SEEING THAT "IMPOSSIBLE" SITUATION WORK OUT
I left my room and was walking to the lobby when I met [my wife] Bea.
She said, "I've been talking to Baba and told him all about how you're handling our finances. And he said he'd straighten you out about it." She seemed very pleased. . . .
Bea had no sooner told me that Baba would straighten me out about my misappropriation of family funds than one of the mandali came up to me and said, "Baba will see you now." I had asked Baba for a few minutes in private.
Bea and I went in to see Baba. Murshida, Meherjee and Eruch were there also. Baba looked at me expectantly and asked, "About what did you wish to see me?"
Now, the thing about which I really wanted to see him was living with him in India, but the money matter was on the surface of my mind. I felt I had to dispatch that problem first before we could really get down to cases. So I said, "Baba, there's this matter about money. . ."
Baba appeared shocked. Very deliberately he gestured, "Today you should no have talked about money."
My heart sank. How could I have forgotten Basic Rule No. 1 — you seldom get to ask a Master one question! I wait a lifetime for such a chance, and then I blow it! I said, "Baba, my real interest is not in money! I'd really like to talk about something else."
"No, you have brought up money, so now we will talk about money."
I was hit by a killing remorse and was practically in tears. "Oh, Baba, I'm so sorry I brought it up."
Baba said, "That can't now be changed, so you are not to be unhappy about it. Come, put your mind on money now, and we will discuss it."
There is no fooling around with the Master. I recognized this last as an order to be obeyed, so, even though I felt disembowelled, I collected my thoughts and began:
"Baba, my wife wants a new house. There's not enough money for both that and sending my four children to college. I think we should make our present house do, and use the money to send the children to college."
Baba turned to Bea. "Do you want a new house?" Bea said yes.
Baba said to me, "Get her a new house."
"I guess we can't send the children to college then."
"You must not try to save by restricting education," Baba replied. "You must give your children the best education obtainable!"
This was not adding up. I knew the projected calculation very well — I had done it often. I had forecast my income for the next fifteen years, forecast college costs, house payments, etc., etc. I mentally repeated the calculation. No, it still came out the same — a sea of red ink. I cast around for some way to make the books balance. I thought of my contribution to the Sufis. At the time, I was paying the rent for our Center at 406 Sutter Street.
I said, "Well, I better start to save the money I'm now contributing to the Sufis. But what will we do for a Center?"
"You must not diminish your contribution to the Sufis," was Baba's reply.
That finished me. My careful financial planning was a shambles. Nothing could again repair it. No matter how I added it up, income would not equal outgo. Did God condone deliberate bankruptcy? What virtue was there in buying a house knowing that mortgage foreclosure was inevitable, etc.? I collapsed onto Meherjee's shoulders, and he held me up.
Baba, with the sweetest smile, turned to Bea. "Is there anything else?" he asked.
"Yes," said Bea. "Lud doesn't buy me any insurance, and I don't feel very secure."
I was privately convinced she was mad. But Baba told me, "Buy her all the insurance she wants."
I was numb. Except for the sure knowledge that this was not a joke and that I would have to live with this program, everything seemed unreal.
Then Baba said to Bea, "You will never have to worry about money in this life. I almost never say this to anyone. But to you I say it. In this life you need never worry about money."
Then Baba got up. "I have solved all your financial problems," he said to me, "and this interview is at an end."
There were a number of sequels to this. Baba stayed overnight on Memorial Day 1958 at the new house we had built. He named it "Baba House" after this stay.
As predicted, my bank balance declined. It was apparent that sometime in early 1961 I would go into debt and stay there for the rest of this lifetime. But quite unexpectedly in May 1960, I was transferred to an assignment in Iran at a fifty percent increase in salary.
When Baba said to me, "I have solved all your financial problems," he meant exactly that in a very basic sense. Since that day I have stopped planning ahead, financially speaking. After seeing that "impossible" situation work out, I'll never concern myself about my future solvency again.
HOW A MASTER WORKS, pp. 278-280, Ivy O. Duce
1975 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.