Symbols of the world's religions



William M. Stephens

Peggy and I have always loved rainbows.... The most perfect rainbow we've seen was at Meherabad, India, on September 21, 1995. Earlier that day, I was sitting alone inside the Samadhi, feeling Meher Baba's presence very strongly. I was thinking of how fortunate we are to know of the Avatar and to be able to visit the small domed building atop Meherabad Hill that proclaims, through the symbols at its corners, the unity of all religions.

As I sat there, the thought came to me that of all the millions of seekers and lovers of God in the world, I was the only one at that moment who was blessed to be actually inside the final resting place of the Avatar of the Age. I thanked God for His bountiful grace and asked Him to open and enlarge my heart, so it could hold more of His precious love.

My prayer was interrupted as an Indian man came reverently into the Samadhi and knelt, placing two 8 x 10 photographs at the foot of the marble slab. One photograph was of Meher Baba as He lay in state in the crypt in 1969; the other was of Hazrat Babajan, the ancient female Perfect Master who in 1913 unveiled the God-man by kissing Merwan Sheriar Irani on the forehead.

I realized that the man who placed the photographs at Meher Baba's feet was Bal Natu, one of Baba's close disciples. Two men accompanied Bal, and after they all paid their respects to Meher Baba and Babajan, they put garlands of roses on the tomb. Following the men's example, I too paid obeisance to Meher Baba and Babajan, and then I left the Samadhi.

Late that afternoon, shortly before sundown, Peggy and I left the Pilgrim Center at Lower Meherabad and walked up Meherabad Hill. After crossing the railroad track that separates Upper Meherabad from Lower Meherabad, we happened to turn and look behind us. To our surprise, we saw a spectacular double-rainbow holding all of Lower Meherabad in its full 180-degree arc. As we ascended the hill, we stopped from time to time to look back; and each time we observed that the rainbow's colors had increased in intensity.

Reaching the top of the hill, we stood outside the Samadhi admiring the spectacle, along with Marge Liboiron, Cynthia Llewellyn, Dagmar Lai and a few other awe-struck pilgrims. By this time, the rainbow had become the most vivid manifestation of aerial color we have ever witnessed. For at least 30 minutes — until darkness obscured its colors — the rainbow was a dazzling display in which all seven colors of the spectrum were clearly visible.

That evening Marge Liboiron, who lived and worked at Meherabad, checked the date in her Meher Baba calendar and informed us that September 21 was the anniversary of the date Hazrat Babajan dropped her body in 1931. Marge also told us that, before she saw the rainbow that afternoon, she had been sitting inside the shelter at the Samadhi, talking silently to Meher Baba. She was saying: "Baba, why do we never have rainbows at Meherabad? We have rain but no rainbows. Why can't we have a rainbow?" At that very moment, she heard our nearby voices talking excitedly about the aerial display we were witnessing. Coming out to look, Marge was astounded to behold the instantaneous fulfillment of her wish....

For me, the rainbow at Meherabad has great personal significance for still another reason. That night Meher Baba began the process of granting the prayer I made to Him in the Samadhi that day — that He would open and enlarge my heart. Next morning early when I awoke, unusual activity was taking place inside my heart. I felt as though the Divine Beloved was performing some kind of spiritual surgery in my heart. I experienced exquisite, heart-wrenching sensations — as though the Beloved was probing, penetrating and stretching my heart. At times the "operation" was so excruciating that I actually cried out — in ecstasy, not pain.

Later I felt as if He had struck a match and lit a fire within the heart which was consuming old desires. The experience peaked with the upwelling of a fountain of bliss from the depths of my being. I wanted it never to end; and when it finally did, I prayed for the Beloved to come again soon to continue the process.

The Beloved is infinitely compassionate. I know I will never forget the day of the double rainbows — one for Meher Baba and one for Hazrat Babajan — which were like God's loving arms, outstretched to hold all of us at Meherabad in their grasp.


1997 © Oceanic Press


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