Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


29 November to 15 December 2010

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Monday 29 November 2010. I had a car pick me up at the airport in Mumbai Tuesday evening. I rested at a hotel in Pune until Dorabji's opened at 9:30 am. After buying some groceries we drove to Meherabad. We drove straight to the Samadhi. How wonderful it was to see it! How wonderful it was to walk inside and take Baba's darshan! Home! I was finally home again! My heart felt such happiness. The power of His love and presence is astounding!

I immediately noticed the new pandal cover on the West side of the portico. The matting that had formed a wall had been removed. The space now gave cover for the pilgrims, especially as it continued to rain until just a few days before I got back.

When I got to my room I spent the rest of the day unpacking and putting most of the things away. I need order in my room. As I live in one room, order helps keep everything neat and easy to find.

Tuesday 30 November. I drove to the MPC (Meher Pilgrim Center), parked my car and walked up hill. I noticed the path had been widened quite a bit. After taking darshan at the Samadhi, I went back to my car and drove to the resident mail table, which is on the verandah of the Old Mandali Hall. There I found the stack of my phone bills. Here in India, it is easier to just let the phone company cut off your phone service when you are out of the country, when you return you just pay the bill and it is immediately turned back on. In the past, I had done all the 'fill out forms for being out of station', or put my phone on 'safe custody'. When I would get back to Meherabad, I would then have to go to the phone company and fill out all these other form to 'reconnect'. It would then take a couple of days to have all service, including the Internet, turned back on.

My roommate, Anne, said it had continued to rain after I left in October, and only stopped a few days before I returned. Meherabad has now had over 40 inches of rain this season. In the past years, a 20-inch rainy season was considered a 'good monsoon'. A rare 30-inch rainy season was considered a 'great monsoon'. Well, with over 40-inches this monsoon just fell into the 'unheard of' monsoon! Later I found out from Peter Nordeen the rainfall was actually 47 inches!

I had to go to the DSP (police department) to check in with them. First I stopped at the Trust and went to see Bhauji. There is now a sign outside his door that lets visitors know Bhauji would only be available to visitors from 11:30 to 12:15 pm. Bhauji now has very limited energy. But, when I saw Bhauji he looked so beautiful, he was joyous looking, very happy. I had never seen him looking so happy. He was signing some office papers and also answering a caller on the phone.

When he was finished I had a chance to talk to him for a little while. I told him he looked so happy, and I told him I knew it had a lot to do with him knowing his time was near. Also, I told him he must be very happy his son, Mehernath, and daughter, Sheela, were now, in his place at the MPC on Mondays and Fridays, sharing their stories of growing up with Baba.

Bhauji is now only giving his Sunday 'Bhau chat' on the Internet. So, I will do my best to attend the chats on Sundays.

After the DSP I went to pay my phone bill, go to the bank, and then return home for lunch and a nap. After coffee, on the way to the Page house to see what work had been done in my absence, I first stopped at the Memorial Tower and took some photos.

The area where the spire of the Memorial Tower will be built.

Working on the Memorial Tower.

There is a new fence where the Amartithi vendors set up. It includes the new police substation across from the MPC. I took some photos of this new fence by the original well and across the street. I drove to the Samadhi and took photos of the new pandal-covered area on the west side of the Samadhi. I noticed in the field behind the Samadhi preparations were being made for the toilet area. I saw a row of urinals, so I thought it would make an amusing photo.

New fence across from the Meher Pilgrim Center.

New extension on the west side of the Samadhi.

Wednesday 1 December. I went up the hill early for darshan. The line for darshan is now on the left side of the Samadhi door. That is why the pandal was put on that side. I like it on the left side, because when you walk up the hill you can see the Samadhi better without all the people blocking it. On the way down I noticed a large area at the bottom of the hill, between the road and the railroad tracks. I found out it was for Amartithi parking.

At 10:15 am I met Karina Page at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat and took her to her house. We had an appointment to meet Jeff DeLowe, who is going to do all the landscaping. It was so nice to see Karina making plans for her house, after so many years of frustration with the old contractor. We then went to pick up Adair, and I drove them to my room for lunch. I think I have someone over maybe once or twice a year. It was a very nice visit.

Thursday 2 December. I went up the hill early for darshan. After a workout, I went into Ahmednagar to see if my VCR could be fixed. Both the VHS and DVD were not working. I was told they no longer have a technician with that knowledge. In other works, my VCR was outdated. They said I may find a Sony Center in Pune that could fix it.

I stopped at Meher Tailor and asked Anil if he knew someone who could transfer all my workout videos onto a DVD. Anil said he had a friend who may be able to do it. So, I will have to set a time to have this done.

Friday 3 Dec. I went up the hill early for darshan. I then cleaned Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room for someone who was ill. After putting the flowers everywhere, I went back to my room and did a workout.

Around 10:00 am I picked up Karina Page and we went to her house to meet Joshi, the contractor. We talked about what work needed to be done as well as some changes Karina wanted.

There was the First International Art Festival held at Meherabad. Nadia was the curator. The Meher Pilgrim Center's large hall was where the art was displayed. She did a truly amazing job. This Festival would be a three-day event, with performances at the Music and Arts Center.

While I was taking a nap, around 2:00 pm boys laughing and puppies yelping wakened me. I got up and went out back. I saw two boys who herd the black water buffalo. They had six puppies they were dropping off by the back gate. I told them to take the puppies away; instead they just ran away, leaving the six puppies. I called our Trustees office, but everyone was on their lunch break. I did not want to get involved with more 'dropped puppies'. This happens all the time at Meherabad.

Saturday 4 December. I went up the hill to take darshan and then clean Baba's Cabin Room. When I got back to my room I began working on a design for a new cupboard. I decided I preferred shelves to store my clothes instead of drawers, as it would be much easier to see what I had. I will sell one of the dressers I had made.

At 4:30 pm, as part of the International Arts Festival, there a play about Baba's stay in 1933 at the Villa Altachiara, Portofino, Italy. Beloved Baba had spent time there in the early 30's. The play was so well done. It was one of the best I had seen here at Meherabad.

Those six puppies are still around. They are only about eight-weeks old, and do not know to get out of the way of cars. So, I have to be extra careful when driving, or just get out of the car and move the puppies. The weather is so cold at night, I feel sorry for those little puppies. But, I already have two dogs I share with my roommate and I don't want any more. My two dogs do not like the puppies being in 'their territory' and so the puppies hide on the verandah of my neighbor Marge.

Sunday 5 December. I went up the hill in the early morning for darshan at the Samadhi. I did a workout when I got back to my room, and then got ready for Meherazad. Marge and I drove. I spent most of the time on the porch near Meheru. There were a lot of stories about snakes. Ella Marks was there with her two daughters.

Marge and I stopped for lunch at Yash & Jali. She and I have decided to start sharing a lunch because they give too much food, and if you take it home it doesn't taste as good warmed up.

Three of the puppies found homes. But, the other three puppies are beginning to act like this is their territory. One of them would make a good watchdog as it already is starting to stand up to our two dogs.

Monday 6 December. It was so cold last night and this morning. I had to bundle up to go up hill for darshan at the Samadhi. Though, I find it is so nice to be walking all the way up from my room now that the roads are no longer muddy.

Later, Marge and I took the last three puppies and dropped them near some houses down the road. I felt a little guilty, but what to do? They had been sleeping on Marge's verandah and our dogs would fight with them at night. It was hard to sleep.

I used the washing machine I bought in September to do a lot of laundry. I had storied most of my belongings while I was in the States. Because it had been raining for months my clothes smelled musty from the dampness.

In the late afternoon, our dogs were barking and barking. They found a snake on the tree in front of Marge's verandah. One of the young Iranians killed it. Cookie and Cracker, our dogs, are good 'snake dogs'.

Tuesday 7 December. I went up the hill for early darshan at the Samadhi. Then I cleaned Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room for one of the residents who was ill. When I got back to my room I did a workout. Some hired workers came to prepare for the extended barbwire fence I'm putting in the back area near my room. The cows get too close, and I don't like the idea the cow-herders can see in my area because it opens the way for theft.

I drove to the Page house. The painters had some questions, and some sample colors on the window grills. I took pictures and will send by Internet to the Pages, as Karina had returned to the States.

I tried to take a nap, but this darn crow kept coming to the tree branches near my window and cawing! This crow often does this between 2:00 to 4:00 pm—my naptime. The crow and I have this unwanted dance. I go out and throw stones to send it away. It goes away for a while and then comes back. Why it picks this time to want to be on the tree outside my window I don't know. This has been going on and off for over a year! Sometime it isn't around, than back it comes.

I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. All around the Samadhi the preparations for Amartithi are everywhere. The steel frames for the huge pandals on the hill are going up.

During Samadhi duty, when it's 6:30 pm all the pilgrims must come out from sitting in the Samadhi. Because prayers are at 7:00 pm, none are allowed to sit inside. This is the time I would usually move the Prasad from the back to the seats by the door. I used to be able to see the whole area around Baba's Cabin Room. Now that the line for darshan is on the left side, I stand facing the other direction, with my back to all the pilgrims hanging around the Cabin. It feels strange.

Wednesday 8 December. I went up the hill for darshan at the Samadhi, then back to my room for a workout. At 9:00 am, when our Meherabad workers gather in the morning by our supply store to be assigned their work for the day, if anyone has business they wish to discuss with the supervisors, that is the time to be there.

I wanted to talk to the electrical engineer. When I was back in Meherabad in September, I showed the engineer where I wanted the electrical boxes moved in my room. The boxes are about 5 feet from the floor. So, basically, it limits what you can put on the wall. I want to raise the boxes a good foot. I have limited space in my room, and I want to utilize as much of it as I can. I was told the electricians would come Thursday afternoon or Friday. Yeah!

Thursday 9 December. It started raining again last night. The ground was very wet, but not to muddy. I went up hill for morning darshan, than did a video workout before getting ready for Meherazad. I reached Meherazad before the buses arrived, so it was still very quiet. At 11:00 am we can go on the women's side. I enjoyed sitting on Mehera's porch listening to Meheru. What an amazing life she has had, what an amazing and fortunate soul she is, her whole life with Baba!

It was fun listening to Meheru's stories of the New Life. Meheru talked about the white horse that went with them, and the two donkeys that did not want to walk long distances, so they had to be tied to the caravan to make them move. She told the funny story of Dr. Nilu, who wanted milk so he had to carry the baby calf on his shoulders or the mother cow would not move.

On the way home I stopped for some chicken at Yash & Jali. When I got home I laid down for a nap. But, the crow that loves to sit in the trees by my bedroom window was back again. Out the back door I went to toss stones at the crow. I have started calling this crow "the 2:00 pm crow" as that is the time it usually 'arrives' and starts cawing.

One of our Meherabad workers came by and showed me a huge beehive up on a branch of a tree that goes over the circular drive. The hive was just above our enclosed garbage area. I was shocked at the size of it. It was maybe 4 feet long and at one point, 2 feet wide. The worker said how dangerous it was and to report it to the Store so they could send someone out at night to burn the hive. That is how they destroy these hives. It has to be done at night because the bees then get confused and fly away instead of attacking.

I went back up the hill at 6:00 pm to cover Samadhi duty for a resident. It was someone's birthday, so the birthday person brought a lot of tasty Prasad and other yummy treats for everyone!

Friday 10 December. I went up the hill for morning darshan. How I love this hour there! It is like the caressing of the whole being, the energy and peace that permeates from the Samadhi.

When I got back to my room I did a DVD workout. I then went to the Store where the workers meet for their daily assignment. I saw the electrician and he said he would be able to come to my room in an hour.

When they came to my room, the workers said my electrical boxes are old and I should get new ones in my room, not just move the old ones higher on the wall. Some of the switches were outdated and over 20 years old, before Meherabad entered the 21st century and got DSL, etc. They called Anand, the electrical engineer, who came to check and ordered what I needed. He said next week the boxes would be in and they would then install them.

I drove to the local dairy and bought two bags of cow manure for Marge and my shared garden. I then went to the bank in Ahmednagar. There is so much traffic now. Until the by-pass roads are complete it is bumper to bumper with all the trucks, motorcycles, rickshaws, buses, cars, bicycles, etc. We of course are not talking about one or two lanes of bumper to bumper. No, no! We are talking about any space being filled with whatever fits. And, most of these drivers will drive like it is absolutely necessary that they get where they are going first!

The poor policemen, during these insane traffic hours, they try at major intersections to allow each direction to have a turn, only it is always like shopping in America the day after Thanksgiving. How do you direct a mass movement frantically going in every direction at once?

At 4:30 pm, Mehernath gave a talk at the MPC, and in the evening there was a Baba film shown at 9:00 pm in the Meher Pilgrim Retreat dining room. Every Friday evening a Baba film is shown in the MPR.

Saturday 11 December. I walked up the hill for darshan at the Samadhi, and then clean Baba's Cabin Room. I did a DVD workout when I got back to my room. At 10:00 am I took my video camera and met Peter Nordeen on the front verandah of the MPC. Peter was going to give an extensive, detailed Historic Tour of Meherabad.

It was an amazing Tour! Peter had lived in Meherabad during the early 70's when there were only a handful of residents. So, he was able to spend a lot of time with Padri. He has an incredible wealth of information. Peter is also funny, and often during the Tour he would imitate Padri. We spent until 1:00 pm on just part of Lower Meherabad. We got only as far as the Rahuri Cabin. So, next Saturday we will take the Tour from Rahuri onward! I absolutely loved Peter's tour!

In the afternoon, Bill Cliff gave a concert in the MPC hall.

Sunday 12 December. This was a day of so many activities! After going up the hill for my morning darshan, I went to my room and did a short DVD workout before getting ready for Meherazad.

Meheru wasn't on the porch, so I spent most of the time walking around until the program started in Mandali Hall. It was so cold that I went back to my car first and got a jacket.

During the program Hughie did some magic, Bill Cliff sang a song, Sky and another person sang a song, and then Philip Creager read a very moving poem he wrote about Mani.

When I got home I was able to rest for one hour. Then I got my camera and went to the Trust in Nagar to video Bhauji doing his 'Chat' on the Internet. While I was there Charlie Morten call in from El Salvador, where he moved with his wife. It was so much fun seeing and saying hi to Charlie.

During Bhauji's 'Chat', in the Trust Compound, there was also a wedding reception of Darshana and Ajit. Darshana was raised in the Trust Compound with her parents, Sudam and Asha Wagh. They took care of Korshed, Mehera's childhood friend who lived in the ashram with Mehera. Sudam had been taking care of her for many years.

During the time of the 'Chat' there was also the Dhuni at Meherabad. I decided to miss the Dhuni and instead stay and video Bhauji, as I don't know how long Bhau will be with us. Another program on this day was in Arangaon village, near Meherabad. There was a 'Satsang Programme' with singing and food all day. Some days there are just too many things to choose from.

Monday 13 December. I didn't go up the hill early because I slept late, until 6:00 am. It is hard for me to get up early when I go to bed late. I did some housework, and then the repairman from Maruti came to see if he could fix my seat belt. We decided for me to drive my car to the shop the next morning.

I went to the bank in Nagar and then to the Trust Office. To my delight I found out Bhauji was feeling so much better, and he decided to go to the MPC at 4:30 pm to give a talk. Of course I went! I was so surprised on how he seemed to 'bounced back' and be able once again to give talks!

Tuesday 14 December. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi. Then I cleaned Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room. When I got home I did a short workout before driving to the Page house to check on things. The painters came and I showed them what needed to be done. I went straight back to my room to oversee the workers who were finishing the barbwire fence I had put up.

The switch for my 'wash/drain' broke. I called the company I bought it from in Ahmednagar and they said a repairman would be out the next day.

After a nap, I went up the hill for my Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. What a pleasure it is to be there giving out Prasad. I don't really know how I have been so fortunate. Just imagine, I am giving out Prasad at the tomb-shrine of the Avatar of the Age! I am so grateful to be here!

Wednesday 15 December. I went up the hill for morning darshan before I left to go to Pune for the day. It was Mani's birthday, but I had to go because a tooth of mine had cracked. The dentist had to remove part of that cracked tooth. But, he did what he could to try to save the tooth. How long the 'patch job' will last we don't know? But, the alternative was to have the whole tooth pulled. I decided I would take my chances that it may last for some time.

I made it back to Meherabad in time for evening Arti. Even though I had been at the Samadhi in the early morning, I wanted to be there for Arti on Mani's birthday.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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