Symbols of the world's religions

               

RANO'S PAINTINGS

Judith Garbett

 
Rano's two largest painting — the full-length portrait of Baba, and the Ten Circles Chart — hang in the Museum of Meherabad Hill.

In her book Because of Love, Rano's descriptions of working on these under Baba's explicit instructions, as well as the prints of her preliminary sketches and information about them and other work, all make fascinating reading.

A third painting is hung in the Rahuri Cabin at Lower Meherabad. This painting of Baba has a very interesting, but probably not widely-known history, which was recently given by Mani. After Charlie Morton's painting of Baba was finally set into the central window of the Samadhi in March 1993 there was some correspondence concerning it. This is an extract of the letter Mani wrote to a Baba lover on 22nd November 1993:

".....Did you know that in 1938, when Helen Dahm painted the Murals on the ceiling and walls inside the Samadhi, she also painted a portrait of Beloved Baba (on wood board) which was placed in the central window (where Charlie's painting is now)? This portrait of Him was painted by Helen as the centrepiece of all the murals, the central jewel in the crown of her creation, the natural focal point for all the adoration being offered by the figures on the surrounding walls.

And did you know that when Helen left India for Switzerland, Baba Himself had this portrait removed, leaving us facing a blank space in the central window, just as it has remained all these years! As the empty space looked very odd, Rano asked Baba if He wanted another painting to be created for the blank space. And I was there when Baba told her , 'No, not now — later on.'

And did you know that Baba then gave Helen's painting to Rano with instructions that she paint another picture of Him over Helen's? In her total obedience to Baba, Rano did so, and that is the Baba-portrait you see today in Rahuri Cabin, before which Baba performed Arti in the 1950s. The reason you probably have never heard this story is that Rano felt very embarrassed to have painted over another artist's work, and did not want to let it be known. So you see how natural it was for Rano to be totally involved in the Samadhi window project when we first initiated it with Charlie over twenty years ago....."

LIVES OF LOVE, Rano, pp. 3-4
1998 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

               

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