Symbols of the world's religions

               

THE HARDER TASK

Bili Eaton

 
In July of 1958, a few months after my harrowing separation from David, Baba returned to the United States. This time, we had orders not to meet Him at the airport; we were to make our first contact with Him at the Center in Myrtle Beach.

How different it was this time! My love for Baba was just as strong, even stronger, and nothing would have kept me from being with Him. But the guilt at having disobeyed Him spoiled everything. My nerves were strained to a fine tension. Even everyday noises, voices and music were a torture to me.

On the bus to the Center, we were discussing how we would all check in, clean up first and then go to see Baba. But, as soon as we arrived, one of the mandali met the bus and told us that Baba wanted us to go directly to Him before we did anything else.

This time, Baba was accompanied to the West by Adi Irani Sr., Eruch, Dr. William Donkin and Nariman Dadachanji. Baba was still suffering the effects of a car accident in India in 1956 in which Dr. Nilu Godse had been killed. Baba had sustained injuries to His face, leg and arm. He still had excruciating pain in His hip joint and had to be carried about the Center in a chair manned by four of Margaret Craske's male dancers.

We went to Baba's cabin, where He sat looking as radiant as ever, in spite of the pain He was suffering. The room was crowded. Feeling very unworthy and guilty, I took a seat in the farthest corner of the room away from Baba. It was very difficult to look at Him because of all my guilty feelings. In a few seconds, Baba asked, "And Bili? Where's Bili?" I was pointed out to Him.

"Why do you sit so far away, Bili? Come closer," He said.

Mortified almost to tears, I came and sat at His feet. He looked deep into my eyes and said, "Do you love Me as much as ever?"

Inside I was squirming like a worm on a hook while I searched frantically for the right answer. My love for Baba seemed to be scrambled with my love for David. Incredibly, because it could have taken only a second, the following thoughts ran through my mind: How could I love Baba as much as I felt He should be loved when I had done what I had done? But then, why was I here? And why did I leave David in New York?

I wanted to tell Baba what was in my heart, but there were too many people around and, in the conflict of emotions, I didn't know how to answer Him. The hurt inside seemed to blot out almost everything else. Yet I desperately clung to Baba in my thoughts. I thought all I had to do was to make a telephone call to David in New York and everything would have been all right between us, but I couldn't do it. Baba must have known He had won. I'm sure it was to save me embarrassment and to give me an easy "out" that Baba almost immediately added, "Do you love me as much as Anita does?"

I was saved. I looked at Anita Veilliard and said, "Baba, only you know all hearts." How could I possibly have known how much Anita loved Him? My answer seemed to satisfy Baba, because He said no more.

There must have been a great deal of suffering and many guilt feelings among others during this visit because one day Baba sat in the midst of a group of us and said, "I forgive you all of all your sins to this day." Yes, Baba forgives us; the harder task seems to be for us to forgive ourselves.

 

A LOVE SO AMAZING, pp. 49-50
1984 © Meghan Blakemore Eaton

               

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