DAYS AT THE CENTER, 1952
Baba walked over each morning around 5 a.m. from His house at the far end of the lake to the Guest House where He breakfasted just tea and cereal. Before 7 a.m. He would be seen literally racing down the path to the bridge, crossing the lagoon, up the steps to the main dining room.
He would look around to see that all were present, send for absentees and then, sitting just inside the doorway, discuss various details of the moment, whilst we finished eating. Then with the women only He went for a brisk walk to the beach along the lower path by the lake, returning by the upper path. I recall Baba always made me walk ahead with a stick in case of snakes, but we never saw one on these walks even though they can be quite prevalent at that time of year. (Baba had told us, if we did see a snake, to take His name and it would not harm us.)
On the beach, Baba walked some distance ahead and we followed in groups, stopping to gather a variety of shells. Occasionally Baba paused to let us catch up with Him and, showing keen interest, looked to see what we had found. Off again, He sent us in search of better shells.
Mehera usually found the prettiest, often the most delicate, and these Baba put in His pocket or gave into the charge of one He felt was careful. These outings reminded me of the times I had gathered pretty shells or pebbles on walks with Baba in the early years.
When we returned before the sun got hot around 9:30 a.m. Baba left Mehera and the rest of us at the Guest House. He then proceeded with the men mandali to the Lagoon Cabin for private interviews with visitors which continued till lunch-time.
I recall that Ivy Duce had several interviews with Baba in connection with her Sufi work. In the afternoons, Baba would often resume the private interviews on the Guest House porch. A few of the women who met Baba for the first time were sent after their interviews to meet Mehera and the three other Eastern women.
Baba had daily talks with Elizabeth and Norina regarding the journey to San Francisco, Meher Mount near Ojai, and Los Angeles. Baba had proposed going by plane but this worked out to be too expensive, and plans were made for going by car.
On one occasion, Baba spoke of the future work at the Center. He had come to the Lantern Cabin one morning from the Guest House. Calling several of us to the porch, on His alphabet board and with Mani interpreting, Baba enumerated the various aspects of this work, which were the same aspects as those given on the occasion in India in 1939 when Baba inaugurated His Centre at Byramangala, near Bangalore.
These aspects were: (1) the Spiritual Academy, (2) the House of the Advanced Souls, (3) the Abode of Saints, (4) the Mad Institute, (5) the Solitary Quarters for Meditation, and (6) the Resting Place for the Afflicted.
In the afternoons, Baba often suggested games outdoors. Margaret was always called when Baba wanted us to have recreation. One time it was croquet on the grounds outside the Guest House. Did we play fair? Why ask! With Baba it was not the winning but the fun. Would we have enjoyed the game if Baba had not won?
Another form of recreation was boating on the lake. Margaret was chosen by Baba to take Mehera and the girls out on the water and teach them how to manage the rowboat. Later they went alone.
Meanwhile Baba, apparently deep in work, would pace back and forth on the bridge that spanned one end of the lake. I felt very nervous and I recall making the remark, "But, Baba, what about the alligators? 'Grandpa' Alligator is fourteen feet long!"
Baba put up both His hands and I understood Him to mean, "They wanted to go, what could I do?" I was always foolishly worrying about something or other interfering with Baba's plans some mishap or some inconvenience. Baba would stand by, so calmly, so unconcerned, and would gesture, "Don't worry, don't worry it will be all right." Maya was very potent when Baba was on some special intent. One felt it so strongly at times.
The early evenings at the Center would be spent with Baba at the Guest House, where all the women would be called to be with Mehera, Mani, Goher and Meheru. Jokes were told to make us laugh. Earlier stories about Baba were told by the girls.
Then Mani would read passages selected by Baba from Hafiz or other Persian poets and Baba would explain their spiritual meaning. Also, we talked about saints, Baba telling us how they suffered so much and welcomed suffering for God.
At 7:30 sharp, Baba would say good night to all and leave the house. Outside the gate, Adi Sr. would be waiting to walk back with Baba to His house.
No one was allowed to be absent during the day to go bathing or shopping. To always be where Baba could send for you was His desire, and we obeyed it unless specifically sent out by Him. I recall Baba allowing Mehera and a few of us to visit Toni Roothbert's delightful bungalow at Briarcliffe Acres. We had a lovely tea and much enjoyed seeing her modern house with all the American gadgets a far cry from India's normal household equipment.
The Aspects of Meher Baba's Centers BACK
"1) The Spiritual Academy: This academy will prepare men and women who will authoritatively ask the world to be selfless and God-loving. They will use intellectual understanding as their medium for secular, social and international harmony.
"2) The House of Advanced Souls: This section will prepare real mystics of the practical type. These mystics will inspire others to live a life in which there will be complete detachment side by side with intense creative action. They will also help all to feel divinity in every phase of life.
"3) The Abode of the Saints: This section will consist of Saints who will bestow true knowledge on souls who are ignorant. They will teach through the medium of experience that the only real existence is God and all else is illusion.
"4) The Mad [Mast] Institute: This department will be devoted to the care of such God-intoxicated souls as have lost their balance while cavorting the inner planes. These souls will be given a further spiritual push or brought back to normality according to the requirements of the Universal Plan behind the working of the Universal Ashram.
"5) The Solitary Quarters for Meditation: Provision shall be made for those who will most benefit through meditation with suitable quarters and such instructions as are necessary in particular cases.
"6) The Resting Place for the Afflicted: This section will devote attention to the removal of suffering and ailment in all its forms. It is meant to be the training ground for a group of selfless workers who will learn how to render real and effective service. The experience gathered through this department will be capable of universal application."
LOVE ALONE PREVAILS, pp. 390-392; 695
1981 © Meher Spiritual Center, Inc.