Symbols of the world's religions


Part 5 (Final)

Lady Dorothy Hopkinson

LADY DOROTHY HOPKINSON died last August [1993] after completing, with her husband Tom, an astonishing biography of Meher Baba, titled THE SILENT MESSENGER. We feature the last chapter of the yet unpublished biography

By now we had moved down into the country, to a cottage in Partridge Green which we rented from an old friend, the novelist Antonia White. It was through Antonia that we came to know Tom Hopkinson. At that time editor of Picture Post, he came down to see us occasionally, and shortly before his death Hugh asked Tom to become one of his trustees. Hugh died on May 15th, 1949, and a Memorial Service was later organised for him in London by two of his closest friends, Malcolm Muggeridge and Hesketh Pearson. I was both surprised and happy to see my analyst present, and touched that — though the analysis had now long been over — he offered to give me any help that was in his power.

It took Purdom some time to complete his exacting task, so that his edition of the Discourses did not appear until 1955, published by Gollancz, under a title chosen by Meher Baba himself — God to Man and Man to God.

By now Tom and I were married, and we had both also met Meher Baba in London during 1952, when Baba was paying one of his visits to the West. When Purdom's book came out, Tom was working on the now defunct News-Chronicle and, though not yet a committed Baba-lover, succeeded in getting a review of it on to the leader page. In it he wrote: ". . . The Discourses in this book were given by Baba to his followers over many years. They have been available hitherto only in a privately printed 5-volume edition. What Mr. Purdom has done is to shorten them considerably . . . In so doing he has made available to the general reader a series of essays whose distinguishing quality is that they deal with the most profound subjects in the simplest language. They have, as it were, immense depth but without weight. They enter directly to the heart. . ."

It was nearly twenty years after this, in 1974 — by which time Tom had become as devoted a Baba-lover as myself — that our own book Much Silence was published, also by Gollancz. The title, taken from an African proverb "Much silence makes a mighty noise", was a reference to Baba's vow of silence taken on July 10th, 1925.

In the opening pages of this book [THE SILENT MESSENGER: The Life & Work of Meher Baba] we explained why, when a new edition was called for, we decided not simply to reprint, but to rewrite, Much Silence. To complete the task has taken us some seven years, and in the course of those years — and particularly during 1989 — the whole of the political and social world has been transformed.

Barriers which divided "East" from "West" have dissolved or been swept aside. Tyrannies unchallenged for decades have been overthrown in a few weeks. Whole nations, as if guided by some common impulse, have demanded, and secured, their freedom. The process is not yet finished, and its consequences only begin to be assessed. But as a first step, the piling-up of armaments — which had seemed set to continue and increase indefinitely — has been curtailed. Armies, navies and air forces are being cut back. Nuclear weapons have been reduced in number, and some of the technology which provided them diverted into other, more beneficial channels.

Behind this political and material transformation lies a profound inner change, emotional, even spiritual, in nature. Not yet throughout the world, but simultaneously in different continents and countries, there is a growing sense that all mankind is one; that nations, like members of a family, should help each other, and that there can be no lasting peace so long as some peoples and countries enjoy abundance, while others still lack the basic necessities of life.

Secondly, an awareness has sprung up and is growing, of the need actively to protect our common heritage — the earth and seas, with all the creatures that inhabit them, and even the atmosphere itself against pollution and destruction. What had been the dream of a few advanced thinkers down the centuries -- that the earth is a garden and mankind its gardeners — is finding its way into the pattern of accepted beliefs. And this sense of responsibility towards our environment, the recognition that each generation should strive to pass successor a world that is more fertile and productive — not one that is ravaged, depleted, even dangerous — is growing faster among ordinary men and women than among our rulers and political leaders.

Moreover, these changes in our ideas and in political and social fields, have been accompanied and supported by a range of practical and material developments, serving to unite the peoples of the world in ways which seemed inconceivable only half a century ago. The spread of English to become virtually a universal language is one such development. The world-wide network of air communication is another. Television, with the use of satellites, making it possible to see what is happening in even remote corners of the world, is a third. And meantime, the mix-up and peoples which began centuries ago in the United States, has spread throughout Europe, Africa and much of Latin America and Asia. Populations are no longer local and indigenous, but various in colour, in origin, background and religion.

In the course of the 20th century, the world pot has been stirred as it was never stirred before, and such stirring seems set not to diminish, but increase.

At such a time of crisis it was inevitable that, as the great Catholic writer Teilhard de Chardin foretold, there would be a new spiritual manifestation, to assist and to explain the world transformation that is taking place. We have no doubt that this spiritual manifestation, the Prophet and the Explainer of our age, took the form of Meher Baba, the Silent Messenger. And we both feel ourselves doubly fortunate to have looked upon the Silent Messenger in his bodily form, and to have lived long enough to see the changes he foretold beginning to take shape.

GLOW INTERNATIONAL, Nov 1993, pp. 23-24
1993 © Naosherwan Anzar

The Inner Voice, Part 1
The Inner Voice, Part 2
The Inner Voice, Part 3
The Inner Voice, Part 4

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