Symbols of the world's religions

               

THE BEGINNING OF THE
"EAST-WEST GATHERING"

Darwin Shaw

 
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 [1956] 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 favorites."

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 in 1962.

 

AS ONLY GOD CAN LOVE, pp. 403-404
2003 © Darwin C. Shaw

               

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