Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16 to 31 August 2008

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Saturday 16 August 2008. I was up the hill in time for the Samadhi doors to be opened at 5:30 am. I enjoy helping remove the old garlands and cloths from the day before. Then a fresh cloth is put on until the cleaning of the Samadhi at 6:00 am. No one is supposed to be up the hill before 6:00 am, unless you have work to do.

I then cleaned Baba's Cabin Room. After putting flowers on the stretcher, Ghadi, and Samadhi threshold, I went down the hill. Fereshteh and I clean the Jhopdi at 7:00 am.

I then went to have breakfast and get ready to give the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites.

That is the new name I am calling the Tour. I used to call it Historical Tour of Meherabad. But, the new brochure has a map of Meherabad in the early days, and the title of the map is Meherabad Historic Sites—I like it better.

In the afternoon, a program was given at the Music & Arts Center at 4:30 pm. Tea and a snack were first served on the verandah at 4:00 pm.

Sunday 17 August. I picked up Virginia and we went to Meherazad. We are now stopping at a restaurant called 'Sweet Home' on our way to Meherazad. I put in an order for some lunch—and ice cream, to be ready by 12:30 pm. We stop and pick it up on our way back to Virginia's.

It is so sweet seeing how kindly Meheru and Katie greet Virginia. Bhauji often is sitting on the verandah near the Blue Bus when we arrive. He too is so very loving to our Virginia.

Monday 18 August. I had a rickshaw pick me up. We then met Fereshteh near Old Mandali Hall fifteen minutes earlier than usual, as I had to stop at the house construction site on the way to the MPR. There are always so many decisions to make—or I have to find out what new questions I have to ask the Baba lover family in the States. Usually, a photo of the area makes it much easier for them to decide.

Tuesday 19 August. This was the anniversary day of Mani's reunion with Baba. Meherazad was closed because Meheru came for the special 10:00 am Arti at the Samadhi.

On the way to the Samadhi I took a rickshaw with another resident. I had the driver wait, as I would need it as soon as the Arti was over. I sat under the Tin Shed until Meheru's car came. They always give a honk to let us know they have reached the top of the hill. After Meheru arranged the flowers in the different baskets, she came out of the East Room. We all walked to the Samadhi.

Meheru placed the garlands on Beloved Baba's Samadhi, and then prayers and Arti were done. Meheru and the women in the Samadhi came out and sat on the benches. The songs that were sung were only ones Mani wrote, or were about Mani. It is always a special atmosphere when one of the Women Mandali attends. To me, seeing the depth of reverence displayed by the Women Mandali is a lesson in one pointedness for the Beloved.

When the Arti was over, Meheru then went to Mehera's side where she placed a garland and some flowers. One of the baskets of flowers was passed around to those standing nearby, and we too would take one and place it on Mehera's shrine.

Next, Meheru went to Mani's shrine where she placed a beautiful garland. Meheru also put flowers on Dr. Goher, Khorshed's, and Mansari's tombs. She then went into Baba's Cabin Room and in each place where there was a photo of Baba, she put flowers.

Next, she went to the Ghadi. While she was in the East Room getting ready to leave, I had to leave to go to the Bank. I have been trying to get my new checks and ATM card for the new bank where I have the money for the house construction work. When I got to the bank I was in for a big surprise—it was closed!!! The past two times I had tried to get to the bank, there had been a courier strike. Now, I find it is closed—for the Parsi New Year! One of these days I will actually be able to go inside the bank and pick up those checks and ATM card!

In the evening, I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 pm. There were not many people here because they had come for India's Independence Day over the weekend.

Wednesday 20 August. A rickshaw took Fereshteh and me up to the MPR. We are now having the power off on Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sun from 8:00 am to 9:15 am, and 1:00 to 3:00 pm. On Tues, Thurs, and Sat it is turned off at different hours. With the lack of rain it affects the power usage too. So, any computer work has to be done according to the power schedule.

There was a meeting for all the volunteers who do Samadhi duty. Hardeep & Indira drove me to the meeting, as Indira was at the MPR for the pilgrim laundry work. Fereshteh would take care of the Reception Office while I went to the Samadhi meeting under the Tin Shed on the Hill.

One of the items on the agenda was about pilgrims coming to the Samadhi and wanting to say prayers out loud. This is not allowed, because we want pilgrims to be able to be with Baba without the disturbance of other pilgrims loud praying. Two times a day the prayers are said out loud. This everyone can participate in. The rest of the time quiet is requested around the Samadhi so everyone may have a chance to be with Baba in peace. We are requested to let people know they can say prayers if they want, but to please do so quietly, to themselves.

There is now a continuous stream of people coming up the hill for Baba's Darshan. They often come in packed cars or at times in hired buses. It would be utter chaos if prayers were said all day long.

Another item was people wanting to exchange wedding vows inside or in front of the Samadhi. It has been a standing policy for years from the Mandali to not allow this to happen. People are not allowed to do this at Meherabad or Meherazad. They may quietly put a garland on the Samadhi and then take it with them, but no ceremonies.

At 3:30 pm, our bus took pilgrims to the Music & Arts Center for a Baba film at 4:30 pm. First, tea and a snack were served at 4:00 pm on the verandah. There was a light rain, more like a drizzle during parts of the day. In Hindi, one of the words used for drizzle is 'Rimzim'.

Thursday 21 August. I had a car pick me up to take me to Pune. I stopped first at the house construction site to see if there was anything special I would need to do in Pune. While in Pune the contractor called to tell me he would be in Pune on Friday instead of our scheduled time on Thursday, as something had come up. I spent the day checking things I needed to do for the house.

Friday 22 August. I went for a walk before breakfast. The Hotel I liked to stay in often has the power off, saying it is off in the whole area. But, during my walk, I found the other hotels had their power on. I even went into one of the hotels and asked the man behind the counter when their power was off. He said only for part of Thursday does the city of Pune shut off electricity.

Do you realize what I just discovered? The hotel I had been staying in was cheating the customers by claiming the city had the power off. But, in fact, it was the hotel that often turned off the power to save money! Well, you can imagine how that went over with me! As soon as I got back to the hotel I asked why the power was still off? They indicated it was a city problem. When I informed them that on my walk no one else had the problem, one of the workers looked sheepishly at me and went and turned on the electricity! I told them I would never stay in their hotel again!

Later, after checking out of that hotel, I met with the house contractor at the store where we would order the sinks, toilets, etc. We then also went to the granite site to order for the kitchen and the bathroom counters. I left the contractor to negotiate with the owner himself, and I returned to Meherabad.

Bhauji had given a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm. Tea and donuts were served at 4:00 pm, before the talk. Then at 9:00 pm, a Baba film was shown in the MPR Dining Hall.

Saturday 23 August. I was up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Baba's Cabin Room. After putting flowers on the stretcher, Ghadi, and Samadhi threshold, I went down the hill to clean the Jhopdi with Fereshteh. There was work still going on at the Jhopdi. All around the Jhopdi is a verandah. It is being worked on a section at a time. All the stone slabs were being removed to clean out the beehives that were underneath. Then the stone slabs were put back in the exact same spot—to insure this, each stone slab was numbered. We were still able to go into the Jhopdi during the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites, because the front area was already finished.

With the scheduled power outage, I was requested to show the museum while the lights were still on. This would mean I would start the tour up the hill, directly after the introduction part of the tour.

Sunday 24 August. I hired a car to take Virginia and me to Meherazad. First we stopped at the 'Sweet Home' restaurant to order lunch. We would pick it up on the way return home.

After Meherazad, when we stopped to pick up lunch, the cook had forgotten one dish. He quickly made it—but he forgot to leave off the chili and we could barely eat it. The food is usually cooked with hot chilies. So, you have to request 'no chili' if you can't take the mouth burning, lip numbing, throat and stomach on fire sensation!

Just as we were leaving Meherazad, it began to lightly rain "rimzim". It lasted for a couple of hours. The Hindi word for this kind of rain is 'rimzim'.

When we were going down Dhond Road (future name will be Meherabad Road), we saw a lot of tongas along the side, and the horses that pull them grazing nearby. They were part of the Tonga race. It was another big holiday in India—India has a lot of them. The race was not over, so we had to pull over every time another set of horse pulled tongas came running down the road. I really do enjoy watching the wild racing! I was happy we were able to see the last few horse tongas running.

Monday 25 August. On the way to the MPR, I picked up Fereshteh near our old Mandali Hall. We stopped off first at the house construction site to see what was happening. I took some photos to send on the Internet.

In the morning, when we turned on the computer, the screen would not work. It just would not come on. Finally, we tried to unplug everything, and then replug everything again. It worked! That is, it worked until the power went off at 1:00 pm.

We have a power outage from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. When the power came back on, the window screen once again would not come back on. We undid all the plugs again—but it didn't work. So, I just had to use the other screen from our clerk's desk.

Tuesday 26 August. I had a rickshaw pick me up at 9:30 am to try to go to the Axis Bank once again. The past three times I tried I had no luck. First, there were courier strikes. Then it was a religious holiday. I was hoping today would be just a regular banking day. Everything was open and I got my bank checks and ATM card.

My rotation at the MPR Group meeting was over, and another Receptionist would be attending for the next two months.

In the evening I had Samadhi duty. During the Arti singing, Hooyar, Fereshteh's son, sang the 'Seven Names of God'. Katie, at Meherazad, has been teaching him how to sing it the way Baba taught her.

Wednesday 27 August. We killed a snake at the Samadhi in the morning. Well, I didn't, one of the watchmen did. It was before the cleaning, and there were only a few people there. The watchman, Jaychan, pointed to this small, skinny-looking snake. It was up against the divider of the portico, and where we put our shoes.

Yes, the snake was small, but it was a krait, whose venom is more deadly than the cobra! They are about as round as a finger. They have a light underside, and round ringed circles across the back After Jaychan killed the snake, it was taken out back and burned.

When I went back to my room, I got ready for my day at the MPR. I had a rickshaw pick up Fereshteh and me and take us to the MPR. We had an easy day with only a few arrivals.

Thursday 30 August. It was still dark on my way to the Samadhi in the morning. I was walking past the Savages Kitchen when a light over my head attracted my attention. I saw this long streak of light going at a tremendous speed. I wondered what it was, but then all of a sudden the light burst and went out. I realized I had seen a shooting star. It was really fun to see it from Meherabad. It is the first one I had seen here.

I am such a morning person. I simply love the feel of the air and the quiet of the pre-dawn mornings. Being here at Meherabad, for me, makes it magical. I feel so fortunate to be here!

Later in the morning, I found I had to go to Pune to get a brochure that had information that was needed for the house I am helping Baba friends build. When I was in Pune with the contractor last week we had forgotten to purchase bathtub enclosures. So, I hired a car, and off I went to Pune. After searching for another brochure for bathtub enclosures, I went and had my haircut. I then spent the rest of the evening just relaxing. I think this will be one of my last trips to Pune for the things necessary to complete the construction part of the house. Of course, there will be personal items needed later.

Friday 29 August. I returned to Meherabad right after watching on the Obama acceptance speech on TV. We stopped by the construction site of the house when we reached Meherabad so I could see if there was anything I needed to know.

Later, around early afternoon, there was the beautiful sound of thunder. The weather had been hot and muggy. It sure seemed this could be a welcome storm. But, instead the storm just went away. We sure do need rain.

Bhauji was scheduled to speak at the MPC at 4:30 pm. But, he was not well so the talk was cancelled. In the evening at 9:00 pm, in the MPR Dining Hall, a Baba film was shown.

Saturday 30 August. I was up the hill by 5:30 am to clean Baba's Cabin Room. I was there before the Samadhi doors were opened for the day. I always enjoy helping remove the garlands from the previous day and laying the temporary cloth until the Samadhi cleaning is done at 6:00 am. I like the quiet of the mornings at the Samadhi. It is a wonderful way to start the day.

After cleaning Baba's Cabin Room, I put flowers on the Ghadi and threshold of the Samadhi. I met Fereshteh at the Jhopdi to clean. The verandah work is still going on.

I then went home to have breakfast and get ready to give the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. I have made copies of a diagram of all the Historic places. It shows all of them, and I am going to have these copies laminated and placed in a number of places around Meherabad. The places where the map-diagram of Meherabad Historic Sites will go are, Hostel-D, MPC information board, and the MPR information board. The brochure on the Tour information was just printed, and it is being translated in different languages. These map diagrams make it easy to show where the Tour will take you.

I went to the MPC to take anyone waiting at 10:00 am on the Tour. No one was there, so I took the day off. I used the time to ride my scooter to the construction site of the house. It is a holiday, a day of honoring the buffalo. So, no one was working. I met with the supervisor and gave him information he will need tomorrow when the work continues.

In the afternoon at 4:30 pm, a video of Eruch, 'To Be Natural', was shown in the Music & Arts Center. Tea and snack was first served at 4:00 pm on the verandah.

There were some wonderful dark clouds, deep thunder, and then, nothing. Later in the afternoon there were light showers. Where is the rain? It is now hot and muggy—perfect weather for a good storm. Yet, we are getting nothing.

Sunday 31 August. I had a car pick me up, and we went to get Virginia to take her to Meherazad. However, Virginia was not feeling well all of a sudden. So, we decided it would be best to let her rest at home.

Since I had already hired the car, I took it to Meherazad. I ordered some lunch at 'Sweet Home' that I would pick-up on the way back. I was so used to caring for Virginia at Meherazad, that at first it felt like I should be doing something. Though it didn't take long to just be with Baba in His room. It is so pleasant sitting there.

On the way home I picked up our lunch—and ice cream for Virginia. She still wasn't feeling well, so she stayed in bed. But, by evening she was better.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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