Symbols of the world's religions



Part One

Tom Talley

Compiled from talks given by Anita Vieillard at Meher Spiritual Center in 1982, 1987, and 1988, and at the L.A. Silence Day Sahavas in 1982.

In 1931, Anita de Caro was a young American art student. Her primary interests in life were art and painting, and her religious background was Catholic. She was acquainted with Norina Matchabelli through their mutual interest in art. One day Norina told her that someone very extraordinary was coming from India, a spiritual master named Shri Meher Baba. Although not a spiritual seeker, Anita was intrigued and asked if she might be able to meet Him.

On November 11 she was brought to Harmon-on-Hudson to meet Baba. Her nervousness about meeting Him was quickly overcome as soon as the door opened and she saw Baba. She had an immediate feeling of familiarity with Him. Baba opened His arms to her and she flew into His embrace. She was so happy she felt as if she was burning, as if she was on fire.

Baba said to her, "Do you know who I am?" And she replied, "Yes, Baba."

He said, "Who am I?"

She said, "You are the source of all goodness."1

Then she sat at His feet, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, as if she had always sat there. Later during that first meeting Baba asked her, "What do you want to do?" And she replied, "Baba, I'd like to be an artist." So he said, "You're going to paint My portrait." She was taken aback by this request because she hadn't studied portrait painting and didn't feel qualified to paint Baba, but she did not dare say no. (Later she would comment that this was her first lesson in obedience.) Baba continued, "You come in a couple of days with your paint box and you'll paint Me."1

After that first meeting, as she walked out of the room, she felt such a joy that it was ". . . as if the whole world had changed. I saw everything golden, everything was on fire. I myself wanted to write poetry, I wanted to say poetry."1

In a couple of days Anita returned to Harmon to paint Baba's portrait. "I arrived with my paint box and the mandali were seated in a corner, and I arrived and Baba posed. Now it was something very extraordinary to see Baba. He looked at me and I looked at Him. I have no recollection of time. I couldn't tell you how much time it took. All I know, that I was painting and looking at Him, and what was so fascinating was that, you know, the skin changed, the color changed, the eyes would go back, and then the eyes would come forward. I found it most difficult, but at least I tried. And after a while, Baba said, 'Be stopped.' I didn't even think of showing it to Baba. I took the portrait, put it in my paint box. I said to Him, 'But no one can paint you.'

And He said to me, 'Why?'

And I said, 'Because you are everchanging.'

And He said, 'Yes, I am everchanging.' And He looked and He pointed to the nature, and He said, 'I too am an artist.'"1

1Meher Spiritual Center, September 25, 1987

LOVESTREET LAMP POST, July-September, 1998
1998 © Tom Talley

Anita Vieillard, Baba's Loving Clown
Part: Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

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