Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


1-8 Jan 2013

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Tuesday 1 January 2013. Happy Baba New Year to you! As we get older time seems to pass more quickly. We realize how precious time is and we try to do as much as possible in the 24 hour day. Yet, how is it we never seem to catch up? We always have so much to do? Hummm!

Do less? No. I so much enjoy what I do. I guess I will have to leave the answer to time.

I have made a decision about the Meherabad Diaries. All these years I have sent them out twice a month. Over the years the activity at Meherabad, Meherazad and the Trust have only increased. The Diaries are getting longer, and I have now included photos so you can see what I am talking about. The photos make the Diaries more interesting. Unfortunately, I get photos from different people and I can't always get them right away. Then I forget which Diary the photos go to, and the photos stack up on my computer as I continue to write more of the Diaries.

I want to get the Diaries out in a more-timely manner. So, I have decided to still number the Diaries every two weeks. But, I will break up each week into an A and B. So, each Diary will be sent out once a week, once as an A and once as a B. Anyway, I'm willing to try it.

Last night, five minutes before midnight, we began chanting Meher Dhun. It is my favorite chant of Baba's name. We then said Baba's name seven times, followed by the Arti. Singing continued until 12:30 AM. Buses were waiting to take pilgrims back to the pilgrim accommodations.

I got to sleep by 1:30 AM and up again at 4:30 AM. I had to go up the hill to clean Mani's shrine. After taking darshan in the Samadhi I cleaned Baba's Room. I was quite tired, so when I got back to my room I had more coffee and drove to Meherazad.

Meherazad was quite busy. We had lines for entering Baba's room and Mandali Hall. Though a lot of pilgrims left in the morning, many were still here.

I was having trouble staying awake. On my way home I stopped at Yash Computers and bought a new 3-in-one printer. I had ordered it and the store texted me to pick it up. It copies, scans, and prints. It was a new style for the home. It was small and didn't cost much. I drove to the Page house and John installed the printer to my computer. It only took John a few minutes to install it. He said he has done dozens of them and it was easy for him. He and Karina leave tomorrow and I wanted his help with the installation, which is why I didn't wait to buy one.

While I was at Yash Computers I called a friend and asked if she could cover for me on Samadhi duty. Yes, she would get someone to do it. I was so relieved! After John installed the printer I went back home and went to bed early. I was so tired I barely made it to bed.

Wednesday 2 January. I needed sleep, so I didn't go up the hill early. I had a lot to do around my room. John said they would not leave before 11:00 am. When I called on the way to their house at 11:05 John said they were already getting in their car. I met them at a resident's home, where they dropped off the borrowed car. I took some photos of them and with hugs said my goodbye. They live only one hour from my oldest daughter in Southern California, so we will see each other when I visit in April.

--photos of John & Karina leaving

In the afternoon I went to tell Marge, my neighbor, something. I mentioned I was going to Pune in the morning. Paulette, Marge's grown daughter, said she, Paul, and her husband were also going, but were taking the bus. I invited them to ride with me. I had hired a driver for my car.

Later, Paulette said only she and Jim would ride with me as Paul had something to do. Actually, it worked out better without Paul. My car is small and it would have been quite 'cozy'; there would be no room to move around in the back seat.

Thursday 3 January. I went up the hill early to clean Mehera's shrine. When the Samadhi doors opened I took darshan and went back to my room. I quickly got ready for Pune. Sirish, the hired driver came at 6:45 am. We went to pick up Paulette and her husband, Jim.

We stopped at a tea stall half way. After a couple of cups of tea, refreshed, we drove on to Pune. We went to the Yazdan Café for toast-butter (this is how it is said here) and more tea. Then we shopped at Dorabji's. I met Ganesh in the parking lot, and he returned my IPod and Pod dock-station. He was able to fix them.

Paulette and Jim had things to do and I went to have my hair cut. We met again for lunch at The Place. They have good steak. It is about the only time when I'm in India that I have a steak. On the way home we stopped at Smile Stone, about a half-hour from Ahmednagar. Paulette said she had bought these plastic needle-threaders for only Rs 20.

Friday 4 January. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I then went for a power walk before walking back home. I had to go into the bazaar to pay for Tata Sky TV service. I told Marge I would pay for her too.

I went to the shop by 10:30 AM, hoping to finish in plenty of time to go back to the Trust and visit Bhauji. Sometimes things just don't go quickly. It took almost two hours to pay a simple bill. First, I was told my annual payment was not due until February. But, the added channel of Comedy Central was due now. I didn't want to have to come back, but after much talking it seems they don't have an early payment plan.

Now, it seems Marge has her payment due in March. She wanted to add Comedy Central to her package too. Finally, I paid only for her Comedy Central until March, at which time I will come back and pay the annual payment. As for myself, I wanted to pay my package plan in March so I could do Marge and me at the same time. It was like going round and round. Finally, I paid for my package only until March. I will come back and make that date the start of my annual payment time. I know this could be done on line, with a credit card. I just don't want to use a credit card here unless I have too. I find that is the easiest way to prevent credit fraud.

I got back to the Trust Office at 12:20 PM. I quickly walked to the back where Bhauji's room is located. People were already standing outside his room. I asked if I could still go inside? Yes, everyone was saying bye to Bhauji as his visiting time was over at 12:30 PM. I went in and waited until almost everyone left. I then said hi and bye to Bhau. I was happy to have the time I had. Better than nothing.

Saturday 5 January. 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 walked down the hill to do a quick-clean of the Jhopdi and Table House. I was feeling tired, but I had no time to rest.

I had called Parog, our car mechanic, to come and fix the rattle of a back door. It seems the door could open from outside, but from inside the handle was not working. Some screw must have come loose and may be the cause of the rattle. I left the key to my car for Parog.

I rode my scooter to the MPC at 10:00 AM to give the Tour of Historic Meherabad. There was a small group of pilgrims waiting. We had a lot of fun going to all the sites Baba did His work in Lower Meherabad. We finished up at the Memorial Tower. Like always, seeing it in the creation stage is awesome to witness.

I had a 1:00 PM meeting at the Page house with the watchmen. We have someone at the house around the clock. We had some issues to discuss. Then I went home to take a nap.

At 5:00 PM I had a meeting with Debjani, who runs the Selfless Service Center. We talked about Amartithi and getting volunteers for Baba's Room cabin on the hill. She put my pin-drive into her computer and downloaded the sign-up sheets. Tomorrow she will put up the Samadhi volunteer duty signup sheet on the MPR door. There is now an official board that had been made for posting the many announcements during Amartithi at the MPR. Since the board is not there yet the dining room door will have to be a temporary solution.

I took the pin-drive to my room and put it into my computer. I then attached the new printer to my computer. This was my first time to use a pin-drive and print from the information on it. I printed the signup sheets for Baba's Room and the Samadhi. So, the first thing I used the printer for was Baba's work. To me, that is like getting a blessing for the machine. And, the printer worked so nicely! I didn't have the trouble I use to have with my old printer.

Sunday 6 January. I slept late since this is a long day for me. Well, I was up by 6:30 AM, for me that was late. I got everything ready to take for Bhauji's Chat, and put it in the car trunk. I drove to Meherazad and took darshan in Mandali Hall and the Blue Bus. I then went to the main house and was able to help open Baba's room.

There was only the small bus with pilgrims, but it was packed with some standing. I stayed in Baba's room, and for first time pilgrims I would tell them a little about the room. When the bell was rung, announcing it was time for the program to start in Mandali Hall, I went as another resident said she would stay behind to keep Baba's room opened.

I stopped at Yash & Joli for lunch. I then drove to the Trust and put on my sari with Asha's help. As I had mentioned in a past Diary, if I take a nap, I have to rush to get ready. This way I can rest without concern.

The Chat room filled up quickly with the weekly 'Chatters'; a name some people have given for those who attend the weekly Chat, be it in person or on the Webcast. Bhauji came in looking very handsome in his suit and tie. He gets these adorable expressions when he see's he has made us happy.

Mehernath came in wearing a suit to please Bhauji. Bhau said he should also wear a tie. So, one of the 'team' went and got him one. Mehernath put it on with help with one of the Chatters.

Bhauji was in an excellent mood, as were we all. It was once again fun!

--photo of Bhau and Mehernath wearing ties

One of the Skype callers, Romney from California, asked Bhau how and why Baba gave him the name 'Bhau'. Bhauji said it was the second time he was around Baba. When he was in a train with Baba in the early 1950's, going to the state of Andra Pradesh, Baba asked him what his full name was. Bhau said it was Virsingh Kalchuri. Baba said the name was too long and it would now be 'Bhau'. Bhauji said he was very happy to be given a name by Baba.

We took a break at 6:30 PM. It is hard to get Bhau to stop the Chat for any reason. But when he is reminded he has everyone take tea and cookies before starting the Chat, and the people may have to go to the bathroom, he agrees to the break. We have to do the same thing when it is time to quit the Chat at 8:30 PM. Bhauji does not want to stop the Chat. Yet again he is reminded pilgrims have curfew and have to get back to Meherabad. Only then does he relent! It really is quite cute. Bhauji is like a little kid who has to come in from playing outdoors. He so enjoys the Chats.

Monday 7 January. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I then went for a power-walk before returning to my room. I had left the two video cameras batteries charging over night and while I was up the hill. I found I had trouble with one and so I called Bif. He came over and helped me prepare the cameras. He said I only needed one but something was wrong with the switch. He offered to let me use his.

There was a talk by Peter Nordeen and Ward Parks in the MPC Hall at 10:00 AM, and they had asked me to video it. It had been a few years since I had done videoing with a mike and headset. So, I was happy Bif set everything up. It is amazing how much one forgets when not doing something that was at one time quite routine.

The subject of the talk was "Baba's Early Great Work at Meherabad". The time period was for the first long stay, from 1925 to 1926. "In 1925 Meher Baba settled into Meherabad to begin several monumental mediums of His life's work". They also talked about some of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust's latest work of disseminating this fascinating information. Such as, making more and more old diaries and discourses of Baba on the Trust Internet website.

Peter and Ward have spent a lot of time and research for the Trust Archives, documenting old diaries of the Mandali as well as photographs and any published article or letters. With all this knowledge and information the time given for the talk went quickly. They showed visuals with the information. There were photos of Baba and old Meherabad never seen. It was quite a treat to listen to them. Since this talk was videoed it will be made available from the LA Baba Center once it is put on a DVD.

----photos of the talk

At 1:00 PM I had a meeting with the watchmen of the Page house. While there I got all the keys that didn't have a label on them that might fit the lock to my Amartithi supply trunk. The watchmen had some issues they needed to discuss. The watchman at night always sleeps. But, I found out the Meherabad Security has a patrol that makes rounds at night of all the condos and homes every two hours. The watchmen are required, by request of the homeowners, to come out to the truck and sigh a notebook every two hours. This way the watchmen do not spend all night sleeping and not 'watching'.

I have called Ramesh, a Meherabad Trustee in charge of security, to put the Page house on the patrol rounds. It will take a couple of days, as I have to provide a notebook to the security men.

At 5:00 pm I had a meeting with Debjani Ray. She helps get volunteers for several areas of Amartithi: Baba's Room, Water, Stage, and Trash. We put on my pin-drive the Samadhi sign-up sheet (which was posted that day), the Amartithi Volunteer Orientations schedule sheet (we have volunteers often helping in other areas and need orientation times that do not conflict), and the Baba Room sign-up sheet. I then took the pin-drive home and printed all these sheets up.

Tuesday 8 January. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before taking darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. Then I cleaned Baba's Room before going back to my room with my bag of flowers I collected from the old ones taken off Baba's Samadhi.

I got ready for Meherazad and drove there. When I parked my car around back I noticed the new fence. It is more like a railing that we have in the West on curves of mountains and bridges. I took photos with my IPhone camera, but I'm not sure they will be very good. If later I can have Paul take some with his good camera I will include them here.

---photo of M'zad fence for road going through property

I had time to take darshan in Mandali Hall and the Blue Bus. When I went to the main house I was able to help open Baba's room. By 'help' I mean I was able to remove one of the covers from a window. To me, it is just an honor to be able to do anything in Baba's room. I am grateful.

The small bus did not have that many pilgrims when it arrived. It was an easy morning. I spent most of the time in Baba's room. When I was not needed there I sat on the verandah. Kacy, Shelley, and other residents go to the Pimplegaon school and teach English to the children on Wednesdays when they can. This group was discussing teaching tools while it was not busy.

This is a wonderful public relations between Meherazad and the village. The children open up to the residents and a personal relationship develops while they learn a new way of learning, one that is more fun. Some of the children also have begun asking more about Baba.

When I got back to Meherabad I drove to the Page house. I have my Amartithi trunk of supplies there. I put the trunk in my car and drove to the MPR, where Debjani had shifted to for the rest of the month. It was lunchtime and I wanted to give Debjani the Amartithi information sheets I had printed. Then I drove back to my room.

When I got to my room with the trunk of Amartithi supplies I found I could not find a key to open the lock! I would have to go back to the Page house tomorrow and bring all their keys to find one I hope will open the lock.

I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. I drove to the railroad tracks and parked. Right after crossing the tracks I noticed two rows of white posts being put in parallel to the tracks. I thought that was Trust property. The Trust now has the cars park down the hill, near the railroad tracks. Most of the parking area along the road was still open, but the back part near the tracks is where the white post was being put up. I will have to inquire from our Trustees about it. Again I took photos with my IPhone but hope to have better photos later from Paul.

---photos of white posts along tracks.

While I was on Samadhi duty a group of high school age children came up for darshan with their teachers. There must have been a least one hundred teenagers. What I found interesting was all the girls wore blue jeans and some had hats, but not baseball caps, more stylish. Some of the boys also had stylish hats. I asked where they were from. They were from Shivaji Higher Secondary School, Maucshi, District Amucavati, in our state of Maharashtra.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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