Symbols of the world's religions



Part One

Dr. William Donkin


Dr. William Donkin's first contact with Baba occurred one rush hour at Liverpool Street Station, one of London's large terminus', when evening papers at the bookstall were in great demand, and he impulsively chose The Occult Review, which he had never seen before, and which included Baba as the subject of one letter to the editors. Communicating with the editor, he was put in touch with Baba's office at 50 Charing Cross, where he called for more information. While still a medical student at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, he had also been in search of spiritual healing, visiting several centres in London, whose aim was relief from pain through psychic, hypnotic, magnetic and mental channels, meditation, etc.

Immediately on entering the office, one unforgettable afternoon, he said he was searching for spiritual healing and was at once assured that he had come to the right place, as that was Baba's work. Eight years afterward he wrote, "The Healing That Matters" for The Meher Baba Journal, Vol. 30. It was during Dr. Donkin's first two interviews with Baba that the Master wrought one of those personal miracles. Fifteen years after those interviews with Baba, to whom he had dedicated his entire life, Dr. Donkin wrote The Wayfarers, a record of unique "spiritual healing" by Baba amongst the "advanced souls, the God-mad, sadhus and the poor", such as no Western medical man had ever before been equipped to attempt. We now quote from his diary sent from India in installments, after his first arrival at Meherabad in July, 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II.

~ Will Backett

31/7/39 Meherabad, Ahmednagar, India: I left London on July 7th or 8th; I forget the exact date now: it was anyhow a Saturday. There was quite a little party at Victoria (Station) to see me off and to send their wishes to Baba.

I arrived at Clarmont Ferrand on Sunday afternoon and it was not until the following afternoon that I managed to buy a 2nd hand bike. Rather short in the saddle, but O.K.; paid 200 francs for it with new front tyre and pump. Cycled from there to Marseilles, about 200 miles or so — beautiful hills, with ripening crops, flowers and rivers to Galhein. At Marseilles, I was not able to sell the bike because I had not got a receipt for it at Clarmont Ferrand so I left it in the street.

The voyage out was pleasant. Perhaps a bit boring at times, though always stimulating to think I was on my way to Baba: Mediterranean beautiful, Red Sea very hot, Arabian Sea rather rough. Sick twice on first day out of Aden, more or less on purpose as I got fed up with lying down to avoid nausea; after this, was quite refreshed and O.K.

At Bombay, Chanji , Kaka, and Dr. Khumballa, Paramenend and her brother met me on board, and covered me with flowers round the neck and with bouquets to carry. It made me perhaps a little self-conscious, but it was nevertheless a very pleasing way of welcoming me to India: the jasmine has a very wonderful scent. Got the baggage through the customs, having to pay Rs. 13 duty only, and was dropped at Regent Hotel. Thereafter, at Baba's order, Chanji and Kaka took me all round Bombay in a taxi; a fine city.

The next morning, we bought a bedding roll for my use while in India, and after lunch with Dr. Khumballa and tea with Chanji's relations, took the Poona Mail Train: very swanky, traveling by Baba's order in 2nd class, Chanji in 3rd class, coming along to see if I was O.K. at each station. The Ghats very green and striking.

Adi Jr. met us at Poona, and we slept in the 2nd class waiting room at the station. Next morning, Adi took us to see his and Baba's mother, and the house where Baba spent his youth; also Babajan's Tomb. I had always visualized this latter as being at the edge of the town, and not in the centre, as it, in fact, is. Shivaji's fortress at Poona is impressive, and gives the city a feeling of historical importance. They took me also to Parvati's temple on the hill, and the weir on the river, where Babajan used often to come and sit, under a tree at its side. Adi Sr. met us at Ahmednagar, and soon after arriving at the ashram, I went in to Baba. It was good to see him again after so long. He certainly looks better here than he did in Cannes when I saw him last.

Baba ordered me to take care of my health, and incur no hardships, physical or mental, not to worry, and to tell him of anything which is on my mind or worrying me. Secondly, I am not to worry about thoughts, good or bad, but am not to put the bad ones into action. I am sleeping in Baba's little house, a feeling of him there, and really everywhere here; especially, perhaps, on the hill, a lovely place, all of it.

Baba orders Nilu, myself, and Ramju to go by car to Nasik to see the retreat there, stopping at one or two places on the way; from Nasik, Nilu and I go by rail to Sholapur, where Baba will stay for a week or two before going on to Mysore.

I went up the hill yesterday. Baba showed me all over it; the Westerners' dormitory is (interesting).

Have you ever slept with baby pigs in a pen in your bedroom? Well, there are two up there — very clean, of course, cleaned twice a day; and, as well, there are 3 monkeys, 3 dogs, and some birds! All Elizabeth's pets — Baba says she likes looking after them; she may soon have a baby camel!

The place where Baba meditated for one year in 1929 is covered over with a dome roof and painted inside by the Merten's painter friend, Helen Dahm, quite effective.

Baba orders me to eat 3 peaches a day for my health; they spoil me rather with special foods, although the Indian foods suit me well and I like them.

We have been checking up on the instruments and drugs in the hospital on the hill prior to sending them all to Mysore.

THE AWAKENER MAGAZINE, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 5-6, ed. Filis Frederick
1983 © The Universal Spiritual League in America, Inc. All rights reserved.

My Days with the Master
Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five


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