Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


16-21 February 2013

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Saturday 16 February 2013. I drove to the Jhopdi and parked my car. I saw a rabbit hopping across the road. It seems I'm seeing a lot of rabbits lately. I then walked up the hill in the cool early morning. I cleaned Mani's shrine before taking darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I next cleaned Baba's Room before gathering my flowers and walking back down the hill.

I got out the cleaning stuff for the Jhopdi and Table House. It is a pleasure to open the Jhopdi and take darshan. When I bow down I wonder if my forehead has touched a spot where Baba put his foot. The room is very small and Baba spent a lot of time in it, both doing His universal work and sleeping on the floor. So, there is a good chance he stepped where I bowed. I guess a smart thing would be to bow down in different places each time.

The Tour of Historic Meherabad was cancelled because of a special program in the MPC Meeting Hall. Jamie Newall was on Skype talking about Baba's legacy. There was a panel to highlight and direct questions with Fereshteh Azad, Jim Meyer, and Ward Parks. Gokaran Shrivastva was the commentator.

It was such a fascinating way to conduct a program. It is also such a positive example of how our evolving technology makes and will make sharing knowledge of the Avatar's advent available to the whole world. It is also such an amazing way to share the beautiful stories of the lives of His Mandali and share the unique power and beauty of Beloved Baba's sweetest love. We live in such a rising of consciousness time and getting close to God time it is at times hard to believe it is real. How fortunate we are!

Later, when I was in my room, I heard talking out in the backfield. I went to look past the fence Marge and I put up to protect our little garden. Out in the field were Trust workers measuring a distance, marking it, and moving on to the next place. I asked what they were doing? They said they were marking where trees would be planted. I was happy to hear that, though I don't know when exactly they will plant the trees.

When I drove around Meherabad later I saw many holes in the ground, evenly spaced. I figured these were also places where trees will be planted. However, I hope they wait until our drought is over. As it is we have had to allow a certain percentage of our existing trees to die if they could not make it on their own, as we simply don't have enough water — or simply can't afford the cost of buying water for the thousands of trees we have already planted over the years.

I was having trouble downloading Adobe Flash Player, I did something wrong when I tried, so Carolina, who knows Apple computers, came over and fixed it for me. I tell you, it is so wonderful to have residents or pilgrims who know so much about computers and are so willing to help. Bless their hearts!

Sunday 17 February. I woke a little later than normal and then got ready to go to Meherazad. After parking my car out back I went into Mandali Hall and took darshan. It is so lovely to be in there, alone, before the pilgrims. Once the buses arrive I don't have time to go in, so I really treasure this time. I quickly went into the Blue Bus, one of my favorite places, and bowed down at the bed. The energy is so powerful and blissful that sometimes I just don't want to move.

When I went to the main house I was able to help open Mehera's room. Sometimes, in Baba's room, when it is windy, we will not open the window, only the screen. Otherwise, two of three of the four windows and screens are completely opened to give lots of light and fresh air.

After the pilgrims left I went to lunch at Yash & Joli. I then went to the Trust and got ready for Bhauji's Chat. I really love being at the Chat. They are so much fun and we who are in the room on a regular basis get along. I most of all enjoy watching Bhau interact with everyone on the Internet.

---photo of Bhau

After the Chat, I gave some of the 'Chatters' a ride back to Meherabad. We live close to each other. However, if someone lives on the other side of the railroad tracks they will have a rickshaw meet them or walk. I am very tired by that time and do not want to spend another half-hour driving. As it is it is close to 10:00 PM by the time I park my car and take everything back into my room.

Monday 18 February. I drove up the hill with my neighbor Marge. We had scheduled this day to do the big Archive cleaning of the Samadhi before Baba's Birthday. We covered the marble with soft cloth that we only use for this reason. We had taken out the two straw mats that pilgrims sit on inside the Samadhi. We allow pilgrims to continue taking darshan during this time, but we can't have them sitting inside as we use the whole floor area during the cleaning.

The inside dome is wiped with soft lambs-wool dusters on very long poles by a tall resident, or a pilgrim who has done it in the past. While this is going on Marge, Janaki, and I are using other lambs-wool dusters to wipe the walls. The Samadhi is made of stone, so there are lots of uneven areas on the surface, which collect dust, especially after Amartithi. When we finished, we put everything back in the round water tank tower room.

It was my month to do the weekly Archive cleaning of the Samadhi floors. So, I immediately began cleaning it. With so much dust from cleaning the ceiling dome and walls, I had to first brush the floor before washing the corners and floor. It took me almost one hour. It is close to Baba's birthday so there are lots of pilgrims. I know the pilgrims would like to sit inside as soon as they could, but it is a job I will not rush. I am cleaning for Baba and I want to do the best job I can.

When I finished I drove to the Page house to check on things. I then went home so I could wash all the cloths from the Samadhi. Later, I had Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.

I am starting to feel that I somehow need to change my daily schedule to allow for more creative time. I love everything I do, so I don't know what to change. Yet, I feel something needs to change. I'll have to just hope a change will present itself.

Tuesday 19 February. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before the Samadhi doors opened. I took darshan and then went to clean Baba's Room. It was so dusty! Everything is dusty from the drought. I had to wipe the stretcher glass cover several times in order to finally see it clean. The corners of the photo frames were a source of collecting dust too. It took a little longer than normal but it looked nice when I finished.

When I got back to my room I washed all the cleaning cloths and put them out to dry. Our housecleaner was off today so I had to do it by myself. I will take the cloths off the clothesline when I get back home from Meherazad.

During the day the weather has changed again and it is actually cold in the morning. Though it gets hot during the day, it soon cools off when the sun goes down.

I drove to Meherazad. After taking darshan in Mandali Hall and the Blue Bus, I went to the main house. Everything was already ready, so I sat on the front verandah and visited with the other residents until the buses came. There was one large bus and the smaller bus.

There was a woman pilgrim who played a strange looking instrument, whose name I have forgotten. It is made of one piece of wood. It is so unusual and has 32 strings. The woman strums it for playing, like one of the Indian instruments.

After Meherazad, I drove to the Trust and took a rickshaw into the bazaar. I had to pick up my prescriptions for the eyeglasses I took in. I needed new lenses for far and another for reading. I took in two frames from old glasses.

I rested before getting ready for Samadhi duty from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. There were several men working on the barrier next to the RR tracks. They were taking out the security bars that were used during Amartithi.

At Arti there were some wonderful musicians. It was like being at a professional concert. A woman played the cello with such beauty. Then a sitar, flute, and Tablas were played. The woman with the strange instrument shared the beauty of her music. We also had the guitar players and poetry reading. Such beautiful sounds.

Wednesday 20 February. My neighbor, Marge, and I drove up the hill to the Samadhi. We had to go up into the storage room of the decorations and lay out the banners for Baba's birthday.

I put up a rope to hang the long handmade flower garland. We sprayed it with water to give it a fresh look and fluff up the flowers. We did the same things with the banners.

In the afternoon I drove to the Page house to check on things. When I was leaving I saw a deer run past the car. The deer are the size of Bambi, very small, but they have long horns. They are very beautiful.

When I got near my room I saw another rabbit. I sure seem to be seeing them a lot lately.

Thursday 21 February. I went up the hill early to clean Mehera's shrine before the Samadhi doors opened. After taking darshan, I went to the metal cupboard under the Samadhi portico that keeps the things we need. Inside is the bag that holds Mehera's shrine cover. We put it on each day after cleaning the shrine. In the evening it is taken off, folded and put back into the bag. When I took Mehera's cloth from the bag in the metal cupboard I invited an Iranian woman to help me put it on. Pilgrims like to be included in any of the cleaning on the hill.

I then went for a power-walk to the MPR and back to the Samadhi area to pick up my bag of flowers that were taken off the Samadhi shrine when the doors opened. I walked back to my room and put all the flowers in bowls of fresh water, of course removing the flowers from the day before. I put the old flowers in a compost hole that is later put around the trees and plants. Lucky plants, they get all that good energy from Baba's Samadhi!

I then got ready and drove to Meherazad. But, I first stopped at BSNL to pay my phone bills and stop at the Trust for a nature call. When I got to Meherazad, Subash, a regular worker, let me know to drive extra careful as lots of little children were sitting in front of the old clinic.

I drove around carefully and parked in back. The whole area was filled with little boys and girls. How sweet the faces looked. I went around back to the main house. I was needed to keep Baba's room opened during the program. That way pilgrims could come in and take darshan or just sit.

This was the morning for all the school children of the local village to come and perform at Meherazad. There were hundreds of children. The children that the residents teach English to also perform, doing something in English. This program was started with Pendu. After he died it stopped, as the other Mandali did not have time to continue it. A few years ago some of the Meherazad residents once again started the annual program. It is a wonderful way for the children to come to know about Baba and the Meherazad activities, and to get to know the Baba Lovers.

I stayed in Baba's room until 12:30 PM. There were many pilgrims coming into the room and sitting. As more and more came I would have to ask those sitting to come back later so others could come in. You see those at Meherazad don't really like more than seven pilgrims in the room at one time. Of course if most are sitting than more can come in to take darshan. The problem is when those extra also start to sit. It is at that time I ask those who have been in the room for a little while to come back in about twenty minutes.

While I was in the room I heard the children singing songs and at times laughing. I knew the laughter had to do with Hughi McDonald doing some of his magic tricks. Hughi always is a delightful entertainer. I mean, who doesn't enjoy magic?

Then one old-time Baba lover pilgrim came in who lives in Canada. He asked if I would like to hear a story about the photo on Baba's dresser. "Oh, yes!" I quickly said. And, this is the precious story he told me: "In 1963 he was at Guruprasad in Pune with Baba. Baba was sitting on his big chair in the main hall. There was a small table next to the chair with a photo of Baba on it. It was a photo just like the one in Baba's room at Meherazad. Baba turned to it and said, 'I like this man very much'." Baba was talking about himself in the photo! I found that story so endearing.

---photo sitting on a wall ledge

When I got home I had lunch and then a nap. When I got up I was determined to design the cabinet I needed in the kitchen for the microwave I bought two months ago. I had bought a microwave that turned out to be three inches deeper than the current shelf on a metal cabinet I have in the kitchen. I spent some time thinking how to design something, yet it would stick out three inches more than what I have now. Our kitchen is small and the cabinet I have now just fits. Hummm! Well, weeks past and Amartithi came and went. Finally, an idea came to me. The Pages bought a new microwave just before they returned to the States. I don't think they even had time to use it. I wondered if it was smaller than mine?

So, I measured the Page microwave next time I went to their house. Sure enough, it was three inches narrower. Now, mine does grilling. Which is the new technology. Everywhere I went to look at microwaves they all had the grill feature. I don't need a grill as in Staff Quarters we are not allowed to cook meat.

I emailed the Pages and gave them the information on my microwave. This way they were able to do the research on the Internet to find out about it. Yes, they said the exchange would be okay. Their microwave did not have a grilling feature so it didn't need to be so deep.

Sometimes I am lazy and don't want to do what needs to be done. This was the case with designing the cabinet. So, I made a cup of coffee and made myself sit in front of the metal cabinet and redesign what I would need. This new cabinet will be made of wood and mostly shelves with an area for a screen door to hold vitamins, etc.

It sure took effort, but I finished the design and will have Kishore pick it up in the morning. He will later give me an estimate of the cost. I am giving him the metal cabinet in exchange for the labor cost. So, I will only have to pay for the wood.

In the evening there was an Iranian musical program at the Ahmednagar Baba Center in the Trust Compound. The bus would leave at 8:00 pm from the MPR and pick up pilgrims at the MPC, leaving at 8:15 pm. The bus would leave the Trust at 10:15 pm. During special programs the curfew is lifted a bit. This is one of a whole week of programs for Beloved Baba's birthday.

I love Iranian music and would have loved to go. However, I am not a night person and I often go to bed at 8:30 pm. I also get up at 4:15 or 4:30 am most mornings. Getting to bed late and getting up early do not mix well. To prove my point, I did not see one Iranian this morning waiting for the Samadhi doors to open. Usually there are several waiting.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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