Judy Stephens

Meherabad, 1952


22-28 February 2013

Jai Meher Baba to you all!

Friday 22 February 2013. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. There were not many there. I think a lot went to the program last night. It was a nice cool morning. After darshan I went for a power-walk to the MPR and back to my room, collecting my bag of flowers on the way past the Samadhi.

I called Kishore to stop by and pick up the design for the kitchen cabinet. When he came by we went into the kitchen and I had him measure a few things to make sure he understood what I wanted.

Kishore also gave me a list of work to be done at the Page house and the cost of the material. The labor charges would be added later. It is standard procedure to have the labor cost at 30%.

As soon as Baba's birthday is over I will began working full time on my granddaughter's specially designed quilt for her seventh birthday. But, I will now spend time planning. I did make a rough design of two of the panels when I went to Pune a couple of weeks ago. In the afternoon there was a concert in the MPC Hall.

Saturday 23 February. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before taking darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. There was a musical program last night in the Ahmednagar Baba Center so the pilgrims didn't start coming to the Samadhi until around 6:30 am. It is hard to stay up late and then get up early. So, naturally, I didn't go to the program. There is one every night until Baba's birthday on Monday.

I then went into Baba's Room to clean. I was surprised to find a rope with a sign dividing the room. The sign said 'wet paint', and the side of the room near the Samadhi had a shelf that was repainted with the yellow of the rest of the room. The shelf had some of the paint off in a couple of places. I had my old IPhone that I used to take some photos. They are not very good but a couple of them show what it looked like.

--inside room painting

After cleaning I got my bag of flowers and walked down the hill to the Jhopdi. I did a quick clean of it and the Table House, and then I went back to my room to get ready for the Tour of Historic Meherabad.

On the way down the hill, near the top of the path, suddenly a rabbit came bounding across the path, going full speed. I stopped and thought 'that rabbit was going so fast something must be chasing it.' Sure enough, seconds later, a dog in hot pursuit was on the rabbit's trail, zooming past me at full speed. The dog must have been able to smell the direction the rabbit took, because it could no longer see the rabbit, yet, it went straight in the directly the rabbit took.

When I got down the hill I cleaned the Jhopdi and Table House. After which I went to my room and got ready for the Tour. I drove to the MPC to see if there was anyone waiting for the Tour, but no one was waiting.

There were four foreigners who had just registered to stay at the MPR. They came into the Welcome Center where Caren gave them information about Baba. Two of the pilgrims were from Japan, two from Russia. The two from Russia had been here a few times. They met the two from Japan in Goa and all decided to come together for Baba's birthday.

Since I was free for the morning, I went to the Page house to oversee work being done. The house is almost totally finished. After so many years I am happy to say all that will be needed is to maintain it.

Every Saturday afternoon the freshly baked bread from the New Life Bakery is delivered to a local small shop owned and operated by Jaloo. So we call it Jaloo's store. It is on the MPR road, in the Colony below Meherabad Hill. He and his family are all Baba lovers.

Today, David Bowling had made even bagels! David & Gusi Bowling's house is directly behind the Page house. They are from Australia and spend several months a year in Meherabad. They have built a large outdoor oven and they also have a processing room for preparing the bread. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful service. The breads are made with organic grain from an organic farm a Baba lover owns near Meherabad.

Sunday 24 February. I went up the hill early to take darshan when the Samadhi doors opened. I brought the special hand-made flower garland Marge had made for the stretcher several years ago. She had taken it home to repair some of the flowers.

After taking darshan, I went to Baba's Room and met Coocoo and Zahra. We were changing all the covers in the Room, including the stretcher, with fresh covers. Coocoo (Jayshree) had made a beautiful stretcher cover, window curtains, and also for the shelf above the stretcher. We had a couple of men help us, as the glass framed cover over the stretcher is extremely heavy.

When we finished everything looked so lovely. This was to celebrate Baba's birthday tomorrow. We wanted to make His room also look special. Coocoo had chosen some beautiful satin material with colorful flowers sewn. When everything was cleaned and the fresh covers put on, we then placed the flower garland made by Marge. We then replaced the glass frame over the stretcher.

Meherazad was closed today and Tuesday. Therefore I was able to help decorate the Samadhi and Gadi areas. There were a number of pilgrims who helped us. We also had some pilgrims who every year share in the decorating, Roy & Roz, so they knew what to do and showed the new pilgrims.

---photos of Samadhi decorating

After we finished the Samadhi portico we went to the Gadi under the Tin Shed. Roz had already started. There were also two large tubs of red roses that would later be strung for both places. When we finished we took the extra things back up to the tower room. I then drove Marge and me back to our rooms.

In the late morning there was a dress rehearsal for the birthday play. Since I had Samadhi duty on Monday I would not be able to watch but about a half hour of the play. So I was happy to attend the dress rehearsal. After that I rested for a short while.

Later in the afternoon I drove to the Trust. I had already put on my sari, but I wanted Asha to smooth out parts of it. I went into the Chat room and saved a seat with my water bottle. It wasn't long before it soon filled up. With Baba's birthday the next day we had so many pilgrims who came to the Chat. My seat was in front and I gave it up to a pilgrim.

I ended up sitting in back and found I could not see Bhauji. The people in front of me were tall and they blocked my view. I have decided I would rather sit in the next room then in the back of the room. Or, I will just get a seat in the second row so I won't have to move when we are crowded.

Bhauji was in such a good mood, joking and enjoying the room of Chatters and the Internet Baba lovers. It really is a pleasure being part of the whole thing.

--photo of Bhau

Monday 25 February. I woke up at 2:30 AM and put on a sari for Baba's birthday. I know how to put one on by myself now, so it was fun to dress special for Baba. I drove up the hill, and when I got to the Samadhi I saw the group of women Supervisors were already inside the Samadhi cleaning it.

After the Samadhi was cleaned, there was a pile of covers for the shrine, each one put with love, one at a time. Each time one was put there was an 'Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai'. I think there were over twenty put on. This was to have them absorb the moisture from the huge pile of garlands that would be placed by His lovers throughout the day.

By 4:00 AM the area under the portico was packed and a long line had formed. As soon as the many covers were put on the shrine it was then covered with roses. A few baskets of roses were on the bench for the pilgrims to each take one or two and put on Baba's shrine. As the time neared 4:45 AM, Ted Judson made the announcement of how we will chant Meher Dhun for several minutes until 5:00 AM sharp. We would then all say 'Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai' seven times, and then we would say the prayers followed with singing 'Happy Birthday' to Baba. From that point the pilgrims would sing for the next few hours. Bowls of different kinds of Prasad was given out to those who had finished taking darshan. Meanwhile, tea was served under the Tin Shed for almost two hours. It is a wonderful way to start celebrating Beloved Baba's birthday. I feel so fortunate to have been allowed to be at the Samadhi for many years celebrating.

I drove home after tea and changed clothes. There was a musical program in the MPC Hall, directed by Debbie Nordeen. It was so filled with life and joy! After it I went home and took a short nap. The play started at 4:00 PM, tea and cake were served on the verandah at 3:30 PM. I was able to watch part of the play until 4:45 PM. I then drove to the Samadhi for my 5:00 to 7:00 PM Prasad duty. When it was over I drove home, very tired.

Tuesday 26 February. I went up the hill early to clean Mani's shrine before the Samadhi doors opened. After taking darshan I went to clean Baba's Cabin Room. When I got home, I washed all the clearing cloths and then got ready for Meherazad.

Today and Thursday are the last two days of the pilgrim season at Meherazad. It will then be closed until July. I drove and parked my car in back. I had time to take darshan in Mandali Hall and the Blue Bus before going to the main house. I was able to help open one of the windows in Baba's room, as well as help on the verandah by removing the cover on Mehera's chair. We fold it a certain way and then put it out of sight. Behind the large cushion on her chair is kept the photo of her. I put it against the cushion so pilgrims could see her. There is also a small photo of Baba that is put at an angle. We opened the curtains and window at the end of the verandah. Now, all was ready.

Shortly after we all sat down on the verandah we heard the buses coming down the approach road. There were six buses, which meant the pilgrims would only be allowed to go into Baba's room to take darshan at his bed, then walk around it on their way back out.

Volunteers were there from the time the pilgrims got off the bus. They were greeted and directed to the line for darshan in Baba's room. From there they would go into Mandali Hall for darshan and then back to their buses. There were hundreds of pilgrims, too many to be allowed to sit in Baba's room or Mandali Hall. They soon boarded the buses and returned to Meherabad. We were very tired by that time!

I drove up to the Samadhi for my 5:00 to 7:00 PM Prasad duty. Needless to say it was still crowded at Meherabad, so it was also crowded at the Samadhi.

Wednesday 27 February. I went up the hill early to take darshan in the Samadhi and then went for a power walk to the MPR and back home, stopping to pick up my bag of flowers that were taken off the Samadhi. There are so many pretty flowers to choose from. With so many pilgrims still here, the Samadhi is piled high with the garlands given with so much love. There are also stems of roses, in bunches or single, and other colorful flowers. True, they are now a day old, but some still look good and they make my room look pretty.

After breakfast I drove Marge and me up to the Samadhi. We were now taking all the decorations down and putting them away. Roy & Roz, Janaki, and others were there. We had to make sure we folded everything correctly, to keep it looking nice for the next year. We put them back in the cupboards in the water-tank tower.

I dropped Marge off at the bottom of the hill, where she walked back home. I drove to the Page house where I had a meeting with a couple of the workers. We had some problem with the automatic electric switch for the solar panels. When the regular electricity goes off, the solar power switch is supposed to automatically switch on. It wasn't doing it and had to be switched by hand.

When I got back to my room I went to do laundry. I had some trouble with my washing machine. The spinner of the drain part wasn't working. I called and had someone come out. It was easy to fix and I continued the laundry.

Thursday 27 February. I went up the hill early to clean Mehera's shrine. After taking darshan when the Samadhi doors opened, I went to the metal cupboard under the portico and got out the bag with Mehera's cover. I put it on and then went back to my room.

I got ready for Meherazad, picking up Marge and Paul. We stopped at the tea stall we like and each had two teas. We got to Meherazad before the buses. I took darshan in Mandali Hall and the Blue Bus. It was sad thinking I would not be back until July. For, even though we are residents of Meherabad, we don't go to Meherazad unless we have some work. We only go on pilgrim days.

I went to the main house and helped prepare the verandah. Baba and Mehera's rooms were already done. There were two or three buses. Yet, we were still able to allow pilgrims to sit in Baba's room. I would only have to ask those already sitting for some time to please allow others to sit. I told them try to come back in twenty minutes. This being the last day many wanted to sit. So, even if some came back in twenty minutes I would ask them to try in another twenty. Eventually, they would be allowed to sit once more.

I think we are getting a small look at what it may be like in the future. Everything is changing so fast.

Marge, Paul, and I stopped for lunch at Yash & Joli on the way home. Two other residents were already there, so we joined them. Then a pilgrim who comes often and rents a place in the colony came in, so we invited him to join us as well. Well, let me tell you, we were having so much fun talking. In fact, when our food came, as I was cutting my chicken I was turned towards Lorraine, listening to her tell a story. Well, all of a sudden my whole plate of food fell in my lap! I was so engrossed in the story I didn't noticed my plate had moved to the edge of the table.

First, I was shocked! Then I started laughing so hard tears came to my eyes. As the waiter came over to help clean up I just put my food back on my plate and kept eating. It was so funny to me. I had never dropped a plate of food in my lap before and the way it happened, me listening to a story as I cut my chicken, bringing the plate ever closer to the edge of the table, was just too funny! We all went on talking, having a few beers, and enjoying ourselves. We knew the pilgrim season was almost over and we could finally relax. When I got back home I took a nice nap.

Friday 28 February. I went up the hill early to take darshan in the Samadhi when the doors opened. I then went for a power walk. It is very pretty in the morning and I feel so alive. After Baba's birthday there is a feeling of winding down, in the pilgrim season and our work. It is very much a knowledge of relaxing.

When I got back to my room I did some things around the house before going into Ahmednagar. I had to go into the bazaar to buy some material I needed for my granddaughter's birthday quilt. Later, I went to the Page house to check on things.

In Beloved Baba's sweet love, Judy

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