JOURNEY OUT OF DARKNESSPart Six
Tom told me, "I discovered Meher Baba's book, God Speaks, in Weiser's Bookstore the day I returned to New York from a trip as a seaman on a merchant ship. That was 1956. I bought the book and went right back to sea in the merchant marine. On that voyage I read God Speaks all the way through, two times. I had read a number of small pamphlets before, but after reading God Speaks, I was convinced Baba was the Avatar.
"I found a card in the book with Fred Winterfeldt's address in Manhattan. A short while after my return to New York," Tom went on, "Yvonne and I went to Fred and Ella Winterfeldt's apartment building in the East 80's. Fred answered through the intercom to find out who it was, and when I told him that we had come to learn more about Meher Baba, the door swung open and we were greeted as if we were long time friends in the most loving embrace by the two of them. It disappointed us to learn that Meher Baba had been in New York just two weeks before. However, Baba came back to the West two years later in 1958. Then we were able to go to see Him in Myrtle Beach, where His Center is. That was really something, two weeks with the God-Man! Over two hundred of His followers came there for the Sahavas. He gave His attention to everyone and everything. Baba told us all, 'This will remain My last visit to the West.'"
Everything Tom Riley had to say fascinated me, I felt entranced. By now, we were making a point of seeing the Rileys almost every day. We couldn't get enough of our meetings with them. One afternoon Tom began telling me of Baba's Master Hazrat Babajan.
"She was around one-hundred and twenty when she beckoned Meher Baba to come to her. She had taken up her seat under a neem tree in the heart of Poona. At that time, Baba was known simply as Merwan, His childhood name. Babajan kissed Him on the forehead between the eyes and sent Him home. He was then 19 years old. That night, she came to Him and brought Him up through the seven planes of higher consciousness to Infinite Bliss, and made Him realize the glory of Who He was. After that, Baba was in a state of being where only the Perfect Masters could bring Him back to normal gross consciousness. In fact, it took Upasni Maharaj seven or eight years to make Him ready to take up His divine Avataric mission on earth." Tom held me with the seriousness of his gaze. "It was agony for Him to come down from that highest state of consciousness, you see." Tom had the most incredible way of telling a story.
"I had just about concluded that nobody in the world wanted to know about Meher Baba," Tom said, "when you and Phyllis came along."
"That's amazing," I said, "because nothing else now has any real importance."
1998 © Craig Zenner
|Personal |||Anthology |||Main Page Norway |||AvatarMeherBaba USA |||HeartMind|