Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1-15 Sep 2012

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Saturday 1 September 2012. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine. After taking darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened I went to Baba's Room and cleaned it. I next went down the hill to do a quick clean of the Jhopdi and Table House. After breakfast, at 10:00 am, I went to the Meher Pilgrim Center (MPC) to meet anyone who wanted to go on the Tour of Historic Meherabad.

There were a few pilgrims waiting for the Tour. We had fun going to the different sites of Beloved Baba's early years of His Universal Work. We finished the Tour at the Memorial Tower.

In the afternoon, I went up to the Page house to go over some work with the construction supervisor. He also had a crew of workers spent the whole day removing all the construction trash from the site. We are almost finished with the work from Joshi. It has been close to four years since he took over from Sharad. However, during the time I'm in the States he has been limited on what he could do. I think we are at last on the home stretch. When Joshi is finished with his contract, any further work at the house will be through Kishore on a one job at a time contract.

There was a concert in the MPC Hall but I was unable to attend as I had the work at the Page house. In the evening we had a good rain.

Sunday 2 September. I slept late, as I knew this would be a long, but fun day. By 9:30 AM I left for Meherazad. I already had my sari and jewelry in my car for the afternoon with Bhauji at the Chat. I got to Meherazad by 10:30 AM and went to the Main house after taking darshan in Mandali Hall and the Blue Bus. I helped open Mehera's room.

When I was standing on the verandah, Rolly, the older dog that was Meheru's, came from inside the house. He had come in from the back door. Rolly does not know me yet and barks when he sees me. Usually he is tied up during the time when the pilgrims are there. Rolly has been known to bite. I think Rolly wanted to only smell me, but I was startled to see him and he reacted by starting to bark at me. Thank goodness Shelley came and took him out back to tie him up. There are many residents and helpers at Meherazad and Rolly in time stops barking at them. So, I know he will hopefully accept me at some time.

It was a fun day at Meherazad, and it was Kacy's birthday. Kacy is a resident who has lived at Meherazad for many years. There were not a lot of pilgrims, but many were new. We were busy for a while showing them the rooms and telling some stories. At 11:30 AM the bell was rung for the start of the program in Mandali Hall. Except for Baba's room, the rest of the house was closed. One of the other volunteers was staying in Baba's room, so I went into Mandali Hall and was able to watch the film. The electricity went off part way through the movie, so we closed early.

I stopped at Yash & Joli for lunch. When I got to the Trust I took my pillow and went into the Baba Center to rest for half and hour. I then put my sari on all by myself! I went to show Asha and she said I did it right and there was no need to change anything. That was the first time I put on the sari all by myself. Finally I learned!

When Bhauji came in and sat down, he was in such a good mood. He joked and teased a lot. He had us often laughing. Bhauji even laughed a couple of times. Usually he just looks like he is enjoying things, but he actually laughed twice. It was so good to see, especially as last Sunday he was so ill.

Rama came into the Chat after the break and she sang a couple of songs. She too is now in good health.

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Monday 3 September. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine and then take darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. After, I went to clean Baba's Room. There are three of us who clean Mani's shrine and Baba's Room. We each have two days. Mariko, who had to return to Japan for a while, had Monday. When Mariko is not here we three take one-month rotations for the Monday. This month I do the Mondays. When Mariko comes back to Meherabad she will be given her Monday back.

At 10:00 AM there was a meeting under the Tin Shed on the hill for all those who do Samadhi duty. Tea and cookies were available before the meeting. Hardeep and Dolly went over some points that needed to be covered; rules on what to do, and what not to do while on duty. An example: whenever there is a pilgrim sitting inside the Samadhi, we never disturb them for any reason. If we need to say something to them, we wait until they come out. But, if a pilgrim sitting inside the Samadhi is disturbing other pilgrims inside the Samadhi by saying prayers out loud, or talking, then we would go in and ask them to either please remain silent in the Samadhi or come out.

Many points like that we covered. Also, Mani had given written instructions on rules to follow that all doing Samadhi duty needed to read. The most important thing is to always make those who come to the Samadhi feel they are welcomed. It is a privilege to be able to have Samadhi Prasad duty, and the volunteers need to remember this.

By the time our meeting was over it had started raining. I drove Meher-Jyote and myself back down the hill. By the time I got home the rain started coming down hard. The rain turned into a good monsoon rain!

I was back up the hill for my Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. I parked my car by the railroad tracks and walked up the hill.

Tuesday 4 September. On the way up the hill I saw two rabbits near Savages Kitchen. I seem to be seeing a lot of rabbits lately. When I got to the Samadhi I cleaned Mani's shrine, then took darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. I next went to clean Baba's Room before going back to my room to get ready for Meherazad.

I drove my car to the MPC and parked my car. I went to our bus, which waits until 10:00 AM before leaving for Meherazad. I put a water bottle on the front seat to save it. I had ten minutes so I went into the Welcome Center to talk to Caren. When it was time to leave I could hardly believe it, only four on the bus, including me. I don't think I have ever seen the bus so empty.

When we were about ten minutes away from Meherazad we got stuck in traffic that had come to a stop. Ruth, a pilgrim, and I got out of the bus and walked up the road to where the problem was. It turned out to be a political protest with protesters sitting across both directions of the road, literally blocking all traffic. Some of the protesters were holding blue flags. There were many men and women police officers at this intersection. So, the police were ready for any trouble.

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Just as I finished taking some photos there were shouts from the protesters and they all stood up. So, it seems it was intended to be temporary. The protesters started to leave the road as Ruth and I ran back to the bus; traffic started moving.

As soon as we got to Meherazad I hurried to the main house. I informed all we only had a few pilgrims. For us volunteers, this was the least amount of pilgrims we had ever seen. We actually were enjoying the quiet.

When I got back to Meherabad I took a nap and then drove to the railroad tracks. I parked my car and walked up the hill. I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. During my shift there was suddenly a lot of noise on the roof of Baba's Room. I turned to look and just then two squirrels, together, jumped from the rain gutter all the way to the ground. They landed together and scurried off. It was amazing watching them do it together in perfect timing.

It started raining after I got back to my room. It was so nice to go to sleep with the sound of rain. The weather is cooler with constant clouds; it has been this way most of this pilgrim season. It is either that, or it is hot and sticky.

Wednesday 5 September. I slept late, as I didn't want to have to deal with a muddy path if I didn't have too. When I woke, I did a DVD workout before going up to the Page house to check on things.

The two corner bookcases I'm having made look like they are almost finished. Then they will be stained and varnished. I didn't see any workers at the house, so nothing is being done today. I'm happy they worked so hard on Saturday cleaning up.

I stopped at the Samadhi to take darshan in the Samadhi before taking the back road to have lunch at Yash Grand. On the far side of the Samadhi hill, the landowner has cut into the bottom of the hill. I think condos or homes will be built. I hated to see the base of the hill cut like that, just below the forest area that was planted near the MPR (Meher Pilgrim Retreat).

I had picked out some flowers for my room from the Samadhi ones taken out this morning. I put these flowers in bowls with water and place them around my room. It looks pretty and I feel happy because the flowers were on Beloved Baba's Samadhi over night. When I went out back to put the old ones in the special mulch I have for them, I saw a large jackrabbit a short distance away eating some of the grass. I quickly went to get my cell phone to take a photo. I think the rabbit must have sensed me, as it hopped behind some debris. I quietly stepped closer, but I was no match for those large rabbit ears. As quiet as I thought I was just didn't cut it, those rabbit ears probably heard me breathing! It quickly hopped away.

Thursday 4 September. I went up the hill early to clean Mehera's shrine. After taking darshan when the Samadhi doors opened, I did a power-walk up and down the hill. The dirt paths are too muddy to walk on, and the road up to the Samadhi is paved.

I got ready for Meherazad while also watching the Democratic National Convention. It was over just as it was time to catch our bus to Meherazad. I drove to the MPC and parked my car. It was the small bus that was taking the pilgrims, and it was full. I knew there would be a lot of talking on the bus, so I decided to drive.

When I got to Meherazad I went to the main house and sat on the verandah and chatted with the other residents until the bus arrived. I helped out by being in Baba's room until most of the pilgrims went into Mandali Hall to listen to Merwan Jessawala share some Baba stories. When the bell rang for the pilgrims to board the bus I left.

Back in my room I had an email from another resident who also has a Mac computer. She said she had been having constant problems of being dropped from the Internet. She said to contact a Mr. Rupia at BSNL about the problem, otherwise he would think the problem was limited to her. She said the problem may have something to do with the Mac.

I emailed her back and said that I too have a problem. I told her I had a new phone line put in last week; it made no change. Last June I paid for a higher speed; it made no difference. I told her I called Mr. Rupia and he asked me to text him the problem, which I did.

Mr. Rupia said the problem might be in some setting that needed to be changed in the Mac. He told me he would send someone out to look at the Mac.

Friday 5 September. I went up the hill early to take darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. Then I did a power-walk to the MPR and back to my room. I had a 1:00 PM appointment at the Page house with Raju, the electrician, and Kishore. We had to decide where to put the electrical outlet for the jet-spray bathtub they have in their Master Bathroom.

In the afternoon I did a DVD workout in my room. Sometimes I have a battle with myself to do the workout. It takes effort to do it when I'm not in the mood.

Saturday 6 September. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before taking darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. It rained last night and things were wet. After cleaning Baba's Room I went down the hill to the Jhopdi to do a quick cleaning. I also brushed the top of the Table House and then went to get ready for the Tour of Historic Meherabad.

There was a notice from the Trust saying the water would be shut off all day until 6:00 pm. We had prepared by filling several buckets with water. I then went to the MPC at 10:00 AM to give the Tour. Archana, a resident, was waiting along with one pilgrim. Archana is being trained to give the Tour whenever I am out of the country. I am grateful there will be someone scheduled to help out. Yohann, who volunteers in the Welcome Center in the MPC, also covers for me when he can. But, with Archana it will be part of her work schedule.

We had fun and finished up at the Memorial Tower. It is always enjoyable to see the latest work. The pilgrims seem to really appreciate being allowed to see the Tower being created. You can tell it is special to them.

I met Kishore and Joshi's supervisor at the Page house at 1:00 PM. We went over some work in the Master Bathroom. It is so nice to know we are on the home stretch!

In the afternoon, there was a concert in the MPC Hall. Angi West, from the States, and Lorraine Brown, from Australia, performed. When I walked into the Hall, I was pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful pink curtain that is now part of the performance stage; it is now up for concerts and talks. It is such a pretty pink! The stage floor is covered with a dark covering. It looks so lovely. Before it was just a wooden stage and white walls. Now it is so inviting and looks special.

Angi sang and played the piano. Then Lorraine and Angi did a song together before Lorraine finished the concert singing some Frances Brabazon's poetry.

---show IPhone photos as camera out of battery

Lorraine first shared a story. She said Frances had told her when Baba came to Avatar's Abode in Australia Baba was in pain and you could see his suffering. A person was taking photos of Baba, but stopped because he felt he shouldn't show Baba suffering. Eruch told him to take the photos because Baba almost never allowed people to see Him suffer when He was in front of His lovers. Eruch said Baba was giving a gift to allow them to witness His suffering.

Lorraine said Frances also told her when Baba came to Avatar's Abode no one knew how to tell jokes or sing. He said Australians were hopeless in entertaining Baba. He told the young Baba lovers in the 70's to start practicing now to sing and tell stories and jokes so next time Baba comes they will be ready!

Sunday 9 September. I slept late as I had a full day and wanted to rest more. When I got up I got ready for Meherazad. I put my sari and jewelry in the car and drove to Meherazad.

It was an easy day and I sat on the verandah most of the time with some other residents. When the bell rang for the program in Mandali Hall I stayed behind and sat in Baba's Room in case anyone wanted to come there.

On the way home I stopped at Yash & Joli for lunch. Then I drove to the Trust and took a short nap in my car because I saw some people going into the Baba Center. I then went into Upansi Maharaj's room to get dressed in my sari. I wore my new green one.

I had my video camera and videoed Bhauji being helped into the Chat room. Bhauji had on a very beautiful green robe. We were both in green. So I had someone in the Chat room take a photo of us. It came out so nice I am adding it here.

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Bhau was in a great mood. We laughed a lot and there was a time when almost everyone in the room was dancing. Such fun!

Monday 10 September. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before taking darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. I then cleaned Baba's Room and went for a walk to the MPR and back to my room.

Before lunch I drove to the Page house. I got stuck at the railroad crossing. I was looking around when I noticed two solar-powered lamppost; one on each side of the railroad tracks. These looked just like the ones I saw along the highway in New Jersey. I thought when I first saw them in the States that it was a very clever way to power the streetlights. To find them now here in the village of Arangaon was a big surprise.

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In the evening I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. It was raining lightly on the way up the hill. Later in the evening we had a good rain.

Tuesday 11 September. I had to go up the hill early but it was still raining, so I drove near the Dhuni to park my car. From there I walked the rest of the way to clean Mani's shrine. Everything was wet with lots of water on Mani's shrine. I had to use my hand to push most of the water off. Every Tuesday morning, after washing the shrine, I polish the marble. However, it was still sprinkling, so I skipped it.

After taking darshan when the Samadhi doors opened I went to clean Baba's Room. I finished in time to take a walk to the MPR before going back to my room to get ready for Meherazad.

I drove my car to the MPC and parked it. It was raining, so I used my umbrella to get from my car to the waiting bus. On the bus was an Iranian couple who lives here part time. They just arrived and were going to the Trust to see Bhauji. They will be helping out with his care. Arjang helps with the night shift.

There were two buses for Meherazad. In the larger blue bus were around 70 Indian pilgrims that had just arrived the night before. On our smaller bus were mostly Westerners. I quickly went to the main house when I got off the bus. I helped in Baba's Room until most had taken darshan. Then I went and sat on the verandah for a while before going into Mehera's room.

In Mehera's room Shelley was telling a few Western women some stories of Mani, Mehera, and Dr. Goher. One story that was really interesting was when Mani was dying and in a coma. All the remaining Mandali and caregivers could not understand why she was staying in her body instead of leaving to be with Baba. They thought something or someone was holding her back, but they didn't know what it was. Then one day Dr. Goher walks into the room and to the bottom of Mani's bed and says "It's okay Mani, you can go now." Mani died within half an hour.

Mani and Dr. Goher were very close. When traveling they often shared resting spaces. It seems Dr. Goher was having a very hard time letting Mani go. It was so painful in her heart to know she would not see Mani again. Finally, her heart was strong enough to tell Mani it 'It's okay to go'.

Shelley then took us into the kitchen where Baba's food was prepared. She said they would probably close the kitchen for daily use in around a year or so. It will be preserved as a historical archive building. This switching over of everything into Archive mode is happening so fast. We who live here are amazed at the speed in which it is happening.

I took the bus home and drove to a local restaurant to have some chicken. I then drove to the Page house to check on the work. It is so nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. While on duty I noticed so many cows and goats in the tree area around the Samadhi. I had someone cover for me and I went to call Ramesh, a Trustee who is in charge of the watchmen schedules and the Meherabad agriculture. He said the watchmen were supposed to chase away the animals. I told him for the past month the animals have been coming in increasing numbers. He said he would talk to the watchmen.

Wednesday 12 September. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I then went for a power-walk to the MPR and home. Kishore came by to tell me my two bookends were finished and would be delivered before 2:00 PM. Now I will be able to design my new desk to match the bookends.

I also have the welders putting the garage doors for my carport. I think I had mentioned someone had been putting nails in my tires. Usually I found the 'flat' on Sunday mornings when it happened. The 'flat' happens about every three weeks, so it is not a coincidence. Most of the time it is the front left tire. My tires are all new, so are the tubes.

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Arti was at 5:00 PM and the Dhuni was lit at sundown, 6:30 PM. Meherwan Jessawala had come to Meherabad to bury Manu's urn in the garden of his cousins, Sam & Roshan Kerawala's house. Some of those staying at Meherazad also came. This was Meherwan's first Dhuni he attended in over two decades. It was his first time to light the Dhuni.

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There were some pilgrims who had attended the 1962 East-West Gathering in Pune. Also the group from Pune who sing came to the Dhuni, as they do almost every month. The cover was put over the Dhuni because they thought there might be rain. But we had a clear sky.

Thursday 13 September. I went up the hill early to clean Mehera's shrine. I then went for a short walk before going back to my room to get ready for Meherazad. Paul, my neighbor, and I drove. I dropped him off at the beginning of the approach road to Meherazad because I was asked not to bring anyone when I came early.

When I got to Meherazad and went to the main house I told the residents about Paul being dropped off; they thought that was amusing. They also told me about the special flower decoration at the tree outside Mehera's window, the one Baba's face appeared on. The gardeners, two women and one man, made the flowers in the shape of a teddy bear. It was so cute I took pilgrims there to see it. Everyone who saw it got a great big smile on their face! It seems we all have the child in us that still enjoys things like teddy bears.

When Paul showed up I showed him the teddy bear decoration and he took some photos.


Friday 14 September. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. Then I went on a power-walk before returning to my room. Later in the morning I drove to the Trust in Ahmednagar. Bhauji had visitor time from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. The time of course is adjusted according to how Bhau is doing.

I had brought my video camcorder to capture how Bhauji interacts with the pilgrims from his room. He has visitors several times a week. I went to the back of his room and stood on a stool because the room soon filled and there were too many people to see over. Bhauji was in a good mood, and he enjoyed having different people sing songs.

When I went back to Meherabad I drove to Hostel-D where a special lunch was being served and all residents were invited. I found most of the food was too hot for me to eat. I can't eat chili in my food and Indians absolutely love it in their food. I was able to eat a few things that were quite tasty.

Saturday 15 September. It had rained during the night and the ground was wet. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine. After taking darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened I went to Baba's Room to clean it. Janaki, one of the residents, came to tell me it was raining and I needed to remove the flowers off Mani's shrine. We always do this because some of the flowers can stain the marble.

I then finished cleaning and went down the hill to do a quick clean of the Jhopdi and the Table House. After getting ready I went to the MPC to see if anyone wanted to go on the Tour of Historical Meherabad. No one was waiting. Archana, who is training, and I were the only ones on the Tour. I had Archana give the Tour and I only observed. We had gone as far as the Jhopdi when my phone rang. It was Caren from the MPC saying there was a busload of people wanting to go on the Tour. I told her where we were, and when I saw the pilgrims I welcomed them.

They were mostly elderly people from Mumbai. They were all followers of Zoroaster; meaning they had originally come from Iran long ago. Jimmy Khan has been coming about once a month with busloads of Zoroaster followers from Mumbai. Most from this group had come for the first time. They were so sweet and seemed to be deeply touched by Beloved Baba's love.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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