Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1-15 Mar 2012

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Thursday 1 March 2012. I was up by 5:00 AM and drove to the Meher Pilgrim Retreat by 6:00 AM to pick up my friend, Donnita. We were going to Pune and I was driving! The time went fast and we reached Pune in two hours. We first went to Café Yazdan for 'toast butter' and tea.

---photo of Café Yazdan

We then drove to the Pateleshwar Caves, where Baba would go during the nine months after Babajan kissed him on the forehead. I was driving there for the first time, and I got lost at first because they had made the street one-way, but we did finally find it. I love going into the back area of the cave and just sitting. After some time we left as I had a hair appointment.

----photo of the cave

After checking into our hotel we immediately went out for lunch. Then we starting walking on MG Road, looking at all the shops. It was at that time I started getting calls from some Meherabad residents. Jaloo had gone to Baba. From the time she died to the time they cremated her was only three hours. I never would have made it back to Meherabad in time. I asked each person to please put a rose on her for me.

---photos of Jaloo, with me and Janaki

We finally went back to the hotel. I was so exhausted. I have been very tired because of my schedule of the past two months. That is why I wanted to go to Pune to rest. If I stayed home there was always so much to do.

Friday 2 March. The hotel offered a complementary breakfast, which was okay. We didn't have much to do, and we wanted to leave, so we went to Dorabji's to shop before driving back to Meherabad.

Saturday 3 March. I was up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before getting in line to take darshan at the Samadhi when the doors opened. I then went to clean Baba's Room. I next went down the hill to the Jhopdi to do a quick clean before going home to get ready to give the Tour of Meherabad Historic Sites. When I got to the MPC at 10:00 AM Yohann told me I had the day off as there was no one waiting.

I went to the Page house to check on things. We are building an outdoor toilet for the workers. There will also be space for the workers to take a bath. I noticed instead of only stone they used bricks around the door. The Pages had said to only use stone, so it will match the rest of the house. So, I called the contractor, Joshi. He said they will have to have those cut special at the quarry and it would take about ten days. I told him that would be fine.

In the afternoon there was a Baba film shown in the Music & Arts Center.

Sunday 4 March. Since Meherazad was closed until July, I didn't have anything scheduled for the morning. I used the time to do some housework. At 3:00 PM I was at the MPC waiting to be picked up by Zahra to go to Bhauji's Chat. I had been driving for several weeks because I wanted to get there early to have a good seat. There were a lot of pilgrims and the seats are on a first come basis. Now that the pilgrim season is almost over I can go a little later.

I brought a sari and asked Asha to help me put it on when we got to the Trust. Bhauji likes we women to wear saris.

---photo of Zahra and me in our saris

---photo of Donnita and me

Bhauji always looks so lovely. He will not answer how he feels, he will instead say, "how do I look?"

---photos of Bhauji

We stopped the Chat at 8:45 PM. Bhauji would go on and on but he agreed to stop so many of us could get back to Meherabad by curfew, which is 10:00 PM.

Monday 5 March. I went up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi when the doors opened. I then took a walk to the MPR and back home. At 9:00 AM I had an appointment at the Medical Clinic in the MPR. There was a pilgrim here who is a knee specialist, and he offered to look at my knee to see how it was healing. To my relief it seemed to be doing fine.

By the time I got home from the clinic I was not feeling well. I think I picked up something from a sick pilgrim. I had chills and felt very weak. I rested until 1:00 PM and then drove to the MPR to have lunch with Donnita. If I had not told her earlier I would come for lunch I would have stayed in bed. When I got home I went straight to bed. It felt like I had a heat stroke.

Tuesday 6 March. I had asked Jayshree to cover for me in my morning cleaning up the hill. I was just too weak to go. However, I had an appointment with Jack Small at 9:00 AM. I was to pick him up at the MPR and drive to his mother's house. Virginia went to Baba a few years ago and Jack is selling the property. He had asked the Pages if he could store his furniture that Baba had touched. Jack also gave me some of the pots and pans. I will give most of them away, but some I can use. I also took a couple of coffee cups that remind me of Virginia.

---photo of Jack at Virginia's house

After we dropped the things off at the Page house I went home and back to bed. I had also asked Fereshteh if she would cover for me from 5:00 to 7:00 PM for my Samadhi Prasad duty. This left me free to rest.

When the sun was going down, I heard a horde of crows landing on the trees outside my windows. No! I had no intention to allow them to start making their night nesting on the trees outside my window. I went out with a slingshot and sent them flying: hopefully to find another place to rest. Don't worry that I hurt a crow. I'm such a terrible shot, but the rocks go in their direction so they fly away. When I was outside I noticed the moon was full. As I stood there I soon saw many flocks of different birds heading to their resting places. It was very pretty seeing the beautiful sunset with flocks of birds heading home.

Wednesday 7 March. I stayed in bed all day; felt so weak.

Thursday 8 March. Again I stayed in bed. I had someone clean Mehera's shrine for me. I went to our Clinic at Meher Hospital. It seems I have been running a low-grade fever and my blood pressure was very low. I usually have low blood pressure because I exercise a lot, but this was too low.

Friday 9 March. I felt a little better. So, I did some laundry and then met Kishore with a 'tempo' (this is an open-back rickshaw used to transport things). I wanted to return the old shower stall to Anand Traders; as I had bought a new one and it is to be delivered soon. The old one had some frame parts missing when they delivered it. It felt good to have that chore done.

At 11:15 AM Kishore and I met Raju at the house. The Pages have him on contract to do the electrical work at their house. We had stopped all work before Amartithi, but had agreed to continue after Baba's birthday. We are going to finish the laundry room next. Raju and Kishore went over what was needed and together they would purchase all supplies. There are a few problems that were left from when Sharad still had the contract. But, Raju and Kishore worked out how to deal with it.

I then went back home and had some delicious soup my neighbor, Marge, had made. Marge gave me some soup yesterday too. I swear, it was the most delicious taste I have ever had. I had not eaten anything since Monday except for toast; everything else tasted horrible.

It seems every year at the end of the pilgrim season many of we residents get sick. I think the last few months are so intense and only at the end of the season are we able to 'let go'. We are pretty exhausted by that time.

Saturday 10 March. When I woke I realized I felt better. I went up the hill to clean Mani's shrine before taking darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I then went to collect some flowers that were just removed from the Samadhi. I had not been up the hill in five days. I missed being there and I missed having flowers in my room. I then went into Baba's Room to clean; I was so delighted to see flowers everywhere. It was so pretty to look at. V When I started to remove the old flowers I realized many of the flowers were artificial. Then I remembered that every summer this was done. Every year during summer, artificial flowers are put next to every photo of Baba, because sometimes during the summer we don't have many fresh flowers.

I then went down the hill to clean the Jhopdi. It is so dusty in Meherabad, and even though the Jhopdi had a big clean a day or two before, it was so very dusty. When I finished I went home and had scramble eggs and toast. It seems my stomach isn't ready to venture forth with different kinds of food yet. I went to the MPC at 10:00 AM to give the Tour of Meherabad Historical Sites. There were no pilgrims waiting, but many residents were coming into the main hall. There was a meeting with the Trustees. I sat to listen to the discussions. The meeting went until almost 1:00 PM. There was tea and snacks on a table.

Sunday 11 March. I went up to the Page house to check on the work in the morning. At 11:00 AM, Carolina, a resident, came by to help me learn some things about my Mac computer. She is so knowledgeable and she had so much patience with my needing to know things by a step-by-step way of learning. She did not mind the least in repeating what I didn't understand. I told her she would make a great teacher.

Later, at 3:00 PM, Donnita and I met Zahra at the MPC. Zahra has a car with a driver, and I prefer having someone else drive when we come back home at night. So, she picked us up and we went to Bhauji together. When we got to the Trust I asked Asha if she would help me put on my sari. I am starting to learn how to put one on. Though it will still take some time as the India women make it look so easy, but I feel all thumbs.

Bhauji was in a very different mood. He kept saying Baba was taking him before the 15th March. He said the next day was Dhuni, and they would be bringing his body to Meherabad. During the 'Chat' Bhauji's family was there. Mehernath sat in the back, Sheela sat on his left side, and Rama sat on his right side. There were tears in many eyes. At one point Bhau asked Rama why she was crying? Bhauji said this would be his last 'Chat' and that Mehernath would be doing them in the future.

---photo of Bhauji

I have to tell you, we were all feeling this indeed may be Bhau's last 'Chat'. It was hard to realize it, yet, none of us would pray for Bhauji to stay with us. Bhau had been saying his suffering is so great he can hardly bare it. To look at him you would think he was healthy, but we can't see inside his body, we can't see all the things that are wrong with his body. And to know his body is causing him so much pain, no, we would not pray for him to stay.

How much worst must Bhauji's pain be in wanting to be with Baba again! He wants to be reunited with his Beloved Baba. I think that longing pain is so much greater than his physical pain! My heart aches for Bhauji. It is all in Baba's hands and Bhau is completely resigned to Baba. Bhauji gives so much love to everyone who comes to see him, or visits him during the 'Chat' on Sundays. He gives and gives, even though he is in so much pain.

Monday 12 March. We got home so late last night that I would have slept late but instead I had to get up early to clean Mehera's shrine. I had switched my Thursday with Rokki, who does Mondays. I found I preferred doing Mehera's cleaning on Thursday. So, when I saw Rokki I asked her if she would switch back with me.

I had to go into the Bazaar so I parked my car at the Trust and took a rickshaw. I finished my errands early and returned to the Trust by 11:30 AM. Bhauji sees visitors from 11:00 to 11:45 AM. There was still time to see him. I quickly went to the back where his room is and went inside. The room was full of people. Bhauji was sitting in his wheelchair and seemed tired. I was very happy to see him, and after being greeted with the three taps on my hand for Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, I took a seat. In a few minutes it was time to leave, but I was very glad to have the few minutes with him.

In the evening the Arti was at 5:00 PM. The Dhuni was lit around 6:15 PM, at sundown. There were a lot of pilgrims. There are private places for them to stay now during the summer, so that is why there are still so many.

Tuesday 13 March. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before getting in line to take darshan at the Samadhi when the doors opened at 5:45 AM. I then went to pick some flowers to take home. It is still the season for the lily flower, and there seems to be a lot with the other garlands, etc. The lily keeps its fresh look for several days if put in water.

I then went to clean Baba's Room before putting on my sneakers and going for a walk. Because it now gets so hot during the day, the only time to walk is early in the morning. At that time it is still cool and there is usually a slight breeze. It is quite a lovely time to walk.

I had Samadhi Prasad duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. After Arti I went home and went to bed early.

Wednesday 14 March. I went up the hill early to take darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. I then went for a walk to the MPR and home. After breakfast I drove to the Trust and parked my car. I had a few errands to do in the bazaar, then I went in to sit and visit Bhauji. He didn't say much. He seemed withdrawn. Mostly he had people sing or say a prayer.

Thursday 15 March. I went up the hill early to take darshan. I then went for a walk to the MPR and home. Later I drove to the Page house to check on the work there. We are now working on the laundry room. It needs plumbing and electricity. Hopefully it will be finished in a couple of weeks.

In the evening there was an 'end of the pilgrim season' potluck at the Muir house. Every year they have a potluck when the pilgrim season is over. We residents can just relax and let go. There was a lot of delicious food and beer or wine, depending what you brought with you. It is a great way to end the busy season and start the summer.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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