1 to 15 January 2011
1 to 15 January 2011
Jai Meher Baba to you all!
Saturday 1 January 2011. Though I got home from our annual 'bringing in the New Year at the Samadhi' around 1:00 AM, I was up at 4:30 AM and up the hill by 5:00 AM to take darshan and clean Baba's Cabin Room. I put the flowers on the Stretcher, Gadi, and Samadhi before going back to my room. I worked around my room and then went back to sleep for a few hours.
Sunday 2 January. This was the first day of the New Year at Meherazad. There were three buses and many cars, thus quite a number of pilgrims. It is always so peaceful there, and compared to Meherabad, so very quiet. However, during our summer when pilgrim accommodations are closed, Meherabad too is quiet.
Ashu, Rakish, and their two children came by for tea (Ashu's parents are Meherabad residents). I was going to the Trust Office to sit in on Bhauji's 'Internet Chat'. I don't like driving at night here in India because of the way drivers drive. Rakish said he would be happy to drive for me. Ashu got excited about having a chance for her family to see Bhau, so we all went. We got there close to 5:00 pm. The 'Chat' had been going on for about one hour.
Bhau's office was already crowded, so we went around back and sat in the side room; where we were able to see through the doorway. When Bhau was talking with Arjang from Iran, Bhau told him there were many Iranians in his office. We in the office did a head count. There were 7 from the USA, 14 from Iran, and a few from other countries. Sure enough, the Iranians were by far the majority. They are coming in ever increasing numbers.
It was lively the whole time we were in Bhauji's office; often we had hardy laughs from Bhau's interaction with the pilgrims he talked to on his IChat. My friend Michal, from Israel, called. Charlie Morton, now living in El Salvador, called again. It was fun and Bhau was very reluctant to quit talking. However, by 8:30 PM he stopped so those in his office could get back to Meherabad and have some dinner.
Monday 3 January. I slept late, and felt throughout the morning that I had 'wasted' several hours. I went to our 'store' to write in the workbook that two of my windows do not completely shut. They will have to come and sand them. The problem right now is all the workers are busy doing Amartithi work. I really doubt I will see my windows fixed until after Amartithi. For me, the main problem with windows not closing is the cold air comes in. Since we don't have heating we have to just put more clothes on, burr!
I went to the Samadhi in the afternoon to take darshan. I saw another resident on the hill who helps take care of Jaloo. I told her I had my camera with me and maybe we should see if Jaloo would let us take a picture of the three of us together. Now, Jaloo never wants her photo take, but I felt maybe she would allow it. At first she said no, but when I asked if she would let me take only one she said okay. Well, we ended up taking several of us together. When I would show them to Jaloo she would get a big smile and allow us to take another photo. I am very happy to have these pictures; they are precious to me.
I next went to the Page house to check on the work. Welders were making the steel struts for the two large water tanks that will feed water into the house. The platform for the tanks has to be higher than the house so gravity will work in allowing the water to flow easily. Since we live in a rural area, all individual homes have to supply their own water.
Bhauji came to the MPC to give a talk at 4:15 PM. Tea was served first. The tea is now brought from Hostel-D instead of the MPR. Bhauji has many singers performing before he has the prayers of different religions said. He spends most of his time now interacting with the pilgrims more than giving a 'talk'.
Tuesday 4 January. I went up the hill early to take darshan and then clean Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room. In my room I did a DVD workout before going to check on the work at the Page house.
David and Gusi live next door. They were doing some construction, and had good garden dirt they dug out of the ground. They said we could have it if we would remove it. I hired some workers who took about three hours to toss the dirt over the fence into the Page yard. It was easier to do it that way then hire a truck and bring it around the front.
I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. I stopped by to say hello to Jaloo before going on duty. While giving out Prasad I noticed a cute squirrel sniffing around where I was standing. I wondered why it was so close until I saw a pilgrim slipping their Prasad to the squirrel. No dumb squirrel, it too liked Baba's Prasad!
Wednesday 5 January. I went up the hill early to take darshan. When I got back to my room I did a short workout before going to the MPC to see Debjani. She and Yohann run the Meher Selfless Service. They have an office in the MPC where pilgrims who wish to volunteer service while they are here can get information on what jobs are available.
I want to learn how to use my computer other than the basics like email. So, I took my computer to Debjani and she showed me how to do some very useful things on Word. All these years I have had little time to learn. Now, I have the chance to start learning and it is so much fun. To me, one really needs to know some very fundamental things before you can start teaching yourself.
I went to lunch with another resident at a new restaurant called The Yash Grand. It is the closest nice hotel to Meherabad. Little by little the nice hotels are building closer to us! This hotel even has an outdoor swimming pool where you can choose to sit outside or inside while eating.
Thursday 6 January. I slept late because I got to bed late. Later in the day I went to the Samadhi to take darshan before going to the Page house. Again, I saw the next-door neighbor, David, in his back yard. He had another large pile of dark soil that he had planned to give to someone else. I guess the other person didn't pick it up so he offered it to me. I say yes, we would love to have it.
So, once again I called some workers who would come to the house when they were off work from the Trust. There was enough soil that it would probably take two separate days to toss the dirt over the fence, as most of the workers could only do this extra work when they were clocked out at 6:00 PM.
Philip Lutgendorf, a professor at one of the Universities in the States, gave a talk with slides, on the Ramayana. It was so fascinating that the hour flew by. He made the epic story come to life.
My neighbor, Marge, had Samadhi duty from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. On her way home she stoped at the Savages Kitchen to pick up her bread that David makes. To my good fortune, she also brings mine to me. The bread is still warm, so of course I slice a piece and put butter on it. Yum!
In the evening, I learned Bhauji had some minor strokes and was not speaking. The medical staff thought he was leaving us, but then he seemed to stabilized. We will have to wait and see if he will come out of this or not. It is all in Baba's hands.
Friday 7 January. I share two dogs with my roommate, Anne. Last night the dogs were barking and barking. At one point my roommate went out to see what was the problem. The dogs seemed to calm down while she was outside, but as soon as she walked back inside they went wild with the barking again. Finally, she called our Security to come and see if someone was around. They found nothing, yet the dogs kept running around barking. Whatever was the cause of it, it wasn't until around 3:00 AM that they stopped barking.
Now, I get up at 4:00 AM. Yes, 4:00 AM. I had only just started going into a sleep when my alarm went off. It has been so cold outside that I have been putting on three layers of clothing before I venture outdoors; a wool scarf, a wool hat, gloves, and a down jacket. My body is kept warm, but this morning at the Samadhi my feet were cold. I was wearing only one pair of socks, and it just was not enough.
I did a short workout when I got back to my room, but I just felt tired and hungry. So, I made breakfast and took a three-hour nap. I felt much better when I woke.
It seems Bhauji can't speak from his mini strokes, yet he is able to say 'Jai Baba'. He is able to sit up and I heard he is glowing with happiness.
Iraj Namairanian, spoke in Bhauji's place at the MPC at 4:30 PM. His family is the largest Baba family in the world. They are from Iran with 130 members. Eighty-seven are Baba lovers, and fourteen of them have had Baba's darshan. Two of them were in the Prem Ashram here in Meherabad in the 1920's.
Saturday 8 January. I put on three layers of clothing, two pairs of socks, a down-jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves before going up the hill for morning Darshan at the Samadhi. I was told the weather recently had dropped to around 34 F. or +12 C. in the late night and early mornings. No wonder we are so cold!
At the Samadhi it was so quiet and peaceful, the quiet seemed to go into every part of the body and soul. I got in line as the pilgrims arrived in time for the Samadhi doors to be opened. There is a group of twenty from Argentina who get up early enough to be there each morning when the doors open. It is quite beautiful to see their love for Baba, and to also hear their wonderful singing. It seems the whole group have voices that bring tears to the eyes when they sing with such depth of feeling. They have the kind of singing where you feel you are being 'serenaded' when listening.
I cleaned Baba's Cabin Room before going back down the hill. I worked on my computer, than prepared to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad at 10:00 AM. There was only one pilgrim waiting. Since I was just doing Lower Meherabad, we took our time at each place. The pilgrim was especially captivated by the work going on at the Memorial Tower. We must have spent half an hour there. Joshi, the contractor, was on site and told of the recent work.
In the afternoon, Michael DeCosta, gave a 'one-man show'. He sang, recited poetry, played music, and entertained everyone in the MPC Hall at 4:30 PM.
Sunday 9 January. I was up the hill early for Darshan at the Samadhi. Then I did an 'ab boot-camp' workout by Billy Blanks before getting ready for Meherazad. The workout is a real challengewhich I love. When I stopped to pick up Fereshteh and Hooyar, we saw two Iranian women walking toward Meherabad to catch the bus for a ride to Meherazad. We offered them a ride with us, which they happily accepted.
When we drove down the Meherazad road, just at the place where the old gate use to be, now stands a modern 'security gate' in its place. It is the kind that has a long pole that is electronically raised. We had to wait until someone pressed the 'open' button that is located on one of the nearby buildings.
When it was near 11:00 AM I went in Baba's room and sat for a while. When I went onto Mehera's porch, I was told Meheru was 'out of station'. I later went into Mandali Hall for the 11:30 AM program.
Hughie did some magic tricks, followed by Michael DeCosta reciting one of his poems and then singing a song. Rose next read a deeply moving and descriptive poem about loving Baba. Hooyar than showed the film 'God Alone Exist'.
On the way home we wanted to stop at the Trust to see if we could say hello to Bhauji, but we decided it would be best not too. I am told Bhau can say only a few words, and has to be helped for most things. The Trust will soon send out an official medical report on Bhauji's health.
Monday 10 January. I put on warm clothing and went up to the Samadhi for darshan. When I got back to my room I did a workout and then went to the MPC for the official opening of the Meher Welcome Center.
The Meher Welcome Center is in the MPC room where the accounting office had been. It is directly opposite the Pilgrim Registration Office (PRO). Two of the Trustees, Jal Dastoor and Ramesh Jangle, were there for the garlanding of Baba's photo. Tea and snacks were served on the inner verandah, near the entrance to the MPC Hall. The Meher Welcome Center has resident staff of Debbie Nordeen, Yohann Noble and Caren St. John.
The purpose of the Welcome Center is to have a place where visitors who want to know about Meher Baba have a place to get that information. Meherabad has grown and more and more people from all over the world drop by asking about Meher Baba. The Meher Welcome Center has brochures in many languages, such as 'Who Is Meher Baba?' and 'Baba's Universal Message', etc.
The large group from Argentina sang in the MPC Hall for about an hour during the opening. It was part of the weekly 'Meherabad Morning' program.
During all this activity we were told there would be a birthday celebration for Bhau's birthday this Thursday in the Trust Compound (Meher Nazar) in Ahmednagar. We don't know if Bhau will still be with us, and if he is, we don't know if he will be able to come out to say Jai Baba. So, the celebration will be brought to him.
In the afternoon, Mehernath Kalchuri, shared some of his stories of growing up with Baba in the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm.
Tuesday 11 January. I went up the hill early for Darshan before cleaning Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room. When I got back to my room I did a workout and then went into Ahmednagar to run some errands.
It was fun to know that this date was all ones11 January, 2011 or 11-1-11. In November on the 11th it will be 11-11-11.
On the way home I stopped at the Memorial Tower construction site and took some photos. As it is being built, I will from time to time share the updated photos with you all so you can also experience the pleasure of seeing a Historic monument being built.
In the evening I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. As soon as the sun goes down it gets very cold, so I had brought a nice warm jacket. When I got back to my room I did what my neighbor Marge does, I covered all the windows with heavy cloth to help keep out the cold.
Wednesday 12 January. I decided to not get up early because my cough was coming back. Later in the morning, after I drove to the Page house to see what work was going on, I stopped at the Samadhi on the way home and took Darshan.
The Dhuni was lit around 6:00 PM. There are a lot of pilgrims here right now, maybe a few hundred. I was happy to see the group from Argentina had their guitars. The group performs in small theaters around the city of La Plata, Argentina. When they sing it is like magicsuch rich beautiful voices. Their songs are so full of love for Baba.
Thursday 13 January. Again, I decided to sleep late because of my cough. Later in the morning, when I drove to the Page house to check on the construction, I stopped at the Samadhi and had darshan. The Amartithi work is going on everywhere. The hill has most of the poles up, with the queue line dividers in place.
It was Bhauji's birthday and we found out there would be no celebration at the Trust. The Medical staff and his family requested no one come to the Trust Office. They said the best present one could give Bhau at this time is uninterrupted rest. In the past, always for his birthday there was a big program at Meherabad.
Friday 14 January. I went up the hill early for darshan at the Samadhi. At 11:30 AM I had an appointment with Joshi, the contractor for the Memorial Tower. I wanted to video him giving an update on all the work there. In the future people will want to see how it was constructed.
There was a concert in the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm. The Argentina group sang songs from some of the plays they performed in La Plata. They also performed two skits and a dance. There was so much energy of love in the air that at the end many held hands while a final song was song. Like I said, there singing is like magic!
Saturday 15 January. I went up the hill early to take darshan and then clean Baba's Cabin Room. Everything is so dusty now from all the work on the hill. After putting flowers everywhere I went back to my room to get ready to give the Historical Tour of Meherabad.
Before going to the MPC to take anyone waiting on the Tour, I went to Hostel-D to see Rajshree, whom we affectionately call, Coo Coo. The term is not used the same here in India as in the West. Coo Coo is one of our hard-working Indian residents who also help in the rotating schedule to clean Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room. I stopped to show her the Amartithi schedule and see what shifts she would be able to cover for Baba's Cabin Room. Since she works in Hostel-D and Hostel-C her available time would be limited.
Hostel-D and C during Amartithi are not used for pilgrims, but only house the twelve hundred Indian volunteers who come to work during Amartithi. When I got to the MPC, I went to see Debjani, who helps me with the scheduling of volunteers for Baba's Cabin Room. We went over the updates of those who had signed.
Waiting for the Tour were two women pilgrims from New Zealand; we took our time at each site. When we got to the site of the Memorial Tower there were no workers there. I don't know why they had the day off. We were unable to see the model of the Memorial Tower because it is in a locked room. The two women said they might join me on Monday when I take the group from Argentina to see the Tower.
We only did Lower Meherabad on the Tour. I then went to the Savages Kitchen for lunch. The resident community kitchen is once again thriving. There was a time when everyone went there separate way. With the new committee changing how it operates many residents have returned. I have only two lunches a week there, as I prefer to eat a simpler diet. But, I am eating there more for the social reasons. I enjoy having a chance to 'touch base' with many of the residents that I normally don't have time to sit and chat with. We have a very large number of Iranian residents, so Farsi is continually spoken. In fact, one of the Iranian women residents is teaching Farsi to any Indian or Western resident who wishes to learn.
We also have English classes for the Iranians who want to learn English. So, now we have two language classes taking place in our Spiritual Academy, English and Farsi. As for myself, I am studying Hindi on my own. I wish there were a Hindi teachermaybe I will look for one. I have purchased Rosette Stone and that is how I study.
When I got back to my room I found out the technician for my washing machine came and replaced the broken part. It now works just fine.
In the afternoon, there was a concert given by Carol Gunn in the MPC Hall at 4:30 pm.
In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy