Symbols of the world's religions



Bhau Kalchuri

On Friday, November 6th, 1931, passing the statue of Liberty the S.S. Roma sailed into New York City's harbor at two in the afternoon. However, this time Meher Baba's welcome was not exactly warm or inviting. Two hours passed before Baba and the group were allowed to disembark.

An insolent immigration officer kicked up a row on board ship, unnecessarily delaying their disembarkation. He was dissatisfied with the answers given by Meredith Starr to his questions, and suspected something suspicious about Baba's silence and alphabet board. He kept detaining Baba and the group with questions and even tried to read the board himself, but could not.

He asked Baba directly, "You have come to teach people in America? But you do not speak. How can you teach with this board? How foolish! Who gave you this silly idea?"

Baba spelled out in reply, "I have come not to teach, but to awaken." In reply, the man laughed loudly, mocking Baba. Baba's eyes flashed, gesturing to the group, "Fool that he is, he laughs at this now, but I will show him. Poor, ignorant soul. I pity him."

The officer then warned them, "I cannot let you pass unless someone in New York stands surety for you." However, this trip to America was not widely publicized and not many knew about Baba's coming. Except for three persons waiting for Baba at the dock, and they were prevented from boarding the ship, there was no one present to intervene on Baba's behalf.

It was quite an awkward situation, but it was the Master's game. Baba remained serene and calm as he meekly submitted to the interrogation by the insulting immigration agent.

Suddenly, an officer of the ship dressed in white appeared on the scene, and asked the immigration agent, "Why do you detain these men when all the other passengers have left the ship?" He explained that he was not satisfied with their travel documents and wanted surety. The ship's officer looked through the papers and asked, "What is wrong with them? Let them go."

"But there is no one here to stand guarantee for them," the agent protested.

Chanji explained that they had very good references, and the officer said to the agent, "Quite frankly, I do not see any sense in your behavior. They even have references to show. If you still need a guarantor, I will stand guarantee. I am coming back shortly and want you to prepare permits for them to land."

This reprimand upset the immigration agent; however, he issued the landing cards. When Chanji went to thank the ship's officer, he could not find him. No one knew who he really was.


LORD MEHER, 1st USA ed, vol 4, pp. 1462-1464
1989 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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