51-JANE BARRY HAYNES
Jane Barry Haynes. Jane, came particularly close to the Beloved during His visit in 1958, and later played a key role in the development of Meher Center in America. She had pursued a career in the theater as an actress and producer. Since her childhood growing up in North Carolina, Jane had always had a longing to go to Myrtle Beach ("It was sort of like a Mecca — I didn't know why."), which she finally did in 1947. Ten years later, she was given the opportunity to manage the local theater-in-the-round there. Separated from her husband, she took a chance and moved to Myrtle Beach with her three children — two sons, John and Charles, and a daughter, Wendy. At that time, in 1957, despite having led a prosperous life, Jane had recently emerged from a traumatic experience of deep emptiness. She later related:
Everything had come together at once. I felt covered with the world. There was no worldly experience I had not had. One night I cried out from the depths of my being inside my heart, almost from the floor: "Help me! If there is a God — Jesus whom I pray to every night — please help me."
Jane Barry Haynes met Meher Baba at Barn in lagoon Cabin in 1958. Jane Haynes was allowed to be present when the dancers came. Baba asked her what she had been thinking while watching their performance in the Barn. Jane laughed and said, "You know, Baba. Because they are so brilliant and beautiful, I would like to keep them here for my theatre." "I thought that was what you were thinking," Baba replied, and He too chuckled.
Some of her reminiscences with Meher Baba are written below:
On 29th May 1958, Baba held several private interviews. He explained about conviction to one group and emphasized, "Conviction is most important. It is more important than faith. Mind and heart support faith, and faith gives conviction. For this conviction one would give up mind and body, but not the conviction."
In Myrtle Beach, Jane took over the theater, renaming it the Carousel Star Theater. Zazu Pitts, a popular comedienne and actress, was an old friend, and it was she who opened the new season in 1957. One day in the middle of June that year, after the show had begun, Zazu expressed an interest in visiting some of the beautiful homes in the area. Zazu insisted on being taken by Jane, and though Jane was extremely busy, she relented and took the film star to a home with an aviary where a Miss Universe beauty pageant had been held sometime before. The home in Briarcliffe belonged to Eileen Coates (an architect). There, out of the blue, Zazu asked Eileen, "What about this Master who calls himself Meher Baba?
Jane began visiting often and grew closer to Elizabeth and Kitty. As mentioned, Norina had recently passed away and, apparently, Baba wished Jane to take Norina's place by Elizabeth's side as her new companion and helper for the ongoing work at the Myrtle Beach Center.
Jane began reading about Baba's life and was tremendously impressed by Elizabeth and Kitty's selflessness, purity and love. Jane later recalled: "Never had I experienced these words, these ideals put fully into daily life. This I could not turn away from." In spite of her Christian Presbyterian misgivings, Baba's longhaired younger photographs during the 1920s perfectly fulfilled her image of how Jesus may have looked.
Now the Christ had arrived in Myrtle Beach in the flesh.
Early on the morning of 19th May 1958, Jane's telephone rang. It was Elizabeth, who said, "Baba has sent for you. He wants to see you now."
Jane was flustered. "I cannot come now," she said to Elizabeth. "You told me no one would be allowed to come the first day, and besides I have so much to do."
Elizabeth said very quietly, "Jane, I want to tell you something.
When Baba calls, that is the time to come."
Something in her voice got through and Jane went. Baba had arrived at the Lagoon Cabin in the morning. Jane entered the room. "I thought: I've never seen anyone so beautiful as Him. I thought I would be nervous and afraid, but I was not. I felt very much at ease. Baba was so full of love and understanding. He seemed to accept me as I was."
Baba was seated and beckoned her to sit beside Him. She said, "You look so well. They have told Me you have not been so well." Baba, without glancing at her, looked past her beyond the door. A look of great suffering appeared on His face and, making a hand gesture, He conveyed, "No one understands My suffering." Baba noticed her looking at his feet, hands and body and remarked, as He touched her hand, "Don't look at this form. This is not Baba."
Elizabeth was called in to join them. Baba teased her, "All Baba has received is letters about Jane."
Suddenly Baba asked her, "Have you eaten?" When she said no, He told her with a twinkle in his eyes, "Go and have something nice to eat." She left the Lagoon Cabin, but hardly had she sat down in the kitchen with Toni Roothbert when Kitty came running in and said, "Baba says you must sit next to Him. He has decided to let everyone come, and that you are to sit by Him."
Jane walked back to the Lagoon Cabin, where Baba was welcoming each new arrival or group as soon as they entered the Center. Jane sat next to Baba, watching the unfolding panorama of new faces coming before their Lord and Master. Some laughed, some cried, some knelt down, and some simply said hello to him.
Early that morning Jane Haynes had woken from a deep sleep and suddenly began weeping.
She had come to the Center very early and was seated on the aisle at the back of the Barn. When Baba entered carried by the dancers, just as he reached her chair, he indicated to the dancers to put him down. He brought his face close to Jane's and inquired, "Did you sleep well?" He knew. Again, while leaving the Barn two hours later, Baba passed by Jane and gestured for his chair to be put down. The same question was repeated, "Did you sleep well?"
Jane later recalled:
Then He let me look for the first time into His glorious eyes. There was something in His eyes that seemed to temporarily lift the veil. Everything disappeared. There was only Baba. No Barn or people. He appeared so young and so beautiful. He was the Christ whom I had tried to know and love since childhood. Baba showed me my Jesus, so unmistakable that I cried out in my heart, "But it is you!" And I heard within as I gazed at Baba's face: "Yes, it is I, it is I."
This shattering experience was engraved on Jane's mind, never to be forgotten.
Then, going to His bedroom, Baba called each woman separately to receive her gift from Mehera. Jane Haynes had been called with this first group, though she was a newcomer. She was sitting on the sofa, thinking that the only reason she was there was because of her friendship with Elizabeth. But when she was called into Baba's bedroom, He remarked to her, "Try to believe I love you for yourself," and he handed her a pair of earrings with his picture in them.
In the Barn, Baba was seated on a satin pillow wearing a pink coat. He gestured for people to make way to allow Jane Haynes to sit beside Him. Casually, He remarked to her, "You know Baba is very sensitive to sore throats. People stay near Me, but I catch colds easily." Jane had a chronic throat problem, which was worse during that period. Afraid that she would infect Baba, she scooted away as fast as she could. But no sooner had she done so, seemingly out of nowhere came a viselike grip. She felt an iron arm around her, and she was snapped back next to Baba. Jane was amazed for two reasons: Baba's suffering and frail and broken body were so evident — and yet His grip was so powerful! Secondly, no human being could have reached the distance Baba did; she had been too far away.
Baba coughed, remarking, "I have a sore throat (Jane Haynes' heart leapt with trepidation), but I am happy because it was transferred to Me through love."
After listening to some music, Baba left the Barn for the Lagoon Cabin. Jane Haynes was allowed to be present when the dancers came. Baba asked her what she had been thinking while watching their performance in the Barn. Jane laughed and said, "You know, Baba. Because they are so brilliant and beautiful, I would like to keep them here for my theater."
"I thought that was what you were thinking," Baba replied, and He too chuckled.
Jane Haynes had been so moved by Baba's company that she wished to give Him something in return. "You have given me a new life," she thought. "You have lifted me up from despair, transformed my life, put your hand of grace on me and my children. I have nothing, nothing to give." Then she remembered a book of Norina's titled Jesus, The Son of Man written by Kahlil Gibran, which Elizabeth had given her to read. The section about Mary Magdalene's description of meeting Jesus had touched Jane especially. She decided she would read this passage to Baba, and she phoned Elizabeth, saying she wished to do this.
On the morning of the 29th, Elizabeth greeted Jane brightly, saying, "It is all arranged; I have seen to it. You will read that piece in the Barn this afternoon."
Jane was aghast. "I didn't mean that!" she shouted. "I wanted to read it to Baba privately. How could you have done such a thing?"
Just then someone came, "Jane, Elizabeth! Baba is calling you." In the Lagoon Cabin, Elizabeth started weeping. Then her emotions subsided. The problem was told to Baba, who remarked, "It is all right.
Elizabeth loves Jane very much." He brought his two fingers together and remarked, "Spiritual twins. But Elizabeth loves Baba far more. My sign for her is this (a fist) — a rock! Now stop the tears."
Jane said, "It's my fault; please forgive me. I wasn't clear about it."
Baba's arm shot out and he grasped her like steel, telling her to sit down. "Elizabeth, where is the book Jane likes so much?"
"At Yaupon Dunes."
"Go and fetch it. Jane will read to Baba."
Jane was given fifteen minutes to freshen up, and left the cabin while Elizabeth drove to her home to bring the book. When she returned, both reentered the Lagoon Cabin. Jane sat in front of Baba and began reading. In the middle, Baba's fingers began moving rapidly. Not knowing of Baba's Universal work, Jane surmised that perhaps she was not reading well. The moment this thought came, Baba's fingers ceased their activity. Jane recalled: "Just like Gibran's description — 'As still as the statues in Antioch' — Baba's eyes never left my face."
When she had finished, Baba was silent for quite a while. "Now come," he remarked, and Baba embraced her tightly, and she knelt before him. Looking at her, he revealed, "The way you have done this, given this to Baba, touches my heart very much. For you see, I was Jesus, I was Jesus Christ. Now let's go." He then took her in one arm and Elizabeth in the other and they walked outside.
Baba sat outside to listen to a tape of Harold Rudd's recitation of the poem "Light of Asia" (by Edwin Arnold) about the life of Buddha. His mood was serious as he listened, and his fingers worked at intervals. Jane began thinking about Baba's imminent departure, and felt sad about "losing" Baba after having just found him.
After the tape recitation, Baba called Jane into the Lagoon Cabin, where he emphasized to her, "Do not be nervous or afraid, for I will be with you always." As she turned to go, Baba added, "physically," and he had Adi repeat what he had said. When Baba returned to India, he sent this telegram to Jane: "Reborn in my love, you are blessed. Love me more and more."
Jane had always felt that she would die before the age of 33, and in a sense, she had — but to be "reborn" in the Avatar's fold!
At the beach, besides carrying His chair, some of the women had been given the privilege of holding Baba's umbrella over him. Jane Haynes had not had the opportunity and was feeling jealous and a bit miffed with Baba for not knowing her thoughts. Baba called her to the Lagoon Cabin, and she knelt before him. "Was there something you wanted to tell me on the beach?" he asked.
Jane said, "I only wanted to carry the umbrella and tell you that I love you."
Baba embraced her, remarking, "Now, isn't this better?" As she started to leave, Baba turned to the mandali and remarked, "Old friend. My very, very old friend, Jane. I love her very much." Jane pretended not to hear, as she wished to hear it again. She leaned forward, asking, "What?" And Baba sweetly gestured it again.
After moving from Myrtle Beach in 1958, Baba had ordered Jane Haynes to try to revive her acting career. She and her three children ("the Trio" as Baba called them) relocated in New York City, where Jane briefly appeared in a Broadway play. She had a rough time finding roles to act and for many months had no work. When she came before Baba, He asked with a mischievous expression, "Tell Me Jane, do you have work?"
Thinking, "You know very well, Baba, I haven't had any work," she replied, "Yes — Baba's work!" as she had been working on a children's book about Baba.
Baba slapped both hands on the arms of His chair twice in a strong and vital gesture and looked happy. He stated, "So be it — always. It will always be only Baba's work," a hint perhaps of her future role helping Elizabeth Patterson at Meher Center.
After Jane Haynes had kissed His feet ("The culmination of my entire life was at that moment," she later said), Baba asked her, "Are you happy?" She nodded, and Baba declared to her, "I am the Christ. I am the Christ. Open your eyes that you may see Me as I really am."
Baba looked like a little child to her, "So tiny you could have picked Him up," she recalled.
In 1962, Jane Haynes' daughter, Wendy, had been sitting on the floor next to Baba's chair during the music program and had nodded off to sleep for a few minutes until Baba shook her awake. Wendy was feeling shy and self-conscious before meeting Baba this trip. She was now eleven years old and more aware of who Baba was. But as soon as he embraced her on that first day, her shyness vanished and she was thrilled once again to be with him. At one point, she was hopping about so happily that Baba called her his "gazelle."
Jane Haynes has perhaps summed up the feeling of many who participated in this unique gathering when she wrote:
The East-West Gathering was unprecedented. It was the only time in our lives that we ever experienced what Baba calls oneness. You hear about it and read about it and try to understand, when Baba says to try to find him in everyone, that we are all one. But because of our false self, it is one thing to hear it, another to experience it.
We actually experienced oneness under the pandal. There were people of every color, race and creed present. But with the Beloved sitting there, moving His beautiful hands like a symphony conductor, it seemed as though it was one heartbeat. It felt like we were one person sitting there. Every single soul felt that he or she was the only one in the whole world, and Baba was giving him or her something special. His divinity made us feel that way.
Meanwhile, Jane Haynes was living in New York City with her three children. She had been writing a children's book about Baba, but somehow the project was not progressing well. Baba wrote to her: "You are not to worry. More important to me than any books written or unwritten is the love you bear for me."
After reading about Sakhares' work of setting up a Baba information booth at the New Delhi Industries Fair, Jane thought why not have Meher Baba represented at the New York World's Fair scheduled to open in about a year. Kitty was visiting the family and liked Jane's idea so much that she wrote to Sarosh, who conveyed her letter to Baba. In response, Baba expressed his happiness and approved of the idea.
Later, on 19th February 1963, Adi wrote the following note to Jane Haynes:
Baba wants you to know He is very pleased with your efforts to secure some little space for him in the New York World's Fair. If you do not succeed in getting one, Baba does not want you to feel disappointed, for you already have a corner in His heart. Baba sends His love to you and to His dear Trio.
Baba sent this telegram to Jane Haynes on 7th March 1963:
I would want those lovers in America who can afford to contribute toward the cost of this project to do so and thus spread my divine message of love through the World's Fair.
Thus, an important project in spreading Baba's message in America was set in motion.
Soon after the New York World's Fair closed in October 1964, Baba had ordered Jane Haynes and her children, "the Trio" (John, Charles and Wendy), to return to Myrtle Beach, where Jane was to help Elizabeth and Kitty with the work at the Meher Spiritual Center. Jane was likewise given permission to build a house on the center property near Baba's and Elizabeth's houses and she began its construction in March 1966. Accepting her as a spiritual twin-sister, Elizabeth loved Jane and paid for the house. When the Haynes family moved into their new home later that year, Baba sent this telegram:
Baba said that Jane and Trio are at My Center, they should live a life which will be My message of Love and Truth to all they come in contact with
They will not and must not let Me down because they are very dear to Me.
On a previous occasion, in 1960, when Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy in the election by a narrow margin, Baba mentioned that Nixon was destined to become president. Nixon had a small "encounter" with Meher Baba's name when Nixon attended the World's Fair in New York in 1964. Jane Haynes and her daughter Wendy were just leaving the Pavilion of American Interiors where there was a Baba booth, when they saw Nixon surrounded by a crowd, signing autographs. Jane thrust a copy of the "Universal Message" into his hand for him to keep, but, instead, with barely a glance, Nixon signed his name above Baba's and returned the brochure to Jane.