Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16-31 Jul 2012

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Monday 16 July, 2012. I went up the hill early to take darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. I next went on a 'power walk' up and down the hill.

After breakfast I went into Nagar'. I had to go to BSNL, the phone company, to have my portable Internet drive recharged. Also, I finished the papers necessary to have the Page house phones turned on. One of the phone lines is DSL (Internet server). Though the Pages are going to be here only a few weeks, I wanted to test the lines and make sure there were no problems.

I went by the Page house to see the new 'filters' that were specially made for the drainage system that collects rainwater. I also had a chance to see the new pump that will be installed at the bottom of the large underground cistern. I then drove to the Samadhi for my duty from 5 to 7 PM.

Tuesday 17 July. I was up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine and then take darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. After cleaning Baba's Room I did a short walk before getting ready for Meherazad.

There were only a few pilgrims that were in the small bus. Meherazad was quiet, and without the Mandali there you really get a feel of what it may be like in the future. In the future, when the numbers greatly increase, it will be like a museum where groups of pilgrims will have a limited time to be there and see what Baba's residence was like, other pilgrims will be at 'waiting stations' along the Meherazad road waiting their turn. This is the idea that the Meherazad residents are already thinking about for the future.

When I got back home I took a nap. When I woke I was told that Muktabai Jangle had died and her body would be taken to the Samadhi by 5:00 PM before being taken to the cremation site. Muktabai lived in the ashram with the Women Mandali on Meherabad Hill. I think there may be only two or three women left from those days. Muktabai was also the mother of Ramesh Jangle, one of our Trustees.

I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. I picked up Roxanne and Bobby to give them a ride. We left at 4:30 so we would have time to stop by the Jangle house to pay our respects. Just as we were leaving Jangle's house three residents from Meherazad arrived. When we got to the Samadhi we waited. But, things like this have there own time. The Meherazad residents came to the Samadhi and also waited, but after a while had to leave since Muktabai's body still hadn't arrived.

Finally, closer to 6:00 PM, people started coming as the ambulance arrive. Muktabai's body was placed with her head facing the open door of the Samadhi, under the Portico. We said some prayers and Arti. Her body was taken into the Samadhi for a few minutes before being brought out again.

Just at that time a white car drives up next to the Portico. Bhauji had come to pay his respects to Muktabai. It took a little time to help Bhauji out of the car. He was placed in a wheelchair and brought in through the small gate near Mani's shrine. His wheelchair was rolled alongside the stretcher holding Muktabai's body. Bhauji was facing her face. He folded his hands and quietly said some prayers.

Muktabai's body was then placed back in the ambulance and taken to the cremation site at Lower Meherabad. A special ramp kept at the Samadhi for wheelchair use was put over the threshold. Bhauji was wheeled into the Samadhi where the seven names of God were sung and a special prayer for Muktabai was said.

Bhauji then went to Mehera's side, then Mani's, and to the small shrines of the Women Mandali. After that he was taken back to the car and they returned to the Trust. I stayed at the Samadhi as I was on duty.

Wednesday 18 July. I went up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi and then took a walk before going home. After breakfast I was back up to the Samadhi to do the Archive cleaning. I really love doing it and feel so grateful to be allowed this opportunity.

The day flew by with one errand after another. I was very happy when it was time to go to Harry & Sharon's for a potluck dinner they were having. I really needed the break and to relax just visiting with the other residents. However, I couldn't stay long as I had to be up early the next day since I was going to Pune for a couple of days.

Thursday 19 July. I was up the hill early to clean Mehera's shrine and take darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. A car was coming at 7:00 AM to take Anne, Jayshree, and me to Pune.

We stopped at the halfway point and had tea before continued onward. We got to Pune by 10:00 AM and the Hotel Lotus always lets us check in early.

I needed the car first to shop for tools for the Page house. Anne went somewhere by rickshaw. I dropped Jayshree off near the place with garden tools. Oh was I in for a hell of a time with the driver! Jayshree and Anne speak fluent Marathi, so it was easy to communicate with the driver. After they left I find the driver doesn't speak or understand English! He seemed to not even know 'go left' or 'go right'. It didn't take long for me to become very frustrated.

First, we finally found the Jagtop Nursery, but it had gone out of business. It took a lot to find it with the driver not understanding. Finally I called Kishore and told him my problem. He offered to send another driver by bus. I thought that would be too much trouble and said I would somehow survive.

Trying to survive was so hard and I had not had any breakfast, so I had him take me to a restaurant I liked near where we were. I met another resident, Margaret, there for lunch. I told Margaret my story with the driver. She said one time that happened to her and she had them send a different driver by bus. Again I thought I could survive and didn't want to cause that much trouble. That thought lasted as long as it took to call my driver's cell phone and tell him I was ready to be picked up. All he said to everything I said was 'huh?' I repeated what I wanted four times and all he said was 'huh?'. Well, that did it!

I called Kishore and told him to tell the car owner to send a driver by bus because I could not have my whole Pune trip spoiled by a driver that does not under any English. I also said to please never again give me a driver that doesn't understand English. I told him I was going back to the hotel to wait, as I could not take the frustration anymore.

At the hotel I took a nap and woke to find the new driver had come and was one who takes residents all the time. I was most happy. Before we left to go to MG Road for shopping I got a call from Anne.

Anne called to tell me Baba's House was opened from 6 to 7:00 PM on Thursday evenings. I quickly had the car take me to Baba's House. Just as I got there the twins (Baba's nephews) and their family also arrived. I took darshan in Baba's room, where he banged His head over and over on that stone during those nine months He was coming down through the planes after Babajan removed His veil.

Anne said she would need the car, as it was an emergency. One of our residents, who had moved to Pune, and had come to spend time at Meherabad again after getting a new visa, was being brought to the Intensive Care hospital in Pune by ambulance. She had been in the hospital in Ahmednagar with pneumonia. The doctors in Ahmednagar said her life was in danger and she needed extensive care. They said to take her to Pune immediately. Anne said the ambulance that would bring her was supposed to have left around 5:00 pm and arrive in Pune around 8:00 pm.

Anne and I left. It seemed the ambulance would not be leaving Ahmednagar until around 8:00 pm. So, Anne and I went back to the hotel. When the ambulance finally neared Pune Anne left in the car to meet them at the hospital. Two residents were in the ambulance to help. One would come back with Anne and check into a room for the night in our hotel.

Friday 20 July. It was my birthday. I had come to Pune to visit the Pateleshwar Caves on my birthday. These caves are where Baba went all the time during the nine months He was coming down through the planes. Baba told His brother, Jal, that every Avatar had been in that place. The caves are suppose to be less than 2000 years old, so it must be the location that the Avatar's had come.

Anyway, it is so powerful in that place. It is only about twenty minutes from Baba's House. I first stopped for breakfast at Café Yazdan for 'toast butter' and tea. The Café is right down the street from Baba's house. After, the driver took me to the caves. It must have been around 8:20 am. I wasn't sure the caves were opened yet.

To my delight the caves were opened and I almost had the place to myself. I sat for a short time in one of the cells before going to the back ledge where Baba's used to sit. It was so very peaceful. I sat with my eyes closed, when all of a sudden the most beautiful chanting started. A man with a voice so rich in its sound started chanting Krishna and Rama's names. Of the many times I had been there never had I heard chanting. And this? It was exquisite! I was in heaven! I sat there so absorbed in its beauty. I wondered whom this man was that chanted with so much love and beauty?

Inside the cave the sound reverberated and enhanced the beauty of the chanting. After about twenty minutes the man started walking around the three cells while chanting. I opened my eyes to see what he looked like. He looked up toward where I was sitting and I put my hands together in the Indian tradition of respect, and then put my thumb and finger together to make the sign of perfection. He acknowledged with a sweet wave as he continued to chant. When he finally stopped the chanting and began to pray I had decided to leave. I was feeling so happy. I felt Baba gave me a birthday present by allowing me to be there at the time when that man would chant.

Anne had to stay another night with the resident. She and Kitty went to stay at an apartment some Indian residents from Meherabad had in Pune. I had the car take me to Dorabji's to shop. I met Steve there. He was getting a ride back to Meherabad with me. We stopped at Guruprasad to pick up Jayshree and then we all returned to Meherabad.

Saturday 21 July. I was up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before taking darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. I next went to clean Baba's room. Just then someone pointed out two female peacocks coming from the parking lot direction and walking to the far side of the Samadhi. They didn't seem to be troubled by people. The walked right behind the Samadhi and then went to the area where the water taps are just behind Baba's Room.

I quickly got my cell phone out and took photos. The two peacocks then just walked between the Cabin and the compound wall and went into the compound. It looked like they were checking everything out. They walked to where the flowers are kept that are taken off Baba's Samadhi every morning. I next saw them again going to the water taps behind Baba's Room. Again they casually walked toward the opening of the compound and walked in. They walked to under the Tin Shed, but only the West end as the three dogs were tied up under the main part. Then, an amazing thing happened. One of the peacocks walked up the step and to the museum door, as if checking to see if it was opened or taking darshan. A moment later it walked back out and around toward the library. Then the other peacock walked up the step and to the museum door to check it out. It too also casually next walked toward the library around the corner.

By this time Dolly and Amrit had come and were also watching this most unusual event. I next saw them on the East side, coming from Mehera's room side. The dogs were barking and so the peacocks walked fast. I told the watchman the peacocks might be thirsty. He said he saw them twice drink from the water container for the dogs by the water taps behind Baba's Room. It was one of those events you are happy you were around to witness. I will try to see if my cell phone photos are clear enough to include in this diary.

Around 1:00 pm Ramesh Jangle had a lunch at his home in honor of his mother, Muktabai, who just went to Baba a few days ago. It is an Indian custom and all were invited.

Sunday 22 July. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I decided to skip my morning workout, as I had to get ready for Meherazad and Bhauji's Chat. I was asked to come a little early to Meherazad, as I help out.

I put my sari and jewelry in my car for the 'Chat'. Then I packed some food for an evening snack when we have a break, usually around 6:15 PM. I then got ready and drove to Meherazad. I helped in Mehera's Room and am trying to learn a little history each time I'm there. When the program began in Mandali Hall the house was locked, except for Baba's Bedroom. The movie Only God Exists was showing. When it was finished they got ready to show another movie. I decided to leave and go for lunch at the Yash & Joli.

After lunch I drove to the Trust and put a water bottle on a chair to save it for the Chat. I then went into the Baba Center and took a short nap. After, I went into Upasni's Room, where I changed into my sari. I went to Asha next door and she helped make the sari look a little better. Though I am getting better at putting one on.

The Chat room was already getting filled. We have a lot of fun and I enjoy attending. Bhauji of course looks adorable, even though he is in poor health.

Monday 23 July. I woke up very sick and stayed in bed all day. I had someone cover for me in the evening for my Samadhi duty from 5-7 PM. I called Jayshree and asked her to do my cleaning of Mani's shrine and Baba's Room in the morning.

Tuesday 24 July. I slept until almost 7:00 AM, late for me. I felt I had recovered, though my stomach felt queasy and I was a little weak.

I got ready to take the bus to Meherazad. When I boarded it at the MPC the bus driver informed us that the bus would not be going to Meherazad, only to the Trust. I called Shelley, but could only leave a text message. I then called Mehernath Kalchuri, Bhau's son who lives at the Trust. He said he was on his way to Meherazad because of some 'agitation' by villagers and the head of the village. The villagers want to build a road going through the backside of Meherazad to have a shortcut to the main road going to Shindi.

I called Mehernath to find out what happened. He said a 'mob' of around 30 villagers were in the far back of Meherazad saying they are going to start the road. It seems most of Pimpalgaon village, next to Meherazad supports this action. Mehernath said the value of the villagers land would go up a lot if a road were built. And, this is the village Meherazad has helped all these years!

Mehernath is getting all the documents to prove the land belongs to Meherazad, he will contact the Forest Department who has been involved with reforestation on this land, he will file a complaint with the police, and then if necessary it will go to court. The villagers said they are going to start the road with machine equipment in a few days. Oh, Baba, we need help!

We had very light showers in the afternoon. It smells so nice even if it is so little. I went up the hill for my Samadhi duty from 5 to 7:00 PM. Something very cute happened. Gitaram, an elder village man, was coming out of the Samadhi when he looked down and saw something. He then escorted a big frog out of the Samadhi. The frog lives in some drain pipes near Mani's shrine. It seems the big frog hopped on the Samadhi threshold and went into the back corner — it is a very smart frog! It too wanted Baba's darshan! Anyway, Gitaram carefully encouraged the frog to hop back out and move away from the doorway.

Wednesday 25 July. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. Since I was feeling better I took a walk up and down the hill a couple of times before going back to my room. I drove back up the hill to the Samadhi by 8:00 AM, when Arti was over. It was my turn to do an Archive cleaning of the Samadhi floors. It took about an hour.

After I finished cleaning I drove to the MPR and picked up Karina Page and we drove to her house. I was very happy to show her all the work that had been done. When John gets here on the 2nd, they will stay in their house. After all these years, finally they will be able to stay in their home.

No, the house if not finished still. There are several areas that have yet to be complete. But the very fact that they will stay in their house will put a lot of pressure on the people to get the work finished.

In the evening I drove to the Trust with a neighbor, Meher Joyti. Rama (Bhauji's wife) was having a dinner birthday party. I went into Mehernath's office and asked if I could lock my purse in it. I noticed a huge map of the Meherazad area opened and some men looking over it. I asked if the line through was where the villagers wanted a road. Yes, they said. Another Trustee was in the office and they were trying to see how to handle this major problem.

Rama looked so lovely in her beautiful sari. And sweet Bhauji attended the party. We danced and sang and then sang Happy Birthday to Rama when the cake was brought out. We didn't eat any until after the dinner. Before dinner we went into the Baba Center and said Arti and lots of songs were sung.

---photos of Rama and Bhau and dancing

---photos of the party

I went out and sat in the circle by the fountain. When the food was ready I took a little of everything and sat to eat. Since I was feeling better I thought I was starting to recover. However, I forgot I hardly had any food in my stomach the past three days. My stomach had shrunk! By the time I had finished the meal and had a small piece of birthday cake, the food had begun to reach my stomach. Oh, it became a very unpleasant feeling. All that food and my stomach didn't have room for it! It was not a lot of food I ate, but it was a lot more than I had eaten in the past three days. Oh, so sorry I became! I went into the kitchen and saw Joanne. She said she and four others at the Trust are suffering from the same thing I had. She said you think you are getting better and it just keeps coming back. She also said I should only eat white rice, bananas, and something else I forgot.

I drove home with a car full of residents. We followed one of the rickshaws. By the time I got home I was hurting from too much food in my stomach. I sure paid a price for enjoying that food!

Thursday 26 July. It had rained overnight so I drove to the railroad tracks and walked the rest of the way up the hill. I cleaned Mehera's shrine and then got in line to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I went straight home to rest before getting ready to take the bus to Meherazad.

When we got to Meherazad I walked to the Women's side to help out. Heather was on the verandah overseeing things. She said Kacy, Shelley, and Falu all went into the Trust to see what they could do about this road problem.

There were only a handful of pilgrims and it was so relaxing. I helped in Mehera's room, though only a few pilgrims came in. Most of the time I sat on the verandah. Dolly Dastur told some of her story of being with Baba. There was a woman pilgrim from America who was there for the first time. Her brother has been with Baba for almost 40 years, but she never took interest. Then recently she started reading His books. Her brother bought her a gift of a one-week trip to the Myrtle Beach Center. It was when she opened the letter from the Center, in their Welcome Letter they send out, and she read a quote of Baba's, that she was suddenly consumed with His love. She knew it was His Grace, this timeless love that was surrounding and enfolding her. She became His.

When she went to the Women Mandali's cabin at the Myrtle Beach Center, she felt she had no right to go into Mehera's room. But, she felt a voice telling her to go inside. When she did she felt Mehera's presence so strongly and began seeing the eyes of the different women Mandali. One pair of eyes was closed. She later found out that Meheru had just died. So, those were the closed eyes.

When Kathy was telling this most beautiful story tears came to my eyes. How could they not? The love she experienced was so beautiful and I was so happy I got to hear her story.

When I got back home to Meherabad I began feeling very sick again and so I went to bed.

Friday 27 July. I slept late so I could rest. Later, I got a call from Kishore (our supervisor for the Page house). He said this was the third morning where they found all the water from the 2000 liter tanks were empty. Each evening they pump the water up to the tanks to fill. The water from these tanks is what is used in the house. Now, something has gone wrong since for they are empty every morning when the watchman comes on duty at 6:00 am. We have a night watchman — but he sleeps.

Anyway, today at 1:00 pm Kishore had a meeting with Joshi's plumbers and others to find where this water was going.

At 2:30 pm I met with Karina and Sunil, the telephone man, to check that the phones were working and the DSL was installed. Now that part is finished. Kishore had come by to say the water problem was the setting in one of the bathroom toilets was off and the water was pouring out the pipe into the sump. Anyway, the problem is fixed.

Saturday 28 July. I was up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine and Baba's Room. I then went down the hill to do a 'quick clean' of the Jhopdi and Table House. At 10:00 AM I was at the MPC (Meher Pilgrim Center) to see if anyone was waiting to go on the Tour of Historic Meherabad. No one was waiting, so I called Karina and we met and I drove us to the Trust.

She and I took a rickshaw into the bazaar. We went to some shops so Karina could buy things for her house. I went to a shop to look at their saris. They had a sale and I bought three inexpensive ones.

I dropped Karina by the Samadhi path near the railroad tracks. She had a car someone is letting her use while she and John are here. I went home and had lunch before resting. Later in the afternoon I went back up to the Page house to help.

Sunday 29 July. I went up the hill early to take darshan at the Samadhi and then went home to get ready for Meherazad. When I got there Cindy, Karina, and I helped while all the Meherazad residents were having a meeting about the road the villagers are putting through. What a mess! So much has to be done so quickly in order to stop the villagers from making a wider road than ten feet, which is what the Trust can legally restrict. It seems the reforestation part of the property belongs to the government and that no court in India would side with Meherazad about the road. They can only restrict the width of it. Which at least that would prevent the villagers from adding tea stalls and having large trucks pass by on that road.

I was told there were days when the Meherazad residents had to stand out by the road site up to eight hours! It was the only way to prevent the villagers making the road before it could be surveyed for the ten-feet width. However, it seems the villagers also came from the other end and started making part of the road there — only more like twenty feet. Meherazad is going to have to work fast.

When the bell rang for the Sunday program we locked up the house, except Baba's room as Karina was watching it. I left to stop for lunch at Yash & Joli. I have had some stomach virus since last Monday, so I only ate a few bites of the food. I wanted to make sure I would not get sick, as I have been eating mostly yogurt, dry toast, and bananas.

I then drove to the Trust for Bhauji's Chat. I was early and went into the Baba Center to take a nap. Then I had help putting on my sari. I filmed Bhau from his room to him sitting. He has to have a lot of help. Last Sunday I filmed him from the front. This time I filmed him from behind. I want people to be able to see the amount of physical support he gets. I also want people to see how Bhau interacts with the Baba Lovers who Skype him on the Chat.

---photos of Chat

We had so much fun during the Chat. Bhauji didn't want to end. Finally, when it was almost 9:00 PM he quit. As Zahra was out of town, I ask someone else if I could follow their rickshaw. I think the rickshaw driver was partly drunk. He would drive down the middle of the white line, then go to one side then the other. He would go slowly then suddenly fast, all the while going from part of one lane to another. I was giving an American Iranian family a ride home. I finally told them it was too dangerous following the rickshaw; which they all agreed was the case. So, I simply followed different cars and trucks until we got to Meherabad.

Monday 30 July. I went the hill early to clean Mehera's shrine for someone who was out of station. I then took darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. After taking a short walk I went home for breakfast then back up to the Samadhi to do Archive cleaning. This was the last day of my month and I will have to wait several months for my turn to come again. I told Baba how thankful I am for Him allowing me to do this work.

I then drove to BSNL to see if Mr. Bhor could get my portable Internet drive to work. He had to try to reinstall it but was having trouble. This is the fourth time I have been back. One time it had actually worked when I first bought it. Other Baba lovers had tried and couldn't do it. John Page is coming on Thursday. He knows so much about Mac computers. If anyone can install it he would be the one.

I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. It has been rainy and windy all day. I love this weather. It reminds me of the fall season in California.

Tuesday 31 July. I was up the hill early to clean Mehera and Mani's shrine. I am covering for someone for Mehera's shrine. I asked Jayshree to please do Baba's Room for me. After the Samadhi doors were opened I took darshan and then went down the hill.

I got ready for Meherazad and then drove to the MPC to take the bus. When we got to Meherazad I quickly walked to the Women's side to help out. This time it was only Cindy and I. The Meherazad residents are all busy dealing with the road problem.

When I got back to Meherabad I rested before going up the hill for Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. I parked my car by the railroad tracks and walked up with my umbrella. It has been steadily raining most of the day. The wind was blowing and I was grateful I wore a long-sleeve shirt. I also brought a light sweatshirt, which I put on. It is almost fun to wear warm clothes. Usually it is so hot we try to find the lightest material clothes. It continued to rain by the time I got home. I went to sleep listening to the rain.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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