118-NADIA TOLSTOY (Nadine)

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.”