Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1-15 Jan 2012

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Sunday 1 January 2012. Happy New Year to all of you dear lovers of God. We here in Meherabad brought in the New Year at Beloved Baba's Samadhi. It was wonderful to enter a New Year, surrounded by those who believe in the Divine incarnation of God in human form, Avatar Meher Baba. How fortunate and grateful we are!

I didn't go to Meherazad because I was very tired from being up until around 1:00 AM. I rested in the morning and then drove to the MPC to wait for Zahra. I was going to drive us to Bhauji's. Instead, Zahra drives up in a brand new white car. She had a driver. So, I didn't have to drive after all. I was relieved! We stopped to pick up Robyn. When we got to the Trust I went in Bhau's office and got a seat. There were people there already and I had to sit back a little.

When Bhauji came in we said the prayers and then he started his 'Chat'. He was in a good mood and started telling everyone to say 'Happy, Happy, New Year' instead of the regular Happy New Year. He had fun with that and kept it up the whole evening. We have fun at these Chats.

Some of the regulars at Bhauji's Chat were preparing to put on some skits and musical performances for Bhauji's birthday on the 13th. They asked if I would like to be a part of it. Yes, I said.

---photo of Bhau

Monday 2 January. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. Then I went home and did a workout to one of my DVD's. Later I had to run some errands. I noticed my car would heat up. I would then drive slowly and the needle to the temperature would come down. This is how I got home. I would call the mechanic later.

Tuesday 3 January. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before getting in line to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I then went to clean Baba's Room before going back down the hill to my room. After I got ready I walked to the MPC to catch the Trust bus to Meherazad. This was the first time in years since I took the Trust bus to Meherazad, actually, ever since I bought my car. But, my car needed some work and I thought it best to wait for the mechanic, Parag, to come and see what was the problem. He said he would come in the evening.

I had gone out front when I noticed my neighbor, Paul, taking photos of a bird in a bush. I carefully walked over. Paul pointed out the beautiful blue bird. I had not see this kind before. We are getting more and more of a variety of birds. It was a most lovely blue.

---blue bird photo

I saw John & karina at Meherazad. They were leaving directly from Meherazad back to Mumbai and then fly out to the States. I was sorry to see them leave, but John loved how his house looked and plans for him and Karina to start coming during his summer vacations.

When I got home I had rested after lunch. At 4:30 PM I walked up the hill for my Samadhi Prasad duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. The whole time I was on duty there were so many pilgrims coming and going. There was always a line for darshan. A little after 6:00 a young girl about seven years of age asked if she could give Prasad. I said yes, but she must first go and wash her hands with soap and water. She happily did and then gave out Prasad for the next forty minutes.

When it was around 6:45 PM many of the Sufis got in line. Just before 7:00 Murshida Carol arrived with many more of the Sufis; she took darshan and than sat on the bench facing the Samadhi.

Wednesday 4 January. I went up the hill to take darshan. Then I came back to my room and did some laundry. Later in the morning Parag, the mechanic, had some men come and take my car to have it fixed. When they brought it back they said one of my tires needed to be replaced. I had always heard it is best to put two new tires on for balance, that it was safer. So, I told them to buy two for me. They later brought my car back. I drove it to the Page house. Wow! What a difference two new tires make, that are also balanced. My car drove so much smoother. I was very happy.

Thursday 5 January. I went up the hill early to clean Mehera's shrine and then take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I then went home and got ready to go to Meherazad. I was also taking my neighbor, Marge, and her son, Paul. I went to get my car, but to my horror I had a flat tire in the front. That is right, in the front where the evening before I bought two new tires with new inner tubes. How was it possible to have a flat? Oh, I was frustrated. I told Paul and as he changed the tire I called Parag and told him what happened to my new tire. Parag said he would send someone over right away. No, I said. Paul has put on my old spare and we were going to Meherazad. He said he would come over when I got back and take the car to have the tire fixed. I said I wanted a new tube, a replacement.

Meherazad was a lot of fun. I helped a little in Mehera's room before joining others on the porch with Meheru. There were some pilgrims who sang some songs. Then all too soon it was time to leave as the bell had been rung.

On the way home, as we neared the Trust, we saw a traffic jam on the other side of the road. Then we saw a lot of people standing around a body on the road. I don't know if the person was hit by a car or was on a motorcycle. All I know was there was blood and a cloth was covering the head. The police had not arrived, so the accident has only recently happened. I said Baba's name several times toward the body. I had the window of my car up but I hope the energy still went to the soul who had just been send out of his body.

When I got home Parag came to get the car. When he returned it he said the tire man said there had been a faulty valve on the other new tube. So, the tube was replaced with another new one. I was grateful for Parag taking care of this problem. I also told Parag about the dead man. Parag said people drive so crazy, and those on motorcycles are the worst. He said there are so many who end up with brain damage.

Friday 6 January. I was tired so I didn't set the alarm clock. I enjoyed the extra sleep. Later when I drove to the Page house I stopped at the Samadhi and said my prayers. I also took some photos of the Amartithi work.

----photo of Amartithi work

Saturday 7 January. I was up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before the Samadhi doors opened. After taking darshan I went to collect some flowers to take home that were taken out of the Samadhi. I then cleaned Baba's Room. I next went down the hill to do a quick clean of the Jhopdi. As I swept the floor there was so much dust, this is because of the dryness of the ground all around Meherabad.

I went to the MPC at 10:00 AM to give the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. There was one couple waiting. They had gone on the Tour several years ago but were eager to go again. I spent more time at the original well telling stories, and more time also at Padri's room. I told them about the flower that Baba said represented the five perfect masters and the Avatar. We looked and found one that I think was from the week before. It had only four petals left and looked like it was dying. Still we were happy to find it and they took some photos of the little flower.

Photo of the little flower?

We then went to the Memorial Tower. No workers were there. Even Motiram, the caretaker of the farm, we were told was at the Samadhi. So, I would not be able to get the key to the room where the model is kept. I told them the stories and we walked around the site. I was just leaving when I saw Motiram returning from the Samadhi. I told the couple and we all went to see the model. They of course were very impressed. I was glad that they were able to see the model.

Sunday 8 January. I slept late again. Then Marge and I drove to Meherazad. I told Marge I was planning to leave as soon as the program started, as I would not be needed and I was feeling tired. I would have very little time to rest before going to Bhauji's.

When I laid down to rest I heard a pecking at my window. I looked out and saw this tiny bird pecking at my window. Sometimes it would peck on the wood and sometimes on the glass. I didn't want to disturb it. It looked so precious.

I drove my car to the MPC and left it there. It was much easier for Zahra to pick me up there. She had on a lovely sari. I just don't want to wear one, though I have to admit the women look very lovely in them.

Tea and cookies are always served after Bhauji comes in and sits. We again have tea and cookies at break time, usually around 6:15 PM. It is a nice social way to be together. We are all greeted by Bhauji with each of us going to him and he takes one of our hands and gives it the three taps, one for Brahma, one for Vishnu, and one for Mahesh. Then we stand for the singing of the different prayers of the different religions. It is a beautiful way to show respect to all the world religions. This Sunday Bhauji had us add the singing of the Jain religion prayer. I think it is very beautiful.

Before leaving we who were in the Bhau birthday program agreed to meet at the home of the Solibakke's at 2:00 PM the next day.

Monday 9 January. I slept late and then went to the MPC to video Murshida Carol, who was going to give a talk on the role of the Sufi's, and what their connection is to the different Avatar's. Murshida said the Sufis are always connected to the Avatar and they are part of His work whenever He take's birth. She said it had been this way since Zoroaster. I am not sure if it had been this way before this cycle of time.

I found the Murshida a wonderful teacher and I very much enjoyed what she had to say. She is a very inspiring woman. One man asked what is the difference between a regular Baba lover and a Sufi. Murshida said Baba lovers follow Baba's orders if they wish; the Sufi makes an oath to God to follow the orders as best they can.

After lunch I drove to the Solibakke's house. It is near the MPR. There were around twelve of us. We went over what each person would do. There are others who will be in some skits who were not at our meeting. Then we called Harry and asked if we could use some of the costumes from the theatre. Yes he said, and could we come right away. When we got to the theatre it was a lot of fun looking at the costumes and trying on what we might choose.

Katie Pye has a tailor she works with who would adjust the costumes to fit us. We drove over to the shop. I will pick mine up tomorrow at 4:00 PM.

---photo of meeting at Solibakke

Tuesday 10 January. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before getting in line to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I went to collect my flowers in a bag to take home. I then cleaned Baba's Room before going home.

I got ready and went to Meherazad. When I went to Mehera's porch I saw Bif Soper and Bob Frederick both had their video cameras set up and were taping Meheru. Meheru was sitting in her usual chair. Bob is making a special film on the 62' East/West Gathering. I sat down right beside them and got out my little digital camera.

The digital camera only has the capacity to take a short video, but I figured short was better than nothing. I also took still shots.

-------photos of Meheru being videoed.

Just when the videoing was finished Murshida Carol walked up the few steps and greeted Meheru. Murshida sat on the little stool next to Meheru. They started talking and were enjoying each other's company.

----photo of Murshida Carol and Meheru

Then Meheru gave Murshida Carol a gift bag with something inside. Murshida gave Meheru a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I wanted to take a photo of the exchange, but I didn't know how to switch my camera from video to regular camera. I have only started doing videoing with the little camera and I had someone else switch. I was so disappointed I missed a beautiful photo. But, the nice thing is Bif and Bob had continued to video when they saw Murshida sit with Meheru. So, it is captured on tape and sometime in the future it will be put on a film.

I drove to the Page house to check on things before parking my car at the Savages Kitchen. I walked to Margaret's place by the MPC. I drove her car to my house and parked. I then walked up the hill for my Samadhi Prasad duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. When I got off duty I walked back down the hill to the Savages Kitchen to get my car and drive it home.

Wednesday 11 January. I woke early and left for Pune at 6:00 AM. I had hired a driver that I picked up near the railroad crossing. He took over the driving. When we got to Pune I checked into the Lotus Hotel before going to the Camp area to shop. Baba's home is in the Camp area, about two blocks from the busy shopping street, Mahatma Gandhi Road. I bought a lot of things for the Page house, like pots and pans, etc.

I had a good lunch and decided to go back to the hotel and rest. I sent the driver to pick up Margaret at the airport. She paid him and drove the car back to the hotel by herself. She said he wanted another day's pay if he stayed overnight, so she sent him back to Ahmednagar on the bus.

We were both so tired neither of us wanted to go to a show or even out to eat dinner.

Thursday 12 January. We drove to Dorabji's and parked the car. We got a rickshaw and had him drop us off at Yazdan Café. It was only about a ten-minute walk from Dorabji's but we were hungry. We had some of their delicious buttered toast and tea. The café is just down the road from Baba's house and He had spent time at the café.

We left for Meherabad around 3:00 PM. We reached Meherabad at 6:00 PM. I threw my things in my room and quickly went to the Dhuni, which had only just been lit. There were a couple hundred pilgrims singing, talking or in line for the Dhuni. I help out by keeping pilgrims from wanting to take a 'short cut' to get their sandalwood stick with ghee instead of getting in line. Also, I help direct the pilgrims on where to exit.

Friday 13 January. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. After breakfast I drove to the Page house to see what work was done before going to the Trust office to meet Katie Pye. She lives there and is the one directing the performance for Bhauji's birthday entertainment. My part would be to help with the circle stage, which was made to be on top of the circle fountain. I would also be one of the three dancers who would every now and then dance around the fountain according to what music was being played.

The skit is about the God-intoxicated lovers dancing in delight and singing Bhau's gazals-------.

I picked up some chicken, which I ate on the way home. I had one hour to rest before driving back to the Trust. I put on my costume, with a see-through veil, as I was an Arabian belly dancer.

---photo of me in costume

Buses and cars brought the pilgrims and Baba community. Tea and birthday cake were served during the performance. Near the end of the program various treats were served. The whole thing was so much fun.

---photos of the performance and Bhauji

Saturday 14 January. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine and get in line to take darshan at the Samadhi when the doors opened. I then cleaned Baba's Room before going down the hill to the Jhopdi to clean.

At 10:00 AM I was at the MPC to see if anyone was waiting to go on the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. No one was waiting, and I was told Don Stevens' ashes would be placed at Meherazad, and a bus would take pilgrims who wished to attend. I decided not to go and I used the time to do other things.

In the afternoon, after having tea I decided it was a good time to take a bath. During the day it is warm, the rest of the time it is very cold. We don't have any heating, and the idea of taking a bath when it is so cold is not pleasant.

I had a meeting with the watchmen at the Page house at 6:00 PM. Now that the construction is coming to a close soon I told the men they would now be expected to have chores, not just be security men. I let them know if this bothered them they were free to find other work.

I was asked to help with Jaloo, as she was not well. I took my overnight stuff and slept in her room. I love Jaloo and it is a treat for me to sleep on the hill.

Sunday 15 January. I slept well because Jaloo did. She only woke once at 2:00 AM and then went right back to sleep. I set the alarm to get up at 5:00 AM. After taking darshan at the Samadhi when the doors opened, I went back to Jaloo's and got my things.

I got ready and drove to Meherazad. There were at least two buses, plus all the cars. So, I helped out in Baba's Room. They don't want more than ten pilgrims at a time inside the room.

While I was standing on the steps Abbas, one of our Iranian residents walked up. He had been in the hospital and I asked if he was better. He said he has blood cancer and he has to go back to Iran for treatment. He said he was leaving in 14 days. I asked him if it would be okay if we had a resident gathering to wish him well. He said yes, it was okay.

Meheru had been sitting on the verandah greeting the pilgrims. She asked to see Abbas. I saw him sitting in the garden and went to tell him Meheru wanted him. When Abbas walked up the verandah stairs Meheru had a container of little tiny white candy that had been in Baba's Room. She gave some to Abbas and he put the handful into his mouth. Some fell to the floor. He quickly picked up each little piece and put it in his mouth. He did it with such reverence; he was not going to let one piece be lost as it was Prasad. Seeing it touched my heart and I said "Now there is a true lover of God."

When the bell rang all went to the program in Mandali Hall. Because I was going to Bhauji's 'Chat' at 3:00 PM I decided not to attend the program.

When I got home I called Harry and asked if we could have a potluck at his house for Abbas. Yes, he said and he sent a notice out to our community through the Internet. I took a rest before meeting Zahra at the MPC. Most of the women who attend Bhauji's 'Chat' wear saris. I had on a long skirt and sweater with beads. I told Bhauji someone had to represent the West.

---photos of Bhauji during 'Chat'.

I am really glad I have started going to the Sunday 'Chat's' in Bhauji's old office. We have so much fun and Bhau jokes a lot. He is very sweet.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love,


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