This is an account of the story told by Larry Karrasch at
Larry Karrasch’s parents first heard of Meher Baba in 1950. His mother, Annarosa, was a Sufi under Murshida Ivy Duce in
The family drove down to
During the 1958 visit, Larry’s mom and grandmother were invited to tea at Baba’s House (Meher Abode) on the Center. By the fireplace in the living room, there was a tray of gifts sent by Mehera, and people were assembled to receive them from Baba’s hand. Annarosa received a silver stick pin with Baba’s face. Then Baba asked, ‘Where is the little lover?”—meaning her son, Larry. She asked, “Did you want me to bring him?” Baba shook His head, meaning no, then reached over to a tray of gifts and felt among them. Finally He pulled out a small snuff box. Baba remarked that it was filled with His Love, and handed it to Annarosa to give to her son. When his mother gave him the gift, and remarked that it was filled with Baba’s Love, Larry didn’t know what that meant. He was surprised and disappointed to be given a snuff box (about 2 1/2 inches long and elliptical in shape) when the other children got toys, like dolls for girls or toy elephants for boys.
When Larry pulled off the lid of the snuff box and took a whiff, it had a fragrance all its own, emanating as sandalwood does. Once the family returned home, Annarosa put the snuff box in her special cabinet for Baba treasures. Every once in a while Larry would take it out and smell the inside.
In 1967, Larry left home to attend college in
After returning home to New York for spring break, Larry took out the little snuff box one day to open it, hoping to find some comfort—but the special perfume was gone; it merely smelled like a wooden box.
Larry didn’t realize the meaning of this until Mani told the story of the “gong that died.” This was a gong that was sounded at Meherazad to summon the mandali to come to Baba’s room. After He dropped the body, it was found to have expired, producing only a dull sound. Since metals are part of the sentient universe (described as one of the evolutionary kingdoms in God Speaks), it seems that this gong, once its service to the God-Man was no longer needed, simply dropped its body too.
Larry went on to describe the fragrance he remembered inhaling when embracing Baba. At first, as a young boy, Larry thought it was special cologne that Baba wore. He reminisced, that when he embraced Baba he would bury his nose into Baba’ neck and smell this fragrance. But it was only after returning home from the 1962 East-West gathering—a sahavas gathering of all Baba’s Eastern and Western disciples in
After Annarosa’s death in 1994, Larry inherited many Baba treasures, including some sacred clothing items: three sadras and two coats. Baba’s pink coat had been sealed up in a plastic bag since the late 1960’s. When Larry and Rita opened the bag to check on the condition of the coat, this distinctive fragrance was released. Larry immediately said to Rita, “Quick, smell this—this is what Baba’s fragrance was like.” The fragrance lingered in the room for just a brief moment and then it was gone.