*FORTUNATE SOULS-VOLUME-3 (GR-12 TO GR 15)

120-NORINA MATCHABELLI

(Baba lover and wife of Prince Georges Matchabelli)

Princess Norina Matchabelli met Baba in 1931 and consequently left her position and status of a diplomat’s wife and lived in Baba’s ashram. She travelled all over India, Europe and later America to spread Baba’s message and in 1949 helped Elizabeth to establish Baba’s centre at Myrtle Beach.

Born in Italy on March 3rd 1880 in Florence, Italy, and her first husband was Karl Volmoeller a Baba lover film maker. Later she married to Prince George Matchabelli, a national hero who, after revolution in Russia fought for his country of Georgia, in the Caucasus, and thereafter settled in U.S.A.

In December 1923, the couple moved to America, where Norina performed on stage in New York. As a young woman, Norina (using the stage name Maria Carmi) was chosen by the Austrian stage director Max Reinhardt to play the role of the Madonna in his pantomime play The Miracle, written by Norina's first husband, the German author Karl Vollmoeller. The play was a phenomenal success performed over 1,000 times.  Norina, a Roman Catholic, even had an audience with the Pope, in Rome in 1914. She also starred in more than 25 silent Italian films. In America, she continued to perform in a production of The Miracle.

From this role, Norina developed a deep spiritual longing and became a seeker. In the midst of   a life of glamour and success, however, she developed into a deep spiritual seeker and prepared her way to the final experience which instantaneously transformed her life—when she met Meher Baba.

In 1924, they founded the world famous perfumery Matchabelli perfumes. Later the perfume corporation was sold, and she spontaneously gave her share to Baba.

Norina was an old friend of Jean's. The day before Jean had left for Harmon to prepare for Baba's arrival, she had gone to see Norina at her apartment in New York. Norina candidly asked her, "Who is this 'Master' at whose feet you would worship?" Jean tried to explain to her about Baba and about Thomas Watson's profound experience with him in England, but Norina remained unconvinced.

Norina asked Jean, "How can you worship at the feet of any man, even if He does call Himself a Master? Women like ourselves — who have had such deep inner experiences — don't need any man to show us the way to God.

How can you allow yourself to be drawn into such foolishness?" As Jean was leaving, Norina sarcastically remarked, "Well, darling, when your Master arrives, I must meet Him. I too would like to weep like dear old Watson!"

Jean's explanations had seemed odd to Norina and she was amused, but also puzzled. Three days after Baba's arrival, Norina phoned Jean at Harmon, saying, "The strangest thing has been happening to me. From the moment Meher Baba landed in New York, I have been weeping continuously. You must arrange for me to see Him."

When Norina encountered Baba in Harmon, tears of ecstasy rolled down her cheeks and she totally forgot her princess-ly self. Her life became Baba's and she dedicated herself completely at His feet. Later, describing that first meeting, she related:

I doubt whether that experience ([of meeting Meher Baba can be expressed in words. I had heard about Him, but I remained skeptical. I had followed teacher after teacher, and yet none of them could ever reassure me (about the Path. Eventually, I consented to go with a friend to Harmon.

I entered the room in which Baba was sitting surrounded by followers and disciples. That very moment, an experience began, full of wonder and beauty. Suddenly I had to run across the room and I found myself weeping on the floor at His feet. Weeping, weeping! Oh, how I was weeping! But I also began to laugh, and the streams running down my cheeks and the outbursts of laughter became one. I was resting my head on Baba's hand, and my whole body was shaking with terrific sobs of liberation.

Eventually, I quieted down. Baba then took my face between His hands and looked at me for a long time into one of my eyes, and then into the other, and then back into the first eye.

Then He spoke to me via the alphabet board. His first words were: "I am man and woman and child. I am sexless." He then paused for a while; brought His face nearer to mine and spelled out, "Have no fear."

An incredible joy surged through me. I went into the next room and lay down on a sofa, weeping still with joy. Suddenly the door opened and Baba came in. I knew now that my whole life had no meaning if it were not dedicated to the Perfect Master, and so I said to Him, "Baba, please take me with you."

He motioned, "It is yet too soon." I could have died with grief when I felt his words.

As a child, Norina had had an experience of God. On one occasion, she recollected:

Since my childhood, I knew of God. When I was twelve, He came as Jesus Christ and spoke to me. He explained to me in words of sublime wisdom that this love which had begun to surge within me was an imperative for the fulfillment of the highest form of spiritual love.

He spoke to me in the unforgettable words: "I am your first and last love."

The significance of these words was fully realized by Norina when she met Meher Baba for the first time and recognized him as Christ personified. Without her ever mentioning this incident, Baba spelled out, "I was the one who came to you in the form of Christ to lead you toward the Goal." From their very first meeting, the Master established in Norina unconditional faith in him — which was to last a lifetime.

Returning to Boston in the afternoon, Baba boarded the SS George Washington, taking an overnight boat ride back to New York. They arrived the next morning in morning and stayed at the Astor Hotel on Broadway where Norina had booked rooms. It was an expensive hotel, frequented by a wealthy and influential clientele — yet which other guest could be more distinguished? Nevertheless, to arrange His stay, Norina had to use her influence with the proprietors, who were reluctant to accommodate a "silent Indian Master."

After staying five days in Harmon, Baba departed at eight in the morning on 4th December 1931 for Manhattan with Norina and Malcolm. .They made one stop on their way into the city, at the home of Corinne Ingraham at 49 E. 83rd Street. Corinne was a friend of Norina's who had recently broken her leg in an accident.  She later told Norina that she had remained in ecstasy for three days after Baba's visit and her swollen leg had returned to normal the day following her interview with Baba.

Baba wished to go to a night movie on Broadway, which Norina arranged, and a group of eighteen persons went with Him. Baba became restless during the film and left in the middle of it. The group followed. Walking through the crowded New York streets, Baba went to another movie theater some blocks away. Along the way, one man stopped and stared straight into Baba's eyes, and then kept turning around to look at Him after they had passed on the sidewalk. Perhaps it was for Him that Baba had left the theater.

In an interview, Baba pointed to a woman standing far back in the crowd and instructed that she be brought to the front to meet Him. Baba's summons was delivered by Norina and received by the woman in an embarrassed manner, as neither of them knew the other. The woman apologetically explained that she had come merely to accompany a friend and did not feel inclined to meet Baba. Baba kept signaling that she should come to Him. At this, her attitude changed and she walked toward Him.

Baba's hand stretched out to her with obvious joy. He had found the needing soul that, for some obscure reason, was unconsciously due to meet Him. Standing before Baba, her embarrassment almost grew into a state of confusion which Baba took care of immediately in his benign way. At his words, "Do not worry. I know everything, and I will take care of you and help you," she involuntarily began sobbing. The reception continued as the rescued soul disappeared into the crowd.

About a week later, before Norina drove to California to meet Baba, she received a phone call from a woman she did not know. "I am the woman that you so graciously induced to meet the Master," the woman related. "May I come and see you? Something so wonderful has happened to me!" Norina learned the woman's name was Marian and she was a friend of a friend. She made a date to meet her. Marian came to Norina's apartment and narrated the sorrowful state of affairs in her family due to the hatred between her and her daughter had turned normal.

On another occasion, a friend of Norina's, who was an acute alcoholic, came to meet Baba in New York. For years, the woman had been in and out of one asylum after another. She hated her mother, with whom she lived, and would greet her each morning with such cruel words: "Why aren't you dead yet?"

Norina aroused her curiosity about Baba, and the friend finally agreed to see "that man." When the woman was brought to Baba, Norina tried to tell him about her background. Baba cut her short, motioning, "I know her very well." The woman sat at His feet, and after a few moments of friendly conversation, Baba mentioned alcoholic beverages and drinking with intense interest. They discussed different types of drinks, and Baba even remarked about a wine that He had heard was very good. The woman was overjoyed to talk about a subject so familiar to her. Her meeting was lighthearted, jovial and full of humor.

After a while, the woman turned to Norina and said, "You know your Baba is not as bad as I thought; he's a real human being!"

A week later, the woman invited Norina to tea. She opened the door to her apartment, and for once, Norina noticed that she had not been drinking. The woman immediately disclosed her determination to change her life. "I do not drink anymore, nor will I ever do so again. I was a fool!

I have wasted the better part of my life and energy. I cannot hate anymore, either. I am sorry to have given so much suffering to my mother. I now love her and will devote my life to her happiness." No mention was made of Baba, but Norina knew that his glance had penetrated this woman's dark mind and had lifted it out of the clouds to a new and better life.

After leaving Baba in Venice at the end of August, Norina and Quentin had been directed to go to Germany and various other places in Europe to try to interest people in Baba.

Norina had many acquaintances in London and she brought them to meet her Beloved. Among them were Countess Catherine ("Kitty") Pahlen of Russia, Baroness Rothschild, Lady Stella Vitelleschi, and Vivienne Giesen.

Baba explained to His lovers that He wished them to come to India the following year. And for the first time, He spoke to Kimco about Mehera and of her intense, pure love for him. He gestured, "Mehera is My Radha and her life consists of My happiness. When you see her, you will have an idea of her love for Me. Her love always keeps Me happy!"

On more than one occasion, there was a discussion about the idea of making a film of Baba's life. This project particularly interested Norina, who had pursued it with different filmmakers since Baba had mentioned it at the Harmon Retreat in 1931.

After leaving Baba in Venice at the end of August, Norina and Quentin had been directed to go to Germany and various other places in Europe to try to interest people in Baba.

Norina arrived in Genoa on 26th September 1932. From there she and Quentin, together or separately, visited Venice, Florence, Argenta, Verona, Munich, Basel, Zurich, Halle, Berlin and Budapest. By the end of December they returned to Venice, where they were to join Baba's group. Baba was to travel to all those places in Europe, but as so often happened with Him, plans were to change. Baba's silent message carried the seed of consciousness within it for the countries His disciples visited. Quentin, Norina and Rustom (who had been sent to Australia and New Zealand) were the outward media of Baba's inner work. Through them, He forged the link for His spiritual work with these different nations.

23rd April 1933 was their last day in Srinagar. Baba took all to the Shalimar and Nishat Gardens. 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.

In 1933, Alice had met Norina at a tea in New York some years before and they had corresponded regularly; Norina told Baba about her and Baba had them invited.

Norina did translation work and correspondence All were enthusiastic about spreading Meher Baba's message. Norina and the Kimco group agreed that it was time for the world at large to be enlightened about Meher Baba, His teachings and work, especially in light of the fictitious, if not ridiculous, rumors being published about Him in the newspapers at the time. They also felt that they should let people know about Meher Baba before He broke His silence and manifested, which He repeatedly said He would do in the near future. Therefore, they were busy in Portofino collecting and assembling Baba's sayings and material about the Master in the form of questions and answers to be published in booklet form.

Baba had asked Norina to arrange for interviews that afternoon, since she had lived with her husband in Rome when he was the ambassador prior to the Russian revolution. Unfortunately, she had not been in Italy for the last several years and had lost touch with even the closest of friends. For her to call people on the telephone and persuade them to come and meet an Indian Spiritual Master was next to impossible on such short notice. Norina made a list of the names of 32 persons whom she thought worthy to meet Baba and submitted it to him before making the appointments.

Baba glanced at it and crossed off all but three. They were a Russian army officer, a simple, good-hearted Italian and a worldly young professor of philosophy. Norina had no trouble convincing the first two to come; their meetings with Baba proved to be cordial and beneficial to them, but the professor's attitude was defiantly negative.

Throughout March, April and May 1934, telegrams were being sent back and forth that concerned another possible visit to the West to check progress on the film Baba wished to be made. Norina had cabled Baba from Paris that her first husband, screenwriter Karl Vollmoeller, was willing to work on the script for Baba's film. She also later wrote about her contact with the 40-year-old Hungarian producer Gabriel Pascal (who had made films in Germany with Max Reinhardt) who wished to meet Baba. "After meeting you," Norina cabled, "Pascal will be capable of any sacrifice for realization!" Baba cabled back on 13 (and 19) March:

After spending the day in Marseilles, Baba and the mandali took the train to Paris, joined by Norina and two other western disciples.

Nearing America, Baba made it clear that He did not wish to meet any outsiders while in New York — no new persons, no interviews and no publicity. But Norina had already informed certain people about the Master's arrival and also intended to publicize his visit. She cabled this to Baba on the ship and Baba cabled back, instructing her to cancel everything and that He would not even grant interviews. When the ship docked in New York on Wednesday, 12th December 1934, a group of newspaper reporters and photographers tried to invade Baba's cabin, but He would not meet them and instructed Chanji to send them away. As usually happened with Baba's arrivals in foreign countries, there was some delay in their disembarkation. After a considerable wait, the press dispersed. One newspaper article described Baba as wearing a sweater, coat, hat and carrying a silver-knobbed cane. "Immigration officials tried to make Him talk. But he just smiled and let His secretary speak for Him." After leaving the customs area, Baba was greeted by Norina and western lovers.

Tullio Carminati, 40, another movie actor, came to see Baba that evening. He had performed on stage with Norina years before and, although she was now older, he remarked to Norina, "Why, you look so much better than you did before! It is really something quite different, something divine. I can clearly see it."

Pointing to Baba, Norina replied, "It is His divinity that you see in me. Just look at Him and see for yourself."

Before going to Europe, Baba had written to the close Western lovers chosen to come to India that he had bought property in Nasik for their stay. This was made possible by Norina's financial contribution (the money having come from the proceeds of selling her husband's perfume company). In July of 1936, Baba had informed them.

On one occasion, Norina telephoned an old friend; the screenwriter Mercedes de Acosta, to tell her there was someone in town she should meet. Mercedes had been severely depressed of late and did not wish to meet anyone, but Norina urged her that she would not regret meeting this person.

"Who is it?" Mercedes inquired.

Norina would not say. "I want it to be a surprise," she explained.

Finally, Norina persuaded her friend to come. Norina was waiting at the door when Mercedes arrived on Monday, 31st December 1934. As a young girl, Mercedes had written impassioned letters to Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Joan of Arc and other Christian saints. Upon seeing Baba, Mercedes felt overwhelming warmth radiating from him. She rushed into his embrace and asked, "Who are you?"

Baba gestured, "I am you." Then suddenly He spelled on the board, "Go and bring Me your revolver." Mercedes was amazed for she had told no one about the gun in her car. She went to the car and returned with the revolver, handing it to Baba. He took the bullets out one by one and Baba then consoled her, "Suicide is not the solution. It only entails rebirth with the same problems all over again. The only solution is God-realization — to see God in everything. Everything is easy then. Promise Me that you will put this revolver away and never again think of suicide."

Feeling His compassion, Mercedes promised. She then told Baba about her friend, the movie actress Greta Garbo, whom she loved dearly.

Baba commented, "You both were husband and wife in a past life in Italy. That is why there is such love between you."

Norina and accompanied by others drove to Rahuri in the Ford Elizabeth he had brought. A meeting of the Mandali Maintenance Trust was to be held at Rahuri that day, and they were to attend. 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.

Norina was to take charge of the conduct and accounts beginning 15th January 1935. Above all, Baba wished this small diverse group of strong individualists and divergent personalities and nationalities to live together in harmony. He stressed this during His visit on 31st December:

Baba said I have left things in Norina's charge regarding food and general management. To have complete harmony among you all, four points should be kept in mind:

First: There should be complete cooperation between you all and Norina.

Second: In some matters, Norina should give way; in some, you should give way. You all have come here to learn spiritual Truth — leaving all. So, you should put up with small discomforts and inconveniences. By this, I do not mean that you should overlook your real needs and necessities. We are going to give the world the message of love and brotherhood through Garrett's magazine, and if in our home we have conflicts and disharmony over trivial matters, our message would be farcical and hypocritical.

Third: The thorns to which I previously referred will be in many forms. If you take them too seriously or give them too much importance, they will naturally cause unnecessary suffering. But if you take these thorns lightly and do not attach undue importance to them, even these thorns will be like flowers.

Fourth: If any of you here have the impression that Norina tries to run things her own way just because she is in charge, it is a grave, unjust misconception and should immediately be removed from your minds. I know whatever Norina does is only out of her deep love and feeling for me, to economize and save us as much as possible for My work. On the other hand, Norina seems to have the notion that some do not like it that she is in charge, although I know it is quite the contrary. They all like Norina to manage things as she does. These misunderstandings create unnecessary situations and disharmony and upset things; so the sooner you all clear them up, the better.

You should never forget that your aim is spiritual; otherwise, the retreat would be like a rest house or a hotel.

If you have come for Me, you should also suffer for Me.

In the event any of you are feeling indisposed, you should report at once to Norina, and she should give it her immediate attention and either utilize Garrett's stock of medicines or send for a doctor if it is anything serious. Norina should give Me a detailed health report when I come every week.

In 1937, Norina returned to the retreat and brought a hot lunch of rice and spinach. Baba ate with the group off grass-leaf plates, serving the food Himself. After lunch, they rested and played more games. Norina had also packed drinks and Baba made Himself a refreshing concoction of barley water, soda water, orange and watermelon juice. He distributed slices of watermelon for dessert.

Baba presented copies of the book The Perfect Master book to Norina and few others. He also discussed the idea of having the Westerners to write of their experiences to be collected into a book. He gave all one month to complete the assignment.

Meals were often a source of conflict in Nasik. Jean had to have spinach every day, cooked in a special way; another wanted beets. One of the group said they should eat only whole-wheat bread. Another requested buttermilk at a certain time each morning. Baba had instructed that Rano and Delia were to have cream every day; others wanted it also. During this meeting, Norina brought up the question of meals, and Baba commented:

You have all promised to try your best to die, so let us begin with food. Let us have no more clashes about food. Let Norina go on giving the same as before.

You (pointing to Norina are much too blunt. And for the role of Mother, you ought to be more gentle. Be one without duality. Be gentle. Listen to all suggestions. If you can fall in with them, good; if not, kiss and say no gently. This is tact. It hurts if you are too frank sometimes, and this I do not want.

So, I repeat: all begin to try now or, seriously, I will tell you to go back home. And be honest in your trying. There must be harmony, love and peace — real harmony, love and peace, not forced.

Petty things take up all your energy, thoughts and time. No more of that. Love and forget. This is the only thing that matters. Love, always try to love.

You do not like Norina being so blunt. Love her all the more. She needs it. If she finds you weak in your wants, then she too must love you. You need it. If a mother found her child sick or weak, she would fondle it more, love it more. So, if anyone of you is weak, the rest of you should love that one more.

By weak I mean taken up with desires. Anger is weakness; pride is weakness, and so on. So all try. As Kaka says, "No discuss; just try!"

Norina sent a telegram to Baba that it would be better to cancel this trip since so many were ill. Baba cabled back in no uncertain terms: "Unless everyone comes, I will send all of you back to the West!" Baba wanted the Westerners to see what a simple life His Eastern women were leading. During one of their visits, He urged them, "I wish you to breathe in the atmosphere here and absorb as much as you can."

Meetings discussing the future of the ashram continued throughout the next week whenever Baba was with the Westerners in Nasik. One morning Jean Adriel went to Baba and asked that Norina be relieved of her duties as manager. Baba called Norina and made Jean repeat all her complaints before her. He explained that He wanted Norina to be the manager, but Jean kept insisting Ruano would be better.

Norina asked Baba to ask everyone's opinion after lunch. A meeting was called in Elizabeth and Norina's room. All were asked to give their honest opinion. Different opinions and other complaints were voiced, except by Will, Mary and Elizabeth who seemed always satisfied. Thus, everyone's feelings were expressed and the air was cleared, and in the end Baba gave in to Jean's request and rearranged the household affairs. Ruano became the manager and Norina handled the budget.

On Saturday, 26 June 1937, a Trust meeting was held at Meherabad. Norina and Elizabeth drove there from Nasik to Meherabad. Baba directed Nadine to go to Venice, Italy for some work and she sailed from Bombay on 8th July on the Conte Rosso. Baba went to Bombay to see her off. With Nadine's departure,

Baba and the group reached Marseilles at six o'clock on the morning of Friday, 13th August 1937. They then traveled by train to Cannes, reaching there about four in the afternoon. Prior to Baba's arrival, Kitty had gone to Cannes at the end of June and rented villas with the help of Delia and Norina's sister Margherita "Ghita" Gilli Blum, who was also devoted to Baba.

While in Cannes, one person whom Norina had been particularly anxious to bring to see Baba was the Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Nijinsky had been the leading dancer of the Russian ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Although considered the greatest European male dancer of the 20th century, Nijinsky's career was tragically cut short at the height of his career. At 29, severely troubled by schizophrenia, Nijinsky retired, and spent the next 31 years in and out of mental institutions. Norina had spoken with Baba about Nijinsky during the voyage to France. Baba had indicated that He could cure Nijinsky of his insanity, if he was able to stay with Him for a few months. But when Norina asked if she could pursue the matter to expedite his release and bring him to Baba, Baba's reply had been, "Let Me do it." On the 21st of August 1937, Norina read in the newspaper that Nijinsky's wife was planning to take him out of the asylum. Nijinsky, however, never did meet Meher Baba.

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 either 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."

Baba left Cannes for Marseilles early on 2nd November 1937. In Marseilles, Baba sent Norina out to a pharmacy to buy him some mineral water.

The label on the bottle was in French and when Norina returned with it, Baba asked Rano, who spoke French, to translate it. Baba indicated that this was the wrong kind of mineral water and sent Norina back to exchange it. She returned with a different bottle and again, after listening to Rano translates the name and contents, Baba sent Norina back with it and asked her to bring something else. This happened five or six times.

The pharmacist became annoyed and asked Norina, "Why don't you ask your party for the correct name in French? Surely, Madame, if someone can read the label, he should be able to give you the correct name." Norina kept her poise. The man had no idea that this was a lesson for Norina in swallowing her pride and anger, and maintaining her self-control.

There was some engine trouble which caused the ship to lose speed one day, and Baba sent Norina to Captain W. Gemmell, of Glasgow, to inquire when they would reach Bombay. Norina first talked with him about general topics and then casually asked, "By the way, when will we be reaching Bombay?" The captain told her, and she returned to tell Baba. He sent her back to ask the same question again. Upon her return, Baba sent her to the captain once more. Finally, the captain's frustration erupted, "Madam, what is wrong with you? You keep coming to me with the same question! Can't you remember what I have told you?"

When Norina informed Baba about it, he sent her once again with the same inquiry. This time it was too much for the captain and Norina retreated in embarrassed silence. What could she say? Even if the captain had swore at her, she knew it was nothing compared to the importance of obeying the Master's order.

Again Baba directed Norina, "For My work, I must reach Bombay as soon as possible. Go ask the captain if there is any way the ship can reach Bombay earlier than scheduled."

To avoid this confrontation, Norina said, "Baba, the poor man is already so exasperated with me”

But Baba replied, "You have no idea! I have very important work waiting for Me in Meherabad, so do your part to help Me in this. Request the captain to speed up the ship's engines so that we will arrive in Bombay ahead of time."

Reluctantly, Norina strode to the captain's quarters. Seeing her, the captain became quite irritated. Norina stood absolutely quiet, her heart beating in trepidation and, after a while she asked what she had been sent to ask. The captain was furious! To arrive earlier? Out of the question! Norina returned in turmoil. Observing Norina's exchanges with Baba, Chanji was most sympathetic, as during previous voyages, he had been made to pass through similar ordeals. Now it was Norina's turn.

On 12th January 1938, Baba took the Eastern women, Norina, Rano and Kitty to Happy Valley for a picnic.

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.

The question of establishing an ashram was being further discussed during this period. After accepting Chowdhary's offer of land in Mandla, a plan had been drawn up. Some people in Mandla knew about Baba, but to make the general public more aware of who He was, a public meeting was arranged on the 12th, in which Deshmukh, Norina and Nadine delivered speeches. Norina was most interested in setting up the new ashram and would gather information and seek support by contacting influential citizens. Baba, however, did not participate actively in this as He was too occupied with His mast work, which He indicated was more important above all other matters.

In the Links bungalow itself, there were 13 eastern and 7 western including Norina living with Baba:

After seeing the Byramangala land, Norina and Chanji became completely involved in setting up plans for the ashram. Norina had also been charged with looking after Lucky the monkey, who could at times be mischievous. On the evening of 19th August, Sir Mirza came to the Links and sat on the floor before Baba. Baba sent for Norina to come at once. At the time, Norina was in the midst of sweeping her room of a mess Lucky had created. When she received Baba's message, she ran to him with a broom in one hand and a bucket in the other, wearing an old, tattered dress. She felt awkward and embarrassed when she saw the Dewan and Baba said, "Meet Princess Norina Matchabelli." She felt hurt that Baba had not warned her to clean up.

Sir Ismail, on the contrary, was impressed at the sight of someone of Norina's stature carrying a broom! He remarked to Baba, "Your love is wonderful! An educated Western woman from a wealthy background doing this sort of work? Marvelous! She could engage dozens of servants, but it is your love that makes her sweep her own quarters. It is her luck to wield a broom in your court!" Tears welled up in Norina's eyes on hearing this, and wiped out the hurt she had felt.

On 2nd November 1939, the center's publicity committee held an open meeting in Mysore to inform the public about Baba's work, and to invite them to the foundation-laying ceremony in December. Norina also spoke at the gathering.

A second gathering was held on the evening of the 6th in the Bangalore Town Hall. Deshmukh, Ghani and Norina, along with Nadine Tolstoy, gave lectures.

A third meeting was held at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore on 9th November. The Nobel Prize winning Indian physicist Dr. C. V. Raman chaired the gathering. Deshmukh gave a stirring speech on the question of science versus spirituality. Norina and Nadine then spoke about their experiences of being with Meher Baba. Deshmukh had been so logical and convincing, and Norina and Nadine so sincere, that Raman was impressed with the depth of their feelings, in spite of himself.

While in Bangalore, Baba directed the women to stage plays for five days consecutively. Around Christmas and New Year's Eve, each group put on a short skirt. Norina prepared a pageant of Jesus Christ's crucifixion. Soltoon and Dowla were enlisted to sit on the stage and toss flowers towards the procession as it passed across the stage. While sitting on the stage, they were so fascinated in seeing Norina dressed as Jesus carrying the cross, they forgot their parts! When the procession had passed, Dowla remembered, and both ran behind it shouting in Persian, clutching the flowers. Baba remarked that He liked this part the best!

Norina, Elizabeth and Don went to see the Portuguese governor on 13th April, about the island in Karwar. After a lengthy discussion with him, it was learned that the place was not available for establishing a center for Baba.

In Goa, Baba took the women to a Hindu temple, and to a movie called Gopal Krishna. During their stay, Baba permitted the group to eat fish, and he also joined in, indicating it was for "special reasons."

Baba left Meherabad for Ranchi on Wednesday, 3 July 1940, by train with the men and women mandali, and three masts, Chatti Baba, Shariat Khan and Mohammed. Among women, Norina accompanied Baba with others.

On 20th July 1940, Baba and His group arrived in Calcutta and the next day they purchased a bird at the pet bazaar and a tailless monkey, whom Baba named Jampu, who had caught hold of Baba's sleeve as he passed. Jumpu smelled foul, but he was so affectionate that he soon endeared himself to all. Norina was instructed to look after the monkey. She had to conceal him from the conductor when they traveled by train back to Meherabad. Norina was instructed to look after the monkey. She had to conceal him from the conductor when they traveled by train back to Meherabad.

Two female peahens, who were called Idi and Jingi, had been added to the menagerie. Norina had strained a ligament in her right foot and was temporarily bedridden upstairs. As mentioned, Lucky, the monkey, had been put in her charge. He was under the mosquito net. Baba would come to see him, hold and caress him, and the monkey would in turn kiss Baba's neck.

Lucky was anything but lucky for the women. He proved to be a great mischief-maker. He would break loose from his cage under Norina's net, throw things everywhere, causing noise when Baba wanted silence, and in general proved an incredible nuisance. Elizabeth and Norina were supposed to be looking after Lucky, and everyone complained to them about him.

On 8th November 1940, Baba asked Norina, "Which would you rather be my hat or my sandals?"

Norina said, "Your sandals."

"Why?"

"Because the sandals are your companions over good roads and bad. They pass through dirt, rain and mud and are always with you."

Baba nodded in agreement, spelling out, "This is the reason why people in India worship the chappals [sandals] of the Master and not His hat."

Norina said something about duality, and Baba asked:

You mean duality exists? What is it? Nothing exists but God, so this duality is also the same God.

And now we come to this: It is the same God playing different parts at one and the same time. He plays the part of the Universal God who is beyond everything that is conscious. He plays the part of being falsely conscious of being this body. He plays the part of the Creator. He plays the part of being Himself consciously in creation.

Kabir has said:

One God is the Avatar;

one God is the Soul of every being;

One God creates all;

and one God is everything.

Baba then drew the following diagram:

Four carloads of people came to see Baba on Thursday, 21st November 1940. But He sent Norina to talk to them, and did not meet them, since he wished to remain in seclusion. At 10:00 A.M., he went with the women in Elizabeth's car to the Botanical Gardens. The next day, Baba stayed with the men the whole day, fasting on water and honey. On the 23rd, he took the women on a tour of Kandy and to the lake. They also went to see some elephants bathing and performing tricks.

Discussions arose about going to Calicut, and on the 28th November 1940, Norina complained to Baba about the luggage, saying, "How will we accommodate all this baggage in the bus?"

Baba remarked, "Do you want comfort when people are suffering so much in the war? Learn not to complain when anything is bad, and don't be so pleased if it is good."

Baba then asked, "If someone asked you who is Meher Baba, what would you say?"

Nadine answered, "God!"

Norina said, "The God-Man!"

Baba concurred, "Not God, but God-Man. God-Man is more than God! God is absolute. One who manifests the absolute is the God-Man.

"The person who is one with God is Man-God; it is wrong to say just God. Jivatma = man; mahatma = pilgrim on the Path; Paramatma = God. When Jivatma becomes one with Paramatma, it is called Shivatma. Paramatma cannot be called Shivatma."

Upcoming 47th birthday in 1941 Baba had already announced: This year, being the most important one in spiritual history, my birthday, falling on February 15th, will not be celebrated publicly or privately.

One of the men who had helped in the poor program, Agrawal, was a well-known lawyer in Jaipur. He asked Baba to permit public darshan, but Baba refused. Baba did, however, allow Norina to deliver two lectures about him in Jaipur— one to a group of lawyers on 18th January, and another for the general public on 13th February 1947.

Dr. Deshmukh then invited Norina to give a lecture at Nagpur University, where he taught philosophy. With Baba's consent, she went there on 18th February 1941. Her lecture was so effective, three students, Ram P. Pankhraj, Abdul Majid Khan and Nana (Narayan) Gopal Kher, came into Baba's close contact after hearing her speak.

Abdul Khan's mother had recently expired, and the shock was so severe he had wept for days. But after Norina's lecture, he was so impressed by her speech, he requested an interview, and went to Deshmukh's house the day after the lecture to meet her. Abdul poured out his heart, telling Norina how depressed he had been since his mother's death. Norina spoke to him tenderly about Baba. He was so comforted he took Norina to be "God's angel," and all his sorrows and grief went away.

As instructed, Norina left Ajmer on 27th May 1941 to do the Master's work of finding property for establishing a center in America.

Baba cabled Norina on 13th July 1944:

Am happy to find in all your letters about Myrtle Beach, everything that I personally and spiritually approve of and sanction. All My lovers should cooperate to make Myrtle Beach the Spiritual Abode for one and all.

Norina had been to Myrtle Beach again in September 1944, and on 2nd October 1944, the site was finalized. Elizabeth wrote to Baba charting developments:

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.

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.

Norina and Elizabeth landed in Bombay from America on 12th July 1947 on a TWA flight. Elizabeth had brought the dog Foundy back to India. She had also purchased and shipped two American DeSotos for Baba's use. Adi and Pendu drove the two women to Satara on 13th July 1947, arriving that afternoon. They were allowed to meet Baba for only two minutes. Baba kept them in a separate bungalow named Jal Villa. As prior to coming, Norina had been seriously ill with a heart condition; in fact, her doctor had advised her not to travel to India.

Norina felt sad about this, as she had been separated from Baba for the past six years. Both women had been close to Him in the ashrams, but now Baba was keeping them at a distance. In addition, Norina's "thought-transmissions" from Baba (given during her public lectures) had ended some time ago, leaving her depressed. Norina was uneasy, thinking: "Though we are near Baba, we are kept far away. Perhaps with all our worries and troubles brought with us from the West, Baba is keeping us in spiritual quarantine!"

"Norina did not know that by keeping her at a distance, Baba was drawing her nearer to Him. There is no Union without separation, and this time Baba let Norina experience the pangs of separation while remaining near Him.

The following was the Norina’s comments about Baba "In you — who can do what no man can, as you have proven to me — I believe. With renewed enthusiasm, I here re-sign. For you I am ready to live and die."

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."

On the morning of 21st April 1952, Baba and the group left Florence by car for Myrtle Beach. Norina was waiting for Baba at His house at the Center. Because of recent heart trouble, she had been unable to travel to New York. Norina and Elizabeth had put their heart and soul into preparing everything on the Center according to Baba's instructions. Baba acknowledged their deep devotion and service. Embracing Norina lovingly, He stated to the group, "I am quite pleased with everything you have done for Me — with this house, the splendid view of the lake and ocean, the surroundings. It is all as I wanted it to be.

"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.

Norina's love, service and renunciation cannot be described. She was wholly Baba's and merged in him. Age offered its profoundest salutations to her — and the Lord of the Age sent this telegram to Elizabeth and Kitty on the 17th: "Be happy my very dear Norina has come to live with me forever." Her body was cremated and, as was Baba's wish, the ashes were sent to India and interred on Meherabad Hill. Her tombstone read: "Princess Norina who is and will ever remain Baba's."

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 the door, they were met by the theater's owner and manager, Jane Barry Haynes, who welcomed them warmly. More about this new "bird" later.

At noon on 15 June 1957, Norina Matchabelli passed away at the age of 77, in Youpon Dunes, Myrtle Beach, after prolonged heart trouble.

Norina was the only person in America who received Baba’s intuition orders to convey His messages in the 1940’s and later it was stopped in mid 1940’s Baba said, “Norina was His mother twice and father once in previous life times.

Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchabelli was the co-founder of Meher spiritual centre at Myrtle Beach. Kitty Davy joined them later in 1952. When Norina passed away in 1957, Baba wanted James Haynes to take her place.

 

118-NADIA TOLSTOY (Nadine)

Nadia Tolstoy was the daughter-in-law of Count Leo Tolstoy, the Russian author of War and Peace. She was living with her husband Ilya outside of New York City.

She had studied music at the University of Petrograd and spoke several languages. Interested in mystical literature and esoteric philosophy, Nadia was a sincere seeker of divinity; but merely reading books had not satisfied her and she was in search of a living Master. She gave up her wealth and rich ancestry to live a simple life in Meher Baba’s ashram.

Nadia Tolstoy, the daughter-in-law of Count Leo Tolstoy (the Russian author of War and Peace). Nadia was living in the area with her husband Ilya. She was a Russian émigré who had studied music at the University of Petrograd and spoke several languages. Interested in mystical literature and esoteric philosophy, Nadia was a sincere seeker of Truth; but merely reading books had not satisfied her and she was in search of a living Master.

When her friends Malcolm and Jean wrote to her of Meher Baba's visit, she came to Harmon for His darshan on 19th November 1931, with a friend named Martha Hentschell.  No sooner had she set eyes on Baba than she exclaimed, "My search is over!"

The following is her account of that first meeting:

As I climbed the steps to his upper room, I remember chanting "Om." I entered the room. Stretched on the couch at the far side of the room was that mysterious, long-expected Being, the Divine Enigma – the True One!

Simple, light, thin, small, sparkling and youthful, so unpretentious, but strangely mysterious and clear. He had an almost boyish look, but gazing from high and afar, unfathomably deep, yet smiling with pure light in his shining eyes. Impenetrable, impersonal transparency — purity!

He reminded me of something, of somebody, I knew far off but could not catch the vision of. I felt as if he were challenging my inner memory; his whole posture and atmosphere demanded, "Can't you remember?

Don't you remember me from the past?"

I felt He was my life, my resurrection.

Baba spelled on the board, "You have been waiting for Me a long time and now I have come. I will help you." Nadine started to tell Baba about herself, but He interrupted, "I know all," and simply repeated, "I will help you."

Nadine had been practicing certain spiritual disciplines – kriya yoga under Swami Yogananda. Baba explained to her with a very serious look, "It is not for the West – not for you." He then asked her to sit silently with Him for a few minutes. The following is Nadine's recollection:

During the short meditation with Baba, I knew He was helping me, reading me. All the time, I felt His eyes seeing into the depths beyond that which we can see, reading the open book of me – working within me. I knew He was my Master.

His immediate recognition of my soul created a feeling of absolute confidence. Comforted, I already knew that he was the True One who knows and who can help. He was like the shining sun that we do not question. He simply and naturally entered into my life and into my hidden being.

As I departed, suddenly it became clear that He was Krishna. His happy, serene appearance and all His mannerisms conveyed something indefinable that I yet seemed to recognize. The truth of His loving understanding, the immediacy of direct response given with so much love and practical instructions have been a gift of God to me, setting my heart at peace.

I had an absolute confidence that now my path was found and the Supreme Guru was here.

Nadine, Elizabeth and Norina bowed at Meher Baba's feet without hesitation and dedicated their lives in his service. "A moment's sight of their Beloved opened their hearts to hear his Song," Age noted. "Few words were said, but Baba's shining countenance began conversing with their hearts. This 'talk' by sight is extraordinary and only those who 'see' — who recognize him — can comprehend it. Words have no power to express what was experienced; they fall away like hollow shells before such splendor!"

Elizabeth Patterson and Nadine Tolstoy saw Baba that day at the Stokeses. 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.

Nadine Tolstoy came for Baba's darshan one day. Finally, after waiting a long time, she had her interview. Seeing him again, her faith in Baba was confirmed and she surrendered to him forever. "My intuition was unquestioning and sure," she recorded. "I saw Christ before me as he was seated on the couch in the expression of all his figure and divinely lit-up face, in his eyes beaming love ... It was the fulfillment of a long-awaited meeting, the climax of my life."

Leaving the room, she loudly shouted, "JESUS CHRIST!" and the onlookers turned and gazed at her. Nadine later explained her experience, "Something within me recognized, in this dear shape of Meher Baba, the incarnation of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The unbelievable had become a revealed fact. I gave my will to His Will, my life to His cause of Truth and Love, knowing that to love the Truth means to live it."

Finding out about her financial and other hardships, Baba remarked to Nadine, "I will repay you for all your suffering. I will give you permanent bliss. You will see things as they are, as you can see things now, here, in this incarnation. You are a beautiful soul, and one day will receive what your father-in-law had longed for — oneness with God."

The next day, Nadine brought her husband Ilya, son of the Great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy and himself an author. Ilya asked Baba, "How can one love when there is so much evil in this world?"

Baba answered, "You have to take love into your heart. You are a fine man; soon you will understand."

Ilya, too, was deeply impressed upon seeing Baba and wept. Returning home, he confided to his friends, "It was the first time in my life that I met someone in the flesh who was like Jesus. I felt his divine influence and was assured of his help. It was the first time in my life that I met a man who has divine love!" Ilya was to die a year and a half later, but his death freed Nadine to journey to India to be with Baba, as her close discipleship with the Master developed.

Baba and the mandali arrived in Venice on 2nd December 1932. They were met there by Nadine Tolstoy and others. They then traveled by train toward London, arriving in Milan on the 4th, where Enid Corfe and another devotee met them. The group stayed overnight at the Hotel Diana, leaving at 5:00 P.M. the next evening. Baba arrived in Paris on the 6th and left for London at noon, arriving the same day.

Rano and Nonny Gayley's home was in New York. Baba had instructed them to stay there, but to come to the hotel each morning to say good morning to him before spending the day with their family. When they first went to Baba's room, they found Nadine Tolstoy posted on guard duty outside. They had never met her before and she prevented them from entering. Rano retorted, "We were with Baba for eight days on the ship. Who are you to stop us from seeing him? Go tell him we are here." She did so, and then allowed them to pass.

After three days in New York, on 14th December 1934, Baba took a train westward across America, headed for California accompanying Nadine mandali and other western lovers During the three-and-a-half-day journey to Los Angeles, the train halted briefly at a few places along the way, such as Chicago (where they changed trains to the Santa Fe California Limited) and Kansas City. Baba was headed for Hollywood and occupied Himself with reviewing the film scripts and discussing the variations in plots and characters.

On the evening of 7th January 1935, Baba and His mandali departed for Vancouver, Canada on a train called the Lark. Nadine and others who were involved in the film work had experienced the Master's intimate contact for three weeks in Hollywood. His departure stabbed their hearts with the pain that makes one long for union with the Beloved.

To Nadine Tolstoy, on 22 November 1935, Baba wrote:

Try to pull on till I tell you to do something else. Trials and hardships are stepping stones to spirituality. They lead you on to your ultimate aim and desire — to realize the Truth — and now that you have surrendered yourself to Me, they bring you closer to Me, in love and devotion.

Sufferings in selflessly serving others also bring a better understanding of things in life. So carry on, dearest, as you are, always keeping Me in mind and at heart, as you do. You will thereby be a pure channel and a vehicle for me to work through for the welfare of humanity, and thus participate in My great work.

In Nasik ashram, Baba visited His American lovers. After two days, the group went to stay at a bungalow in Bhandardara where the climate was cooler and more comfortable. From Nasik, Baba came to stay at Bhandardara for five days on 14th December 1936, accompanied by Bhagirath. Two days later, Nadine Tolstoy and Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna arrived from America on the Conte Verde.  Grand Duchess Marie was an acquaintance of Nadine.

In 1936, T. A. Raman, an editor of the newspaper the Evening News of India interviewed Nadine. He had also approached Baba with several questions the previous day. Raman commented that there was too much "so-called spirituality" in India.  He had conversation with Baba. The reporter had come to challenge Meher Baba, but left impressed and moved by the depth of feelings and genuine love of the Westerners toward Baba and the mandali. His article appeared in the Evening News on 7th January 1937.

On Friday, 8th January 1937, Baba began fasting on only two cups of milk and two cups of tea daily, and stated that He would continue to do so for 40 days, until His birthday on the 18th of February. Each of the Westerners was to participate in the fast turn by turn, one each day from the 8th. Nadine was one in group of 10 lady members to fast along with Baba.

From the middle of January, Baba outlined duties for each of the Westerners staying at Nasik. Everyone was to rise at 6:30 A.M., meditate for an hour and together take an hour lesson in learning Urdu from Ramjoo. No one was allowed to rest in the afternoons. individual duty of Nadine was to translate Baba's life and messages into Russian; helping Norina, Ruano and Mary as and when required.

Plans to celebrate Baba's birthday on a tremendous scale were underway, and Baba, despite being on a fast, was as active as ever, supervising many things during His visits to Meherabad, Nasik and Rahuri. Westerners were busy helping bundle individual packages of millet in five-yard pieces of cloth to be distributed to the 10,000 poor being rounded up. Ruano and Nadine's wrists got very sore while tying bundle after bundle of cloth and grain.

In April 1937, Nadine wrote of her experiences in a long letter to the Bengali poet, novelist and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, whom she had met in New York City many years before. An excerpt from her letter is as follows:

Russians always read and adored your poetic writings. India always seemed to us a country of highest spiritual manifestations and also of many alluring mysteries that fascinated our imagination and encouraged our hopes in seeking greater perfection; but it took years of search and ardent investigations before experience began to uncover to me the real meaning of true spirituality.

As so many Westerners, I went through certain yogi practice which I took wholeheartedly with the greatest inspiration of my life. But when I went as far as I could — I had to face insurmountable difficulties and had to stop, bewildered and helpless as there was no one who could assume the responsibilities of real guidance.

Baba directed Nadine to go to Venice, Italy for some work and she sailed from Bombay on 8th July 1937 on the Conte Rosso. Baba went to Bombay to see her off. 1847-1937

On 28th June 1938, four Westerners arrived in Bombay Nadine Tolstoy from Americas one among them.

Pointing to Nadine Tolstoy, Baba said:

Nadine is most fortunate — She wants to lean but has no one to lean on! Her nature does not agree with anyone's! She is most loving and wants to do everything for Me. She would speak for me even on the top of Mount Everest with only the snow to hear her!

Baba had been discussing plans with the women about starting a maternity home on Meherabad Hill when they shifted there. On 29 August 1938, Baba convened a meeting with the women on Meherabad Hill and assigned duties stating Nadine as chief matron others miscellaneous for duties of the maternity home.

On one occasion, Baba explained to her, "There are thousands of hospitals in the world. I could have thousands of nurses to work here. If I have given this work in the hospital to you, it is because I want you to learn the real spirit of serving — selflessness."

At one point, Nadine wrote:

To the hospital came mostly the poorest elements of the country, wrapped in their rags and worn-out saris — the real destitute. When the medicines and injections given by the professional doctors could not bring its due relief, Baba's appearance and loving embrace acted as the "Holy wine," reviving their hopes and giving them the lasting impetus of recovery. The joy of seeing Baba and the faith that He alone can really help acted within their hearts as a sure remedy.

In early morning of 8th December 1938, Baba left Meherabad Hill in the Blue Bus with Nadine and 19 ladies members.

In June of 1939, Baba sent Deshmukh, Norina and Nadine to Bombay, Poona, and Nasik to give lectures.  They spoke effectively before the public (on the topic "The Present Spiritual Crisis") and countered some of the adverse opinions and rumors that were still being spread about Baba by Colonel Irani and his cohorts. They also informed the public of the proposal to open a Universal Center.

On 2nd November 1939, the center's publicity committee held an open meeting in Mysore to inform the public about Baba's work, and to invite them to the foundation-laying ceremony in December 1939. Second gathering was held on the evening of the 6th in the Bangalore Town Hall. Nadine Tolstoy and few others gave lectures.

In 1940, besides an abundance of mangoes, Amboli had plenty of poisonous snakes, whose bites were said to mean certain death. Baba ordered all not to move about in the dark without a lamp. Once Nadine forgot the lanterns, and the next day, Baba took her to task, asking, "Why did you break My order? Do you think I am a fool?"

Nadine reasoned, "But had a snake bitten us, we would have died in your presence."

"How would that have benefited you?" Baba asked.

"We would have merged in your Ocean!"

"Instead of drowning, you would have been carried to the shore! Merging in the Ocean is not for those who disobey. They are tossed up on the beach like an old piece of dried driftwood, and there they die! What gain is there in such a death?

"With Me," Baba continued, "One has to live while dying, so that you can live eternally, after dying such a death. Do you follow?"

Nadine nodded that she did.

Baba left Meherabad for Ranchi on 3rd July 1940, by train in afternoon, with the men and women mandali, and three masts, Chatti Baba, Shariat Khan and Mohammed. Among women Nadine accompanied Baba with other eastern, western lovers and women servants.

Once during discourse, Baba said: This world is the seventh shadow of God. If God does not exist, the world would not exist. But the Voice of God is not sound. Even on the third plane, there is no sound. On the first plane is subtle sound — very, very faint. In the second plane, the sound is more "drowning," and you get drowned in it. But that Voice which is God, the shadow of that Voice, is overpowering in the third plane. Sufis call it "dumbfounding."

Nadine could not grasp it and asked, "Does the shadow of the Voice of God gradually get fainter in every plane?"

Baba replied:

You cannot say that God is infinite and gets more and more finite on every plane. Infinite cannot be finite. If you say God's Voice becomes weaker, it is not right. God's Voice cannot become weaker.

It is like the example of the bells. Let us say, the first bell is of gold, and that its first shadow is an iron bell; the second shadow is an earthen bell; the third shadow is a paper bell, and so forth. All have the same shape, but the gold bell and the paper bell are quite different. So, in the case of the paper bell you cannot say the gold bell has become weaker.

In 1940, Nadine observed silence according to Baba's instructions, and communicated through hand signs. There was some quarrel between her and Norina, Baba commented, "You must observe silence, not only of the tongue, but of desires, of hatred, of bitterness, of greed, et cetera, too!"

Once, Baba asked, "If someone asked you who is Meher Baba, what would you say?"

Nadine answered, "God!"

Norina said, "The God-Man!"

Baba concurred, "Not God, but God-Man. God-Man is more than God! God is absolute. One who manifests the absolute is the God-Man.

"The person who is one with God is Man-God; it is wrong to say just God. Jivatma = man; mahatma = pilgrim on the Path; Paramatma = God. When Jivatma becomes one with Paramatma, it is called Shivatma. Paramatma cannot be called Shivatma."

On 15th March 1941, Baba discussed with Norina, Nadine and Elizabeth disseminating His message in America. The next day, Baba told them. You must come back from the West, if alive, before I speak. Spirituality says life and body are zero. So if we spiritualists don't die, then the materialists must never die. Yet they are dying for their country. You all must die too — or you ought to have died long ago. So, you all must really die soon.  So, be ready to go and be prepared to stay!

As instructed, Norina, Elizabeth and Nadine left Ajmer on 27th May 1941 to do the Master's work of finding property for establishing a center in America.

Finding out about her financial and other hardships, Baba remarked to Nadine, "I will repay you for all your suffering. I will give you permanent bliss. You will see things as they are, as you can see things now, here, in this incarnation. You are a beautiful soul, and one day will receive what your father-in-law had longed for — oneness with God."

The next day, Nadine brought her husband Ilya, the son of the Great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy and himself an author. Ilya asked Baba, "How can one love when there is so much evil in this world?"

Baba answered, "You have to take love into your heart. You are a fine man; soon you will understand."

Ilya, too, was deeply impressed upon seeing Baba and wept. Returning home, he confided to his friends, "It was the first time in my life that I met someone in the flesh who was like Jesus. I felt His divine influence and was assured of His help. It was the first time in my life that I met a man who has divine love!" Ilya was to die a year and a half later, but his death freed Nadine to journey to India to be with Baba, as her close discipleship with the Master developed.

Years later in India, Baba changed Nadia’s name to Nadine to distinguish her from Naja.

On 14th 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." Adele Wolkin, who was already solely Baba's, had been nursing Nadine until the end.

Countess Nadine Tolstoy had been in Baba's contact since 1931. She had come to stay at Nasik, was with Baba during His Blue Bus tours — and joined Him forever! As Baba once remarked about her, "Nadine is one of My rocks on whom I can depend."

Now that the war had ended, instead of Himself journeying to the West, Baba had called certain of His Western lovers back to India. He was anxious that Pendu finish the work of Nadine Tolstoy's tomb before Norina and Elizabeth arrived. Even after her worldly departure, Nadine was still being remembered by her Beloved! On 13th June 1946, Baba sent a letter to Pendu to have these words carved on her headstone:

“Nadine Tolstoy, her happiness was Baba.”

117-MARY BACKETT

Mary Backett, was wife of Will Backett, of London, England. A very sweet, loving, and angelic soul of whom they refer as having “just stepping out of the Bible”-advanced in years yet so young in spirit. She was gentle and kind and ever willing to help. She spun her own thread “spinning-wheel” which she had brought to India with her.

She met Baba 1931, with her husband, and ever since she loved and adored Him, and eager to share in His work.  She had helped her husband in His work at Circle Editorial Committee office, and in establishing new contacts with aspirants and others in need of Sri Baba’s loving help.

A couple in their late-fifties, Will and Mary Backett, had first heard of Meher Baba in 1931 from Meredith, but had not met Baba on His first visit to England. Both had been initiated into Sufism by Inayat Khan during the 1920s and followed him until his death in 1927. The Backetts were now eager to meet Baba and had their first opportunity of doing so during this visit to London. Meredith introduced them to Baba at the Davys' home. Will had brought some grapes for Baba and, when Meredith told Baba that Will suffered from poor health, Baba plucked one of the grapes and handed it back for him to eat, assuring him that his health would improve.

Mary, too, was irresistibly drawn to the Master and once recollected:

As we entered the room, Baba sprang up with the agility, power and grace that characterize all His movements and quickly came forward. He then beckoned for me to sit beside Him and took my hand with such a gentle touch.

Immediately, I felt a great upliftment of consciousness such as I had never experienced before with anyone. I had been searching and reading deeply for many years, and knew that I had now found the Master and that the long search was over.

Baba gave me more, far more in the space of three minutes than I had gained in 30 years of earnest seeking, or through others, because I experienced the tangible, definite gift of grace and divine love that He bestowed, whereas others could only talk about it. I knew who Baba was.

Will and Mary became regular visitors at Russell Road, and also saw Baba at Margaret Craske's apartment, where Baba went for tea one evening. The Backetts became Baba's deeply devoted disciples from then onward, and Baba would lovingly refer to them as Wilmar and later as "his archangels."

On 11th December 1932, new persons came to see Baba in London, but He afforded little time to meet them, as He had come especially for the sake of His close lovers, spending most of His Western lovers including Will and Mary Backett.  These individuals were worthy of coming to stay at the ashram in India which He was planning in the near future.

Will and Mary Backett too dearly loved Baba and He also had great love for them. This couple wished Baba to visit their home, but they did not say anything to Him about it. On the 19th, Baba unexpectedly mentioned to them, "I will come to your house tomorrow and you should serve us all tea." This pleased them enormously, but they worried at the same time, for there were about 30 people in Baba's group and the Backett's tiny cottage had only three or four chairs and an equally small number of cups. They wondered how to arrange things on such short notice, and were fearful of not being able to accommodate everyone.

Without their saying a word to Him, Baba solved their problem by announcing to the group the next morning, "We all are going to tea at Will and Mary's today. Everyone should bring a cup and saucer, and should sit on the floor when we get there." At this act of understanding and compassion, Will and Mary's hearts were overcome with love.

Baba and the group drove the 20 miles to Old Oak Cottage, the Backett's residence in Halstead near Sevenoaks, Kent. As Baba walked through each room, viewing them carefully, He spelled on the board, "This is My house." After an enjoyable afternoon, Baba was driven back to London by Donald Slow, of the London group.

Later, Will wrote to Baba: "I cannot even now fully realize what You have given us, though I do get glimpses. I am just a child in Your loving arms, filled with joy and happiness, and the strength and divine beauty which enfold me and all and again I thank you beyond the power of words for having drawn us to yourself and enfolded us in your love."

In 1934, the Circle Editorial Committee had been formed to publish Baba's discourses in English. Will and Mary Backett were devoting a major part of their time to this endeavor. In the late afternoon of the 30th June 1934, they held a reception for Baba at the Committee's offices at 50 Charing Cross. Baba met 50 people during His two-hour visit.

To Mary Backett in England, on 29 November, Baba wrote:

The seclusion still continues, and with it the work. And although My dearest ones in far distant lands across the ocean feel the separation of their beloved Baba, the ever-unbreakable link, I know, keeps them all warm throughout.

For love never dies. It lives and enables all to live forever, in spite of all the vicissitudes that merely come and go. And those who love as deeply as Mary and My other dear ones, live in My heart and thoughts, wherever I am, whatever I do.

Failings or shortcomings should never discourage you, but should be taken as stepping stones toward the path of Ultimate Reality that I will help you reach.

Baba arrived in London on 4th November 1936. Baba granted separate interviews to many other western Baba lovers including Will and Mary Backett. In a similar manner, He met in private with His American lovers who had come to London. Baba decided not to allow them to come to India, directing them instead to return to America. To the rest of His Western lovers Baba explained in detail about their forthcoming stay in Meher Retreat in Nasik. He fixed the date of their traveling to India as a month from then, in December.

Will and Mary Backett arrived in Cannes on the night of 2nd September 1937. On 3rd September, Baba urged the Westerners, "Harmony is the basis of life, living in a group, working for and living with Me and helping in My work. By following your personal feelings of likes and dislikes, the atmosphere essential for my work is disturbed."

On 17th November 1939, Baba had sent this message to Will and Mary Backett in England: "Keep writing as you do now and don't worry. I am with you always and am ever watchful over my own flock."

During the Madras darshan program in year 1947, Baba had asked Don to write a description of the proceedings and send it to Will and Mary Backett in England. At the Mudaliar's, as Baba was sitting on a gaadi listening to His arti, He twirled a small skein of cotton thread in His hands, and then handed it to Don and told him to enclose it with his letter. Baba had Don send it to Mary, who used to spin and weave her own cloth, along with instructions to hold the thread in her hands, and thereafter to keep it in a safe place and not to use it.

Baba and the women arrived in London in the morning on 31st July 1952. They were met by Will and Mary Backett, Delia and Don (Donkin), who took them to the Rubens Hotel on Buckingham Palace Road, where they were to stay a week. Backetts and others had arranged their accommodations.

Flying from Paris, Baba and group had dinner on the plane and landed in London in evening on 17th July 1956. Will and Mary Backett among others were present to receive Him. In four cars, Baba and the mandali were driven to the Rubens Hotel, where Baba had stayed before in 1952. Although Baba's car left the airport first, it was the last to reach the hotel, where others were waiting to greet Him.

Upon arrival, Baba was noticeably tired. He had not slept for three days en route. He stood at the back of a crowded elevator to go up to His room. Will Backett wrote that He appeared "a rather tired, pathetic figure, amidst the other hotel guests; an eloquent tribute to that humility with which Perfection is garbed."

In the afternoon of 18th July 1956, more than 120 people came for darshan in the large hall of the hotel. Will, Mary and Charles sat next to Baba. Fred Marks stood by the door with a royal blue sash across his chest like a steward. Baba distributed prasad of sweets and His photographs. Will described the reception as follows:

The reception revealed Baba's same individual understanding of every guest. To one, a deeply significant glance; to another, a loving touch on the cheek, or perhaps the arm would be gently stroked. Some, whom Baba had greeted at their first meeting with a handshake, received a warm embrace. Some who expected advice received none, and yet others, who had been hoping for at least ten minutes in which to explain their longstanding difficulties, heard His familiar "I know all and I will help you." Most striking, too, were the groups of friends or the family in which the children and parents all came together to Baba for the first time, and His look, passing from son to father, conveyed his love in which both father and son and indeed all humanity find themselves afresh

On 5th September 1962, one dear and old follower of Baba's, Mary Backett, died in England. She was 86 years old. Baba would always refer to Mary and her husband Will as His "archangels," and He sent Will this telegram on the 7th: "My Archangel Mary has come to Me after fulfilling her appointed task. Be happy in My love."

Following the death of his wife, Mary, Will Backett in London had found it difficult to adjust to living without her and was in poor health. That year would have been his and Mary's 50th wedding anniversary. To console him, Baba sent him many telegrams and messages through Adi Jr., such as: "You are not alone. I am with you."

Because of his feeble condition, Will Backett had not been able to attend the East-West Gathering, and Baba sent him a telegram during it, reassuring him of His love. Through Mollie Eve, Baba also sent Will a garland he had worn during the darshan.

On 15th May 1963, at the age of 84, Will Backett also died peacefully in a London hospital. In reply to Mollie Eve's telegram from London, Baba sent this message: "Your cable regarding Will's passing away received. My dear Archangels Will and Mary Backett have come to Me for all time."

116-MARGARET CRASKE (Zulekha)

Nicknamed Zulekha (Persian name)

Margaret was born in Norfolk, England in 1892. Her father was owner of a small coastal fleet. She started studying dance at an early age; and was always very athletic. At 18 she took up ballet and progressed quickly. She studied with the famous Enrico Cecchetti in the private London studio she ran from 1918 to 1923, while she served as teacher for the Diaghilev Ballet Company.

At the end of her study with him, the Maestro gave her a certificate indicating she was qualified to carry on his teaching tradition, a rare honour.

In one year, she lost five people dear to her, her parents a teacher a friend, a sweetheart. In a depressed mood she searched for a place to get away and heard from a casual acquaintance about a retreat in East Challacombe, Devonshire, run by a man named Meredith Starr. When she went down there for a rest, she was much drawn to a photograph of Meredith's spiritual teacher, Shri Meher Baba. Meredith had recently been to His ashram in India and was expecting Him to visit England.

Baba came much sooner than expected and the small group of souls drawn to Starr's retreat had the privilege of being the first "aspirants" Baba contacted in the West. They included Mabel Ryan, Margaret's partner in her dance school, Delia de Leon, Kitty Davy, and Kim Tolhurst. Baba nicknamed a small group "Kimco" of which Margaret was a part. They were the "lighthearted" ones, as distinguished from those who were spiritually "serious", addicted to long hours of meditation, etc.

The following is Margaret Craske's recollection of the events leading up to her meeting with Baba:

I had read Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and other esoteric writers, but never found what I was looking for. Between 1929 and 1931, everything I valued disappeared. My father died, my mother died, the man I was in love with died. Diaghilev died, Anna Pavlova died. So I was in quite a bad state. I had spent my life looking for God and I now thought it was all nonsense. I was not going to look anymore — I had had enough! I resolved to go somewhere to recover enough to decide what to do next.

On my way to Hastings in South England, where I had gone to judge a dance competition, I met a woman named Dorothea who approached me at the Victoria railroad station and asked where I was going. I told her, and she said, "How wonderful! That's where I spent my honeymoon." The woman wanted to go, but had no money. On the spur of the moment, I paid her fare and we went together.

On the way, I mentioned I wanted to go somewhere for Easter away from friends. She told me about a "wonderful place" down in Devonshire run by Meredith Starr. She wrote to Meredith, and it was arranged. She didn't tell me about it being spiritual. (I wouldn't have gone if I had known.) On the day I went, she came again to see me off, and as I was leaving she said, "Oh, there's just one other thing.

There are four hours a day of meditation required there!"

I went to East Challacombe for Easter in 1931 and was met by Margaret Starr. One had to walk two miles on a dirt road through ditches and fields to get to the retreat, a stone house on a hill. When I walked into the sitting room, on the right I saw Baba's picture on the wall and asked, "Who's that?" Meredith told me about Baba. I stayed at Devonshire for two weeks and toward the end of my stay, Meredith said, "If you work hard for five years, meditating every day, you will be fit to meet Meher Baba when He comes."

But Baba came in five months! Having given up God, He decided to come to me.

Margaret met Baba at the home of Kitty Davy in London. Margaret vividly recalled her first moments with Baba.

The bell rang and I opened the front door. And there at the bottom of the steps stood the most appealing figure that one could ever hope to see. No sign of power. Just a vision of gentleness, grace and love that touched the heart immeasurably. He came up the steps, gave me a passing glance, and accompanied by Meredith, Chanji and others, went up the stairs to His room (in the "children's nursery" level.) I remained in the hall. A few minutes later, Meredith came down the stairs and grandly said, "Meher Baba wishes to see you."

Overcome by nervousness, I said, "Wouldn't He like to see somebody else first?"

Meredith looked at me sternly and said, "Meher Baba wishes to see you." I turned and climbed three flights of stairs to the most important moment of my life, the meeting with my Master.

He was seated quietly in a chair and gestured to Chanji to bring another chair and place it facing close to His. He then beckoned me to sit. For a moment or so, there was intense quiet, and then I had a strong feeling that it was important to look into His eyes. Courage came, and I did so, looking in deeply — deeply, as far as I could.

I have nothing to say about what I saw. In fact, I don't know. I only know that from that moment, whatever rough treatment He may have handed out afterward; there has never been a moment's doubt as to His being the embodiment of Love and Life.

Margaret later wrote to Chanji:

Once having met Baba, it seems that the whole of one's life had been leading up to that minute and that even up to that minute He had been guiding us to go through fogs, clouds and storms safely so that we could meet Him. That first meeting with Him caused time to stop. It was just as if nothing else had ever happened and nothing else would ever happen.

In 1933, Baba called a group of women to India to be with Him permanently. Margaret gave up her ballet school to go. But they were all sent back in a few weeks. She reopened the school and continued teaching, taking part however in Baba's many trips to the West

In 1939, the Master called her to India for the 3rd time. Again, she gave up her ballet school. Baba's order was to come immediately after war broke out: He had to have someone cross the sea after war began. By a series of persistent maneuvers she got on the last boat out of England and arrived in India at a time when Baba was involved in creating the first Universal Spiritual Center at Bangalore.

Some young Baba lover said when you go to India you just exchange Western maya for Eastern maya. Now Margaret became one of the close groups around Baba Easterners and Westerners mingling their sanskaras together. Margaret said that one doesn't know how "Western" one really is until you live in the East. For example, she described some of the intense East-West battles in the kitchen over food and diet. One Eastern lady insisted rice was pure protein! A Westerner, an avid vegetarian, found a piece of pork in the canned beans, but the others showed their sense of humor  they took it out in the garden and buried it with great ceremony! Finally, the work of preparing separate menus became too tedious; and all agreed on a common menu. The same happened with religious holidays. There were a tremendous number and Baba insisted each should celebrate the others' holidays. Again, it got to be too much and just a certain number were celebrated by everyone.

In the ashram and on tour Baba made use of her expertise in physical exercise. She taught Baba's Eastern women how to swim. At first they showed up in long-sleeved blouses and pantaloons which Margaret quickly vetoed. She also taught them some basic exercises. Several times at Baba's request, they practiced with sticks called lathi. Margaret felt these "martial" exercises may have had some inner link with outer military events in the world in the ‘40’s.

The seven years of life with Baba in India had many phases. She was one of the few Western women allowed to live intimately with the close Eastern disciples, Mehera, Mani, Dr. Goher, Naja, and Meheru. Ostensibly she joined them because of an illness that needed special care. How kindly Baba circumvented the jealousy of the other Western women! But there were also trying times; for example, when Baba ordered her to "disappear" whenever He came to visit the Eastern women - and without explanation. Surely a most humbling experience.

Another way Baba "peeled" her ego was to ask her to dance for Him, often in the strangest places and ludicrous circumstances! When the famous film project was being worked on, she was asked to devise a "Dance of the Spirits" with two "dancers" only, Delia and Rano, each representing 60 dancers, while Kitty played the piano! Another task Margaret had was to read aloud to Him, especially His favorite detective stories by Wolfe or Edgar Wallace. Zuleika was the Persian name given her by Baba.

Once after Baba and mandali had been served lunch, Baba called Kitty and Margret and gave each a grape explained them the significance of His Prasad. Baba looked tenderly at Margret and gestured “It is your love that brought Me here.

During His London stay, on 2nd October 1931, Baba traveled about London by taxi, they went first to the American Embassy for their visas to the United States, where Baba was required only to sign an "X" on the application form, as He preferred not to sign His name. (Baba's occupation was listed as "Spiritual Teacher," Chanji's as "Secretary" and Ali as "servant.") Baba returned to Margaret and Mabel's dance studio, where He watched a ballet class being taught and stayed for tea. On this occasion, Baba remarked to Margaret, "Your dancing is Mine."

Baba went Margaret Craske to the home for the needy and met with the old people. As Mrs. Davy had said, many of the elderly were blind, dumb or deaf. The Master's ways are his own. Baba "spoke" to these old people for a long time, dictating messages for them on His board. What he revealed was His love. What was said was less important than the love He gave; their conversations were not in the language of words. Much is communicated in silence, but it cannot be written. Baba took form only to speak in that language, through which He conveyed all that, was necessary — without ever uttering a word. His language was his own which touched the heart, and only those for whom it was meant understood what he said.

While in Paris, before Baba and group they left the hotel to go sightseeing, on 13th December 1931, Baba asked Margaret Craske, "Why haven't you put on lipstick today?" At first, she could not follow what He meant. After Baba gestured to her three times, she understood and shed the reserve Meredith had enforced. Baba never indicated anything specific about Meredith's behavior; but with this small hint, He cleared the air and the group then knew that He wanted them to conduct themselves in a natural manner.

Baba had instructed Margaret Craske and Delia DeLeon to come to India from England, if war broke out. Both went to the Home Office in London to get permission to leave the country, but were told that unless they had urgent business abroad, or special reasons for going, permission would not be granted. When Delia applied, she was refused permission. Margaret, however, was given a permit to leave because she had been acting as the guardian for Falu Irani (Rustom and Freiny's son), who was studying in England. She had told the officials the boy could not travel alone. The officials thought Falu was a maharaja's son by the way Margaret was carrying on. So the two of them were able to sail from England on the City of Marseilles (escorted by a convoy of ships) and landed in Colombo on the 30th of October 1939. They arrived in Bangalore on 1st November 1939, where Margaret began living with Baba at the Links. Margaret later speculated, "Perhaps, because of the war, Baba had to have a link to England of someone coming to India."Usually after dinner, Baba would again discourse to the group sitting outside in the garden, or go on a walk before retiring for bed at nine. Whenever Baba would spend the night in Nasik, in the morning, He would sit in an armchair and Delia and Margaret would sometimes brush His hair as He listened to the group recount their dreams.

In 1946, at Dehradun Baba, very abruptly, sent her back home, and she began her career with Ballet Theatre, His significant words "Your dancing is Mine" came true. Gradually a small group of dancers came to hear of Him through contact with her, and came to meet Him in 1952 in Myrtle Beach. She never "pushed" Baba on anyone, but let them seek her out. "I let them knock hard on my door," she says. Some well-known ballet stars have become close Baba lovers.

After the stint with Ballet Theatre, Margaret was a moving force behind the Metropolitan Opera Ballet for nearly 20 years. At 90 years of age she was teaching at the Manhattan School of Ballet. Her aim was of an aspiring dancer to "study with Margaret," and of aspiring Baba lovers to touch base with her and draw from her some of Baba's love, wit and wisdom.

In one of gathering Baba said, “I do not mean you to leave all your responsibilities, but that my will becomes yours. My will should be your pleasure. God is infinite honesty. To love God you should be honest. Who will obey me 100 percent? One must do it! If Baba asks beyond one's capacity and one fails, it is Baba's fault!" "In the spiritual path, there is no compromise," Baba said. "Raise your hands who cannot obey Me." Not one raised a hand. "Now raise your hands who will try to obey Me." Everyone except one of Margaret Craske's ballet dancers raised his hand.

Later Margaret Craske shifted to New York and taught ballet. She lived for number of years with Baba’s mandali and travelled with him both in India and abroad.

She wrote two beautiful books on Baba titled “Dance of Love” and “Still Dancing with Love”

 

GROUP 15
PET'S WIH MEHER BABA & THEIR NICK NAMES
SL NO NICK NAME PET PAGE NO
1 Baby Minah Bird
2 Baby Parrot Parrot
3 Banja Dog
4 Begam Horse
5 Bhola Ram Camel
6 Bhooti Puppy
7 Champa White donkey
8 Chum Pup
9 Chummy Pup
10 Cracker Dog
11 Daney Dog
12 Dhadak Deer
13 Dhoojara Mongoose
14 Foundy Dog
15 Fox Fox
16 Geisha Cat
17 Gingo and Bingo Dog
18 Goat Goat
19 Golden Oriole Bird
20 Gol-gol Puppy
21 Hen Bird
22 Idi Female peahen
23 Jingi Female peahen
24 Kippy Dog
25 Lily Deer
26 Lucky & Jhapoo Monkies
27 Mary Lamb
28 Mastan Puppy
29 Mittu Parrot
 

30

Moti Peacock
31 Nutty & Gutty Pigs
32 Pegu Dog
33 Pet Snake Snake
34 Peter Dog
35 Raja & Rani Bulls
36 Raja & Wazir Calfs
37 Ramu Puppy
38 Sadhu Dog
39 Saifu Dog
40 Saint Bullock
41 Salunkies Bird
42 Sheba Horse
43 Sufi White Horse
44 Sunny and Bunny Puppies male & female
45 Talking Minah Bird
46 Tippo Dog
47 Typhoon Puppy
48 Warrior Dog
49 White Rabbit Rabbit

 

DESCRIPTION OF PET'S  

1-BABY MYNAH

(Bird)

In Meherabad three baby-birds were found on the ground outside by the servant girl. Baba at lunch, when saw the birds, Baba said we must keep them. Baba used to ask for cream and chapattis and breaking into tiny pieces Baba would feed the birds. Two of three mynahs very often flew towards Baba and perched on His shoulders one on each side and Baba would say, “See how sweet they are, they must be feeling hungry. Bring food for them and when food was brought, Baba happily fed them.

2-BABY PARROT

It was the end of 1933; Baba came from Nasik to Meherabad. One day Baba came to room when lunch was ready, Baba taking out from His pocket he slipped something in the Palm of Mehera to her surprise, she found a tiny pink scrawny pink flesh (baby parrot). Similarly Baba turned to Mani from His pocket put another featherless baby parrot in Mani’s hands. Likewise He gave to Khorshed. Baba gestured to keep it and asked them to feed chick-pea, floor and ghee.

3-BANJA

(Small Dachshund)

In 1947, Banja, a small Dachshund was given to Baba by Sarosh Irani. Baba gave it to Elizabeth to take care for.

4-BEGAM

(Horse)

In October 1949, Baba set out for new life and in 1950 came to Satara from Dehradun. One day while ladies group walked with Baba Mehera happened to notice 3 horses grazing by road side. These horses were small like ponies. Mehera drew the attention of Baba toward one baby horse. On her interest shown by Mehera, Baba told Goher to ask the trader if they would sell the foal the trader agreed. Baba told Goher to bring the horse to house. Baba told Mehera to give her half seer (about half litre) milk in the morning and evening. Baba named this tiny filly “Begam” which means “lady” in Urdu. She was lovable pet.

She followed the women so much; she might as well have been called "Mary's Little Lamb." She had the run of the house and would even enter their rooms, and would not leave them alone. It was marvelous how she behaved more like a pet dog than a horse. Baba would pat her and feed her carrots. Begum would frequently go to Baba, and unless she was petted, she would not leave. Baba enjoyed her antics and purposely delayed stroking her. Begum quietly stood by, and only after Baba's attention was given, would the little horse happily trot off.

On 1st October 1950, Baba, the women, men and the pet horse, Begum, moved to Mahabaleshwar, where they stayed at the Agha Khan's bungalow. In Mahabaleshwar, Baba was in strict seclusion, He encouraged companions to take walk every morning with Begum too.

 On May 25th 1951, Baba and the women left in Meherjee's car, driven by Adi Sr. The little horse Begum, who had become the women's pet, was given away to someone in Mahabaleshwar who promised to take good care of her.

5-BHOLA RAM

(Camel)

Dr. Nath and Dr. Khare had sent a camel, christened Bhola Ram (Lord of the Innocent), the camel cart, two cows with a calf, two she-donkeys and a white horse to Sarnath.

 

6-BHOOTI

(Puppy)

Baba had of a mast living in the foothills of Himalaya. Baba and five mandali men set out for contact this mast. While walking through one valley Baba noted a darling black mountain puppy. Baba stopped for a minute to pet her and then turn towards steep hill to climb. The puppy continued to follow Baba. She would playfully frisk and jump at the feet of Baba. Suddenly they (men with Baba) heard a whipping sound behind them. They saw that puppy had slipped of the edge and was dangling from a rock below. Baba rushed to the puppy and lifted her to safety. Baba and mandali men brought the puppy to Ahmednagar.

Baba named the Puppy as Gol-Gol (round round) because he was just like that. Kaka called her Gul (flower) and lady girls called her Bhooti.

In 1949, Baba announced His plan for the New Life. Only Kaka and Bhooti stayed in Meherabad. When Bhooti had puppies ladies with Baba were in Poona. Baba sent words to Kaka that he wanted to see the puppy she looked like her mother. This puppy was Mastan, Baba’s most beloved pet.  Money had a dog “Peter”. Eventually Peter and Mastan became good friends.

On Sunday, September 20th, 1959, Bhooty (also called Gulu), the female Tibetan mastiff, died. Baba had brought the dog from Uttar Kashi in 1948 when she was a puppy, and Kaka Baria kept her in Meherazad for several years. She was buried at Meherazad, and Baba remarked that she would take a human form in her next birth.

The Prayer of Repentance was recited and Baba himself put the first handful of earth over her remains. Several times Baba repeated: "Blessed is Bhooty, for very few get such an opportunity." Now only two dogs remained in Meherazad, Mastan (Bhooty's pup) and Peter.

 

7-CHAMPA

(White Donkey)

June 1936, In Meherabad, someone gave Baba a beautiful non-white donkey. She was named Champa. She was named “Champa”. Baba caressed her and fed her with much care. Baba did ride Champa. It reminded Biblical times when Jesus also rode donkey.

On July 8th, 1936, Baba sat on white donkey for the first time. Dr. Ghani was specially called from Lonavla just to hold the reins. It was a matter of amusement for all the mandali and provided them an occasion of merriment.

Baba’s love for dear animals was always touching to witness for as it came from the very source of Love. All the animals whose destiny brought them into His contact were immensely fortunate to receive His love.

8-CHUM

(Pup)

Piloo Mama Satha at Akbar Press had given Baba a puppy named Chum. Chum was kept at Meherabad and grew into a sturdy, ferocious watchdog. During this seclusion, Baba had the dog brought to be near him and Chum would sit outside the cabin. However, he was so protective that he would not allow anyone near the cabin without barking and growling.

During this period, a cow periodically visited Baba in his place of seclusion. Baba would take a break from his work, stepping outside the cabin to feed chapattis to the cow. Chum was jealous and would chase the cow around the cabin, barking furiously. In spite of this, the cow would not leave until it received something from Baba's hand. Baba was amused by the "circular" interplay of these two, and Age hoped it lightened the burden of his work.

Before returning to the mast ashram, Baba went with the women to see Lucky and the other pets. Lucky broke loose and misbehaved, smearing toothpaste, so Baba beat him with a stick. They finally caught the miscreant monkey in the bathroom. Baba was not at all happy. He remarked, "If Lucky would die he would be free. My two pets — Chum and Lucky — both have to be kept tied up all day."

Even Chum will not be so lucky. He will die before July 1941 and will be buried next to Warrior.  But he will come back as a yogi. Kippy will also be a yogi in her next birth. I will not go deeply into details, or you would have understood more clearly. But I have given you some idea of my working.

In October 1938, the Hindu festival of Dassera was celebrated on Meherabad Hill. The women dressed the dogs Chum and Kippy in clothes and flowers. The rabbit on the hill was also dressed in an outfit to amuse Baba, and Helen Dahm dressed herself up like a rabbit. The women paraded in their compound before Baba, and Valu beat on an empty oil tin as if it were a drum. All had light-hearted fun as Baba happily watched the amusing skits.

9-CHUMMY

(Pup)

In January 1935, While in Los Angeles, Rano presented Baba with a brown felt hat to wear on his trip back. Before he departed, Baba expressed his wish to acquire a puppy he could take back to India. Soon after, Rano found a pedigreed tan cocker spaniel in a kennel and took Baba to see it. Baba liked the puppy and purchased it for $35. Baba named it Chummy, since there was a watchdog already named Chum at Meherabad.

In San Francisco, Baba and the mandali took Chummy for a walk in Golden Gate Park before boarding the Cascade train. They continued their journey to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington and arrived in Vancouver on January 10th. They checked into the Yale Hotel where Baba picked up his mail and telegrams.

Baba left for Hawaii and the Orient at 10 A.M. on January 12th aboard the steamer Empress of Canada accompanied by Chanji, Kaka, Jal, Adi Sr. and Chummy. The puppy had to be kept in the animal quarters, but Baba visited him every morning and afternoon. On the ship, Baba received many telegrams which revealed his lovers' pain of separation.

In February 1935, After arriving in India, Baba kept the puppy Chummy with him for some days and then gave the dog to Adi Sr. to look after. Settled in at Meherabad, Baba continued the fast he had started during the voyage from Singapore – drinking only milk and water. It was only after a month that Baba began eating solid food again.

10-CRACKER

(Dog)

In U. P., the group came to stay in a bungalow on the outskirt of in Dehradun on Saharanpur road. Group stayed in Dehradun for many months and once Baba took all to Kumbh Mela and then to Shimla.

Seeing the interest of ladies, Baba suggested to acquire one dog they liked. Ladies decided to look for Scottish terrier which was not available in short time so they left the idea.

Sometime after return to Dehradun, they were surprised when Baba on His return trip via Delhi (from mast tour) brought Scottish terrier pup with Him. The puppy was cutest and all fell in love with him. He was named “Cracker” by his previous owner. He became Mani’s dog. In December, Baba moved to Mahabaleshwar from Dehradun. Cracker loved going with Baba for walk. From Mahabaleshwar, Baba moved to Satara.

 

 11-DANEY

(Pup)

In 1947, Daney, a black Great Dane pup living in Pimpalgaon. Baba gave this puppy to Elizabeth to take care for.

 

 12-DHOOJARA

(Mongoose)

In late September, a mongoose and a deer were brought to Meherabad and Baba assigned Sailor the duty of looking after them. It was not an easy job as the mongoose would run away and Sailor had to hunt for hours to find it. Baba named the mongoose Dhoojara (Shivering) because of the trouble and the emotional stress the animals caused Sailor.

 

13-DHARAK

(Deer)

Prior to arrival of westerners at Meherabad, Baba had been given a baby deer. It was six month old and baba kept it in Meherabad. Baba humorously named the deer Dhadak (Palpitation). Once Baba was seated with girls around. The deer was tied by a short string to baba’s gaddi. Naka was standing nearby and she put her hand to pet the deer. But as soon as she did, the deer butted her. Again she tried her to pet deer again it butted her. Finally Baba told Naja to leave the deer alone.

This deer was later given away when Baba moved the Meherabad ashram to Bangalore and there was another deer was acquired named Lily.

 

14-FOUNDY

(Dog)

Elizabeth had gone to Quetta station and found that a very handsome dog black in colour, with thick fur kept jumping on each train as it stopped at the station. Elizabeth took this orphaned dog to Baba. Baba felt Elizabeth’s deep concern for animals allowed her to keep. Baba named the dog “Foundy” as he was found.

During war year, Baba sent Nadine and Elizabeth both to West. Elizabeth took with her the Foundy along with Foundy Boston terrier “Kippy” to USA. When Baba called Elizabeth once again to India, Foundy was brought again in India by air plane and was picked up at airport by a Baba lover.     

On Jan.30th 1948, Elizabeth Patterson had cried the day before, and when Baba inquired the reason she said, "Foundy is dying."

Baba answered, "That dog will live longer than Mahatma Gandhi." Gandhi was shot the next day and Foundy lived two days more. Foundy's body was buried on Meherabad Hill.

15-FOX

At Meherabad, Baba one day brought a baby fox. The fox was shy and hid behind the trunk in the room. It would not come out and no matter how hard the ladies tried to befriend it. They had to run after every time we feed it. It was such a job. They had to chase the baby fox around their trunks just to feed it. Finally they said to Baba this was too much for them. Baba with sparkle in eyes gestured, “All right, I will give the fox back.”

 

 

 

16-GEISHA

(Cat)

After a mast tour, Baba returned to Pimpalgaon on Wednesday, 31 May 1944. During this period, a Siamese cat named Gesu (Geisha) had been given to Baba and stayed in Pimpalgaon with the women as a pet. Baba had directed Margaret to look after the cat. At the beginning of June 1944, it was pouring down rain one night when Baba suddenly ordered Margaret to throw the cat outside. Margaret hesitated and said; "But Baba, it's raining so hard ..." Baba gave in and left her room.

17-GINGO & BINGO

(Dog)

In Bangalore Baba gave two pairs of dog to Caraske. One pair was named “Gingo” and “Bingo”.

18-GOAT

When Baba returned to India after His trip to Canada, He was very ill. The cold climate had affected His health adversely. A goat had been given to Baba as it was suggested that Baba drink goat’s milk as it is beneficial for cold and cough.

February 1935,i n Nasik, a goat was given to Baba and it was recommended that he drink the goat's milk to improve his health. Goat's milk is supposedly beneficial for healing colds and coughs; unlike cows, goats eat many different herbs and grasses which give their milk more healthful qualities.

The goat given to Baba had a kid, and they especially loved to follow him around and play with him. Baba, in turn, enjoyed feeding them treats, pieces of chapattis or toast. Playfully, Baba would raise his hand high out of the mother goat's reach, and the goat would stand on her hind legs, putting her front legs on Baba's chest, so she could gain the treats. (Lord Meher Volume 6, Page 1954)

 

19-GOLDEN ORIOLE

(Bird)

When Ladies group of Baba were staying in Pop’s (Goher and Clearts) in Ahmednagar, one night there was terrific wind storm and next morning, a bird nest therein had turned on ground and a baby orile had fallen from the nest. The ladies group decided to care of it. Ladies all the time, tried to feed the bird. When Baba came, as soon as bird saw Baba, it started to cry “Chee Chee” as if it was staring. Baba gestured to the poor little oriole was so hungry and you all are sitting there. As the days passed by bird grew up. One day Baba told us to open close the all door and window of room and let the bird fly. Orile flew beautifully

Two days later, Baba gestured to bring the bird in the garden with the cage. Baba opened the door of the cage and orile flew out. Baba looked pleased to see healthy and once again free.

 

20-GOL-GOL

(Puppy)

At Uttar Kashi Baba bought a fluffy hill Puppy and named her Gol-gol: the equivalent in English of this name would be Roly-Poly. Baba Himself fed and cared for this pup all the way back to Ahmednagar.

21-HEN

The entire Meherabad zoo of birds and animals had been brought to Bangalore and set up in the Links compound. The women were now mostly occupied in looking after the cleaning, feeding and watering of its inmates. 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 brought the dead animal to Baba weeping and said,

"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 could 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 hen's burial was performed before Baba with a proper ceremony.

22-IDI 

 

(Female Peahen)

 

In 1940, one female peahen named Idi was added to the menagerie.

 

23-JINGII 

 

(Female Peahen)

 

In 1940, another female peahen named Jingi was added to the menagerie.

 

 

24-KIPPY

(Dog)

On December 8th, 1936, Norina Matchabelli, Elizabeth Patterson, Jean and Malcolm Schloss, along with Rano and Nonny Gayley arrived in Bombay on the steamer Elysia. They also brought two dogs with them – Elizabeth's black Boston terrier named Kippy,

Elizabeth Patterson: Help Norina with the ashram accounts; drive members of the group to the bazaar or elsewhere (such as Rahuri or Meherabad) whenever needed; look after the dogs, Canute and Kippy.

Baba and the group boarded the Strathnaver on Saturday, July 31st, 1937, and sailed for Marseilles. The two dogs Kippy and Canute also went with them.

After final instructions for Nonny and Elizabeth to come to India after four months, and directing Irene Billo to return to Switzerland with the dogs, Kippy and Canute,

Elizabeth's dog Kippy was usually around Baba when he was in Nasik. The dog walked up to him and she licked his feet. Baba took her in his arms for a moment.

On 15th February 1938, Elizabeth Patterson arrived from America in Bombay from the Conte Verde. Her dog Kippy, who had stayed with Irene Billo in Switzerland while Elizabeth was in America, accompanied her to India

Both were brought to Meherabad in time for the birthday celebrations, and they began living on the Hill with the other women mandali. The Hindu festival of Dassera was celebrated on Meherabad Hill. The women dressed the dogs Chum and Kippy in clothes and flowers. All had light-hearted fun as Baba happily watched the amusing skits.

Elizabeth Patterson's Boston terrier, Kippy, had been travelling with the menagerie. Kippy's birthday was observed in Jabalpur

on May 5th, and the little dog was decked out in a stunning outfit for the occasion. "Happy Birthday" was sung to her by all, and afterward Baba took the women for a boat ride on the Narmada River by moonlight to commemorate the day.

As instructed, Norina, Elizabeth and Nadine left Ajmer on May 27th, 1941, to do the Master's work of finding property in America for establishing a center. Elizabeth took the dogs Kippy and Foundy with her.

On December 23 th, the day Baba returned from His mast trip, the ashes of Elizabeth Patterson's dog Kippy were received from America. They were buried near Warrior's tomb and a

headstone was raised over the grave. On March 13 th1942, In Meherabad Baba instructed, Pendu to raise a headstone over

The dog Kippy's grave and also to have a gravestone made for Countess Nadine Tolstoy.

 

25-LILY

(Deer)

 Bangalore ashram pets included a deer named “Lily’.

 

26-LUCKY & JHAPOO

(Monkies)

The story of how Lucky the monkey came to the ashram is interesting. Baba had sent word to a few scattered disciples that he wished to keep a pet monkey that "would respond to him." A few primates were sent, including an exceptional chimpanzee,

but none was drawn to Baba. One day Savak Damania sent a crate from Bombay to lower Meherabad. It contained a monkey no bigger than a baby squirrel. Baba was called and, as was the usual procedure, he instructed the men to sit around the cage in a circle, with Baba among them, to see what happened when the cage was opened. Should the monkey jump into Baba's lap first, it would be the chosen one.

According to Caraske, it was year 1939, subject of monkey came in conversation and Norina told Baba that monkeys are adorable and she expressed her desire to have one. But later gave her a cute little baby monkey named “Lucky”. Norina holding monkey happily told Baba, “What a dear thing he is.” Baba told to bring food and Baba began feeding banana to new pet. Baba looked so pleased as He fed and played with little

monkeys. Baba handed over the monkey to Norina telling her that now she was the in charge.

After few days, Lucky got used to all and became bold and mischievous. Once she took Norina’s things from her table and began throwing them out of window. Norina shouted, “Naughty monkey.” Soon Baba left for Bangalore and Lucky was given away to a Baba lover.

In September 1940, before returning to the mast ashram, Baba went with the women to see Lucky and the other pets. Lucky broke loose and misbehaved, smearing toothpaste, so Baba beat him with a stick. They finally caught the miscreant monkey in the bathroom. Baba was not at all happy. He remarked, "If Lucky would die he would be free. My two pets — Chum and Lucky — both have to be kept tied up all day."

When in Calcutta, one day Baba visited   and others visited a pet shop. Baba stopped at one cage in the shop that had a cute little golden, blonde furred monkey –very fair skinned, no tail, a very sweet looking. Monkey seemed to be happy as Baba looked at him. As soon as Baba walked away the monkey started to jump and cry holding the bar of his cage and screeching wildly. Baba walked over to monkey cage again and seeing Baba the tiny monkey quieted down immediately. Baba asked the cost and brought him. Baba named this monkey “Jampu” because he was always jumping and restless but he was really unusual. He was extremely gentle and affectionate. He wanted constant attention.

 

27-MARY

(Lamb)

In Bangalore zoo included a gentle white lamb. He was names as “Mary”

 

28-MASTAN

(Puppy)

While Baba and His group were in Poona, Mastan was born to Sunny and Bunny in Meherabad. When Baba heard that both das given birth to 4 puppies, He sent for Kaka to bring puppies to Poona. Kaka moved with new baby. Baba took the pup in His hands and cuddling and caressing him. Baba told the ladies group to feed Him and let him rest. He was given milk and bread. Just after lunch, it was discovered that he had mysteriously disappeared. Many thought of wrong under the Sofa. When the frill covering was lifted there was puppies was fast asleep.

Baba asked from group that to suggest the name of puppy. Several names were suggested, but Baba did not agree to anyone. Baba suggested first “Pluto” but Sister Mani said it to awkward. Thereafter, Baba said for no more changes and finally suggested as “Mastan”

Mastan was a tiny puppy, Baba asked Mehera to look after Mastan. Mastan was Mehera’s pet.

Baba would feed the dog Mastan pieces of mutton. In 1965, after Peter's death, companion Mastan greatly felt his separation, as both used to play together.

 

29-MITTU

(Parrots)

When Pilamai came to see Baba in Dehradun, she brought with her from Karachi a lovely pair of parrots. Female Parrot was named “Mittu”. She never learnt to talk. Male birds not live long.

Mittu name meant “Mischief one”. Once Baba went inside the bathroom, Baba took off Sadra and tossed it on small table nearby. Baba’s Sadra began to move itself.  It was Mittu when Baba lifted it. Baba laughed silently. Baba said, “She is very naughty, she is real mawali.” Mattu liked fruits, seeds, nuts and also fond of dal rice and chutney

Mittu was in Lahore also. Baba party were busy were busy in packing their belonging. Shortly after hearing loud sound they found that Mittu was dragged away by a mongoose. Party kept on shouting and finally dropped Mittu under thick hedge. Mittu was treated and in a few days he was fine. Baba’s grace saved her.

Baba was really fond of Mittu. He would often feed her gestured to His mandali men saying I like her very much.

Mittu the parrot was staying with Baba and the women in Amrit Kuti. Baba loved the bird dearly, and it, too, was very fond of him. The parrot would sit on Baba's shoulder and finger, and Baba would kiss it. There were still many pets left behind on Meherabad Hill in the "zoo."

 

30-MOTI

(Peacock)

Mehera was given the job of feeding and caring of pet in Meherabad, a mini zoo consisting of puppy’s monkeys, dog and deer etc.

Moti was the beauty and pride of small zoo the peacock. Every morning before the sun came up over the horizon; Moti would come from his perch on the top of high swing and walk across the compound for breakfast. But not a second before the sun disappeared did he move. Moti showed his beauty with perfect half circle feathers whenever there was full brilliant rainbow appeared in the sky.

 

31-NUTTY & GUTTY

(Pigs)

To please Elizabeth Baba brought two tiny pink piglets to Meherabad. Baba often came and watched the pigs. Baba named them “Nutty’ and “Gutty”. Baba looked after them lovingly. These two pigs Nutty and Gutty produced babies which were like miniature replica of their parents.

32-PEGU

(Dog)

A family who had moved to Poona from a place nearby Ahmednagar had tusspets a dog and a Siamese cat named Pegu. They were good friends and played together.

During Baba's stay in Poona, a male Siamese cat, named Pegu, came to see him from the bungalow opposite Guruprasad. The cat would not leave Baba alone and would wait for him outside his bedroom. As soon as Baba would come there and have the door opened, the cat would precede him inside, lie down and rub his head on Baba's feet. The cat's owner was Dolly M. Diddi. She loved the cat very much and was anxious about its disappearance. After a few days, she came to Guruprasad in search of Pegu and the cat was returned to her. But as she was taking Pegu home, the cat jumped out of her arms and came running back to Guruprasad and went into Baba's room. Mrs. Diddi did her best to induce Pegu to come away with her, but the cat was drawn to Baba's magnetism and would not leave.

The end result was that Pegu began staying at Guruprasad and her owner became devoted to Baba. "How fortunate Pegu is," Mrs. Diddi said, "and how fortunate I am to have found Baba through my cat." Baba explained, "Any animal coming into contact with the Avatar's body gets a human body in its next birth."

Mehera used to see that cat in the dressing room but as soon as she saw Mehera he ran away. When Mehera saw this cat in her dressing room again, she brought her to Baba. It was love at first sight for Pegu. She just rushed to Baba and rubbed his head at Baba’s feet. Baba told Mehera that cat was very fortunate to have His darshan.

Every morning Pegu would seat himself in front of Baba’s bed room door and would slip into Baba’s bed room through the slit and was first to enter as to greet Baba before anyone entered in Baba’s room. Pegu looked so sweet as he would nestle his head against Baba’s feet. Truly Pegu’s love for Baba was unique. Baba loved Pegu very much and would remember him before He would eat Himself.

At the end of summer, all came to Meherabad leaving Pegu behind. Baba Warned Khorshed several times to take good care of Pegu in Poona.

On July 1st, 1966, while in Poona, S. D. Mohite, the caretaker of Guruprasad, came with the news that the Siamese cat, Pegu, had died after having been hit by a car while crossing the road in front of Guruprasad. Pegu would be missed, for the cat entertained and amused Baba.

 

33-PET SNAKE

A pet snake was given to Baba by someone who had heard that Baba was keeping pets. The fangs had been removed so it was not poisonous. Baba brought the snake to Caraske and said, “So don’t be afraid, it won’t bite” But what do you think.”When Caraske held the snake it felt cold and stiff like a stick. She did not like at all. Caraske and others who were staying on the hill at Meherabad they put the snake on the floor in the room and it wiggled away under their trunks and they wanted it and could not find it.

After a day, girl told Baba that they did not really like the snake, so Baba took it down to hill and never brought it up again.

34-PETER

(Dog)

This was in 1953, Baba had received from Caraske in states and his long graceful stride had returned. Mr. Coope’s sister had puppies. Caraske liked the look of Black puppy best, His name was Peter. Caraske give this dog “Peter” to Mani. Peter was very shy hid under the table. Baba told that give him milk and bread. Two new animals lived with Baba and the women mandali. Peter was also taken to Mahabaleshwar from Dehradun.

Mani was looking after her pet cocker spaniel, Peter. The dog loved to play with the tame squirrels near their residence in Satara.

In 1965, at Meherazad, Mani's pet cocker spaniel, Peter, was put to sleep. The dog had cancer, and Dr. Alu Khambhata administered the injection. Peter breathed his last in Baba's presence in His bedroom. A few moments before, Baba lovingly caressed the dog and Peter wagged his tail feebly. Peter had been with Baba and the women mandali for twelve years, and was very dear to them. His body lay "in state" in Baba's room until a pit was dug between the row of seven mango trees (the

seeds of which had been given to Baba by a mast from Madras years before). Baba had his handkerchief placed on Peter's body and often repeated that it should be buried with Peter and the dog's body should be laid to rest in the position he had died.

He remarked, "Peter is immeasurably blessed, for this is the first instance during My Avatarhood that any animal has passed away in My physical presence. Now, after a year, he will take birth in a male human form, and will come to Me as a baby boy to be held in My arms and cuddled by Me."

Peter was buried and in his memory a fragrant Champa tree was planted over his grave. Baba directed that these words be inscribed on his tombstone: "Baba's Pet, Peter." Baba observed, "Peter deserves the good fortune that he has received." Peter's companion Mastan greatly felt his separation, as both used to play together. Now only Mastan was left in Meherazad. Baba, too, missed the little fellow and remarked, "Even I, who am God and know how truly blessed Peter is, miss Peter's presence as 'Peter.' "

 

35-RAJA & RANI

(Bulls)

When and the ladies group were in Bangalore Sarosh had given two completely black bulls terriers and they were named as “Raja” and “Rani”. Few ladies were called from Meherabad for a month. Gulu, Jaloo and Mehera came in one group. On arrival they asked first question to Caraske. “Where are the Raja and Rani? We have heard that Raja and Rani are staying with you. They amusingly surprised to know that Raja and Rani were bull terrier pups.

 

36-RAJA & WAZIR

(Baby English Bulls)

In June 1943, Baba asked Sarosh to bring two English calves to Meherabad within twenty-four hours. Sarosh sped off to the military dairy in Poona. The next day, with much difficulty, he managed to bring a white calf and a black one in his car. He presented the calves to Baba, who gave them to Mehera to look after. She fed them milk from a bottle, and Baba, too, would sometimes feed them. Baba named the black calf Rajah (King) and the white calf Pradhan (Prime Minister). Mehera, with Mani's help, was also looking after the garden.

Of two English Bulls at Meherabad, one was white in colour and other was predominantly black in colour with white patches. When they grew up bigger and could eat grass, they were sent to lower Meherabad for men mandali to take care of. The bulls grew up into fine, sturdy animals and used for ploughing the fields of Meherabad. In1948-49, when Baba had brought the two bullocks from Meherabad to plough the land in Meherazad.

Black bullock, Raja was the part of entrounge in the New Life. Baba told Padri to bring the Raja and the caravan to Sarnath along with other bullock named “Wazir” also. These two bullocks pulled the caravan during New Life travels.

Raja and bullock companion were brought to Dehradun where different phase of New Life was begun in which the animals no longer had a part. Raja & Wazir were given to “Nanhi Dunia” (Small World), an institute for deaf and dumb children in Dehradun.

 

37-RAMU

(Puppy)

One day, Meheru happened to find a stray puppy in Meherazad property. She called Mehera to see the puppy and if she wanted to keep him. He was good looking, much gender, and colored, sweet looking with a large head and short nose. Mastan (puppy) was already with ladies group hence new puppy was sent to men mandali to look after. Baba named new puppy ‘Ramu’. Soon he grew from skinny bony puppy to nice sturdy dog.

 Mehera would teach Ramu tricks. She taught him to beg and jump over a stick. Baba wanted to see the trick learnt by Ramu. Ramu was brought to mandali hall, Baba showed a roasted toast to Ramu holding it on opposite side. Ramu in an instant had jumped over Baba’s leg and eaten the roast from His hand.

It was impossible to keep Ramu quiet and still. No matter how we tied him up, he would always wriggle free and when Ramu was free, he would run straight to B

aba in mandali hall, slipping through the tiny slot of opening where the door was kept ajar. Name Ramu means (to play) in Gujrati, so Baba gave the pup a perfect name.

 

38-SADHU

(Dog)

Baba also acquired a pure white dog. In matchless humour Baba named the dog “Sadhu”.

39-SANT

(Bullock)

Baba also acquired an all white bullock. In matchless humour Baba named him “Sant”

 

 

40-SALUNKIES

During Meherabad, Baba one day brought some salunkies to keep as pet and asked Khorshed to take care of the birds.  Khorshed got a cut in finger working in the kitchen and developed septic. Mani and Caraske were given charge. While caring, they (both) left the door of the cage open and the birds flew and perched on the roof. Mani and Khorshed were shocked. Soon Baba came, certainly Baba was not pleased. He said, “You did everything so perfectly. Now is that you forget to close the cage door. Baba took it well and said, “Never mind. Let them be free.”

41-SAIFU

(Stray dog)

For several days, the women found a few pair of their sandals missing. Baba had the watchman posted to catch the "thief" and they found that it was a large stray, male dog. It had a skin disease, and its body was covered with bleeding sores. Mehera took pity on it, and sent word to Baba. Baba told Eruch to find the dog. The animal, however, had wandered off, and Eruch spent hours looking for it. Cursing the women to himself, he finally traced the dog and with difficulty brought the mangy creature to Baba.

Baba told him to take the dog to the veterinarian every day for treatment. Krishna was instructed to care for it, and Baba named it Saifu. Krishna made a paste of sulfur, betel-nut and yogurt, which he applied to Saifu's skin. Baba saw the dog daily, overseeing its care, and making sure Eruch took it to the doctor on time.

Saifu's suffering had brought it to God's feet. In two months, the reddish-brown dog was as sleek and fierce as a tiger. Saifu was subsequently brought to Meherabad with the group and given to Padri.

42-SHEBA

(Horse)

In Dehradun stay Baba was travelling with men mandali by car in search of mast. Baba happened to see baby horse grazing besides it mother on the roadside. Baba gestured to men, “I like this little horse but this could not be accommodated in the car so left the idea” when Baba came to house, Baba remembered the horse when he was in mandali. Shri, Shatrughan Kumar who was listening, said to Baba, I could get you a horse. Baba said, “Yes” try your luck.”

In June 1953, on the night of June 23rd, Kumar brought a colt,

which Baba gave to Mehera, who would look after it with great love. The horse was named "Sheba."

Referring to Sheba, the colt, Baba lamented, "This filly has come – when will there be its end? It needs bedding, it needs fodder, it needs medicine and many other things. So, where is the end?"

You have carried out one hundred percent the work of buying Sheba. It does not matter to me now whether the horse lives or dies. I am happy you fulfilled my wish as instructed.

In January 1954, Sheba, the colt, were also taken to Mahabaleshwar, Meher Baba departed Mahabaleshwar for Hamirpur. During this period, Mehera was caring for Sheba, whom she would lead to Baba's room in his absence to show the colt that Baba was not there.

The Hindu festival of Dassera fell on the 7th, and as was the Indian holiday custom, The horse Sheba was brought to Rosewood (the mandali's bungalow) fully decorated with flower garlands, according to Baba's wish.

Mehera lovingly cared for the mare Sheba. Baba himself would daily feed Sheba carrots, and to kiss him, Sheba would stretch out her neck. Baba loved her much and would kiss her often.

On October 14th 1956, was the holiday Dassera, and Mehera decorated Sheba grandly and paraded the horse before Baba. Baba loved Sheba.

In September1959, Sheba had been brought to Meherazad from Satara; but after some time the horse was given to a military officer in Ahmednagar, who wished to race her in Poona.

 

43-SUFI

(White Horse)

While living in Poona, Mehera’s mother had brought a white horse. It was pink and white with one eye black and one black. Her mother had arranged a groan to take care of the horse. Mehera started riding on the horse and had nice ride up to bund garden and came safely.

While shifting to Ahmednagar, Baba instructed Rustom to sell the horse, but Rustom told Baba, horse was very beautiful so Baba decided to bring the horse to Ahmednagar. Baba named the horse “Sufi” and he was the first pet to be brought to Meherabad.

 

 

44-SUNNY AND BUNNY

(Puppies male & female)

During Bangalore period, Perhaps at the end of 1939 or beginning of 1940, one day 2 small pathetic black puppies, one male and one female, came in the garden compound where Baba and mandali were staying. Evidently someone being unable to keep them had pushed them through the gates and left hoping of course someone would feed and love them. Their hopes realized.

Baba on hearing their arrival, knowing that Margaret Caraske after her coming to India had not acquired any regular job, hence Baba put these two under her charge to feed, keep them clean and exercise. Baba gave the name of Sunny and Bunny. It was too experiencing hot summer. It was period of meditation of His disciples. At room, all would sit cross legged and meditate silently pronouncing word (Ba) while inhaling and   exhaling breadth. Caraske used to get late because of other works. Once the bell just rang for meditation, she found that she was breathing Sunny in and Bunny out. She stopped and had to go to Baba and confess as careless disciple. But to her surprise Baba laughed at her Sunny and Bunny meditation and embraced her. She ever remembered Baba’s loving humour caused by Sunny and Bunny.

 

45-TALKING MINAH

(Bird)

After Baba shifted to Meherabad ashram to Nasik, on one visit to Nasik, Rustom presented Baba, a beautiful, Nepalese Mynah which he brought from Bombay. This bird was not ordinary but very beautiful and music loving. Whenever Mani played Sitar, this bird would dance with rhythm. Baba told ladies to teach the bird to speak English. This bird was remarkable mimic. When Shirin Mai came for visit, Shirin Mai heard the sound like baby crying from adjacent room. When it was checked and found that it was the pet mynah who fooled Shirin Mai by his mimicry.

He used to repeat clearly and loudly “Baba darling, Baba darling” from the cage. Before 1937 birth day-due to heavy bad storm

and rain mynah contracted pneumonia and in spite of best care he died. Baba picked up mynah’s body by hand lovingly buried him under neem tree outside kitchen.

 

46-TIPPO

(watch dog)

Tipoo was the progeny of Rani, the Trust Compound watchdog who for years sat near Mani's feet during the days she attended the office and kept Meher Nazar compound free of unwelcome visitors.

In the late l980s Rani gave birth to Tipoo, an adorable puppy who came to Meherazad when he was about 2 months old. Tipoo soon became the darling of everyone here, especially Mehera and Meheru; there is even a photo of Mehera holding him as he enthusiastically licked her face. However, as Tipoo grew his temperament took an unreliable turn and he began to bite and unfortunately didn't restrict his biting behaviour to outsiders. Tipoo eventually bit Manu's hand very badly, so he was sent away for the first time. One of the Meherazad workers took him about 25 miles (40 km) to a farm where he would be well taken care of. Tipoo escaped and was back at Meherazad within three days.

Somewhat chastened by his exile, canine peace reigned for a while. But Tipoo's temperament prevailed and he cornered another Meherazad resident on the veranda, snarling and growling and threatening to bite. This time he was taken just outside Pune 84 miles (135 km) to families who promised to keep him tied and take good care of him. About two weeks later when some of us were talking outside Mandali Hall, we noticed a mangy, scrawny animal making its way down the veranda. We were stunned to see our very own Tipoo, emaciated, with a shredded leash attached to his collar running to greet us with an expression of desperate relief and happiness on his face. He rose up on his hind legs and licked our faces as we stood there in shock. Evidently he had made his escape almost immediately and it had taken two weeks obviously without much food for him to find his way home. So what to do with an animal so determined to remain at Meherazad? We kept him but had him neutered which resolved a lot of his aggressive behaviour.

After some time Tipoo took up his post, when he was freed in the evening, on the big step of the main bungalow veranda where he would execute his duty as watchdog the whole night through. Suddenly one night as the women were singing the Bujaawe arti in Baba's Room, he began to howl so loudly that they thought he was in pain. But it soon became clear that Tipoo was actually singing along with them. Night after night Tipoo would begin his aria as soon as they started singing he'd be silent during the Repentance Prayer and resume his singing through the "Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai's", sometimes so loudly that they couldn't hear their own voices. So every night around 7:30 pm Tipoo's soulful baying would announce to everyone in Meherazad that the women were in prayers. And he was so determined to sing the arti that on the occasional night when the women didn't do the Bujaawe because they had sung it at Meherabad earlier in the day; Tipoo would insistently sing anyway throught the repentance Prayer. He just had to. (Tipoo also sang "Happy Birthday" and even queued up along with everyone else to receive his birthday chocolate.)

Shelley Marrich for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 3 September 2015

47-TYPHOON

(Puppy)

It was around 1944, Baba briskly walking through Meherabad garden carries a ball of wriggling fluff in His arms. There as terrific storm on the same day in the evening. Baba named the pup “Typhoon” with such marvelous sense of humour.

From the beginning, typhoon was not only sweet natured but unusually intelligent. Typhoon was put under the care of Mani. Mani and Caraske taught her many tricks.  She learnt to walk on her hind legs and one she entertained Baba in little skit Caraske made for her.

When Baba left Meherabad on travels Typhoon came along. She was six months old, a good traveller and obedient. Typhoon travelled with group from Bombay to Raipur and then to Kashmir. In Kashmir one day a stranger appeared, Typhoon started barking on him. Meheru shouted he must be Tangewala but the young man when inquired, had only answer to all questions “Hoozoor, Hoozoor”. No one could understand. Meheru told the incident to Baba in the garden. Baba smiled and pointing to Himself said that young man a mast was referring to Himself. He was asking for the “The Great One”

Typhoon died in Hyderabad when chasing a cat on upstairs terrace. Cat jumped down and typhoon in her excitement leaped over low parapet and fell in the ground below. She died few weeks later but was fortunate to have love chase to Baba during her short life.

 

48-WARRIOR

(Dog)

Meher Baba said- Warrior (pet dog) for Him was like Hanuman to Rama.

Dogs play an important part when used consciously by the Master. In My seclusion of about ten days, I wanted a dog for some work of My own – I won't tell you what. I could not use Chum, or any of the other pets. The dog I wanted had to be fresh, new, innocent and young. So, before seclusion, it all came about that Khorshed happened to mention an Alsatian puppy, and eventually we got Warrior. I said, "He is My dog." I did not say so about Jingo and Bingo or the other pets. Warrior, you all understood, was Baba's dog! Warrior was not actually a dog, but was temporarily brought down from the spirit world to do this work. I needed a dog for that kind of work. I won't go too deeply into the matter.

So Warrior came, and I kept on telling Elizabeth that he was to be near Me. But I also knew that it would be difficult, as things would crop up that would create obstacles. Therefore, for the first few days, Warrior suffered from worms, germs, et cetera. Eventually, I had him for the time I wanted him. I knew he would die, just as I know that before July 1st, 1941, Chum too will die.

So after I worked with him, I fed him with My own hands and gave him water to drink. When my work was over, I sent him back.

Soon after, he got ill, and I discussed with 'Soltoon's sister' (meaning Baidul, since no man's name would be mentioned in front of the women) where to bury him when he died. We finally selected that spot. When Warrior got very ill, I saw that if he died within three days, he would again have to take another birth, which would not have been safe for him. I saw to it that he did not pass away. So, when in those three days he did not die, I was happy. Now, no more birth for him.

49-WHITE RABBIT

Baby xxxx Yumi gave birth to two rabbits safely inside the container. When Baba came back to Meherabad ladies brought four darling babies in tray covered with cloth as surprise for Baba. Baba took them in His arm and lovingly caressed them. They were so sweet that Baba hugged each one. They were sometime with ladies, but when the left with Baba for travel, they were given away.

 

114-MANI BEHRAM DESAI (Mansari)

Mani Behram Desai, nicknamed Mansari by Baba lived at the top Meherabad Hill and was in charge of the maintenance of Meher Baba’s Tomb. She had been a mandali member since 1938 and had lived major part of her life at Meherabad. She was also called chilli by Baba. She was very short in height about 4 feet 4 inches. She was not allowed by Meher Baba to leave upper Meherabad beyond railway line.

Some of her life time episodes and talks with Meher Baba are written below.

In 1923, Baba visited was Sohrabji's house in Navsari (Gujrat). Baba sanctified every corner of the house; He made a point of walking through every room. Sohrabji's niece, Mani was a special bud of the Master's Navsari Garden? At that time she was away at school in Bombay. But to prepare the ground for her blossoming into a lovely flower, Baba had spread His light and divine water in Navsari. The seed of that bud received His light and water and came to Him forever fourteen years later.

Kaikobad had brought Sohrabji's young niece with him from Navsari, Mani Beheram Desai, eighteen, later nicknamed Mansari by Baba. This was her first meeting with the Master also. From the time Mansari first laid eyes on Baba at Meherabad, she surrendered totally to Him. Thus in May 1927, two more circle members began to enter the inner life with Meher Baba, and after some years both Kaikobad and Mansari became permanent residents at Meherabad.

In 1932, from Navsari, Sohrabji Desai came with his niece Mansari and other family members. One day Mansari asked Baba for some work with which to serve Him. Baba directed her, "Go out into the bazaar and bring Me some jamun (a type of plum), but don't go too far. Find some nearby and come back."

Mansari left for the bazaar but had trouble finding the fruit, since it was not in season. Despite Baba's order, she looked far and wide in the city for several hours, only to return empty-handed. She thought it would have pleased Baba if she had been able to find a few of the plums, but Baba responded, "Obeying My order was more important than bringing the fruit. Always remember to obey Me. By sticking to what I tell you, you will please Me."

Baba left Bombay for Baroda on Monday, 29th February 1932. From there, He traveled to Navsari on the 1st of March. Sohrabji Desai rushed to the station to meet Baba just as His train arrived. Four tongas were hired to convey them to Sohrabji's residence.  Baba was received with reverent love by the entire family including Mansari.

In 1935, on the 7th July, Baba left for Navsari. Even though Baba wished to remain in seclusion, Chanji had been sent a few hours in advance to inform Soma Desai and his family, so they could meet Baba at the Navsari railway station where Baba's train would be stopping briefly. Everyone in Sohrabji's family was devoted to Meher Baba. Sohrabji Desai's and Keki D. Bajan's families (including Mansari) were waiting on the station platform, and Baba lovingly met with each.

A public darshan program was held in Navsari on 23rd December 1937, and many came for the occasion. Sohrabji's niece Mansari was deeply affected by Baba's love and was literally "drowned" in it. Baba's visit at this time was chiefly concerned with Mansari, for her time to join His ashram had come.

For many years, Sohrabji Desai's niece, Mani, had desired to stay permanently with Baba. During Baba's stay at Panchgani, the earnest young woman had come twice about this matter. Baba had made her go back home each time, but He instructed her to be prepared to move to Ahmednagar whenever He happened to call her. In June 1938, Baba fulfilled His promise, and accordingly, Mansari (as she was later known) became a permanent member of the women mandali, joining them at the Ahmednagar bungalow on the 15th of June 1938, at the age of 28. Mansari was put in charge of cooking, which she did during the next two months of their stay in Ahmednagar.

Mansari's connection with Meher Baba was very deep, and she had not been neglected by Him all these years. Since the age of five, she had suffered from an incurable skin disease. The best doctors had been called, and she was sent to the finest hospitals in Bombay, but no medicine or treatment worked. When she was eighteen, Kaikobad Dastur, a family friend, had visited Meherabad and taken her with him to meet Baba. Mansari had agreed, even though at the time she was skeptical of her family's faith in Baba. Meeting Baba, however, changed her heart, and she bowed to Him weeping. Kaikobad narrated her sufferings to Baba who remarked to her, "And only because of this you weep so much?"

Mansari replied, "I am not weeping because of my disease, but because of your love!"

Baba consoled her with these instructions, "Don't worry; you will be permanently cured. Take some ash from My dhuni, and every morning before tea, say My name and swallow a pinch of it."

Returning home to Navsari, Mansari followed Baba's exact instructions and in a month she was completely cured. Soon after her recovery, Mansari's uncle Sohrabji Desai went to Baba. Returning to Navsari he told the family, "Baba sends His love and blessings to you all." Turning to Mansari he remarked, "Baba seems to have developed a skin disease exactly like yours.”

Mansari grew mad with worry, believing Baba had taken on her suffering and was caused to suffer on her behalf. Her disease returned. When she next met Baba, she prayed to Him not to take on her suffering again.

Baba replied, "Let it be as it is. Neither you nor I will have to suffer. This was all My game to draw you to Me. It was I who created this incurable disease, and now that you are Mine, you will never suffer from it again." True to His words, the disease left Mansari forever.

Eruch brought his family from Nagpur to Ahmednagar on 1st August 1938 to join Baba's ashram. Baba gave nicknames to Mani Desai and Mani Jessawala to distinguish them from His sister Mani. Mani Desai was to be known as Mansari for she came from Navsari and Mani Jessawala as Manpur or Manu for she was from Nagpur.

A stout female physician named Dr. Kalavker had been hired for three months for Maternity Hospital on Meherabad Hill. But if a patient in labor happened to arrive from the village at night, the doctor refused to get up and attend the patient. Once a village woman in labor showed up at 3:00 A.M. Baba awakened Mansari, but she did not have any experience in these matters and did not know how to deliver a baby. Fortunately, Memo was there at the time and came with Mansari to the hospital. Baba Himself boiled hot water in another room, lit lanterns and made the necessary preparations. Memo delivered the baby with Mansari's assistance and when the child was born and washed, several times Baba went in to see it and kissed it.

Mansari was of short stature. Baba had given her a large floppy hat to wear when walking in the sun. She wore it between the hospital compound and the kitchen. When she would carry the tea on a tray to the hospital patients, the hat would gradually fall down over her eyes, as it was too big for her. Baba would point her out to the other women, and all would have a hearty laugh over it.

On 1st February 1939, Baba left Agra around noon for Delhi. When Baba took the women to see the Qutub Minar — a stone tower 238 feet high (the highest structure in India at the time) — He climbed up only part of the way and then came down. Mansari thought Baba had continued up and she climbed to the top. The group was about to leave, when Baba noticed Mansari missing. He looked up and saw her waving from the top. Baba motioned her to come down immediately.

When she came, he asked, "Are you mad? Why didn't you follow us down?"

Mansari explained that she thought He had gone up to the top and she wanted to be with Him. Upset, Baba scolded her, "You want to be with Me and say you love Me! It is so difficult to be with Me! So difficult to love Me! The Qutub Minar has separated you from Me."

In Delhi, at the time the group was leaving Chishti's tomb, Baba turned to Mansari, dictating: "A Fakir once said, 'When I saw in my own heart the impression of divine beauty, the sight of God, Wherever I cast my gaze, I saw Parvardigar (Infinite God).' "

Mansari asked if Baba was that Fakir. Baba nodded, yes He was, for He had spontaneously dictated these poetic lines in honor of Chishti, the Qutub-e-Irshad of his time — the head of the spiritual hierarchy.

Once Dowla fell ill, the residents formed a language-chain, since Dowla was fluent only in the Persian dialect Dari. Dowla explained her indisposition to Soonamasi in Dari; Soonamasi retold it to Mansari in Gujarati; Mansari recounted it to Nilu in Marathi; and Nilu explained it to Don in English! Baba enjoyed this novel diagnostic method also.

Mansari had been told to serve as a nurse and report on the non-English-speaking Eastern women's health to Rano, who would then report to Nilu or Don. But when Baba was among the women, instead of attending to her work, Mansari wanted to be present with Him. This gave rise to discord between her and Rano.

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. Mansari accompanied Baba along with other and several women servants.

Lucky (monkey) adopted by Meher Baba was very disturbing for women mandali. On 5th September 1943, when Baba came, Mansari was so irritated, she complained to Him about Lucky (Monkey). Baba replied:

Mansari gets exasperated and excited in no time and cannot control her ire, because she is not so strong. And you all cannot help her, because you too are weak. I want you to help each other. I do not want you breaking My orders for a monkey. The more I ask you to be more obedient, the less you all obey. You obey less and help less because you are helpless! Unless and until you keep strict watch over yourselves, you cannot follow My orders. It is not possible! So try!

In 1941, Mansari was kept occupied translating articles from Meher Baba Journal into Gujarati.

In Rishikesh (Now in Uttarakhand), there was no indoor plumbing in Rishikesh, so the many sadhus who lived there would go to the jungle to answer nature's calls. But the women mandali, who were living in strict seclusion, could not go off to such isolated places for this purpose. The problem was solved by Baba, who instructed Krishna to have a pit dug in back of their compound. Rano, Margaret, Irene and Kitty would collect their own daily eliminations in a tin pan, which Krishna would empty in the pit and then cover with earth. That of the Eastern women, Mansari would gather and keep outside for Krishna to collect and empty.

Baba had taken up residence in His Jhopdi in lower Meherabad, but He would walk up the hill daily to work with the masts and to meet Mehera and Mani. Because He was still in partial seclusion, when Baba was walking up the hill, a bell would be rung and all the women would go inside their rooms. After meeting only Mehera and Mani, Baba descended the hill. The bell was rung a second time and the other women could then come outside.

Once the bell rang when Baba was coming up the hill, and Mansari, who was missing Baba terribly, came out to see Him. Baba was annoyed and asked her, "Why did you come out?"

Mansari pleaded, "I too have a heart, Baba. How can you expect Me to bear not seeing you?"

"Let your heart go to hell!" He said. "It is no heart if it does not follow My wish! Why do you call it a heart?"

Baba continued scolding, "What have you gained by seeing Me? You cannot see Me! When you don't obey Me, what is the use of seeing Me? You will never be able to see Me that way. If you want to see Me, follow My behests. Do you hope to 'see' Me by incurring My wrath? That seeing is not seeing. Try to please Me and one day you will really see Mme."

In 1943, at Lahore, Baba divided the eighteen women into two different groups. Mansari with others were kept in second group.

The Pimpalgaon rest house, later named Meherazad, had been bought in an auction in 1940. Upon returning to Meherabad, on 30th November 1943, Baba sent Masaji, Gustadji and Slamson (Gustadji's brother) to live there. Baba informed the women, "For My work, I have to reside in Pimpalgaon with Mehera, Mani, Meheru, Margaret and Walu. To help in the work, the rest of you continue staying in Meherabad."

Addressing Mansari, He spelled out, "I will be very happy if you remain alone on Meherabad Hill."

Mansari began crying and said, "I have come to stay with you, Baba. How could I remain alone?"

Baba told her, "If you want to stay with Me, you will have to stay according to My pleasure. If you cannot do that, then you will not be with Me, although you may be with Me physically. If you keep My pleasure by remaining at a distance, then you will truly be with Me forever!"

Mansari wept bitterly, and Baba sharply stated, "You are mad! I am not keeping you away from Me. Even if you wanted to be away from Me, I would not allow it."

In 1948, Baba reached Aurangabad after Kashmir Visit, He called the other women there from Meherabad including Mansari and Kaikobad's family. Baba described to them His Kashmir visit and, after a few days, sent them back to Meherabad.

This set Mansari thinking, and Baba asked her what was crinkling her brow. She replied, "If you permit, I will tell you." Baba permitted her, and she said, "I want to stay in Meherabad, even if I have to stay alone." Baba was pleased by Mansari's decision, and He embraced her.Baba had discussed the matter of the New Life alternatives and conditions with the women mandali on Meherabad Hill. The first day of His discussions with the women, Baba had declared to them, "None of you should suggest anything to Me, none should ask Me anything. My decision is final. No one will be allowed to stay here any longer."

In 1950, while in Rishikesh there was no indoor plumbing, so the many sadhus who lived there would repair to the jungle to answer nature's calls. But the women mandali, who were living in strict seclusion, could not go off to such isolated places for this purpose. The problem was solved by Baba, who instructed Krishna to have a pit dug in back of their compound. Rano, Margaret, Irene and Kitty would collect their own daily eliminations in a tin pan, which Krishna would empty in the pit and then cover with earth. That of the Eastern women, Mansari would gather and keep outside for Krishna to collect and empty.

Baba was in Satara in August 1950, this incident took place on Meherabad Hill. Mansari was lying on her bed one night thinking of Baba. Suddenly a cobra slithered in and crawled onto her chest. Mansari felt it, and with a sweep of her hand brushed the snake away. Hearing it fall, she leapt up and saw the snake on the floor, hissing menacingly with its hood spread wide. She was alone in the room. Jamadar, the night watchman, was some distance away. The cobra was blocking the door, so she could not go outside and call for help.

Somehow she gathered courage, and killed the snake with a bamboo staff. But the episode did not end there. Cobras abide in pairs. The next night, when Mansari was praying in front of Baba's photograph, another cobra appeared. She bravely managed to kill this cobra, too.

But the amazing coincidence was that before all this had happened; Baba had one night come in her dream and asked her, "What would you do if a cobra came into your room?"

Mansari had replied, "I would kill it."

In the dream Baba had encouraged her, "Yes, do not be afraid. Kill it; I am with you."

After she killed both snakes, Baba appeared again in her dream and told her, "I am quite pleased with your courage. Now no snakes will bother you." And truly, henceforth no snake entered Mansari's room. Although far away from Baba, various lovers and disciples had different experiences of His inner guidance.

In 1956, Baba and the women visited Meherabad, and saw all the residents there, such as Padri, Mansari, and Kaikobad's daughters. Baba then took all to a special showing of a Hindi film at Asha Talkies, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje.3966-1956

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. "

Baba continued: "Mansari is not the nervous type. She is afraid of absolutely nothing except one thing. Only snakes, the very sight of snakes! One night she awoke and there was a cobra on her chest. Her eyes met those of the cobra! I had always warned her that when in difficulties or emergencies to repeat My name with all her heart. But she was frozen with fear and for about five minutes could not say anything. Then she took the stick, crying out My name, and knocked the cobra off the bed. Then she saw it crawling up on the bed again! Repeating My name she killed it with the stick. She was trembling for two days afterwards. She cried the next time she saw Me, saying how I had saved her life."

Baba humorously imitated Mansari's fear, her trembling, her looking into the eyes of the snake and so on throughout the story.

Baba then asked, "What do you suggest we should do until 11:45 A.M.? What do you want?"

"Whatever makes you happy, Baba!" all responded.

"Everything makes Me happy! I am very happy. Yesterday's performance made Me happy, not because it made Me laugh, but because you all love Me."

 

115-MANPUR JESAWALA (Manu)

(Sister of Eruch)

Manpur Jessawala, Eruch’s sister, lived in the mandali for a number of years till Baba directed her to live in Poona along with her family. Her father Papa Jessawala and mother Gaimai both were devoted to Meher Baba

Some of her life time events and contact with Meher Baba is described as under:

On 22nd May 1927, Baba went to Akbar Press (Ahmednagar) for the navjote ceremony of the two Jessawala daughters Manu and Meheru.

In 1937, Pappa Jessawala's heart had bowed at Baba's feet upon witnessing the glorious spectacle of the Master's birthday celebrations. He returned to Nagpur and sent his family to Nasik for two months during the summer — his wife Gaimai, eldest son Eruch, 20, daughters Manu, 19 and Meheru, 17, and a younger son Meherwan, 7. They arrived in Nasik around 15 April 1937 and resided at the Pichy Phipson Sanitarium near the retreat.

On 19th February 1938, lovers arrived for the three-day celebration, almost 500 lovers from Bombay, Poona, Ahmednagar, Nasik, Navsari, Nagpur and other towns and cities. More than 200 came from Bombay. Manu Jessawala and his family members came from Nagpur.

Manu’s mother Gaimai stayed with the women mandali in the P.W.D. bungalow along with her daughters Meheru and Manu. Baba gave nicknames to Mani Desai and Mani Jessawala to distinguish them from his sister Mani. Mani Desai was to be known as Mansari for she came from Navsari and Mani Jessawala as Manpur or Manu for she was from Nagpur.

On 8th December 1938, Baba left Meherabad Hill in the Blue Bus with the 20 women disciples. Manu Jessawala accompanied. She was 19.

3rd May 1939, was Manu Jessawala's birthday, and to celebrate Baba asked the women to stage a play. Mani, who was quite talented at such endeavors, wrote a humorous skit parodying the present world leaders. Mani took the part of Hitler, Katie was Mussolini, Rano was Prime Minister Chamberlain, and Meheru and Naggu had other roles. The skit was performed before Baba and the mandali in the evening and all were amused. Exactly four months later, the Second World War was declared. No doubt Baba was working through this seemingly innocuous play by a few of the women.

In 1939 Manu Jessawala stayed in Links bungalow with other 24 women living with Baba.

While Baba’s mother was in Bangalore, Gaimai (Manu’s mother) once fried eggplant for Memo, as requested by her, and sent it to her. As Manu was carrying the tray up to Memo's room, Baba happened by and asked Manu what she had in her hand.

Manu said it was fried eggplant for Shireenmai. Baba took Gaimai severely to task, "You want to kill My mother by giving her eggplant? Haven't I told you that eggplant is not good for you?"

In fact, Baba did not wish Memo to be given special food; He wanted her to eat what was cooked for all. While rebuking Gaimai, Baba was eating the fried delicacies Himself, and eventually ate the entire plateful. Memo had come down by then and was silently observing the scene. At last she burst forth, "Merog is eggplant good for you and bad for me?"

Baba replied, "You are old, Mother, and elderly people should not eat eggplant!"

In 1942, Baba decided to move His seclusion towards Maharashtra and this was arranged in Lonavla. So Baba with the men and women mandali entrained for Lonavla on 10th September 1942 with Manu Jessawala and other women numbered about 30.

On, 15th February 1949, Baba, went to Khushru Quarters, where Baba met Gulmai and Meheru Damania. They arrived at Bindra House, Poona. From there, Baba and the women boarded a night train to Belgaum, with Manu Jessawala and others joining them.

Once introducing Manu Jessawala, Baba commented that she was Eruch's sister. He pardoned her for coming for darshan, commenting that it was not the time for His close ones to take darshan. Referring to the Jessawala family, Baba remarked, "All are gems,"

On the night of 28th May, Rano was stricken with a severe attack of gastroenteritis, with constant loose motions and vomiting. Baba was of course informed. He visited Bindra House the next morning, but before getting out of the car he drew three crosses on the ground with His walking stick. He sat for a few moments looking at them and then rubbed one of the crosses out.

Inside, Baba comforted Rano and then instructed Manu to prepare some lime sherbet. He dipped His finger in the glass and, placing some of the liquid in a teaspoon, He fed it to Rano. He told Manu to give it to Rano, sip by sip. If Rano could finish the whole glass, she would be out of danger. Rano was told to repeat Baba's name seven times while sipping the sherbet from a teaspoon. With great difficulty, she did so and began feeling better.

In 1961, once, during darshan, Manu Jessawala sang one of Tukaram's abhangs. Baba looked solemn as she sang and then commented, "Tukaram wants one to surrender completely to the Perfect Master. But I rarely find anyone who surrenders to me as he ought to."

Mehera's birthday fell on 23rd December 1962 that year, according to the Parsi calendar. Khorshed from Bombay was a guest at Meherazad that weekend, Manu Jessawala was present and she was allowed to stay for a month at Meherazad with the women mandali...

1963, at Guruprasad, Baba asked Eruch's sister, Manu Jessawala, to sing a few bhajans. In spite of not having practiced for a long time, she sang and also played the harmonium well.

Every year Baba would visit Guruprasad in summer. Manu Jessawala, and other four would have the palace cleaned and everything prepared. However, no one was allowed to be present to receive Baba when He arrived, except for Meherjee, Meherwan and Jehangu.

Mehera's birthday was celebrated privately at Meherazad on 22nd December 1966. Every year a few close ones were invited on that day from Bombay and Manu Jessawala from Poona.

 113-KATHERINE LAURA DAVY (Kitty Davy)

(Nick nameed Saroja)

Kitty Davy, lived at Meher spiritual Centre, A part of the mandali, she served Baba selflessly for number of years, following her first meeting the Master in 1931 in London.

Meher Baba had given a hint to Kitty Davy of future accident on the soil of America 20 years in advance but she could not grasp at that time.

Few episodes of her life with Meher Baba worth mentioning are as below

Brother of Kitty Davy, Herbert Davy was a medical student in London and had heard of the Devonshire Retreat from one of his college friends. In March of 1931, he visited there at the end of his term, ostensibly to find a place where his older sister Katherine (Kitty Davy) could recuperate from pleurisy. He met Meredith and Margaret who explained to him about Baba.

He wrote his sister Katherine about the retreat and Meher Baba. Katherine "Kitty" Laura Davy was working as a music teacher, and soon after receiving Herbert's letter, she also visited the retreat. Both were at Devonshire in July when the cable arrived announcing Baba's intended visit in the fall.

Kitty was waiting for the group at Victoria Station. While thousands of other people were looking forward to seeing Mahatma Gandhi pass by, Kitty was waiting for her Beloved — the sole dweller in her heart. The Master had prepared her internally for the awakening that was about to occur.

Herbert and Kitty's father John W. Davy ran the family printing business, and both he and his wife Helena were fortunate to have Baba's close contact. On one occasion, Baba casually discussed Ping-Pong and cricket with John.

In accordance with His promise to Kitty's mother Helena, Baba went with her and Margaret Craske to the home for the needy and met with the old people. As Mrs. Davy had said, many of the elderly were blind, dumb or deaf. The Master's ways are his own. Baba "spoke" to these old people for a long time, dictating messages for them on his board. What he revealed was his love. What was said was less important than the love he gave; their conversations were not in the language of words. Much is communicated in silence, but it cannot be written. Baba took form only to speak in that language, through which he conveyed all that was necessary — without ever uttering a word. His language was his own which touched the heart, and only those for whom it was meant understood what He said.

Kitty noticed a small hole in Baba's sadra and wanted to mend it, but she felt too shy to mention it. Pointing to the tear, Baba remarked to her, "My robe is torn, so you should sew it. You are lucky to have this opportunity to serve Me. It is the beginning of further service you will have to do for Me." The Emperor in torn clothing! What irony; but His beauty lies here. He who is infinitely rich and the possessor of untold wealth, delights in wearing worn clothes. It means that He who needs nothing and is fully perfect always bestows His treasure on others, and herein lies His glory.

At first, Kitty and the others felt shy before Baba, but what was there to feel shy of? They had taken their seat in the "train" and were eager to travel; but while traveling one also needs to eat. Having Kitty sew the sadra was, in fact, Baba serving "food" to her. It was His love. There was no need to feel ashamed of one's deepest longings. Kitty understood, for the Emperor's glance made her grasp things, and while she stitched the sadra, a boundless joy filled her heart.

Zilla Cluse's eight-year-old sister Virginia (Jenny) told her Aunt Kitty with child-like innocence, "I would have liked to kiss and hug Baba these past days, but His mustache comes in the way. I love Baba, but I don't like His mustache." Kitty informed Baba about this and He made Jenny sit by His side. The girl received much attention from Baba. Once He asked her, "Should I trim My mustache?" She replied that He should. Thereafter He did have His mustache trimmed.

One day in Cannes, Baba disclosed, "For My work I need a healthy, handsome, intelligent and innocent boy. These qualities are essential for the work I wish to do for the world involving the minimizing of lust, especially of homosexuals, which is now prevalent to an alarming extent all over the world.

If the boy is not innocent, he would at once misunderstand My intention, which would hinder instead of help My work."

On another occasion, when Kitty questioned Baba about His work with the boys, He remarked, "I am working with the youth of the future."

Soon after, Kitty was asked to go to Paris to look for another boy and Baba indicated, if it was necessary, that He would fly there along with Donkin to choose a boy Himself. Kitty left the following evening with Margaret to look once again for a suitable candidate for Baba's work. They went to the Spanish refugee camp in Paris where Baba had repeatedly indicated there was one such boy.

Kitty telephoned and telegraphed on 30th August to convey that she had found one boy, and Baba simply cabled back: "Bring." On 31st August, Kitty brought a Spanish boy named Bellarmino to Baba. But after meeting the boy, Baba did not approve of him either and decided that José Luis should stay instead. Baba remarked, "Perhaps, if Luis begins to love me, I may take him with me to India."

Meanwhile, day by day, it seemed that the change in environment was having a positive effect on Luis, as he became healthier and showed a livelier attitude and was becoming more aware of who Baba was. The boy would wait for Baba's arrival every morning and refer to him as the "King of Kings!" He took delight in spelling on Baba's alphabet board, "Baba Luis amore (Baba loves Luis)."

Baba would walk from His villa with Rano to the men mandali's quarters in the morning, where He would meet visitors. Luis wanted to sit by Baba's side but, after permitting him to do so for a while, Baba would send him to another room, since most persons who came to see Baba preferred to talk with Him in private. One day Luis confided in Alfredo, saying, "I like the man with the long hair. He is so kind and gentle. What a pity He is dumb and cannot speak."

Baba had given Kitty duties in the kitchen. While she tried to teach Naja English, Naja was teaching her cooking. The work was difficult for Kitty, as Indian meals vary greatly from Western fare and much is involved in preparing them. Kitty had to sit for hours by the smoking kerosene stove learning to make chapattis. One day Kitty was thinking sadly: "I haven't come to India for this! I can do such work at home. I've come to be with Baba, but I hardly see Him."

Once in the evening, while conversing with the women, Baba remarked, as if for Kitty, "Whatever work I ask you to do is My work and she who does it according to My wish is performing the greatest penance! Compared to it, meditation, seclusion, fasts and austerities are nothing!"

Kitty took Baba's words to heart and proved most useful for His work. The strenuous work she did for Him, while remaining with Him in India for years, and then at a distance in America for many years, is an example of her unflinching sense of duty and obedience.

Since Naja was not well in Panchgani, Kitty was doing the cooking. She had Baba's strict instructions to see that no food was left over or wasted. But at times, something did remain, as she was not used to cooking for so many. When there was leftover dal, Kitty would drink it down, and if there happened to be too much vegetable that day, this too she would consume. Age was amazed that a well-off British woman was disposing of food in this manner. It was a testament to her intense desire to fulfill her Master's order.

Baba had also given the women the order that, on Sundays, they were to keep silence and eat only one meal, at 3:00 P.M., of bread, butter and tea. Kitty provided this simple food. While Baba was traveling to Bangalore to look at sites for the ashram, some of the group approached Kitty and asked for toast instead of bread. She agreed, and by the following Sunday, a few more wanted the same.

When Baba returned, He did not mention this breach of His order. It was only a month later in Meherabad, when Baba called all together early one morning and distributed oranges, that He remarked, "Kitty thinks more of pleasing others than she does of pleasing Me!" Baba then brought up the incident in Panchgani, and Kitty tried vainly to defend herself. Finally, she got so upset she threw her orange across the room — narrowly missing Baba. Realizing what she had done, she then admitted her mistake.

Baba pointed out to her, "To please others, you broke My order! But by your pleasing all, and displeasing Me, you will gain nothing. Try only to please Me, and in doing so, even if you displease the whole world, you will gain everything!

Kitty Davy was supervising the kitchen and had Baba’s order not to let any food go to waste. She was daily ordering fresh bread from the market, but each day some would be left over. One day, Kitty collected the stale bread and made bread pudding. No one liked the dish, so there was a lot left over. Now what should she do with it she wondered. Baba’s order was not to waste anything, so she could not throw it away. Failing to find a solution, Kitty sat down and consumed the dish herself in four hours, thus carrying out Baba’s wish.

Katie would cook in the other bungalow and send the food to Baba's bungalow. One day, with Baba's permission, bhajiyas were ordered from outside. After eating them, no one had any appetite left. The food as usual came from the other bungalow, but none touched it. Kitty was managing the kitchen and, according to Baba's order, would not waste anything. So she sat down in the kitchen, and once again started consuming the food all by herself.

Mehera observed her and asked, "For heaven's sake Kitty, what are you doing? You will die."

Kitty replied, "I will die, but die obeying!" When Mehera told Baba about it, He had a good laugh. Baba then forbade Kitty from eating any more. Otherwise, given her nature, she would have kept on eating the whole night.

On 10th April 1932, Kitty Davy arranged a children's party in the afternoon in her backyard. There were balloons and cake. Baba came and cut the cake, put on a party hat, distributed toys, played with the children and amused them all. The eight or so children also had fun playing tiddlywinks with Baba sitting on the floor among them. After tea in the drawing room, a man came and entertained them by playing a saw and a ukulele. Baba and the mandali played Indian music. One six-year-old boy named John was becoming a nuisance and Baba was asked if he should be removed from the room. Baba replied, "No, leave him alone. It is only his surplus energy. He is very near to Me and I have work for him to do later."

Baba and the mandali travelled via Venice London Milan and arrived in Paris on 6th December 1932 in the morning and meeting few His lovers left for London at noon, arriving the same day. Kitty Davy and the others in the Kimco group had arranged for Baba's seven-day stay at the Knightsbridge Hotel. No sooner had Baba arrived than His lovers enthusiastically flocked to be near Him.

In 1936, Baba's health had become so serious that He considered canceling His planned visit to England and sending for Kitty Davy from London to convey to her all the instructions for his lovers there. Telegrams were exchanged with the Western group, but Baba then dismissed that idea and decided to proceed to London, although his stay was to be drastically curtailed to only three days.

In 1952, at Meherabad, Kitty used to help Naja in the kitchen, so she knew a few Parsi dishes. Once, while instructing Bessie, she told her to prepare fried prawns (shrimp) for lunch. But when the women sat down to eat; they could hardly chew the preparation. Kitty asked Bessie what she had made, and she replied, "Well you told me to make fried prunes, Miss Davy!" Baba enjoyed the humor of the situation immensely.

From London, Baba sent Kitty Davy back to Myrtle Beach to help Elizabeth look after Norina and the Center. Elizabeth herself was still convalescing from the car accident. One day in Youpon Dunes, while in his recovery period, Baba had asked Kitty, "Would you be willing to stay behind in Myrtle Beach and not return with us to India, but help Elizabeth?"

"Why yes, of course, Baba," Kitty had said without hesitation. Baba indicated it would be for "perhaps a year ... until I return." Thus, after staying for 15 and half years with her Beloved, Kitty parted company, following His orders. She was to remain in Myrtle Beach for the rest of her life.

About East West gathering Kitty Davy also noted the uniqueness of this gathering in a letter to Vivian Agostini. (Dated 15 September 1962)

You are to be one of the group flying East so soon now to Baba. This is a decision which I know you will never regret — an opportunity whose magnitude our finite minds cannot grasp.

Do you realize that this is the first time in the 30 years since I came to Baba that "all" have been called who love Baba. Baba has from the very beginning said His mission was to bring East and West together, and for this reason a handful (of us) went East in 1933.

So I do feel most strongly that this "call" so near to the completion of Baba's mission on this earth at this cycle of time has great importance to Baba in this work, and by going when "called" we are helping in this work. Of greatest significance perhaps is that only those who love Baba, it would seem, can help, for others have not been called at this moment in time.

Great indeed is our privilege and great indeed is our responsibility.

She composed the book “Sparks from Meher Baba”

 

112-KHORSHED BANU IRANI

(Small Khorshed)

(Dr. Goher's mother)

Khorshed Irani was the daughter of Kaikhushru Masa and Soonamasi

Khorshed's father, Kaikhushru Masa, was spiritually inclined. Before Khorshed was born, her father performed a severe penance, known as “chilla-Nashini”, where an aspirant draws a circle around himself and vows to stay inside the circle without food or sleep for 40 days and 40 nights.

It is a dangerous practice, for the aspirant must withstand the onslaught of terrible apparitions and other mental torments.  If he steps outside the circle, it could mean madness or death; if he succeeds, whatever he desires will be given to him.

Kaikhushru, a jeweller by trade, entered the circle in the hopes of gaining great wealth.  Despite being frightened by visions of devils and demons tempting him to step out of the circle, he remained inside it for 39 days.  On that day, he saw a vision of ‘Lakshmi’, Goddess of Wealth, but instead of showering him with wealth, she held out a baby to him.  When Kaikhushru protested that he was after riches, the Goddess told him that he would gain much more through this baby girl, whom he should name Khorshed.

When Khorshed herself was eight, she was playing outside one day when two tiny fairies appeared.  They led her by the hand to the terrace, where Khorshed saw a vision of Lakshmi, seated on a golden throne. Flowers were draped over the Goddess, and perfume filled the air, Lakshmi asked Khorshed to promise her never to marry.  Khorshed did so, but the Goddess told her, "Think it over carefully before promising."  The Goddess made her promise three times.

Once Khorshed had firmly agreed not to marry, the Goddess held out her hand and allowed Khorshed to wear her crown and sit on her throne. When she did so, Khorshed too began shining like the Goddess.

Then Lakshmi showed her a vision of men behind bars and said, "The men of the world are giants, kept behind bars.  Never trust them.  I am showing you this to warn you.  Be careful, and always remember your promise to me not to marry.  It is for your own good."  Khorshed never told her parents about this vision, since she thought they would not accept her vow.  But when she came to Ahmednagar for Rustom and Freiny's wedding, she heard the discussion in Baba's presence about Mehera's marriage proposal and became worried that Baba and might tell her to marry.

So one day, later on, when she was at Meherabad, she saw Baba and ran after Him to ask about it, calling,"Merwanji!" Baba turned and said to her, "I know everything.  I will never ask you to marry.

On 9th May 1922, Baba travelled by train from Bombay to Sakori. Kaikhushru Masa, his wife Soonamasi, and their twelve-year old daughter Khorshed met Him on train. Kaikhushru Masa was a frequent visitor to Sakori, Kaikhushru Masa had seen Baba at Sakori, and his wife Soonamasi most likely met Baba a year prior at the opening of Sarosh Manzil in Ahmednagar. But for their daughter Khorshed, this meeting on the train was her first encounter with Baba, to whom she would soon dedicate her life.

In 1922, before leaving for Bombay, Soonamasi and her daughter Khorshed met with Baba in private. He inquired how Soonamasi liked it at Sakori, and she replied that she liked it very much. "Will you come and stay with Me?" He asked.

"When?" asked Soonamasi.

"Not now but later after I have arranged a place. I only wanted to know if you would."

"Surely!"

"Promise Me," He said, and Soonamasi held out her hand in promise.

Khorshed was keenly interested in their conversation and thought: "Why is Meher Baba only asking Mother? He must ask me to come and stay with Him, too!"

However, He only remarked to Khorshed, "Be good. Think of Me and we will meet again." Baba was deliberately ignoring her so that Khorshed would become more eager to join Him.

In the same year, Baba visited the house of the jeweler Kaikhushru Masa in Parel. Kaikhushru Masa was absent, but his wife Soonamasi and daughter Khorshed, along with an aunt Motibai, were having lunch. Mounting the stairs, without knocking, Baba entered their house and went straight into their kitchen. The Master was dressed in His usual attire — a long white shirt, white cotton pants and an Irani kerchief around His head. Seeing this stranger burst in upon them, the aunt exclaimed, "Who is this madcap?"

Soonamasi and Khorshed immediately recognized Baba, whom they had met in Sakori in May. Both received Him with great reverence, while Motibai felt quite ashamed. Baba informed them that He was now residing in the city and said, "Tell Masa to come and see Me at the Manzil early every morning, before going to his shop, and in the evening also. Khorshed, too, should visit Me daily after school. Soonamasi, you may come at any time during the day." Baba then departed, leaving them excited at the prospect of seeing him every day.

Khorshed began going to Manzil-e-Meem each afternoon. Sometime later, her cousins, Piroja and Dolly (Gulmai's daughters), came to Bombay to study, and all three girls would visit Baba. He would ask them what they were learning in school, and they would reply with innocent candor. Occasionally, He would play a particular game with them. The girls would stand together in front of Him, with their hands on both ears, and Baba would pretend to throw a ball at one of them. If, in her eagerness to catch it, one let go of her ears she was out. Likewise, if Baba actually threw the ball, and it struck her before she was able to catch it, she was declared out. Baba became an animated playmate for these children

Soonamasi Irani, her husband Kaikhushru Masa, and their daughter Khorshed had come from Bombay to attend Rustom's wedding. On one occasion, Baba advised Soonamasi and Khorshed to stay in Ahmednagar so they could regularly come for His darshan at Arangaon.

Before leaving for Sakori, Baba told Kaikhushru Masa, Soonamasi and Khorshed to move from their home in Parel to the portion of the Irani Mansion house in Dadar which He had been using for the mandali and Circle & Company.

In 1924, Baba housed Mehera with Khorshed and Khorshed's parents in Irani Mansion and they would daily come to the Bharucha Building for Baba's darshan. One day Baba, accompanied by Gustadji, visited the ladies at Irani Mansion and asked Mehera and Khorshed to sing a favorite song. Khorshed sang one about Lord Krishna.

On 19th May 1924, Mehera came to Meherabad with her mother Daulatmai and sister Freiny to participate in Upasni Maharaj's birthday celebration. Jamshed's wife, called Big Khorshed because she was several years older than Khorshed (Soonamasi's daughter from Bombay), joined the group and was known as Small Khorshed.

After arriving in Bombay on 3rd June 1924, Baba & group resided at No. 6 Irani Mansion — the home of Kaikhushru Masa. Soonamasi and Khorshed attended to Baba's wishes there and preparations for the journey to Quetta were speedily executed.

Arriving back in Bombay on 25th July 1924, Baba and His group stayed at Kaikhushru Masa's apartment at Irani Mansion. Soonamasi and especially Khorshed were happy that Baba had returned.

One day at Irani Mansion, Mehera and Khorshed decided to cook doodh pak with puris — a sweetened, thickened milk-based dessert with small, round, deep-fried wheat puris. The milk would not thicken, so Mehera added flour to it. When it was served to Baba, He inquired, "What is this? Who has cooked it?" Soonamasi replied that they were doodh-pak puris prepared by Mehera and Khorshed. Baba sent for them and asked, "Have you ever seen doodh pak puri in your life? Has your father ever tasted it? Is this doodh pak or gruel for a sick man? Do I look ill to you?"

In 1933, before leaving for Bombay, Soonamasi and her daughter Khorshed met with Baba in private. He inquired how Soonamasi liked it at Sakori, and she replied that she liked it very much. "Will you come and stay with me?" he asked.

"When?" asked Soonamasi.

"Not now, but later after I have arranged a place. I only wanted to know if you would."

"Surely!"

"Promise me," he said, and Soonamasi held out her hand in promise.

Khorshed was keenly interested in their conversation and thought: "Why is Meher Baba only asking Mother? He must ask me to come and stay with him, too!"

However, he only remarked to Khorshed, "Be good. Think of Me and we will meet again." Baba was deliberately ignoring her so that Khorshed would become more eager to join Him.

In 1936, Baba had sent Soonamasi and her daughter Khorshed from Ahmedabad to Ahmednagar with orders that they should remain there unless otherwise instructed. While Baba and the mandali were touring Gujarat, Soonamasi's husband Kaikhushru Masa became seriously ill in Bombay. Although Soonamasi received a telegram urging her to immediately come to Bombay, she did not go. In a few days another telegram was received about his condition, but Soonamasi obeyed the Master's orders and did not leave. Even a third telegram, saying that Masa's illness had taken a turn for the worse, was disregarded.

After Baba returned to Meherabad, He called Soonamasi and Khorshed to Him. When he was informed about Kaikhushru Masa's illness, He asked, "Why didn't you go?"

"How could I break your order?" Soonamasi replied,

"What if Masa had died?" Baba asked. "Then what?"

"So what?" Soonamasi answered. "Everyone has to die sometime."

"What will your relatives say about your behaviour?"

"I don't care about what anyone thinks. What do I have to do with the world when I am at your feet?"

Baba then smilingly told her, "Had you broken My order, Masa would have died; but now he won't. You have saved him by obeying My instructions." Baba at once sent her and Khorshed to Bombay, and Kaikhushru Masa's health improved as soon as they arrived.

One day Khorshed (Goher’s mother) came to Meherabad with her sister, Soona. After their initial meeting, Baba directed the two women to embrace all the women mandali. But when they saw Gaimai and Manu Jessawala emerge from the kitchen covered with sweat, instead of embracing them, they folded their hands in greeting from a distance and walked away.

But nothing ever remained hidden from Baba. When they came back to him, he asked, "Did you embrace everyone?"

They spoke the truth and said they hadn't, explaining that Gaimai and Manu were covered with so much perspiration that they just said hello. The two women did not wish to have their nice saris stained with perspiration. Consequently, Baba took them before Gaimai and remarked to Khorshed and Soona Irani, "Your luck will flourish by their sweat because they are working for Me! Embrace them heartily!" Both embraced Gaimai and Manu, as Baba watched, smiling.

In 1938, Khorshed and her husband Rusi Pop were debating whether or not to turn over all the property to Baba and remain dependent on Him. Several meetings were held about this with Baba and the different members of Adi Sr. and Sarosh's extended family. In the end, the couple decided to dedicate everything to Baba and He agreed to assume responsibility for the family's maintenance and for Goher's continued education.

Khorshed Irani had been an early mandali member and while she had been living in Bombay since the New Life, she was called by Baba to live with mandali from time to time.

She died on-24-5-1968

Baba said on her demise “Dear Khorshed has come to Me to rest eternally in Me.”

She wrote a book on Baba titled “Love Alone Prevails”

111-KHARMEN MASI

Kharmen Masi was cousin of Rustom Dinyar of Bombay who married her after death of her husband.

She was devoted and longtime Baba lover. Her some of her experiences with Baba are written below.

Rustom Dinyar Irani of Bombay had met Baba years before in Poona, at the toddy shop in Kasba Peth, and had also visited Baba at Manzil-e-Meem. In 1922, he introduced his cousin, Kharmen Masi to Baba at Manzil-e-Meem. At the time, Kharmen was married and had three sons, but she was unhappy as her husband was prone to violence. After some years, the husband died and Baba encouraged her to accept a marriage proposal from Rustom Dinyar, which she did.

Rustom Dinyar arrived at Meherabad on the 12th with two of Kharmen's sons, Homi and Sarosh, who were kept in the ashram and enrolled in the school. Their younger brother, Merwan, would join them later.

Rustom Dinyar and Kharmen Masi, 35, had become regular visitors to Meherabad, and Kharmen's sons had stayed in the Meher Ashram School for some time. During this stay in Bombay, Baba visited their house. On that occasion, Baba indicated to Kharmen Masi that he was very hungry. She replied that food was being brought from outside. "I do not like restaurant food," Baba replied. "I only require leftovers — chapatis and dal."

Oddly enough, this was the only food left over in the house. But when Kharmen Masi opened the cupboard to get the food, she found it empty. She looked puzzled, and Baba asked her what was wrong. After Kharmen Masi explained, Baba remarked, "When you were taking a bath, a thief came and ate up all the dal and chapatis. Do you know who that the thief was? He is standing before you!"

Kharmen Masi's eyes welled up with tears and she exclaimed, "O God, strange are Your ways! You ate stale bread and dal from the house of a poor woman like me. How loving you are to someone as unworthy as I. You are the sole support of the poor, Baba!"

Taking her in His embrace, Baba gestured, "You are not poor; you are very rich! What wealth is greater or higher than love? It is because of your love that I have come to your home."

Kharmen Masi's love for the Master was exemplary, and she would later live and travels with the women mandali for two years.

In 1939, while in Bangalore, Baba directed the women to stage plays for five days consecutively. One of the plays concerned an African tribe in the jungle. Rano took the part of a hunter, and Irene the wife. Katie was the African chief, Mani his daughter and Kharmen Masi, Soonamasi and Manu members of the tribe.

On one occasion, Baba told Kharmen Masi, "You are Buddha's masi [aunt]." He informed Gaimai, "When I come back after 700 years, you will be My mother, and Kharmen Masi My father."

Hearing this, Memo advised Gaimai, "Never be the Avatar's mother! It is a miserable existence! Have you not seen My plight — how outsiders insult me and do not let me live in peace!"

Baba left Meherabad for Ranchi on 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 included Kharmen Masi and other ladies and several women servants.

In 1941, when Baba had left on His recent mast tour, He had permitted the Eastern and Western women to go together for a picnic or walk while he was away; but He had ordered them not to eat any wild fruit they might see. Sixteen of the women went out for a walk at sundown on 13th October 1941. One of them dug up what she thought was arrowroot, and passed it round to taste. Only Kharmen Masi ate some.

By seven o'clock that evening, she became violently ill with severe stomach pains, high fever and a swollen, red face. Dr. Nilu, whom Baba had ordered to look after the women, examined her, but could not diagnose what was wrong. All night Kharmen Masi tossed from one side of the bed to the other. Everyone thought she was about to die.

The next morning, Baba returned and heard the full story. He saw Kharmen Masi and put His hand on her forehead. It turned out that what Kharmen Masi had eaten was not arrowroot, but a poisonous plant given to buffaloes who are fatally ill — to put them out of their misery and kill them quickly! By Baba's nazar, Kharmen Masi gradually recovered within a week.

On 15th July 1948, Jean Adriel and Delia DeLeon had arrived in Bombay. On 22 July, after eleven years of separation, they had a chance to see their Beloved Master again. Baba arrived at nine that morning with Mehera, Mani and the other women. Baba entered the room, and at the doorway, Kharmen Masi ceremoniously cracked a coconut at his feet.

On 10th August 1949, Baba came to Panchgani from Satara with the women mandali, Kharmen Masi and others were also called from Bombay. Considering the happy mood Baba was in these days, no one dreamt that an "earthquake" was coming. Baba was extremely happy in Panchgani. For two days He played games, had funny stories and jokes told to him, and took long walks and drives; the atmosphere was full of merriment and relaxation.

Bombay lovers sold several of their valuables, collecting the sum of Rs.10, 000, which was laid at Baba's feet as their contribution. Baba accepted this gift with the utmost love, but returned the amounts to the respective lovers as His prasad. Praising His Bombay lovers, Baba remarked, “I know what Kharmen Masi has done, too. She always has had hard times to pass through and can hardly make two ends meet. Truly, she has gone half-hungry and still, surprisingly, was able to send Me Rs.400!"

Kharmen Masi came for the darshan. She was a stout, rotund woman, and Baba teased her, "Kharmen Masi, you seem weak! You should be sent to the battlefield to fight!"

Before the sahavas began, Baba wished a week's change of pace, so on 21 st January 1958 he was driven to Bombay once again with the men and women mandali, and stayed at Ashiana.

Baba had sent word beforehand that He would not be giving darshan, and that no one should come to see him at Ashiana except for those few He called. Once, when Baba instructed Arnavaz that no one should know that he was in Bombay, one day the doorbell rang. Standing at the door was Baba's old disciple Kharmen Masi.

"Don't tell her I am here and drive her out!" Baba ordered. "Tell her to go away."

Kharmen Masi was as dear to Arnavaz as her own mother, so she wondered how to accomplish this. Then Baba said, "Okay, tell her I am here, but she must go away." Arnavaz did so with a heavy heart, and Kharmen Masi dutifully obeyed. Five minutes later, Baba told Arnavaz to call Kharmen Masi, who was overjoyed to have Baba's darshan.

In 1963, to reap the benefit of Baba's darshan whenever available, the Bombay group rented Jamnagar House in Koregaon Park for three months. They moved in the day after they arrived and stayed the entire summer. Kharmen Masi and other Parsi women would join them on weekends. For the first few days, their bungalow had no running water. Hearing of this, on one occasion, Baba remarked, "There will be a severe shortage of water throughout the whole world."