THE EAST-WEST GATHERING
Guruprasad had for me such a gracious air. It was not a very big building, but was pleasing in design the spacious verandah running the full width of the house and turning along each side with marble balustrades at the edges; the beautiful pink marble columns rising to the lofty ceiling; the black and white tiled floor; the delicate engravings on the wide glass entrance doors, and the tall white statues on either side all these gave the feeling that the house itself welcomed us with open arms as it were, extending an invitation, fresh and cool, to come in from the heat and noise of the busy highways of the outside world to spend a few precious hours in the company of the Host of Hosts who was waiting to give each one His overwhelming love.
This second morning had a different pattern from the previous one. First, of course, Baba greeted everyone and asked this one and that one had they eaten well, or slept well, were they in good health.
He also made humorous comments to Harry Kenmore who was taping on the small recorder which he called 'my baby', and to Ben Hayman, 'Are you awake, Ben?' Both these men were seated to Baba's left near the mandali.
Then Baba told all present that He wanted each one, on returning home, to write one letter only to Him, but not to write after that.
Then Baba gave a quite detailed explanation of the Four Journeys of the soul, and to illustrate it there was a big chart on a stand, specially prepared for the purpose. Eruch read Baba's gestures, and as the explanation progressed, Francis would point to the corresponding sections on the chart with a long stick.
The beautiful clarity of Eruch's voice, the warmth and love in his eyes, added a further quality to the whole wonderful experience of having Baba Himself explain the journeys of the soul. This discourse and the chart were included in the manuscript of The Everything and The Nothing which had been given to Bill the day before to publish.
Another most moving experience for me during this Friday morning was the reading by Francis of an Ode of Hafiz, translated by Baba and versified by Francis :
This Ode was for me like a personal message of love and understanding from Baba. As mentioned earlier, I did not weep at the moment of meeting Him that first afternoon, but the floodgates had opened during the Thursday night.
I could not sleep, thinking about Him, and wept because I felt I did not know how to love Him. As I listened to the Ode and its constant encouraging refrain 'be not grieved', I felt that Baba knew what I was feeling, and was telling me not to be concerned or unhappy.
Immediately the sun shone again for me, and I enjoyed being there with Him.
Baba closed the session around 11 AM, and on the way back to the hotel Francis took me to a teashop for a cup of tea and a chat. Little happenings such as this one, and being included in the small family get-togethers in the evenings at the hotel, all helped me to relax and absorb something of the wealth of love that Baba was giving out to all in every moment of those wonderful days of the East-West Gathering.
During this Friday morning the rest of the Australians who had had to stay on the ship were travelling from Bombay to Poona, escorted by Bill. Their train had arrived late, and we were already sitting under the pandal for the afternoon session when the tired little group appeared.
Baba immediately called them up to the platform, and it was a most moving sight to see each one come to Him for His most loving embrace, His interest in how they were feeling, his enquiries as to whether they had had lunch.
He seemed to give them extra and very special attention to make up for their missing His company for a day and a half, and kept them sitting on the floor near Him during the programme.
The Four journeys chart which had been placed to the rear of the stage on the right hand side, seemed to form a kind of backdrop to the little group. This whole touching episode is captured on one of the films.
Baba's second message 'MY DEAR WORKERS' was read over the microphone:
The programme throughout the afternoon was similar to the previous one groups singing bhajans and qawwalis, Baba listening intently, sometimes swaying or moving His fingers to keep time, sometimes explaining the words. Periodically He would stop the singing and call for the lines of lovers to come for His embrace.
At the end of the afternoon, as happened each day, Baba told all: 'When you go from here, take Me with you.'
I still recall the impact these words had for me, and doubtless for all there.
MEHER BABA'S LOVE MY STORY, pp. 42-47
1999 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust
The East-West Gathering My Story, Part: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7