2 to 15 February 2011
2 to 15 February 2011
Jai Meher Baba to you all!
Wednesday 2 February 2011. I woke in the morning feeling absolutely exhausted! This was the most attended Amartithi pilgrimage yet. There were so many talented performers, so much joyous energy, and all at Meherabad to celebrate their love for Beloved Baba and His victory of completing His universal work 100% to His satisfaction. His work completed, He soon dropped His body that is now known as Amartithi.
It is a wonderful time to experience His love with so many of His lovers. But, it is exhausting with so much work.
Thursday 3 February. I rested as much as possible.
Friday 4 February. I was up early and went up the hill to take darshan at the Samadhi. Later in the morning I stopped at the Trust. I saw a large group of Iranians going toward Bhauji's room. Later, I learned they had a deeply moving visit with Bhauji. I have found it deeply touching by the depth of love these Iranian first-timers experience here with Baba. They are very passionate and tears are often seen in their eyes.
Saturday 5 February. I went up the hill early to take darshan and clean Baba's Room-Cabin. At 10:00 am I gave a Historic Tour of Lower Meherabad, and we spent a good portion of that time at the construction site of the Memorial Tower. It is always exciting to me to see how much was done since my last visit to the Tower.
Sunday 6 February. I slept late and was still so exhausted. But, I wanted to go to Meherazad, so my neighbor, Marge, and I drove. It was a lovely morning there. Meheru was sitting on the porch sharing some of her stories.
There was a program in Mandali Hall. Jeanne McDonald sing, Kristin Nordeen sing, Hughie did some of his magic, then the film 'God Alone Exist' was shown. Beloved Baba said his poem would one day be sung in every home in the world. It is such a moving and powerful film.
I rememberd to take a photo of Meherazad's new security pole. In a past Meherabad Diary I took a photo of the security pole when it was up, but I think it shows much better when it is down.
In the afternoon at 4:30 pm there was a meeting at the Bowling house about the 'common area' that is between the condos and the private homes near the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. The Bowling house is directly behind the Page house. One of the problems of our private road is that future construction projects may try to use it as an access way instead of making their own road. We are going to have signs made that will go at the entrance stating it is a private road. If that doesn't work we will put a security fence and gate across the road.
Monday 7 February. Today was The Internment Day, the day Beloved Baba's body was covered in the Samadhi. I went up the hill early for darshan, then back to my room for breakfast before returning to the Samadhi. This was my month rotation for archive cleaning of the Samadhi, which we do once a week.
I started cleaning at 8:15 am, right after the last pilgrim took darshan from morning Arti. I was told Meheru would be coming at 9:00 am so I cleaned with a little more speed than normal.
However, Meheru came closer to 10:00 am. She went into the Samadhi to lay a garland and then those inside said the prayers inside the Samadhi. When she came out she went to Mehera's shrine and placed a garland. This time when she left Mehera's shrine she walked backward. She stayed facing Mehera's shrine the whole time until she turned when she reached the front of the Samadhi. I had never seen her do that before. I felt she was thinking how Mehera suffered when Baba dropped His body.
Meheru next went to Mani's shrine and then into Baba's Room Cabin. After that she got into the car and drove away.
When I got back to my room I call Jeff DeLoe, who is the landscape Supervisor at the MPR. Jeff is a friend of the Pages and is helping plan their garden. I called him and asked if he would be able to go with me to the Page house and remark the boundries of where the driveway would be put. You see, the tiles had been chosen, and the white line marking where the tiles would go had already been made on the ground. However, I felt the white lines were too straight, it needed more curves.
Jeff said yes I could pick him up. Sure enough, when we got the Page house he redid most of the white lines. He made larger curves and some S-shapes in some places. When Jeff and I were placing large stones to mark the new lines, I found a large scorpion under one stone, so I smashed it with a stone. I made sure it was squished because I heard the stinger could still sting if it is stepped on.
In the afternoon at 4:30 pm, in the Music and Art Center, the film 'The Last Darshan' was shown. It is the film that shows Baba's body on the stretcher at Meherazad being put into the ambulance. Then it shows the ambulance arriving on Meherabad Hill and His body being taken out on the stretcher and taken into Baba's Room Cabin.
The next scenes show His body inside the crypt of the Samadhi. Then it shows when Mehera first entered the Samadhi. It was so hard to watch her agony and pain. At the end it showed the casket being lowered on top of Baba's body, since His body was resting on the lid of the casket.
I have been following Beloved Baba since the 60's. In all this time I had seen this film only a handful of times. It is all in silence and it is so deeply intimate. Imagine, a film showing the body of God being buried!
Tuesday 8 February. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi before I started to clean Mani's shrine and Baba's Room Cabin.
In the evening, I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. After Arti I saw Will David, who is here for an extended time to volunteer service. We were talking about some of the people who had been living here with Baba. He then told me a most beautiful story. First he wanted to show me where it took place. We walked behind Mansari's kitchen. Will said Najoo Kotal, when she was a child living on the hill with her family, shared many lovely stories with him one day while they were talking on the hill. Though I had known Najoo for many years, had heard her share a lot of her stories many times, and had videoed her several times, I had not heard the story Will told me.
Here is a photo of where the story took place.
The space between the stone-wall and the back of the building is where Baba would sometimes sit with the women Mandali when there was a full moon. They would sit together on the ground, no lights on, with the full moon above. Najoo said it was so beautiful sitting there with Baba, it was the most romantic experience. She said there was nothing like it.
Wednesday 9 February. I was up the hill early for darshan at the Samadhi. When I got back to my room I had breakfast and then went out for a 'power walk' to the MPR and back. I then grabbed my camera and went to the Memorial Tower to take some photos of the latest work. I am going to video Joshi on Friday so he will tell about the latest work.
After lunch I laid down to take a nap. But, that darn crow was once again on the tree branch outside my window at 12:45 pm. I keep a little pile of small stones for the very purpose of chasing away that crow. This chasing away the 'nap-time crow' has been going on for at least a couple of years. Why it picks or likes this time to 'perch' on a branch right outside my window is a mystery to me. I wouldn't care if it just 'perched'. The problem is the crow decides it is also the time to 'talk to all the other crows in the neighborhood!' It loudly makes its bird noise you can't call it singing because these birds don't sing. They squak! Not a pretty sound to listen to when you want to rest.
I spent most of the rest of the day working on a design for the quilt I will take back to my granddaughter, Emily, for her seventh birthday. I have eight grandchildren. When each one turns seven I make a specially designed quilt for them. This will be my fifth. My granddaughter turned seven a few months back, but I was caring for my sister, who had cancer, so I was not free to make it for her. Now I am home in Meherabad, and when I go visit Emily in April, I will have it with me to give her.
I went on the Internet to see how to draw some items I will put on the quilt. I have been working on the design for several days. You see, each grandchild tells me what they want on their quilt. It is for me to decide how to bring the items together. An example, one grandson wanted a pirate ship and castle, he wanted airplanes and rockets, etc. This quilt is for my granddaughter. Her favorite color is pink, she wanted a princess and castle, dancing, books, a Star Wars light saber, and her name in clouds. As you can see, that is the challenge, finding a theme to bring the interest all together.
Thursday 10 February. I went up the hill early for darshan at the Samadhi before going on a 'power walk' after breakfast. On the way back from the MPR I stopped at the caretaker's cottage because I wanted to ask Jessie some questions. (The Cottage is a short way behind the Samadhi just off the path to the MPR.)
Jessie often helps care for Bhauji. He was telling me how Bhau is improving little by little, though he needs help in many ways. He said though Bhau is in pain, never once has Bhau complained. Jessie said Bhau is always cheerful. Jessie also said those who are caring for him do it with so much love and tenderness; that Bhau is surrounded by the best care the world has to offer, everything done with true love.
Other than having lunch with a friend, I spent most of the day working on the design for the quilt. I am happy to say I believe I found the right 'theme' and so will polish the design before drawing it on the cloth that will be the base of the quilt. The quilt will take maybe one or two months to complete, depending on the hours I put in daily.
Friday 11 February. I was up the hill early for darshan at the Samadhi. I had breakfast when I got home and then went on a power-walk to the MPR and back. I find I am still exhausted from Amartithi, but I have to get back to exercising to keep my body strong it is more work when the mind wants to just be left alone and do nothing.
I had an appointment with Joshi at the Memorial Tower at 11:00 am. He showed me the huge stone blocks that will be cut into pedestals these will surround the outer perimeter of the Tower. Large flat-stones will be made for the top of all the pedestals to complete structure. Because each stone weighted from 500lbs to one ton, a truck could only deliver 20 at a time. A total of 100 stones will be used. There is a special machine that is being assembled at the Tower site that will be used to cut these stone to the exact size needed. Then they will be hand-crafted to have the curves and shape that Ted wants. It is quite fascinating to witness.
Joshi then followed me to the Page house where we talked about work on the driveway, the electric lamps on the gateposts, and a few other things. I will have to take a photo of the Page house one of these days to show what it looks like especially as I have been talking about its construction for a few years.
Saturday 12 February. I was up the hill early for darshan at the Samadhi before cleaning Baba's Room. After putting flowers on the Gadi and Samadhi threshold I went back to my room to get ready to give the Meherabad Historical Tour.
Since the beginning of the Revolution in Egypt my neighbor, Marge, and I have been glued to our TV's whenever we could. We have found it very exciting that the people followed the path of Ghandi, by protesting in peace to be free.
There were a few pilgrims at the MPC waiting for the Meherabad Historical Tour. All were excited to see the construction work of the Memorial Tower. While we were on the Tour I noticed some special ceremony taking place at the police station that is across the street from the MPC. Because I was giving the Tour I could not go over and see what it was about.
So, as soon as the Tour was over I went to the police sub-station. For the ceremony the Trust had provided the chairs, floor tarps, pandals, etc. The police station is on Trust land, and it offers protection for Meherabad and the surrounding villages, twenty villages in all.
I asked what the ceremony was for? Apparently all the big wigs of the Police Department in Ahmednagar attended this ceremony. It was for the induction of 70 young men from the twenty villages the sub-station covers, to be part of the police protection program. The young men were given flashlights, whistles, and other things that would help them alert their neighbors if they spotted trouble in their areas. It is like a youth patrol. It was all very official.
I went to the Savages Kitchen for lunch. There were a lot of residents there and I enjoyed talking to them. After a nap I worked on the design for the quilt. I checked the Internet to makes sure I was drawing some things correctly.
In the evening the Dhuni was lit at sundown around 6:15 pm. There were less than two hundred pilgrims attending. The Dhuni has a special atmosphere of its own. There is a joy to the gathering and at the same time a seriousness felt deep inside. Maybe it is a subtle awareness that something holy is taking place.
I forgot to mention. The Baba Birthday play preparations have been going on for over a week. Two or three times a day you see the bus parked by the Music & Arts Center that brought pilgrims from the MPR. There are also many motorcycles, bicycles, and a few cars. Everything is being made, costumes, scenery, and stage props. The pilgrims who will be in the play are learning their parts. It is always astounding how in just a few weeks a wonderful play is put on for Beloved Baba's Birthday. These are pilgrims, and they just wish to be part of the play.
Sunday 13 February. I went up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi. When I got back to my room I did some laundry before getting ready for Meherazad. I picked up Hooyar and his mother, Fereshteh. Though Hooyar shows the movies in Mandali Hall during the program, the projector comes on the bus with the pilgrims.
Well, today someone forgot to load the projector on the bus. Bless Jal Dastor's heart, he had the projector brought in the Trust jeep. So, it was there in time to show a Baba film.
Before the Baba film, Hughie did some of his magic, next a poem was read in Marathi, and then singing by a part-time resident named, Sky. He had just married a Kenyan woman who was here with her sister. They sang a song in their language and then one in English. They had very sweet voices.
Monday 14 February. It was my day to do archival cleaning of the Samadhi, so I went up the hill at 8:00 am. We have to wait until the morning Arti line if finished before we can start cleaning. I got everything ready while the last of the pilgrims took darshan.
Just when I was finished and started to leave the hill, I saw Janaki. She too was leaving and she had a rickshaw waiting. She offered a ride and I hopped in. Just as we got to the bottom of the hill and nearing where the pilgrims take the path walking up the hill, we saw a number of people standing around what looked to be someone laying on the road.
Apparently the accident had just happened. Janaki and I jumped out of the rickshaw and rushed to the woman on the ground. She had massive amounts of blood around her head and she was unconscious.
I didn't have my cell phone with me, so I asked Janaki to please call Dr. Anne and get an ambulance here immediately. Because of so much blood, it looked serious. The woman was laying with her head to one side and mostly on her stomach. We told everyone not to touch the woman as it may cause more injury.
While we waited for the ambulance, we got the story. Her son, who was standing next to her, was riding her on his motorcycle when she fell off. She fell literally at the foot of the path to Baba's Samadhi. I thought to myself that no matter the outcome, this woman was fortunate to have this happen at His feet. The son of course kept trying to raise his mother's head from the blood, but we had him understand the danger of moving her. I squatted down next to her, put my hand on her back and began repeating Baba's name. Janaki was silently also saying His name.
The ambulance had to park on the other side of the railroad tracks, near where the original post office was, as the road crossing through the village was blocked for a train coming which here they make you wait sometimes 20 minutes!
Dr. Anne came with the wooden stretcher. We carefully rolled her onto the stretcher while Dr. Anne held her head to prevent damage to her neck. I noticed her head didn't look smashed, but her nose looked like she had landed on it. Maybe that was the cause of all the blood. After strapping her on, she was carried across the tracks to the ambulance.
When I got back to my room I grabbed my video camera and drove to the MPC. Tara, who had been living in Baba's ashram since she was 11 years old, was giving a talk. It was in Marati, but Amrit did the translating. Before I knew Tara was going to share some of her life with Baba, I had made plans to go into 'Nagar early. But, I thought to myself "Beloved Baba has offered this treat of life with Him am I going to say 'it doesn't fit in my schedule?'" I don't think so! I was so glad I did because she had such sweet stories to share.
One of Tara's stories was when the Mandali had been traveling up North. Baba had some special treats given to Him in two baskets. He shared one basket of treats with the women. When the basket was empty, Baba told the women he decided to play a joke on the men. Earlier, the women had killed a snake. Baba put the dead snake in the basket and covered it with leaves. Later, when he saw the men he told them he had a basket of sweets for them. They eagerly opened the basket and removed the leaves and were very surprised to find a dead snake in there instead of sweets! They told Baba there was a dead snake in there. Baba looked surprised and asked to see too. Then he smiled and told them he had another basket with sweets in it for them. The men Mandali were very happy then, as they didn't get treats very often.
After I got home I changed and went into 'Nagar. I stopped at the Trust as I felt maybe I would be able to see Bhau. However, I got there just after everyone had been told the visiting time was over. Though I didn't get to see Bhauji, I was happy to know he was able to have visitors.
I went to the bank to make a deposit and then returned home. After a nap I went to the Page house to check on the construction. When I returned to my room I worked on finishing the design for my granddaughters quilt.
In the afternoon, Mehernath Kalchuri, Bhauji's son, shared some stories of his growing up years with Baba. The was at 4:30 pm in the MPC Hall.
Tuesday 15 February. I went up the hill early for darshan before cleaning Mani's shrine and Baba's Room. When I got back to my room Peter Nordeen came by to cut the dead tree in Marge and my back area. He left the lower part at our request, and said he would cut it in a couple of years. It looks like a piece of art.
Peter has a power saw and he trims and cuts the trees around Meherabad and Meherazad. He is so knowledgeable about the care of trees and explained the importance of keeping trees trimmed.
In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy