! Nana Kher passed away tonight. His funeral pyre will be lit tomorrow, Thursday the 6th ofAugust, at 9:45AM. He was the prasad giver at Baba's Tomb since 1969. When one would come up for Baba's darshan, he would say to them, "WELCOME HOME!" And when Arti was over, he would say, "TIME TO DEPART WITH BABA!" He passed out prasad until he passed out in his room about 2 weeks ago. He was taken to a hospital, where he ultimately died. When it came to be known that Nana collapsed during the night, a few weeks ago, our doctor went to see him, and asked him how he was. Nana said, "I am not this body, I am not this mind." I just came back a couple of minutes ago from Mandali Hall at Meherabad where N ana is lying in state. He is definitely not that BODY! With love and care, Gary Kleiner, Meherabad

J\ Meherabad style leader with his scarf .t"1.arrangements-sometimes wound as a turban, sometimes as a sort of cagoul. But what I always think of with Nana Kher is that moment he held us in at the Samadhi, before starting to say the Parvardigar. There was always that moment. Gathering all the threads of attention. All of us hanging on the moment when he would start speaking the words of the prayer. An ephemeral silence at the start and at the end of each day. One evening I left my tote bag up there. Careless! In the bag I had passport, travel documents, etc. I remembered I'd left it up there when I was in the dining room. Couldn't go back on my own at that time of night. Had to ask someone else to go with me. Really embarrassing because it was supper time, and I'd done it again! Cecily from Australia accompanied me back up the hill. As we approached the Samadhi, N ana Kher saw us, two figures in the darkness, and called out, "What have you lost?" I jokingly called back, "My head!" And his voice hollered back, "Good!" He'd found the bag and locked it up in the tomb for safety! It never left my side for the rest of my

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"He is another journey from India to Australia, on to the USA and home to England. Loving thoughts to N ana Kher on his journey back home. Jai Beloved Baba, Sarah McNeill, England

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Departing With Baba by Heather

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f you were one of those who walked up Meherabad Hill for the first time in the 1970's, '80's, or early '90's, most probably you were greeted at the entrance ofBeloved Baba's Samadhi with "Welcome Home" and a loving embrace from Nana Kher. On 5th August 1998, ana passed away at the age of 80 in Ahmednagar, after 57 years of close connection with Avatar Meher Baba. He is most remembered for his service as the main attendant at the Samadhi for over 20 years. When advancing age and poor health dictated his retirement from that position, Nana continued to serve on the-Hill as Librarian, and up until his fmal hospitalization he led the evening Arti. (Second in popularity to "Welcome Home" was ana's closure for the Arti "Time to depart with Baba," immortalized by Bob Brown in song.) Nana's brother Vinod recently filled us in on ana's lifestory. He was born in 1918, into a well-educated family, the third of three brothers and five sisters. As a child, N ana's first exposure to spirituality came from his maternal uncle, with whom the children and their mother often stayed, as ana's father, a judge, was continually transferred from place to place. Every day this uncle would speak to the children about spiritual things, telling them stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, tales of the Perfect Masters, and so on. They would also go with their mother for Tajuddin Baba's darshan, in the company of their elder uncle who was a devotee ofTajuddin Baba.

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(A fascinating aside as they grew older, this elder uncle continued to visit the family, and would share stories and teachings ofTajuddin Baba with the boys. Once Nana asked him how he could follow a Muslim when he was

Nona Kher with Ma lisari.

an orthodox Hindu, and his gods were Ram and Krishna. The uncle replied that he had asked Tajuddin Baba this very thing, "How can we believe in a Muslim Master when we are followers of Ram and Krishna?"Tajuddin Baba Himselfhad told him, "Koran Sharifme

Ram aur Krishnaka jikra Rahim aur Karim karke haiy", which means, "Ram and Krishna are mentioned in the Holy Koran as Rahim and Karim, prophets from an earlier time.") Mter their schooling in Nagpur, their father sen t the boys to Buldana along with their uncle, to the home of a cousin. This cousin, a Sanskrit scholar, happened to be a disciple ofUpasni Maharaj, and he caused alot of turmoil in the family soon after by leaving his job and joining Maharaj's ashram. This was very scandalous among their community, as there was alot of controversy surrounding Maharaj in those days, and Nana's father went to try to bring him back, but to no avail. ana grew up and went to Morris College in agpur, where in 1940-41, he took a philosophy course taught by Dr. C. D. Deshmukh, editor of Baba's Discourses. Dr. Deshmukh had included Baba's teachings under Indian philosophy and thus was Nana introduced to his marvelous destiny. He and his brother Vinod, under Dr. Deshmukh's tutelage, read The Discourses, Avatar, and some Baba magazines, and rapidly became Baba-Iovers. ana first met Baba in Ahmednagar. ana had finished college, earning a B.A. degree, and he was stationed in Poona for service in the military accounts department during the war. Dr. Deshmukh gave him Eruch's address, and soon after Eruch invited ana to his wedding in Ahmednagar, at which Baba was to be present. After meeting Baba, Nana became more deeply devoted to Him than ever, and

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used to sing Baba's bhajans (devotional songs) constantly. The effect of this on his neighbors was striking when his brother Vinod went to visit Nana in his lodgings, he found the neighbors saying "Meher Baba ki Jai!" every time Nana stepped out ofhis room! At the end of the war, with his military service over, Nana went back to Nagpur and started a shop. With Baba's picture hanging in a prominent place, and N ana talking about Baba to everyone who came in, it became a mini- Baba center and gathering place for Baba-Iovers, such as Babadas, who would come to the shop and speak to people about Baba. This was the beginning ofthe N agpur Babagroup. When Baba came to Nagpur in 1944, all Nana's family had Baba's darshan and became devoted to Him. Thereafter Baba would often call N ana to be with Him during darshan programs in different places. Nana, of course, wanted to join Baba permanently. But knowing this, his father wrote to Baba, asking Him to please allow Nana to stay at home with his parents and look after them. Baba granted the father's request, ordering Nana to stay in Nagpur, care for his parents, and do Baba's work. From then on, with several other close Baba-Iovers from Nagpur, Nana spread Baba's Name and message, held Baba meetings, and remained in close touch with Baba through Eruch and later Bhau, seeing Baba from time to time. Fortunately for Nana, each summer his brother Vinod would come home from college and stay with their parents. Nana would then be called by Baba to stay with Him for three months at Guruprasad. Dr. Goher recalls that in 1968, during Baba's seclusion in Guruprasad, He would have Nana and Bal N atu come to His room after He retired each evening and sing a long song/chant (Nave Manache Sholka) in Marathi, telling ofBaba's life-story and philosophy. This sholka, written by Dr. Anna Despande, was much liked by Baba, and Nana continued to sing a part ofit every day for the rest of his life. As fate would have it, one month before Beloved Baba dropped His body, Nana's father passed away, leaving N ana free to come to Baba. Which he did, in April/May 1969, to serve at Meherabad as the main attendant at Baba's Samadhi.

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o it was that Nana came to spend the latter years ofhis life in his Beloved's service at Meherabad. After he passed away,

those who knew him lovingly recalled the steadfastness of N ana's love and service for Baba, and the rare and beautiful simplicity of his life of total dedication to Him. As he lay in state before Baba's chair in the Meherabad Hall, surrounded by family and friends, songs and flowers, his serene smile seemed to bear witness to his great fortune. And it was easy to imagine beloved Avatar Meher Baba opening His arms and welcoming Nana Home. Avatar Meher Baba kiJai! Heather Nadel in correspondence for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, August 1998.

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"Notes From The Internet" contil1ued.from page 9.

Stephan Pietrowski tells us of Wisdom from a tea bag "Poise is the act ofraising the eyebrows rather than the roif."

Meher Baba Wrote "...Again, what is spiri tuali ty? Poise, perfect poise. Make the most of every situation. He who upsets no one is a good man. He who is upset by no one is a God-Man!" Lord Meher, Vol. Seven & Eight, Bhau Kalchuri, p. 2544

Eric of Oslo [Every day Eric Solibakke ofOslo Norwayposts a quotefrom Baba. He never injects anythingpersonal, just lets Baba's words stand on their own. Autumn Henry of Califtrnia posted a well deser路vedthankyou asftllows.] Dear Eric, How can we ever thank you for all that you do for the Baba group? I was so touched by this Mani story. And how kind ofyou to be so timely with it. What a gift you are to this group I don't know what we would do without your constant stability and oh so appropriate choices. I often think you are like a psychic painter with just the right color at just the right place...

Sahavas I want each ofyou to come with the longing to receive My Sahavas. I want this Sahavas to be above all a close companionship between your Beloved and His lovers... Come with the preparedness to receive fully whatever I may gzve you. Be ready to step into the intimacy of Sahavas. There you willfind the treasure complete... He who approaches Me with a heart full of love has My Sahavas. Meher Baba


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The 24th Los Angeles Sahavas by Robert Dreyfus, California

Rohert Dreyfus giving his wod'shop

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t took place at Pilgrim Pines from July 2nd to the 5tho It was a marvelous Baba-full, fun-filled four days basking in His love.The guest speakers were the inimitable B1)au Kalchuri, Robert Dreyfuss, Jamie Newell, and Pratap Ahir from Pune. - While the main presentations were occurring, the ever-thoughtful LA staff provided concurrent activities for the Meher Miniatures and for the younger ones as well. Every detail was attended to, giving us the affirmation that only Baba working through all

Pratap Amir's workshop 'neath the trees.

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The Love Street Bookstore.

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Silence Day experiences.

could have prepared such a feast for the heart, while the Love Street Bookstore provided loving delights for all the intellect could desire. Bhau spoke each day, discoursing on ways of increasing our love for Beloved Baba, sparkling with anecdotes of his life with Him, and deftly folding in stories illustrating how we may more attentively serve Him when and as opportunities are presented to us. On Thursday evening, Robert, Jamie and Pratap took turns sharing some themes of their life with Him. Jamie in song, Pratap about his first learning of Baba, and Robert regaling the audience with mandali anecdotes. As people continued to arrive throughout the day and evening, there were heartfelt hugs, cries of"Jai Baba!" and endless cups of delicious toddy shop chai. Friday dawned with Arti, followed by a hearty breakfast. Pratap movingly told ofhow he first met Baba on October 16, 1950, when He stepped out of the New life and into the Old Life for one day to meet with His lovers at Mahabaleshwar. Pratap, an accomplished musician, became an active member of the Poona Bhajan Mandali and a regular visitor at Guruprasad when Baba was present in the summer months. Pratap's


early contact with manyofBaba's old and dear ones had a profound impact on him, and helped him devote himselfever more ardently in Baba's love and service.

Mehera and Shireen Nori.

Workshops and discussion circles were a daily event, offering diverse options for head and heart. Among those given were talks by Leatrice Shaw on mindfulness, Adele Wolkin on her experiences with Baba, Robert Dreyfuss on Silence Day experiences, Jamie Newell on relationships and Hafiz, Alisa Dreyfuss on Baba dreams, and many more. The adult and children's talent shows once again aptly proved what an amazing amount of talent Baba brings out in so many of His lovers in song, dance, and skits. Jamie then gave a concert of old and new songs. He has put a number of Hafiz's poems to song, which are beautiful and mspmng. Bobby Manonash followed, which was hi-

larious. Bobby, aka Jeff Maguire, along with his sidekick, Ed McMaya (Fred Stankus), had everyone in stitches. It so happened that Bobby had been told by Bhau that ifhe read God Speaks seven times by a specific date, he would experience the 7th plane, and that time was now. As he read through the last entries of the index, he grew visibly changed, and donning his tea cozy crown, suddenly knew everything. He asked Ed McMaya to tell him what he wanted, as Bobby could now grant anywish. Ed's sole desire at that moment was for a Moon Pie-an ice cream cookie confection-which suddenly started appearing by the dozens, with Bobby and Ed throwing them out to the audience as fast as they appeared. Bobby then fell back to the gross world with a spectacular crescendo, leaving everyone laughing uncontrollably. On the third day of the Gathering,

Baba first conveyed His messages concerning drugs, and His emphasis on not taking them. When Baba told Robert that He had been with him all the way, it brought home

Jamie Newell wows the crowd!

that He is with each of us "all the way" on our journey to Him in our own hearts. After a concert by Pratap on Saturday afternoon, followed by a talk by Bhau, the film "0 Parvardigar" was shown, after which everyone silently wended their way to the Dhuni, the flame ofwhich lighted our hearts with the growing desire to love and serve Him more and more and still yet Lunch table companions: From Lift Sam Ir路vin, Margaret Magnus, more. Karina and John Page, Jeannie and Tony Gris, The last morning had Pratap, Steve Berry, and Margit Wypyszyk. Robert, and Jamie sharing more in song and word, followed by Bhau helpRobert Dreyfuss ing illustrate the journey from head to heart movingly told his and how we must increase our determination story of journeyto be His. Bhau said that this had been the ing overland to best Sahavas ever, high praise indeed, though meet Baba for a it may well be he feels the same every year. Sahavas that was The Sahavas strengthened the conviction canceled while he of how necessary and rewarding it is to step was enroute. As out ofordinary life into the gathering of His he tearfully relovers whenever the opportunity arises, our lived his experiheart more open, our conviction deepened, and ence of being in our souls more on fire to realize Him. Beloved Baba's Avatar Meher Baba kiJai! presence, many in the audience wept.* Baba's compassion *[Editor's note:-Robert understates this byfar: in allowing Robert to see and when he finished telling his incredibly moving be with Him, despite the fact story there wasn't a dry eye in the house.' He is such that He was in strict seclusion, an accomplishedstory teller we were allthere with resonated in everyone's hearts. him as he walked into Baba's presence/} The hardworking technical crew--Ten) Lucas, Chris Pearson and Charlie Morton. It was during this time that


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A History ofthe L.A. Sahavas "Toddy Shop" byTerry Lucas and Roman Babiak wrong area-He should have been in the patio next to the Junior Lodge, where Roman had spotted the perfect place for a snack bar! In about twenty minutes time, I had designed the idea of an Indian Tea Stall and had completely decorated it mentally with brass bells and bowls, Christmas tree lights, Indian bedspreads for the Pandal and the recipe for continuously flowing chai, all accom-

ing a variety ofbrass, Indian bangles and bells, and pitchers and bowls. Several of us began to paint a large sandwich board with the silhouette ofthe Taj Mahal painted on a backn the fall of1986, meetings for the prepaground of blue, saving a place for the actual ration of the 1987 Los Angeles Sahavas "menu" to be posted. Celebration began. Someone needed to run Finally, the first day of the Sahavas arthe Snack Bar at the Sahavas, a very large rived. David hauled the unassembled tea stall undertaking which had had varying degrees up in his truck and I arrived with food, Indian of success in the past. Roman bedspreads, tape recorder and Babiak and I decided to shoulIndian music, lights, staple gun, der the burden. We felt that we string and tape. I watched as Rocould have fun and make a sucman and David began to ascess of the snack bar at the semble the stall, attaching ropes same. But what to do that and securing the structure. I cleaned out an area used for makwould be special and rewarding, not only to ourselves, but ing pottery, kiln and all, to use as to all the Sahavas guest and our make-shift kitchen with a hot friends who came each year? plate, large pots, a picture of Roman and I began exMeher Baba on the wall and a large amount oftea. Several othproring ideas, but none seemed very appealing. We ers pitched in to help decorate the stall: Roman's Indian bedspread met frequently to toss around was the Pandal, and my Indian ideas, creating the inventory of foods we needed to purchase rug from my first trip to India was used on the counters. It had covand other pertinent supplies. Toddy Shop-wallas Daniel Comerftrd and Luke Jamison at this summer's sahavas. All pretty boring stuffi And ered the Tomb and felt like an appropriate use for the many to then, it just happened! Roman and I were meeting at my house panied by Indian music and a sandwich board receive a vicarious blessing while sharing tea. to discuss what to do. But this time, I was advertising the Toddy Shop's wares. Roman It's still being used. The lights went up, all very anxious for Roman to arrive because I completed the lists ofgames and constructed courtesy of Pris Haffenden who raided her had had a phenomenal dream the previous on paper a moveable tea stall that we could closet for old Christmas tree lights. The brass erect at each Sahavas. It was fast, furious and was hung from the ceiling by string, the music night. In my dream, I saw a very young Meher Baba sweeping the patio area outabsolutely the most fun! The Toddy Shop was went on and Wow! We had a Toddy Shop! side the cafeteria ofPilgrim Pines. Baba had Tea would be ready in a minute. born at what I believe was Meher Baba's relooked up at me and said, "I am sweeping quest; we merely carried out His instructions Now, Toddy Shops have sprung up at the floor of the Toddy Shop; everyone has to the best ofour ability. every Sahavas around the country. Imitafun here and I don't mind sweeping the floor. When,we presented this idea and tion is flattering; the fun is infectious! But, Remember, I like all sorts of games and showed our plans to the next Sahavas comthe history of this amazing little blip on . " mittee meeting, the excitement was infecmusIC. Meher Baba's road map needed to be told. tious! Roman enlisted the help of David And the energy and creativity of my friend Yikes! A Toddy Shop where everyone could eat, play games and music, talk and McNeely to do the physical construction of Roman needed to be acknowledged. I will have a wonderful time, all in Meher Baba's the tea stall who carried out the plan magmiss him very, very much. nificently. We assembled it one afternoon in memory...the One Who always sweeps up after us! Exciting stuff, this, but what would a trial run, working out the bugs for the Roman think? height of the counters, the seating for the Roman, clever man, said, yes, it was a Toddy Shop guests and the rigging of the wonderful idea and one he had thought of Pandal. I raided the boxes ofarticles donated himself. But Baba was sweeping in the to the Center for a future rummage sale, find-

[Inadvertantly omittedfrom our last issue in the 'Tributes to Roman'section.}

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My Favorite Sahavas by Don Stevens, France

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t was Dina who suggested writing about my favorite sahavas experience, and I can't imagine saying 'no' to Dina, so I set my mind to work immediately. And then the surprises began. I'm not at all sure that what memory and instinct turned up will be at all acceptable to Dina, nor to anyone else. But one thing I think I have learned after all these years, is that one never knows into what strange alley the Avatar is going to lead one next. So here goes. Ofcourse, ifone eve"r had that incomparable grace of being in the presence of the Avatar, that had to be one's favorite sahavas. Ifone had several such experiences, then the selection process becomes more difficult, as each time one stands in His presence, a unique sequence unfolds. And choosing one's favorite just simply is not obvious. Noone could have been more surprised than I when I put Dina's request to the Stevens computer system, and then saw shortly thereafter what it turned up. In fact I was a bit horrified, as one of the centerpieces of the occasion is one of my most shameful memories. But I was asked for it, and I think I had better live with it. I t was way back in the 60s, and Baba had been in one of those longer seclusion periods which happened so often at that time. I had my magic key on hand, so I was sitting nevertheless in front of Him in mandali hall and Eruch was explaining something Baba wanted to be clear in my mind. In fact, I think it was the occasion on which He underlined the importance to everyone ofworking with His words, and not regarding them just as intellectual playthings to amuse the uninitiated. As Eruch talked on in rhythm to Baba's gestures, I suddenly became aware that something was disturbing Baba's attention, and then Eruch's. Finally, impatiently, Baba gestured to Eruch to go outside and find out the cause of some disturbance that I hadn't even noted. We waited bare moments until Eruch returned and explained I think in Gujerati what the trouble was. This was the sign to me that the subject was one in which I had best not interfere.

But then Baba looked straight at me and gestured as Eruch interpreted, "Don, can you imagine, a young fellow has just been sent out here by Adi Sf. despite the fact that Adi and everyone else knows that Baba is in strict seclusion. Apparently Adi felt sorry for him, as he had worked his way to India from America on a freighter, then hitch-hiked up here, to find that Baba was in seclusion. And Adi did not have the sense to obey Baba's strict orders not to interrupt His seclusion!" It takes no imagination to divine that Stevens's sahavas on that occasion was ruined. But if I felt bad at the end of that brief explanation, it had nothing to compare with my feelings after Baba's next sentence. "Eruch, go out and tell the fellow that Baba is in strict seclusion, and he should return at once to America!" Now we get to the awful part. Without the slightest reflection, the deepest part ofmy nature said indelibly but absolutely silently, "Baba, you are a real--." It was not the worst word in my vocabulary, but the instant it had blazed its scarlet

trail across my unconsciousness, I was smitten and I knew inevitably that I was in for it. Yes, instantly! "Don, what are you thinking?" Never in my life have I thought so many thoughts in a split second. Honesty. Love. Fidelity. Disgrace. They were all there and having a big fight that I knew instinctively could never be resolved. Where did the words come from? I mean, the next ones that I uttered at the end of the fateful second. I don't know. "Baba, I was thinking, what right do I have to be sitting here at Your feet?" Baba looked me square in the eye for perhaps two seconds, which was pretty long for Him. The He snapped His fingers. "Eruch, send the boy in." This was a great sahavas experience, one of my very favorites with Baba. It taught me that somewhere way down inside oneself there is a part of one's being, or perhaps one should say, the real being, that knows, and needs no time or thought to know the Truth and to say it.

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Jane Brown and Steven Barrie-Anthony entertain at Meherana.

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by Huma Alvarado, North Carolina and AnnaLena Phillips, South Carolina

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he first Young Adult Sahavas (for ages 18-35) was held August 7-9 this year at Meher Mount, a hilltop property above Ojai, two hours northwest of Los Angeles, that Baba visited in 1956. Organizers MeheraMakeig,Julanne Lodge and Merwan Scott pulled the sahavas together in three weeks after Bhau told them in Los Angeles, "Enough talk, talk, talk-it is time to do, do, do!" Meher Mount board member Gigi Stankus urged them on and Meher Mount caretakers Jonathan and Kendra Crossen Burroughs were ideal hosts. Even when the Indian restaurant owners catering Saturday dinner got lost and arrived an hour late, few noticed. Notes from some ofthe thirty or more sahavasees give glimpses ofwhat happened: " "The first night, when the full moon came up and the rest ofthe world was covered in fog, Meher Mount seemed like the highest, quietest, most beautiful and ancient place on earth." "A memorable moment for me was seeing the arti performed for the first time." "My first silent dip in the ocean at Baba's tree..." "I took thejob ofwake-up-caller. It was wonderful, because I got to go around, saying 'Good morning,Jai Baba!' and smile at everyperson at the Sahavas. Most ofthem made a great sleepy effort and smiled back. What a wonderful thing that people could smile at someone waking them up at 70' clock in the morning!" "The wake-up callers peering into my tent at sunrise ringing wind chimes and saying 'Jai Baba... Time for Arti in thirty minutes.. .' a very sweet wakeup call." Once again Baba is the Supreme Planner. We had thought to build a wall of the foundation stones of the house where He spoke during His visit to Meher Mount. The wall took form in two hours, organized and guided by He who dwells in each heart. "I enjoyed the work project a lot. I twas nice to be part ofbuilding something, and the wall came ou t so well. It will stand a long time and took so little time working as a group."

"I really enjoyed the silent walk to Baba's tree and the singing and storytelling under the bright moon." "The moon was rising over the mountains, full and round like a golden peach." "A wonderful memory for me was see-

Christina Ramsden directs the wall-builders.

ing the intense moonlight the night of our evening arti, coupled with several shooting stars racing across the heavens. It was wonderful singing to Baba under the cosmic light of the night." "One thing that I will always remember is the night we all sat together in spontaneous silence, on the hill, looking over the city and hills. I really had no idea what was truly happening in that moment, but Baba's quote, 'Things that are real are given and received in silence,' sprung into my mind... What a gift we received. Thank you Baba." "Standihg along the path to the tree in the white bathing moonlight listening to the group of young adults gathered at the point saying the prayers, the moon shone down upon their crisp black silhouettes as the sleeping fog softened the mountains below. It felt timeless, as if it could have been when Jesus came, or Buddha ... It felt so strongly as

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ifBaba had planned this long ago, that it is His gift that we have come together." "Mter two cups of chai, I couldn't sleep, so I walked to Baba's tree and sat behind it. I soon got worried about ants and other bugs and decided to climb up about ten feet into the tree. I sat there for about an hour. I could hear various animals and I felt at one with the tree. It felt like time stood still and yet it felt like I was experiencing the tree's life. I felt Baba sitting below me, next to me, and in me. I didn't want to leave but the chai was wearing off. I tried to sleep in the tree which was shaped almost perfectly for me to sleep in except for my left leg. If I had fallen asleep I would have fallen down. It was a very meditational experience." "The last morning, a few of us gathered for morning arti at seven under Baba's tree. We placed a framed photo of Beloved Baba in the meeting point of two large branches, and placed a few fresh yellow flowers around it. Then we sat there in silence, feeling the embrace of His presence there." "All that plus creek swimming, art and poetry workshops, dancing and shared chores, good food and music. At the final meeting Sunday morning, there was enthusiastic talk about what we should do next year, and heartfelt hopes that the feeling ofsahavas all shared be kept alive in His remembrance until then.

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Salsa on the porch at Meher Mount. Photos by Flint Mednick.

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Wake Up, Portland, Wake Up! by Betty Lowman, Palo Alto, CA

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estled in the green hills of Oregon's Willamette Valley, is "Baba House," a 5-acre farm that is home to the Wilson family and, occasionally, the site of the Portland community's annual summer sahavas. This year Bhau Kalchuri was their featured guest. On Thursday July 16, there was a morning tea at Joanna Tompkins' home, and then, in the evening, Bhau spoke to a crowd of about 165 people at the University of Portland. He was very pleased at the number of new faces he saw-plenty of "public" at his public talk. His new ghazal "Wake Up, Portland, Wake Up!"* was performed there by "Creator" Janice Reiman. An invitation was extended for any newcomer to come free to the weekend sahavas at Baba House. The next day, after a morning talk and pot luck at the home of David and Malini Raffo, sahavasees drove for about an hour out ofPortland to the little town of Scotts Mills, and the festivities began. At most, there were about 150 attendees, mainly from Oregon, Washington, California and Canada, some from farther away. The Wilson farm had been transformed for the occasion. Jim Wilson's workshop/ barn housed the childrens' arts and crafts area and the bookstore. Outside, a lean-to was festooned with Christmas lights and colorful cloths. Voila! a Toddy Shop. Proprietor Rick Scheu dispensed spicy chai and never seemed to be without customers. A kind neighbor (an "Old Believer" in the Russian Orthodox tradition-similar to the Amish), allowed folks to park on his adjacent back lot, and tent campers spread out on the grassy hills. Great meals were served by a crew of volunteers headed up by Jean Wilson and her sisters, Marie and Joan. Huge bowlfulls of sweet Oregon blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries were an unforgettable offering at several meals. Bhau stayed in Baba House (he had given it the name a couple ofyears ago), and those who weren't tent camping stayed at local bed and breakfasts. Bhau was in great spirits, giving four talks and visiting with the children and teens. We all learned at least the

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Dale Draeger's beautiful painting qf Baba graced the stage at the Portland Sahavas. Photo by Lorraine King.

chorus to "Wake Up, Portland, Wake Up," and sang it often. Arti was held Saturday and Sunday mornings on a permanent stage built on a hilll ampitheatre in the Wilsons' backyard. The music was divine, with John Connor on the harmonium and Ward Parks,Jim Wilson, Rick Scheu and Ron Greenstein on guitars. Mter Jim read one ofhis humorous ghazals to uproarious laughter, Ron Greenstein said, "Jim, you're the only person I know who's built a stage in his backyard, and now I know why!" The highlight of Saturday evening was a

hillarious re-do of"The Wizard ofOz" called "The Master is God," written and directed by Randel Williams of Seattle. The Seattle group had their finest hour that evening. Costumes and props, created by co-director Theresa Padvorac, were stunning, everyone remembered their lines, and producer Pete Pitcher and special props man Bob Johnsson created just the right setting. Cynthia Barrientos was a radiant good witch Glinda and "hunchkins" John and Barbara Connor and JeffTingelstad and Caitlin Hurkett danced and sang silly routines. Lance Bonnington, a mixed-up spititual seeker, Duncan Hurkett, a scientist who wanted a heart, and Catherin Alpert, a yogini in search ofpowers, accompanied Dorothy (Dalia Taylor), who was in search of her real self, down the Path to His Door, singing "Yogis and Sadhus and Masts, Oh My, Yogis and Sadhus and Masts, Oh My."... On the way, they encountered the formidable obstacle Maya, played byJudy Robertson, but their purity of heart and focus on their goal got them to His Door. The great "Shariat" (Randel Williams), was, of course found to be an impostor, and Dorothy learned that her real self was as close as her own heart. Bravo to the Seattle Group! Mter the play, dhuni under the starry Oregon sky was a quiet way to wind down from the festivities. The next morning, after Bhau's last talk, happy and tired campers rolled up their bedrolls and headed home, content after a heart-full weekend.

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,. This ghazal was orginally written/or Chicago, hut was later expanded to include all cities.

The young adults and the young-at-heart under Baba's Tree at Meher Mount.

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"Chez Meherabode."

!Jl(ajor !Jun~Y?aiserOflhe year

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ur first anniversary in our new Center was celebrated in a major way with our Dinner Auction. The main meeting hall was turned into an elegant restaurant with pink tablecloths, candles, and tulips in crystal vases. Our catered buffet dinner was Southern Comfort style. The food was excellent, but oh, the items up for auction! The one that brought the most for the evening - $1,300 - was an original manuscript by Bhau Kalchuri of a play that he had written at Baba's request - The Ancient One. There were many other original works of art, water Baba had bathed in, mandali signed books, a first edition of Avatar inscribed to Helen Dahm from Jean Adriel and oh so many smaller treasures at the Silent Auction tables. As usual Fred Stankus was our auctioneer and Jeff Maguire our lively Master of Ceremonies. All told, we raised $13,555, and had a marvelous time doing it! '" Inadvertently omitted.from July issue.

Our workers who labored ceaselessly for months beforehand-.from left Rosie Choi, Wendy Wad, Linda Zavala, Mahoo Ghorbani, Karina Page.

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Rob Ward and Rosie Choi, on the right, hunting for treasures at the Silent Auction tables.

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Meherabode Center and Grounds The Facilities Report by Linda Zavala

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o meet the requirements of the Conditional Use Permit we have installed the new curb, new sprinklers and sod and it really looks wonderful as one drives down the street to the enter the Center gates. It is now all lush and green. We have also repaired or replaced a few sprinklers on the property and installed a new timer for all the sprinklers and pond pump. Hedge plants ofPlumbago and Bougainvillea have been planted along the back fence to create a natural and beautiful flowering division between us and the neighbors. The Board decided to termite the Dome by natural means as they were eating into the wood foundation and the heavy oak door frames inside the Dome. Mter ÂŁ1 Nino many ofBaba's little critters, the mice, the insects, the roaches, etc., are having a field day at the Center and are being dealt with as compassionately as possible. Baba's Chair, which currently resides in the Dome, was brushed clean and a cotton

Abo¡ve: Shirin Lorkalantari is stitching liP the covering which will he permanently sealed after aromatic wood is placed onto the woodftlmdation.

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Baha's Chair inside the Dome.

muslin cover which had been over it was put into place by the Archives Preservation Committee. It really looked so much lovelier after the cleaning. Baba sat in this chair for 2 hours at the home of Hilda Fuchs on Crescent Heights Avenue in Hollywood for a tea party in 1956. Margueri te Poley, one of our members, attended that meeting with about 20-30 other people who had been intereste meeting the Avatar. Meher's Pond, the goldMeher's fish pond adjacent to the Dome, delights everyone who walks by. However, it had a very bad leak and it took about six months to find out where it was. Mter capping stray water pipes, having the Dept. ofWater and Power come out several times, repairing the pump, etc., the Board decided to have the pond drained, find the leak, and seal it. Well, wouldn't you know, Baba had a plan. Mter calling about 15 different telephone numbers in the L.A. area, someone referred me to International Water Designs which was about 25 miles from the Center. The pond man came out and when he found out that he was at the Meher Baba Center he

told us, with fond remembrance, that he had spent a weekwith Fred Marks in London abou t 27 years ago. Though he has not become aBaba lover, we were amazed that he could remember Fred's name. Baba, evidently, continues to sow His seeds in the past, the present, and the h -reafter. The pond is really beautiful and the goldfish are growing fatter every day. Regarding the leak, we found that it was the roots of the great Umbrella tree which overhangs the pond that had Pond. smashed the rock. So we will be placing a layer ofconcrete and decorative rocks to cover the great hole it created. ÂŁ1 ino ruined the wiring, necessitating replacement, we also needed a new timer, and a thorough cleaning. Fred told us the pond had been very well made, so it now looks like new.

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Fred Lesicker, on the lift, is shown with his assistant 路vacuuming out the pond.

A child's trust in its Mother is complete, because it leaves all its worries to her. She has to take care of it So ifwe trust God and let Him worry for us, we live contented and happy: Source: 82 Family Letters, pages 79-80

Want more practical and beautiful quotes like this? Order the 1999 Avatar Meher Baba Calendar

Mario Zavala is putting the finishing touches on Meher's pond.

today. It includes all the U.S. Holidays and

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he Center was spruced up for Bhau's visit. Dana Lee and her children Josh and Janani put up curtains in the children's room and in the meeting hall to cover the utilities section. The Archives Preservation Committee has been busy this summer working on a cabinet design for Baba's sadra. Before year end it will be on display in the Dome. I would like to say that the Archives Committee is very active but unfortunately, we don't have enough volunteers or money for the many interesting projects which await us. However, we do have Ray and Dana Lee and Charlie Morton as videographers who capture our various speakers on video. Each and every year these are going into the

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archives stock. Although the Video Rental Library isn't functioning right now, the Audio Rental Library is still active and Lynne Berrywill be happy to send you a tape (phone: 714-966-1078, before9pm.) The Decorating Committee has been busy adding little touches to the Center in subde ways which really add to the total experience ofbeing there. Soon they will be working on the design for the interior spaces to prepare for the construction next year. We'll have much to share with you in theJanuary issue about plans for design and renovation ofthe Center. So longfor now, Linda

events-there's no need to purchase a secular calendar, this one is for you.

Call Dina at 310-837-6419 (AFTER 7 PM PST M-F)

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~ Mani, Wodin,

and Me

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n the early days of January, 1997, seven little squares on my calendar were clean of scribbles. I booked them for Myrtle Beach. I would be visiting Meher Baba's Center there. I was especially interested in meeting the person who illustrated God-Brother by Baba's sister Mani S. Irani. It was Wodin's drawings which had been chosen to compliment her poetic and playful childhood stories with her brother, the Avatar of the Age. I love books; I treasure God-Brother. Who was this Wodin who collaborated with Baba's sister? I had previously met Mani standing in the driveway leading up to Guruprasad in 1969. There she embraced me into the heart of my Qyest for a Real Home. I had just learned we are all drops of one Ocean. I had the feeling I could sail the seas of any storm knowing Mani was in the water with me. Two years ago, when Mani took her bother's hand to be lifted from among us still gathered in this world, I regretted that she had not left us with more books. She had given us The Family Letters then God-Brother which made me want even more. Her writing is such a wonderful resource for the world as it carries a natural intimacy, honesty, and a buoyancy of believability reflecting a natural sweetness of life lived when a recognition ofspirit is present.

The Wodin Workshop T:\nally in Myrtle Beach, I scheduled my visit to Wodin's Workshop. Entering, I noticed huge slanted drawing boards lining several walls. In the center of the work area were several tables full of richly colored cans of paint. They had the appeal offrosting. It was difficult to keep my fingers clean! Steve (Wodin's real-life name) resembled a tall version ofPinocchio's daddy. When I first saw his tall form, I thought, he is a friendly giraffe and I do not need to be shy or self-conscious. He smiled at me and then spoke in an easy, slow pace generic to America's South. Knowing I had come to see his Baba artwork, he took time out to give me a private showing. Those long giraffe legs moved about bringing me views of his broach case, art prints, and a parade ofWodin artwork.

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He explained to me how he gives birth to a piece of artwork. His visual memories from his life experience are pictured around the image of Meher Baba's form. A cluster of women and their groceries seen one week became the drawing Shopping Bags. First, they are sketched out small on paper with their characteristic wavy borders. Then they are transferred onto transparent acetate and projected onto a huge surface of very fine grit sand paper imported from an old family-owned German firm. He buys it in huge rolls. The creamy chalks and pastels Steve presses into that sand are of the finest quality. Each color makes me want to call it my favorite.

MyOId Kentucky Home A Vision for the New Humanity

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asked Steve where he got his accent and I learned he was born in Kentucky the oldest of7 children. His first contact with Mani was as Trustwalla for the Kentucky area. In 1977, he arrived in India for his first pilgrimage there. It was then that he finally met Mani, the Trust Chairman he had been corresponding with. When Steve first got to Ahmednagar, his rickshaw took him to Meherazad. No one

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was anywhere in sight. Everyone had gathered inside the closed doors ofMandali Hall where Eruch was speaking. Eruch heard Steve's rickshaw arrive and went out to grab his hand and drag him into the Hall. Once inside, Steve folded up his long legs and sat next to Baba's chair. He noticed a tiny woman curled up on the other side of Baba's chair. "Mani, is that you? I'm Steve from Kentucky." Mani, finding her pen pal exclaimed, "Steve! I'm so glad you're tall. I always pictured you tall."Then Mani jumped up, interrupted Eruch's story and announced Steve from Kentucky's arrival to the crowd. She spread her arms wide and welcomed him by singing Steven Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home" in a thick American Southern accent. This song always brings tears to the eyes of all Kentuckians; especially those who hear it when away from their Kentucky home. It was fun to think ofMani enjoying Steve's height which I welcomed too. His brotherly

arm on my shoulder enhanced our camaraderie and my sense ofbeing safe and protected. Years later, in a card she drew for Wodin dated 26 April 1982 Mani relates, "Reading your letter was like watching a beautiful sun-

rise-Meher Baba's Sun rising over Kentucky and growing brighter and brighter..." Mani's message of1982 describes her perception ofthe purpose ofWodin's artwork. It is

Daddy God

TheWodin Renderings

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itting comfortably, I viewed each giant piece which Steve brought before me. It was easy for my mind to enter each scene depicted.The background ofWodin's art is often soft subtle colors giving a great sense ofspace and distance for the vividly colored characters in the foreground. Whether vivid or pastel shades, his colors are always clear and clean. He titles each piece. Up pops The White Dog with Meher Baba's hand on the snowy-white German shepherd guard dog's head. I want to be a policeman and claim him as my partner. I can almost reach right into that sandpaper and pet him just like Baba does. Steve slid out another piece and now I'm In The Apple Orchard. There just might be room for me, I thought, on the bench next to that big red apple lady sitting beside her pink-jacketed companion. My imagination ran with the little apple children playing crack the whip in the background. Next I'm shown the piece, Baby Elephant Bath. I felt Baba scrub my thick elephant hide and I couldn't resist sloshing in those spiritual suds with my grey

to visualize in various creative mediums a trusting world where Meher Baba is experienced in a close intimate manner-not as a theory way out in heaven-space somewhere or as a distant star shooting away from our lives. The simplicity ofliving in true brotherhood with our Beloved always present guiding and supporting us is Wodin's vision to portray. This is a world where caring families with unlocked doors, open minds and warm hearts love and enjoy their neighbors, are fair in their dealings, and soar freely in thinking and spirit. This is what the state ofa Kentucky childhood symbolizes. Steve described his childhood to me as life lived in this way. On Mani's card, the little bird on the window sill is labeled as Steve pointing to the Sunshine ofpromise, Mani's GodBrother-Baba. Baba shines on all everywhere. The rich Kentucky blue grass raises champions. No wonder they crywhen they hear their state song-it conveys the Real Search for the Only Real Home.

trunked friends. Steve pulled out another piece called Baba and Kitty. Purring sounds poured from me. Steve recounted a similar response which occurred when he met Mani. "I was like a cat who could begin to purr. Mani's gracious love made me relax, put worry on hold, and I began to enjoy my new home in ancient India with my Daddy God."

teve told me that many people who don't know about Meher Baba happen to see his Wodin art because his art studio is situated within his commercial sign shop. Not wanting to interrupt the flow ofbusiness with arguments about theology and Avatars, he has figured out how to respond to inquiries. He simply tells people that the man in the jacket or robe with the mustache is "Daddy God" amongst his creatures. The general public seems to digest this concept and the Wodin art so well that they actually purchase his Wodin art prints ofBaba for their homes while shopping for house signs. Steve has the idea to market Wodin to a still wider audience using his trademark name "Daddy God."Wodin's work depicts a God who guards and inspires and understands. Daddy God provides spirituality as naturally as the air we breathe. Daddy God announces to a dry, barren Kali Yuga Age that it's days are numbered!


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A Subject in the Court of the King ofthe Nile

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s you can see, Wodin artwork draws one into it. I drank lemonade with a child and a stuffed bunny in Lemonade Party. Even though South Carolina was in aJanuary cold spell, I was very warm in the tropics ofheart in this workshop. Steve pulled out The Nile King in which the hippo king and queen bow down to the higher king-Baba. At first glance, I recognized an affinity with these lovely hippopotami. I jumped from my seat onto my feet. With palms pressed together, I bowed my round hippo body down with theirs over and over. There I was a middle-aged adult, yet I could not stop myselffrom honoring those beasts bowing in a sign maker's shop. The muted background depicted in soft pastels assured me we had been journeying for days and days. It felt so good to finally bow and bow low with my king. My mind hinted per-

haps I could retain a sense ofdecorum in this business establishment; however, when I saw the king and queen bow, I felt I was a subject

in their court and was not inclined to ignore this opportunity.

Steve's inexpressible appreciation for Mani's inspiring project, for her encouragement, and for her example. I wonder what marvelous interchange you will experience ifyou visit Wodin's studio as I did one chillyJanuary morning. The Wodin studio is 5 minutes from Meher Baba's Center located in The Sign Man building at 1811

Highway 17 South, orth Myrtle Beach, SC 29582. Call him for an appointment 803272-3960. His e-mail iswodinart@aol.com and Wodin's Web Site is www.wodinart.com should you want to peek into his workshop where talent "is ever polished as a gift for Avatar Meher Baba who has graciously loaned it to a boy from Kentucky.

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efreshed by my rotund darshan, I looked

~bout the shop. I saw notebook-size

sheets of paper stapled together. I lifted the bundle and inquired ofWodin, the ile King's artisan, "What is this leaflet?" "A collection of Mani's dreams," was his reply. "She has compiled another book and I am now illustrating it." Mani's dreams are told with a balance of complex ethereal Wodin images and Mani's own words. This third book by Mani is an unexpected gift for all the world. To think I happened to come across a hint of it tossed atop a workbench. Her magic, her wonderful sense of description, her ever-willingness to delve deeper and deeper into remembrance were abundantly apparent even in this rough thumbnail form. The flecks ofWodin-esque confetti color dotted even these initial sketches. This book by Mani is titled, Dreaming of the Beloved and is published by Sheriar Foundation who is allowing us to see a detail (pictured above) from My Eternal Moment, one dream from the book. Steve Jameson is the only artist to illustrate books for the sister of God. She selected his Wodin style. I sensed

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Avatar's Abode, Australia The 40th Anniversary 3rd to the 8th ofJune 1998 by Dina Snow

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on't th~nk, for even a moment, that you are gomg to read an objective report

here! I was born and raised in Australia, met Babain Sydney in 1956, and my mother was one of the builders ofAvatar's Abode--so the rave reviews are from a deep seated place in my heart! But ask any of the many Americans who flew over for it (with the airfares at $650 round trip it was hard to resist going!) and they will tell you how wonderful itwas. Baba was certainly guiding Francis Brabazon when inJanuaryof1958 he chose the site, 180 acres on top of Keil Mountain wit~ magnificent views extending to the Pacific Ocean and the beach at Maroochydore just 13 miles away, as the crow flies. . I have been to the Abode many times, it being a 5 minute walk from my mother's home, but never to an Anniversary. (It is called that, rather than Sahavas, because it truly is the Anniversary of Baba's visit inJune of1958.) Arriving in QIeensland the day it started, I came upon the stage fully set and the festivities just getting underway. The day was overcast and rain was threatening. As so much

ofthe happenings were meant for outdoors or under the Big Top we were all hoping for the famous Aussie sunshine. But Baba let us know he was giving us His blessing on the celebration in no uncertain terms. We were all gathered around the flag pole

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just outside Baba's House ready for the flag raisaing ceremony. The flag raiser is always chosen from amongst those who had been there when Baba came; this time it was Ethel Woodford, a 92 year old from Melbourne who had travelled up with her son Craig. At the very moment Ethel was raising the flag, the lightest sprinkle started! It lasted for no more than a few moments and was a beautiful reminder that He is always with us and in particular at this moment was bestowing His blessings on the gathering. For the 10th Anniversary Baba sent a telegram saying:

"Although I am ever with My lovers individually, I am always happy when they gather in My love, so celebrate this anniversary at My Abode with a bang and let My message fill every corner ofyour hearts. Love to you all." To help with the celebrations a wonderful guest list was comprised. Meheru Irani, one ofBaba's close Mandali, headed the Indian contingent, accompanied byJal and Dolly Dastoor, overseers ofMeherabad Amrit Irani Baba's niece, Ted, architect ofthe Pilgrim Cen~ ter and his Aussie wife, JanetJudson; Kishore Mistry and the beautiful singer Veena Rangnekar. The American guests were Buz and Wendy Connor-so proficient at managing the Youth Sahavas held every year at Myrtle Beach; Elaine Cox, producer of the beautiful Song of Huma tape, who herself sang some beautiful ghazals and Country and Western songs; and Raine Eastman-Gannet (originally from Australia) aka Rani Didi who gave us some very fine Saregam lessons and examples

ofIndian ghazals and bhajans. And then there were the Australians! Dozens of them, with lots of talent and great heart, they all put on a magnificent show. Why, they even gave us a great performance of the Ramayana! The costuming, dancing and production of this great play were wonderfully done, they had been rehearsing for months. Ram was played by the very handsome 16 year old Ravi Welsh, and I did not recognise the oh-so sophisticated and haughty Kaikeyi as the 10 year old (!!) Elischa Isaacs-Young I had known since she was a baby. Her equally beautiful 12 year old sister Kendra, a willowy 5' 9", very credibly played the loving Sita. Many of the teenagers were dancing there as the spirits of the woods, it was all so beautifully done. Some very assiduous editing cut the massive Ramayana down to a manageable one and a halfhour performance. Then there was the singing! There was no end to the variety and beauty of all the different singers that were there for us. My mother told me that when Baba was in Sydney for the first time in '56, and He asked for a song, no one could think ofanythin ba to . smg... a few voices came out with Away in a Manger-and it wasn't even Christmas! Francis (Brabazon) was so mortified, he immediately started writing songs for the Beloved, thus starting what is today, a major Baba industry! I have long listened to and loved the

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At times we had Ted Judson, Elaine Cox and Buz Connor all 011 stage together. What a delight.'

music of Kishore Mistry and Veena Rangnekar, (the Love Street Bookstore sells one of their tapes Huma,) so it was wonderful to hear them live. But for me, the big treat and wonderful suprise was Sam Saunders and The Wineshop Singers. They were incredible! First class performers! Not something you would expect to hear out in the country, more like on the stage of a great theater. Sam's arrangement and leading (along with singing and playing the guitar) ofa forty piece choir singing the stirring People, also the beautiful Meher's Necklace, two ofFrancis's ghazals, was nothing short ofbreathtaking. Then, with a smaller group, which performs locally as Muzika, Sam gave us some great listening and dancing music. I was so taken with it that I brought back two different CD's for sale in the Bookstore. See Sam's story in the Bookstore report. The music and rhythm was so infectious that a number of times half the tent was on its feet dancing. How pleased Baba would have been-and was, I'm sure! The afternoon of Sunday the 7th gave us excitement of a very different sort: Jal Dastoor had been sitting at one of the lun-

cheon tables chatting with a few of the men, when he slowly slumped forward. At first they thought he was falling asleep, but then they realised he was unconscious! Luckily Roy Hayes was on the spot with homeopathic medicines he administered, and an ambulance was called which arrived within a very few minutes. Pretty good service, considering this is the country and on top ofa mountain! Between Roy's wife Ros and Janice Rice, both intensive care nurses, and 6 men, they managed to get Jal into the ambulance. By the time he and Dolly drove off, J al was waving to the crowds who were all, as one huge voice, calling out "Avatar Meher Baba kiJai!" He was given a CAT scan and all showed to be normal. They thought it had probably been a CVA (stroke). He was pronounced 'A-0 K' and released. When he and Dolly walked into the Big Top that night, the concert was brought to a halt, a great roar went up from the crowd, and they were given a standing ovation. With his usual humor quite intact']al told us "I thought I was going Home. My passport was in order, but my visa was refused. I couldn't get in through the gates as hundreds ofprayers from His lovers had been sent to stop me!" Meheru added with a grin, "Baba threw him back because he was too much trouble to keep." Whatever the reason, we are very glad the Beloved decided to let us keep J al forwe hope-a great while longer!

Sam Saunden conducts the 40 voice choir.

Arti was held in the beautiful Baba room-the room He slept in while here-every morning and evening. Meheru, looking so very regal, gave us some wonderful talks each evenmg.

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here was always something on the program, yet the feeling was never one of rushing from one event to the next. There seemed to me to be an all pervading sense of tranquility-perhaps it was the natural beauty of this most beautiful of all Centers... the towering Gums (Eucalyptus trees), or the rolling green lawns, or the banks of flowers every where you looked, or the brilliantly colored native parrots that flew overhead in great flocks, happily shrieking all the way, or the brilliant blue skies with fluffy white clouds lazily drifting by, ~r was it the wonderfully warm winter temperatures of around 70 - 75 g.egrees? Whatever it was, it really got to me. At times I would feel the tears come to my eyes, just strolling around feeling the loving atmosphere, seeing everybody so happily enjoying themselves. Yes, you could definitely say that Baba was very present with us all there! It was a very family-oriented Anniversary. As you strolled around you could see clusters of 3 generations seated on the grass chatting, with the babies happily rolling on the blankets laid out for them. The teenagers had their own Youth Sahavas so ably run by Buz and Wendy Connor and the littlest ones also had their own tent with wonderful things planned for them. Previously, I had only experienced Sahavases at Meherana (Northern California) and the Los Angeles ones held at Pilgim Pines. Both of these charge a fee, which is very natural seeing as it costs many thousands of dollars to produce a mega affair such as they do. It came as quite a shock that there was only a suggested donation of$50 for this magnificent Anniversary! And that this was the first year that the committee had even considered asking for a donation. My feeling


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was never have so many owed so much to so few! I believe there were about 300 in attendance, from all round the world. I feel that asking for a registration fee is a vital necessity! The Sahavasees were having a wonderfully relaxing time, but I could see that beneath the calm exterior there was a dedicated core of hard workers who gave their all, striving 18 hours a day to give the greatest ofenjoyment to the guests. About the only thing that was asked ofus was that we wash our own dishes! What a great idea-huge tubs ofhot soapy water were set up outside the main dining tent and as we finished eating we moved on to the tubs. A great sense of camaraderie developed over the dish washing! There was the large tent where the food was served with tables for over 200, and many more were set up outside. The weather was perfect for dining al-fresco. Just as I really settled into the rhythm of the place, Monday the 8th came and it was time to bring down the flag and declare the Anniversary over. What an incredible time it was! Those six days will live long in my memory-and, I am sure, in the memories of the hundreds ofguests, many from across the seas. It may have been their first Anniversary celebration, but I have a feeling it won't be their last!

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Diana Snow, one of the builders if A'Vatar~\ Abode in 1958, and john Grant, author qf Practical Spiritual, share a mppa.

Amrit Irani and Bill LePage.

Bernard Brziford was only 15 when he went to A路vatar's Abode with his parents to take Sahavas with Baba, who then asked thefamily to stay on and, with the Rouses, take care ofthe Abode. To open the anniversary, after the flag raising, Bernard told us some if the history and highlights if previous Anniversaries. This one was the biggest sofar!

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if the hard working chifs and servers was Liz Gaskin, the multi-talented lady who designed the january, 1998 LampPost.

Wendy Haynes Connor spoke of her life with her mother jane, her brother Charles, and her times with Baba when she was a child.

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Ted Judson told us the fascinating plans ftr the expansion of Meherabad ill the near and not so nearfuture. Meheru with part of the Youth Group,first started at Meher Spiritual Center, then Avatar's Abode alld most recently at Mehfr Mount. The Teens say they love it.'

Pratina Gardner, laya, Radha, and Rani Foley with butterflyfaces.

The ''Entertainment Center.Âť

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My heartfelt thanks go out to the dozens ofAussies who gave of their best - untiringly - so that we might all enjoy ourselves to the hilt. It took almost three days after all the guests

Meberu brings tbe Anniversary to a close witb tbe lighting qfthe Dhuni, assisted hy lal Dastoor and Roy Hayes.

had returned home to 'strike the set' as it were. On the morning of my departure I walked up to the Abode for one last visit to Baba's Room and was struck by the different feeling on the grounds. I guess it is somewhat akin to visiting the Samadhi alone, a few days after Arnatithi. It is still beautifuJl, Baba is still there, but' somehow it must be the combined outpouring oflove from hundreds ofpeople that rea,lly gives the "Heart Qyality." I will be back! "Notes From The Illternet" continued from page 46.

July 10. Previously, He would give alternatives: Either one should observe silence or one should observe fast. But in the 1968 circular, there was no alternative. One has to observe silence because this was His last instruction. Gary N.: IfI mayplay devil's advocate: Some hard-nosed ones say, "Why bother about what the Mandali say? Why observe silence? Why ceremonies?" Bhau: It is not from the Mandali, it is from the Beloved Himself. You read the circular of 1968 which was sent to His lovers before July 10, and Baba specifically has asked His lovers to observe silence. So please don't bring Mandali into picture. We are just about to die. So feel happy and do whatever you like. Mandali do not bother about it. Mandali only seek the pleasure of the Beloved. Mandali have nothing to gain. We have been losing and losing, and still we have not lost everything yet. And that's why we are alive. But it appears that the Shop will be closed very soon!

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Jim 0.: So what do you tell people to do once the Mandali are no longer around, in respect to their connection with the Beloved? Bhau: Beloved Baba has given the instructions, and He has expressed His wish. But if you are a serious aspirant, then follow the conditions of ew Life, which He has given, along with the plans ofthe Labor Phase. He has prescribed Labor Phase for this age. [See Lord Meher, vol. 9110, p. 3448, for the four phases of the New Life.] So, ifyou are serious, follow the conditions while doing any work in the world: job, business, profession, or cultivation. And if you do so, you will be doing meditation in action.

Dan Ladinsky (with the help ofHafiz pinching me) I have known Bhau for some 20 years, and having spent six of those years in India (accumulated time)-I have punched in my time card, as it were, around him many times. Bhau arrived in Myrtle Beach two days ago and I attended his first talk. I was not at all expecting anything new from his wine barrel-I thought I had tasted his best jabs and uppercuts. I had always felt his wine needed a little more fermentation. I was so happy to discover I was wrong-major league wrong. Now I am voting for Bhau for President ofour galaxy and beyond.

Harold Jamison Wrote: For all Newellies,Jarniewill appear in concert tonight in Berkeley. Regular place, the church comer ofMarin and Stannage. Tell your non-cyber friends, bring someone other than a Baba lover. This is good music. Greg Dunn responded: Sometimes I think, ifoffered the choice between aJamie ewell concert and God Realization, I'd pick the concert! Mter all, God Realization will always be there!

From Our Man In Meherabad byJames Cox July 10th, Silence Day I was doing prettygood keeping silence here through all ofthe usual daily work related problems, telephones ringing, villagers asking ques-

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tions and volleyball, but my night watchman just got me, sticking his head in my window as I type this. He usually asks whether it is 0 K to lock the gate, and I always tell him yes or no in Marathi, so I told him to go ahead without looking up. I guess it must be the first time I have ever broken my silence in Marathi. There's always some kind of"flIst" here. The crowd here is pretty large this year, probably over 1000, and it just keeps on growing every year. The crowd started gathering at the Samadhi by 6 am, and everyone said their silent Arti in their own way. By 10:00 a.m., when I finally joined the queue, it took me an hour and a half, that's even longer than Armatithi now... ofcourse the Women Mandali came for darshan in between, which added a bit. There were so many flowers on Baba's Tomb today that they had to be repeatedly taken out, also just like on January 31st. In fact, people are even starting to refer to Silence Day as a mini Arnartithi. Dr. Goher, Katie, Arnavaz, Rhoda Mistry, Manu, and Meheru all came, and despite Goher's fragile health, she looked radiant today. The weather was lightly overcast and cool, just about perfect, and ofcourse Baba's special Silence Day atmosphere was abundant. Fortunately, this year, the mosquitoes are not. Some ofyou rnight wonder what we do on Silence Day here, and that depends, ofcourse, on who you are. For the pilgrims, it is sort ofa holiday, but for most of the residents, our work goes on, and in many cases increases dramatically because ofthe crowds. Probably over 800 people are staying at Lower Meherabad tonight, and the logistics ofsleeping and feeding that many people is not a small matter. Gary Kleiner, in particular, had a taxing time ofit today, trying to cope with a 32-player volleyball game without shouting at anyone! But he managed, we all managed, and in about an hour, it will all be over. Most ofthe crowd will stay for Dhuni, then go home, and wait for their next trip. July 20th, Wolves at Meherabad?! Yesterday afternoon, about 3pm as I was having a nap, my phone rings, and it is Erico on his cellular, telling me that he is about a mile northwest ofBaba's Samadhi on his mountain bike, and he is watching two wolves as they head toward my house at a quick clip. This is not the usual thing one expects to be woken up from a nap with, and it took me some moments to digest it. Continued on page 6.

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The Living Witness Series by Wendell Brustman

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uring a period of three years in the mid-1980's, I went with a small crew consisting of Bill Haviland, my son Tom, Roman Babiak, and others to Switzerland, France, England, and India to videotape the then most significant living witnesses to the life of the Avatar, Meher Baba. The proposed format was simple: in each video, the subjects would be on screen and tell their story to you, the viewer. The purpose was to make available for generations to come an opportunity for the viewer to meet the infinite and inscrutable Cod through the personality and personal story ofthose close ones whom He had drawn to Himself, whose lives He had changed, and whom He had used in His immediate service while in human form as Meher Baba. Many were intimate mandali, in whom was fully instilled the spirit of surrender and obedience, and who have become for thousands, models of the ideal life ofdedication to God. These trips resulted in the buildup ofseveral hundred hours ofprofessionally shot footage by Bill Haviland, who in 1987 began editing programs. Unforeseen events beginning that year eventually led to a decade-long delay. It is now the time when programs in this Witness Series can finally be released. The Mandali Collection, a second grouping of releases, is initiated with our first in a series of three programs on Mehera, and a program ofMani telling delightful early childhood stories ofbeing the sister ofGod. Mehera herself, in 1986 at the inception of taping in India, made a decision which will lead to many new programs to follow. She instructed Mani to allow the work to run on past the 5-hour per person limit Mani had imposed, believing that this should become an official record of the mandali's witness to their Beloved, and that the results would make a difference in the impact of Meher Baba's message oflove and truth on a hungry and waiting world. If there is sufficient interest, we will release the second tape in the trilogy this coming spring, and the third a year from now. The first of these, Program II, will be intimate moments with Mehera at Meherazad including a visit with her at teatime. Only women and chil-

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t dren were permitted to attend Mehera's tea until our male flim crew was given permission to record it for posterity. Program III, to complete the trilogy, will be stories ofMehera told mainly by Mani, and will include a ten minute gem ofa talk by Mani about Mehera's purity in her relationship with Meher Baba.

A Vitness Series Video Mehera J. Irani

MEHERBABA, LORD AND FRIE D

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moment with Mehera as she comes alive on her porch, gives a tour ofBaba's bedroom and leads a walk through the garden at Meherazad. Filmed in 1986, edited by Bill Haviland, 58 minutes, $54.95.

Mani All This And Heaven Too Mani Remembers Her Early Childhood With Meher Baba

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ani S. Irani was Meher Baba's sister, 24 years his junior, who had a unique access to her brother whom she already knew, as a young child, to be Cod. Her earliest memories include the story keying the video's title. It tells ofthe candy she thought she could enjoy while sitting with Baba before a gathering, and the drama Baba casually created which led her to conclude it would, in the future, have to be either candy or Baba, but not both at the same time. Edited by Bill Haviland, 61 minutes, $49.95.

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itness Series Video Mani . Irani

TO 路1 ehera Remembers Meher Saba Program One

Mehera Meher Baba, Lord and Friend Program One

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ehera's story of coming to Baba, told exclusively in her own words, makes ofthis flrst Witness Series video a classic collector's edition.The story line ofthis video presents one facet of the life story of love's pure witness to the divinely human life ofCod on Earth, seen through the eyes ofhis chosen consort. Filled with interesting anecdotes, poignant memories and profoundly intimate moments, this full-color and finely crafted program takes you directly into the present

ani Re embers He Early Childhood With Meher Saba

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was to find the place ofCod. In that moment Mehera's fate was sealed. In another memory, filled with the most delightful bursts of throaty laughter, she recounts a time when Baba, dressed as Krishna, was slipping through a tear in the cloth that had been designed by the women Mandali for His cradle during a celebration for Krishna at Meherabad. Her laughter during this story is totally infectious. She is incredibly beautiful but also very strong. I was struck with how strong she was. The combination of gentleness and purity in thought and unwavering strength is truly a blessing to observe. I couldn't take my eyes off her. There were other stories she told, and there was a very special moment with Mani in Mandali Hall, but I'll leave those for you to discover and enjoy. Baba said, "Mehera loves me as I should be loved." In this wonderful film we are allowed to glimpse the quality ofthat love. What a blessing! Produced by Meher Prasad, 42 minutes, $39.95.

Thefollowing two videos introduce the Western Collection ofthe Witness Series.

Irene Billo

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he video work began with Irene Billo in 1984. A remarkable lady, her story would have been lost without the video mission, because when Irene died without having finished her written biography, her sister, always opposed to Meher Baba, threw away Irene's archives. She was from the small mountain village ofHeiden, Switzerland and met Meher Baba on His 1937 visit to Europe. Swept off her feet, Irene left soon thereafter by ship for India where she lived in the woman's ashram for eight years. Articulate in English, Irene recounts her experience with both lighthearted humor and spiritual sophistication. Her manner is lively; her heart warm. Irene offers a valuable European perspective as well as bringing to life the obscure figure of her friend, Helen Dahm, the Swiss artist who created the murals inside Meher Baba's Samadhi on Meherabad Hill. Filmed on location in Switzerland, 1984. Edited by Bill Haviland, 57 minutes, Living With God, $38.95.

A Videotape Review

Mehera, Meher Baba's Beloved

Agnes Baron

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hough better known, the elusive and wary Agnes Baron is still a rare subject for those of us wishing to sit with her now after her death. We recorded Agnes, the protector ofMeher Mount, in 1985. The Meher Baba retreat at Meher Mount in Ojai, on the central California coast, has a rich history, recounted here by its principal figure, Agnes Baron. Uniquely her own person, while also devoted to Baba, Agnes tells her life story, including the saga ofsaving the land for Baba, Baba's sole visit in 1956, and the fire on New Life Day years later that mysteriously swept away the old monuments of this magnificent site onSulphur Mountain. Filmed in 1985 both in Ojai and at a surprise birthday party for Agnes in Berkeley, this video is remarkably earthy, enlightening and entertaining. Edited by Bill Haviland, 58 minutes, The Beloved's Watchdog, $38.95. [CwTently our tapes are in VHS (NTSC format) only and therefore cannot normally be viewed on VCR's inftreign countries (PALformat). We are planning to distribute videos for use overseas as soon as possible.]

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byTerri Zagrodnik

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very special gift has arrived for those of us in the Baba community. It is an opportunity for those who knew her to visit with Mehera again. For those of us who know her only through books and the stories ofother Baba lovers, it's an opportunity to feel as though we too have shared a moment of time in her presence. Mehera, Meher Baba's Beloved, opens its arms to us from the very beginning as one moves through the gates ofMeherazad and onto the porch and into the garden of Mehera's love. Here, the music of Raphael Rudd is the backdrop. Later we're treated to the songs of Jamie Newell and Heather Nadel-their love for Baba reflected beautifully in their voices. In the film Mehera shares with us her memories of Baba-how at the age of fifteen, while on her way to Upasni Maharaj, she spies Baba for the first time. She describes the moment by saying that to see Him

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n 1970 Teri Adams was inspired to draw a pastel portrait of Baba for Mehera. Mehera was very happy with it, placing it in Baba's room at Meherazad, and encouraged Teri to keep drawing Baba. Throughout the years she has continued to do so. The most recent drawing of Baba, (see above) completed at Meher Center in Myrtle Beach last spring, has been printed by Sheriar Press as a greeting card and can be purchased through the Love Street Bookstore and the Sheriar Bookstore in Myrtle Beach. All profits from the sale of the cards will be donated to the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India. $2.50.

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Bill Stephens with Eruch Jessawalla

Souls On Fire Reviewed by Lani Jones, Tennessee

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n this compelling book, Bill Stephens writes about some ofthe transcendent love affairs of the ages. His subjects are men and women ofvarious countries and faiths who lived in the period after Mohammed and before Meher Baba. (One ofthem, the incomparable Babajan, lived on for ten years after Baba began his mission. The incredible fact is that Babajan actually functioned as God in human form for more than a century!) Many of the great souls featured in Souls on Fire are among Meher Baba's special favorites-inspired individuals for whom religion was at best a stepping stone, and at worst a hindrance, to the perfection of their passionate love affair with God Himself (Or God Herself, if you prefer. Meher Baba tells us that in this advent He is functioning both as the Divine Father and the Divine Mother.) These are individuals who fell madly in love with God and could not rest until they attained union with the object of their fervor. In today's world, who would dream that a woman living in a brothel-and reputed to be the world's most beautiful woman-was actuallya saint? As Meher Baba explained, the brothel was a cover for Rabia's real work of saving souls. Baba also explained that the lovely Rabia came back to earth again for her final lifetime as Hazrat Babajan. (See Rabia of Basra, page 13.) The great yogi Milarepa is Tibet's most

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famous saint. Yet Jetsun Milarepa as a youth was a practitioner ofblack magic and a murderer of many people! What better example can we find ofthe transforming effects ofGod's infinite love? (See Milarepa, page 45.) Mirabai was a queen whose heart was aflame with love for Lord Krishna. Mter her husband the king was killed in battle, Mirabai's in-laws tried repeatedly to kill her, but her faith in Krishna saved her. Mirabai gave up her position and her power to wander, penniless, radiant in her rags, singing of her love for Krishna and inspiring all India with her beauty and her bhajans, which are still widely sung today in India. (See Mirabai, page 85.) A young man in England, after experiencing God's light within, was beaten, spat upon and jailed time after time for speaking out and telling people that God is within everyone's heart and no one needs preachers or "steeplehouses" to find God. George Fox's indomitable courage and impassioned leadership changed the British Empire and led to a mystical movement known as the Qyakers. (See George Fox, page 125.) Other subjects include Meher Baba's favorite poet Hafiz, as well as Rumi, Kabir, Francis ofAssisi,Teresa ofAvila, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and Hazrat Babajan. The final chapter is about our own Divine Beloved, Avatar Meher Baba, who while remaining silent for forty-four years inspired and gener-

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ated a worldwide movement of millions of followers who accept that all religions are essentially the same, but that religion itself is unimportant, while God is everything. Souls on Fire is Bill Stephens' second Baba book, coming only one year after Footprints in the Sand, which Don Stevens, author of Listen Humanity refers to as "a detailed personal history ofwhat I would call ChapterTwo ofBaba's presence among man" and "a very important contribution." Stephens came to Baba after a near-death experience in 1969 which changed him instantly from an agnostic to a seeker. Stephens has worked both as a lawyer and a marine naturalist and is the author of seven books about marine science, animals and underwater exploration. In addition, he and his wife Peggy have coauthored six children's books about marine animals. There have been many favorable prepublication reviews for this book, but I think this one says it best, coming as it does, from Coleman Barks-the man who made Rumi the most famous poet in America 800 years after his death: "These are the planet's great love stories, the lives and legends of deeply surrendered souls: Francis, Rumi, Ramakrishna, Meher Baba, Teresa, Hafez, and others. The religious traditions they grew from are less important than the depth of their loving." -Coleman Barks, author, The EssentialRumi Oceanic Press, Nashville, TN-Paperback, 224 pp., Index and Bibliography, $12.

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Beautiful Souls â&#x20AC;˘

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Ugly Cages by Phyllis Ott, Myrtle Beach, SC

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his booklet was begun at the request of Beloved Baba's brother Jal in a letter written to us, Lyn and Phyllis Ott, on March 17,1981. In the letter,Jal asked that the video, both sight and sound, made in the Poona leprosorium in 1971 be printed out "...for the world to see and know that Beloved Baba has performed this only miracle after leaving His body." It is the story ofMeher Baba revealing Hi~self to Jal through 200 lepers as the One Selfwithin all. I was able to feel the literal meaning of Ba:ba's description ofHis Selfas the same one in every creature in creation.The way I prepared the text for the book was playing an audio tape ofJal speaking as the Luck brothers were fUming him with the lepers. I played it over and over again as I copied down whatever J a1 said. The photos now can be printed out from the video with a scanner, but we had no advanced equiptment. Ralph Jackson had to play the tape, and stop it on the TV monitor to shoot stills with another camera. The paste-up that I made with these snapshots and my typewritten pieces of corresponding text were essenially what was published. My title for the book was "Transfiguration" because that's what I saw as the miracle. A wreck of a human body, and each of the 200 people present in the story was deteriorated by disease, yet each was miraculously transfigured to the form of the glorious Avatar, Mcher Baba. I was walking through the Center wondering how to devise a way that I could afford to print the manuscript. I walked into an old friend, Grant Narelle. He opened the conversation by saying that he felt he had paid much

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too little for a painting ofmine that he had acquired a year before. And then I told him about theJal booklet and my problem of funding its printing. Well, coincidentally, he was publishing a shipping newspaper in Virginia Beach, and offered to do that for my book. His wife,]udy, with a background in book design took on the expert work ofart editing. The large group that finalized the booklet is acknowledged on page 6. But I lost my choice for the title when the print-ready dummy was sent to Mani. She led the effort from then on and retitled it Beautiful Souls in Ugly Cages. Her message on page 38 was confirmation of the witness, Brother J al, which completes his testament like a benediction. [This book, long out ofprint, has now been reprinted and is available through the Love Street Bookstore, $6.]

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Compiled by Lyn and PhylJis

InsideJobs: Stories for Adults and Other Kids Written and told by Max Reif Audio Book Review by Kendra Crossen Burroughs

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n his youth in rural Ohio, my father was a carnival barker, and he used to imitate the barker's cry for our amusement: "Hurry, hurry, see Little Fatima, she walks, she talks, she crawls on her belly like a snake!" Something similar could be said about the multitalented Max Reif He writes, he paints, he sings and plays music, he acts, he clowns! Hurry, hurry, and get his audiotape, InsideJobs: Stories for Adults and Other Kids, on which he gets to do almost all these things, telling and acting out his stories, playing the harmonica, and illustrating the cover with his artwork. The tape is beautifully produced by Chris Riger, with original music composed by Jeff Williams, and cool sound effects. In these stories Max displays a brilliant knack for the whimsical and the absurd. There's the man whose red face is mistaken for a stoplight, halting traffic. There's the wish-fulfilling genie who materializes out ofa can ofsoup. There's Fred riding an escalator, which he knows is really a giant dragon about to gobble him up; but instead of telling his mother this, Fred comments dryly, "This escalator is like the electric shears that the barber uses to shave my neck." There's a cloud who walks into a cafe and asks, in a plaintive falsetto voice, for a small cup of sunshine. And then there's the title character of"The Martyr," who declares: "Every morning when I wake up, my first thought is, 'I'm a martyr for the cause!' But then it takes me some time to remember what the cause is!" There are also some gentle and spiritual fairy tales, with pretty princesses, scary forests, and magical transformations. All of the stories have a distinctive and special heart quality. It comes in an attractive box with Max's artwork on the cover. $10.


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Wedding Bells at Meher Mount by Kendra Crossen Burroughs, Meher Mount

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aturday, June 6, was a misty, foggy day: typical June weather on Sulphur Mountain-and an auspicious atmosphere for the wedding of Pamela Wolfe and Billy Goodrum, to be held at Meher Mount that afternoon. They say the weather was just like this when Meher Baba visited Meher Mount on August 2, 1956. A large crowd offriends and family was gathered outside the house, where, a few days before, Billy and Pamela had worked to spruce up the garden and grounds for the event. The beautiful Pamela emerged on the arm of her father and began the procession out to the Baba Tree with the handsome "William Ashby Goodrum"-led by a kilted bagpiper, George McGillvray. Under the tree, everyone's attention turned to the minister, the Right Reverend ... wait a minute, isn't that Jeff Maguire? Jeff proudly announced that the State of California had sworn him in as Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages, for one day only. He welcomed the guests "to Scotland," and then Baba's Beloved God prayer was recited, led by the kids: Danny Maguire, Josh and J anani Lee, Mia Campagna, and John Matthe\\:' and Michael Griffin. Jeffpointed out that we were convened just a few yards away from where Baba had sat under the tree in August 1956, and undoubtedly Baba was just as present with us today for the wedding. He read out several pertinent Baba quotes: "Love is no game for weaklings...;" "It is for love that the whole universe sprang into existence...;" and "Married life brings an intensifIcation of most human problems" (Jeff read that line twice for emphasis!). Then he told tl1e story ofhowJeanne Shaw, on her fIftieth wedding anniversary,

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summarized the secret of a successful marriage in one word: "Yield!"

Mter Pamela and Billy exchanged long white silk scarves, inspired by a Himalayan custom conveying blessings, Josh Clayton sang Paul McCartney's "I Will." Jeff remarked that we were not just witnessing the ceremony but participating in it, and that our presence signifIed our offer oflove and support to the newlyweds.

With the exchange ofgarlands, rings, and the vows they had written, Billy and Pamela were united in a long kiss that evoked cheers from the crowd. We all joined in singing (or tried to sing) "Begin the Beguine," accompanied by Debra Ashe and Michael and Charlie Campagna. The ceremony concluded with a loving greeting sent by Bhau Kalchuri. As we returned to the house, the sky brightened as the sun's radiance streamed through the clouds-just as they say it did on the day Baba was here. Then there was food, music, and dancing. Jeffremarked about the Brazilian band: "Those guys clearly realized their good fortune: how often does a musician report for a casual gig and get exposed to Meher Baba, Fred, and Kleiner all at the same time?" The victuals were also excellent. "At fIrst I was worried there wouldn't be enough for everyone," said Jeff. "But they kept bringing out more and more and still yet more. I also got a kick out offInding the food servers out on the point admiring the view with us. They felt right at home, as did everyone, which is a testimony to the kind of people Billy and Pamela are and to the love that Baba showers down when such an occasion arises." All told, it was a gorgeous weddingcomplete with teary eyes and sniffles at the touching toasts of the two dads, Cloyd Smith Goodrum,Jr., and John Keller. As Jeffrecalled, even the weather had been memorable: "the mist and fog, the chill, then the clearing skies, the view from the point, and fInally the sharply angled rays of the late sun that rendered a wedding portrait in gold." Jai Baba!

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The House on Grove Street by Ed Flanagan

Please... [Editor's note: When I recei路ved this submission .from Ed I was doubtful we could run something so long. However as I was getting into the story, a scenefrom the movie "Titanic" came to mind: the one where thefilm crew is gathered around Rose, hanging on her e路very word, as they realize she was actually there.' It was history relived, brought to life before their eyes. And so it is with this story.. .]

Respectthe , .

owners pnvacy: Do not call on thetn or ask to seethe house.

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t was 1979. I was living in Greenwich Village, and almost daily on my bicycle I'd pass by the double town house just a few blocks away at #88-90 Grove Street. I had come to Meher Baba just two years before and was well aware of the fascinating history of that old house in relation to Baba. In November, 1931, Baba's first visit to America, Baba had been invited by the owner, Graham PhelpsStokes, to stay there following His visit to Harmon-on-Hudson, an hour's drive north of Manhattan. He returned six months later on his well-publicized second American tour, and gave His fust major public darshan on American soil, and a newsreel crew f.tlmed Him walking in the gardens. On Baba's third American visit in 1934, He gave darshan there to His new lovers, Darwin Shaw among them. Graham suffered ten strokes and died in 1960. His widow, Lettice Stokes, lived there alone except for daily visits from her maid, and from Graham's secretary, who even thirty years after his death would come several times a week to "take care of business" and look after Mrs. Stokes. Over the years, Baba lovers would pester her at all hours to see the house where Meher Baba had stayed, but I never dared to ring the bell. I was content to simply pass by, imagining Him smiling in the upper window and waving at me. Very late at night, I would sit quietly on the fron t stoop, remembering how He had passed up and down these very steps. He would feel very close and present. During the day, those steps were a favorite hangout for winos, who would drift across the narrow street from tiny Sheridan Square Park, or from the equally close Stonewall Inn.

This nearby bar became world-famous in 1969 as the scene ofa three-day riot between the NYC-police and the gay and transvestite community. The "Stonewall Riots" were the proverbial "shot heard round the world" demanding equal rights for sexual minorities.The event led to changes on a global scale. In this regard, on Christmas Day, 1981, in Mandali Hall, Eruch repeated a story Baba had told about a perfect master who was a gay transvestite. Baba had told this story to the mandali thirtyyears earlier, in 1951, in Lucknow, where He was just beginning His manonash work among a community ofoutcast hijiras (transvestites). During that time, Baba Himselfbecame the object of homophobic hatred and abuse. He said that He was doing universal work which would one day result in raising the consciousness ofthe homosexual community throughout the world. One hot July afternoon, a friend asked me to walk with him to a store on the other side of the Village. As we approached the house, I noticed a wino sitting on a curb at the edge of the park. He was wild and robust-looking, reminding me of one of Baba's masts, but his intoxication was probably due to the pint of Wild Turkey on the curb beside him. Without thinking, I shouted at him, "BABA!"The next momen t, I saw a very elderly lady fum-

bling at the lock on the front door ofthe house, and I blurted out, "Oh my God, there she is." I thought, "No, I could never, I'm in my shorts, I'm unpresentable, by the time I get there she'll be in the house." I stood there frozen. Suddenly I made a dash for it and caught her just in time to help her with the keys. Her eyesight was not good and she mistook me for a neighbor she hadn't seen for a while, and invited me for tea the next afternoon. I couldn't believe my ears. What a stroke ofluck; under my breath, I thanked Baba. The next day I appeared for tea, and we sat out in the back garden, where she suddenly realized I was a complete stranger and that yesterday she had mistaken me for someone else. She had a wonderful sense of humor and we both had a good laugh over it. I gave her a copy of N aosherwan Anzar's The Beloved, and she was happy to see photos of so many old friends, and of course, "the Baba," as she referred to Him. Thus began a wonderful relationship with Lettice Stokes and her house and yard, where I began regularly visiting and doing gardening. We became good friends. As I brought her up to date on some ofthe events of the last forty years, she seemed very surprised that He had returned to New York several times during the fifties, and that she hadn't heard about it, He had not contacted Graham, or stopped by. She seemed a bit hurt. She was shocked to hear ofthe accident in Oklahoma in 1952 and news of His dropping the body in 1969 really stunned her. As we sat in the lovely enclosed garden behind the house, she reminisced about those days in the early


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thirties, her life with Graham before and after Baba, and the monthly suppers.

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raham Stokes had been part of a group of friends and spiritual seekers which included Elizabeth Patterson and orina Matchabelli. Others who would soon join included Jean Adriel, Malcolm Schloss, adine Tolstoy, Anita DeCaro Veillard, Josephine Ross, and many others contacted by Baba. At the invitation ofElizabeth and Norina, Graham went up to Harmon on November 9, 1931, where he first met Baba. He returned that evening totally enthralled and insisted that Lettice go back up with him so that she too could meet Baba. I sensed that she had some resistance to the idea, since Graham was the seeker, not her; but she went anyway. Yes, He was very charming and all smiles, though silent, and He had the most deeply penetrating and extraordinarily beau tiful eyes, bu t she really couldn't see what all the fuss was about. "I certainly didn't swoon like orina. She practically fell down the stairs. She went head over heels, completely overboard, coming out from meeting Him. She was so overcome. Elizabeth too, but more calm, more collected. I'm a more matter-of-fact person, as you probably guessed. Though I can't say that I went in for fainting when I met Him, I liked Baba. I liked Him and that meant a great deal. He radiated energy- not physical, but emotional. Only a clod could approach Him with-

The view from Baba's bedroom.

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t out some feeling. I could easily see what a tremendous influence He had on people more versed in spiritual things. I was never a student ofsuch things, except I picked up a few crumbs. You couldn't live with a person like Graham for 34 years in that atmosphere, reading scriptures in Sanskrit, versed in the teaching ofmany Lettice spiritual masters, and not have some of it rub offon you. But I was never bowled over by any of this. Never. But yes. I did like Baba very much." A few days later, she recalled, Graham returned from Harmon quite upset, saying that the house up there was no place for a person ofBaba's spiritual status, and that he wanted to bring the whole party down to this house. The Harmon property belonged to Virginia Mayo, a famous Broadway playwright, who lent it out for Baba's use. Mrs. Stokes said there were rumors that the house had been a speakeasy during the Prohibition era, and perhaps had served other unsavory purposes, and Graham thought it unsuitable for Baba. She did not recall, nor did I know at that time, that there had been a fire there just a few days after Baba arrived, burning one of the guest houses to the ground. (This made several people very happy because they got to move into the main house, with Baba.) The fire may have been one reason why Graham offered the Manhattan house to Baba. The next day, a caravan ofcars drove down from Harmon and the whole contingent descended on Grove Street. Mrs. Stokes recalled that one of the people with Baba was the mischievous and lovable Agha Ali ofPrem Ashram days. She said, "He and the Baba stayed in one room at the top of the house, and Chanji, Rustom and t Meredith Starr in the other room. It was pretty hectic here

for a few days, until everybody got on a train for California. Bu t Ed, I tell you," and here she started laughing again as she recalled those days, "the real whirlwind was several mon ths later when the Baba came back to New York." On His second, well-publicized, visit to America, ElizaStokes. beth chauffeured him directly to Grove Street from the docks in Brooklyn. The rest of the party followed in taxis with Graham and the luggage. Baba's room was prepared as before, and staying with Him in the house were His younger brother Adi Jr., QJentin Todd, and Meredith and Margaret Starr. Baba's brother Beheram, Chanji, Ghani, and Kaka stayed at the Hotel Albert. ''And Ed, I don't mind telling you our quiet little household was totally disrupted. It was like Grand Central Station around here with the crowds, for weeks it seemed, bu t maybe.it was shorter than that. I thought I might have to go to a hotel myself. I couldn't even get into my own bedroom. There'd be people stretched out across my bed, exhausted, especially N onna and Elizabeth, who acted as hostesses. And word went out, and the word spread, and it was like dropping a pebble in a pond. On and on it went. There was no end to it. The reporters started coming and the doorbell was ringing and the phone was ringing, and God knows what wasn't going on. You couldn't see the beds for all the coats, with people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. I just had to get out. The place was swarming. I'd do my little chores and then I'd get right out, leaving the place to them. Ofcourse, Graham was uptown at the office, taking care ofbusiness. But somebody would be stationed at the phone, which rang interminably; someThe Movietone Newsfootage ofMeha Baba in the garden at Grove Street in May 1932 is available on videofrom Love Street Bookstore as ''Meher Baba's 1932 Message to America, "$15.

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one else would be stationed at the door, because Baba was seeing people most of the day. And every time I left the house, there were people walking up and down, wanting to know, 'Is Baba in there?' You just wouldn't believe what was going on here, everything is so quiet now. But in the evening things would quiet down, and Graham and I and whoever else was here would go up to His room at the top, and we'd sit on the floor and talk. And Baba would listen and smile and laugh. It was delightful-very informal. Then we'd all say good night and go to bed, and it would start all over again the next day. I'm glad I was young. I don't think I could handle it today. Then finally, Norina and Elizabeth wanted to know ifwe could have a formal reception. And we said certainly, if they would send the invitations. They said, sure, that's the easiest part ofit. Engraved invitations were sent out, and that Sunday afternoon over 400 people showed up at my front door from about four to seven :P.M. They kept coming and coming and coming, in through the front door and up the stairs at #88, into the library and up a few steps to meet him in the little meditation room. Then they'd come back down the stairs at #90, so it was a circular thing, you see, so nobody swmbled over anybody. People were given a specific time, like one group would be at four and the next group at four-thirty, and so on through the afternoon and evening. The lines went up and down the blockwith people waiting to get in to see Him. The police had to redirect traffic in front of the house. "That same day, the newsreel people came and filmed Him here in the garden, with all Baba's Chair and Portrait

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he chair used by Meher Baba for darshan at the Grove Street house was sent to the center at Myrtle Beach for Baba's ftrst visit there, and remains in the Barn to this day. Also sent was a life-size portrait ofBaba by Julian Lamar, which Baba sat for. (Lamar met Baba at Harmon on November 7,1931.) Elizabeth Patterson owned the painting until she and her husband Kenneth had a bitter split over Baba. According to Mrs. Stokes, Kenneth was a Christian Scientist and thought "all this Baba business" was "a bunch of hooey." When the Pattersons broke up, Mr. and Mrs. Stokes received this portrait and the garden fountain which was still there during my visits. Graham Stokes hung the portrait in the "little room," and it now hangs in Baba's living room in Myrtle Beach.

my neighbors in the apartments above us poking their heads out ofwindows and balconies, trying to see what on earth was going on. I tell you it was really something. Even for days after, it seemed hundreds of people would walk past the house, gazing with awe and trying to peer in. And dozens claimed that it changed their entire lives. And I can believe this, Ed, because for several years after- and this is the truth-our doorbell would ring at some extraordinary hour and there would be an utter stranger and-" Here she began laughing so that she could barely catch her breath. "I can't tell you how funny life has been in many ways. Little did I think when I got married what I was getting into. And they would come in, and they just wanted to come again to the house, and tell how their whole life had changed. And I would sit there and listen to more changes in life than would fill ten books. And this went on for a long time." She poured me another cup of tea and continued her narrative. "I had an old colored mammy-cook then, Anna, and she just nearly melted away at the Baba-Bubba, she called Him. And 'Bubba this' and 'Bubba that,' oh the Bubba could do no wrong. And it didn't matter how much work there was to do or how many things He wanted at an extraordinary hour. It was never too much. She was completely bowled over." And here she started laughing again. "Now my memory is a bit dim, but it seems we had to get in extra help, perhaps a relative or a friend ofAnna's, and they would prepare His meals, you know, and sometimes He would come down to the basement kitchen area where they worked, and sit with them. And they'd make Him a cup oftea and they'd chat. He was really very sweet to them and they remembered that, and would talk about it for years after."

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nvariably, whether it was one of our outings, or a gardening day, or a simple visit, she would eventually say, "Well, Ed, would you like to go up and spend some time in the little room?" This was how she referred to the room a few steps up from the large sky-lit salon-library on the second floor of the house. When Baba left, Graham reserved this spot, where Baba had given darshan, as a meditation room, where he would go each morning unfailingly before leaving for the office, and again before retiring. He had a rope

Bedroom at top

of the hOl/se used by Baba's party.

with tassels put across Baba's chair so no one would sit on it. When I first entered the little room, it was pitch dark, as Graham had blocked out the window. A tiny amber light bulb gave the feel of dim candlelight. It was a spot intimately associated with Him and I could feel the thin wooden runners still nailed to the floor in the left corner, where Baba had placed the green morris chair at just the right angle for greeting visitors as they entered the room. Even fifty years later, this gave me a sense of exactly where He was in the room. I could feel Him smiling at me. A photo reproduction which Graham had made ofBaba's portrait hung in the room, and under it was framed one of Baba's quotes: WITHIN ME AND WITHIN ALL-THE SAME

su-

PREME SELF. SHRI SADGURU MEHER SABA.

There were also images ofJesus, St. Francis, and someone who resembled Zoroaster, together with a picture ofVivekananda, whose ashram in India Lettice and Graham had visited on their honeymoon in 1926. A large mahogany sideboard with heavy drawers was at the rear wall, and a small table and a couple ofchairs completed the furnishings. Any time I entered that room and closed the door, with just a few moments offocusing I would feel Baba's presence very strongly. I'd think, "if only the world knew about this place..." while knowing fully that someday it would. It was similar to the feeling people describe after visiting the Samadhi.

"B

ut now for His birthday party after He went back to India," Lettice continued, "We were all vegetarian, no meat or anything like that. So we had some delicious baked beans which Anna concocted and put all kinds of things on, and we had fruit salad and rolls and cocoa, tea, or coffee, and then ice cream


An mgraved invitation to the 1932 t1arshan had been sitting in a drawerjor 47 years.'

and cake for dessert. I would pull out the table in the dining room which would seat ten nicely, and set up three or four small tables in the front room, and then I would get in extra help to serve and wash the dishes and all that practical business. Then we would sit there after the dishes were cleared, and Graham would stand in the doorway and give a little talk. And then, one by one, or two by two if they were a couple, people would all go up and have a few moments in the little room. Then they'd come back downstairs where Anna was whipping up a punch, you see, with ice cream and cake. That made a lovely little evening. That first one was an enormous success, so we said, oh-let's do this again. We would have a simple supper. And after the first time, people started bringing homemade cookies and baked goods, and we had this almost up until Graham's death, except for a couple of years when he was very sick. Now, Graham's birthday was March 18, but that was not a Saturday and these were working people. So the second year we moved it to the last Saturday ofthe month. And that way Graham could spend the day quietly and prepare for his talk. And that was a great success, since they knew it was also for Graham's birthday, that made it extra special. Now everybody enjoyed this so much we got our heads together and said, why not do

this every month. So those little meetings came to be known as the "Last Saturday Group." Twenty-eight people came to that first birthday supper, and the sam e group and the sam e number would come for years afterwards. We would invite close friends like Norina and Elizabeth and the new people we had met, and it was such a lovely thing. Do you know, Ed, we had them for over 25 years, except for July and August, with people away. Always the same ones coming, though a lot of them have died now... They were just dear, all of them, from every walk oflife, all religions, Jews, gentiles, heathens-you name it, they came. Of course I sent their names and everything I had relating to Baba personally to Elizabeth down at Myrtle Beach. Have you met her? Such a marvellous, wonderful woman. You really must meet her." She sighed and looked up at me. "It was really something."

given to me about a year later, together with a delicate old colored woodblock print ofMary with the infantJesus.) Lettice continued the tour at the top of the house, saving the "little room" for last. It was an extraordinarily moving experience for me, just seeing the toilet, the sink and faucets, the light switch in His bathroom, and His bedroom, which Graham had later converted to a home office, things that He used and touched. As we went back down to the second floor I saw Graham's priceless collection of ancient Tibetan tankas depicting various deities and Boddhisattvas, large museumquality treasures. There were also exquisite turn-of-the-century religious paintings, religious statuary and other antiquities.

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hose were the days before personal camcorders, yet how often have I kicked myself for not having the foresight to document this extraordinary place for posterity. My only consolation is perhaps these recollections may help give a feeling for the place and those special times. Graham's library and personal papers were willed to the Columbia University Library; only authors or those with a need to know have access to them. For the record, this is what Mrs. Stokes told me about the history of the house; though it may not pertain directly to Meher Baba, it will get lost 'if not set down here. The two houses, #88 and #90 Grove Street, were built identical to each other in hen she said I should probably like to 1927 for two retired seafaring brothers, Henry see the rest of the house and proceeded and Jesse Halsy. The home of their parents to take me on a tour. My first impression was and grandparents, in Southampton, Long Isthat I was walking through a movie set from land, has been turned into a museum, and in the early thirties. Everything down to the last 1980, Mrs. Stokes sent it some letters and detail was strictly from that period, with nothother historical records of the Grove Street ing to even suggest anything from the forties. house. It was if time had stood still after Baba was She explained that the only architectural here. clue to the original twin buildings was their On the walls in the hallway were photos remaining stairways and railings. "Graham and documents from George Washington bought the first house and lived here with his (she was a direct descendant) frrstwife in 1915. I didn't come and up in the library were here until we were married in large plush velvet chairs and a 1926. He bought the adjoinlarge sofa. Everything was ing house from his sister lightly faded and lovingly Helen in 1931. It didn't have lived-in. The table and floor heat or electricity. We broke lamps were valuable antiques. down the partitions and (A twenties-era torchiere-style bought all new furnishings. lamp with an amber fluted Robert Blum (or Bloom) glass bowl, which was used was an artist who lived here while Baba was there, was in 1893, around the time I was Ed Flanagan.

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born. He added this double-decked building on the left side of the garden, and rented it to artists for studio space. Helen rented the upper one from an artist who lived here later. That's how she knew about the house, and when it was available she snatched it up, and connected the double studio house to the main house, and built these charming cloisters. There was a livery stable next door. There was a very handsome wrought-iron fence dividing the gardens, and after we bought the house from Helen, we took down the fence to join the gardens. Then Graham got wind that the neighborhood association needed a piece of wrought-iron fence for Sheridan-Square Park across the way. They were trying to make a division between the front and back parts of the park, which had a lot of beautiful old trees. ow if you'll look, you'll see that the points on the fence dividing the park do not match. That's the fence that was here in our garden around the time that Baba first came in 1931."

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hings that were here when He was here. I was obsessed with that, and kept pressing for information. For example, I wanted to know about the arrangement of furniture in Baba's bedroom during Baba's stays. Lettice explained, "The lease on his uptown office was running out, and with his health the way it was, one day he asked me what about making Baba's bedroom into a small office. And I said, that's the best idea you've had since you asked me to marry you!" As we stood in the room, she said, "There was just a small closet, not this big one. Two twin beds with a night-table between them. This chest of drawers was here, a big bureau which is now in the guest room below, and there were chairs and a table, things you'd need in a bedroom." I pressed her more. "You know, you should really make a historical record, because one day when we're all gone, that record will be very important." "Well, that furniture is all family furniture, and it's all allotted to Graham's family members-the younger generation, of course-all the old ones are gone. I had eight brothers and sisters-in-Iaw-enormous family. And I'm the only one left!" "So the whole record of the things, when yougo-" "But there's nobody that cares, Ed." "There isn't anybody at this moment that

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Lettice SLokes in her garden.

you are aware of who cares, but the things Baba used-if it turns out that Baba is the Christ of this age, and there's growing certitude ofthat-everything that He came in contact with is most sacred." "But all these things have been allotted to members of the family. When I die, it's all on record, they go." "Yes, I understand, but whatever these things are, if you have a record saying 'this piece offurniture was in Baba's room' or 'this was used by Meher Baba' -that's very precious." "But who would want that?" "You're going to be amazed." "But who would I give it to? What would I do with it?" "You could leave that record with me. I'd see that it got into the proper hands." "But it's just a piece of furniture. Who would see it? I can't have people come knocking on the door to see the bed that Meher Baba slept in." I chuckled at this irony. With all the stories about the countless beds that George Washington slept in, here was Lettice Stokes, Washington's direct descendant, protesting a record of the bed that Meher Baba slept in. "Whoever gets that bed eventually..." "But they don't know a thing about Baba!"

The garden where Baba walked.

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"They will, and their children will." "But what's the point of it all?" "It's like whenJesus went to Capharnum and stayed in someone's house. That house and the bed He slept in would one day, after His manifestation, be treasured. What you don't understand yet is the historical significance of Meher Baba." There was a long pause. Then she looked up at me and sighed. "Well... I don't know, Ed. I can't promise I will do this." I'm heartbroken that those simple scraps ofwood went to family members without their ever knowing what they had. She continued talking a bit more about how the nuns at St. Vincent's Hospital just up the street had been so kind and caring for Graham's mother after she was struck by a car. "So he decided that when both ofus are gone, the house would be willed to the nuns as a rest and retreat home. You see, they worked so hard and such long hours at the hospital, and they really had no place they could flop down when they really needed to. So Graham put it in the will. This house will go to them."

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n 1981, I left New York and went to India, circling the globe and visiting cities and places Baba had visited. I settled in Boston and began a whole new life. Until Lettice died, I would stop by to see her whenever I was in ew York. She always welcomed me as a dear old friend with sparkle and great warmth. Her last days were such a contrast; when I saw her for the last time, she could barely recognize me. She had been born a year and a day before Baba, and left us in the summer of1989 at the age of96. She was buried beside Graham in a cemetery in Mount Kisco, north of the city. By that time, St. Vincent's Hospital had very few nuns and the old house was an albatross around the hospital's neck for many years. It became an abandoned derelict. With much sadness I would pass by and stare in disbelief. Frozen and broken water pipes took a terrible toll. Everything was cracked, paint was peeling, ceilings were coming down. I realized why Joyce Kilmer's poem had meant so much to me as a child, and I consoled myself with the thought that Baba doesn't give importance to these things the way we do. But it seemed heartless, and I'd sit on those steps and cry.

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t Then I was a child, my favorite poem

V V was The House with Nobody In It,

by Joyce Kilmer. This is the best I can remember it:

Whenever I waf{to S'!iJem alOngtheErie trac~ I)'ass a)'001' of({house withShll{!ffeS broken aflll black. Ist!JJ'ose{vfjJClSseclitahllJldt:edtlll1es;butIafways sto/'f iramtlUde To fookattbebouse, thetragicbOuse, tbebotlseWt'tb nObodjin it. ItneedSnewjJmntandshtl{!fles; am!the vines to be trtlnmedimcliiec{ Rutwbat it /leedSmost~/allisjJeqJJfeItvit{8/nside. A housetbatbas echoed;7la~1! 's hl{!fba"dbef({'!P blsstumbllngjeet IstbesaddestSl!1bt; when itstgiafone, mateveryour evescou!ifmeet. ./ !II btltfa fotg(1J10/leyandfjinydevts werif'ee, Ie{buytbtlfjJlaceand)?xit '!J' tbe way k usedtobe. So wbenever Jgo to stjfim alo/lg tbeErietrack Inevergo by tbeen!p'Ybouse withoutst'!J!JH11jJand foofiingback. Yett'tb1ll1J wben Ifooliatcrumbllng1'0#ancfsbtd:' terifalling'!Par!; For Ican!bejltbtl/fin{!ftfhlfjloorol({bouse Is abouse withafrolien bem1. Finally, we heard that the lawyers for St. Vincent's were willing to negotiate the sale of the house to the New York Baba community. There were fund drives, but they fell short of raising what was needed. I made contact with Pete Townsend, who was coming to New York, and arranged to take him through the house and explain all these historical details, with the prospect ofhis buying it. At the last minute, he cancelled the trip, and our hopes were dashed.

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ne day around 1995 I was walking by, expecting the by-now-familiar grim sight of this derelict, when I spied painters and plasterers at work inside. My heart skipped a beat. They told me the new owner was an artist and was having the place restored. Later that day I went by again, just in time to see a man and woman with two young children dash out ofthe house and into a waiting cab. I said, "Excuse me, are you the new

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owners?" and explained that I used to be the gardener here, and that this was a very special house, and that I had information that they would want to know. "Oh yes," the gentleman said, "This is a bad time, but we would definitely like to talk to you. Can you come back tomorrow?" The next evening I met Peter adin and his wife Anne Kennedy and their two little girls. My biggest surprise was meeting Tom Stokes, Lettice's nephew, whom I had met once in this very living room over 15 years earlier. This was the first time he had been back to the house since the day we met. He told them that his aunt had been very fond of me, and had mentioned me often. So began my new relationship with the old house and the lucky people Baba's bedroom and private interview room below. who now live there. They seemed very grateful after Baba's first visit, 75 ofBaba's lovers, tofor all my information. Peter said, "We knew gether with Bhau Kalchuri, His beloved diswe had something very special here, but we didn't know exactly what." We toured the ciple, night watchman, and biographer, were house and garden as I explained what I knew, invited by Peter and Anne to come and have and later I sent them some large photos of a simple supper and tea, much like in the old Baba and some books, and a copy of the taped days. Once again, the beautiful garden was transformed into a place of loving rememinterview I had done with Lettice Stokes 20 brance and sahavas. years earlier. They were determined to keep everything that was original, and to restore what needed restoring, and they did. Later when I happened to pass the house it was good to see "Notes From The Internet" Continued from page 13. lights on and children running around, and occasionally we'd wave in greeting. No matter how offkilter this group can get I always think well, Eric's quote will somehow Most recently, onJune 9, 1998, 66 years move us back to center and what is most important in our lives, as we twist and turn to maya's tune like a hypnotized snake in our ellAI RECEPTION FOR respective baskets dancing to the newest flute BHAU KALCHURI that attracts our attention! I think ofyou Eric as someone who is like a steadfast silent rud88 Grove Street der (perhaps I could thinkofBaba that way) ... Green\vich Village, NY who seems to know what to say to comfort or direct as an agent ofsome unseen hand in our June 9, 1998 midst-You Know Who--at other times a hot knife running through the butter or maybe 7:30 PAl Group â&#x20AC;˘ Guest # 7J even just the hot knife as the occasion warrants.

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Continued on page 45.

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Children Speak to God Dear GOD, In school they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation? Jane Dear GOD, Are you really invisible or is that just a trick? Lucy Dear GOD, Is it true my father won't get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house? Anita Dear GOD, Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident? Norma Dear GOD, Instead ofletting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You just keep the ones You have now? Jane

say, but I hope You will not hurt him anyway. Your friend (But I am not going to tell you who I am) Dear GOD, Why is Sunday school on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day ofrest. Tom. Dear GOD, Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look it up. Bruce Dear GOD, IfYou give me a genie lamp like Aladdin, I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set. Raphael Dear GOD, My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha ha. Danny Dear GOD, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. Larry

Dear GOD, Who draws the lines around the countries? Nan

Dear GOD, I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair all over. Sam

Dear GOD, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay? Neil

Dear GOD, I think the stapler is one ofyour greatest inventions. Ruth.

Dear GOD, What does it mean You are a Jealous God? I thought You had everything. Jane

Dear GOD, I bet it is very hard for You to love all ofeverybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. an

Dear GOD, Did you really mean "do unto others as they do unto you"? Because if you did, then I'm going to fIx my brother! Darla

Dear GOD, IfYou watch me in church Sunday, I'll show You my new shoes. Mickey.

Dear GOD, Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. Joyce

Dear GOD, I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible. Love, Chris

Dear GOD, I t rained for our whole vacation and is my father mad! He said some things about You that people are not supposed to

Dear GOD, We read Thomas Edison made light. But in school they said You did it. So I bet he stole your idea. Sincerely, Donna

he Chief Rabbi of Israel and the Pope are in a meeting in Rome. The Rabbi notices an unusually fancy phone on a side table in the Pope's private chambers. "What is that phone for?" He asks the pontiff "It's my direct line to the Lord!" The Rabbi is skeptical, and the Pope notices. The Holy Father insists that the Rabbi try it out, and, indeed, he is connected to the Lord. The Rabbi holds a lengthy discussion with Him. Nter hanging up the Rabbi says. "Thank you very much. This is great! But listen, I want to pay for my phone charges." The Pope, of course refuses, but the Rabbi is steadfast and finally, the pontiffgives in. He checks the counter on the phone and says: "All right! The charges were 100,000 Lira." The Chief Rabbi gladly hands over a packet ofbills. A few months later, the Pope is in Jerusalem on an offIcial visit. In the Chief Rabbi's chambers he sees a phone identical to his and learns it also is a direct line to the Lord. The Pope remembers he has an urgent matter that requires divine consultation and asks ifhe can use the Rabbi's phone. The Rabbi gladly agrees, hands him the phone, and the Pope chats away. Nter hanging up, the Pope offers to pay for the phone charges. The Rabbi looks on the phone counter and says: "1 Shekel 50!" The Pope looks surprised: "Why so cheap!" The Rabbi smiles: "Local call."

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hree guys wind up at the pearly gates. St. Peter-who turns out to be a lot more interested in money than anyone ever knewasks the fIrst guy: "So-how much did you make last year?" The guy hesitates but fInally says, "Well, about $300,000." St. Peter says, "That's great! Come on into heaven." Then he turns to the next guy and asks him the same thing. That guy hesitates a bit, but fInally says, "Uh... $250,000." St. Peter says, "Great! Come on in."Then St. Peter turns to the last guy and says, "Well, how much did you make last year?" And the guy says, "Well, I was just making minimum wage... when I could work... you see I've got these health problems, and..." Hearing that St. Peter breaks into a big grin, opens his arms, and says, "JAI BABA!!"

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Consunled in the Flanle of Love The Story of Baba's Jewel, Carrie Ben Shammai of Jerusalem by Etzion Becker, Jerusalem

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ear lovers of Avatar Meher Baba: I wish to share wi th you the story of Carrie Ben Shammai, a fiery and fearless lover ofBaba who served Him with one-pointed devotion. It is the story ofBaba's work in Israel, and also the story of how Baba's Discourses came to be translated into Hebrew. Caroline Ruth Ben Shammai was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on December 9, 1902. She was the daughter of one of the most respected Orthodox Jewish families in Germany. Her father, Rabbi Yaakov Rozenheim, was a man of high spiritual caliber and religious perfection who excelled in the sciences as well. He was the founder and first president ofWorld Agudat Israel (a political party founded at the beginning of the century in order to protect Orthodox Judaism) and is greatly esteemed by the community to this day. Rabbi Rozenheim's grandfather gained fame as a wonder-working rabbi. It was said that non-Jewish German soldiers prayed at his grave during World War I, and all of them returned home safely. Even during the Nazi regime, German soldiers would sneak into the Jewish cemetery to pray at the grave of this sain tly man. Carrie found the ultra-Orthodox Jewish ways ofher family narrow and confming. Once, she recounted, she asked her father why the family's servants did not eat together with the family. ot satisfied with her father's answer, she chose to take her meals in the kitchen with the servants. Driven by her free, independent spirit to seek a broad, universal vision of reality, she left home, probably in her twenties, and traveled the world for many years in search ofspiritual answers. She spent eight years in Egypt, where she became fluent in Arabic. By profession, she was an English teacher, and thus she earned her living. Finally, in Lao Tzu and Taoism, Carrie found

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Carrie Bell Shammai with Meher Baba at the Delmonico Hotel, New York.

what she had been looking for: a universal spiritual philosophy and way oflife that was nonexclusive and nondualistic. Carrie was a manifestation of the newly awakened modern woman. For a woman to launch herselfso independently into the great world particularly a woman from such a highly respected Orthodox family, in which one's entire life course is determined from beginning to end indicated the depth of her free and courageous spirit. Carrie immigrated to Palestine in 1935 the same year that her family was forced to flee Germany. Carrie's father went to the Vatican with other Jewish leaders to discuss with the Pope the prospects of Germany's winning the war. This act came to the attention of the Gestapo, and a family friend who was an S.S. officer warned them to escape immediately or risk arrest and imprisonment in a concentration camp. The Rozenheim family went to England, from there to New York City, and finally, in 1952, to Israel. In 1948, Carrie was married to Dr. Meir Hillel Ben Shammai, an editor, teacher, and scholar who was an expert in ancient Hebrew and a member ofthe Hebrew Linguistic Academy. His son from a former marriage was raised by Carrie as her own child. (She herself never had children.) Meir agreed to become a vegetarian according to her wish (or as a condition for her consent to be married). In 1956 Meir won the national lottery, and the money was just enough for one ticket to the United States. Carrie traveled to New York City to visit her relatives, and it was there, through Fred and Ella Winterfeldt,

that she learned about a great spiritual Master who was visiting New York at that time: Meher Baba. When Carrie met Baba for the first time, she simply fell madly in love with Him-there is no other way to say it. She immediately recognized Meher Baba as the living embodiment ofwhat she had found in Lao Tzu, the end goal of her heart's longing. On meeting Baba, Carrie fell at her Beloved's feet, saying that she wanted to serve Him and spend the rest of her life with Him. Carrie's photo with Meher Baba appears in the book Love Personified taken when she met Baba at the Delmonico Hotel on July 16,1956. I believe that this was her very [ust meeting with Baba. Carrie's body language expresses her total surrenderance to Him. She is seen almost literally falling into the candle's flame like a lovemad moth, and Baba is pointing at the candle as a warning not to get burned. "I wanted to be consumed by His fire!" she told me. And so she was. Carrie was almost on the verge of being a mastani, but Baba never allowed her to slip over the edge. How to define such love, such hunger for the Beloved? Her pangs of separation from Him were simply incredible. From New York, Carrie followed Baba to Meher Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There, by Baba's permission (or order), she spent the night in the Lagoon Cabin the only person ever to do so. Jane Haynes commented about this: "It had some significance; certainly we can know that it was a great blessing." Joyce Byrd ofChigwell, Essex, England, told the story that during 1958 Baba asked the women present to carry Him in His chair to the ocean. Joyce remembered that

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among the women were Margaret Craske and Carrie Ben Shammai. She shared her opinion that in this concrete action Meher Baba was "raising the status ofwomen in the world." Mter her return to Israel, Carrie began spreading Baba's name unceasingly and fearlessly, despite hostile surroundings and religious prejudices. In a letter that Mani sent to Adele Wolkin by Baba's approval on April 8, 1960, Adele was instructed to help Carrie financially in obtaining Baba books from Adi K. Irani. Mani emphasized: "The sum, however, should NOT be paid fully by you, but should be a joint contribution of as many Baba-Iovers as convenient, and desirous of helping for this purpose (and so that no one donor is burdened with a heavy contribution)." During the early sixties Carrie persuaded her husband to translate some ofBaba's Discourses into Hebrew, since her knowledge of Hebrew was not adequate to the task. That Dr. Ben Shammai agreed to this is quite remarkable, because for an Orthodox Jew, the idea ofGod descending on Earth as a man is nonsensical, if not blasphemous. (Even though Judaism anticipates with great longing the coming of the Messiah to redeem the world, die Jewish tradition envisions the Messiah as a great and saintly leader but not as a divine incarnation.) But Meher Baba works through the medium of love, and because of his love for his wife, Meir eventually translated into Hebrew six of Baba's Discourses: "Love," "God-Realization," "True Discipleship,""The Search for God," "The Problem of Sex," and "The Sanctification of Married Life." They were published by Carrie in a small, lovely hardbound book entitled Meher Baba Says, with an introduction by Carrie on "Who is Meher Baba?" The book won a prize for excellence at the Jerusalem Book Fair of 1964. A few copies were sent to Baba, who was pleased by her effort. Baba signed one book, which was sent back to Carrie. Later on Carrie also published the Universal Message in Hebrew. She held Baba meetings in Tel Aviv and in the Upper Galilee. (In Jerusalem, where she lived, she maintained a room dedicated to Baba in the two-room apartment that she shared with her husband.) Meir continued working on the Discourses with Han Weig, who had come across Meher Baba Says in a library, and became very close to Baba. Eventually they completed the first Hebrew version of the Discourses. On April 22, 1966, Adi K. Irani sent a

letter to Carrie in which Baba indicated that she was "His jewel." It was a rare and special compliment from Baba, who was well aware ofall the obstacles that Carrie had had to face and what was yet to come. Carrie was a dynamo of energy, exuberance, enthusiasm, and love for Baba. She was so zealous about Baba that she had no fear whatsoever in declaring Baba's divinity from the rooftops ofJerusalem. Being fluent in Arabic, Carrie would enter the Arab section of

... Carrie would enter the Arab section ofJerusalem and enthusicastically greet Arabs by exclaiming, "You and I are brothers!" Jerusalem and enthusiastically greet Arabs by exclaiming, "You and I are brothers!" She also distributed Baba cards to them. The way Carrie was treated by her communitywas mixed. Some appreciated her high idealism, while others simply saw her as a madwoman. But she paid no heed to any of this. She would give Baba literature even to the Orthodox. I met Carrie during 1972 through Han, whom I had met at a spiritual meeting and who one day suggested that I should meet a certain woman in Jerusalem. As soon as I entered Carrie's lavish Baba room and gazed at Baba's picture, He made me know in a split second who He is: the Highest of the High, my ultimate Beloved. In 1979 Meir Ben Shammai died, and Carrie's health was deteriorating. She ordered me to take her to India, where she met her loved ones for the last time. The fire of her love for Baba was consuming her body: soon after her return to Israel she stopped walking. Something was slowly consuming her from the bottom up, and no medical treatment helped. This jovial, fiery, dancing person became confined to a wheelchair till the end of her life. I spent a very intense year with her until she was forced to leave her apartment and enter an Orthodox old age home because her legs had became paralyzed. There was no one else, so I had to take care ofBaba's center, which was left alone after Carrie was forced to leave. When I came to collect the contents of her Baba room and

take them to my place, her stepson ordered me to take all that stuff right away or else he would throw it all into the street! Unfortunately the book that Baba signed had been lost or given away. I t felt like a great loss(the closest remnant of Baba's presence, second only to His very personal presence. There was no one to share Baba's love with because all the people Carrie had shared Baba's love with had disappeared. Han, who had introduced me to Carrie and helped me so much at that time, since I didn't speak English, called me as soon as he heard that Carrie's Baba center had come to me. He asked me to come to his flat in Tel Aviv, where he gave me all his Baba material, indicating that he needed a living Master and could not do with a departed one! So now what was I to do? What I was capable of, was translating Baba books into modern Hebrew and delivering them to the public. So, in 1982, the first book was published: a part of Sobs and Throbs, concentrating on the story of Ali, an example of dedication to the Master under all circumstances. As I worked on it, I realized that Baba was allowing me to share His work with many others for example, the typists, editors, printers, binders, and even the postal workers who delivered Baba's material to its destination (some of them of course were unaware that they were helping in the Avatar's project). The completed book was sent to all the libraries in Israel, and a few people were touched by it. Meanwhile I was visiting Carrie quite often in the nursing home, and while Baba allowed her to gulp the cup ofsuffering to the last drop, her slightestwish was promptlyfulfilled; as Baba Himselfsaid, "I dare not care not for my lovers." Again and again we talked about the Discourses, and she gave me a few instruction concerning them. I read the Discourses many times; I checked Meir's translation,which was written in avery archaic Hebrew; and I came to the conclusion that itwas impossible to translate it into Hebrew and that people would just have to study it in English! Finally in 1984 I decided to give ita try. At first itwas an ordeal, like plowing afield strewn with heavy boulders. So I cried to Baba, "Baba, it is impossible; greater men than I have tried and did not succeed." Then Baba turned His Key and 'said' "You can translate three words a day. Translate them literally as they come." It sounded crazy to me, but when I tried to escape His three words, He let me feel His displeasure.


country, using all manner ofmedia, including The worst type ofhell is but a shadowofBaba's TV, newspapers, and personal inspiration. Livdispleasure. Whydisplease Love? So on I went, ing with Baba is a constant wonder-I could slowly but surely, and the three words became write a book for each sentence that appears three sentences, and even more, and the big above. Serving Baba is alifelong mission withboulders were slowlyground into small rocks, out end, with not a moment ofunemployment, and during the years the rocks became smaller not a moment ofborcdom. Most exciting, the and smaller till they became like fine sand, and Hebrew Discourses are now approaching the work started to be fun. publication at last, bringing to fruition the In 1986 I saw Carrie for the last time, two work ofBaba's jewel, Carrie Ben Shammai. months before she passed away. It was almost impossible to communicatewith her, till the topic shifted to Baba.Then, all ofa sudden, to myutith thanks for their cont:ibutions t~: Max Seibert, (memOirs), Tamir ter astonishment, Carrie became her old self Shachner (computer), Michal Sivan (comagain, fully present, fiery and radiant as always. ments), Kendra Crossen Burroughs (English Dear Carrie passed away on October 27, editing). 1986, a brave Baba soldier till the end. I continued the translation, and it was accomplished during 1991. According to r------------, [Editorsnote:Etzion isoffiring Baba-Io'vers worldwide the opCarrie's instructions, I had to The worst type portunity ofsharingwithBaba:r find a professional editor to hell is but a shadow cause in Israel. Don Stevens compare the Hebrew translaBaba's displeasure. gave hisjinalgo aheadon behalf tion with the original, and this Why displease Love? ofthe Trustfor thepublication of was required also by the Trust Baba's Discourses in Hebrew.} via Don Stevens. A few experts gave me their estimated fees, but they his project is a tribute to Carrie Ben were very high, more than ten thousand dollars. Shammai, who started the translation of Finally myoId editor, Dr. Yoram Beck, agreed to the Discourses during the early 1960's. During do thejob for five thousand dollars.This was still the 1970's Carrie requested Max Seibert to colvery high, especially after the GulfWar, when all of Israel was in a severe depression. But lect funds in order to cover the cost ofthis publication, which he did, and those funds have Baba'sworkmust continue, even slowly. Sowe helped with the development ofthe Discourses started with one chapter each month, and I joktill now. Ifyou wish to participate we would be ingly told the Becks that maybe I would build most grateful. Since Max is in India at the mothem a room instead ofpayingwith money, since mentyou can send your money order to: I am in the construction business. Then, after three months or so, Dr. Beckasked me to lookat Meher Baba-Israel, something under his house. I t is a big stone do Ty Provosty, house on the slope ofa hill, and under the house 1306 Spring St., itwas all dug out, so therewas space for a ninetyCincinnati, Ohio 45210, square-meter flat. I did the job, and then the phone: 513-381-7303. neighbors wanted the same kind ofwork. So what happened was that everything was fully paid within five months, and I even got a good project! During 1993 all came to completion. Since Baba's work had become fun, I felt like continuing the momentum. I searched through the Babalibrary, and the first book that popped into my hand was Stay with God by Francis Brabazon. I had never opened it before, and when I started leafing through it, I discovered, to my utter astonishment, Baba's original signature! What cunning trickery! He kept His signature hidden all these years and revealed it at the opportune moment! Since 1994, Baba has turned His Key for Israel and made Himselfknown throughout the

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"Notes From The Internet" Continued from page 41.

Anyway I want to thank you again for your near thankless task of bringing me closer to my center and to the goal, cause this snake sure meets alot offlutes that play some tunes that turn her pretty little head all day. Very nice Eric, very well done... may He bless you with a special dream ofMani... [When heposted thefollowing I think Eric was just ha路ving a bit offun.]

"Of course I knew..." by Bhau Kalchuri

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aba had ordered Dina not to allow any one to touch his food while she was preparing it, and she was usually vigilant not to let any of the servants or other ladies help her. One day, however, a devotee of Baba's came and, though Dina discouraged her, the woman sliced an onion. When Dina presented the meal, Baba scornfully remarked, "Today, I don't want your food." Dina was taken aback, and then Baba inquired, "Tell the truth. Has anyone touched any ofthe ingredients today~" Dina then understood and admitted what had happened. Baba reprimanded her for disobey=ing him, but then forgave her and ate the meal. Afterward, Dina asked Baba, "How did you know that someone had touched something? Were you here when the food was being cooked in the kitchen!?" Baba spelled out, "Does it behoove you to ask such silly questions? Of course I knew; that onion in the food 'told' me what had happened. That is how I came to know about it." This made Dina burst out laughing, but thereafter she was more cautious when preparing Baba's food and in carrying out his orders. Lord Meher VOl. IV page 1217 Copyright 1986 AMBPPCT [Quite afew people wrote back to me congratulating me on having been lucky enough to cook for Baba! Not owning a copy of Volume IV; they were unaware that it covered the years 19291931, and it doesn't say how old she was at the time. She could have been 40 plus!! I may be a newly minted grandmother, but Methuselah I ain't.' Besides, Dina Talatti is pronounced

'Deena, ,not 'Dinah. '-Ed.}

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Announcements Bay Area meetings: Our meetings in Menlo Park, CA (30 miles south of San Francisco) are on Fridays, 8pm, at the house of Hugh and Jean Macdonald, 300 Yale Road (when we're not in India) or somewhere else. Call650-3286783 or 650-323-1900 to make contact. God Speaks readings are now being held at Adele Wolkin's home in the South Bay area. Ifyou are interested in attending, please call Adele for day and time. 310-540-8404. Lord Meher readings are still being held weekly at Meherabode. For day and time please call either Fred at 323-257-8371 or Kennedy at 310-393-5752. God Speaks in Farsi is now available!! It has been many long years in the making, but now at last it is out on the general market. It is identical to the recently republished God Speaks in English-same charts, photos etc. The first book published by our own Love Street Press, it sells for $25.00.

Congratulations To Teresa and Michael Mendoza (Dina's daughter) on the birth of their first childNicole Matisse, on August 30th, 81b, 30z, 20 inches long and looking gorgeous. To Tamara (nee Mark) and Don Short on the birth ofIan Mark Short on April 21st who weighed in at a strapping 91b, 11 oz, 23 inches long and also looking gorgeous. To Mehernoush Lorkalantari, a Board member at Meherabode, and Kerry McPherson ofBritish Columbia. Their wedding on September 12th, (photos in the J anuary issue) followed Billy and Pamela Goodrum's idea oftying the knot under Baba's Tree at Meher Mount. Mehernoush and Kerry first met at Meherana orthern California in 1994, and announced their engagement las t July at Meherabode.

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Notes From The Intemet Chatting With Bhau Highlights from the Internet chat with Bhau at"The Palace," June 14, 1998 Stephen W.: Bhau, during the chat last August, my older brother died of a heart attack. .. My brother did not have any interest in Baba. Is there some comfort in knowing that I was focused on Baba in a chat with you at the time ofhis passing? Bhau: Though he had no interest in Baba, he was connected with you, and therefore, he was benefited. Baba has said that if anyone has heard Baba's name with his ears, Baba takes His name from the ear to the heart. And therefore, if he heard His name, he was benefited. And he was also benefited because he was connected with you through impressions and your love for Baba. Tom C.: Ifwe take Baba's Name at death and achieve liberation, are we offthe reincamation cycle? Bhau: After liberation, no one ever comes back. All the impressions are wiped out. And those who get liberation enjoy infinite bliss.They do not come back. Tom C.: Should we prefer liberation and infinite bliss, or corning back for more lives until God-Realization? Bhau: It is not anyone's choice; it is the choice ofthe Beloved, and He gives liberation to thousands of people during His advent. Kendra B.: Bhau, should we be concerned about posterity-like whether there is going to be or already is a Baba religion-or should we just be concerned about our own relationship with Baba? Bhau: Just think about your relationship with Baba. He will look after posterity, and therefore you need not worry. There will be no religion for up to 300-400 years. And though Baba has made it very clear that He has not come to establish any religion still when people start ceremonies and rituals, religion is established. Tom T.: Do you think that we have some hard times coming in the near future, like between now and 2000, and if so, what should we do to prepare? Bhau:Just love Baba wholeheartedly, and

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don't worry about the hard times. He is the strength within everyone, so remember that strength, and nothing will happen to you, even ifyou pass through hard times. You will not be affected by hydrogen bomb or atom bomb. You will experience immortality. So be happy, and don't worry. Beloved Baba will help you. Tom C.: Does visiting the Center lessen sanskaras, or only visiting Baba's Tomb? Bhau: When you visit the Center, you get room in your heart for the Beloved, i.e., your heart expands. But when you visit His tomb, His Tomb is like the flame, where moths go without any invitation or information, and they get themselves burnt. And therefore, ifyou visit the Tomb, you will get the longing for Him and you will also get the thirst, and when you are thirsty, you may also get wine when you visit the Center. He is very, very active--infinitely active at present. And because the Center is established under His instruction, you also get the thirst and the wine there. And therefore, it is important to visit the Center. It is also more important to visit His Tomb. But ifanyone cannot go there because of some difficulties, it is better that he or she should visit the Center. Baba has said Myrtle Beach Center is His home in the West, and therefore, those who visit the Center visit His home. Frank D.: Baba left us with an abundance on how to love Him... Did Baba say anything about loving another? Bhau: Frank, when you love the Beloved, you love everyone, because He is everyone, and there is no question ofothers. Kendra B.: Why does Babalike arid places, like Meherabad and Meher Mount? Bhau: Once Baba said that He would like such places when He was Mohammed. He selected the desert, and Meherabad is better than the desert. Once Mehera asked Him: Why did you select this place [Meherabad]? There is no water." And Baba said, "1 always select such places where there are difficult problems, so that those who come to Me because oflove don't care abou t anything, because Love seeks only the Beloved's pleasure. I have selected this place, and therefore, those who come here and, in spite ofdifficulties, remain happy and cheerful, they please Me." Carole: There was recently a discussion on the Listserv about whether Baba wanted folks to continue to keep silence onJuly 10. Can you shed light on this? Bhau: In a 1968 circular, He has emphatically said that silence should be maintained on COlltinued

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@/lvatal (§lUehel e/)aba

jihis1s %y %essage Meher 13a6a Let (ove an~lihi(ate your (ower seff ana revea(My 1rifinite se[{. Letyour ears Gecome ae,!! to d"erusion to enaGre you to hear My si(ent message of divine (ove. Letyour eyes Gecome Grina to i((usion to receive Me as 1 am. Letyour heart O)en to receive Me inJu(( 'This is My message, with My G(essings to you a((,Jor 'DecemGer 25th.

+

C(;;he 2)ivine e/)etove8

ghristmas (jr~etings

'Dear Christ upon this Christmas mom Let a((men weey thatyou were 60rn l1pon this earth that's thought soJair 'That's Gut the Cross whichyou must Gear. 'The Geauty oj the Guiding rose, 'The (overy aiamondS oj the aew, 'Yrodaim ~laught Gut thepain you chose 'That we might one aay (fve as you. .9l (over's 5)eech, a((irifants' cry, .9l((sick.,,6easweat anadjinggroan, 1syou in us, that we may die 'To us ana(fve as you a(one.

Let us then, Grothers, rift our handS .9lnap(eage our sours in hOry 6andS 'To (aGourJor J{im through the (andS 'Ti((earth itseffin ChristhooastandS. J'rancis 13raGazon

A'eher 'Baba's (jffi to Us Earth Out oj mimons oj woddS in this vast universe, you have chosen this olle - earth. :Here, you have aaorneathe (ana with 6eauty. J{ere a(one you tak.e Girth aniwaCk. among us On thisyrecious soi(, as a man, 'ToJu!f1(( the radiant mystery oj youryean J{ow 13 (essea it is to Ge 60rn here! 'To serve the earth is to serve you, J'or here your (ove tak.es root. J{ere our (fves areyart of yours :Here, your (ove GearsJruit. 'To waCk. the earth is to war/{ hOryground: 'To touch the earth is to touch gol's Mystery. 'To k.now the earth is to k.now god: 'To serve the earth is tojoin J{is Geauty, 'To join J{is 6eauty. if'ffje dements,.?In Oratorio ill :Praise of %ehcr 13aGa,if ŠSearcMight, 1984

The Christmas greeting on the facing page reads:

'During this J{o(faay Season anathroughout the :New year mayyour hearts 6eJi((eawith J{is 130unaress Love. Both cards on this page C(j/Il! fji6t (above) and el07JeIJ (top) can be viewed in color on Cherie Plumlee's Web page: http://eccinfo.sunyerie.edu/cplumlee/mbartpage.htm


Avatar Meher Baba's flag in the Meeting Hall at "Meherabode. »

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