Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1 to 15 July 2011

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Friday 1 July 2011. I was up early and walked to the Samadhi for darshan. I then went for a walk to the MPR and back to my room. It had begun to drizzle, but not enough to even be wet. We have not had any monsoon rain except for that one time at the end of May. When I got back to my room I was sticky for being hot. Even at 7:00 am it is muggy.

Saturday 2 July. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi and then clean Mani's shrine and Baba's Room. One of the resident's told me Shridhar's son was cremation in Mumbai that day.

In the evening, after Arti, one of the part-time residents had a potluck party at their house. It was very relaxing to be together, having time to just sit and visit.

Sunday 3 July. I went up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi and then walked to the MPR and back home. After breakfast I got ready to go back up the hill to help with the major Samadhi cleaning; we do this every year just before Silence Day.

I drove my car to the railroad tracks and parked by the original post office. From there Marge and I walked the rest of the way up the hill. It is a good place to park when walking up the hill to the Samadhi. You never know when driving through the village if you will be stuck at the railroad crossing for fifteen minutes waiting for a train.

When we got up the hill Marge realized she forgot the key to the cupboards where the supplies are kept. Since my car was only down the hill I knew we could be back in fifteen minutes — which we were after going back to get the keys.

It is such an honor to be able to help clean Baba's Samadhi. I always feel so grateful and realize how fortunate I am to be able to do it. When we finished the major cleaning, I then did the weekly archive cleaning. This is my rotation month, and since my foot is healed I was able to do it. Lucky me!

When I got back home I took a nap before doing laundry. I find it relaxing doing laundry. I bought a washing machine two years ago and it saves more water than washing by hand. When I hung the clothes on the line it was so hot my things were dry in no time. Hot is good for laundry but uncomfortable to live in. We aren't allowed to water our plants because we have not had any rain. The rain usually cools things down a bit.

One of our residents had a fall and broke her leg. After having it temporarily set in Ahmednagar they took her to Pune for surgery, which will be scheduled in a couple of days.

Monday 4 July. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi. As I started my walk to the MPR, where all the new trees are planted, again I saw deer. This time I saw three deer bounding through the trees. When they were far enough away one of them stopped and turned to watch me. I too stopped to look at it. I don't want them to be afraid so I continued walking on the path. It is a very lovely feeling seeing deer in Meherabad.

When I got home I washed the Samadhi cleaning cloths I had soaking over night. It was hot and windy. I hung the wash up on the line and went back to wash a few other special stuff. When I went to hang the new stuff up I found the other cleaning cloths were already dry.

I had to go to BSNL (phone company) in Ahmednagar to pay the bill I just got on Saturday. I wanted to also sign up for the Blackberry service they offer. By the time I finished it was 12:20 pm. BSNL is only one block from the Trust Office so I got to the trust and parked by 12:25 pm — I had five minutes left to visit Bhauji. Bhauji allows visitors from 11:15 to 12:30 pm. I made it just in time.

I had not seen Bhauji since I returned from the States. He took my hand and gave it three taps. I was so happy to see him. The room was full of people and already Janis was saying it was time to start to leave for those taking the bus back. I noticed Bhauji take each person's hand and give it three taps. I asked one of the pilgrims if this was something new? He said yes, Bhauji had started doing it several months before. The pilgrim said the three taps stands for God the creator, preserver, and destroyer.

Thought I only had five minutes with Bhauji I was very happy to have had that time. He looks so very sweet.

When I got home I took a nap. Then I heard my neighbor tell me some of the clothes I had outside on a drying rack were getting wet because it was raining. I jumped up and quickly brought the clothes in. Wow! Monsoon had finally come to Meherabad! The rain poured in almost solid sheets. Large puddles quickly formed everywhere.

Tuesday 5 July. I was up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi. The Samadhi doors open at 5:45 am. Amarit was the supervisor that morning. When she went in she saw a frog hopping up by the top of the marble cover of Baba's tomb. The caretaker, Abbas, got a cloth and went in and carefully carried it out and set it free. I think all of us outside the door thought what a lucky frog! Can you imagine the pure energy it received all night long as it 'slept' in the Samadhi with Baba? Of all the frogs in the world — how was this one frog so lucky?

After taking darshan I finished cleaning Mani's shrine and Baba's Room Cabin. When I was done I decided to go back to my room instead of doing a walk. I was feeling tired. I am now walking without that big foot support boot that I had to wear for six weeks. It is almost like having to learn to properly walk on my right foot. I walk carefully.

After breakfast I watched a DVD a resident had made for me of Merwan Jessawala giving a tour of Meherazad. There are four DVD's and this was the first. Merwan walked down the 'approach road' at Meherazad telling about the trees and a watchman's hut they had made from a large packing crate Elizabeth Patterson had sent a refrigerator in for Baba to use. Further down the road you take a footpath out into a field. He showed the 'hut' a farmer had built but never finished. Baba had asked if he could use the hut if he finished building it. The farmer very much adored Baba and said yes. This hut is where Baba would often go when he wanted to be alone at night. The men Mandali would take two-hour rotation shifts outside the hut when Baba stayed there at night.

Back at Meherazad, Merwan showed the one mango tree that had survived from a total of seven that Baba had planted from mango seeds he kept that were given to him from different mast. The one surviving mango tree gives fruit in August — when the regular mango season of India is finished by then. Merwan said the mangos are so delicious, something very special about them.

You can see from what I just wrote how interesting the DVD was of Merwan giving part of the Meherazad tour. I am looking forward to seeing the rest, one each day.

After a nap I walked up the hill for my 5-7 pm Samadhi duty. I carried an umbrella because the sky had very dark clouds. Shortly after I reached the Samadhi the sound of thunder came closer and closer. At first it started with very light rain, so I first closed the Samadhi windows, then I quickly removed all the garlands from Mani and the other women's shrines. I left Mehera's on as her shrine has that large cover above it. Then the light rain soon stopped. About a half hour later the rain suddenly came down in buckets. Because the heavy rain splashes up on Mehera's shrine, three women pilgrims took baskets to collect the flowers and another to remove the cloth cover on the shrine. The cloth cover was dry but the women got a little wet.

The rain came down so heavy that soon there were two sagging areas of the fabric cover over the new section of the portico. There were two long poles that two of the women helpers used to push the water off. The day before when it had rained so hard one corner of the cover had collapsed from the weight of the rainwater. Ted came by right after the women pushed the water off and he said he was going to have to fix that area, but until then to use the poles to keep the water from gathering.

While I was on duty, Fereshteh, one of our residents, came up the hill and introduced two young Iranian men who would be helping with the cleaning of the Jhopdi and Table House on Thursday. They were so very sweet. They and several more new Iranians were at the Samadhi and they seemed to just fall in love with Baba.

When I got off duty it was already getting dark. Because of the heavy rain the ground was very muddy. I had to be so careful walking home. What usually takes ten minutes or so took me a half hour to reach my room. Awaiting me was my car mechanic. He was waiting for me so he could return my car. He had taken it in the morning and serviced it as well as polished the areas he had fixed a few days ago.

Wednesday 6 July. I slept until 6:00 am, as I didn't want to have to walk up the hill in the dark with so much mud. It had continued to rain during the night and I though it would not be a good idea to walk in that mud when my foot just healed from a break.

For the first time in six weeks, I did a workout to one of my DVD's. I found after only ten minutes I was tired. So quickly the body gets out of shape! I continued the workout but after thirty-five minutes I called it quits. I will just have to build up my stamina again. It usually only takes a couple of weeks.

I was planning to go into Ahmednagar to look at refrigerators for the Page house. But, first I had a 10:30 am appointment with Carolina and another resident to talk about the cleaning of the Jhopdi and Table House. We talked about keeping all the Silence Day supplies in one place so each year we won't have to go hunting for what we need. That is what I do for cleaning Baba's Room during Amartithi — I have a special trunk just for Amartithi supplies.

While we were talking, Carolina reminded me that most of the shops in the bazaar are closed on Wednesday. I had forgotten and decided I would go to town on Friday instead. After lunch I took a nap. I woke at 6:00 pm. Since I usually go to bed by 9:00 pm I had basically slept my afternoon away.

Thursday 7 July. I was up the hill early for morning darshan. There was a lot of mud from all the rain and I had to be careful where I stepped. After darshan I went home for breakfast and then drove to the Jhopdi for the 8:00 am cleaning for Silence Day.

Archana, a resident, had the honor of going inside the Table House to clean it. Only once a year, for Silence Day, is the screen door opened for cleaning. Each year one person is chosen to do this job. The Table House is where Beloved Baba wrote most of His book as well as where He finished writing the book.

We had two very sweet Iranian men, Hussein and Abolfazl, helping with the cleaning. First they used special brushes to gently bush the top and sides of the Table House. After that they went to the Jhopdi and helped clean the floor and brush the doors and washed the windows. Carolina and I supervised the two women workers in scrubbing the verandah floor of both the Jhopdi and Table House. Another resident did some of the cleaning of the Jhopdi before she had to leave.

Before closing and locking the Jhopdi doors when we finished the cleaning, we all took darshan inside. The two Iranians started to walk away. We called them back and suggested they each pick a flower from a nearby bush and put it at the door entrance. As they did this one of the Iranian men began crying. His heart was overcome with Baba's love and tears could not be held back. It was very moving to see, Carolina and I both were so touched to be able to witness this heart being so deeply touched by Beloved Baba.

I went to the Savages Kitchen to have an early lunch. It started raining while I ate and needless to say, I got quite wet before making it to my car. A nice bath and nap was a lovely way to finish the morning.

There are expected to be around 2000 pilgrims here for Silence Day. The MPR will have 200, the Andhra Pradesh Dharmshala will have 200, and the Meherabad Hostels will have about 1500. They have 1500 registered, though many more will just show up. They have already turned down additional request for accommodations. But, there are pilgrims from far away villages that do not have computers and they take the train and just show up. Those pilgrims they squeeze in, most sleeping on the floor.

At 9:00 pm I got a call from the DSP (police) telling me I will need to be at there office the next day at 10:30 am. I was requested to inform two other residents. It was for us to meet the 'Superintendent of police' who officially grants our stay in Ahmednagar. So, when the DSP speaks, we listen.

Friday 8 July. I was up the hill early to take darshan, and then help Zahra, whose turn it was to clean Baba's Room. The cover for the stretcher needed to be changed for Silence Day. It takes at least three people to move the glass cover that protects the stretcher.

I went home to have a quick breakfast before returning to the Samadhi to do the weekly archive cleaning. Though we did a major cleaning on Sunday, this would be the only day I would have a chance to do it until after Dhuni on the 12th, because there will still be hundreds of pilgrims until after Dhuni. Only by next Wednesday would the number of pilgrims get back to normal.

At home I had a fast bath and got ready to go to the DSP. I got there on time. Already other residents were waiting. Soon our number reached eight waiting. Well, we ended up waiting for four hours. During that time another resident came to get her clearance to depart India. She was going on vacation. After about an hour of waiting one of the resident's went to the café next door and bought a bag of snacks to share with all of us. By 2:15 pm another resident and I went to the same café to buy water and more snacks to share. We no sooner returned to the waiting residents then the Superintendent drives up. He immediately walks into his office and we were ushered in.

He was very official but polite. I have been told he is a man of integrity. One of the receptionist said the Superintendent came to the MPR for a visit with his family.

When we were all finished, we had to go back into the room where we normally go for foreign nationals. We were given back our passports and told to go to the Trust Office and pay Raul (who handles our papers) so he can buy each of us an official bank stamp paper. Then sometime next week we will all be called back into the foreigner section office. All of us had returned with new visas and this is the procedure whenever you get a new visa. Some of us from California got 5-year multi entry resident visas. Others from different states and countries got only one year. So, we from the West coast are fortunate. Each Indian Consulate decides what type to give.

When we all left the DSP we had to make a detour as the main road to the Trust was closed. Finally I made my why to a back road. When I was almost at the Trust I saw this large moving truck had blocked the whole road and was stuck on the middle divider. That was the problem. When I reached the Trust everyone else had already been there — I don't know which way they went but it sure was faster than the way I went.

One of the resident's and I decided to go to lunch on our way back to Meherabad. Neither of us had anything to eat since early breakfast. It was already 3:00 pm. After lunch I showed the Page house to the resident. She lives in a condo by the Page house.

I got home around 6:00 pm. I picked flowers for the next day and then went to bed at 7:30 pm because I was so tired.

Saturday 9 July. I was up the hill early but there were already pilgrims waiting in line at the Samadhi. I said my prayers at the window and cleaned Mani's shrine. By the time I finished the Samadhi supervisor was there to open the doors. I figured I would not be able to go inside, as I did not have time to wait for all in line to go in before me. Just as I was about to walk away the supervisor asked me if I wanted to go inside. I told her I was not first in line. Since I was working she told me to go ahead and go inside for darshan. I was very happy! I felt Baba heard my heart! I took darshan and then went to clean Baba's Room.

When I got back to my room I had breakfast before going to the MPC to give a Historic Tour of Meherabad. Yohann and I decided to split the groups if there were a lot of pilgrims. However, no one showed up for the Tour. Instead many came to the MPC to watch a Baba movie being shown. Others went to the Trust to have a chance to visit Bhauji. I must say I was happy I had the rest of the day free. I had wanted to go into the bazaar the day before but spent most of it at the DSP. I needed to check out refrigerators for the Page house. I drove to the Trust and then got a rickshaw. It is much easier to take a rickshaw into the bazaar than to try and drive.

During Silence Day time special show times are given for Baba films in the Music and Arts Center. There was an English Baba film shown at 12:45 pm. Then at 4:15 pm there was a musical program.

Sunday 10 July. I went up early to the Samadhi. On the way, at the railroad tracks, there must have been eight policemen, and on the path up to the Samadhi there were two more policemen. Throughout the day I saw policemen and policewomen all over the path, up and down the hill. It seems because of the large crowd we are being given extra protection.

When I got to the Samadhi it was only 5:00 am and already there was a long line. All the pilgrims were waiting outside the portico, as the gates were closed. Most of the Samadhi supervisor women were already inside the Samadhi cleaning. I don't know what time they started. I just took darshan at the threshold of the Samadhi and then went to a side window to say my prayers. I put back the cleaning cloths in Baba's Room. I had taken them home to clean, and the resident whose turn to clean Baba's Room would need them.

I went home for breakfast, then put my walking shoes on and drove to the Jhopdi. I did a quick cleaning, as the Jhopdi will later be left open for pilgrims most of the day after Meheru first comes and the doors are officially opened. I don't know what time Meheru will come but I wanted to make sure it had an extra cleaning.

I walked to the MPR and home. My foot that was broken still gets sore when I walk on it a lot. I guess it will take time to have it back to normal. After a nap I spent the rest of the day either at the Jhopdi or at the Samadhi. How lovely to spend the day with Baba and have almost no work.

Monday 11 July. I went up the hill early for darshan. Again there was a long line at 5:00 am. I touched the Samadhi threshold and went to the side window to say the prayers. I didn't think I would be able to go inside, especially as I was not working that morning. So, I went to sit on the Saba Madap. But, when Amrit came to open the Samadhi doors I thought I could at least look inside the Samadhi and say 'good morning' to Baba at the door.

To my great fortune, when Amrit opened the door she asked some residents to help remove the three foot high pile of garlands. She included me! I was so happy to be able to help. Large baskets were brought in and as they were filled they were taken away and replaced with empty ones. The flowers all were taken to where they put the Samadhi flowers every morning. Then the baskets were brought back. Many baskets were filled until the pile was low enough that the top cover of the marble could be used to take the remaining flowers. We then got to remove the many layers of cloths that were on the marble to protect it.

Jayshree, nicknamed Coocoo, and I helped carry the cloths to the place where they are kept locked up. There are rope lines inside to hang the cloths over. I was very happy to be part of all this. It was a special morning for me.

When all this was finished I went for my walk to the MPR and back to my room. However, on the way back I stopped to get a broom that is used only for archive cleaning. I opened the Jhopdi and removed all the flowers inside from the day before. I put the garlands on trees in case anyone wanted to take one. I did a small cleaning and then locked the doors again. I then went to the Table House and removed the garlands and flowers that were put there on Silence Day.

When I got home I had breakfast and took a nap. My foot gets sore when I walk a lot. I guess it is just going to take time to feel normal. I actually rested most of the day. I don't know why I seem to still get tired easily.

Tuesday 12 July. I went up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi and then clean Mani's shrine and Baba's Cabin Room. When I finished I went walking toward the MPR and then back to my room. After breakfast I got ready to go into Nagar.

I stopped at BSNL (internet provider and phone company) to show Mr. Bhor that the message 'thank you for using cell one' continued to come up every time I used my phone. We have been trying and trying to have it stopped. Mr. Bhor has called the main headquarters and still we can't get this message to stop. When the message comes on I have to press something or it will not go away — every time I use my phone! Can you imagine how annoying that is?

Mr. Bhor suggested I get a new SIM card, as it seems the problem is on the SIM card. He told me what papers I would need. I then went to Swapnil Electric to have the nice man there show me how to do something on my blackberry. He has been a big help to me. While in the bazaar I looked at some refrigerators in several shops. I need to buy an energy savor for the Page house.

After my nap I went up the hill for my Samadhi duty. There are still maybe 1300 pilgrims from Silence Day. So, I asked if I could go early to help with the line at the Dhuni. Evening Arti started at 5:00 pm and the Dhuni would be lit at sundown, 6:45 pm.

While still up the hill it started to pour rain so hard pilgrims were huddled together because the wind was blowing and the rain came in parts of the covered areas. Some pilgrims were so soaked as they were still walking to the Samadhi when the downpour came. I had my umbrella and decided to go ahead and walk down the hill. I had parked my car next to the Trustees Office.

On the way down the hill I saw three women and a baby huddled under a tree under a man's umbrella. I told the women to get under my umbrella and I would take them to the MPC. One woman could not fit under the umbrella and walked ahead. The other two with baby squeezed under the umbrella. When we got to the verandah of the MPC I told them to wait and I would be right back with my car to drive them to Hostel-D, where they were staying. We were all wet from our knees down — but the baby was dry. I changed clothes as soon as I got to my room.

The rain stopped by 6:15 pm and I drove to the Trustees Office. The Dhuni is only a short ways from the Office. There were so many pilgrims lining up, eager to bow at the Dhuni.

Wednesday 13 July. I went up the hill early to take darshan and then went back to my room and did a workout to one of my DVD's. I am finding my right foot sometimes gets swollen and feels sore when I walk too much on it. I decided I to go to the medical clinic at our hospital in the evening.

My neighbor, Marge, and I went to BSNL. Marge now has a cell phone and needs to get a SIM card. So she got the papers she needed to start the process. She would need a letter from the Trust, that sort of thing. I dropped her off at the Trust while I went to the DSP to pick up my residency papers.

I had to go into the bazaar. When I got back to the Trust it was past the time to visit Bhauji. However, Bhauji was still seeing people as he started late. I went to sit in his room. There were only a few pilgrims there. Bhauji now always takes a persons hand and gives it three pats — the pats stand for Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh — the creator, preserver, and destroyer.

At 5:30 pm I went to our clinic in the hospital. Dr. Anne and nurse Kathy told me it would be better to wear sneakers to support my foot for a while, and that wearing flip-flops may not support my foot enough. Though my bone has healed in my right foot, the muscle tissue and ligaments were still healing. They put this mud stuff on my foot and wrapped it in gaze.

Thursday 14 July. I slept late as I have been feeling exhausted. Also I didn't want to walk up the hill in the dark with so much mud from the rain. I again went into Nagar to run some errands. I took my papers to BSNL and was given a new SIM card. But, I have to wait a couple of days for the phone company to activate it. I guess I'll know when that is because my problem SIM card that is in my cell phone now will cease to work.

I went up the Page house to check on the work. I sure am looking forward to having all this construction finished — still months to go.

Friday 15 July. Again I slept late. I walked up to the Samadhi after Arti was over. Then I walked to the MPR and back to my room. I am not doing any power walking until my foot totally heals. But, I can walk carefully.

The women's nurses' quarters have been renovated. They have removed the roof and replaced the tata matting with solid ceiling. The tata matting had been a problem with squirrels getting in. They also put some insulation between the roof tile and the solid ceiling. Then they put new electrical boxes in each room and repainted the rooms. It will be much nicer to live in.

The women's quarters are right next to my place. I have been waiting for the electricians to finish there so they can replace two electric boxes in my kitchen and bathing area. I have been told tomorrow they will come to my place.

It has been raining most days. Not the whole day, but long periods of time. Sometimes there is heavy monsoon, and sometimes just regular rain.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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