Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 September 2008

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Monday 1 September 2008. On way down the hill from the Samadhi, as I stood waiting for the oncoming train, I had a very delightful surprise. The old red train engine was pulling around five to eight bright, colorful carriages. The carriages were bright yellow and bright orange. There had different scenery on the sides. I was so amazed! I had never seen this type of carriage before.

Later, when I had a rickshaw take Fereshteh and me to the MPR, I told one of the Indian pilgrim's here about it; his name is Terry. Terry said, in Mumbai, there are a lot of these types of trains now. He said the Railroad Department has their carriages painted once a year. For a fee, they now allow private companies to advertise on the side of the carriage. But, the companies must paint the carriages a bright color and they must also paint lovely scenery on the side. It is a good deal for all concerned!

We are all so happy here at Meherabad, because last night the rain poured. I went to sleep listening to that wonderful sound!

Tuesday 2 September. I went up to the Samadhi early. I had to be so careful walking because of all the mud. Later in the morning, another resident was walking by our Hostels on the way up to the Samadhi. She slipped in the mud, fell and broke her wrist. Poor thing, she was in a lot of pain. She is now in a cast.

I had to go up to the construction house site in the morning and measure the space for the driveway. Jeff, a resident, is doing the landscape, and we met up there with the supervisor. All of us together have selected a good place. The driveway will have two entrances, as it will be curved.

We were not sure of the exact width of the driveway, so I went and measured other home driveways throughout Meherabad. Almost all were 12 or 12½ feet, so that is what we will have. Next to the driveway gate will be a smaller gate for foot traffic. I took photos of some around here to show the owners what other homes have.

Next, I went to my bank in Ahmednagar to make a deposit from my bank in the States. I am going to buy a car! It is a second hand car, but in excellent shape! Here, they call them pre-owner cars. I am so tired of trying to get a rickshaw to and from the Meher Pilgrim Retreat! So many times I am forced to call many rickshaw owners until I finally find someone who will take me. They prefer to get fares to Ahmednagar or elsewhere, where they will make more money. I don't blame them—but it does not help me.

In the evening, I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 pm.

Wednesday 3 September. After going up to the Samadhi for my early morning Darshan, I went back home and got ready for my day at the MPR; a rickshaw took Fereshteh and me there. It was not busy, so Fereshteh took our bus to the Music and Arts Center at 3:30 pm. At 4:00 pm tea and snack were served on the verandah. At 4:30 pm a Baba film was shown.

Thursday 4 September. I am happy to say it rained most of the day. At 4:30 pm there was a 'musical jam session' at the Music and Arts Center.

Friday 5 September. I bought my car today!!!!!! There is a resident Baba couple that had this car since 2002, and they wanted to buy a bigger one. They are tall people, and the car is small. It is a Muruti Adto, silver in color. When it was brought to my room, as I was paying the owner for the car, it began to lightly rain, a rimzim.

Now, this car has a wonderful history. Aloba had told this Baba couple they must buy this color car in August 2002. The wife told Aloba she would rather have a red car if they decide to buy one. Aloba told her, 'no, you must buy this color!'

The couple was not really interested in buying a car, as they only needed transportation around Meherabad for their work, and their motorcycle was sufficient. Yet, three days before Aloba died, while he was in the hospital, he told his Baba caregivers to tell this couple to buy the car in August.

Well, the couple decided to do so, and this is why they bought the car. It was a new model, just from the factory. The owner of the car dealership did a 'puja' at the dealership with them for the car's blessing. As this was the first car of that model sold here in Ahmednagar.

Now, since the car was bought, it has only been driven around Meherabad, and to Meherazad. Once or twice it was driven to Pune, but that was it. And, Dr. Goher, Katie, Meheru, and Arnavaz were driven around Meherazad in it when the couple first drove it there! I could not wish for a better 'pre-owner' car purchase!

In the afternoon at 4:30 pm Bhauji gave a talk in the MPC Hall. Tea and donuts were first served at 4:00 pm. Then in the evening, a Baba film was shown in the MPR Dining Hall.

Saturday 6 September. On my way up the hill to clean Baba's Cabin room, I had to be so careful walking because of the mud, as we had a lot of rain over night. After putting the flowers on the stretcher, Ghadi, and Samadhi threshold, I went back down the hill. I met Fereshteh at the Jhopdi and we clean it.

The work on the Jhopdi verandah is still going on. It looks like it is now two-thirds finished. At 10:00 am I took the pilgrims there during the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. It began to rain when we were sitting around the Table House verandah, talking about its history. It only rained for about five minutes, but we are grateful for any.

In the afternoon, a video was shown in our Music & Arts at 4:30 pm. It was of Eruch & Mani. Tea and snack were first served on the verandah at 4:00 pm.

Sunday 7 September. This was my brother and sister's birthday. I tried to send an e-card to them, but I kept going in circles! I tried for over a half hour! I don't know what I was doing wrong, I had done the e-cards in the past. So, I finally settled for writing an email Happy Birthday message to each of them.

There was a monthly meeting with the Meherabad Trustees and the MPR volunteer group. We always meet up in the big hall of the MPR. The sound is like an echo, but it is the best place for the meetings. I proudly drove my car to the meeting!

Monday 8 September. This was the first day, as a receptionist on duty, that I drove my car to the MPR. Now, I no longer have to feel anxious about whether I will be able to get a rickshaw home anymore! Fereshteh was not well, so she didn't get to ride in my car on its maiden voyage to work at the MPR.

It has been raining lately. We are all so happy! The weather is hot and muggy. Then the storm clouds come with the thunder and rain—such a pleasant sound. On my way home from my MPR reception duty, I stopped by the house construction site. I like to take pictures of the work being done, and take photos of any areas that need decisions.

Tuesday 9 September. I had to go to the MPR and drop off a letter that I wanted the MPR supervisor group to look at. There are weekly meetings to cover any decisions that may need to be made, as well as sharing what is happening in the individual departments.

I stopped by the house construction site to take photos and talk to the supervisor. It is so important to check on the developments daily—especially at this stage of the building. The house is expected to be finished in less than four weeks. That means this is the time of the kitchen and bathroom work.

I also went to our Meherabad Trustees office and spoke to one of the Trustee's. He is involved in the car insurance business. I have used him all these years with my scooter. I informed him I had bought the car, and would need to have all insurance and tax papers transferred into my name.

I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 PM. I went first to visit Jaloo. She is so very sweet, and I enjoy being around her.

Wednesday 10 September. On my way to the MPR I stopped to picked up Fereshteh. This was her first ride in my car. She and I are both happy we don't have to deal with the rickshaws anymore!

One of our pilgrims is Dr. Gavin. He has been coming for several months at a time and he helps in the medical department at the MPR. He has a room on the MPR top floor. In the morning he found a scorpion on the floor of his room. I was surprised that the scorpion would make it all the way up to the 2nd floor. Dr. Gavin said 'maybe he took the elevator.' I thought that was pretty funny.

Dr. Gavin put the scorpion in a bag and pinned the bag to the information board outside the doctor's office. He put a note on the Dining Hall door warning pilgrims that this time of year, the scorpions are trying to get away from the rain, and will seek dry areas. In other words, look when you put you feet on the floor, and wear shoes.

We had a good downpour during lunch. The 'water crisis' signs were taken off the Dining Hall door the previous day.

Thursday 11 September. I tried to do an IChat with the Baba couple who are building the house I am helping with. The DSL just would not connect. So, I called them on the phone and told them the necessary changes that would be needed. Later, I drove to the house construction site to see what has been happening. It was exciting to see the stone slabs being put on the verandah floors. Once they are in place, the bottom of the round pillars can be finished. They will look something like the MPR Dining Hall pillar bases.

It has been raining on and off since September started. Finally, we are getting good monsoon rain! In the afternoon, I drove the car to Virginia's. Neela, her caregiver, and Virginia rode in my car back to my house. I offered tea and cookies. I had stopped for ice cream bars at the local store, but the owner said he was out until after the holidays, since the electricity is cut off too much, and the ice cream would melt.

The big holiday is Ganesh—the elephant God. It is a ten-day festival, with big bandstands everywhere. It is a very pretty time; the stands have blinking lights on all the displays. Even the banks have Ganesh displays inside their banks. They decorate them with colorful streamers and lights.

At the Music & Arts Center at 4:30 pm, there was a musical jam session for musicians only.

Friday 12 September. This was Dhuni Day. Evening Arti would be at 5:30 pm. And the Dhuni would be lit at 6:30 pm.

We had a big rain last night! It poured! In the morning, I had to walk very carefully up the hill. I did an Archive cleaning for the resident who had broken her wrist. She is on the rotation with the rest of us.

After cleaning the Samadhi, I went to visit Jaloo. Her eyes sparkle with a beautiful light. She is shy and sweet like a child. I tell her she is my friend! I am happy that often people stop by to visit her. Since her sister died last year, it must be hard for her. But, she seems strong.

On my way down the hill, as I was crossing the street near the Dhuni, I saw one of our workers up in that neem tree next to the Dhuni. He was tying a rope to a high tree limb. When there is rainy weather, a high canvas cover is put over the Dhuni pit. This keeps the rain out and those taking Darshan dry. However, it only covers a small space around the Dhuni pit. So, on a day like today, one had better have an umbrella as well.

It poured heavy monsoon rain in the early afternoon. I had just laid down for a nap when I hear the raindrops start falling. I quickly ran outside to the clothesline and took down as many items as I could carry. No sooner had I made it back inside, wet and all, the sky opened and buckets of water came pouring down. There was no way I was able to make it back outside to get the Samadhi cleaning cloths that were still hanging on the clothesline.

As of yesterday, we have had a little over seven inches of rain since the start of the month. I had called Harry Muir, who has a rainwater gage. He said we would not know until tomorrow how much rain we got today. I will be calling him in the morning, because the rain is really pouring today, and I am very curious how many inches we got.

I picked flowers for tomorrow morning. I had to carry an umbrella to keep dry. When I took a flower off a bush, I had to shake it to get as much water off it as possible. Then, the water would run down my arm, which means my shirtsleeve would get really wet. So, I tried to pull my sleeve up, but it wouldn't stay up. Oh well, no big deal, I just hang it in my room to dry.

Saturday 13 September. It had rained all night. My neighbor had called me last night to ask if I would drive my car this morning, as she wanted to go up the hill. She is the one who slipped and fell in the mud two weeks ago, and broke her wrist. But, this morning she called to say she would not be going.

Well, since I had already planned to drive, I thought, 'why not?' I drove my car to the railroad crossing. The cross guard arm was down and no one was in sight. I didn't want to wait maybe twenty minutes, so I drove back to Lower Meherabad and parked in front of the old MPC. It was still dark out when I walked up the hill to clean Baba's Cabin Room. I stayed for Arti, because I was not pressed for time. I wasn't going to give the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites because of the mud and rain.

When I walked down the hill to my car, I got in to drive home. Oh boy, the car not only didn't go anywhere, it sank deep in the mud. Since it had been dark when I parked, I had not noticed all the mud. Well, you can imagine what happened. I tried to pack rocks and leaves under the tires. In the process, I slipped in the mud and fell. My shoes were so full of mud; they could not get any traction for me get up. The MPC watchman had been helping me with the rocks and saw I too was stuck in the mud. He had to lift me up so I could get out. By this time those who stayed for the full Arti were coming down the hill. I had a lot of offers to help—but I did not want to see these pilgrims get their clean clothes full of mud. Finally another watchman came by and they rocked the car while a pilgrim was inside the car and drove it out of the mud.

I was thankful I only got bruised when I fell. After cleaning up, I drove my muddy car to the house construction site to talk with the supervisor on some slight changes that had to be made.

In the afternoon, a Baba film 'God In Human Form' was shown in the Music and Arts Center at 4:30 pm. While tea and snack were being served on the verandah at 4:00 pm, there was also an Arts display by Shaheen Korsavi, one of our residents. He has only been painting a few years. Some of his work really captured Baba's compassion.

Oh, the rain gage for Friday said 3½ inches!!!!!!! Our gullies (ditches) are so full of water it is level with the roads. The rain has continued. If this keeps up, our wells may be replenished.

Sunday 14 September. I drove with Virginia to Meherazad. Baba's room was open, but the rest of the house was closed. Katie sat with pilgrims on the verandah. Bhauji had already taken Darshan in Baba's room when I passed him on his way to Arnavaz's room. In Mandali Hall there were four singers. Mohammed, a young Baba lover from Iran played the guitar and sang a song. He has an incredible voice and I wish he would give a concert before he leaves. But, he is leaving on Wednesday. Next, Hooyar sang the seven names of God. A Baba lover from south India sang a lovely song in Telugu. Then, Rohinton, from Pune, also sang a song.

Hooyar then showed two Baba films. One was a favorite of mine, 'God Alone Exist.' I then drove Virginia to the MPR for lunch.

Monday 15 September. I picked up Fereshteh and we drove to the MPR. It is so nice having the freedom of a car! Our days have been slow and we are enjoying it while it last.

We have had over ten inches of rain since the first of the month—thank God! Though we still are not putting up the showerheads we took down in the bathrooms, or open the other bathrooms next to the Reading Rooms. But, the pilgrims can once again take a bath daily.

It seems to be the season of the Dragon Flies. They are everywhere around Meherabad. When I drive my car I have to keep the windows closed, because I'm afraid one or more will fly in. I think they are very pretty looking.

Jeff (a resident who is doing the landscaping on the house) and I met at the house construction site. We walked around the house with the supervisor to decide where to put the outside faucets. We need them on the outside of the house and in the two courtyards. We also had to decide where to put the electrical outlets in the garden courtyards. I also told the supervisor to make sure all electrical outlets, inside and outside are GFCI certified (ground fault circuit interruption). There is an electrical supply store in Ahmednagar that the Trust deals with that has all the qualified type of material.

In the afternoon, Bhauji gave a talk in the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm. Tea and popcorn were first served at 4:00 pm.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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