Symbols of the world's religions



Bal Natu

On July 25th [1952], a celebrated Hollywood personality, Gabriel Pascal, came to Hartsdale to meet Baba. Gabriel was planning to produce, in his own revolutionary way, a fascinating film on Baba, with a striking title — The Slippers of the Perfect Master.

Here I wish to digress briefly and recount the story of Pascal's first visit to Baba, in Zurich. It was in connection with Baba's interest, in the early 30's, in producing a film based on the spiritual truths of evolution, reincarnation and realization (involution of consciousness). Norina Matchabelli, who had known Gabriel Pascal well, arranged for his interview with Baba at Zurich in 1934. Although skeptical about meeting an Indian Master, Pascal arrived at Hedi Mertens' house at the appointed time.

Elizabeth greeted him warmly and then went upstairs to inform Baba of Gabriel's arrival. To her surprise He was not there and no word had been left with anyone about where He had gone or when He would return. This was really unusual. Although slightly embarrassed, Elizabeth told Pascal that Baba was expected any minute. Baba did not return for some time. This annoyed Pascal so much that he was on the point of leaving the house.

Just then the telephone rang and one of the mandali gave Elizabeth Baba's message. She was asked to collect the best peach from the kitchen and to give it to Pascal; Baba was coming soon. A nice peach was offered to Pascal and this had a deep effect on him. He recalled that his dear mother would give him choice peaches as they were his favorite fruit. Through this seemingly simple act, Pascal had a glimpse of Baba's divine knowledge and it calmed him down.

After a little while, Baba arrived and Pascal had his interview with Him. With the touch of Baba's hand, Pascal had a profound personal experience. When he came out of Baba's room he said that he would do anything that Baba wanted him to do. The change in Pascal's attitude was so obvious that one of the mandali later remarked, "He went in as a lion and came out as a lamb!" From then on, Pascal corresponded with Baba asking Him for His guidance. At the end of his letters to Baba, Pascal would sign "Phoenix" for his signature.

To resume the story, in 1952 he told Baba that prior to The Slippers of the Perfect Master, he was undertaking a film about Gandhiji's life. The shooting of that film was to be arranged in India. He requested that Baba instruct one of the mandali to work for him as the distributor for India. Baba listened patiently to his plans and gave him some guidelines for his film project.

Pascal died in 1954. From his death-bed he wrote a few devotional letters to Baba. Meher Baba, in His unconditional love for Gabriel as well as in His utter disregard for the progress Pascal had made on the film project, never asked anyone to inquire as to what had happened to Pascal's unfinished films. I presume Baba's interest in the 1930's in producing a film based on spiritual truths was a scaffolding through which He worked, in His own incomprehensible ways, for the film world.


1982 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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