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praycrjust what they needed at the particular time theypicked 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.

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C O ri-i C r Jai Baba toyou all.

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pring has sprung in mostparts ofthe coun try, and very welcome it is too! Baba has certainly ‘blessed’ many hundreds of thousands ofpeople 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, butjust 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, puffing articles and deferring them until a future issue. But I can tellyou that in thejuly issue will be the very exciting news of the book that Mani had arranged to be published before shejoined 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 GodBrother) ifhe would create a series of paintings to illustrate each dream. This is going to be a fabulous ‘coffee

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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 re sponse—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 weekperiod 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 thejanuaryissue, butlogistically (and financially) it does not prove feasible to work across the Pacific. David is on pilgrimage at this time andTom isjustbackfrom his honeymoon, so we owe a great big thank you to his long suffering bridejai, 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!

Dma Snow

Photograph Credits

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Lawrence Rciter (Hermes)

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Dma Snow Linda Zavala

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Marc Brutus

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Fred Stankus

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Meheru Irani

Dma Snow

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Louis van Gasteren

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Thomas Hart

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Andy Lesnik

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Sarah McNeil, Thomas Hart

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Panday Studio

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James Cox

Photo ofBaba by Hardip Chowdhary

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Ross Keating

Cover Photos

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Apublication oftheAvatarMeher Baba Center ofSouthern California

LoveSreet Lamj2osr welco me

The £oveStreeLtamjl2osr 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 andTruth. 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 identifr 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

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Meherabodc,The FirstYear Minoo Bharucha Amartithi at Meherabode Grand Opening ofthe Nizarnabad Centre Baba’s Special Room Archives Project Update TheTheme

Center Report, etc Various Contributors Dma Snow R.S.N. Murthy Jim Migdoll Meheru Irani Meher Baba

6 12 22 24 26 34 45

Ward Parks

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Amartithi, 1969

Don Stevens Dma Snow Mani S. Irani

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Amartithi, I 998

heather Nadel

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Ross Keating Heather Nadel Various Contributors

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Meherabad in the 1920’s Don Stevens Speaks Reprinting ofGod Speaks and Listen humanity

Meher Baba’s Poet: Francis Brabazon Divali Prayer

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BringingTogether the Religions ofthe World Bal Natu Beyond Words,The Video Loius van Gasteren

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Beyond Words

Andy Lesnik

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Editor’s Corner

Dma Snow

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Featuring, Faredoon N. Driver (Padri) ‘l’erri Zee Craig Ruff

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deadlines for submissions: J an-Mar

issue

Apr-Jun issue Jul-Sep issue

Oct-Dee issue

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November gth February gth May S Aug

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Love Street Bookstore:

Poetry A Poem rqieeiz Minutes ofSilenre

Irma Sheppard Rum i Simon Reeee

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Meher Preeti Khilani

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The LoveStreet Bookstore

James Cox The Chickenjoke Your Bookstore-walli

Announcements (Aleeting.c, Weddings, eli)

Various Contiributors

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Meherai Bc/cried A Stirred Blasphemy

Dma Snow (at the addresses above) (310) 837—6419 between 7:00 and l1:OOpm (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

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Dma Snow Avatar Meher Eaba Thomas Hart Michael Franklin, David McNeely Chris Lyttle and Harry Thomas

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Lucky 1cape/br Raba Song on

Babe

Notes from the Internet liumor for Fluma

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jJ ZZZEZZD jinac G/2

John E Page

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c!AEzizz::EEEz:EEE The £ovaStTectfsmjSsr is published quarterly, in January, April, July, and October. All contents © 1997, Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. All quotations of Avatar Meher Eaba or books, © AMBPPCT, India.

Cover: The Chapel at Meherabode (aka the “Dome”), photo by Dma Snow. Back cover: Meherabode, photo by Dma Snow. Photos: See page 2.

A/lather words, images, andgraphics in thispublication areproperty oftheirrespective copyright holders. Unauthoriaedduplicatzon isprohibitedhy international law.


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Meherabad in the 1920’s by Ward Parks In correspondence from the Avatar Meher BabaTrust, 7January, 1998.

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he dust of Meherabad is soaked with wine—the wine of the ever—livingness ofHis 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 ofland, perhaps a hundred meters wide, that lies between the road and the railway tracks. Today this land is largely an unde veloped field ofcongress grass and wild flowers interspersed with oc casional neem, ailanthus, and aca cia trees. But in the 1920’s it was a vital hub ofactivity. Close to the railway tracks, near the current pil grim railway crossing, was the old Post Office buildlingwhere Mehera and other early female disciples re sided when they first moved to Meherabad from Khushru Qiiar ters in Ahmednagar. The Sai Darbar, ahailfor darshan and meetings, had been constructed in the same general vicinity and nearby stood the table-cabin in which BabawroteThe Book.The schoolswhich 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 of Arangaon 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

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

earlyhistory 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 remem her some ofhis beautiful and heart-affecting

stones from an earliervisit ofhis in 1977, when he came with a group oflraniansjust before the outbreak ofthe Iranian revolution. He re counted at that time how his sudden awak ening 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,” Afseri had replied. From that moment Esphandiar lost his ordinary state ofconsciousness and found himselfunable 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 nowleads 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 obeyMe, as your Master, on the journey to God.” What a superb allegory this is for all of us as we traverse the roads our diverse destinies have laid for us in ourjourneys to Him! For these past few weeks it has been a mov ing sight to see Esphandiar now an old man, sitting on the frontveranda ofthe Pilgrim Cen tre 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.

Opposite: Baba at Upper Meherabad near the crypt, 1925. Top: Water tank building with men mandali, 1927. Above: Thble-seat under tree struck by lighting. Right: Maps ofUpper andLower Meherabad by Elaine Cox, from the book Let’c Go To Meherabad!copyrightAMBPPCT

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

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the October, 1997 edition ofthe LSLP, Michael Ramsden reported that four Vacant Board of Directors positions (2-year terms) were to be filled at an upcoming elec tion. I am pleased to tell you that Nancy Merwan was elected, and Mehrnoush Lorkalantari and Dma Snow were re-elected to the Board. Per our By-laws, the Voting Membership elects the Board ofDirectors and the Directors elect the officers ofthe Board. Positions for 1998 are as follows: Lois Jones, President Linda Zavala, Vice-President/Director of Fixed Assets and Legal Mehernoush Lorkalantari, Secretary/Direc tor ofMembership Mahoo Ghorbani, Director ofPrograms Lynn Maguire, Director of Service/Outreach Golnaz Manouchehrpour, Director of Fi nance Nancy Merwan, Director of Fundraising Dma Snow, Director ofPublications and Com munications

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Our nine-member Board has one vacant position, Director ofPersonnel. We hope to appoint someone to this vital position soon. Kanji Miyao continues as Treasurer, an ap pointed position. Michael Ramsden is taking a break from Board ofDirector 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 num ber ofcommittees. We have our work cut out for us over the next two years! December of’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 of Oc cupancy. We have approximately two years to comply with the city’s codes. As this article goes to press, our Voting Members are pre paring 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 op erations ofthe Center.The Provisional Reno vation Budget addresses income and cxpenses for the work we hope to do on the property this year. Once the budgets are ap proved, 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 “Thankyou” to Michael Ramsden for his manyyears 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 stiliserving the Board —homemade cake! Seatedfrom left: LoisJones, Linda Zavala, Golnaz Manouchehpoui Mehernoush Lorkalantari, Mahoo Ghorbani, Nancy Merwan, —Dma Snow is behindthe camera.

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Right: Yardsa/efiindraiser atAdele Wolkinc house with workersfrom lfi: Mehernoush Lorkalantari, Diana Snow, Cookie Riendeau, and Kennedy McIntosh (formerly ofthe Chicago Bulls).

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Inside the Dome Left Mehera c Room—projected reading and study room. Middle: Manic Room—projected audio visual room. Right: Babac Room with His chair. Amir Chafai is creating a stainedglass window of Mastery in Servitude above the chair.

The Transformation by Linda Zavala Facilities Use Coordinator

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 reno vated both ofthe 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 “El Nino.” We have had the lovely marble floor ofthe Dome cleaned and polished. Manypeople have donated furmture and artwork to adorn the meeting hail 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

his March marked the first anniversary ofthe purchase of”Meherabode.” After 17 years of fundraising, years of discussion, site searching and saving—Baba turned the key. Now, sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to realize we are really here. Mypredecessor, Donna Sanders, not only found the property but capably and enthusi— astically nurtured our first months at the Cen ter 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 ofthis 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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cry week working hard to beautify Baba’s place. Mehera’s rose garden promises to bloom beautifully come Spring. Our first 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 OccupancyPermit. 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 hail; reading area of the Bookstore;future bigger bookstore sight;from left: Marc brutus, Rosie Choi, Tracy Bleahu heip with the annualLove Street Bookstore inventory; 4fe-size painting ofthe inside ofBabac Samadhi dome murals byjurgis Saphus.

I are near or far we are all together in our focus ofsharingthelove Babagives 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. Ifyou wish to move the renovation forward with your dona tion please note on your check that it is earmarked for that purpose. We can also accept a Credit Card donation for that purpose.

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Left: The 13,000 squarefoot Mi/bank Mansion, bui/t in 1912, that maybe one day Baba will seefit to give us! We bought the chauffiur cottage and 8 cargarage, 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, Jack Small came to L.A. and shared his interesting stories of 20 years in India- followed byhis 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 ofhonor at our Saturday night program as well as the potluck event the following day. Charmian shared her heartwarming stories ofmeeting Baba. In the latter part of October 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 manytalented artists who shared their creative efforts dedicated to Meher Baba. Mid November Mr. AK. Kasthuri, who has been with Baba since the 1930’s, traveled to L.A. from Northern Cali fornia 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 Ghorbani Program Director fortunate we are. 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 alongwith the tra ditional 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 cel ebrated and officiated by Bhau Kaichuri, bringing a crowd ofover 200 people. After 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.

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

Opposite, clockwisefrom top left: From our driveway, bambooforest on the left, looking over the expanse ofour lawns to the Milbanki daughteri 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 Hansonc worker laying tile in the bathroom. . . .


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Minoo Bharucha

Memories of Minoo from Cynthia Barrientos 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, Novem her 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 occa sionally 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 hushes or de serted buildings. One break was particularly amusing. A member of our group was a cigarette smoker. He hopped out of the van to “ease himself” and left his pack ofsmokes 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 ifhe’s made out ofold, seasoned wood. I waited a whilejust 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 andjoking with Minoo on the way down the Hill. Jal Dastur came up and asked Minoo ifhe’d found the bottle behind a certain banyan tree, whichJal 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 resi dents ofMeherabad. In line for darshan next morrnng, 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 onfront veranda ofPilgrim Center at Meherabad August, 1 996. Above: Minoo with magnfyingglass at “Caft 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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1992, I was with a smaligroup that got to visit Sakori and Shirdi with Minoo. There are many recollections associated with that trip, but as far as my memories ofMinoo, noth ing is so vibrant in my mind as a get-together for tea in his cabin after the trip. The particulars arelong-gone,butl definitely remember Minoo pouring some very hot tea and then just as I was beginning to sip, he started telling ajoke. Well thisjoke 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 andjoined in the hilarity ofthe situation. Minoo was totally unaware of my predicament, but since everyone was breakmg up, hejust kept tellingjokes 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 ifl couldn’t control the teacup. Eventually all settled down, the tea was saved and all came backto 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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hat happened on one ofthose unfor gettable tours with Minoo—on this occasion to the mast-ashram in Rahuri? That day in 1988, being the kind of humid sticky dayyou 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 chatteringin 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 ifto 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 knowwho is Hanuman? He is the Monkey-God oflndian mythology who helped Ram. You know the story ofhow 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

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and Ram being so happy, wanted to reward Hanuman. So he said to him, your descen dants—theywill be the nilers ofall India. This is what he said. So now this is what happened. When the British came and ruled over all India, people say, all localpeople who know this story, they say these British are the descen dants ofHanuman. Now, you see, these vil lage boys, they want to know ifyou are de scendants 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 contin gents.) Minoo, however, had not yet come to the best bit ofhis story. “So then,” he contin— ues, “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 talkgiven byDon Stevens at the Meher Baba Centre in London,Juty, 1 997. Edited by DavidMcNeely.]

Quite An Amazing Statement have heard so many people through the years in different parts of the world say, “WellI really don’t know why Baba bothered with writing these books.” Rarelywas 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 oftruth 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 gojust to the mind.The real results happen over a period of time. I had this experience with the Discourses. When I firstread them I thought theywere pretty good. But I had not met Baba at that point, and I onlythought He was a briliiantwriter. Alot of the Discourses I couldn’t understand—the concepts were new to me. But later on when Baba

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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

YIs Baba works on these words that He gives out He attaches to each word a spiritual energy ofgreat quantity, greatproportion, and the individual who takes the trouble, even without understanding, to readBabac words taps into this gift ofspiritual energy which theAvatar has attached to His own words.” by people—very deeply honest, feeling, de voted people. Again, I believe it is impor tant 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

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re-editing Dr. Deshmukh’s edition ofthe Dis courses, 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 ofhumour; He could crack you up). On this particular occasion we were discussing some ofthe things in the Discourses and I just tossed offthat I was not sure that this was ever going to be particularly useful as there were so many people that feel it is im possible 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 extraordinarything. He looked absolutely aghast. He said, “But Don, how could peopic 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 responsibffit 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 enor mously 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. Qiiite an amazing statement! So I always encourage people to do exactly what Baba says: read His words, especially


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t God Speaks, and re-read them because they have this enormous quality I don’t thinkit will be necessarily evident from one minute to the next, or one day to the next, but I am abso lutely convinced that they were intended to be important in our lives. And I thinkwe 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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owto GodSpeaks, and howit came to be written. 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 alot 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 unfortu nately when 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 prin ciple part ofa book which I am going to call GodSpeaks, andwe 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 dont really know exactlywhat 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. .

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ing out an issue which he felt must be dealt with bylater 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 itwas a totally fallacious interpreta tion 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 Himse(f The instantBaba heard an incorrect word or a word that didnt 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 a photographic memory in other words, something would register exactly and staythere.) Eruchwould sitin his room through most ofthe night andwrite 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. Theywould discuss it back and forth, and because Eruch knew Baba’s vocabulary so well he would get the word almost immediately; Babawould smile and theywould go on. Baba explained to me that when there was an es pecially 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 .

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3W Speaks (up to the supplement) was given out in this meticulous fashion. Now ifthat isn’t having the direct Avataric words I dont know what is.

Questions for Baba hen we were otlginallyworldng 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 so many technical de tails about Sufi mysticism that—as a great Sufi herself—she wanted to edit that part. This became the body ofthe 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 un derstand 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 ofno 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 GodSpeaks 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 tellyou 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 tlmelater afterl had sent the 26 ques tions to Baba, I received a rather lengthy letter. Ofthe 26 questions I had sent, there were twelve that He answered. Later on when I

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3? rt 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 tion!” The questions Baba answered are interspersed throughout GodSpeaks and comprise a considerable amount. Many ofthe footnotes say Baba was asked about so-and-so, and much ofthe explanatory materialwas 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 ofquestions 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 ofthe 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 mylackofotiginality 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 collec tion 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 ofthese are several pages long, some only a paragraph or two. Don, it has been some

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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 didth reply quickly enough. So Baba said. “What about it Don, would you like to do that?” I finally managed to say “Yes Baba, itis averychailengingthing 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 ac ceptable 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 secre taries who have been taking down word for word what Baba has said. Ifyou would like to make the second part ofthe book your expe riences 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?” Ifinally managedto say “Yes Baba, it is a very challenging thing to do, lam stunned by the honour thatyou confer on me asking me to do it. “Imeant that sincerely,forBaba was saying—lam givingyou my own direct words and going to trustyou toput it into a logicalfashion and bring out an editorially acceptable book! contactwith 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 ofpaper, 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,

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read through it again rather quickly, then de cided 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! Oc casionally 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 fascinat ing? 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 consis tent story, that was the beauty ofit. This was straight Baba material, and how it was put together isjust one ofthose wonderfttl Baba miracles that He says He never does!

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he Discourses were given out to two seeretaries 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 opin ion—although I can’t say to you that Baba went over them word byword 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 ofthe Discourses. There are manypeople who feelthe Sheriar edition is not as straight from Baba as the three-little-blue-book edition which preceded it. I must saythat 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 simplifica tion oflanguage which resulted in some loss offiavor and vibrancy, this would be my only criticism. Further than that I amjust not ca pable ofknowing. have heard over the years people say “Don’t trust the Sheriar edi lion” in the way we almost automatically trust the three volume edition.

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(Don) I knowthatthe mostimportant changes were made by Eruch himselfin conjunction with Bal Natu with Plagg Kris acting as secre tar I also know that a great deal ofmechani cal change ofsentence construction was done byPlagg Kris and notfully checkedwith Eruch or Bal so there can be an escape hatch there but I quite frankly don’t knowthe significance.

Well, I will go backjust for a minute to the start ofthe 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 ofdoing it, getting you trapped when you didn’t realize what you were getting into, (I hope He’s not listening, or atleast 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 re ceived letters, criticisms, etc. Not everybody accepted GodSpeaks happily! We had got that and then Listen Humanity out on the road and I was a little bit ex hausted. 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 ex changed information, “What have you been doing, where have you been traveling? Does your boss al low you to be honest still?” (His favourite ques tion.) 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 atyou in the most benign, childlike manner but then would zap you with a ques tion 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 goofoff I thought I would play this one diplomatically and said “Frankly Baba I have just been en-

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tence structure. And there were certain key words that were used differently from standard English. So I was aware ofthe 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 Ijust 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 ofthe people here to re edit andjust gently change the sentence struc ture, 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 re plied, enthusiastically: “I think that is a wonderful idea Don—DO IT!” I hadn’t realized I was leadingwith my chin, so I did it. It turned out to be one of the most superbly gratifr ingjobs 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, andEruchJessawala, Listen Humanity, and the at Longchamps Resturant, New York, July 22, 1956. two little books, Beams and words?” I had forgotten the whole conversa Lfè at its Best, are direct Baba material. There lion and I hadiñ 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 wont 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 ofthe printThings that had seemed nice, but lots oftime ers inTokyo and that we had decided to print not understandable and not especially excit it in three volumes. Baba then turned to me ing, nowwere alive, absolutely alive and I said and said “Now that that is out ofthe 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 sen going onin spiritual circles in England, France,

joylng being here in your presence.” When you said something like that Babawould 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 allowyou 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 havejust been enjoying you and enjoying life, and I knowl must really get back again to re-reading your words and perhaps doing some workwith 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

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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 Engush 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 knowwhat He said? “DO IT !“ 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 transla tion 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, talented workers willing to do the meticulous, painstaking translations for Baba.

Reprinting of

God Speaks and

Listen Humanity

P When I was a child My nights werefull offear And sometimes, with a shudder Iilpull the covers near Andmy onlyfriends were the stars in the sky And a dog that would lie By my side. Ipondered over the answers Th questions I hadn’t asked Ana’frlt thepresence ofangels Fluttering about their task. And then a voice was spoken Into my childhood heart Thke my handand make it yours And we will neverpart.

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ufism Reoriented has reprinted God Speaks in a handsome new cdition, a little taller and slimmer than the original, and printed on glossy paper. It has, of course, all the origi nal color charts and fold outs. However, we were told something that may greatly surprise many of us:

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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 manu script that has never been found. Bhau Kalchuri, Baba’s close disciple, cxplains that though the style of pre sentation may differ from the origi nal 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 explana tions. 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 ofHis devotees in November, 1955: Do read God Speaks. I would like ev ery one of you to possess a copy. If


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Take My advice and accept God Speaks as thefinal authority. Nothing ofits kind has been recorded before. S

Meher Baba to Di Harry Kenmore in 1959.

MEHER MBA Nv EDIII()N fly A SPIRU AL (:LAss(:

c1 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. . .

LISTEN, HUMANITY NARLATED AND EDITED BY D. E. STEVENS

[Available in a 6x9 hardcover edition, 352 pages, 11 charts, $27. 00]

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nother book edited by Don Stevens andjust reprinted is Listen Humanity. It is available in hardcover—$20— and paperback—S 15. Don has written a new introduction and the book features a new cover de sign. Four thousand ofthese books have been distributed free to prison and uni versity libraries as well as public librar ies across the country. If your local ii-

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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

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or send e-mail to: Sheriarfdn@aoLcom They will be given free of charge.

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Amartithi 1969 Just Imagine! byMani 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 pil grimage-ground. It swarmed with people, buses, cycles, taxis, cars, tongas, bullock carts. Padri, who has looked after the place all these years, had a toughjob trying to accommodate the hourly growing number oflovers. Every foot ofindoor and outdoor space was used for their camping in duringthose 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 Meherabad, and trains obliged by stopping there to dis gorge 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 theTomb, shining with the love of His lovers of Vijayawada (Andhra) who had a generator installed and working all night through theWeek 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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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 occu pied 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, manytimes over the years, to play this song by His side when He dropped His body. And so on that night of3lstJanuary, 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 sage 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, “Al/this, all that I have been through all along, has been a preparation for the Word—forjust the One Word!” And with a quizzical smile, He added “Just imagine!”

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 bodywas interred. None could say when this would be. The time of 10 am. 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 of31stJanuar 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 ofvoices singing His glorious Name and resonant cries of 4vatar Meher Baba kiJai!ll...” Of the Meherazad men and women mandali who accompanied His body on that unbeievablej ourney to Meherabad, the role

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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 aM night long. We are deep into Amartithi—3lst Janu ary, 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 stagejust opposite theTomb.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. Najoo 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 ofmy favorite Amartithi “traditions:” Kusum Singh and her singing group from Delhi gatherthere 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 flowe; as Kusum and Co. sangin 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’ (“OhYou of the white kafni, to You 100,000 salaams!”)

and other favorites, once in a while introduc ing a new song. One ofthe more recent ones, a favorite ofMani and Meheru, tells of com ing 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, re membrance. As Kusum’s group sang, a large crowd sat aroundjoining in. A sadhu in long robes and a fantastic hat kept time (well... slightly outof-time) withlong 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 inten sity 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 ofl2 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 of Amartithi, the 15 minutes of intense remembrance of Meher Baba, on the Hill, near His form; His .

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leaving, His returning, His being with us, all He gives, all He washes away, His coming close. At 12:15, someone starts and alljoin in the call of”Avatar Meher Baba kiJai.” 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 si lent 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 fam ily are 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 Dma Snow

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ur first Amartithi at Mcherabode 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 3OthJanuary 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 tiemendous suffering He had been undergoing for our sakes. (12:15pm January 31st in Inella). 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 pe nod with infinite care and painstaking preci sion on every square inch, inside and outside, of the Samadhi. It was amazing to see the detailed photos ofthe murals as Panday had touched them up in the ‘50’s, gradually peeled away to reveal the original bright colors of Helen Daum. It was so reminiscent of the restoration ofthe Sistine Chapel—on an infi nitely 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

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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 assembledjust whatThanatologywas and how she came to be involved with it. Due to space constraints we cant tell you the latter part— but it was definitely His hand at work. Loud and clear! Following is an explanation that I thinkyou will all enjoy and maywant to utilise at some time. Perhaps some ofyou may be considering ajob change.This seems to be an incredibly rewarding (ifnot especially lucra five!) 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 byjudith Shotwdll

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he use ofmusic 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 Hos pital 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 ofthe dying and those in pain. They

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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 atten tion to its elements (such as melody, rhythm, harmony, range, scale or mode, use of intervals, sequencing) and their dynamic effect upon the condition ofthe 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 usu ally contains little rhythm and uses only harp and voice, avoiding repertoire that may adversely stimulate the nervous system. Com fort ofpain, 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 ofmusic thanatology de scribes it as “contemplative music with a cmi cal application.”Judith was in the first gradu ating class ofChalice ofRepose Project’s two year training and certification 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 theirgriefsupportgroups. 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 applyfor grants from

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Fifteen Minutes

To learn further about this service, contact: Judith Shotwell Circle of Love P.O.Box212

by Craig Ruff

El Rito, NM 87530 Phone (505) 581-4715 Below Left: Thom Forison. Below Right:Judith Shotwell. Bottom:Arti in the Dome with Judith.

Ffleen minutes ofsilence. You know the day andtime. Iwas on TheHili My eyes were closed to the crowd about me. The noises settled down (unlike the dust) Th my drftingthoughts: Sometimes remembering f-Jim. His arms open wide like a shoreline ofa lake, Allowing myfoolishnesses to extend sofar and no more, Protecting me.

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Fifteen minutes ofsilence. This sound of/hought within turns to one soundfrom without: But this sound makes me readiheBook oftheHeart:A nailis being hammered. A worker outside the tent does not know orforgot The sanctity ofthe time. Idon’t needto hear this soundagain To wonder what it means to me. A nail is being hammered on a Hill in Ierusalem. The Lord is ending his hft as a man. That which will take him awayfrom 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 manc heart now. There is no sound fweeping. But tears arefalling in a dffrent landAnd touch thefeet ofThe Lord Fifteen minutes ofsilence. Andthis one soundleads me to another sound Fifteen milesfrom where I sit on a Hill Can the shaking ofa man body have a sound?And thatsoundawaken the universe into love. Never was there such a shaking. One manc 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 p rotects an unending turbulent sea. That sound, thatfinalsuffering, that spasm That shook infinite spiritfreefromform, Left allformsfree tofollow. Fifteen minutes ofsilence.

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Grand Opening of the

Nizamabad Centre by R.S.N. Murthy

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was on the 28th ofJanuary, 1972, that the Prayer Hall of the Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre, standing majestically on the rockyYellammagutta 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 ex tension ofthe existing centre was felt, eventuallyleading to the construction ofan Auditorium Hall, to synchronize with the Silver Jubilee Celebrations ofthe Centre on a Gbbab Level. The Mandali of Beloved Baba and the Chairman, Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Ahmednagar, were very appreciative of an East-West Sahavas, as theylater called it, and encouraged us right from the beginning. In consultation with the Mandabi and a few byers from the west, the dates for the East-West Sahavas and the inauguration ofthe Audito rium were fixed for 6th and 7th December, 1997. True to its name, Bro. Bill LePage from Aus tralia, Daniel Lematais (France), Mark Trichka, Margaret Brennan (U.S.A.), specially traveled to Nizamabad for the occasion, while Miss ShariJohnston, Bros. Ward Parks and J ames Cox were also the people to represent the West. Bros.Jab P. Dastoor, Sam Kerawalla and Sister Dollyj. Dastoor were the ones representing the Meherabad/Meherazad Mandali ofBeboved Baba. About two thousand lovers from about 100 Centres Partici pated in the Celebrations. With the arrival ofbovers from different cen tres all over the country, the roads from the Railway Station and the Bus Station of Nizamabad town, beading to the premises of

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the Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Center wore a festive book from the very evening of 5th December, 1997. Mr. M.R.K. Sarma, lAS (Retd.), Editor and publisher of “Beloved Baba,” and his wife Smt. M. Vijaya Laxmi from Secunderabad, and Bros.TD.S Murthy andTirupathi 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 am. and basted till after 9:00 p.m. on both the days ofthe Celebrations. The Programmes were comprised of Bhajans, Qwalbies 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 DollyJ. Dastoor lighting the Dhuni at 8:30 am., 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 Aus tralia 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 M/s. Meher Builders) to the audience.The Souvenir Speciallybrought out to commemorate the occasion was then re leased by Sister Dollyj. 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 ofBeboved 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 im portance ofobedience, and threw light on the Avatar’s infinite patience in cleansing the hearts of men. Lastly, Bro. R.S.N. Murthy, Secretar Ava tar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre, gave a vote ofthanks. With the exhibition ofBaba’s film, the Celebrations came to an end on the evening of7th December, 1997. The two-day Sahavas of the Eastern and Western Lovers and the Silver Jubilee Ceb ebrations for the Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre, which were attended by a barge gathering reminded one ofthe 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. RS.N. Murthy Secretary Avatar Meher Baba Nizamabad Centre

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Jal Dastoor cuts the ribbon at the Grand Opening of the Nizamabad Centre.

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Mehera’s Beloved by Irma Sheppard, 5/97, Tucson, Arizona

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Meherc Beloved is sofine; I like him so much Isay Be mine be mine. He smiles Andsays Yes) I will be yours, All in good time. seven hundredyears CallMe, CallMe. Here is a dime.

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Baba’s Special Room byjim Migdoll Bangalow, New South Wales, Australia

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ver the years I’ve been involved in settingup temporaryseffings forpublic pre sentations ofBaba. Perhaps 25—30 times I’ve organized or helped with film showings and information booths in widely divergent envi ronments—from tents in fields to The Palace ofFine Arts in San Francisco. Some of these 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 rcasoned 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. 1 was a disobedient and naughty Baba lover. We had an extra room so Ijust put everything related to Baba in there. It became His room by default. Gradually I began to feel so dis tant from Him I was ashamed to go in! It gath ered 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 mustjust be my imagination, so

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 neu trally as possible I would say, “Go and see.” Many ofthese people had no spiritual inchnations, and yet the whole night there was a steady stream ofpeople coming up to me lookmg 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 later— out ofthe blue—he said to me, “Remember your Baba room at Goonengerry? You know, it feltjust hike the tomb in there.” —A local handyman once came to our home in Goonengerryto install some window screens. The first 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 spintually charged places he’d ever been he’d never felt such a powerful presence. He seemed to be on the verge oftears, 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 sug gestions I’ve found helpful in dedicat ing a room to Meher Baba: 1) A full room (cvcnjust a closet) is preferable to a curtained offarea; but incredibly, a simple curtain does work. 2) No sleeping in His room. This is true in all ofHis special places, and I’ve found to be a good mie for my special places too. 3) Nothing 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.

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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 to be with

You.” He is there instantly from the time you dedi cate the space, or when you put His photo up; sometimes, I’ve even had Him sneak in beforehand!

Avatar Meher Baba kiJai!

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

ancis Brabazon (1907-1984) was born perienced an artistic epiphany, an experience claimed painters. In 1942 he again exhibited in London. His father, although related which set the course ofhis life by raising in his his works with these same artists. According to the Earls ofcounty Meath in Ireland, was a mind the following two questions: what is the to Max Harris, the editor ofthe only Austra Fabian and a great admirer ofWilliam Mor nature and source of beauty in art, and what lian Modernist artjournal ofthe day, TheAn— ris, his form ofutopian idealism and the rights is its relationship to truth? To answer these gry Penguins, Francis’s 1942 paintings “initi ofthe common worker. His English mother questions Francis spent the next twenty years ated the first appreciation ofthe naive orprimi was more ofa pragmatist. Francis was to inof his life studying, searching for a suitable tive symbolism in the Australian art world... herit qualifies from each ofthem. In 1912 the artistic medium through which he could ex [His contribution] was the beginning of the family, including Francis notion of innocent viand his two brothers, sion. It influenced the emigrated to Australia. entire Angry Penguins The family settled in community.” By about Glenrowan, in the state 1946, Francis ceased ofVictoria (a place fa painting and began conmous in Australian hiscentrating solely on his tory as the home ofthe poetry bush-ranger hero Ned During this period of Kelly) and bought a the early forties Francis small farm with sheep, became interested in cattle, wheat and orEastern spirituality. He chards. As a young studied Vedanta, Taoteenager Francis devel ism, Confucianism and oped a close relationSufism, and he culti ship with the land. In vated the practice of his writings about this meditation which he period he describes used as the basis for his himselfweeping at the approach to painting. Of beauty ofthe night and all these traditions it being overwhelmed by was Sufism which atRoss Keating with his w/iJennftr (‘Le Page) andFrancis Brabazon, infront ofMeher House, the sheer generosity of tracted him the most. He Sydney, Australia, 1978, at the time oftheir wedding. the earth. At this time, became a pupil ofa Sufi under his father’s guidance, he started to write plore and discover answers. At one point he sheikh, Baron von Frankenberg (Sheikh his first poems. was diligenflylearning piano, attending drawMomin) who lived in Camden outside Sydney. However, it was not long before a severe ing classes and writing poetry. In the mid-toIn the mid-forties Francis moved to Camden drought and the ever-growing number ofrab late thirties painting became the central focus and lived with von Frankenberg as his mureed bits drove the family offthe land. They moved of his attention and he mixed with the first or spiritual student. Under Sheikh Momin’s to the state’s capital city ofMelbourne when group of Australian modernist painters. In guidance Francis wrote a collection ofpoems Francis was 21. In Melbourne he saw the 1941 Francis exhibited his works at their first titled One Speaking. The poems show Francis’s performances ofgreat artists: the dancer Anna Modernist exhibition along with such artists capacity to penetrate an idea and to express Pavlova and the pianists Alexander as Dobell, Nolan, Tucker and Sinclair, all of its meaning from the perspective of subjec Braiowsky and Arthur Schnabcl. He also ex whom have subsequently become highly ac tive experience. They also exhibit his skill in

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(:x3 the craft ofpoetr In one representative poem from this collection, “One Speaking Two” Francis manages to create a sense ofreveren tial stillness and felt oneness—a sentiment reflecting his Sufi training at the time: In the most intimate dialogues one is peaking and one is responding, re-sounding, according. Heart is infuilness as aforest morning to Sun, and Will is that sun remounting. And the advancing music-saying heart, becomes winged, and bears heart indfirently all and with love to the most exactplaces.

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 ofvon 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 spifls out into an assemblage ofimages, events, perceptions and interpretative commentary. Here is a sample from this work: Since the arrow ofFortunec wheelturnedmy way, And dawn entered my heart Making an accommodationfor the sun. I have become a

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gambler in the markets ofthis world: Reckless in thefestivals ofmusic, And shameless in re— gards affairs oflove. There isfire in my skull, Andmusic in the blood ofmy temples: My heart is a meeting place ofpain, And my eyes, wet mirrors ofgratitude.

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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: Theyoung bananaplants are birds with green wings risingfrom the ground; Such was my spiritwhen IstillthoughtthatBeloved Godcould befound.

Convinced ofMeher Baba’s spiritual stature, Francis willingly became his disciple. In the same year he returned to Australia and Now thatlhave strainedthe universe through my heart-sieve withoutfinding a trace ofHis devoted his life to spreading Baba’s message I have ceasedfrom search and await Reality, writings. ofHis through the publication date ofGrace. of his book his first published In 1953 Francis poetry, Proletarians-Transition. The unifying Out there is nowhere, nothing—only the theme ofthis workis the challenge it presents shadow Embroidered with starBeloved’s to and to its readers to reassess their values the darkness causes to glow. which draw stitches use their dailywork as an opportunityto closer to God. Also during the fifties, at the When Godfrrst threaded our souls on his breath invitation ofMeher Baba, Francis made sev eral trips to India, and he was for a necklace, Hegave eveiy one his own beauty andHis singing-place. the key figure in organizing Meher Baba’s two trips to With thejirst break ofhis Silence there streamed Australia in 1956 and 1958. In 1959, Francis published forth the light which became my eyes; When He breaks his Silence this time may I be hurled behis greatest poem, an epic book-length work called yond mere paradise. Stay With God—a title which Baba had given him. It is a All works are but attempted corrections of one initialerroi This is the sum ofknowledge.Truth powerful and impassioned is in the dust before the Masterc dooi work which covers a poetic biography of Meher Baba Since hands must work, use them tofashion a as the Avatar, the divine cup ofwine. Then awaithisfavow; and all other theme ofcreation, the meanoffers decline. ing ofexistence, and the sa cred role of art in life. In Although this is a poem about hopelessFrancis’s words, it was a ness and longing it is above all else a positive book, “in praise ofDivinity in Man and the assurance ofMan in Divinity” Baba thought work. Its positiveness comes from the fact that it does not avoid the reality of lived experi so highly ofthe work that He wanted it dis ence but clearly names it. In fact, this is a poem tributed “as widely as possible among the gen oflove rather than aboutlove. It tells the reader eral public.” oflove in the form ofthe poet’s felt response In 1959 Brabazon moved to India and lived to being acted upon by love—’this is what with Meher Baba for the next ten years. Dur love can do in a person’s life,’ is what the lines ing this period he developed a form of Enare really saying. Also, the observations and glish ghazal which was based upon the Perpieces ofadvice Francis offers are not somesian ghazal tradition ofHafiz, Baba’s favorite thing over and apart from love but constitute poet. The ghazal is a lyric in which the lover part ofthe response engendered bylove.Thcrc (devotee) both complains and praises his beis also to be felt permeating these lines someloved (Master) and in the process conveys thing ofthe ghazal flavour oflonging, the “cry something ofthe flavour oflove-longing; more ofthe gazelle,” which distinguishes the ghazal simplyput, it is a type oflove-cry in which the from other forms ofpoetry and which makes heart and mind ofthe poet is exposed. AcFrancis’s ghazals so unique in English litera cording to one authority the word “ghazal” ture. means “the agonized cry ofthe gazelle when it is cornered after the chase and realizes that the game is up.” Something ofthese points

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

Why I Chose Francis [When we heard that Ross Keating of Sydney Australia hadearnedhis Doctorate with a the— sis written on Francis Brabazon, we naturally asked—How come Baba lovers worldwide know how importantFrancis 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 Aus tralian religious art and poetry, with the term ‘reigious’being definedverybroadly, 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 Godis 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 contradic lion 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 ofAustralian 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 dri,sfrom the Belovedc 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 creativity— bringing into the world ofform ‘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 cxactlywhat 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. Whileit 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 Goc4 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 Hec bitter itc better than a candy-shop. When He turns His head away itc all hugs and kisses. When He says, ‘By God, rye enough ofyou!” itc like an eternal spring flowingfrom thefountain of life. A ‘7Vo”from His lzps is a thousand times “Yes.” on this sefless path He acts like a stranger yet He’c your dearestfriend His infidelity is faith, His stones are jewels, His holding back is giving, His ruthlessness is mercy. You may laugh at me and say, “Thepath you’re on isfull of curves!” Yes—for the curve ofHis eyebrow I have traded my soul! This curvy path has gotten me drunk, I cannot say another word! Carry on, my glorious heart, finish the poem in silence.... 0 Shams, Lord of Thbriz, What sweetness you pour upon meAll I need do is open my mouth and allyour songsflow out. [by Rumi, from the book, In TheArms ofthe Beloved Translated byjonathan Star,

Tarcher/Putnam.]

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Poetry

Divali

To April, 1953 Prologue

by Heather Nadel,

1. Our Guru, an Incarnate One, gave us a lead, PoonaJhopdi 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.

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ere in India we’re in the midst of the Divafl season, the Festival ofLights. All around Meherabad and Meherazad you hear firecrackers and broadcast music—a real ca cophony. It’s the biggest holiday ofthe year for many Indian people, a combination of Christmas and New Yeai, 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 celebra tion of Lord Ram’s re-entry into His city Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. It is a tnumph ofLight over Darkness. On the night ofDivali, you find smallearthenware oil lamps lit in front ofeach hut, house, apartment, and shelter and colorful chalkdesigns marking the entrance. A welcome to Lord Ram, thejoy 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 thinkofLord Ram returning as Meher Baba, and smiling upon His welcome all over again. It is still observed with lights and colored chalk designs at Meherazad. Mehera and Mani used to be experts at these designs, oc casionallyploffingthem out on paper first and then skilliuillypouring the chalkthrough their fingers to make the delicate designs on the ground. Peacocks, birds, lamps, flowers,. all sorts oflovelythings turned up. At Meherabad, tiny oillamps 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 upperledges ofthe hail 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 ffickering lights, with Baba’s chair alone at one end holdingHis pic ture. The Pilgrim Centre dining hail maintains a little Divali tradition ofcandleight 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 ofthe 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 hail this year, after basking in the ambiance ofthe soft light, I remem bered a storyMani used to tell about Baba. It seems that on one occasion the Western Iadies, led by Norma, wished to give Him a candlelight dinne; and arranged the table cordinglywith candelabras. Baba came in, and seeing the beautiful arrangement, admired it and signified His pleasure to Norma, who stood by beaming. Then, just has He was about to sit down, He turned to her and ges tured, “Now let’s have some lights!” So they did—electric ones of course!

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2. Our first circular was born in Bombay, 1922: It said,June 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 outlives’ test, We grumbled not. .

Circular Yuga 4. Some Wine He gave, then we partook, Discourses: gave for us to look, An He paper Some agreement: ONE look only, brought us tolook, 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

Song on Baba

P.S. All rights reserved by the writer himself who, due to an impulse, lost mental balance temporarily and departed from his life-long calling ofGreasc and Oil, to write something like poetry (?). P.P.S. As this poetry is being dispatched, he has almost regained his normalcy(?). *GhamelaYoga: a path or yoga ofhard physi cal labor. ** Saqi: Lit., a cup-bearer. The spiritual tav em-keeper who dispenses the wine ofDivine Love. ***Atma: the individual soul.

‘53.

9. And give us time asJuly, October, orJune Ofanyyear: No doubtwe SHALL still play the tune, And grumble too: And c’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.**

by Mcher Preeti Khilani—age 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 Igo 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 ofskies and lands.

From Poems ToAvatarMeherBaba, copyright

1985, Manifestation Inc., North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Who can that be? Yes, He is MeherBaba.

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.

When Isleep at night someone comes and kisses me goodnight.

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Who can that be? YesHe is MeherBaba. He was Sitac Ram andRadhac Sham, and now he is our Beloved MeherBaba !

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 For ever. Padri on his motorcycle infront ofthe oldMandali Hall.

13. ‘Tis true, from Eternity He has sown The Seed: And fools we shall be ifwe moan About

Lucky Escape for Baba

lime:

ONETHING to sate us, Eternity’s Throne Is His Grace.

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So, Baba, when You come again asAvatar on Earth, spare Yourse(f and dont choose me, i’m more hassle than im worth.

What trials and En bulations: il haveput You to the test, ilhave You tearing Your hair out, i’m more trouble than all the rest.

Written without any malice to anyone; but presented with profound apologies to the S aints—past, present and future—sinners dead or alive, not excluding the poets.

For the sake ofyour universal burden, unless You want it double, give me Realization straightaway and save Yourse(fthe trouble!

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

by Padri

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Simon Reece

Ifi’dbeen one ofYour mandali, fYoaii chosen me at all, to live with You and serve You, il have driven You up the wall!

14. The Seed was sown, I repeatedly say, From Eternity: Let Maya, her game oflllusion play, For others: Cheat her, defeat her, for our Saqi’s Day Has arrived.

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But with my mind working overtime, andalways asking “Why?” Unable to see that my ego needs to die; I think I must have misheard when Kaka made such afuss. I really was quite sure he said ‘No obey—just discuss!”

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Prayer Paradoxes of Prayer

the January issue our lead article was on Prayers and wefeatured the main prayers that Baba hadgiven us, andHis 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.]

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

Prayer

I asked for riches that I might be happy; I was given poverty that I might be wise.

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eloved Meher Baba, Make mylife Your Affi. Let this soul sing Your love as it sails home toYou. 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 mag net, closer to You. As the rose opens, each petal unfolds, re leasing it’s sweet inner fragrance. This life is gently unfolding, releasing Your pure nectar, revealing the next step towards Home. Avatar Meher Baba kiJai!

J eannie Taylor

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I asked for health that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

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 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.

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Problemsjust tumbled about me and heavier came each task. “Why doesn’t God help me ?“ I wondered. He answered, “You didn’t ask.”

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Prayer 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 (trudy, 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! Onlylet me, Oh Lord, never cease to remem her with gratitude Your Mercy.

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Heard on New York talk radio:

Bringing Together the Religions ofthe World

“Whenyou go to bed tonight, here is aprayer to say.•

‘Dear Lord, please treat me with the same kindness, compassion and mercy tomorrow as I have treated my neighbor today.’ and fyou cant say that praye youJ better inendyour 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 ofour daily battle, more so in the case of the 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, Andlead me through each day, step by step, and Remind me that I cannot do everything I wish, Nor do any of it perfectly. OnlyYou are perfect, and with Your help, I can do my best. Help me to remember to ask for that help.”

IFrom Much Love, by TK Ramanujam, 1nuj.” Copyright 1994 byAvatarMeherBaba Infor mations, Madras, India.]

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byBalNatu

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aba dictated the Repentance Prayer at Meherabad in November of 1952, 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 partici pation in offering it. Let me admit that when I first 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 po eric. It seemed, to mylimited understanding, to read like a drycollection ofdivine attributes which did not have a great deal ofsignificance for me. 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’tparticipated 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 myrelationship 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

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importance theyhad 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 Babawould join His palms and listenwith dosed eyeswhile the prayers were read aloud by Eruch. The look ofprofound and reverent absorp tion on Baba’s face at such times impressed me deeply. As He listened to all the attributes ofGod in the Maste?s Prayer, I could see that they were clearly notjust 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 soffly 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 werejoined 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 Mus lims. As the prayer was read, He would sway from side to side in the manner ofthe Zoroas trians.Thus, the majorreligions were symboli cally represented through Baba’s external ac tions. He participated in these prayers hundreds oftimes.

[From The Samadhi—Staroflnfinity,pp. 656Z Copyright 1997 Sheriar Foundation.]

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

TAT BELOVED MEHER BABA to you all, Baba’s dear ones in the East and West rom Avatar Meher Baba P.P.C.Trust Archives and Museum Committee. As you kno 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 ofthe building is coming up, and you would hear the sound ofthe tink-tink of steel 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 ofthe 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 hu man 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 un expected emergency conservation project. When Dr. Goher talked about Baba’s health

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loving generosity ofBaba lovers in the mcdical 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 irre placeable images which record some ofthe physi cal 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 impos sible to think ofa life without Him; no, never without Him, but without His physical form.This time of His being on earth was, as Maul called it, Act 1 in His Divine Game. After Baba 4&:’ dropped His body, all His --; close mandali found it al most impossible to pickup Top: Foundation oftheArchive 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, theywere in varying stages of dete mandali, willing ourselves to be useful, and rioration and in danger ofbecoming unreadthinking ofwhat would console Mehera, lookable. With the help of Sheriar Foundation’s ing through Baba’s articles helped a great deal. technical expertise, a specialized conservator in the States was recommended, and the 136 Just to touch His clothes was to feel His closeness, especially for Mehera. She would very x-rays (including Mehera’s and Mani’s) were willinglybe involved in the work, but often we hand-carried to him. Later some others al noticed her sitting motionless, a sadra or a coat ready in the States were added. Through the

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

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in her lap, in deep reverie, silent tears running down her cheeks. This phase ofthe Avatar’s Advent Mani referred to as the start ofAct 2, when the mandali were pushed onto the stage. After Meherajoined 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 initialpush, officially, to the conser vation 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 illrequired great effort on herpart, 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 ofan American Baba lover, who found herselfresponsible 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 reposi tory 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 ofBeloved 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 bal ance by giving or bequeathing such personal Baba items to the Avatar Meher Baba Trust forpreservation and sharingwith the world in time.” Although the letter makes special mention ofthe 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. Notlong after writing this letter while still in the hospital, Maui 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 enor mity of the responsibility you bear for safeguarding His things.This responsibilityis 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 oftheir 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 yourwill) as Maui suggested in her letter, to ensure their museum-quality conservation and accessibility for future gen erations 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 ofsimple steps in a sepa rate write-up entitled Tpsfor Preserving Your Precious Baba Treasures. Many items may al ready be old and fragile, and in need ofimme diate attention. Even things that may not ap pear 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 contamers, and, ofcourse, FatherTime. For further information, you may contact this cornmittee, do A.M.B.PPC.Trust, or Dot Lesnik, who is helping the Trust with this preserva tion work. Dot’s address is 265 Briarcliffe Acres, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29572, U.S.A., tele phone 803-272-6868, or e-mail dlesnik@aol.corn. [Tpswas published in full in the Winter-Spring issue ofthe 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 byHim. All these need to be attended to from the viewpoint ofconservation.

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In another category, so do Baba’s and the mandali’s letters, telegrams and other docu ments 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 du plicated, we ask that you consider ensuring that theTrust Archives has a high quality copy (or the otiginal, ifyou feelso prompted). Ifyou are able to arrange this, please have it hand carried (not mailed) to India by a reliable Baba-pilgrirn. If you have any difficulty in duplicating the item, do let us know. And please write down and send us any informa tion relevant to the item to shed light on its historic content. Continued nextpage.

Remember the Trust vatar Meher Baba has given us an ex traordinaryprivilege to let us participate in His very specialTrust work. Meher Baba tells us that He is the Personage by whom serving we serve the whole universe. Baba Himselfestablished theTrust 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 wor thy of causes—Baba’s Trust—please make your checks payable to: “Friends ofthe 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 hu manitywill need to be nurtured. In centu ries to come, the things that Meher Baba touched or used or wore, the pictures of Him, the letters He wrote, and other ar tides 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 ofthe duties unfolding before us no as we prepare for the opening ofAct 3, the age ofHis lovers. So it is essential that this work, begun by the

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mandali, be on a firm footing, so that after we are no more, it may continue in the same spirit. Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai !!! MeheruR. Irani, Bhau Kakhuri, andihe mem hers ofiheAvatarMeherBaba TrustArthives andMuseum Committee.

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

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Thisphoto,personally signedby the Mandali (on the original only—but the reproductions look every bit as good!) is the LampPost’c way of hetping to raise moneyfor the building of the Archive Museum. The 8 x 10 color photo sellsfor $25, with $20 going direct to the TrusL Sofar we have been able to sendjust over $2000. Wouldyou like to heip? Order through the Bookstore.


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Announcements Mehermas Fly to India Sweepstakes Winner!

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e received the following letter from Donald Mahier for publication in the anuary 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 ourjob ofcarrying Baba in the chair would be enviable to me no rather enfeebled after the passage of almost 40 years, I never said, or even thought ofthat 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 onlything, 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 muchiove to the L.A. group—thanks for your friendship and support.”

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

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 trea sures 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 (officialtape wall) is ready to assist you. For catalog or info write to:

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renda Harold ofCharlcston South Caro lina 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. Secondandthirdprizenners, Sebastian Baker and RobertTumage each received a book. Thank you so much to everyone who participated—your donations help tremendously.

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Audio Tape Lending Library

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Maria Richard, andSophiaAriana Stermei, in blisfu1 repose.

AMB Lending Audio Library do Lynne Berry 267 Hanover Drive Costa Mesa, California 92626

Michael Ivey weds! Left to rzght: Son, Scott Naseio, Michael Ivey, and son, Forest Ivey. Denise Ivey is seated

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I Tom Har4 ofthe Love Street LampPost staff and Somjai Piyavatkzul (ai”for short!) were married on January 24th, 1998! Iai and Tom prepare to cut the cake!

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

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Notes from the I nternet from our man in India, James Cox January 1st, 1998

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interesting aspect to life in Meherabad is that for some reason Birla AT&T chose to sellect Ahmednagar, along with Bombay, Pune and Nasik for their initial celiphone 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 im prove 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 Westem scheme ofthings this might not seem particularly unusual, in India it is incredible, and maybe even unique for a town the size of Nagar. The framework certainly seems to be geffinglaid for the imminent incorporation of Meherabad into the global telecommunica lions network.

January 31st, 1998

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s 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 ofthe exhausted. Probably somewhere between 15 and 20,000 people attended, slightlyless than the year before by whatever estimates we have, and the first year since the GulfWar, I believe, that the number has ac tually 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

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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 is quickly filling up for Baba’s Birthday, old friends by the dozens, W[eherabad with more than 130 foreigners and over 500 Indians expected. Even the theater can’t scat 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 bytheTrust somehow getting the status of an educational institution, despite the fact that mostpeople 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

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now from the Government on the number of foreigners that the Trust can sponsor in its SpiritualTraining Program for visas. Addi tionally, some ofyou may not know, but now the Indian Government is granting Amencans 10-year tourist as well as business visas, evidently for the asking. Oh, and I almost forgot,Jal and Dolly have got two new peacocks to replace Moti and Malika, who previouslybought it (died). Vol leyball 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

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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 ofcandleight. Chai (Indian Tea) was being served in front ofMansani’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...)


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Drawing done by Meher Baba, Ju’y 30, 1953, of Himself as a Chicken.

IIn ourjokefor Baba today we have assembled answers that many ofthe worldcgreatestthink ers might have given us when asked that very profoundandage old question.] ff, T 1 hy Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Plato: For the greater good. KarlMarx: It was a historical inevitability. Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten mmutes 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 historicaljuncture, and therefore synchronicflflouslybrought 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 de pends upon your frame ofreference.

Sappho: Due to the loveliness ofthe 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 all the marrow out oflife. .

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

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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.

Stephenjay Gould: It is possible that there is a sociobiological explanation for it, but we have been deluged in recent years with cvidence 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.

J ohann 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 ofcustom and habit. Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road? The Sphinx: You tell me.

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Words

Beyond

The Video [Thefoiowing is takenfrom the l2page color brochure that comes with the video. Louis van Gasterenc words, copyright 1997, Spectrum Film, Amsterdam. Excerptsfrom Eighty Two FamilyLetters, written by Mani, copyright, Avatar Meher Baba PerpetualPublic Charitable Trust, India. Used by permission.]

Filming the Avatar ofthe 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 Dreyfrtss, Rick Chapman, and Irwin Luck. As a cabdriver, Luck drove me to the airport on my way back to Amsterdam. On my ques tion: “How are you today, Mr. Luck?,” he answered: “Well, sir, since I have been in India and had the opportunity to meet Meher Baba forjust 30 seconds, I can manage for the com ing 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

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cing a filmmaker offeatures and docu mentarics since 1952, in the 60’s I had begun the making of a film entitled There is no Planefor Zagreb. The subject ofthis film was partly autobiographical but it dealt as well with all sorts ofassociations, 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 windowwhile under the influence ofLSD. He died, and his parents mitiated a lawsuit against Leary, holding him responsible.

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MeherBaba andLouis 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-

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ing him ifhe could see me, and he agreed. At that time, September 1967, Baba was in seclusion, but he came out ofit to have a talkwith 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 film the first autonomous step of my little daughter. That she had to walk from that moment on for the rest ofher 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 metTimothy Leary and that I wanted to askhim 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 otherwords, Babawas trans parent for him. In my opinion, this observa tion showed the egolessness ofBaba. During the meeting with Baba I felt as ifI had known Baba for a long time. I experi enced Baba as my brother, sharing with me a deep feeling ofaloneness. In fact, I would have lovedjustto sitwith him withouttalking, without saying a word, and there would have been communication and an even greater feeling of

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togetherness. In a way, I felt sorry that I had to askhim questions and to explain my inten tions. Ifthe camera and the crew had not been there, I would have been very pleasedjust 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 lep ers, and ofBaba answering some ofmy ques tions sitting in front ofSeclusion 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 workingwhen 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 fol lowing Baba’s intentions and Eruch searching all the time for the right words. After my arnval in Holland, I had to face a lot offamily problems, the sickness ofmywife, later a sepa ration, and I was not able to finish There isNo Planefor Zagreb. So, my film of Baba re mained 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 film on VHS for Baba’s lovers. Andy Lesnik ofSheriar Foundation gave me his support and promised that Sheriar Foun dation would help me with the distribution. And nowl am happythatmy 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 film. [Amsterdam, Novembei 1997. Copyright 1997.]

Excerpts from Eighty-Two Family Letters by Mani [From the Seventy-Fourth Family Letter, Meherazaci 1st Septembei 1967]

.Baba has also announced that He will step out ofseclusion one morning before Novem ber for three hours only. He will do this in order to wash the feet oftwenty-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 ofthe Avatar’s blessing, His unbounded Love that heals ailpain ofignorance, that melts away sanskaras oflifetimes 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 ofthem—and bowed down to them.This time itwillbe from His Seclusion, Baba has not yet fixed the day. His coming out for this workwith 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 re sponse to Louis van Gasteren’s earnest re quest to film Baba, Baba has granted him permission to be present during the three hours when He will step out ofseclusion, and to film Baba during His workwith the lepers. . .

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From Mr. van Gasteren’s letter to Adi we get an idea ofthe uncommon theme of this 35mm colour film he is making: “NemaAviona Za Zagreb,” which he expects to show throughout the world. It is a film which does not confine itself to a story, but reveals glimpses ofthe poignancy ofhuman experi

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ence, ofjoy and sorrow, birth and death, of things happening on both sides ofthe globe— on which is Meher Baba, the Avatar. Mr. Van Gasteren writes: “The appearance ofthe Avatar in my film is more than functional, it is necessary to give all the other happenings and sequences the fi nal and right dimension. Nowyou will understand how happy I am with the Avatar’s permission.” This making ofa film with Baba to be seen around the world, is an endeavour initiated by Baba’s brother,Jal, who has worked hard towards it for a long time, pleading for Baba’s permission again and again. The reward of Jal’s endeavour is in sight, for at last the Beloved has given His permission for such a filmrng. Louis van Gasteren, in concluding his letter to Adi, spoke ofthe impact that the Avatar’s Message had on him. He wrote: “I tell you franklythat the first time I heard of Baba, the line HE LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN EVER LOVE YOURSELF struck me through the NewYork cabdriver Irwin Luck, struck me since Robert Dreyfuss entered my house with Baba’s pho tograph. It became a line used many times a day within the circle ofmy friends.”

[From the Seventy-Fifth Family Letter, Meherazaa’ 7th Octobei 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 Bombaywith his film crew on 17th and coming to Ahmednagar on 19th for the fiiming.The time limit given byBaba 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’clockon 19th moming to see Him for five minutes, and also to look over the site for next day’s filming. 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 reallybegun to love Baba. One could


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say that he came for his own film and stayed for Baba’s film; for he later confessed that his intention had been to film 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 fam ily during their two visits. The Meherazad family found Louis a most unassuming and congenial person, sincere and earnest, painstaking in his work, and notjust 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 ofhis arms, “We will adjust it Baba, it will be no problem, 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 film; 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 theirjob.”That became clear to all who watched them workwith their beautiful cameras and latest accessory equipment. The film is to be in colour and equipped with sound. They filmed beloved Baba washing the feet of the lepers—seven lepers, He finally de cided.They filmed Baba in the garden against the luscious bougainvillea vines, and Baba dis coursing under the shade ofthe twin “babul” trees which stand in the field with the Seclu sion Hill in the background. They filmed the Meherazad scene, including a sunset from the top of Seclusion Hill, and they visited Meherabad and filmed that place of Baba’s also. I must put down beloved Baba’s remarks

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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 ofthis, and because ofhis 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 film shown all over the world. He worked at it with all his heart, and I coopcrated with all my heart. So this must bear good results.” Among the gems that Louis received from Baba was the following discourse. On his first day’s visit, Baba said to him: “I am alone even when surrounded by thousands of people because I see only myselfin them all.” “As for you, ifyou were in the Himalayas, you would not be alone even there because thousands ofthoughts and desires would be your constant companions.”

(Wotesfrom thelnternet”continucd 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,judgingbythe amount ofothers also shivering, it might be a neces sarypart ofthe atmosphere. Prior to going into the Samadhi, someone also handed me my much delayed subscrip tion copy ofTime Magazine, featuring Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky on the cover. I would suspect that was the first time that that picture had been inside Baba’s Tomb. Sometimes He apparently has rather odd ways of workmg. Injust a few hours, things will have warmed up considerably, and the traditional Birthday Playwill start at about 11:30 am in the “Arts and Entertainment Building.” At that time, the temperature in the theater will approach that ofa 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. Theyput their hearts and minds into the show and forget their worries and the world. Baba says that the most im portant thing is for one to forget oneself and realizeGod.

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


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Beyond Words

Louis van Gasteren at thepremiere ofBeyond Words at the Meher Spiritual Cente Myrtle Beach.

by Andy Lesnik

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he history of Beyond Words dates back to 1967, the year in which Meher Baba stepped out ofscclusion to allow the acclaimed Dutch film-maker, Louis van Gasteren, the opportunityto interview and 13]m Him. Oftruly historic import, the result is the only existing color film ofMeher Baba in which we hear Eruch interpreting the Avatar’s exquisite hand gestures as He shares a series of beautiful messages. The story ofhowthis film finally came to be shared with Baba’s lovers is one consisting of many chapters. My own involvement began in Mayoflastyearwhen Paul Comar—a good friend living in Paris—called out ofthe blue to tell me that he had asked Louis van Gasteren to get in touch with me. Paul had recentlyrenewed an old friendship with Louis and had in fact invited Louis and his wife J oke (pronouncedYoka) tojoin him inAugust 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 backin 30 years. While they were all there, my wife Dot (who was also

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there) called to say that it would be good ifl 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 visitwas to see ifSheriar Foundation could be helpful in working through the practical details ofreleasing avideo ofthe film for Baba’s lovers and to ask Louis to make an archival preservation copy ofthe 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 ifl 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 whirlwindweeks that followed, Louis andJoke did theproductionworkforthevideo and we collaborated long distance on the book-

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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 ofhis reception in the States and by the depth ofthe response to Beyond Words. In manyways he is a larger-than-life figure, a true original, and as a Dutch video producer told me duringthepreview screening ofa program being made to honor him on the occa— sion of his 75th birthday: “We have no one like hiniWe doiñ knowwhat to make ofhim. But I like him very much.”

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Review:

Norma’s Gift Review by John F. Page rinac Gfi, recentlypublished by EliNor Publications in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a bookin three parts.The first part is a biography ofNorina Matchabelli.The last two parts are reprints of Fragments From A SpiritualDiary and 40 Messages From Meher Baba —Norma’s two books that are long out ofprint. The originalbooks were published in wonderful editions by Warren Healy in Seattle. The name, Norma Matchabelli, has long had a mysterious ring to it. There is hardly a Babalover still alive who met Norma (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 ofthe Lord, worldly. These seemingly incompatible aspects of Norma’s nature are given great exposition in this fine new book which is a labor oflove by Chris and Charles. It removes the shroud of mys tery and brings Baba’s “Noorjehan”—Light oftheWorld—into ourview and into our hearts so that we may appreciate and understand her. Born in Italy in 1880, Norma led an un usual life. Epitomizing European aristocracy and culture, she was a well-known actress in Max Reinhardt’s The Miracle—a religious play and pantomime stage production accom panied 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 ing spiritual experience and was a transform-

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ing one for Norma as well. She later married Prince Matchabefli, a Georgian national hero, and the two of them founded a perfumery that became known all over the world. She metMeherBabain NewYorkin 1931 throughJean 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 lationship and said that she would never worship at any man’s feet.To continue from J can Adriel’s Avatar, “She [Norma] then told me that ever since the moment Baba’s feet had touched the shores of America she had done nothingbutweep. She had been compelled to canccl all ofher social engagements. The old hauteur of sophistication was replaced by child-like wonder.” Upon meeting Baba her entire life changed. She rec ognized 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 theywere known in those days). Baba treated Norma in a special

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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!


Norma was multilingual and was indlispens able 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 Norma that she had been Saint J oseph, the father ofJesus, in a previous incar nation and that she had also been a number ofother spiritualfigures.Norinac Gfiis full of letters and other messages from Baba to Norma. Many ofthese 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 ofwavc 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 theworid at the time. As you mayimag me, 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 Norma’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 tran script ofa lecture she gave in NewYork. 40 Messages is mainly a series ofverses re ceived by Norma through thought transmis sions and appears to have been composed in India in 1948. One might think that Norma’s gift was lit-

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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!

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The Theme by Meher Baba here is no creature which is not destined for the supreme goal, as there is no river which is not winding its way towards the sea. But only in the human form is consciousness so developed that it is capable ofexpressing the perfection ofits own true self, which is the Self of all. However, even in the human form the soul is prevented from realizing its birthright ofjoy and fulfillment because ofthc burden ofsanskaras which it has accumulated as a by-product ofits arduous development ofconsciousness. Like the dust that accumulates on the shoes ofa 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 ofevolution, 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-phenom

enal. One by one the many-colored attachments to the false must be relinquished. Bit by bit the sanskaric tinder feeding the deceptive flames ofthc 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. Stevens, page xvii Copyright 1982, Avatar Meher Baba Perpetnal Public Charitable Trust]

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Step Dnside:

7he Love Street ]3ookstore Jai Baba and Welcome!

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course the great news this quarter— indeed, this year—is the release ofthat 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 film, one person re sponded “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 re sponded so enthusiastically to the beautiful mug Cherie Plumlee has created ofMehera’s Garden. we had production problems. Because ofthe subject matter, we wanted itjust ex actly 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 ifyou 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 J anuary issue, it is a photo taken from the back ofMandali Halllooking over Mehera’s garden to her porch. The photo has been digitally manipulated to look like an Impressionist painting.

to be taken shall have to wait till another time. Shatrughna Kumar Ghildial, always called Kumar by Baba, was a faithful disciple for manyyears. One dayin 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 pre pared the plaster ofParis 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 graciouslyplaced his right foot in the mixed plaster. After the impression was made He asked Kumar, “What about my left foot?”Again, excitedbyBaba’s request, Kumar quickly mixed the remaining plaster. Then Baba placed his left foot in the mixture. Later, Kumar expressed his happiness at haying obtained both feet impressions, having only expected the right foot. He said he had thought at the time: “Ifyou

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

. . .

I occasionally get letters from surprised people who havejust found out that we have

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permission to the famous Los Angeles artist Jurgis Sapkus to take charge ofthe precious ongrnal casts, and it is he who makes them for the Love StreetBookstore.We knowthe story ofhow the footprints came to be made, but how the casts ofHis feet and His hand came

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ask for something from the Master, it is like receiving water. Ifthe Mastergives 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 dis tinctly 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 ap pearance of bronze and are $100. (These are the ones that are in Baba’s bedroom.) Both the hand and the footprints are in white plas ter and are $40 and $45 respectively. Al1 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 cverythree 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@aol.com ifyou’re willing to help! See you at the bookstore, Dma

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LoveStrect ,Ca4thsr

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AVATAR MEHER BABA CENTER

NONPROFIT U.S. POSTAGE

OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

1214 SOUTH VAN NESS AVENUE LOS ANGELES, CA

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Love Street Lamp Post 2nd Qtr 1998  

AMBCSC ARCHIVES: Rare Print Literature Publication

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