THE BEGINNING OF THE
During the course of this trip with Meher Baba, he had been
dropping hints about a proposed big meeting to be held in
India. Some had heard a little about it, and others still had not
caught wind of this meeting. So, on Sunday, August 5, before
breakfast, Baba summoned all of those who were traveling
with him on this  American tour to assemble in his small suite
of rooms. There were about forty of us, all crowded in there.
Baba's announcement was electrifying. He began, "Last night I
thought over everything. I had to attend to much Universal
Work. I decided about the meeting I want to call after my
seclusion on November 7. I have decided the meeting will
start November 7 and continue. I will send instructions to
those whom I will invite from the West and others in India.
These will include instructions informing the Western group
when they should arrive, how long they should stay one
month. I will send the instructions in March 1957 to all
invitees, and I will expect their early replies and suggestions. I
will expect an early reply for the board and lodging
arrangements. The group coming from different parts of the
globe will have to stay one month. Dana, repeat all this so
loudly that those on Mars can hear you!"
Dana Field loudly repeated what Baba had said. Baba
continued: "I will require six months for the arrangements.
There will be so many from different parts of India. All the
Indian groups. That will take time, making arrangements for
them." Then Baba had Don Stevens repeat in a loud voice all
that he had said.
During the following moments, Ben Hayman asked if the
meeting would be for men only, which brought out protests.
Baba said, "The Indian women are annoyed with me because
it was not possible for them to have my sahavas. This meeting
will be for men and women. It will be unprecedented in the
history of my activities. I will also invite saints the seven
All this talk about a big meeting in India aroused a great deal
of interest and excitement among the group and especially
so when Baba turned his attention to the matter of inviting
members of the Western group. He forcefully smacked the
open palm of his left hand with the fist of his right hand as
Eruch interpreted, loudly declaring, "Elizabeth MUST come!"
This was followed by the same forceful gesture, and Eruch
loudly saying, "John Bass MUST come!"
More names followed, and the excitement among the listeners
increased, so that many among the group who had hitherto
not seriously thought of going to India began to wonder
anxiously if they were going to be left out. Meantime, Baba
continued naming one after another until, to the relief of those
who were fearing they might be left out, every single person
there was named. This was the beginning of what later turned
out to be the East-West Gathering, which took place in India
AS ONLY GOD CAN LOVE, pp. 403-404
2003 © Darwin C. Shaw