Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 December 2006

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

I returned home to Meherabad on the 2nd of December. I left New York on 30th November, was in the air on the 1st of December and landed in Mumbai on the 2nd. I had a car pick me up and take me to Pune. I had reservations in a hotel. After a few hours sleep I wanted to just get back home. So, after I bought some foodstuff I left for Meherabad and reached home by 3:00 PM.

My Chickungunya is so much better. I still cannot squat, but I have started to do my weight workouts again. I have been told the Chickungunya can come and go up to a year. So, I do not feel I am home free yet. Thought it sure does feel good to be able to ride my scooter again.

The 50th anniversary of commemorating Baba's 1956 Satara automobile accident was on the 2nd and 3rd of December. Because I just returned to Meherabad, I was too jetlagged to attend the functions here in Lower Meherabad at Hostel-A (our theater). But, I used a program I got from Jal's office so you would know what went on.

Saturday 2 December 2006. The morning session of the 50th anniversary program began at 9:30 AM with garlanding Beloved Baba's photo and then bhajan singing. Next, Ward Parks gave a history of the 1952 and 1956 accidents. This was followed by a reading of a message from Meheru. Bhau closed the morning with a talk.

In the afternoon, after tea, there was more singing and then a film of the auto accident by Bob Frederick "Act of God" Part I.

When I got to Meherabad, I had the driver of the car take me first to Baba's Samadhi. I wanted to tell Baba I was home, and to immerse in His wonderful presence in the tomb. Oh, it is so soothing for a thirsty soul. I felt like I was bathing in the atmosphere, wanting to just dissolve. I feel so grateful that I can call Meherabad my home.

It was so good to be home!! My dog, Foundy, was very happy to see me. He was making those doggie sounds of delight. He is as fat as ever—he loves to eat!

For me, the first thing I did when I got to my room, after hugging Foundy, was to unpack. I love my little room. It has everything I need in it. Then at some point I went to sleep. With jetlag, I woke at 2:00 AM. Since I knew there was no hope of going back to sleep, I decided to go through my things and get rid of old socks, dresses I don't wear, etc.

Around 3:00 AM I heard a sawing noise just outside my east-facing window. I stopped to listen and sure enough, someone was sawing something outside my window. I went to turn off the lights when suddenly they went off by themselves. Then the shadow of a man passed my verandah window. He could not see in because I had the curtain closed.

I paused for a second to absorb the situation, then I started yelling as loud as I could, "thieves, help, we have thieves!"

Nearby, residents came as well as our watchman. My neighbor had called our Meherabad Security. Soon many were there to investigate. It seems some men tried to cut down the sandalwood tree outside my window. Their saw was still in the tree, stuck.

The reason the lights had gone out in my room? The thieves took the two fuses off our porch. Though we later found one and put it back.

It is common in India to have thieves steal sandalwood trees. There is a lot of money in it. We normally cut all the sandalwood trees at Meherabad because of the theft problem, but, I was trying to save mine until I planted another kind of tree to take its place. You see, it gave a lot of shade from the hot sun.

Sunday 3 December. The morning session of the 50th anniversary program once more began with the garlanding of Beloved Baba's photo, followed by bhajans. Then, Merwan Jessawala gave a talk. This was followed by another talk by Gadekar, and then a slide show of a tour of Satara.

The afternoon session started with tea, then an acting and song show. The day ended with the second part of Bob Fredrick's "Act of God".

I spent most of the day sleeping and unpacking. Lots of residents and workers came to see the saw in the tree, until it was finally broken in order to remove it. For some reason the tree could not be cut until Monday.

Monday 4 December. The workers came and cut down my lovely sandalwood tree. They took all the major parts, leaving the branches with the leaves to take away on Tuesday.

I took a rickshaw to the bazaar to drop off my stereo to be fixed, then I went to the Trust Office. I saw Bhau. He was in his robe, getting ready to give a talk in the Baba Center at the Trust. Then I went to the police station (DSP) to check in and have my papers stamped. Next, I went to the bank, and then home.

I was feeling jetlaged, so I went to bed early. I woke around 1:30 AM. My dog was starting to bark. I heard voices outside, but thought it was the security men making extra rounds. I told my dog to be quiet, but he wouldn't. So, I got up and peeked out my verandah window. There on the circular road in front of my place were seven or eight men walking around. They were not security! They were the thieves come back-but they were too late, the tree was gone!

I started to yell once again, "thieves, help, thieves!" From my window I watched them run away. Again help came. Once again my neighbor once again called security. They came in about five minutes.

Tuesday 5 December. This was my month to do archive cleaning of Beloved Baba's Samadhi. With the crowds from the 50th anniversary programs of Beloved Baba's second car accident now gone, I would not hold up any long line.

After I finished cleaning, I went to see Jaloo. While I was in the States, Guloo, her sister, died on 14 November. I had a candy to give Jaloo. Her birthday was on the 2nd. It was so good to see Jaloo. She was happy to see me too. She seemed to be doing well and had several visitors. I hope to start spending the night up there again by next week.

Wednesday 6 December. This was my first day back on the job at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. I brought candy and gave some to all the workers. It felt great to be back, to see everyone again.

The tile-courtyard plants are looking so pretty. They are growing and have flowers on them. It is beginning to have a real terrace look. It is becoming a charming place to eat or just hang out. I got off work at 6:00 PM. By the time I got home it was almost 6:30 PM. I quickly fed Foundy, grabbed a quick bit of food, and went to a meeting at 6:45 PM.

The meeting was held in our Spiritual Training Academy. It was to discuss the upcoming Amartithi. We had to decide how many pilgrims we could accommodate at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. The volunteer staff from the Pilgrim Reservation Office, Reception Office and the housekeeping Supervisor from the Meher Pilgrim Retreat attended.

Since the old Meher Pilgrim Center will not be used for accommodations, pilgrims with special needs will also stay at the Retreat. We will put extra beds in the rooms during this period only. So, it seems we will be able to have 270 pilgrims.

I had a very pleasant night: no thieves came!

Thursday 7 December. I spent most of the morning at my friend Virginia's. I am happy to see she still remembers me. While at Virginia's, her assistant helped me order satellite TV service.

The people came to my room in the afternoon with the satellite dish. It took them about two hours to install. I am so excited to have it. I want to watch Hindi movies, in the hopes of being able to learn the language.

Also, in the afternoon, I gave a design I made to one of our carpenter's to make a dresser for me. Since this is a private project, the work will be done on the worker's day off.

I had another pleasant night of sleep. Of course I would wake during the night, but I was able to fall back to sleep.

Friday 8 December. In the morning, I turned on the TV to watch the morning news. Wow! I have all the channels in India! I then had fun working in the garden. Then I took a rickshaw to a local farm and bought two big bags of manure for the garden. One of the bags was for my neighbor.

I had some workers dig a hole for me outside my window. I am going to plant a fast-growing tree. I need shade or the summer sun will cook my room. Next, I picked some flowers and put them in my refrigerator for tomorrow.

Saturday 9 December. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM to clean Baba's Cabin Room. It felt so good to be getting back on schedule. At 10:00 AM I gave a Historical Tour of Meherabad. When I reached the museum there was a group of 30 students waiting. A Baba lover brought them by a hired bus. Some of them were very interested.

In the afternoon there was a concert by Bill Cliff. It was in the Hall of the old MPC. Bill is not only a musician, he is also a storyteller. The 30 students were at the concert and you could tell they really enjoyed it.

Sunday 10 December. This is my rotation turn (by month) to do an archive cleaning of the Samadhi. We usually do it right after morning Arti. I then went to my room and got ready for an 11:00 AM meeting at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. The meeting was with the Meherabad Trustees and the volunteer staff of the Retreat.

The meeting is usually scheduled for the first Sunday of each month. But, because of the 50th anniversary function last Sunday we had the meeting moved to the second Sunday. The meeting was upstairs in the Administration room. Our Staff Room on the ground floor is too small for so many people.

At the meeting it was decided that we would change the 'quiet time'. Previously, it was from 2:00 to 4:00PM. But the bus now leaves the Retreat at 3:30 PM for programs in lower Meherabad. So, we changed the quiet time from 2:00 to 3:30 PM. We also talked about the number of pilgrims we would be able to accommodate at the Retreat during Amartithi.

Monday 11 December. This was my first full day back at the Retreat. I took my computer with me in hopes that one of the pilgrims would have time to show me how to download a CD. It was fun to learn new things.

Suzie Biddu took pilgrims on a tour of the Meher English School at 10:00 AM. At 4:00 PM Bhau was at the old MPC to give a talk in the Dining Hall. Tea and popcorn is sent down on the bus.

Tuesday 12 December. Dhuni Day. I went to Meherazad. What a surprise to find everything was taken out of Mandali Hall and the roof itself was removed. There is work going on. The Hall looked so small with nothing in it. I asked Merwan if he had every seen Mandali Hall without a roof. He said he never did.

Evening Arti was at 4:45 PM and the Dhuni was lit at 5:45 PM. I had Samadhi duty and was able to stop by only after the Dhuni was over. But, the fire was still lit and I took Darshan.

Wednesday 13 December. I had a half-day at the Retreat. A pilgrim had sent an assemble-Christmas tree. I got two young girls from Australia, Jaya Foley and Montana Hein, to help put it up after lunch. The tree was made by children from a special-needs school. The trunk of the tree was a metal pipe. The branches were made of strong, small wires. The tree was covered with these tiny, colored glass. It was delicate and very pretty. The tree is under one of the arches of the Retreat dining hall.

When I got home I called to see if I would continue to sleep up the hill. I was informed that a hired woman is happily sleeping there every night. Jaloo is happy with her. I really liked sleeping on the hill. Oh well, at least I got to do it for a while.

Thursday 14 December. I took a car to Pune. I had some shopping to do, and I also wanted to buy a couple of plants for our Reception Office at the Retreat. I found one that is called 'Song of India'.

Friday 15 December. This was the anniversary of Mani's birthday. A program "Remembering Mani" was given in the MPC Hall. A table was put on top of the small platform. It had many photos of Mani and some garlands on it. The room was packed and the informal sharing had many touching stories of Mani, God's sister. I was able to video it and the video will be available from the Los Angeles Baba Center.

In the afternoon I went up the hill to ask Jessie if he had a tree for me to plant in place of the Sandalwood. He said a Gulmar would be the fastest growing tree. I will arrange to have it picked up soon.

I stopped to see Jaloo. I love Jaloo and it was fun just to sit and visit. When I got down the hill Bhau was giving his talk in the MPC Hall.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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