Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 January 2008

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Happy New Year to all of you!

It is the New Year, and here at Meherabad that means Amartithi is coming up soon. All departments are now geared in that direction. So much planning and preparing goes into this event. It is a most busy time—and also an exciting time.

This Diary is also a special one, as it is the 100th Meherabad Diary! I have now written 100 of them—talk about time passing! It is an amazing and exciting life here, and I am happy to share it with you.

Tuesday 1 January 2008. This is the first day of the New Year. At 6:00 PM I had Samadhi duty. At the Samadhi, I saw one of our Indian residents. He said Meherabad would have a 50th anniversary of the 1958 Sahavas with Baba. Gokaran asked me to video the Sahavas. It will be for three days in February. I happily said I would love to.

Wednesday 2 January. MPR duty. In the morning, a daily garland is delivered to the Reception Office. So, each day, the Receptionist on duty garlands a photo of Baba. It is always easier to have another person help garland, because the photo is on the wall above a round table.

On this morning, I saw a pilgrim named Primilla sitting outside the office on the verandah. I asked her if she would like to garland Baba with me. She was most happy to, and with tears in her eyes she told me this story. She said she was leaving to go back to Mumbai. At the Samadhi there were no more flowers in the basket to put on Baba's shrine. Her heart really wanted to give Baba a flower. Now, in the Reception Office, Baba granted her the wish—she was able to put a lot of flowers on Baba with the garland.

Some of our workers got the large ladder and took down all the decorations. It sure is nice to have that kind of help. They carefully wrapped them and put them back in the trunks, and then stored everything in our luggage room.

The 'music room' sign-out book disappeared from the Lobby. This records who signs out for the piano key, and the music cupboard key. I found this out from a pilgrim who is a musician. He said twice he found the piano unlocked and the keyboard open.

We moved the piano to the opposite side of the room because the sun was beating down on it through the window. The pilgrim also dusted the whole piano. This is a very expensive piece, given by the father of one of the residents. It is our responsibility to care for all these musical instruments. So, I took the piano key and put it in the Reception Office until the Supervisors make a decision on what to do.

Thursday 3 January. Went into the bazaar to shop. Easy day.

Friday 4 January. Went to Pune with Camilla. Bhauji gave a talk at the MPC at 4:30 PM. I was back in time for a Reception meeting at 7:00 PM about Amartithi.

Saturday 5 January. I cleaned Baba's Cabin Room and Jhopdi. I gave the Historical Tour of Meherabad at 10:00 AM. In the afternoon, a resident named Erico came to connect my Apple AirPort Express to the DSL.

Sunday 6 January. I did my morning work out. Later, in the morning I met Pramode at the MPR to discuss the children's' jungle gym mistake. We realized the problem happened when we decided to change the shape from octagonal to round. The top bars curve. This caused Pramode to put the double parallel bars from the monkey bars lower—by two feet. It will now have to be raised two feet.

There was an 11:00 AM meeting with the co-coordinating supervisors of the MPR and the Meherabad Trustees. We meet the first Sunday of each month. This meeting was about the needs the MPR would have for Amartithi. We will get the extra beds from Hostel-D. Jal will need the beds back by 6th February for the Sahavas program.

Monday 7 January. I had Reception duty at the Retreat. I noticed the jungle gym still needs to be fixed. At 4:30 PM, Bhau talked at the MPC.

Tuesday 8 January. I had lunch at the BT Café. Suzie Biddu was there and told me Bhauji's birthday celebration this Sunday will be telecast worldwide on his weekly Internet chat room. Bhauji will turn 82 years old.

I was up the hill early to stop and visit Jaloo before my Samadhi duty 6:00 PM.

Wednesday 9 January. I had Reception duty at the Retreat.

Thursday 10 January. I went to Pune for dental work. I bought another plant for our Retreat Reception Office. I also bought four more bougainvilleas. I think this should be enough to cover the whole length of the fence where I live and have a garden with my neighbor, Marge. In a year or so, the area along the fence will look so beautiful with such a variety of colorful flowers.

When I got home, I walked up to the Samadhi. There is a sign now posted at the railroad crossing we go over on our way up the hill from Lower Meherabad. The sign warns that crossing is illegal, and one does so at their own risk.

Friday 11 January. I was up early to do my workout. Worked in the garden, and then went to check the latest trench we had had dug to keep the cows out. I found it was neither deep enough nor long enough. The work will have to continue.

Every year for Amartithi, all the path stones are whitewashed. This morning, the workers were painting the ones around our staff quarters. It gives a fresh look to the area.

Bhau gave a talk at the MPC Hall at 4:30 PM. At 4:00 PM tea and snack were served.

Saturday 12 January. I was up the hill by 5:20 AM. So, I was in plenty of time for the opening of the Samadhi doors. In fact, I was asked to open them with the key! It was my first time ever! I was so very happy to be able to do it.

We all removed the cloths on Baba's shrine from the day before, and then we put a temporary cloth until cleaning at 6:00 AM. After taking Darshan, I went to Baba's Cabin Room and cleaned it. I put flowers on the stretcher, and then put flowers on the Ghadi under the Tin Shed. Before going down the hill, I put flowers on the outside of the threshold of the Samadhi. At Lower Meherabad, Mariko, Joseph, and I cleaned the Jhopdi and Table House.

Behind the Jhopdi is the Meherabad Trust Office. The little verandah is now being given a new life as a computer room. They are enclosing it with the only entrance from inside the Office.

On the way to the MPC to give the Historical Tour, I saw one of our Trustees with a broken foot. "What happened?", I asked. He said he fell crossing the railroad tracks on his motorcycle. The main crossing is full of small stones that are very dangerous to ride across. The Railroad Department said it was only temporary, until the new tracks settle. Then they will put in the large flat slabs of stone.

Well, the problem is a tire cannot get traction, and the stones move around as you pass them. Even cars are having trouble. I had already stopped crossing on my scooter until the track crossing is fixed. But, thank God, the Trust, after several people fell and broke bones, went and packed the area with dirt. Then they brought a big water tank and drenched the dirt to pack it more firmly.

I got to the MPC to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad at 10:00 AM. One of the questions a pilgrim asked was, "Who designed the Samadhi". I asked Peter Nordeen when I saw him the next day—Peter is a great source of knowledge about Meherabad, as he spent many years here at Meherabad with Padri. Peter said Chanji's brother, Naroji Dadachanji, designed the Samadhi under the direction of Baba.

During the Tour, we were able to go into the Rahuri Cabin. It had been under repair for several months. Now, it looks fantastic. All is repaired and freshly painted. Ted Judson stopped by while I was in the Rahuri Cabin with the pilgrims. Ted said a facsimile of the original Rano Gayley painting, that had been in the Rahuri Cabin for so many years, will be put in it. The original painting is now in the museum, where it will remain.

This was Dhuni Day, so evening Arti was at 5:00 PM. The Dhuni was lit at 6:00 PM. Between the Baba community and the pilgrims, there were a few hundred people at the Dhuni. There was a lot of energy, and when the Dhuni was 'officially' over, there were still a lot of people around, because we have some really great Iranian musicians here—and they started playing their Daffs, drums, and a most beautiful sounding string instrument called a tabour. The Iranians continued singing and playing for at least an hour. I tell you; I could have listened to them all night!

Sunday 13 January. I picked Virginia up at 9:00 AM, and off we went to Meherazad. I was very happy when we were in Mehera's room, and Virginia remembered the times she had with Mehera while Mehera would sew on her sewing machine. Then, when we were in the sitting room, again Virginia remembered sitting with Mehera. I was so happy tears came to my eyes. You see, when I returned from the States in December and took Virginia to Meherazad, she could not remember Mehera anymore. Now, being back to Meherazad several times, she is remembering again!

Dana told me, when Virginia was with Mehera, and left the room, Mehera would comment how sweet Virginia was. Mehera liked Virginia very much, they were good friends. On the way home, we stopped for ice cream—chocolate ice cream, two scoops for Virginia. She loves it!

This was Bhauji's 82nd birthday. Since so many are here, Suzie Biddu held the birthday celebration in our Music and Arts Center. Balloons were put up around a special seat for Bhau on the verandah. At 4:00 PM, delicious chocolate cake and tea were served. Everyone first sang "Happy Birthday" to Bhau.

All this was telecast live on the Internet. Bhau has his Sunday Internet chat room with Baba lovers around the world. He did not want to give up his Sunday chat with everyone, so it was arranged with Hughie McDonald to have the celebration live.

The performances were exceptional. The first act was the Ahmednagar Trust Office accounting department men singing. They are becoming so good they sound professional. Rama, Bhau's wife, was next. Then with so many talented pilgrims here, we had a number of other singings. Last was Hughie doing his magic.

Monday 14 January. I was on duty at the MPR. I was happy to see the jungle gym was now fixed to its proper height. After the cement dries, the whole thing will be sanded and painted.

For Amartithi, we are going to have signs at the entrances of all the sleeping wings, and also at the entrance as you walk up the ramp, by the Reception Office. The signs will state three of the rules that all pilgrims read as part of their orientation. Mani and Padri gave these rules. However, during Amartithi, we are going to only have an abbreviation of the orientation, with the three main rules posted. These are: 1. No illegal drugs. 2. No men in women's rooms, and no women in men's rooms. 3. No illicit sex. We have made the signs to have these rules in three languages; English, Persian, and Hindi. We often have around 60 Iranians during Amartithi, so Persian is necessary.

Tuesday 15 January. After my morning work out. I worked in the garden, and some of our workers came to put more barbedwire fencing, with a gate by the building. This will finish Marge and my area. But, other areas will still need to be closed to keep the cows out. The herders are pretty persistent.

I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 PM. First I stopped to visit Jaloo.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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