Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


15 June to 30 June 2007

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

I have been back in Meherabad two weeks now. I landed in Mumbai on the 5th of June. I went straight to Pune, where I had hotel reservations. At 4:00 AM, I checked into the hotel. I rested until 9:30 AM, then went to a store to buy supplies. I was planning to stay in Pune for two days to rest—yet, I could not relax. At the store, I simply could not stand to be away from Meherabad any more. So, I went back to the hotel and checked out. I felt so very happy knowing I was going home!

Of course, Foundy, my dog was very excited to have me home. After giving him hugs and lots of love, I dropped off my luggage in my room. Finally, I was on my way up the hill to say hi to Baba.

Oh, what relief it is for a thirsty soul to enter His tomb!!!! It is as if every atom of my being feels it can now let go, just be! There just simply isn't anything like being with God!

In the next couple of days I noticed several changes at Meherabad. One was a tall fence surrounding the cremation area near the old Meher Pilgrim Center. I asked one of the residents about it. I was told it was to protect the area. It seems the nice, clean area is used at night for a bathroom, and when it is time for a cremation, the area has to be cleaned up. Well, that made perfectly good sense to me---having the fence, I mean.

The other two major changes were up on Meherabad Hill. The most beautiful of the changes was the completely new painting of the Samadhi dome. I saw Ted up the hill, and he said it is the most beautiful he has every seen in all the years he has lived at Meherabad. The round rim at the base of the dome is painted in two colors, one being gold. Each of the religious structures on the four corners have detailed colors. So pleasing to the eyes!

The other change is the 'viewing corridor'. There are to be five 'viewing corridors' that allow unobstructed view to the Samadhi from far away. That means not even trees to block the view. The first one is from the 'New Site' to the Samadhi. It is wide like a road. It is an amazing feeling, to me, to see part of His future pilgrims approach. It is almost like looking into the future.

I have been told that the area between the 'viewing corridors' will be leveled and large trees for shade will be planted. Now, there are fruit trees around the Samadhi (which no one has every seen fruit on, because others remove them unseen). These trees will give his lovers relief from the intense heat of the sun in the future.

I would like to share just a little of my trip in the States. You all know my daughter, Rabia, was pregnant with twins. It was a race to see who reached New York first---me, or the twins by birth. I am happy to say I won the race, though it was so close. I arrived on Sunday, the twins were born on Tuesday! Talk about close! How precious it was to hold the darling boys. They are fraternal twins, not identical. Or as my brother said 'they were roommates.'

I spent a lot of time changing diapers when I was in the States. My other daughter, Mehera, also has a baby who is 15 months old. It didn't matter if I was in LA or NY, there were little tushies to wash and change. Babies are wonderful to hold, they are so pure.

I also visited my brother, Louis. He now lives in Texas with his family. He is a Baba lover. He and I came to Baba in the 60's in Haight/Ashbury in San Francisco. Yes, we were hippies---flower children. I had not seen him in three years. After his stroke, he and his family moved to Texas from LA. It was so good to see him. We talked of Baba for hours. His grown children are not Baba lovers, so he is isolated. He felt his soul was receiving water from hearing stories of Beloved Baba. I am so glad I went.

Now, let us return to Meherabad and the new pilgrim season. On Wednesday afternoon, the 13th, we had a Receptionist meeting to discuss the work description of our new office assistant. Prakash was one of the lobbymen. He speaks English and is easy to work with. Since we never had an assistant, we could not think of what exactly we wanted him to do. So, we decided to have him observe for a couple of weeks, to see how we run the office. Then we will have a better idea of how much computer work to start him out doing.

That evening, there was an 'end of summer' resident's party. It was a pot-luck. It was fun getting together and just relaxing before the pilgrim season begins.

Friday 15 June. This was opening day at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. There were 20 expected arrivals. We Receptionist had already spent time getting the office ready for the new pilgrim season.

Saturday 16 June. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM to clean Beloved Baba's Cabin Room. It was my first time to clean it since I left in March. I then put flowers in the Cabin, the Gadi under the Tin Shed, and at the Samadhi.

Then, I went down the hill to the Jhopdi and Table House to clean. Mariko and Joseph had stayed here at Meherabad during the summer and continued to clean while I was gone. They are very nice people and I sure do appreciate their help.

I then went to the Retreat to meet with one of the Receptionist on duty. We went to the computer server room on the upper floor. I wanted to go over the design of a table and cabinet for the room, that John Gunn and I had quickly sketched before I left for the States.

The rest of the day I worked on the design for the jungle gym that we are going to have built. This will be in the childrens' playground at the Retreat.

Sunday 17 June. I was up early to exercise. Then I had a bath and went to the Samadhi by 8:30 AM to clean. It is my rotation month. It is such a privilege and I am grateful to be able to share in this opportunity of cleaning His Samadhi.

After cleaning, I went to visit Jaloo. She lives in the compound of the 'cage room', directly behind the Samadhi. She has been living there since Baba's New Life. Her sister, who had also been living there, died just a few months ago. One of the residents usually reads to her. But, this resident is in the States, so, I took up the opportunity to read to Jaloo. I really love Jaloo. When here sister was ill, I would have a rotation night once a week to sleep up there.

Monday 18 June. I had a rickshaw pick me up at 8:30 AM to take me to the Retreat. This was my first day back on the job as receptionist for this pilgrim season. It was fun being on the job again. I love being at the Retreat.

I was able to have the maintenance men put up two clear plastic holders on a small wall space. These are to hold the Meher Baba Trust Donation slips and envelopes. Pilgrims are always asking to leave a donation. So we now have the different slips for the pilgrims in our reception office.

Tuesday 19 June. My dog, Foundy, had his second tick shot. We have a lot of ticks around monsoon time. These ticks love my fat dog, Foundy. So, I am glad there is something to keep them off him.

I walked up the hill to the Samadhi and just spent some time sitting there. Very pleasant way to spend time.

Wednesday 20 June. This was my second day back at the Retreat. My rickshaw picked me up at 8:30 AM. I had several arrivals. My assistant was in the office. He had last Monday off, so this was our first time together. I had him sit and watch during the orientations of the arriving pilgrims.

The electrical men came and put the plastic piping that will cover the new computer cable and phone line that goes to Prakash's desk. Atul, the computer man will come and install the hardware. Then one of our receptionist will install our pilgrim program. So, Prakash will be able to be a great help to us.

At tea time, I hear Bhau had returned and was at the Samadhi. I will be so happy to see our Bhauji once again. He had been in Australia giving talks.

The small bus took pilgrims to our Music and Arts Center at 3:30 PM. At 4:00 PM tea and cake were served. Then at 4:30 PM a Baba movie was shown.

In the afternoon there was a big storm with lots of lightening and thunder. By the time I went home the rain had lightened up some.

Thursday 21 June. I took a rickshaw to Nagar to drop off some stuff with Mehernath for the Meher English School. Then, I went to Idea, my cell phone server. There was a problem and we worked it out. I stopped to see Anil-Meher Tailor. He is making 100 Baba flags for us to use during the New Life walk the Trust has each year on 16 October. Next, I went back to the Trust Office and saw Bhauji.

Bhauji was in his office. Lots of pilgrims and people were also in there. He looks just as adorable as always, sitting on his reclining chair with ottomat for his feet.. Camelia said he will give a talk at the MPC on Friday. I have a dental appointment in Pune, so I will miss it.

Friday 22 June. At 6:15 am the car arrived to take me to Pune. Three pilgrims had already been picked up at 6:00 am at the Retreat. So, off we went. We got to Pune at 9:00 am and had breakfast at the German Bakery. We decided we would next go to Poocha Nursery and get a few plants. I wanted another fica tree for our Reception Office at the Retreat. The three pilgrims bought a few small draught resistant plants. They were going to see if Jeff, the Retreat garden supervisor, would let them plant their plants at the Retreat. They said, this way, when they return they will see their plants and feel they had given something to the Retreat. I thought it was a sweet idea.

They kept the car with them to go to Baba's House and Babajan's Tomb. I took a rickshaw to the dentist. We met up at 12 noon. From there we went to Jungli Maharaja's tomb. That is where there is an excavation in stone of some caves Baba had been in. This is only about 15 minutes from Baba's House.

It began to rain in Pune. At one point we got quite wet running to the car. It rained on and off all the way back to Meherabad. We got back in time for the pilgrims to go to Arti at the Samadhi.

I picked flowers for Saturday, had a bath and then I fell asleep to the sound of a big storm of lightening and thunder.

Saturday 23 June. On my way up the hill, I noticed the gully in front of Hostel-C and Hostel-B were almost full to the top with rainwater. There must have been a zillion frogs crocking there. I got up the hill by 5:30 am and I was waiting outside the Samadhi to take Darshan when I hear a frog. I looked around and saw the drainpipe near the women mandali shrines. From inside this drain was coming the echo sound of a frog crocking. He sounded funny because of the echo.

After cleaning Baba's Cabin, I put flowers on the Gadi and the Samadhi threshold. Then I went down the hill to clean the Jhopdi and Table House. Joseph and Markio were already there.

I had scheduled to give part of the Historical Tour of Meherabad at 9:30 am. We were to meet up the hill by the Samadhi. By the time I started walking up the hill, it had started raining again. I have a large black umbrella, so I was kept dry. But, I wondered if any pilgrims would come for the tour because of the rain. Yes, a few did come. We only did the upper Meherabad part of the tour, ending with the museum.

It was still raining when I went back down the hill.

The two estimates I was waiting for, regarding the Retreat work to be done, was finally complete. I will now give it to the Retreat superintendent, he will write a letter to the Trust requesting permission for the work to be done.

The resident who is normally scheduled to clean Mehera's shrine was out of town, so I was going to do it. It was lightly raining, but I had to pick flowers for Sunday, so I got a little wet. Picking flowers during monsoon is a very wet experience. The trees and bushes are soaked with rainwater. When you pull off a flower, you also get to have a shower from all the water on the plant.

Sunday 24 June. I was up the hill by 5:30 am. On the way up I passed the gullies in front of Hostel C and B. The level of water was higher than the day before because of the rain last night.

After cleaning Mehera's shrine, I went to put flowers in Baba's Cabin Room and the Gadi. Then I went down the hill to have breakfast and feed my dog, Foundy.

By 8:30 am I was back up the hill. This was my rotation month to clean Beloved Baba's Samadhi. There was only light sprinkles, so I did not need to use my umbrella. The clouds and gentle wind make the air deliciously cool. After I finished cleaning, I sat inside the Samadhi for a while. When I came out, I took my basket and went to the compound behind the Samadhi to visit Jaloo.

It was a wonderful feeling when I saw how happy Jaloo was to see me. I love Jaloo and enjoy sitting with her. She does not really have much to say, but she does understand English. Jaloo said she had gone to an English speaking school.

I read a couple of stories from one of Bal Natu's book 'Showers of Grace'. Once in a while I bring the book with me to read to her. When I left to go down the hill, it was raining more heavily.

In the afternoon, I went to visit Virginia for a little while. I also heard the 'Blue Tank' restaurant will open on Monday. Yea! Good food just next door to Meherabad.

Monday 25 June. I had a rickshaw pick me up at 8:30 am to go to the Retreat. The tree I bought had been put in the Lobby. I had one of our porters move it into our Reception Office. I put it near the entrance door. It looks great. I think the plants give the office a pleasing appearance.

I had around ten arrivals. Prakash, our assistant, is a big help. Having someone in the office to share the work is a need that's been a long time coming. I am so glad we finally got some help.

I found out Idea, my cell phone service provider, needs one more piece of information before changing my service from pre-paid to post-paid. I have to give them a sponsorship letter from the Trust.

It rained a lot during the day.

Tuesday 26 June. I woke early and did my exercise. Then I got ready to take our bus to the Trust. I stopped by Bhauji's office. But, he was having his breakfast.

I took a rickshaw to the bank. After finishing with business there, I went back to the Trust. Bhauji's office was packed with pilgrims and residents. I went into the Accounting office to have a sponsorship letter written to get Idea cell post-paid service. Just then, Bhauji asked all the accounting office men to go to his office. I followed.

Bhauji had the office men sing a few lines of a Bhajan they had written. Our accounting men all sing bhajans at different Baba programs. They are very good. The pilgrims in Bhauji's office enjoyed very much listening to them.

After having the letter signed by Bhau, I went to Idea and gave it to them. I told the people at Idea they must really like me, since they are always having me come back for something. I told them it was nice of them to like me, but please don't like me so much that I have to come back again. They thought that was funny.

Hopefully, all the required paperwork is now finished and I can have post-paid service. I wanted to switch over because post-paid (they bill you) has more options for cell phone service.

I took our bus back to Meherabad. Then I got on my scooter and went to the Blue Tank for lunch. Yum!

In the evening I was playing with the computer and I figured how to work the ICal (calendar)! I was so proud of myself. I usually feel helpless since I know almost nothing of how to work a computer. I just kept at it until I got it to work!

Wednesday 27 June. I had a rickshaw pick me up at 8:30 am to go to the Retreat. It is so pleasant walking in our Reception Office in the morning---all the plants give it a very inviting and warm feeling.

I believe I mentioned Chickungunya was in a village nearby. Well, cases of Chickungunya have surfaced in Arangaon village. So, once again everyone who has not had it will have to be extra careful. This means using mosquito repellent and using the mosquito net.

Since I already got Chickungunya, I cannot get it again. However, I still get relapses---as do all the others I have talked to who got it last year. The relapses are for a short duration and usually not severe. Sometimes my knee feels wobbley and I feel heavy and tired. I then take the homeopathy I was given to help me.

We had a good downpour during the day. If this monsoon keeps up like this we will have a good supply of well water. In the afternoon, the bus left the Retreat at 3:30 pm to take pilgrims to the theatre for a Baba film. Tea and snack was served at 4:00 and the movie at 4:30 pm.

I had eight arrivals. They all came in early, so I was free to leave at 6:00 pm.

Thursday 28 June. I got on the computer in the morning to read the news and my email. Then I decided I would try to figure out how to make a 'signature' for the bottom of my emails. I kept at it, including asking the computer for help---which did not help me. But, persistence did work! So, now I have a signature. It is a quote by Beloved Baba, "No amount of prayer or meditation can do what helping others can do."

I took the bus into Ahmednagar. I had to go to the bank, go to the bazaar, and go once again to Idea (my cell phone server). I have still not been able to switch from pre-paid to post-paid. With post-paid there are better choices of services. This time I took a letter of sponsor from the Trust Office.

It has been raining. When I got home, I went to the Blue Tank for lunch. I was to meet some other Residents. Then, after going home and having a nap, I went up to the Samadhi for Beloved Baba's Darshan.

Friday 29 June. It had rained during the night. After exercising, I went outside and did some gardening. Then I took a bath, had lunch at the Blue Tank and took a nap. Bhau came to the old MPC and gave a talk. Tea and donuts were served at 4:00 pm. Bhauji's talk began at 4:30 pm. Later in the afternoon, I went up the hill for Baba's Darshan at the Samadhi. I picked flowers for Saturday morning.

Saturday 30 June. I was up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Baba's Cabin Room. It was raining lightly, so I had my umbrella. I saw Joseph and Mariko. I explained that I would not be able to clean the Jhopdi and Table House with them since I was going to cover for Laurel at the Pilgrim Retreat.

I had a rickshaw pick me up at 8:30 am. It continued to rain most of the morning. I had a few arrivals, but the day was not that busy. The people from Idea called to tell me I had to leave a deposit of Rs.3000 in order for my service to be switched from pre to post-paid. I asked why they did not tell me this on 8th June, when I first went to their office.

The bus left the Retreat at 3:30 pm to go to the MPC. Tea and cake was served at 4:00 pm. At 4:30 pm Harry & Sharon Muir gave a concert. For any of you who have been here for any length of time, you no doubt have heard them perform. They are wonderful musicians.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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