Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 August 2008

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Friday 1 August 2008. I was in Pune with another resident. After shopping, we had lunch and then returned to Meherabad. I got home in time to pick flowers for the morning. Also, the painting of my room was finished while I was in Pune. Now, I have to put everything back in place.

Saturday 2 August. I was up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Baba's Cabin Room. Then I went down the hill to clean the Jhopdi with Fereshteh. Mariko and Joseph still help, but they clean the Table House on Friday evening, as it works better for them.

I was at the MPC at 10:00 am to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad. We had a light drizzle for part of the day. It was not enough to even make the roads muddy. In the afternoon, there was a film shown in our Music & Arts Center at 4:30 pm. The film was 'Be As It May', discourses of Upasni Maharaj. First, however, tea and snacks were served on the verandah at 4:00 pm.

Also, at 4:00 pm, artist may display their artwork. They just contact Sharon Muir, and she will give them a Saturday to display the art. This Saturday, Zahra Hasantash, showed her art 'paintings of the Beloved'.

I had agreed to help some Baba lover friends build their house, as they live in the States. I had an appointment to meet one of our part-time residents at the house. He is in construction, and he was going to show me, and the contract supervisor, where the bathroom air-vents needed to be, as well as other important information that I had no clue about. We walked around the house and talked for over two hours. I tell you, I sure have learned a lot about building a house!!!

Sunday 3 August. I spent the morning putting my room back together. When it was painted everything was taken out of the room, or, put in the middle of the room and covered. Later, I went into 'Nagar on errands.

The annual International Young Adult Sahavas (YAS) started today. It last one week and there are around 100 attendees. It is held in Hostel-C. It is a wonderful experience for everyone, and close bonds of the heart are formed. You can feel a fire of love from the attendees, and in the evening at Arti their singing was very beautiful.

Monday 4 August. I was on duty at the MPR. Fereshteh and her grown son, Hooyar, are involved with the music program of the Young Adult Sahavas, so she was not going to be assisting at the MPR this week.

It started to rain today!!! It is not the heavy monsoon, but it rained all day, and the roads are muddy. You now also see the frogs everywhere. What is really wonderful is the rain came just in time. The hundreds of little trees had just been planted between the MPR and the Samadhi. I was concerned how they would survive. Then, Baba brings rain! Not heavy, but enough to help all our plants.

Tuesday 5 August. I took a rickshaw to 'Nagar (short for Ahmednagar) to open a separate bank account from the one I have at State Bank of India. Since I am handling the money for the building of the house, I want to keep it separate from my own personal funds. The account is in a different bank. It will take a few days for the bank to verify all my documents. Then I will get the checks and ATM card for the account.

It was still raining from the day before. It is so nice to see the puddles everywhere, though not so much fun walking around them. I had an 11:00 am meeting at the MPR for our weekly MPR supervisor group. We meet each week to stay in touch with each other's department needs, as well as the overall needs of the MPR. We do our best to make Baba's guest as comfortable as we can.

In the evening, I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 pm. Walking on muddy paths is a cautious journey, or you can slip and fall.

Wednesday 6 August. I took a rickshaw to the MPR. It isn't raining anymore, but it is cold, overcast, and very muddy roads. The rickshaws have a hard time driving in them.

I didn't have any expected arrivals until I got a call for the Reservation Office saying I would have 2 Indians, and 4 foreigners. I waited until 7:00 PM for the foreigners, but they were a 'no-show'. This was strange, since they registered at the Pilgrim Reservaton Office around 3:00 pm. We open the reception office at 9:00 am and we close at 6:00 pm. That is a nine-hour day. But, we often stay until 7:00 pm for an expected arrival — which means if they arrive at 7:00 pm and it is their first time at the MPR, we must give them a full orientation. That takes around twenty minutes. So, we can get out of the office at 7:30 pm or later. The day then becomes a 10 or a 10½ hour day.

I have found for me, I have no trouble with the regular nine-hour day. It seems to be the extra hour that wears me down. And, if I wait until 7:00 pm and then the pilgrim just doesn't show, it is quite frustrating.

Thursday 7 August. I decided at 8:00 am to go the Pune. So, I had a car pick me up at 9:00 am. I stopped by the house construction site to check on it, and then took the back road to Pune. I needed to measure some items for the house, and next week I won't be able to go to Pune because it is India's Independence Day, and things may be closed. I was back by 6:00 pm.

Friday 8 August. I went up to the house site and talked to the carpenter about something that needed to be done. I was very happy to see screens in the window frames, and most of the doors in the doorways.

I then went to the Meher English School. There is a family here from Myrtle Beach, Walter, Kim, and their daughter Zoe, Witkowski. For the past three years they have been having a 'giving of gifts' day for the children of the school. They buy boxes of bagged snacks, bananas, small balls, pencils, ice cream, etc. When I arrived at the school around 10:30 am, the little children were already sitting in a line waiting.

Then the Trust bus came full of the young pilgrims from the International Young Adult Sahavas. They had picked the same day to do a service project at the school. So, they were able to help distribute the treats.

In the evening there was a party at the Muir compound. The have 'date' parties. This date was 08-08-08. Last year the date of the party was 07-07-07. It is a 'potluck' party. They are fun and the community members bring food to share.

Saturday 9 August. I was up the hill by 5:30 am. After cleaning Baba's Cabin Room, putting flowers at the different places, I went down the hill. There was work going on at the Jhopdi so I was not able to clean it. They are moving some of the farsi slabs on the verandah to clean out the wasp hives underneath. Each slab is numbered, so it will be replaced exactly where it was before. The verandah was built when Baba was here, and therefore, it is to remain, as it was when He walked on it.

At 10:00 am I went to the MPC to take anyone waiting there on the Historic Tour of Meherabad. When we got to the Jhopdi the mason was working on the verandah, so we sat at the Table House for all the stories. When we were walking past the Post Office I saw the old hours were still posted above the door. I went to our Labor Office and told Mayana, our labor officer, about the incorrect posted hours. So, Mayana asked the Postal worker to get the exact hours she keeps the Post Office open, and he will then have the sign repainted with the correct hours.

We then walked toward the Rahuri Cabin. Between the beginning of Mandali Hall and our supply store, a trench had been dug and new piping had been put in. The old pipe looked very rusty and in bad shape. Mandali Hall is also still being worked on, so we sat in the Rahuri Cabin and told stories about both places.

It started to sprinkle a little on our way up the hill. When I went to get the key to the Museum in Mansari's kitchen, I saw a group of residents walking around the compound. The group was organized last year to collect the stories about Meherabad that Padre told them. These are the people who moved here at Meherabad when Padre was still here. They are collecting precious stories among themselves they remember as they walk around Meherabad.

At 4:30 pm a film of Padre giving a tour of Meherabad was shown in our Music & Art Center. First, tea and snacks were served on the verandah at 4:00 pm.

Sunday 10 August. I woke to a light drizzle, not enough to get wet, so I went on my morning walk. The International Young Adult Sahavas closed their one week Sahavas in the morning.

I had a car pick me up at 9:00 am. We went to the construction house site so I could see what had been going on. I am seeing daily progress. So, it looks like the house will in the not to distance future be a home. I then picked up Virginia and we went to Meherazad. It began to lightly rain by the time we got to Meherazad. No heavy rain, which we need so badly. But, this rain will help water the plants and help the farmers.

In Mandali Hall they showed the film 'God Alone Is Real'. It is such a powerful film; I have decided I am going to buy it. After it was over, Meheru said the various photo shots and the music went together so well. Bhauji was sitting in the Hall until just before the film began. Then he left.

We stopped to pick up some ice cream to have with our lunch, which we had at Virginia's. At 4:00 pm I had a rickshaw take me to the MPR to do a video. Margaret and Donald Eucker had gone to the 1969 Darshan in Pune and I wanted to get their story. I have been gathering video stories of those who attended the Darshan. These of course will be, in time, with the LA Baba Center.

Monday 11 August. I picked up Fereshteh on the way up to the MPR. The roads were very muddy, and our rickshaw had a hard time driving in it.

Tuesday 12 August. This was Dhuni Day. I had gone into the bazaar on some errands. Evening Arti was at 5:30 pm, and the lighting of the Dhuni at 6:30 pm. I had Samadhi duty from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. But, I got off duty in time to participate in the Dhuni.

Wednesday 13 August. I picked Fereshteh up and we went to the MPR. We have been having very light rain for days now. We are very grateful for anything. Yet, we sure wish Baba would send several days of heavy rain.

I am very glad we have Fereshteh helping in the Reception Office. We seem to have Iranians coming on most of my days. Many are directly from Iran, and Fereshteh is able to speak with them if they don't know English. It helps them feel welcome. Baba had said that a wave of Iranians would begin coming. We have seen the beginning of this wave ever since we opened the MPR. They are the third largest group to come here, next to the Indians and the Americans. They are very proud that Baba's family came from Iran! They are a very sweet and loving people.

We had a Receptionists meeting at 7:15 pm. Besides talking about all the regular topics, we discussed the large group coming to the MPR on Friday. India's Independence Day was Friday, and we were going to have 98 arriving pilgrims.

Thursday 14 August. This was a very busy day. I had to go into the bazaar for several things. One was to find help for the digital camera I am using. I take a lot of photos of the house site so I can send it to the owners in America. But, all of a sudden the camera said I needed to change the batteries, even though I had just done that. So, I went to a Kodak camera shop, and the man told me the camera needs stronger batteries. I bought a battery charger, and eight rechargeable batteries. It is really frustrating when I need to take a photo and the camera says 'nyet'.

I stopped by the Meherabad Accounting Office. They had made eight copies of the new community phone list for me. Several of the copies are for the MPR. I walked past the Jhopdi on the way up the hill. There was still work going on. The verandah had bees digging between the farsi slabs. So, Hussein, our mason, has been breaking up the cement holding the pieces and cleaning out the under part. Then Hussein smooths the slabs and replaces them, using new cement to hold them together. I collected several of the old chipped cement pieces. These had been there since Baba was here in the body — he may have walked on them. I will give one piece to the LA Baba Center.

Friday 15 August. This was India's Independence Day. It was also a very busy day for the MPR. There were 98 arrivals. This would bring the total pilgrims to around 153. By tomorrow the number would be slightly higher.

I had taken a rickshaw to the house construction site. It is really important to be at the place every day, or mistakes are made. Today, the workers were starting to build square cement post around the metal poles of the verandahs. We had wanted round ones. The supervisor didn't quite understand how to attach the grillwork to the round cement post. So, I took him to the MPR and showed him how it was done in the Dining Hall. Had I not gone by, many poles would have been made square by the next day.

Since it was India's Independence Day, I went to a local store and bought a lot of candy. I took the candy back to the workers at the construction site. Here in India, the whole family works at the construction site, and the little children just play around the stuff. So, there were happy smiles by everyone when I had the supervisor pass out the candy. It is amazing how something so small can make people so happy.

On the way back to my room, the road was packed with horses and tongas. Every Independence Day there are horse races on the road in front of Lower Meherabad. The races started at 12:30 am. They are really wild here. Not only do the horse tongas race two or three at a time, you have accompanying them around thirty motorcycles, two to three riders each, all blaring their horns! It is truly wild. And the motorcycles ride right next to the horses — with yelling men and honking horns. The final group of horse tongas are the strongest of them all. They start from 20 kilometers away. It is the finish of the race. And, by this time you have at least sixty motorcycles — lights on, horns blaring, men yelling! It is something to see!!! I love it!!!

On my way up the hill to take Darshan at the Samadhi, I passed by Hostel-D and Hostel-C. They looked pretty busy there too.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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