Symbols of the world's religions



Ivy Oneita Duce

As mentioned, at five o'clock in the morning many of us got into cabs and drove out to the airport to greet Baba. Despite his long trip the work in London and all night on the plane, he came into the baggage room looking very radiant. We were so happy to see him walk again with his usual great strides, which always seemed phenomenal for his physical stature. Shortly after his arrival at the hotel Baba sent for Charmian and a young man that she wished to marry.

I had not felt that they were well matched, but Baba sent for me to say that he wished the marriage to take place as they had a long, past karma together. Baba then handed his ring, which had been given to him in his childhood by his parents and worn these many years, to the young man to give to Charmian as an engagement ring. He told me that he wished them to get married in September or October and that I should arrange a large wedding, as he wished to "to work through it." The next morning he sent for me early and asked, "Are you happy?"

Eruch always did the talking and somehow he managed to preserve such an impersonal countenance and was so gentle that you never minded what transpired in front of him. He was just Baba's mouthpiece and utterly detached. I replied, "No, I'm not happy," and burst into tears.

Baba looked at me sternly. "You believe I am God, then why are you not happy? Don't you think I know best?"

"My heart accepts, Baba, but my head is still churning around."

He smiled and wiped my eyes with his pocket handkerchief and handed it to me with, "Always keep it. Don't lose it."

I mentioned that there were so many things I wished to do for him but my broken feet would not let me. He measured off the index and third finger of his right hand with his left thumb and asked.

"Can't you take this much? Look what they did to me when I was Jesus — put all those thorns on my head which drew blood, made me carry the cross. They beat me, nailed me on the cross and pierced my side — can't you take this much pain?"

I felt like saying, because I was still rebelling, "Yes, but I don't have bliss at my back" — the expression Baba used in "God Speaks" when speaking of the Avatar having a mortal body. But how could I utter this when, in his dear presence, and knowing that out of the whole world of his children — many sick, frustrated, anguished, in poverty — he was taking precious time out for me and my daughter and wiping the very tears off of my face.

He embraced me, which to me has always been a strange experience. I have seen many people embraced by Baba, to whom it appeared like being in the arms of the dear friend. I could never capture that feeling. I always felt as if I were being enveloped by a cloud. His arms were around me but he wasn't there — he was as big as the sky and I was surrounded by pink-sleeved arms with no being in them, for the being was bigger than the world.


HOW A MASTER WORKS, p. 244-245, Ivy Oneita Duce
1975 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.


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