Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16 to 31 August 2007

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Thursday 16 August 2007. I had a car pick me up at 6:00 AM. I did a day trip to Pune with a couple of pilgrims. We were back by the evening.

Friday 17 August. After my morning workout, I took Foundy for a morning walk. When we were passing the Fenster's property, Foundy stopped and stared at something. I looked too and saw a quail running in their back land. It had a tail of at least three feet! Directly behind it was another running quail. It was fun to see them. I have never seen quail around here. They run fast, like the comic strip 'road runner.'

There is a program called 'Morning at Meherabad' every Monday and Friday. The first hour is a sharing of stories by Baba Lovers, or a video. The second hour on Friday is Sam Kerawala sharing some of his stories of Baba.

In the afternoon, as I was getting up from my nap, my dog Foundy was at the back screen door barking his head off. I looked to see what was the problem. I saw the back end of something large moving into the bushes. The end part I saw was three feet long, brown, and about six inches round. I had no idea what it could be.

Bhau gave a talk at the MPC. Tea and donuts were served at 4:00 PM. Bhau started his talk at 4:30 PM.

Saturday 18 August. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM. Well, it must have been 5:31 am because the doors to the Samadhi were already opened. After cleaning Baba's Cabin Room, I also put flowers on the Gadi and the Samadhi threshold. I then went back down the hill to clean the Jhopdi and Table House.

Who passes me on the way? Mariko and Joseph. I had been told they were out of town. They said they were able to get back to Meherabad last night. I was very happy for the help! After finishing the cleaning, I went home and took Foundy for a morning walk. I then got ready to do the Historical Tour of Meherabad.

There were no pilgrims waiting for the tour, so I had the morning off. I decided to go visit Virginia and then visit Jal. Virginia is continuing to improve and gain weight. I then went to visit Jal. I had not seen him since before his surgery. Dolly said he was just getting ready for a nap, so I made my visit short. I told Jal and Dolly about my son-in-laws' wonderful news with his new company.

There was a concert in the MPC Hall in the afternoon. Tea and snack were served at 4:00 PM. At 4:30 pm Jeff DeLoe gave the concert. A fine performance, all with his own songs.

In the evening, another resident and I took Foundy for a walk out back. We saw what was an unusual sight. Our resident neighbors black and white cat was just resting in the open field. Hopping around it was a large brown bunny rabbit. The cat took no notice. The bunny was hopping in front of the cat, and hopping behind the cat, and the cat just could care less. It was quite amazing to us.

When I got home, I worked on my grandson's quilt until it was time to go to the Muir's party. I told some of the residents about the cat and bunny story. Bobby and Kitty said a huge brown rabbit lives behind the bathrooms of the theater. I wonder if it was that same rabbit or a cousin of it. On the way home from the party, Debjani said she saw a giant brown cobra near their compound. She said the cobra hissed at her! She and other called some residents to try to kill it, but it got away. I think that cobra may have been what Foundy was barking at on the 17th.

Sunday 19 August. I woke early and was up the hill by 5:40 am. Dolly Dastoor wanted to change the covers of the stretcher and pillow, as well as the curtains and shelf cloth in Baba's Cabin Room. This was the anniversary of Mani going to Baba, and she wanted new covers in the Cabin. She did not have time to give them to me on Saturday, before I went back down the hill in the morning.

Coo Coo (an Indian resident) was cleaning the Cabin, so I let her know we would be changing everything. I saw Chris Dunsworth coming up the hill, and asked him if he would also help us. The glass cover that protects the stretcher is quite heavy. We have to scoot it a little at a time while lifting the stretcher underneath to where we just move the stretcher. It is literally inch-by-inch that it is moved. When we have the glass cover far enough away from the wall, we lift the glass cover on its side. This way we are free to clean the underside of the glass and wipe the stretcher before covering it with the new cloth. Then, we have to repeat the process to put the stretcher and glass cover back in its proper place.

I went back down the hill and took Foundy, my dog, for a fifteen-minute walk. With his back leg giving him trouble, the walk makes him use it with the exercise. Otherwise, he often hops. When we got home, I went out back for half an hour to come of the pointed stems of the barrier plants. Little by little, I am cleaning the area to plant bougainvillea and Tacoma plants.

I took a bath and got ready for the special Arti that was to be at the Samadhi at 10:00 am. This was the anniversary of Mani going to Baba, and Meheru was coming. We almost never have a special Arti anymore.

I was hoping Neela would be able to bring Virginia, so I saved a good spot on one of the benches of the Samadhi portico. I next went to see if I could be of help to others who were getting ready for Meheru to arrive. There are a number of garlands that are delivered for the Arti, and they need to be put in separate baskets for the different places and photos that would be garland.

Meheru arrived around 10:15 am. They came from the back Kedgaon road, meaning they didn't have to go through the railroad crossing. The Kedgaon road runs parallel to the railroad tracks below Baba's hill. It comes from the Pune road.

The Samadhi portico was crowded with pilgrims. When Meheru arrived, she went first into the East room where she gathered some of the flowers. When she came out, we all walked to the Samadhi with her. A number of us women went into the Samadhi to help lay some of the garlands. Then we came out under the portico, and Meheru and a few stayed inside the Samadhi while Arti was said. When Meheru came out and sat on the bench facing the Samadhi door, different singers took turns singing. Some of the songs were ones Mani had written.

When the Arti was over, we went to Mehera's shrine and Meheru laid another garland. From there we went to Mani's shrine. The flagstone was quite hot and we were barely able to stand the heat on our feet. Meheru put a garland on Khorshed's shrine after putting one on Mani's. We next went inside Baba's Cabin Room.

Some of the garlands were very long, and Meheru wanted a tall person to help put one of the garlands on Baba's photo above the stretcher. I saw Chris Dunsworth just outside the Cabin and asked if he could come inside. He did, and he was able to garland Baba with Meheru.

Next, we all went to the Ghadi, under the Tin Shed. Meheru put a garland on Baba's photo, and then one on the Ghadi. Meheru then went with Ted Judson towards one corner of the compound. We all followed.The large water tank just the other side of the stone rear wall was the object of discussion. It seems the large water tank will have an upper and lower floor built. Now, it is just a tank on pillars. It will be divided into four rooms, to be used for storage. There isn't really much storage space on the hill, and this will serve the purpose. The water pump, that was never used, will be removed.

Meheru then got into the car, and returned to Meherazad. It was really nice to be around when new plans were being made on changes around Meherabad—because I can share them with you all.

Monday 20 August. I had the rickshaw pick me up at 8:30 am for reception duty. On the new road to the Retreat, there is a stretch of road that was never paved, because of a land dispute. The dispute had been resolved and the new work on the road has been going on since I returned in June. Now, it is getting close to being ready to pave. The crushed stone on one side looks like it is ready for the next step.

There were a few arrivals, but it was a slow day at the Retreat. I had time to work on this Meherabad Diary. I am having trouble with my computer. The on-off switch will keep switching off when I first turn it on. If the computer has stayed on for five minutes, chances are it will stay on. This trouble has been going on since the end of July. The problem is, to have it fixed: I may have to leave it in Pune for at least a week or two. Since I use my computer almost every, that becomes a big problem. I had hoped this problem could hold off until I return to the States in October. But, sometimes I think it is getting worst. Maybe I should just take it to Pune on Thursday and stay overnight. If it isn't fixed by the next day, I will have to live with the problem until October.

It rained during the day. Everything at the Retreat looks so pretty after the rain. It stopped raining long enough for me to say good-bye to a sweet family from France. The people all had tears in their eyes as they departed. It is really beautiful to see how Baba's love touches the hearts of His lovers.

Bhauji came to the MPC to give a talk. Tea and popcorn was served at 4:00 pm and Bhau's talk started at 4:30 pm. But the time I get off duty, his talks are over. When I got home I took Foundy for a walk. I think he enjoys the walks.

Tuesday 21 August. I woke at 5:20 am and went into the kitchen to make tea. I looked at the clock as I was setting up my room to do my workout—it was 4:20 am NOT 5:20 am! Since I already had tea I knew I would not be able to go back to sleep, so I did my workout. When it got light outside, Foundy and I took an early morning walk.

After I got home, I had breakfast and worked in the garden for half an hour. I then got ready to take our bus to the Trust. As I entered the Trust compound, Bhauji was walking to get his breakfast. We all said hello.

I got a rickshaw and went into the bazaar and then to the bank to deposit a check. Lakshmi, the woman who works in the Foreign Exchange Department, said the deposited checks might take several days to clear, since the new system is still extremely slow.

I stopped for lunch at the B.T. Cafe, and then walked home. After my nap, I worked on the quilt until it was time to go up the hill for my 6:00 pm Samadhi duty.

While on duty, I remembered I was to be up the hill Wednesday morning to clean Mehera's shrine, and I had not collected any flowers. As I was walking back down to my room, I saw a lot of flowers still opened on the bushes. Often the flowers close at night. I happily picked enough for morning.

I went into the kitchen and prepared Foundy's food. When I went to feed him on the front verandah, I saw something dark in his water bowl. I got the flashlight to see what it was—it was a large frog! His whole body was under the water. Only his head and two front feet holding the edge of the bowl were above the water. Foundy noticed the frog but had no interest while he was eating his food. Later, I went to see if the frog was still in the water bowl—no, it had hopped out.

Wednesday 22 August. I was up by 4:45 am. On the way up the hill, I collected a few more flowers. After cleaning Mehera's shrine and putting flowers on it, I placed flowers in Baba's Cabin Room. I went to the Ghadi, but it was still being prepared for the day. So, I left a flower to be put on it when it was ready.

I went back to my room and got ready for my day at the Retreat. The rickshaw picked me up at 8:30 am. The new stretch of road is still being prepared for the paving. When I got to the Reception Office, I saw in our book that I had fifteen expected arrivals. Most were scheduled to arrive in the late afternoon.

Two of the ficus trees that we put on the Retreat front verandah to be back their leaves, are still not doing okay. Jeff, the gardener, decided to take the trees out back to the worm-bed area. This way, he will be able to give them special care until they recover.

Got a call from the Registration Office—three more pilgrims would be coming today, in the afternoon. Looked like my afternoon was going to be very busy!

Our bus took the pilgrims to the Music and Arts Center for a Baba movie. Tea and snack was served on the verandah of the Center at 4:00 pm. At 4:30 pm the film was shown.

Thursday 23 August. I was going to Pune with Paul, a pilgrim, and Michelle, another resident. After first picking them up, the car picked me up at 6:00 am. We had breakfast at the German Bakery in Pune. Then Paul said he would meet us later. Michelle and I went to buy two plants for the Reception Office. I also bought a bougainvillea for my garden. While at the nursery, Paul called to say his plans had changed, and he would meet us at Dorabji's. We bought foodstuff at Dorabji's, then went to Baba's House. Baba's house is only about a five-minute walk from Dorabji's.

A funny movie was showing in the local theaters, Rush Hour, with Jackie Khan and Tucker. No one else had any interest to see a movie, so I went to the show when they went to lunch. I laughed so hard! It was one of the funniest movies I had seen. It felt good to laugh that hard. We stopped at Guruprasad Memorial on our way out of Pune. We got home to Meherabad by 8:30 pm.

Friday 24 August. I woke late, so I skipped my workout and went into the garden for a couple of hours. Sulu planted the new bougainvillea—her son helped with the watering. I then worked on the quilt, and had lunch at the BT Cafe. After my nap I picked flowers for the morning. It had been cloudy all day, and finally started to pour rain by 6:00 pm.

As I was walking to Baba's Cabin Room, I almost stepped on two hopping frogs. Shortly after seeing them, I started hearing one of the frogs croaking from its hangout in the drain pipe near Mani's shrine.

After cleaning Baba's Cabin Room, I put flowers on the Ghadi and threshold and headed down the hill to clean. Joseph and Mariko passed me on the hill part heading to the Jhopdi and Table House to clean with me. I asked them if it would be okay if they cleaned without me, as I had to leave for the Retreat by 8:30 am.

The rickshaw picked me up by 8:30 am. I was on duty at the Reception Office for only the morning shift, as the regular Receptionist would be able to be there by the afternoon. I had cancelled the Historical Tour of Meherabad.

It was an easy morning. The Receptionist arrived at lunchtime, so I was free to go home. After a nap, I worked on the quilt. The weather was very cloudy, and we had some rain.

Sunday 26 August. It was a cloudy morning. I worked on the quilt until the car came at 9:15 am. We picked up Virginia and went to Meherazad. There was road construction to widen the Aurangabad Road to a four-lane highway. The work covered several miles. I noticed that trees had also been planted, with a measured spacing, along some sections. The trees had circular wire fencing to protect them until they were larger.

At Meherazad, Meheru and Katie were on the porch. It is always a pleasure to see them. After taking Virginia into Mehera and Baba's rooms, we went into Mandali Hall for the scheduled program.

Kokila played a beautiful number on her violin. She has been coming to Meherabad since she was a child. She was a gifted violinist since a child, and has grown into a woman who can make music come alive with her playing. It is such a pleasure to listen to her. The other performer was Cathy Riley. She sang two songs: a guitar accompanied one.

Peter Booth then showed the film "God Alone Exists." The film is about the poem/song that Baba dictated in a rhyme to Bhauji. Baba told Bhau not to change one single word of the poem. Baba said in the future, this poem would be sung in every house in the world! The music and singing in the film is by Jim Meyers. The whole thing is so powerful. I was just blown away! The impact of the film is tremendous!

On the way home, Virginia and I stopped at the Blue Tank to pick up our lunch. We took it back to her house and shared it with Neela, her caregiver, and Neela's daughter.

Don Stevens had a 'God Speaks' discussion in the Retreat Music Room. We use that room for talks when there are not many pilgrims here. Michelle was able to film it for me. Michelle said much of the conversation was about intuition.

In the evening there was a huge storm, with lots of lightning, thunder, and pouring rain. I worked on the quilt until I went to sleep to the sound of the storm.

Monday 27 August. I had the rickshaw pick me up at 8:30 am. It was lightly sprinkling on the way to the Retreat. The day was slow and I had time to work on my computer.

Don Stevens gave a talk in the Hall of the Meher Pilgrim Center, for Meherabad Mornings program. Michelle was once again able to film for me. I am so grateful for her help.

My one arrival arrived at the Registration Office at one minute to six. The poor pilgrim had missed her connecting plane and spent hours at the airport waiting for another flight.

The pilgrim got to the Retreat around 6:45 pm. So, I got home by 7:30 pm. I was really happy she was able to make it in time. On the way home it started to rain again. I once more went to sleep to the sound of a big storm.

Tuesday 28 August. I was awake and up by 5:30 am. I did my morning workout, took Fondy for a walk, and then worked on the quilt. It is my turn to represent the Receptionist at our Retreat staff meetings. So, I had a rickshaw pick me up at 11:30 am.

We passed by the hostels on our way, and I saw the gullies in front of them were full of water. The water was almost up to the dirt road. You can alway tell if we have had a good amount of rain by the amount of water collected in the gullies.

When we passed the MPC I heard the sound of horses. Sure enough, as we reached the main road, I saw tongas and horses all around. There were to be Tonga races that would start at 12:00 noon. I asked what the occasion was for the race. I was told it was a festive day called Raksha Bandhan. It is the day when the sister gives her brother a special festive (very fancy) string tied bracelet, as a blessing. The brother who accepts and wears it has to give her protection.

We were stuck waiting at the railroad crossing for about 10 minutes. I got to our meeting just as it started at 12:00 noon. Someone forgot to print the minutes, so one of the volunteer staff went to get his computer with the minutes on it. One of the items on the agenda was to have anther bookcase made for the Lobby. This one would be mostly for Baba magazines, like the Glow, Love Street Lamp Post, etc. The group approved the bookcase, so I will get busy and design it.

Another item was where to put the bronze cast of Baba's head, sent to us by Jurgis Sapkas of Los Angeles. Several places were mentioned. We decided each of us were to scout around the Retreat and find places we think might be a good spot. We will bring up the suggestions at our next meeting. We finished the meeting in time for lunch.

I took a rickshaw home and arrived just as it started to rain. I had a good nap, picked flowers for the morning, and worked on the quilt. At 5:15 pm I walked up the hill for my 6:00 pm Samadhi duty. I had to be very careful walking because it is very easy to slip when there is so much mud. Going home after Arti seemed to take forever. It was dark, wet, and muddy. I was in bed by 8:30 pm.

Wednesday 29 August. I woke at 3:15 am. It was too early to get up, so I just lay there hoping to fall back to sleep. By 3:30 am I realized I was not going to go back to sleep, so I had my coffee and got up. I got on the computer and time passed quickly. I also worked a bit on the quilt. At 6:15 am I took Foundy for a short morning walk.

The rickshaw picked me up at 8:30 am to take me to the Retreat. I had a few expected arrivals, otherwise, not much in the way of busy. One of the pilgrim's came in to tell me about an article in yesterday's Indian Times newspaper. The article referred to a previously written article in a section of the paper on spiritual matters, called 'The Speaking Tree', There are always very moving writings from all the major religions of the world, as well as saints, etc. This 17th August article, in 'The Speaking Tree', was on a Discourse by Avatar Meher Baba "Detach Your Service From Expectation."

The workers at the Retreat also showed me an article on the front page of yesterday's Indian Times newspaper. It was about one of the top Bollywood actors named Salman Khan. It seems Salman was in trouble with the law for hunting an endangered species nine years ago. Salman is currently in jail awaiting sentencing. In the first part of the story, Salman tells how he reads "God Speaks" by Meher Baba for comfort.

It rained in the afternoon. Bhauji had a talk at the MPC Hall for all residents, volunteer staff, and community members. In the Music and Arts Center, a film was shown at 4:30 pm. Tea and snack were served on the verandah at 4:00 pm.

Thursday 30 August. I was up early to do my workout and take Foundy for a walk. After breakfast, I worked in the garden for about half an hour. I am going to have very little time to work in the garden until I leave for the States on 9 October. My grandson's quilt has a deadline—and that is where I will spend most of my time.

Jess Maron is a volunteer who has been here for a number of months. He is very computer knowledgeable and helps in the Media Center at the MPC. I had asked Jess if he would show me how to transfer photos from my cell phone to the computer, and how to take photos off my computer and put in my cell phone. Bless Jess' heart, he came by around 10:30 am and was happy to teach me! Jess also installed a CD I had on playing over 600 computer games. Jess also showed me how to empty the Trash and so a few other things. I feel so clever now! Knowing how to do something that felt like a math equation before is a great feeling!

I then worked on the quilt until I walked to the B.T. Cafe for lunch. At teatime Michelle and a pilgrim came by the room, and we watched part of Michelle's taping at the Retreat of Don Stevens' discussion on Intuition and God Speaks. After they left, I continued to work on the quilt.

Friday 31 August. I was up early to do my workout and take Foundy for a walk. There has been light rain almost daily, so the ground is pretty muddy. You have to be careful walking—very easy to slip.

I was having some problems with my sewing machine, so I had a rickshaw take me, and the sewing machine, into Ahmednagar. It is a Singer, which is an excellent sewing machine. The fixed the small problem, and I spent the next half hour having tea and talking to them about Baba. They told me to call them and in two days time they will be able to come to my place to fix the machine—nice that they do that here.

When I got home, I remembered that my DishTV payment was due the next day I called Sudan at the Trust, and he said I could send in the money with our bazaarwala to him, and he will pay it for me.

I called Michelle and we met at the B.T. Cafe for lunch. I carry my umbrella everywhere I go because the sky has been continually overcast, with dark clouds filling the sky. Sure enough, while walking home it began to rain.

Bhau gave a talk at the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm. Tea and snack were first served at 4:00 pm. That evening, a Baba movie was shown at the Retreat at 9:00 pm.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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