76-ELIZABETH CHAPIN PATTERSON (Dilruba)
Elizabeth C. Patterson, wife of an American stock broker, herself a business woman associated many years with insurance. She had travelled extensively around the world and, also during an Arctic Expedition on an ice breaker, has gone as far North of Siberia as eight degrees of the Pole. During the World War drove an ambulance for the Red Cross in New York.
An enthusiastic seeker, first met Baba in 1931, at Harmon retreat, outside of New York City; has ever since been devoted and journeyed with Him during most of His tours in the West; also came to India with the first Western group in 1933.
Being proficient in accounts and business, she assisted in household accounts for the Nasik Retreat, and also some office work in typing Baba’s explanations and discourses. She was expert in driving car, and owned one which she brought with her for Retreat work and tripped generally.
Elizabeth Chapin Patterson, 35, was married to a prominent New York stockbroker named Kenneth Askew Patterson, and she herself was a successful insurance executive.
Her father Simeon Chapin was a generous, philanthropic individual gifted his property in Myrtle Beach to his daughter for Baba’s center in America.
The Myrtle Beach Center of America, South Carolina, USA was dedicated to Avatar Meher Baba since 1944-45. The property belonged to Elizabeth Patterson was donated for Baba’s spiritual centre which consists of more than 500 acres of Virgin land beautifully situated off the Atlantic coast with two fresh water lakes and winding roads constructed through woods connecting various places of stay for pilgrims who visit Centre.
When Baba’s road accident happened in America on 24th May 1952, Elizabeth was driving the car. Meher Baba had hinted her 20 years back on same day in 1932 by giving a flower petal and asking her to note the date and preserve it in the book, which she could not understand its significance at that time.
Some of her events and dialogues with Meher Baba in her life time are produced below:
In 1931, during first visit of USA Meher Baba and Party arrived at New York on 6th November 1931 by S. S. Roma and stayed at Harmon Street (40 miles North) till 19th November. She met Him on 17th & 19th November, 1931.
In 1932, during second visit of USA Baba stayed in New York for 3 days and on 21st May 1932 Baba was driven by Elizabeth through Central Park. This was first time she drove for Baba. On 23rd Baba and mandali were driven to Harmon Retreat. On 24th Elizabeth Patterson came to Harmon to meet Baba.
Her narration of meeting with Baba is as under.
“Vividly I remember the beautiful late spring morning of May 24th when Norina and Anita and I motored 35 miles from New York to join Baba's party for a day in the country at (Harmon-on-Hudson). Baba greeted us with a warm embrace and we found a number of visitors had gathered there already.
After a repast was served by Jean and others, Baba led us outside to the stone terrace and then along a path to a field with wild flowers. Some went here and there picking the flowers but I stayed close to Baba. He quietly picked a small pink flower and handed it to me. He motioned to Kaka Baria who was ever near with Baba's alphabet board and Baba spelled out slowly that I should always keep the flower and should write down the date, that someday I would know the meaning.
When I got home in the evening, I pasted it inside the cover of my New Testament and wrote down "Baba — May 24, 1932." Not until many years after, when I was unpacking a steamer trunk that had been with me on two long trips to India, then been put in New York storage and finally sent to me in Myrtle Beach, did I discover again the New Testament among my effects. Opening the cover, there were the words, "Baba — May 24, 1932." In a flash another date, May 24th, 1952, came to my mind, the date the accident had occurred in Oklahoma when I was driving Baba and four of His close disciples. It had been a catastrophic occurrence, yet, despite serious injuries, all eventually recovered.
I do not know fully the meaning and deeper significance of the accident which happened twenty years later to the day, May 24, but I do know that Baba knew then and now. Through the experience of sharing Baba's suffering to a degree, I feel my life, instead of being nearly cut off, was extended for a purpose. The gift of the little flower was grace from the Master to be treasured in the heart. “
Many of her life time events and conversation with Meher Baba are elaborated as under:
Elizabeth had been religiously-minded since childhood and was a customer of Malcolm and Jean's bookstore. She first heard about Meher Baba in a letter from Jean. On the morning of 17th November 1931, Jean telephoned Elizabeth to inform her that Baba had arrived and to invite her to meet him. "Meher Baba wants to see you," she said. Jean gave her directions to Harmon and Elizabeth drove there that same day with a friend named Schatz Adams Weicker, with whom she had made previous lunch plans.
After a vegetarian lunch at Harmon, each was taken separately upstairs to meet Baba. Meredith led Elizabeth into Baba's room. Elizabeth described her first meeting with her Master:
Immediately my feeling was one of recognition. All the way to the far end of the room where he was seated, I tried to recall where I had seen him before. The feeling was one of familiarity, like meeting a friend in a foreign land — a friend whom one has known well since childhood, only since that earlier period the appearance has changed.
Still in the process of recalling, I walked over to where Baba was seated, with sandaled feet folded in front of him and the sun shining on his beautiful hair. His remarkable eyes reminded me of a Persian print, but they were so alive with a thousand dancing fires in them that I realized I had never seen anyone like Baba before. Nowhere in my world travels had I seen his likeness, nor did he seem to fit into any nationality.
Upon this close observation, my recognition ceased, but as he smilingly motioned me to sit by him on the orange-colored divan, I still felt completely at ease and at home with him. His silence did not seem strange or awkward. Baba's smile is so disarming and puts one so at ease. I was unconscious of any personality dividing us, either of his or mine.
I can only liken [being in his presence] to being seated by a quiet pool at the base of a great mountain with only the sense of peace in nature, newly born. This feeling has never left me.
Baba dictated (Meredith reading the board) that He was pleased to see her. Elizabeth replied, "I am trying to remember where I have seen you before."
Meredith interjected, " 'Remembrance' happens to many people who meet Baba for the first time, as they are old 'contacts' from previous lives." Meredith then inquired if Elizabeth had any questions to ask Baba. Elizabeth told Baba about Florence Lee, 43, a friend in New York who was ill, and Baba assured her that there was no need to worry and she should leave the matter to Him, directing her to bring Florence the next time she came to Harmon.
Elizabeth, then more relaxed, began to ask questions. "Now my many questions tumbled out," she later related, "and Baba smiled comprehendingly. I had the impression of receiving His answer directly in my mind, while the communication through His fast moving finger on the board seemed like an echo as it was read out by Meredith."
After ten minutes, Elizabeth's initial interview was over. She shook hands with Baba, "I left so happy that, on descending the stairs, my feet did not seem to touch them and I felt as light as joy itself!"
Elizabeth had come only for the Master's blessing but, upon seeing Baba, she was caught. By simply coming into Baba's physical contact, Elizabeth once said, "I gained life."
Before leaving New York the next day, Baba wished to be driven around Wall Street, New York's financial district. It was a Saturday and the streets were virtually deserted. In the car, Jean was thinking to herself: "How ephemeral and unreal this money madness is!"
The next moment, pointing to the skyscrapers, Baba smiled at her and gestured, "It is all a bubble, so easy to prick!"
On His last day in the city, Elizabeth and Nadine arrived together to say goodbye to Baba. Both women were overcome by Baba's love and remained His disciples thereafter.
In the evening, Baba went for a walk on Broadway in midtown Manhattan. The next day, Baba was driven by Elizabeth through Central Park. This was the first time she had driven Baba.
In 1932, while they were driving through Central Park, Baba motioned to Elizabeth to stop near the lake at 110th Street. They all got out and walked toward the lake with Baba in the lead. There was no one around except a nurse pushing a baby carriage. After only a glance at the woman, Baba returned to the car. None knew the significance of Baba's stroll that day until a year later when Josephine Grabau was in the hospital and a young woman asked her whose photograph it was by her bed. Jo told her it was Meher Baba, and the woman remarked, "I know it is the same man who looked like Christ, whom I saw walking by the park lake a year ago. I have never forgotten his face."
In the morning of 24th May, Elizabeth, Norina and Anita arrived in Harmon to spend the day. After lunch, Baba led His lovers outside to the stone terrace. Some from the group went forward to pick a few wildflowers, in bloom in the yard, but Elizabeth stayed close to Baba. Baba then stepped forward and motioned Elizabeth to follow. He bent down and picked a small pink flower, which he handed to her. Kaka was near Baba, ready with the board, and Baba motioned for it. Spelling the words out, he had Chanji tell Elizabeth, "Always keep this flower, and write down today's date. Someday you will know the meaning of it."
The following evening, Baba said something similar to Margaret Mayo. Before retiring to his room, he went down to the river alone or with one of the mandali. When he returned, he told Margaret that she would one day understand what work he had done at her home.
When Elizabeth returned home that night, she pasted the flower inside the cover of her New Testament and wrote, "Baba — May 24, 1932." In the mid-1950s, when she was unpacking a trunk, she happened to notice the book again and read the inscription next to the flower. Its significance was instantly apparent. Baba had given her the flower 20 years to the day prior to his automobile accident in Prague, Oklahoma, May 24, 1952, in which Elizabeth had been driving.
"But that was far into the future." These days in the spring of 1932 were filled with ecstasy and bliss; the lovers' hearts were overflowing with the God-Man's presence in their midst. Little did they know that the Avatar was destined to break His bones and shed his blood on American soil."
In 1933, on 23th April was the last day for Baba and group in Srinagar. The weather was again cloudy and chilly, but when it cleared in the afternoon, Baba took all to the Shalimar and Nishat Gardens. At one spot, Baba abruptly sat down on a terrace opposite to where a few Muslims were praying. Baba gestured, "They are lucky to be praying while I am here."
While taking His seat in the bus, Baba remarked, "There is no place in the world as ideal as these surroundings in Kashmir."
Back at the houseboats, Baba instructed Elizabeth and Norina to return to New York.
Baba and His group arrived in afternoon in Dover and were met by a few Western lovers. Elizabeth Patterson drove Baba to London while the others went by train. They reached London on the evening of the 9th, and stayed at Hygeia House, a vegetarian boarding house, at 37 Warrington Crescent.
Intense activity began the next day. "All the birds gathered near their heart's Treasure," Age recorded. "And this time a few more flowers and blossoms appeared in the Garden." Stephanie Haggard, Charles Purdom, Delia DeLeon, Will and Mary Backett, Margaret Craske, Elizabeth, Kitty, Norina, Ruano and Quentin had already begun singing. And during this stay in London, a few more persons came into Baba's intimate contact.
On 20th October 1933, Elizabeth departed for New York. Talk of Baba's departure began, and Baba made Nonny, Rano and Ruano promise to come to India for His birthday in February. The feelings of the approaching separation began — the onset of depression as they counted the remaining hours with the Beloved and experienced the longing to be near Him always.
In 1934, while Baba was away inspecting the Fallenfluh area, Elizabeth had arrived. She had stayed behind in London and was glad to see Baba after the stress she had gone through to manage the affairs of the film on His behalf during the last many months. Baba too was pleased to see her and greatly appreciated her efforts.
From an external view, Baba's visit to the West was meant primarily to see to the preliminary arrangements in connection with the spiritual film. Having had Baba's personal contact, the main workers became more enthusiastic about the project. Karl Vollmoeller was to be the writer of the film, Gabriel Pascal the director, and Norina, Elizabeth and Elsie Domville were to arrange all the financing. Three motion pictures were to be produced with 50 percent of the financing to be borne by a studio which Pascal represented, and 50 percent by Elizabeth and Nonny. The profit was to be divided: 50 percent to Baba, five percent to Vollmoeller, and 45 percent to Pascal. All of Baba's expenses for the journey ($6,500) were paid and Vollmoeller was given $1,000 for his expenses. Baba promised to return to America by September of 1934 to begin shooting the film; his voyage and that of those with him were to be paid by the corporation.
After meeting with those involved in the film projects, Baba indicated that there were to be no more interviews. Holding up three fingers, He gestured to Elizabeth, "There are three people sitting in the lobby. Go bring them up." Elizabeth brought Darwin, Jeanne and Bessie to Baba's suite, where they were overjoyed to be in his presence and overwhelmed by his beauty.
On 8th December 1936, Norina, Elizabeth, Jean and Malcolm, along with Rano and Nonny arrived in Bombay on the steamer Elysia. They brought two dogs with them — Elizabeth's Boston terrier Kippy, and Anita's white Siberian husky Canute, which she had given to Baba in Switzerland.
When they arrived, Baba gave Elizabeth and Norina a tour of the ashram. He showed them the Rahuri Cabin and explained about His work with the masts and mad. About some of the mad who were lepers, Baba commented, "However infected these men are, it does not affect Me or My men helping Me to bathe them. When I wash the mad at Rahuri, I am 'washing' them universally."
Baba pointed out which inmates were mad (suffering a mental disorder) and which were spiritually advanced masts (God-intoxicated), remarking, "Through some blows a breeze — a breeze of longing for God." On occasion, Baba would permit Elizabeth to take photographs, and she and Norina were deeply impressed at how lovingly Baba treated the mad and God-mad alike. Baba had lunch with them at a long table under the trees. After the trust meeting, Norina and Elizabeth returned to Nasik
In 1937, once, topic turned to sleep and Elizabeth asked Baba, "Where do we go when we go to sleep?"
"Everywhere!" Baba replied. "You are always everywhere. Even now, though fully conscious, you are not conscious that you are everywhere, because the mind always has the natural tendency of losing its identity. Is that clear?"
Elizabeth asked, "Then what makes us wake up?"
"Impressions — they prick you and you get up. They cry out, 'Spend us!' The mind always wants to go; so in sleep you always 'go back' and when you wake up you feel fresh. But again, after waking, the mind wants to lose its identity."
"What are dreams?" she asked.
"Dreams are subconscious experiences which are always linked with your gross experience of the past. Sometimes, in your dreams, you see persons you never saw in this life. This ([link) is from the past. It is all based on illusion and imagination."
Elizabeth said, "Then how was it that when I was twelve years old I dreamt of you three different times, and when I first met you I recognized you as the one I had known in the dream? That was not an illusion."
"What I mean," replied Baba, "Is everything except your being infinite, is illusion. I am very ancient. Very, very old and always young."
Norina then asked, "What is imagination?"
"Imagination is what you want to be and are not!" Baba replied.
At one point, Baba translated a few couplets of the Perfect Master Kabir: "One cannot start running at full speed; one must gather momentum and gradually increase the speed.
"If one is to be stained with a spiritual color, one must be stained gradually. The color takes time to penetrate for it to become deep and rich — it must be applied gradually.
"The mind which has been sleeping the sleep of ignorance for ages can only gradually be awakened to Knowledge."
Baba, the mandali, Luis, Delia, Elizabeth and Anita went for a drive to the town of Grasse at 2:00 P.M. 5th September 1937, in Elizabeth's Ford. They saw a French film there but left halfway through it as the theater was too hot.
Norina and Elizabeth met Adi Sr., Baidul, and Mohammed at Marseilles and drove them directly to Cannes, reached there on 8th October 1937. The mast shed tears when he saw Norina and Elizabeth waiting on the quay. Baba was very happy that the mast had come"
Elizabeth Patterson arrived from America in Bombay on 15th February, on the Conte Verde. Her dog Kippy, who had stayed with Irene Billo in Switzerland while Elizabeth was in America, accompanied her to India. Adi Sr., Chanji, Goher and Arnavaz met her, and Adi drove her to Meherabad. Nonny arrived two days later on the SS Reliance and was also met by Chanji. She too was brought to Meherabad in time for the birthday celebrations, and both began living on the hill with the other women mandali.
It was not always easy for these Westerners to leave their friends and family to join Baba in India, especially when their families did not follow Baba. Elizabeth's mother Bess (who had met Baba in 1932) wrote her a wonderful, encouraging note, stating:
If it were not your happiness and your complete conviction that takes you so far, but instead some stern duty - or sacrifice we should really mourn - but since you are following the light of your spirit, my spirit will keep its little candle burning bright until I see you again. But I want you to know that your months with us have been a joy and comfort. You have been so thoughtful and kind - gentle and sweet, I cannot but see the lovely results of your association with Baba and His ministry of illuminating love.
Baba left for Panchgani 14th March 1938 for Poona. Baba traveled in Elizabeth's Ford with Mehera, Mani, Naja and Khorshed. On the way, Elizabeth's car had a puncture. They stopped at Vishnu's paternal aunt's home in Budhwar Peth for lunch and Adi saw to the repairs of the Ford.
Eruch was not the only person to spend a night in the Tiger Valley Cave at Panchgani. Some months before, Elizabeth earnestly asked Baba if she could spend one night in His cave. Baba replied, "You may, but I will tell you when." Weeks later, Elizabeth reminded Baba, who smiled and asked, "Do you wish to go now, or wait until the time is right?"
As it came to pass, on Friday, 6th May 1938, Baba and the women mandali accompanied Elizabeth to the cave, where she was instructed to remain for twelve hours. The following is her account:
At 6:00 P.M. exactly, Baba locked me in, giving me the key inside. The last thing I remembered, before everyone left me shut in alone for the night, was Baba's hand extended through the iron bars, resting upon my head as if in blessing. The moment all had disappeared around the bend of the path, there was profound stillness. Fleeting thoughts passed through my mind, but these I controlled as Baba had instructed me that I should concentrate throughout the night and not sleep, unless I could not keep my eyes open any longer.
According to Baba's instructions, I lit a lantern exactly at ten minutes before seven and then lay down.
Once I heard heavy thuds, like steps approaching on the path, and I waited anxiously for someone to appear. But the sound, although close, passed away, and probably was a cow or a buffalo which had been grazing on the mountain side. Four stars in the shape of a kite, which resembled the Southern Cross, stood out in the sky more vividly than the rest. I remembered looking at my watch to find it was not far from midnight. Determined to remain awake, I continued to think of Baba.
Unexpectedly, shock-like electricity passed through my body from head to foot, particularly along the spine. It continued in waves of varying currents, and became so strong two or three times that it seemed to lift me, as would a rush of wind. Soon I felt myself swinging into space, the bedding unevenly swaying beneath me. I felt that if only I could remain on it, as on a magic carpet, I would be carried safely. But it rocked so much that I remembered to call out Baba's name, and immediately the "troubled waters" were stilled. Coming out of a daze, I found my arms folded across me, as they cross the arms of the dead. They were so numb that it took a while before I could move them. Whatever the state was which I passed through; I was consciously unconscious during it.
A seeming sense of time had passed, when I was aroused by the cheery sound of voices, which I recognized to be those of my friends. They appeared inside the cavern, and called to me that it was five o'clock, and that they had been sent to summon me. I remembered Baba telling me not to leave the cave until 6:00 A.M. sharp. This seemed conflicting. As I was wondering what to do, the thought came to me that I had better do what Baba himself had told me. At that moment, Baba glimmeringly appeared in the entrance, and light flooded the cave with unusual brightness. He smilingly answered my mental inquiry by saying, "Do as I said; leave only at six." Sometime later, opening my eyes and looking at my watch, I found it was nearing six o'clock, and I rose to leave the cave. I felt fresh and invigorated; daylight was faintly penetrating the cave.
After returning home to the bungalow, I asked Baba "Was I dreaming?" Baba replied, "No, it was more like a daze. You were neither awake nor asleep. You actually experienced these things physically." Then I inquired, "Was it symbolic?" "Yes," answered Baba. "In the future you will know in detail its full meaning."
Discussions continued in Panchgani about establishing a center for Baba. Norina, who had been to Mysore and Bangalore, wished an elaborate Universal Spiritual Center to be established. One day she was talking with Elizabeth about the possibility of relocating in Mysore, Bangalore, Hyderabad or Panchgani. Norina's grand visions did not appeal to Elizabeth's more practical nature. Elizabeth tried to point out the difficulties involved and flaws in Norina's plans, but Norina was not to be dissuaded.
Once, when they were discussing the issue, Baba called them. He allowed them to continue their argument in his presence, and then said, "You are both in the right, but Norina has got to go a little slower, and Elizabeth has got to try to move a little faster." Looking at both with a smile, he added, "Now both embrace."
On another occasion, when there was a quarrel between two women, Baba intervened and stated:
Love and forget. This is the only thing that matters, and it pays. Almost all of you are weak. By weak, I mean taken up with desires. Anger is weakness, pride is weakness, and so on. If a mother found her child weak, she would love it all the more. So all love more.
Don't you remember what I told you in Nasik? Learn to say, "Janay-doe [Let it go]." Give up wanting the last word. Give up all wants and be happy. But you must try consciously.
Now be happy. I forgive you all, but continue trying.
Elizabeth was the main driver of Blue Bus. Baba sat directly behind Elizabeth and could communicate with her on his alphabet board through a small sliding, window-like opening in the partition. She was the one among nine Western women. There were eleven Eastern women, two men mandali and Baba: a total of 23 persons — riding in a bus.
On the 1st of September 1939, the German army under Adolf Hitler invaded Poland. That day Baba began sending Adi Sr., Jalbhai, Elizabeth and Don, in turns, to a nearby shop which had a radio, to listen to any news of war. They were to report the latest news to Baba. This went on all day and into the night and continued the next day, until Adi Sr. and Jal Rusi (who was staying with the group in Bangalore) managed to rent a radio which could be kept at the Links and listened to every hour.
Elizabeth's Boston terrier Kippy had been traveling with the menagerie since the beginning of the Blue Bus Tour. Even Kippy's birthday was observed in Jabalpur on 5 May, and the little dog was decked out in a cute outfit for the occasion. Happy Birthday was sung to her by all, and afterward, at night, Baba took the women for a boat ride on the Narmada River by moonlight.
On 10 May, Baba brought two more puppies, named Bingo and Jingo. He asked Elizabeth to look after them. Elizabeth loved dogs, and Baba satisfied her fondness for them.
The entire Meherabad zoo of birds and animals had been brought to Bangalore and set up in the Links compound. And there were new additions too: Elizabeth bought a peacock from the bazaar one day, which was named Moti. The women were now mostly occupied in looking after the cleaning, feeding and watering of these pets. There were many ducks, hens and a rooster, whose water ponds were to be daily cleaned and refilled with fresh water. One day the pits filled with rain water and a hen fell in and drowned. When Elizabeth found it, she wept and brought the dead animal to Baba, saying, "Baba darling, the hen is unconscious with cold. What should we do now?"
Baba took the hen and went to the kitchen where Katie and Manu were cooking. He said, "This hen is frozen. Hold her over the fire!" Katie took the hen from Baba and replied in Gujarati (which Elizabeth did not understand) that the hen was already dead. Baba winked at her and, after a while, remarked to Elizabeth, "Do you have any idea how fortunate this hen is? It is the hen's great luck that I have held her. If she dies, she will be even more fortunate and will take a more advanced form in her next birth; but she must die here and now in my presence."
Immediately, Katie played along and declared, "Baba, the hen is dead!" Elizabeth thus accepted the accidental death. The fortunate fowl's burial was performed before Baba with a proper ceremony.
In year 1940, on one occasion, Elizabeth's car had a flat tire that day and the bus had bumped into a cyclist. Baba remarked, "This is why I gave you the talk on poise the other day. You must not grumble if I make you undergo a tiny bit of the suffering which I am now going through." The previous night Baba had been groaning painfully, and He added, "I am now suffering tremendously internally."
Elizabeth stopped the car and went into a small restaurant next to the church to inquire. Shortly thereafter she came out with an elderly man in a worn suit and a solar topee. He looked about 60, with a long grey beard and long hair, but bald on top. He told her in English the church was open at all times. Baba looked at the man and then departed.
That evening, all went with Baba to see Francis Xavier's tomb. Just as they were about to return, the same old man walked up to Elizabeth and started a conversation. He told her he had come from Karachi where he wrote plays, which were still unpublished. He had come to Goa to write about it. He also mentioned modern dramas, and even the playwright Bernard Shaw. Jalbhai, Kaka, Don and Baba stood around him as the man talked. Baba directed Jalbhai to ask if he needed anything, specifically money, and the man replied, "No, thanks very much," and glanced quickly at Baba.
Later that evening, back at the hotel Baba revealed to the group about the man: "You are all blind. He is very spiritually advanced and a conscious agent. All his talk about writing plays had hidden meaning, meant for me. I gave him certain instructions internally and tomorrow he will leave Goa."
The next day, Elizabeth suddenly encountered the man again. He told her in a cryptic manner, "I don't know why, but I feel all on fire! Although I intended to stay in Goa for some months, I have to leave at once for a cold country in the north."
Elizabeth related the strange meeting to Baba who remarked, "As Elizabeth had been the first to meet him, and she must also be the last." Later that day, they heard on the radio that, without prior warning, Germany had invaded Denmark and Norway on the 9th — both cold countries "in the north."
In Panjim, Elizabeth asked Baba one day, "Very good quality ice cream is available here. May I bring some for all?"
Baba replied, "That is an excellent idea; but it should not cause colds and affect your throats."
Baba sent for Nilu and asked, "What remedy is there to prevent getting sore throats from eating ice cream?"
Nilu replied, "Garlic chutney would be a good prophylactic against any side effects from ice cream." Baba permitted Elizabeth to bring ice cream, and she was very happy.
She was unaware of Nilu's suggestion, as Baba had conversed with him in Marathi.
When Elizabeth left, Baba told Katie and Manu to prepare a large amount of garlic chutney. Elizabeth returned with cartons of delicious ice cream, and Baba served it to all — along with a generous dollop of chutney! He told them to eat as much ice cream as they liked, but to follow each spoonful with a bit of garlic chutney! All the joy was taken out of the affair, and they thought to themselves: "It would have been better had we not had ice cream."
Silla's birthday was celebrated on 20 April 1940 with fresh mango ice cream — this time without garlic chutney! Irene and Elizabeth became ill for a few days, and were kept under treatment.
Baba left Meherabad for Ranchi on Wednesday, 3rd July 1940, by train with the men and women mandali, and three masts, Chatti Baba, Shariat Khan and Mohammed. The women who accompanied Baba were Elizabeth and others.
Throughout September 1940, Baba continued to work in strict seclusion in the mast ashram on the hill. He also continued his visits to the women twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays.
During this period, Baba had passed on to Rano a portrait someone had done of him, painted on a piece of plywood. Baba instructed Rano to paint his picture over it, in a seated posture, wearing a sadra with his long hair open. This she did, titling the work The Avatar.
On 22nd September 1940, Baba asked the women, "Who was it who said, 'Unless you lose yourself, you cannot find yourself?' "
Elizabeth replied, "Christ."
"What does it mean?" Baba asked.
One woman replied, "To conquer desire."
Another replied, "To annihilate the lower self."
Elizabeth answered, "To quote the words of the saint: 'Let not my will be done, but Thine.' "
Baba nodded in approval and stated that Elizabeth's was the nearest to being correct. He explained in detail:
During Baba's seclusion, He had instructed the women to send the dog Warrior to him for a certain period, and Baba himself fed the dog in the mast ashram. After this, Warrior was not well, and Elizabeth, who was looking after him, took him to the veterinarian for medicine and treatment. But Warrior did not recover, and at 10:00 A.M. on 28th September 1940, died on Meherabad Hill.
Baba came to see the women, and led them to a spot near Nonny's grave, where he stated Warrior should be buried. When the pit was dug, Baba helped with the burial.
Elizabeth was feeling sad, and in the evening Baba sent her a message: "Be happy. Warrior has come to me." But no one knew how special Warrior really was until Baba explained it to them the next day:
Elizabeth, listen carefully, and you will be proud of Warrior's share in my work. What I am telling you is the truth, and I am not saying it just to please you. As a matter of fact, Avatars, Sadgurus and Masters never reveal their way of working. If they do so, it entails more work for them. The Sufis say, "One who has found the Truth, hides it eternally." And it is absolutely so. This means that one who is God-realized never reveals the Truth in ordinary words.
On the morning of Wednesday, 5th March 1941, Baba and His group left Lahore for Montgomery, 102 miles away. After only 40 miles, the bus broke down again and Baba was quite peeved. He wanted to contact a high mast in Pakpattan, and so ordered Nilu into the front seat of Elizabeth's car with him and drove off. (Four of the women were in the back seat, curtained off.) Eruch was left to manage alone and told to meet them in Montgomery. Baba's car arrived at eleven o'clock. After leaving the women at the P.W.D. bungalow, Baba, Nilu and Elizabeth drove to contact the mast 30 miles away in Pakpattan, near the tomb of the Perfect Master Baba Farid Shakkar Ganj. The unnamed mast had a tall, stout physique.
As instructed, Norina, Elizabeth and Nadine left Ajmer on Tuesday, 27th May 1941 to do the Master's work of finding property for establishing a center in America.
Elizabeth took the dogs Kippy and Foundy with her. They proceeded to Bombay, arriving on the morning of the 29th, where they were met by Kaka and Chanji. Irene Conybeare joined them at the Regent Hotel. Due to wartime restrictions, their American ship was delayed and they did not set sail until 11th June, having spent two weeks waiting in Bombay. Norina wrote to Baba:
We finally leave today ... to the hemisphere where you need us to be ... I put my head and heart at your feet and go wherever you send me, with your feet in my hands. I love you, love you, love you, love...
Age observed, "Norina, Elizabeth and Nadine took Baba with their tears. This separation was truly unbearable for them; but to keep the Beloved's pleasure, the pangs they felt deeply piercing their heart were not of pain but of a hidden joy. This life of love is always full of pain, and although at times it is severe, without it there is no happiness in life! The lover suffers from this affliction, but he comes to love the suffering as an inseparable part of his being."
Meanwhile correspondence continued with Baba's close ones in America about Myrtle Beach and other American center projects. In September 1944, Elizabeth and Norina had been to Myrtle Beach again in September 1944, and on 2 October, the site was finalized. The following is Elizabeth's letter charting developments:
130 E. 67th Street
New York, New York
October 8, 1944
Norina and I came back from Myrtle Beach yesterday. The day we arrived there, we received your cable accepting the property for the future. Later we received another cable telling us not to worry — which arrived just previous to a difficulty. It is a pioneer undertaking to take hundreds of acres of virgin timberland and make it into a suitable center for possibly hundreds of people, when your activities commence there. However, while war times are not good for building due to restrictions, it seems to be good for developing farmland as the government is extending aid of various kinds.
Furthermore, you will see from my rough drawing that the main highway from New York to Florida passes through our property. [The highway] has electric light and telephone poles, which can be connected after the war for our center, but cannot be installed now due to restrictions.
After plans for these developments were projected, the difficulty of mosquitoes came up. We had a warning on the subject by Norina's getting what the doctor called "a flare-up of malaria." This was our difficulty and I was most happy you had cabled us in anticipation not to worry. We immediately moved from the camp, as we call it, to Father's house in Myrtle Beach and Norina's fever lasted only three days ... However, we started at once to solve the question of the marsh ... Father is buying our property, in installments, from the Myrtle Beach Farms Company.
Regarding building, the government permits one to spend $1,000 each year for farm buildings and we have built a two-room cabin with screened-in porch (which we call your cabin) and another one-room cabin with screened-in porch for a kitchen and dining room, this year. Those who came down with Norina and me, namely Darwin Shaw, Frank and Kay Eaton and John Bass, sent down portable houses where they stayed nearby. Anna Till came with us this last trip and cooked for all of us. She is a spiritually devoted soul and contributed her work. She longs to meet you.
As we require a place where many can stay, yet can only spend $1,000 next year, we looked all around and found a large barn 50 by 30 feet of good cypress wood, which is an attractive shape. One can buy a building already in existence and transport it, exclusive of the $1,000. Therefore, next January we will start making it over into living quarters, which we believe can be done within this restriction...
Elizabeth Patterson's father, Simeon Chapin, passed away, and she cabled Baba about it. The next day, Baba sent her this telegram: "Your father has blessedly found a place in my infinite heart."
Mr. Chapin had met Baba in New York in 1932 and, because of his recent gift to his daughter of his property in Myrtle Beach; a center for Baba in America was coming to fruition. Simeon Chapin was a generous, philanthropic individual, who established four charitable foundations. He often remarked, "I would not be worthy of anything that I have received, if I did not share with those less fortunate."
Elizabeth's father was truly blessed to have made the beautiful Meher Spiritual Center possible.
Ada "Rabia" Martin, 70, had been initiated into Sufism by Inayat Khan in 1911 and was later made head or Murshida of Sufism in America. She met Norina and Elizabeth in San Francisco in 1942, when they had gone to California to investigate sites for Baba's proposed American center. After listening to their descriptions of their Master at one of Norina's public talks, Rabia became convinced that Meher Baba was an extraordinary spiritual figure. She was profoundly affected by her internal experience of the Master and offered her Sufi retreat center in Fairfax near San Francisco for Baba's use. Elizabeth wrote Baba in India: "Rabia's offer seemed to come from the heart and we all agree that she is the most advanced and understanding soul we met in California."
Over the next three years, Rabia Martin studied Baba's writings intensely and began a correspondence with him. She also grew closer to Norina and Elizabeth through repeated visits to New York City where their descriptions of life with Baba and his philosophy rapidly formed within her a central pillar of conviction of the importance of Baba as the key spiritual figure of our age. In April 1945, Norina and Elizabeth invited her to come and live with them. She joined them in New York and then Myrtle Beach until July. Rabia's inner experiences during those months confirmed her intuitive understanding that Baba was the living embodiment of Sufism and the divine incarnation of God — the Rasool or Avatar.
On 14 April 1946, Nadine Tolstoy breathed her last in New York's Roosevelt Hospital at the age of 62. Baba received the news on the 16th, in a telegram from Norina, and immediately cabled back: "Tell Elizabeth, Nadia lives in me, with me and for me more than ever before."
After Norina and Elizabeth had returned to America in 1941, they had energetically begun the work of establishing the Myrtle Beach Center and spreading Meher Baba's name.
Elizabeth had to return to America because of her failure to get a visa extension, and she left on 19 May and flew from Bombay the following day. Meheru's sister Naggu had come for her holidays and was with the women at Pop's. Elizabeth's dog, Foundy, was old and blind by then, and in poor health. Knowing that Naggu loved animals, Elizabeth asked her to take care of Foundy in her absence.
While Elizabeth was away, Foundy's health deteriorated further. One day Naggu mentioned to Baba that Foundy had become disinterested in eating. As Meheru narrated, "That morning, Baba came to the bedroom where Foundy was tied to see how he was. Baba petted him and offered him milk, which Foundy tried to take. Then, just as Baba was stepping out of the room, Foundy breathed his last. Foundy was so fortunate to have had this last touch from Baba."
As Baba had promised Elizabeth six months earlier, Foundy had indeed outlived Mahatma Gandhi. Baba instructed that Foundy be buried on Meherabad Hill near Baba's other pets.
On 4th February 1950, Baba had disclosed to the companions that prior to entering the New Life he had made an agreement with Elizabeth Patterson. Elizabeth had given Baba a certain sum for his work, and he in turn had promised to visit the West, provided Elizabeth agreed to two conditions: first, of seeing that the course of the New Life was not interfered with; and second, of bearing the expenses of the journey both ways for Baba and the companions going with him, as well as their maintenance while abroad.
As per the instructions contained in the circular issued at the inception of the New Life, there had been no correspondence or telegrams received from Elizabeth for the past three months. But when Don returned, Baba sent a letter through him to Elizabeth to the effect that, as promised, Baba would come to America whenever she invited Him. Baba asked whether she would be able to arrange for Him to come in July 1950. She was to immediately inform him of the specific month and year she would be ready to invite Him, so that Baba could arrange His future schedule accordingly. "The most important point for Elizabeth to know before inviting Me," He commented, "is that I will continue my New Life even when in America.
This naturally means no Master, no disciple, no blessing, no grace, no receptions and no interviews. Let us see whether she calls Me on these conditions."
Originally named "Meher Center on the Lakes," the forested property had two freshwater lakes. The place was ideal from natural and spiritual standpoints as a retreat. After making all the required arrangements, Elizabeth and Norina invited Baba; after several postponements, it was fixed that he would leave India in April 1952. At one point, Baba had instructed Don to cable whether April 10 suited them for His departure, as opposed to March 31. They cabled back: "Baba asks whether the 10th of April suits us — anything! Everything suits us as long as He comes."
Baba and the women left New York by train from Penn Station at midnight for Florence, South Carolina, accompanied by Elizabeth and others. Baba said, "I am so happy to be here, and most of all I am deeply touched with the love and devotion shown by both Elizabeth and Norina throughout the past years in preparing such a unique spot for my work and comfort.
No detail, no expense has been spared to carry out My wishes and all as a labor of love— love direct from the heart. And as such I accept the gift."
Baba embraced Elizabeth and Norina again and continued, "I have had many homes this time. I have laid My head on the ground in palaces and on concrete floors of humble homes." Then, gesturing toward the Center, He stated, "But of all the homes I have visited, this is the home that I love the best, because it was given to Me and built for Me with such love."
After a pause He added, "I never leave. Remember, I do not leave, because this is My home."
Mehera, Mani, Meheru and Goher were accommodated in the Guest House, and Rano, Kitty, Margaret and Delia in another cabin. Elizabeth and Norina also stayed nearby at the Log Cabin. The next morning, Elizabeth gave Baba and the women a tour, driving them around the whole property. At the end of the tour, Baba remarked to her and Norina, "I am not only extremely happy, but also touched by your love which has made you do all this for Me."
Although Jean and Delia were happy to be back in India, they were feeling the pain of separation at being kept at Meherabad instead of with Mehera, Mani and the other women in Ahmednagar. After the housewarming at Meherazad, Baba called them to Pop's house to stay, and they felt much happier. Kaka was cooking separately for the Westerners living at Pop's and Baba was sending them to the Ice Factory Bungalow for their meals, while he ate with the Eastern women at Pop's.
Elizabeth wondered to herself: "Why does Baba send us out for food?"
Answering her unasked question one day, Baba commented, "By walking one stimulates a good appetite, and returning on foot after eating is good for the digestion."
A few minutes after Jean, Delia, Elizabeth and Norina left to eat, Baba would send Rano after them with instructions to listen to them as they ate and report back what they had been talking about over lunch. This was awkward for Rano, because each day she had to fabricate some excuse for going there. She would pretend to be talking with Kaka as she tried her best to overhear the lunchtime conversation.
Elizabeth had told Baba about Harry's chicken farm. "I like sheep better than chickens," Baba remarked. Harry said he had many sheep and lambs also. Baba liked him and spelled out to him, "Harry, I like humor and you have a good sense of humor. One must always try to be happy and make others happy; otherwise, life will be a bore. Honest living is also very important — whereby we know we are not deceiving God, others, ourselves, and the world. All that is expected of us is this honesty and our attempt to make others happy and to be happy."
Referring to Elizabeth, Harry's aunt, Baba remarked, "Whatever Elizabeth has done for me through love is beyond imagination."
On one occasion, Baba informed Elizabeth that the Center was to be used for any of the following purposes: as a spiritual academy; a house for advanced souls; an abode of saints; an asylum for the mentally troubled; as a solitary place for meditation; or as a resting place for the afflicted. Over the years, under Elizabeth's careful stewardship, the Center became a retreat for those who loved Baba and knew of him.
"Meher Center is saturated with tears," Age concluded, "tears resulting from a shaking-up of the heart by one glance from the God-Man. Hidden there are Baba's joy, his profundity, his wile, humor, beauty and the song of his alphabet board. These divine expressions will remain there for all those thirsting for the wine of love. Those who visit the Myrtle Beach Center will not leave disappointed."
On 17th May 1952, an open-house darshan program was held in the Barn from 7:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. and again from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. Almost 700 people gathered, many from the small town of Myrtle Beach and others from distant places. Elizabeth was sitting on Baba's right. Baba had instructed that each visitor meet him, touch his hand and pass on. Adi Sr. was standing nearby reading the alphabet board, with the assistance of Nilu and Meherjee, while Sarosh and Don organized the visitors' arrival. . )
After staying at Meher Center for a month, Baba and the women left in two cars at 2:30 P.M. on Tuesday, 20 May 1952. Baba's itinerary was to spend nine days driving across America, and reach Meher Mount in Ojai, California, Baba, Mehera, Mani and Meheru rode in Elizabeth's large blue Nash, driven by her. (Charmian had wanted to drive him, but Baba said no.) In the other smaller car, a Rambler station wagon, driven by Sarosh, were Rano, Kitty, Goher and Delia. Before leaving Myrtle Beach, Baba asked Elizabeth, "Do you have the insurance papers for the car?" Elizabeth replied that she did not, so Baba instructed her to bring them from her home, Youpon Dunes.
Baba repeatedly warned Sarosh to follow Elizabeth's car closely, and that if he failed to do so he would never be forgiven.
24th May 1952, was a pleasant misty morning. They had breakfast very early, at 4:30 A.M. and started driving at 5:45. Baba again cautioned Sarosh to drive close behind them. That morning, Baba was in a serious mood; he seemed preoccupied and was not in his usual hurry to be off. On the way, passing through Fort Smith, they crossed the Arkansas River and entered Oklahoma. At one point, Baba had Elizabeth stop the car, and getting out he paced up and down the highway for several minutes. Before proceeding, Baba again admonished Sarosh to be careful and attentive, and to stay close. Again Sarosh lost Baba's car, and met up with it in Sallisaw; there Baba instructed Sarosh to drive ahead. However, at Gore, Sarosh lost Baba's car and caught up with it at Warner.
Once they were on the road again, however, Baba ordered Elizabeth: "Drive fast!" and kept telling her to go "Faster, faster!" It had rained the night before, and the road was slick. They drove on over the rolling hills of eastern Oklahoma.
At 10:15 A.M., as they came over one hill, Elizabeth saw a car coming toward them on the wrong side of the road. She slowed down in the hope that as soon as the driver saw her, he would turn to avoid them. But he failed to stop, and collided with their car at full-speed. Just as the accident occurred, Elizabeth remembered Baba raising his left hand and pointing to the oncoming car, as if he were somehow directing the whole affair.
Baba was thrown clear out of the car and landed on his back in a muddy ditch on the side of the road. Blood flowed from his nose, which was broken; one arm and leg were fractured. Mehera and Meheru were also thrown from the car. Mehera had a deep gash in her forehead, and Meheru's wrists were fractured and sprained. Elizabeth was pinned behind the steering wheel with both her arms, her collarbone and eleven ribs broken. Mani, who had been dozing in the back seat, was the only one unhurt.
According to Elizabeth's account:
Our party was on a motor tour from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to California. I was driving my Nash Statesman along the open road toward Oklahoma City, having passed Prague a few miles back. Suddenly, I saw a car coming at me, at a very high speed, toward Prague, or towards me. It swerved from its right side of the road in front of my car for no reason that I could see. I put on my brakes with all force, and gave the other car as much room as possible, and kept my car as far to the right-hand side of the road as I could without going into the ditch.
My car was hit very badly on the left front by the other car. I can only think that the other car was out of control, as I was later told that the car was owned by an ex-G.I. with an artificial leg.
The ambulance and hearse arrived, and Baba, Mehera and Elizabeth were rushed to the clinic. Goher and Rano rode with Baba and Elizabeth in the ambulance, while Mani and Meheru accompanied Mehera in the hearse. As the newly-elected mayor of Ahmednagar, Sarosh's status now became useful. In America, a mayor is an esteemed government official, and thus immediate arrangements were made for this "visiting dignitary," and the police cooperated fully.
The small clinic in Prague was quite good, privately owned and run by Dr. Ned Burleson and his wife, Julia. Although Elizabeth was the first to be brought inside, the doctor quickly saw that Mehera was the most seriously injured, and so began treating her. Here is Dr. Burleson's account:
Elizabeth was carried in another ambulance with Kitty, Nilu and Charlene Kimery, a nurse from the hospital. Sarosh and Margaret followed them in another car. With his leg still in plaster and his arm in a sling, Baba covered the tiring distance virtually nonstop. On the 7th they reached Myrtle Beach, where Baba stayed in Elizabeth's house, Youpon Dunes, about eight miles south from the Center. Adi and his group had arrived the previous evening.
Baba was also making plans to visit America in 1956. On 20th December, He cabled Elizabeth Patterson in Myrtle Beach: "I definitely intend to come to the West middle of next year. Inform everyone in America."
On the 30th December, Baba sent another telegram to Elizabeth as follows:
Baba wants you to know and to let everyone know as usual that he will be coming to the West next summer. No women will accompany him this time. He will bring three men, and it will be a special but short visit. On his way over, Baba intends to stop in England for two days. (He will not visit Europe.) He will stop four days in New York, four days in Myrtle Beach and seven days in California, spending roughly three days in northern California (at Ivy Duce's) and three days in southern California (at Ruth White's). This is the gist of the plan. .
Elizabeth and Ivy were allowed to enter customs and greet Him. They were the two official representatives of the two spiritual organizations sponsoring His visit; Elizabeth represented the Universal Spiritual League of America, Ivy represented Sufism Reoriented. The other people had to wait outside the barrier for 45 minutes until Baba and his mandali were cleared through customs. They were thrilled to see Baba pacing back and forth, walking unencumbered.)
With a happy look, Baba told them:
I want you all to know that I have stayed in many, many places. In India, when I went on mast trips to different places, I stayed sometimes in palaces, sometimes in dharamshalas or special rest houses, sometimes in temples or huts, and sometimes under trees or on station platforms, where the sweepers or Untouchables would follow me. But here [gesturing toward his house], Elizabeth has built a very comfortable house for me. Everything here is her contribution to me. She has given the whole 500 acres as a gift to me. She has made everything possible just through her love for me. Tomorrow is Elizabeth's birthday. I am just in time to celebrate her birthday. Tomorrow I will have to embrace her seven times! None of you must give any gifts, however.
Now the house is open. Go in and see everything, but do not run away with anything! Don't slip, the floor is very slippery. It is some kind of special carpet.
They laughed, and Baba added, "Of all places in the world, I feel most comfortable in this house, even though the climate here is hot and humid, I like this place."
At 1:30 in the afternoon, Adi drove Baba back to the Guest House. It was raining, but Baba walked to the kitchen, where Elizabeth's birthday party began. Baba Himself cut the cake and gave Elizabeth the promised seven hugs. After everyone had sung Happy Birthday and had their cake and ice cream, Elizabeth was given a birthday card, which Baba signed on one page and the others on another.
When all had assembled, Baba presented Elizabeth with a large bouquet of yellow chrysanthemums and lavender gladioli, a gift from the entire group. Baba repeated his statement of the day before that of all the places in the world; he was most comfortable here at Meher Center.
"Baba said that Elizabeth had created the entire place, and that He loved it beyond all other places in the world; that her hands had done it all, and that He wished it to remain that way."
In response, Baba stated, "All that you find here is Elizabeth's labor of love. Through her love for Me, she has done everything to make Me feel comfortable at the Center here. If there is an addition from the outside, it will look.”
Elizabeth said a few words of welcome. Baba responded:
I feel very happy to be with you all today. It is your devotion that made Me come to the West during the period of My seclusion. If anything ever touches My Universal Heart, it is love. I have crossed the limited earthly oceans to bring to you all the limitless and shoreless Ocean of Divine Love. Those who do not dare to love Me seek safety on the shores. You who love Me are swimming in this Divine Ocean. Love Me more and more until you get drowned in Me. Dive deep and you will gain the priceless pearl of Infinite Oneness.
Our hearts are open books. You know the tremendous work done by Elizabeth Patterson, Ivy Duce and Marion Florsheim to make this visit as comfortable as possible in delightful surroundings. I have had the barest glimpse of the vast, detailed work behind the scenes. It seems the least we can do is to express our appreciation by a rising vote of thanks."
Thereupon, the whole group rose and clapped their hands. Baba added: "Elizabeth, Kitty, Ivy, Marion, Norina — these are My five fingers."
Elizabeth had apparently made some offer involving the Center, but Baba said:
I need money for the meeting, but the Center at Myrtle Beach must not be touched because, after I drop My body, it will become a place of pilgrimage, for it has Baba's heart in it. Elizabeth's service, her intense love and dedication to Me are beyond words. Besides the Center, she has done so much for Me; you have little idea.
Before dying, Norina had told Elizabeth, "Don't grieve for me; let me go." So the evening after she died, Elizabeth and Kitty went to see a play at the local theater.
At Baba's request Elizabeth narrated the story: "Cobras are known to enjoy inhaling human breath. Years ago, Baba gave Mansari a stick for protection against robbers, but she said, 'Baba, the whole village reveres you; they would not dare to step into the ashram.'
Elizabeth loves Jane very much." He brought his two fingers together and remarked, "Spiritual twins. But Elizabeth loves Baba far more. My sign for her is this (a fist) — a rock! Now stop the tears."
Jane said, "It's my fault; please forgive me. I wasn't clear about it."
Baba's arm shot out and he grasped her like steel, telling her to sit down. "Elizabeth, where is the book Jane likes so much?"
"At Youpon Dunes."
"Go and fetch it. Jane will read to Baba."
Jane was given fifteen minutes to freshen up, and left the cabin while Elizabeth drove to her home to bring the book. When she returned, both reentered the Lagoon Cabin. Jane sat in front of Baba and began reading. In the middle, Baba's fingers began moving rapidly. Not knowing of Baba's Universal work, Jane surmised that perhaps she was not reading well. The moment this thought came, Baba's fingers ceased their activity. Jane recalled: "Just like Gibran's description — 'As still as the statues in Antioch' — Baba's eyes never left my face."
When she had finished, Baba was silent for quite a while. "Now come," He remarked, and Baba embraced her tightly, and she knelt before him. Looking at her, He revealed, "The way you have done this, given this to Baba, touches My heart very much. For you see, I was Jesus, I was Jesus Christ. Now let's go." He then took her in one arm and Elizabeth in the other and they walked outside.
Baba sat outside to listen to a tape of Harold Rudd's recitation of the poem "Light of Asia" (by Edwin Arnold) about the life of Buddha. His mood was serious as He listened, and His fingers worked at intervals. Jane began thinking about Baba's imminent departure, and felt sad about "losing" Baba after having just found Him.
After the tape recitation, Baba called Jane into the Lagoon Cabin, where he emphasized to her, "Do not be nervous or afraid, for I will be with you always." As she turned to go, Baba added, "physically," and He had Adi repeat what He had said. When Baba returned to India, He sent this telegram to Jane: "Reborn in my love, you are blessed. Love me more and more."
Jane had always felt that she would die before the age of 33, and in a sense, she had — but to be "reborn" in the Avatar's fold!