Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 September 2010

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Before I began this Diary, I want to bring you all up to date with changes that took place here in Meherabad before I returned in August. I took photos so you can have the pleasure of seeing things for yourself.

Bricks have been put around the base of the Samadhi on the three sides that are exposed to rain. This was done to keep wet earth away from the structure.

Samadhi brick

There are now two cabinets that close and one with open shelves on the Saba Mandap, directly across from the Samadhi. Pilgrims must leave all bags with the security guard. No longer are pilgrims allowed to have any kind of bag with them when they go for darshan at the Samadhi.

Saba mandap

Across from the old Meher Pilgrim Center (MPC), there is a building that the Trust had offered to the Ahmednagar police to use as a substation. Though the substation serves many villages, having it on Trust property, across from the MPC, will hopefully deter the criminal mind from our Meherabad community.

Police substation

Wednesday 1 September 2010. Because of the continuous rain, instead of walking in the dark on extremely muddy roads from my room to go to the Samadhi, I drove to the MPC and parked my car. Though I had to still be careful walking because of slippery areas, the rest of the path to the Samadhi was better.

The peace and feeling of quiet in the early hours is so refreshing and embracing to the soul. For me, that is my favorite time to take darshan at the Samadhi. It is also a wonderful way to start the day.

When I got back to my room, I did a video workout before continuing my day. Later in the morning I stopped at the Meherabad Trustees Office to let the Trustees know I had retired from my years of service as a receptionist. I had been a receptionist for 20 years, first at the Meher Pilgrim Center, and then at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat when we moved up there. My heart was no longer in the job and it was time to turn the responsibility over to the next generation. The Trustees agreed after I said I had told the MPR Receptionists they could call me on an emergency.

I then drove to the Page house to meet Joshi, the contractor. We talked about the electrical room and what needed to be done so the solar panel batteries could be set up in there. I checked the Master bedroom to see how nice the second coat of paint looked.

I had an appointment with the Maruti car repairman to come and pick up my car. He took the car for a complete service, including replacing the shock absorbers that were useless. What a difference it made when I got in the car — such a smooth ride!

In the afternoon I had some engineers from Tata Sky come to my room to adjust the satellite dish. When they got on the roof, they saw some tree branches were blocking the reception. They threw a rope over the branches and pulled to break the ones in the way. By the time they left, I had good reception. I hated to see trees I had planted cut like that, but I also wanted to see my TV.

Throughout the day it lightly rained and only rarely did the sun come through for a few minutes.

Thursday 2 September. I went up the hill early for morning darshan at the Samadhi. After doing my video workout I drove to the Page house to check on things. There is still a stretch of dirt road that is very hard to drive through, during the monsoon the dirt becomes so muddy and causes deep grooves from the weight of the vehicles. It is very easy to get stuck in the mud, so I am going to have murram put on it. All these years, and still Sharad has not put in roads to the developments he built.

In the evening Kishore (carpenter) brought the clothes cabinet I had designed and had made. Having only one room to live in, all the space needs to be 'user friendly'.

Friday 3 September. I went up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi. It has been raining off-and-on for days. With the roads so muddy I drive to the old MPC and park my car, then walk up the hill.

After a video workout I went up to the Page house to see what work had been done. The Master bedroom is being painted, and the verandah security grills are starting to be made. I also stopped by the Meherabad Trustees office and asked Ramesh how to handle the Property Taxes for the Page house. Sharad had never paid any property tax on the site, so when I had the taxman come to the Page house he had written by mistake the area of the house twice its actual size. Ramesh called the taxman and arranged for me and another contractor to meet at the Page house and reassess it. Otherwise the taxes could be thousands of rupees more than they should be each year.

Bhauji gave a talk in the hall of the old MPC at 4:15 pm. Tea is no longer served before the talks, it is only served at the MPR before the bus leaves for any event. It seems this was decided some time ago while I was in America.

Before Bhauji begans his talks, he always has the different religious prayers said. He often will also have someone sing. During his talks he frequently will joke with the different pilgrims and residents. It is always good to see him.

In the evening, a Baba movie was shown in the Dining Hall of the MPR. There was also a potluck party at the Muir compound for the residents. It was Kitty's birthday and an opportunity for us all to visit.

Saturday 4 September. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi, and to clean Beloved Baba's Cabin Room. I then did a video workout in my room before getting ready to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad at 10:00 am.

Now included on the Tour is Padri's engine room. It is right next to the neem tree Baba sat against when he first came to Meherabad. The engine room is being restored to how it was when it was used in the early years with Baba.

I took the pilgrims to the site of the construction of the Memorial Tower. I love to see the progress on the Memorial Tower.

Sunday 5 September. The roads were not as muddy, so I walked all the way up the hill from my room. It is a very enjoyable walk in the early hours of the morning when most are still asleep. I simply love the feel of that time of day.

After taking darshan at the Samadhi, I went to my room and did a short workout so I had plenty of time to get ready for Meherazad. It was our housekeeper's day off, so I first fed the dogs before leaving. On the way I picked up Fereshteh and Hooyar. While Fereshteh and I talked, Hooyar was reading my car stereo manual. I have had the car over a year and I have never taken the time to learn how to use the stereo. So, Hooyar is going to read about it and then show me. What a nice friend!

Hooyar and Fereshteh show the movie at Meherazad whenever Peter Booth is out of the country. So as soon as they got to Meherazad they set up the projector. I went to the Women's side after taking darshan in Mandali Hall. I love going into Mehera's room and taking darshan at her bed. Then I sat on the verandah with Meheru for a while before taking darshan in Baba's room. Some residents were telling Meheru the problem they were having with some pigeons. There was a discussion among all on how to deal with the problem. Then the bell rang for all to gather in Mandali Hall for the program.

Monday 6 September. It was raining in the early hours so I decided to go up the hill later when I cleaned the Samadhi. I did a video workout first, and I found it harder to workout because of the humidity. This area is usually dry, but during the monsoon there are times when it is very humid.

In fact, I felt so yucky that I actually had to take a bath before going up the hill to clean the Samadhi. This archival cleaning is done right after morning Arti, when there are the least amount of pilgrims at the Samadhi.

This was the one-year anniversary of Erico going to Baba. So, when I was in the Samadhi I asked Baba to say hello to Erico for me. We all here in Meherabad still miss him, as I am sure everyone does who knew him.

I went up to the MPR to have lunch with some friends from Israel. They were telling me my friend, Michal, had just finished translating God Speaks into Hebrew. Michal got the okay from Bhau to have it printed. Virginia Small and I visited her in Jerusalem one year on our way to America.

Bhauji came to the MPC to give a talk at 4:00 pm.

Tuesday 7 September. This was my sister's birthday, so I called to wish her Happy Birthday. She informed me it was the next day — but I told her it was the 7th here, therefore, her birthday. Besides, I was going to Pune the next day and may not have a chance to call her.

My sister goes out to eat about two times a week. She is very active, playing card and other games with her neighbors Saturday evenings, and driving, shopping, etc. By God's grace she is doing well.

I have a black chair I brought from America, and after years of use, I finally decided it was too big for my one room in the staff quarters. It is a very comfortable chair so I took it up to the Page house and they can use it.

I seem to be going through a lot of change and this is reflected in my room as well. The displayed cabinet I designed was finished and put up. It looks great. It is nice to finally get all these nicknacks out of the front of my books in the bookcase. Things are looking more organized. I am glad I have the time now to make these changes.

I drove my car over to Fereshteh and Hooyar's house. Hooyar had taken the manual on how to work the stereo in my car. He was so patience and step-by-step showed me how to work the CD, tape, and radio. It was so simple, yet I had never taken the time to learn.

Wednesday 8 September. It rained all night, so I drove my car close to the Savages Kitchen and from there walked the rest of the way up the hill for darshan at the Samadhi. My neighbor, Marge, and I were going to Pune at 6:30 am.

We left on time, stopping for tea at the halfway point. It is a favorite stopping place by many pilgrims and residents. The tea is so delicious! While we were there another resident stopped by for tea. She shared some wonderful news with us, she said the German Bakery in Pune will reopen in November! As you all may remember, it was the target of a terriorist attack back in February. If I know what date they plan to open, I will do my best to be there and celebrate with them!

When we continued on our way, Marge and I were not paying attention to how slow the driver was going, in fact we fell asleep part of the way. We were very upset to find our driver took almost three and a half hours to get to Pune. It usually takes only two and a half hours. We noticed he was driving like he was on a holiday.

Marge took me to a place she used to often go to for breakfast when she first moved to Meherabad. Baba's brother, Jal, had taken her there. It is a restaurant right down the road from Baba's house called Yazdan. It is always crowded and serves delicious tea and thick-sliced toast — this was what we had for breakfast. I enjoyed it so much that I plan to make it a favorite place to have breakfast.

I had a dental appointment before we were to meet Marge's son, Paul, for lunch at The Place. We then went to Dorabji's to buy food before returning to Meherabad. While there, twice we ran into other Meherabad residents doing their shopping. I have to tell you, Dorabji's has gone High Tech! They now have three floors with conveyor type escalators that you take your shopping cart on. The wheels of the cart have a magnetic strip around them and become magnetized to the conveyor, so they don't move at all as you go up or down. When you reach the top the metal bar releases the magnetic hold. It was fun to use and I had never seen anything like it.

It rained most of the way home. I fell asleep to the sound of it.

Thursday 9 September. There was still a light drizzle when I went up the hill for morning darshan, so I drove again to the Savages Kitchen to park my car. It was so muddy everywhere! When I got back to my room I did a workout and then spent most of the day working around my room. It is so relaxing to have the time to do this. I also charged the batteries to my video camera. I plan to begin doing videoing again.

Friday 10 September. I went up the hill for morning darshan at the Samadhi, I then went home to do a DVD workout. I had lunch at the MPR with Suzie and Scott, the two receptionist supervisors. I just wanted to have a 'wishing you well' lunch. They will do just fine, as they have done for the past year. I then went into the Reception Office and removed things I still had there. I remembered my Name-plate that was made for me when I first started as a receptionist twenty years ago, so feeling sentimental I took that too.

In the afternoon Bhauji came to the MPC to give a talk. I picked flowers and put them in my refrigerator to take up the hill in the morning, then I went to Bhau's talk. I am glad I finally have time to attend them. Bhau said he did not plan to travel again to the West as his health does not allow it. When his talk was over a wheelchair was brought for him. It is getting too hard for him to walk.

In the evening a Baba film was shown in the Dining Hall of the MPR.

Saturday 11 September. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi and clean Beloved Baba's Cabin Room. Then I had breakfast and got ready to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad.

There were only a few waiting for the Tour.

When we went to Padri's engine room we found it locked. It probably will be opened for the Tour once we get some detailed information on it. Peter Nordeen is doing research for it.

Sunday 12 September. Dhuni Day. I went up the hill for morning darshan at the Samadhi. After doing a workout I got ready to go to Meherazad. My neighbor Marge and I picked up Fereshteh and her son, Hooyar. They show the film during the program in Mandali Hall on Sundays at Meherazad while Peter Booth is away.

Because there were at least 200 pilgrims here for the Ganesh holiday as well as the Dhuni, the Sunday program was cancelled and Mehera's room was closed to pilgrims. The pilgrims would be able to climb Seclusion Hill, take darshan in Baba's room, Mandali Hall, and other places at Meherazad.

I stopped for lunch on the way home. In the evening the Dhuni was lit at sundown.

Monday 13 September. I went up the hill for morning darshan, then did a workout in my room. After breakfast I went back up the hill to do an archival cleaning of the Samadhi.

Tuesday 14 September. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi. I am now also cleaning Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room Tuesday mornings before morning Arti. I then did a short workout before going into the bazaar to buy a trunk for the Page house.

In the evening I had Samadhi duty at 6:00 pm. I am so glad I took my umbrella with me because it began to pour rain before Arti. The rain was coming down so heavily by the time Arti was over and I started down the hill that I had to walk so slow so as to not fall. I saw a couple standing under a tree on the path going down the hill. They said they were going to Hostel-D. I offered to take the wife with me under my umbrella. When I saw another resident with an umbrella, I asked him if he would be able to go get the husband under the tree and walk him to Hostel-D. We all got a little wet, but it was very nice to be able to help His lovers.

Muddy ditch

Wednesday 15 September. It rained so hard during the night that I decided to not go up the hill in the early hours. The paths are so muddy it is too easy to slip and fall.

I drove up to the Page house. The painters were setting up to start painting again. They had stopped for a couple of weeks. I am glad to see work once again at the house.

I met with Kishore and Buban, two Meherabad workers who have arranged for me to video the two old men who had been here at Meherabad when Baba was here. One is a 94 year old man and the other is our Motiram, who lives and works at our farm across from the Dhuni. We have scheduled the videoing for next Tuesday.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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