146-TOM HOPKINSON

Journalist and Professor in Royal College of Nairobi

Tom Hopkinson, a journalist, had first met Baba in 1952. This time when he embraced Baba, he recalled: "I remember giving Him a hug and feeling this strange feeling that you always felt when you embraced Him, of mingled lightness and solidity as though it were very real and yet intangible."

Hopkinson was asked if there was anything he wished to say. He said, "Baba, I am happy to see you but I cannot accept you as God. My mind is not equal to the task of recognizing you as God, but I thank you for what you have done for me."

Baba said, “What does it matter? Every night you go to bed, just for one minute think of Me. But do not think of Me as you see Me Now; think of Me as I really am. Whatever you do leave everything to Me –good or bad. God knows everything, so have that conviction and don’t worry. It is I who put the words in your heart. Every day when you go to bed just think: “I must see Baba in everyone everywhere-Baba as Baba” and one day you will.

They went to South Africa shortly afterwards where Tom Hopkinson worked as journalist editing the magazine “Drum” and subsequently moved to Nairobi after accepting a Professorship in Journalism in the Royal College there. He came to India in December 1965 to attend a Seminar of the Asian Press. Mr. Hopkinson was treated as State Guest during his stay for over a week in New Delhi. Adi K. Irani from Ahmednagar wrote to letter to W. D. Kain asking to contact Hopkinson and talk to him about Baba. Accordingly Mr. Kain received him in New Delhi and took him around the historical places. They became intimate friends. Mr. Hopkinson later on moved to the University of Wales as a Professor of journalism. They were deep in love for Baba.

145-THIRUMALA RAO

(Ex. Member of Parliament Govt. of India & Lieutenant governor of Rewa)

On 4th January 1956, Thirumala Rao arrived, and Adi Sr. brought them to Meherazad to see Baba. Thirumala Rao had come for the sahavas with the Telugu group and afterwards was appointed the Lt. Governor of Vindhya Pradesh (a state in central India). Before assuming his duties, he wanted to have Baba's darshan. He had written to Baba in Satara, but because Baba was to proceed to Meherazad for His work, He called him there.

Baba advised Thirumala Rao, "Continue carrying out My instructions, love Me and be scrupulously honest. Do not let (Prime Minister) Nehru and (President) Babu Rajendra Prasad down. Translate God Speaks into Telugu with all your heart." Baba touched a copy of the book and presented it to him for the work. Thirumala Rao was overcome by Baba's blessing. Baba embraced him and he left.

On March 26th, the lieutenant governor of Rewa, Thirumala Rao, came to Meherazad and laid the Telugu translation he had done of God Speaks at Baba's feet. Baba touched the manuscript and returned it to him, happily urging him to publish it. He commented to Thirumala Rao, "I am highly pleased with your efforts and love. Despite your high position, you have not forgotten Me. So live for Me in that way and thereby you will truly serve the Indian government and more."

Thirumala Rao said, "I have become governor only by Your blessing, so how could I forget you?"

"Even if you are removed as governor, remain happy, taking it as My wish, and don't worry."   Thirumala Rao departed happily.

On 5th May, 1968, a special function was arranged in spacious lawns (Now holding underground municipal Market) of Connaught Place which was inaugurated by the Chief Justice of India M. Hidayatulla, which was attended by Shri. Thirumala Rao M. He paid tributes to Avatar Meher Baba. He made a very thought proposing and inspiring speech replete with Baba’s devotion and interspersed here and there with Baba’s teachings. He told the audience that Meher Baba was “That all pervading Power which worked behind whatever we saw or heard.” He added that when Baba gives Darshan at Guruprasad  it is not only few hundred people sitting in the Pandal before Him who benefit from His nazar (His Grace) but millions outside as well benefit by spiritual waves emanating from His Avataric Body. He emphasized that His penances, self-inflicted suffering and a long spell of over 42 years of silence. Baba has taken upon Himself the sufferings of others to rid humanity of their karmic load.

144-THOMAS AUGUSTUS WATSON

Scientist worked with Alexander Graham Bell

Among the persons gathered to receive Meher Baba was an elderly man named Thomas Augustus Watson, who had come with his wife from America to stay at the retreat for two days. Mr. Watson was the scientist who had worked with Alexander Graham Bell in inventing the telephone and since retired was searching for spiritual knowledge. Upon entering the retreat and climbing the staircase to his room, Baba stopped for a moment and gently placed His hand on Watson’s head. Baba’s divine touch had such a deep effect on him that the old man wept like a child. From Baba’s gentle touch, his heart burst and overflowed with love.

Having observed similar incidents while on tour with Baba, Chanji took Mr. Watson into the library and made him sit down. Watson continued to weep for about fifteen minutes and then became quiet. His eyes filled with tears and he asked softly, “How long have you been with him?”

“For seven years,” replied Chanji.

Hearing this, Watson placed his hand in a fatherly way on Chanji’s back and said, “My son, do you realize how fortunate you are to have been living in such close contact with such a great personality?”

“Yes sir, I do consider myself fortunate,” Chanji answered. “It is His grace that I am near Him.”

After a few moments of silence, Watson revealed, “In my seventy-eight years of life, today is the first time I have experienced what divine love is. I have come to realize this with just a touch from Meher Baba.”

Chanji said, “Such a privilege is bestowed on very few.”

Without Watson’s asking, Baba had rocked the grounds of His being. Watson’s heart blossomed and he saw a new light – the light which dispels the darkness of ages.

It was wonderful how the Master’s work was manifesting. He was forging a link with Watson for a plan which, up to now, he had not revealed. Baba was planning on going to America from England and Watson was to be His medium for setting it up. This is why Watson felt compelled to travel all the way to England just to meet Meher Baba.

Thomas Augustus Watson assisted Alexander Graham Bell during the experimental period of the telephone. Resigning from Bell Telephone Company in 1881, he formed a company to build engines and ships. Thomas Watson was the first person on earth to receive the first telephone call from Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, on March 10, 1876. Source: Wikipedia the free encyclopedia).

143-TEHMANKER

(A Reporter from London)

The following day, a Mr. Tehmanker, confronted Chanji, "When will Meher Baba break his silence?"

Chanji conveyed the question to Baba, who replied, "If strong winds are blowing and you try to open your umbrella, it is blown here and there and it becomes difficult to hold. But when there is no wind and much heat and rain, then you will naturally open your umbrella. Similarly, when there is no movement of air and I find signs of 'heat' or 'rain,' I will break My silence."

142-TALLUTAH BANKHEAD

(A Hollywood Actor)

Baba visited Paramount Studios. On one lot, The Devil and the Deep was being filmed. Quentin had known the American actress Tallulah Bankhead and the actor Charles Laughton in London when they worked in the theater, and he introduced them to Baba. They in turn introduced Baba to another actor and afterward were photographed with Tallulah. The visit lasted almost two hours. According to a newspaper account (which may not be accurate), Baba spelled on the board to Tallulah, that one of the reasons he had come was that, in Hollywood, there was an "equal balance between the spiritual and material forces." (Lord Meher-p-1429-1932)

On Thursday, 2 June 1932, Baba went to Paramount Studios again and met Maurice Chevalier, 43, who was making Love Me Tonight with Jeanette MacDonald. Tallulah Bankhead was there and ran to Baba, hugging and kissing Him. (Lord meher-p-1439-1932)

In the evening Baba went with Quentin to Tallulah Bankhead's residence for dinner, (Lord Meher-p-1439-1932)

During th West visit of Baba, according to Adi, Jr., it was announced that Baba wanted to leave, Tallulah Bankhead asked Adi Jr. if it was possible for him to come to her house the next day for lunch, for she had something to talk about with him. Adi said that he thought it would be possible, but that he’d have to ask Baba. When he approached Baba, Baba replied, “Fine.” Then in a stern tone, He warned, “But do not touch her and do not let her touch you.” Adi assured Him that nothing ill-mentioned would happen.

Adi went to Tallulah's home the following afternoon (probably with another of the mandali). When he met her, he immediately blurted out, "I am happy to be here, but please do not touch me." She blushed, saying she would not embarrass him. During their lunch, Adi asked what was it that she wanted to talk to him about. Tallulah said that she was in love with a certain man, but that he did not love her, nor had he shown her any affection. She wanted Adi to persuade his brother (Baba) to cast a "love-spell" on the man, and thereby he would fall in love with her and be hers. Adi was taken aback and assured her that Baba did not do such things and that she was greatly mistaken about the kind of spiritual things Baba taught. Tallulah, nevertheless, insisted that Adi ask his brother if he would cast such a spell. Adi said he would, but explained again that he doubted if Baba would do such a thing.

After Adi Jr. returned to the Joneses' residence, he was feeling quite disturbed about his meeting with Tallulah, but did not say anything until he met with Baba. When he did, Baba sternly inquired, "Did you touch her?" Adi pleaded innocent and then explained why she invited him over and what she wanted Baba to do — cast a love-spell on a certain man, so he would fall in love with her. Baba showed His obvious disgust, "Hollywood!"

The general impression among many of the movie stars was that Meher Baba was a yogi or swami of a high class, who possessed occult powers and could influence people's minds. That is why Tallulah Bankhead made such an inquiry. The Hollywood actors and actresses were famous personalities whose lives were well publicized, and since Baba had attained much notoriety in the newspapers during this visit, they welcomed him as an equally famous personality.

Like most people caught up in maya, the Hollywood celebrities' understanding of true spirituality, or of what Meher Baba's Avatarhood really meant, lacked much depth.

140-SUMITRA NANADAN PANT

Eminent Hindi writer and scholar

In 1963, Shri Sumitra Nandan Pant, an eminent Hindi writer and writer evinced interest in Baba’s teachings. Consequently on 31-12-1963, Bhau Kalchuri sent following books to Shri. W. D. Kain to be given to Pantji with Baba’s love;-

  1. God Speaks
  2. To stay with God
  3. The East West gathering
  4. The everything and Nothing
  5. Existence is Substance and Life Shadow
  6. Highest of High

These books were made over to Him at his Allahabad address: 17/7-B Kasturba Gandhi Marg, early in January, 1964.

Shortly afterwards, Shri. W. D. Kain got a note from King’s Road (Adi K. Irani) his personal copy of “wayfarers” may be given on loan to Pantji for study: copies of this book were not available with publishers. This was duly delivered as directed by Baba. Shri W. D. Kain did not hear from Pantji for more than 3 months, and he had to go to Allahabad to collect the book. Pantji regretted very much that the book was untraceable in the jumble of books scattered all about, as the house was under repairs. He promised to send it by post which he never did.

It seemed as he could rather during the course of his casual talk with Pantji, that little spark of love ignited by study of Baba’s discourses had burst into huge flames-after reading masterly compendium by Dr. Donkin about Meher Baba’s work with God-intoxicated Souls, Saints and Sadhus, engulfing Pantji in its effulgence. The “Wayfarers” was responsible for it. For Pantji, it was not a book but a symbol of the real Wayfarer – the Awakener of the Age-Meher Baba.

138-STALIN

(Political Leader of Russia)

Stalin is very cunning with his big mustache. He has proved a perfect actor in this great world drama, playing his part very well, giving a most astounding stand to Hitler and the attacks of the German army on their two thousand-mile front.

136-SONDHI M. L.

Ex. Member of Parliament Govt of India

Avatar Meher Baba gave darshan to public in December 1952. In 1968 the Ram Lila Grounds where people had so far witnessed Ram Lila during Dussehra Festival, depicted at length Meher Lila from 1stt to 3rd December. In a beautifully festooned Pandal illuminated with multicolored electric lights, was visible the Life-sized portraits of Avatar Meher Baba on a beautifully furnished stage.

On the concluding day, Shri M. L. Sondhi Member of Parliament came to pay tributes to Avatar Meher Baba in the evening. After garlanding Baba’s portrait, he made such a touching speech the like of which Baba lovers had not heard for long. He told the audience that Meher Baba would lead them towards the development of a real spirit of citizenship, of love, of brotherhood. He emphasized all that we have to do is to believe in His divine working.”

Appreciating the music programme presented by Meher Singing Group, he said “Sangeet gives us Divine Symphony and brings us nearer to God.” Eluding the previous programmes arranged by Baba lovers in Delhi, he said, “Sometimes, small endeavours have great effect. Baba message has to be brought home to each individual: to each family.” When a picture of Baba was presented to the speaker, he remarked “This picture should be engraved in the hearts of all in Delhi instead of just put on the wall and this medium of awakening should be adopted in our life so that the country as whole is affected and the hearts of mankind change.”

135-SIR MIRZA ISMAIL

(Ex. Dewan of Mysore)

Sir Mirza Ismail was Dewan of Mysore. He was contacted by Meher Baba through one influential person M. Chakravorty who came to see Baba when He stayed in Mysore.  Meher Baba wished that Sir Mirza Ismail and Subramanian Iyer be contacted for finding a suitable place to establish the Universal Spiritual Centre. Mirza Ismail was a very popular person and he found a suitable spot at Byramangala and wrote to Baba about it. In April 1938, Baba sent two of His men mandali to Bangalore and Mysore for negotiation with Sir Mirza Ismail about the possibility of the establishment of the centre. Later Baba sent a message to Mirza Ismail saying that He has postponed His plan until March of the next year.

Meher Baba visited Byramangala for the first time on 13th August 1939 along with Mirza Ismail. It is 34 kilometers from Bangalore and 4 kilometers from Bidadi Railway Station. Baba liked the place very much and He accepted the offer of Mirza Ismail to buy the land from the Mysore State. Mirza Ismail was helpful in making two bungalows of his brother available for use of Baba. He requested Baba to stay in Bangalore and assured Him all assistance. So Baba decided to stay in Bangalore and did not go to Mysore.

On 1st September 1939, Baba went to Byramangala and He selected a point where He hammered a spike. The point is Central Point where Baba’s pictures are engraved in mirror over seven steps. On 7th September He gave a cheque to Mirza Ismail and settled the transaction. An area of 406 acres was bought from the Mysore State.

On 19th August 1939, Mirza Ismail came to see Baba for discussions about plan of the centre. While discussing plan of the centre, He said to Ismail, “Yu are the power here materially; I am the power of spiritually, everywhere in My own way. So we need to talk of powers. Taking you as one of My own. I want to discuss with you on quite frank terms.

On foundation laying ceremony on 17 th December 1939, Meher Baba dug the earth and struck seven times with seven metal shovel and sat on the granite stool on which “Meher Baba Universal Spiritual Centre, Byramangala, 17 th December 1939’ was engraved. Sir Mirza Ismail was the chief guest of the function of foundation laying ceremony.