Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 July 2008

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Tuesday 1 July 2008. This was a most happy day for everyone in Meherabad — it was the opening day of Meherazad for this pilgrim season. I had hired a car and took Virginia. When I got to Meherazad, I had to use one of their wheelchairs for Virginia. She can no longer walk around much.

Wednesday 2 July. I picked up Fereshteh at 8:30 am and we went to the Meher Pilgrim Retreat for our day of duty.

There was a notice that was put on the community bulletin board for volunteers to "Let's Clean Up Meherabad". Everyone who wanted to participate would meet at Mandali Hall in Lower Meherabad. Trash bags and gloves were provided. This is an event that is periodically done, especially before a special day, like Silence Day.

In the afternoon, there was a Baba film shown in our Music and Arts Center. Tea and snack was served at 4:00 pm on the verandah, and at 4:30 pm the film was shown.

Thursday 3 July. I left for Pune around 7:30 AM. I usually leave earlier, but I wanted to stop at marble & granite places along the way, and I needed the shops opened.

Friday 4 July. I finished my shopping early and returned to Meherabad by afternoon. In the evening, a Baba film was shown at 9:00 pm at the MPR.

Saturday 5 July. I was up the hill by 5:30 am and I was able to be present when the Samadhi doors were open. After helping remove the old garlands and cloths, I went to clean Baba's Cabin Room. After putting flowers on the stretcher cover, I also put flowers on the Ghadi and then the Samadhi threshold.

Next, I went down the hill to clean the Jhopdi and Table House with Fereshteh. After going home to have breakfast, I got ready to do the Historical Tour of Meherabad. When we reached the Cage Room, the pilgrims had a chance to say 'Jai Baba' to Jaloo. It is such a sweet event to witness — the pilgrims, one by one, introduced themselves and said 'Jai Baba' with folded hands. Jaloo so sweetly returns the 'Jai Baba'.

In the afternoon there were two videos shown at the Music & Arts Center. The first was of Mani showing some of Baba's hand gestures. The other video was the one for Mehera's 100th birthday. Both filled the heart with joy — what a golden time that was when Mani and Mehera were still around to share their life with Baba!

Sunday 6 July. I had a car pick me up at 9:00 AM. I had the driver first take me to the Meher Pilgrim Retreat to drop off some things I bought in Pune for the MPR. Then we went to pick up Virginia and go to Meherazad.

My heart is always happy to see the hugs, kisses, and love that are given to Virginia. She is so sweet, almost like a child. She will turn 93 years old in October.

Monday 7 July. In the morning some of our men residents cleaned the verandah covering, top and underneath, of both the Jhopdi and Table House. Every year we do a complete cleaning of both the Jhopdi and Table House a couple of days before Silence Day. Baba began His Silence in the Jhopdi.

On the way to the MPR I stopped to pick up Feresheh near our Labor Office. It was a very busy day at the Retreat. It was also one with two major incidents. In the morning one of the pilgrims fell in the bazaar. When she returned to the Retreat, her foot was giving her so much pain. We put ice packs on it and had our doctor from the Meher Health Clinic come and write a slip saying she needed to have x-rays. She was then taken to a hospital in Ahmednagar.

While that pilgrim was having x-rays at the hospital, another pilgrim from the men's side decided to take a shortcut to the volleyball court by climbing over the fence, instead of going around the building. He fell from the top of the fence, six feet down, and landed on his back. We had to put the medical board under him and also send him to the same hospital in Ahmednagar for x-rays, to see if he hurt his back.

The woman pilgrim returned with a cast on her foot. The male pilgrim returned with a brace around his neck — but thank God he had no back injury.

Tuesday 8 July. This was the morning we scheduled to do the major cleaning of the Jhopdi and Table House for Silence Day. The four cleaning women and their temporary supervisor, all from the Archive building, had brought some of the materials we would need, like the vacuum. Feresheh and I brought the bag of brushes, buckets, and cleaning cloths. Mariko and Joseph were also ready to help.

We cleaned until 11:00 am, took a 10 minute break, then continuing cleaning. Because some of the cleaning was done the day before, we were able to be finished by 12 noon. The Table House screen door was once again screwed shut.

Wednesday 9 July. I picked Feresheh up at 8:00 am so we would be at the MPR extra early. We were expecting 135 pilgrims and we wanted to have some time putting things out before opening the doors for business. The receptionist from Tuesday, before going home, had rearranged the Reception Office furniture to make the check-in work more smoothly.

We no sooner opened the doors and some pilgrims wanted to come in. We had to let them know we would need a few minutes before we began check-in. We normally began the day at 9:00 am, but we started twenty minutes sooner.

What a day! All the receptionists were on duty. We all had different assigned duties and by the end of the day we were exhausted. On top of all the arriving pilgrims, we had a constant stream of pilgrims from the Hostels coming to see the MPR.

We were giving out badges that the pilgrims had to wear in order to get into the men and women areas. We set up like at Amartithi, having a security guard at the entrances and only those staying at the MPR would be allowed into the wings. We were also giving each pilgrim a ticket to the Baba movie that would be shown on Silence Day. The pilgrim had the choice of the morning or afternoon film.

When we were finally finished and ready to go home it was 7:15 pm. Some of us who live in Lower Meherabad could not get a rickshaw to take us home, so one of the other receptionist's who has a house near the MPR drove us home in her car. It was almost 8:00 pm when I got home.

Thursday 10 July. Today was Silence Day. What a wonderful day it was!!!! Everywhere it was quiet. I especially savored it because of the chaotic day of the 9th . I went up the hill near the Ghadi and waited for Meheru to arrive at 10:00 am.

The whole atmosphere around the Samadhi felt charged with an intensity of energy; it was so powerful! You could almost feel the silence! When Meheru arrived it was such a beautiful experience to be able to be present. There is something extraordinary, almost like a more beautiful dimension, opening up when the Mandali are around the Samadhi. I don't know how else to explain the experience. I am just grateful to have been able to experience it.

After Meheru put garlands in the Samadhi, she went to Mehera and then Mani's shrines. Her love toward her lifelong companions is very beautiful to behold. Meheru then went to Baba's Cabin Room where she again put garlands and flowers. Last, she went to the Ghadi before going down the hill to Lower Meherabad.

I got a ride to the bottom of the hill, then got out and hurried to the Jhopdi. I unlocked the Jhopdi lock, but left the chain on the hook. The jeep that carried the flowers arrived and a stool was put on the farsi floor to hold a huge basket of red roses. These were for pilgrims to give Baba.

Meheru arrived and opened the Jhopdi door. She went in and garlanded Baba's photo, she also put flowers on the two other photos on the window ledge. She next went to the Table House. She had a very large, long garland for the front of the Table House. It went from one end to the next. Meheru then went under the table part and put flowers next to the screen door. After she bowed down she got in the car and left.

For me, she helped make this Silence Day an extra special treat. I was feeling so happy! I am so thankful to be here in Meherabad. I started to walk back to my room, when I stopped by the Savages Kitchen and saw a sign on the board saying there were extra tickets to the morning Baba film. I picked one up and went to Hostel-A (our Music & Arts Center). I was able to see the last half. As I was leaving the building I saw two other residents and started to say hello. Well, I just blew my silence once again!!!!!!! I caught myself, but I had already spoken — darn!!!!!

After a wonderful nap, I went back up the hill to the Samadhi. The line was so long I took Darshan at the threshold. I noticed some of the residents were inside the Samadhi, trying to remove some of the garlands from the three-foot high pile on the marble. I helped until the Samadhi attendant was satisfied the area was cleaned up a little.

I then went down the hill and sat in the Jhopdi for a while. Silence Day is the only day of the year when we are allowed to sit inside. At sundown, Mariko, Joseph, and I shut the doors of the Jhopdi and locked it. Tomorrow at 6:30 am we will go in and remove all the flowers and give it a cleaning.

Friday 11 July. I met Mariko and Joseph at the Jhopdi at 6:30 am. We took out all the garlands and flowers from the Jhopdi and put them around the trees. We gave it a quick cleaning, and then went to the Table House and also removed all the flowers and just swept.

There was a new film to be shown in our Music & Arts Center about 'Meher Baba's Universal Message'. The showings were in three languages. The 10:00 to 11:00 am showing was in English. The 11:30 to 12:30 pm showing was in Telegu. And, the 4:30 to 5:30 pm showing was in Hindi.

Saturday 12 July. This was Dhuni Day. I was up the hill by 5:30 am. There were at least 30 pilgrims at the Samadhi. When the doors were opened there was a rush of everyone wanting to go in. I was surprised there was no order, and I stayed at the door and tried to keep some order. I will write a letter to the Hill Committee about the lack of order and the need for some type of control when we have so many pilgrims here. Hostel-B, C & D had almost 1400 pilgrims for Silence Day, and the MPR had almost 200. Many stayed for Dhuni.

After cleaning Baba's Cabin Room, I put flowers on the stretcher and then the Ghadi. Next, I went back to my room to get ready for the Historical Tour of Meherabad. The tour takes three hours, so by 1:00 pm I am very tired. I had to go to the MPR for something, and one of the pilgrims on the tour was driving his car and offered two of us a ride. I then took a rickshaw back to my room from the MPR.

The evening Arti was at 5:00 pm. So, the normal afternoon program at the Music & Arts Center was cancelled. Dhuni was lit at sundown — 6:15 pm. There were still hundreds of pilgrims here. Before the Dhuni was lit, there was beautiful chanting by some of the Indian groups. The energy was intense.

Sunday 13 July. I had the car pick me up at 9:00 am to go to Meherazad. We stopped to pick up Virginia. Her caregiver, Neela, and her daughter, Katherine, also went with us. When we reached Meherazad I noticed all the carpets were out of Mandali Hall, and Falu was putting wooden benches in a line down the middle. I asked Falu where the carpets were? He said there were eight buses of pilgrims and it would be only a walk-through.

I had forgotten about all the pilgrims. Since it would be too hard on Virginia to stay, I told everyone we would go on an adventure. We went first to the Samadhi where we all took Darshan. Then we went to the MPR. We got the wheelchair for Virginia and I showed Neela and Katherine the place. Next, I showed them the house I am helping some Baba lovers finish. I was also going to show them my room, but Virginia was falling asleep. So, we went back to Virginia's for lunch.

Monday 14 July. I stopped to pick up Fereshteh on the way to the MPR. On the window ledge inside the Reception Office there were two milk coconuts. My name was on one of them. The other receptionists already got theirs.

The story of the milk coconuts is really amazing. A pilgrim named Dr. Ravindra Giri lives on a farm about one hour away from Meherabad. Baba had visited his farm on 21st May, 1941. Dr Giri's farm is named Narangaon, but 500 to 1000 years ago it was called Arangaon. It is the birthplace of King Shivaji.

Tuesday 15 July. I saw Kishore, one of the Trust carpenters. He does a lot of private work for us residents on his own time. I am having a cabinet with glass doors made to hold my video cameras, tapes, etc. I am also having him paint my room — which has not been painted in sixteen years!

We still have not had any rain. The garden plants are all drooping. We are not allowed to water our gardens because of the shortage of water. We need someone to do a rain dance!!!!!!!!!

I rode my scooter to the MPR for an 11:00 am 'MPR Group' meeting. In the evening I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 pm.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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