Symbols of the world's religions



Ann Forbes

It was in 1952 that my friend, Loretta, called me to tell me that a Master was coming to New York and asked if I would like to join her and Harold and Virginia Rudd to go and meet Him. My husband and I were living in Newark, New Jersey at the time and so I said, "Yes."

In the early fifties little was known about Masters but, having been a student of the Ancient Order of Rosicrucians, I had just learned how Masters were all-powerful and omniscient.

Also, as the phrase goes, when the pupil is ready, a Master will appear and, since this invitation came unbidden, I thought I must be ready and was quite proud of myself.

However, when my friend called back that afternoon to tell me the Master had had an accident, I was greatly let down. "But we are going anyway," she said.

After finishing that phone conversation, great doubts assailed my mind about this Master. A Master is supposed to be all-knowing and all-powerful. How could he allow himself to have an accident?

So I called my friend back and told her I could not go, making some excuses. "All right," she said, "I will let you know how it was when we come back tomorrow."

Faithfully, she called me the next day and was in a state of ecstasy. "Ann," she exclaimed, "I know Meher Baba is God. I know He is the Christ!"

"How do you know that?" I questioned.

"Because all I could do was fall down on my knees before Him and exclaim, 'Oh my God!'"

With that, a deep wave of feeling, even ecstasy, came over me and hit me like a bolt out of the blue, impressing me with the thought of having missed the opportunity of a lifetime. She consoled me saying, "I have brought some pamphlets and a book; I'll let you read them."

From then on I tried to read whatever came to me and once I was able to attend the showing of a film narrated by Darwin Shaw, whose soulful description of the Master's work, and his own experiences of meeting Him, touched me deeply. The film was beautiful and Darwin spoke with sincerity and conviction, in Baba's being the Christ.

In 1953, a circular was given out by Meher Baba expressing His wish that His lovers should wholeheartedly repeat softly (but audibly) from 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. on July 10th, one name of God without a break. Westerners were to say, "God Almighty," Hindus, "Parabrahma," Muslims, "Allah Hu Akbar," Zoroastrians, "Yezdan," and so forth.

It was very important to me that I carry out this, my first order from Baba, and I felt very good and elated that I had been able to do so.

Returning to bed, I was just about to pull up the covers when, to my astonishment, there stood Baba by my side. He did not speak but conveyed the thought, "I am pleased," and in an instant was gone.

That clinched it for me. Surely Baba was what He said He was, and I never again doubted Baba being God.

Now and then I would attend meetings in New York. But uppermost in my mind was the desire to apologize to Baba for what I had felt earlier about Him. It was a deep urge and it would be the first thing I would do upon, meeting Him, I thought.

Finally, in 1956 the chance came. Together, with my husband and two friends, we went to meet Baba at the Delmonico Hotel in New York on July 22nd. As we sat in the waiting room with the others, a lady came in and announced, "The photographers are here to take pictures of Baba. Who wants to be photographed with Baba, raise your hands."

In an aside, my husband whispered to me, "Don't you raise your hand."

Well, unbelievably, no one raised a hand. What kind of people are they, I thought; they don't want to be photographed with Baba?

At that moment the lady repeated her request and my hand went up. Behind me another hand went up and we were told, "You two come out."

As the door opened and I beheld Baba in a white coat sitting on a white divan, the thought came to me, "This august Being is the essence of purity."

And, like my friend Loretta, I too fell right on my knees before Him.

Forgotten was the speech of apology I had so carefully worked out; not a word would come to my lips.

Someone had told me, "You never know what you will do when you come before Baba."

As it was, I felt Baba's hand touching my wrist gently and drawing me up. Before I knew it, I was face to face with the Compassionate Father and in His all-embracing arms. Baba held me so wholeheartedly for what seemed to me such a long time that I was in wonderment at what had happened to me.

I found myself in utter amazement as the thought came — "Is it possible, me in the arms of God?" At that instant, as if reading my thoughts, Baba's arms dropped and I felt His hands touching my shoulders. There I stood facing Him and feeling His gaze directed to my eyes; this also seemed to me to last for a long time.

A strong urge came to blink, but somehow I knew I must not. Hard as I resisted, finally I had to blink, much to my regret even to this day, for Baba immediately let go of my shoulders.

It was John Bass, who was standing nearby, who broke the spell by saying, "Baba, this is Mrs. Forbes, she too contributed to God Speaks."

Well, this released my tongue and I could say, "Baba, yes, I have the book, but I don't understand it."

With this Baba began to gesture and Eruch interpreted, "Baba tells you, you must read the book five times and then you will have it for all eternity." With this Baba gave me a grape.

Then He made a sign for the other person to come forth. Leonard Willowby was his name, a black man. Baba embraced him very heartily and I was impressed that it had some special significance for the black race as a whole.

His darshan over, the photographers began to click. My instructions were to step backward fifteen feet and come forward to greet Baba. Baba reached out to shake my hand. Imagine my joy to have another touch of the God-Man; and I had the privilege to do this three times!

After finishing with the photographers, we both returned to the waiting room where people, including my husband and friends, were eagerly awaiting their turn for darshan. Speaking for myself, I was in high spirits and my joy was truly unbounded when John Bass told me I could see Baba again.

Now, my good husband had not read as much about Baba as I had and when our turn came, unlike myself being in awe before Baba's august Being, he greeted Baba more like a friend.

"Baba, I am so glad you are here; my wife couldn't wait for you to come, for weeks she hasn't been talking about anything but BABA, BABA, BABA."

And Baba smiled, shaking his hand vigorously, with His other hand patting my cheek benignly. My heart was in rapture and I felt in that instant that our marriage was blessed by God. One of our friends, who met Baba that day, was moved to tears and could not stop crying for a long time.

We had still another treat coming to us, for as we were about to leave, Dana Field told us, "Don't go yet, Baba is giving us a discourse."

All went into the music room where Don Stevens read a message as Baba sat near a grand piano, on top of which was a big bowl of peaches.

After the message was read, Baba reached for the peaches and while holding one in His hand, His gaze directed at a particular person, He suddenly tossed the peach in the opposite direction. This game went on until the bowl of peaches was empty. Don Stevens, the lucky one, caught four and graciously shared two with me.

It was then announced that certain persons present were welcome to meet Baba upstairs in His room and it was then that I remembered I had left my hat in the waiting room. Foolish me, I brought a hat to meet the Avatar and as I shook hands with Baba it had sat on my head like lead as I went back and forth to meet Him.

When I came out from meeting Baba, I had flung it into the corner of the waiting room in my dismay. But even that silly hat did me some good service for as I picked it up I happened to look at the open door and I saw Baba, with a group of people, waiting for the elevator.

"Let's go," my husband urged.

"No, no, wait," I said, as I pleaded, with closed eyes, from my heart, "Oh Baba, just one more look!"

Baba was standing about thirty feet from me looking in the other direction when, slowly, to my utter joy, He turned His head and out of the corner of His right eye, gave me that last glance. I was in exultation.

Finding myself back out on the sidewalk, New York looked the same, but I felt as tall as the buildings and as light as a feather, just gliding along, my feet hardly touching the ground.

In the presence of the Highest of the High, my heart was filled with His Love and it stayed with me for three days. I felt like embracing everyone I met and telling them of God being with us.

Slowly I came down to my old state, but not quite to my old self, for I had been blessed to meet GOD IN HUMAN FORM.


WHEN HE TAKES OVER, pp. 21-26, ed Bal Natu
1988 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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