Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16 to 31 December 2007

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Sunday 16 December. I had a rickshaw pick me up and take me to the Meher Pilgrim Retreat by 8:30 AM. The Sunday receptionist needed to switch the day with me.

Since I had to be at the Retreat anyway for some work, this made it easier for me.

Pramode, the man who I hired to make the jungle-gym for our Retreat childrens' playground, was to start installing it this morning. When he arrived with two of his workers, I got out the design of the exact dimensions of where I wanted it on the playground. We measured the area, and Pramode had white powder to mark the layout. Later, he began digging the foundation.

I had several arrivals. One was a sweet old man with a long white beard. He had been coming to the Retreat a number of times ever since he met two of the residents on vacation at the 'hill station' near Mahabaleshwar, where he lives and works. I remember reading how Baba had a special liking for old men with long beards.

Monday 17 December. I had the veternarian come to check Foundy's ear. Lately he had been scratching it, as it was healing from the operation. The ear had healed nicely from the operation, but the earflap got infected from the scratching. I didn't know how to put on the large collar that goes around the dog's neck to prevent the scratching.

The veternarian came for the next three days to give Foundy antibiotic shots. Poor Foundy; he has this huge collar and keeps bumping into things. I have to take him on walks to do his 'doggie business', and he bumps into everything.

I went into the bazaar to pick up my stereo and buy a few things.

Bhauji came to the MPC in the afternoon to give a talk. Tea and snacks were served at 4:00 pm and the talk began at 4:30 pm.

Tuesday 18 December. I was up early to work out. After working in the garden for a while, I stopped to call the veternarian, as he was late. The Vet was ill and unable to come and give Foundy an injection.

I had an 11:00 AM meeting with the Volunteer Supervisor group of the Retreat. We had to decide on a proposal to present to the Meherabad Trustees on Thursday about a working structure change we wanted to make.

In the evening, I had my Samadhi duty at 6:00 PM. We are starting to get more pilgrims because of the holidays.

Wednesday 19 December. I was on duty at the Retreat. I had several pilgrims that arrived. We have around 70 pilgrims at this time, with a lot coming in the next few days.

At 3:00 PM our bus took pilgrims to the Music and Arts Center. Tea and cake was served at 4:00 PM on the verandah. At 4:30 PM a Baba film was shown.

On my way home, I had to stop at the railroad crossing, as the guard arm was down. People are having to wait up to 35 minutes. Since I was in the first vehicle, I did not want to sit there for the next 20 to 35 minutes, so I told my rickshaw driver to take me to our Samadhi path, and I would walk from there.

I did not have on the right shoes to cross all those stones around the tracks, and almost twisted my ankle twice. When I got home, I took my dog, Foundy, for a walk to do his 'doggie business'. His ear was not looking good. In fact it was bleeding. I tried to call the Vet, but was unable to reach him.

Thursday 20 December. The group of Supervisors of the Retreat had a meeting with the Meherabad Trustees. We met up in the Administration Hall of the MPR at 11:00 AM. We want to restructure our organization to remove a conflict that is causing problems.

In the evening, when walking Foundy, two men came by asking for me. I had just returned home. They were from DSL and they came to install broadband. The men did not know how to work Apple computers. So, I called Ben, a pilgrim at the Retreat, who came over to help do the installation.

Now, I had to wait a couple of days to get the password and user name. Then, happy day, I will be on broadband!

Friday 21 December. I went to Pune with a few pilgrims from Israel. I took them to all the main Baba places. It was a fun day. We were back in Meherabad shortly after it got dark.

Saturday 22 December. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM. I cleaned Baba's Cabin Room and put flowers on His stretcher, Ghadi, and threshold. This was Mehera's birthday and I went to her shrine to observe the decorating.

A special flower arrangement that hangs down the sides from the top of her shrine was being held by elastic bands stretched across the top of the shrine. This was covered by a stunningly beautiful decorative cover in gold colors with lots of bead-work. A clip-on cloth-framed photo of Baba & Mehera was hooked into place on the cloth, at the head of the shrine. The work in making the cover was done with so much love and care.

Baba's marble shrine had a full cloth on it. Every square inch was covered with carefully placed roses—one next to the other. This was soon covered; piled high with garland after garland by His lovers.

I went home to take Foundy for a walk, and change for Mehera's Special Birthday Arti at 10:00 AM. Meheru came from Meherazad. Having one of the women Mandali come adds an atmosphere of a unique reverance; a reverance that I have only experienced from the women Mandali that have spent their life in His presence. The love for Baba is something holy and sacred.

After Meheru returned to Meherazad, Janet Judson allowed people to come into Mehera's room in the East Wing of the compound. She told stories. One story told was that the women Mandali only got beds for the first time when they moved up into the compound of the Meher Retreat. Up till then they slept on the floor with only their bedding.

In the afternoon, a film of Mehera was shown in the Arts and Music Center at 4:30 PM. Tea and ginger bread cake was served at 4:00 PM on the verandah.

Sunday 23 December. I rode my scooter to the MPR at 8:00 AM to put up a sign on the Dining Hall door asking for volunteers to help decorate the Foyer and front verandah, for the holidays, at 10:30 AM that day.

On the way up, I saw Jal Dastoor, one of our Trustees. I asked about the train track problem. He said the railroad department would soon have a train that goes 124 MPH. He said the tracks are being put high all over India so motorcycles could not cross anywhere they wish. He said the Trust was told to put a sign at the path crossing from the MPC to the Samadhi. The sign would warn anyone crossing there that it was illegal and they did so at their own risk. This sign would be put in three languages.

Jal also said a walking passage that would go under the train tracks may be built. So, going from Lower Meherabad to the Samadhi would have a safe passage. Oh happy day when that happens!

After putting up the notice, I went home to walk Foundy. Poor dog, he has such a hard time bumping into things with that large ear protector around his head. But, his ear is infected and there isn't a choice.

I was back at the Retreat by 10:30 AM. We got the three trunks of decorations out of our luggage storage area. We had a group who enthusiastically helped decorate. We stopped for lunch. By 2:00 PM everything was done, and looked so beautiful.

Monday 24 December. I was on duty at the MPR, and boy was I busy! I lost count of how many arrivals I had. I didn't leave until after 7:00 PM.

Bhauji had come to the MPC to give his talk at 4:30 PM. At 4:00 PM tea and snacks were served in the hall.

Tuesday 25 December. My neighbor, Marge, and I picked Virginia up at 9:00 AM to go to Meherazad for the Christmas program. Like always, the area in front of the Mehera's porch was decorated with the colorful pandals. A stage was put up with a backdrop of colorful cloth and Baba's photo. Benches and chairs were placed in front and on the side of the stage.

Suzie Iimura was the MC. Her husband Martin, was our German Santa Claus. It was funny, with Martin's German accent and a skit of various people always calling him on his cell phone. Like always, there were great skits and singing. And of course, the Great Hugh-dini did his magic show.

After the program, everyone lined up to go into Mandali Hall and after taking Baba's Darshan, got their Prasad of a bag of goodies. The best goodie of all, a quote from Baba on a piece of paper. We stopped for chocolate ice cream on our way home.

Wednesday 26 December. I had duty at the Retreat. On the way up, I passed a camp of sheepherders near Hostel-D. They had their horses hobbled. I sure do enjoy seeing all those horses.

When I got home I took care of Foundy, taking him for a walk. He is getting sooooo weak! He has begun to throw up. I have the Veternarian coming to give him antibiotic injections, but Foundy seems to keep getting worse.

Thursday 27 December. I went to my bank in Ahmednagar to deposit a check. The person who does the International transactions had been ill for a week, and the woman told me the deposit could not be process until the man returned.

I am still waiting for my DSL password to be given to me before it can be connected. So, basically, I have not been able to get on the Internet. Boy, do we learn patience here!

Meherabad residents and foreign community members were requested to fill out and send to the Trust the 'Living Will' and 'Expressed Wishes Upon Death' forms the Trust had provided. Those who did so were to meet in the MPC hall at 3:00 PM. The Trust brought a notary to make all the official stamps and signatures required.

Those who had not yet completed their papers would have a later date to have the notary come to Meherabad. The Trust needs the forms in case of our death or incapacitation.

Friday 28 December. I walked to the MPR to make the signs for the New Year's Celebration, and to meet Pramode, who made the jungle gym. When I got to the MPR, I was very unhappy with how the jungle gym looked. It was made beautifully—but it was too short! By two feet! My head almost hit the monkey bars! I told Pramode it would have to be fixed. So, we will meet in a week to decide how to fix it.

It took three hours to make the five signs that I need to put up around Meherabad. At one point a pilgrim helped with the signs until lunch. When I was finished, I put them up on the door of the Dining Hall of the MPR, at the Savages Kitchen, the Community board, the board at the MPC, and I gave one to Hostel-D.

When I was walking back to Lower Meherabad, I had to stop for the train. I saw one of the Baba lovers hanging out one of the open doors. We happily said 'Jai Baba' to each other.

Foundy seems to be getting worse. His infection on his ear has healed, but now he is throwing up. I tried to take him for a walk, but I cut it short because he just didn't have the strength.

At 7:00 PM, I had a Receptionist meeting at the Academy. We had our first Amartithi preparation meeting. We are going to take 100 extra pilgrims at the Retreat this year. Last year we took 80 extra.

Saturday 29 December. I was up the hill by 5:30 AM to clean Baba's Cabin Room. When I got home I called the Vet to come and give Foundy an injection to stop his stomach spasm that is causing him to keep throwing up. He is so weak.

I went to the MPC at 10:00 AM to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad. When I got home by lunch, I found Foundy just laying down. I was glad to see he had finally stopped throwing up.

Later, Foundy walked out to an area he never goes, and laid down. My neighbor, Caran, and I brought him back to my verandah where he had an outside bed. Caran said he was in shock, he was cold and shaking. We covered him with two blankets and keep giving him rescue remedy in the mouth.

Around 9:15 PM, Caran and I both had our hands on Foundy's stomach, as it seemed to quiver. Caran then said 'Foundy's stopped breathing'. Foundy went to Baba. I shed many tears that night. Foundy was my fur friend for 10 years, sleeping in my room and being a good watch dog. For him, I am happy, as he will advance in his journey to God.

Foundy was well loved here at Meherabad. He loved food, and the neighbors loved to feed him. I use to call him 'fat boy'. He was very fortunate to have spent his dog life here in Baba's home.

Sunday 30 December. I had Foundy buried near my room. One of the residents asked me to put two dog biscuits next to him when he was buried, like they did in Egypt, for his journey on the other side. This I did, in good humor. Before he was buried, a few neighbors came to say good bye to Foundy.

Later in the morning, I took Foundy's dog collar up to Baba's Samadhi. I put it on the Samadhi and told Baba what had happened. I then brought the collar back to my room. I don't know what I am going to do with it yet.

I was grateful I had the day off, so I was free to mourn my dear Foundy.

Monday 31 December. I had duty at the Retreat. It was so busy with pilgrims coming for the celebration. The energy was high and excitement was in the air. It was a fun day to be at the Retreat.

After evening Arti at 7:00 PM, the Samadhi stayed open for those who wished to continue singing.

At the MPR, at 9:00 PM, the tables in the Dining Hall were moved to the sides, to make space for dancing. Chairs were put on all sides. The bus from Lower Meherabad brought those who wanted to attend the party. We must have had three hundred people either dancing or sitting.

The kitchen provided special treats to snack on. Ken Coleman was the MC. He had a good mixture of music, Indian and Western.

We stopped dancing at 11:15 PM to help clean the Dining Hall. Then at 11:30 PM the buses took everyone to the Samadhi. The Samadhi was packed! Hundreds were singing and at a few minutes before midnight, everyone began chanting the Dhoun song—which is Baba's name. At the stroke of midnight, we said Baba's name seven times. Then we said the prayers. Everyone then began hugging and saying 'Happy New Year'.

At 12:30 PM sharp, the buses left to take the pilgrims back to the Retreat.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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