Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 December 2007

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

It is so wonderful to be back home! I was in the States visiting my family for almost two months. I have eight grandchildren, so you can imagine how busy I was—and yes, I changed a lot of diapers. As you know, I design a special quilt for each grandchild when they turn seven years old. I had finished the third one just in time to take to the States with me. My grandson Ari turned seven in November, and he loved his quilt, I am happy to say.

Now, I have to design another to take with me in April, as another grandchild will turn seven years old.

I was to fly Continental Airlines out of Newark, NJ non-stop to Mumbai on 30 Nov. I got to the check-in counter at the airport, and was told I couldn't check-in because my plane was already boarding. I was shocked! What happened was I got my arrival time mixed up with my departure time—they were only one hour apart. Departure was 8:20 PM and Arrival in India was 9:40 PM. Continental put me on the next day's flight, with no extra charge. I had to go all the way back into NY city. You better believe I was at the airport on the 1 Dec. in plenty of time. I had been flying for almost fort years, and that was the first time I ever made that mistake.

When I left NY the temperature was in the 20's, when I arrived in Mumbai it was in the 80's. I went straight to Pune and rested in a hotel until the stores opened. After buying some supplies, I headed to Meherabad. And what a pleasant surprise the journey turned out to be!

The new, four-lane highway from Pune to Ahmednagar ends miles from Meherabad. Well now, you will be happy to know, the whole rest of the way there is construction to continue the highway. In the two months that I was in the States this work started, and the way it looks, maybe in a year, it will be complete!

Monday 3 December. When I got home, I immediately walked up the hill to say hello to Beloved Baba. It is the best feeling in the whole world, walking into the Samadhi. Baba's love and presence bathes the soul and every atom of the body. The eyes sting with the joy of the heart singing, "I'm home Baba, I'm home!"

Tuesday 4 December. I noticed the preparations for Amartithi have begun. Open fields are being plowed where the huge tents to house pilgrims will go. The weeds along the paths are being cleared, and the metal structure in front of the Ampi-theater is being erected.

I went to the Trust and left things for the Meher English School with Mehernath. When I'm in the States, I go to yard sales and pick up stuff that children at the School may be able to use. I went to the DSP (Department of Superintendent of Police) to check in and have my papers stamped.

I stopped to see Virginia. She is doing okay. I told her I would take her to Meherazad on Sunday.

In the afternoon, there was a meeting for all residents who are sponsored by the Trust. The purpose of the meeting was to learn how to make a living will, and the importance of having one.

Wednesday 5 December. At 3:00 AM I was wide-awake. So, I spent several hours cleaning out my desk. I had it built years ago, and never rearranged it to make it more 'user friendly'.

At 9:15 AM I got a call from the Meher Pilgrim Retreat Lobbyman. He said there were four pilgrims waiting to be checked in. I thought I was scheduled to start the following week. I called my substitute, and she said I wrote in the book before leaving that I would start on 5th Dec. Well, I called a rickshaw and hurried to the Retreat. When I got to the railroad crossing I had a big surprise!

Not only was the cross guard down, but many workers were moving the tracks! I thought, 'this could take hours!' So, I called one of the Residents who lives near the Retreat and asked if she could come and pick me up. She would be on the other side of the tracks.

It was a very pleasant day, and I enjoyed being back on duty. It is good seeing old friends and meeting new pilgrims. The garden in the women's wing is getting so pretty.

Thursday 6th December. I once again woke at 3:00 AM. I continued to organize my room, going through my closets and getting rid of clothes I no longer wear. I found a lot of my clothes smelled of mildew from all the rain we had. So, I took those out to be washed. I am going to have to go through my trunks and check to see if things smell of mildew there as well.

Later in the morning, I went to one of the residents and he reset my computer to external modem. When I'm in the States I use the airport setting. It seems even though we have all the machinery and it is hooked up for broadband, there is some problem at the telephone headquarters in Nasik. So, only God know when we will get the connection turned on for broadband.

Friday 7 December. I woke at 3:30 AM. When it was 9:00 AM, I went into the bazaar and bought some stuff. Then I was home in time for the veterinarian to come and operate on Foundy's ear (my dog). His earflap was swollen and he had been given antibiotics until he could be operated on. It will take about 10 days before the stitches are taken out. The vet will give me one of those funny looking collars you put on the dog's neck so he can't scratch his ears.

Saturday 8 December. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM, just in time to be present when Baba's Samadhi doors were opened. I helped remove the old cloths and helped place a temporary one, until cleaning at 6:00 AM.

I really enjoy being up the hill at that hour. Cleaning Baba's Cabin Room is such a lovely privilege to be able to do. I just talk to Baba the whole time. I then put flowers on his stretcher and went to the Ghadi to put flowers on it. I next put flowers at the Samadhi threshold before going back down the hill.

I forgot to mention, there are double railroad tracks to cross now. It seems the workers put an extra set of railing that they used, when they had a lot of work to do. When I was crossing the tracks, I noticed they were replacing the wooden planks the tracks are on with concrete ones. They were also replacing all the old tracks with new one.

I took a long walk to one of the receptionist's home and she told me all the news of what had been happening at the Retreat. There was to be a meeting at the Retreat with all the volunteer supervisors on Tuesday. So, it was good to understand some of the issues we will discuss. By the time I walked back home I was tired.

Sunday 9 December. My neighbor and I decided to hire a part-time gardener, someone who would do the weeding, watering, and overall care of our outside area. Our part-time housekeepers had been spending more and more time working in the yard. Now, we will have help in the garden.

I had a car pick Virginia and me up at 9:15 AM and take us to Meherazad. Everyone was very happy to see Virginia. She had not been to Meherazad since I left for the States in October. It was really nice seeing the love all the people shower on her. On the way home, we stopped for her favorite ice cream—chocolate—two scoops.

Monday 10 December. I was on duty at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. At lunch, I was talking to one of our Iranian residents. He told me he goes to the Samadhi every morning to help clean. That morning, Baba's statement that 'He has come to bring all religions together like beads on one string' really hit home for him. He said that morning at the Samadhi there were five people to help clean. He realized one was Christian, one Zoroastrian, one Jewish, one Muslim, and one Hindu.

At 4:30 PM Bhau gave a talk in the Dining Hall of the old MPC.

Tuesday 11 December. There was an 11:00 AM meeting of all the volunteer supervisors of the Retreat. We discussed some organizational structures we felt needed to be changed. We work in the spirit of co-operation and felt to keep this harmony we had to readjust some things.

There was a 'Clean up Meherabad' volunteer work crew from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Trash bags and gloves were provided. With Mehera's birthday approaching, we wanted Meherabad to look especially lovely.

Wednesday 12 December. Dhuni Day. I was on duty at the Retreat. I had several expected arrivals. I was happy everyone checked in before 6:00 pm, and I was allowed to leave and go to the Dhuni. Evening Arti was at 5:00 PM and the Dhuni was lit at 5:45 PM.

A 40th Wedding Anniversary party was celebrated at the Muir compound. Since Sharon and Harry were married in the 60's, the theme was of 60's music and dress. I made sure I had colorful clothes and wore lots of beads.

Thursday 13 December. I woke up by 4:30 AM. I had a lot of things to do, so I decided to have coffee and stay up. I went up to the Samadhi to have some time with Baba. The weather is warm and breeze during the day and most pleasant. I stopped to see Jaloo, who lives in the building behind the Samadhi. She has been living there since Baba's New Life. She and her sister were together there all these years, until several months ago, when Goolu died.

Crossing the railroad tracks when walking up the hill has become a problem. When the railroad department replaced the tracks and wooden planks with cement supports, they raised the tracks more than a foot. It makes walking up the rocks and over the tracks a bit dangerous. I don't know if the Trust can do anything about it. I hope so.

Friday 14 December. I left for Pune by 6:00 AM. When I stopped for breakfast at the German Bakery in Pune, I saw two Israeli pilgrims also having breakfast there. We agreed to meet later, and I would give them a ride home.

I bought more plants for the Reception Office at the Retreat. I decided I would rotate the plants every two or three weeks. Otherwise, it is too dark in the office, and the plants began to die. The plants really give the office a warm and inviting atmosphere, so it is worth the trouble of rotating plants.

Saturday 15 December. This was the anniversary of Mani's birthday. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM to clean Baba's Cabin Room. I was given new covers for the Cabin. So, I got several pilgrims to help. One of the residents, Marge, my neighbor, is wonderful in sewing beautiful things. She made an incredible cover for Mani's shrine, with beads shaped like birds, and stitching with colored thread that spelled out Baba's name. It was so beautiful.

During the morning Arti, Happy Birthday was sung to Mani. Most of the singing was of Mani's songs. Later in the afternoon, a video of Mani was showed in our Music and Arts Center at 4:30 PM. Tea and snack was first served at 4:00 PM on the verandah.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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