07 October 2007

Stories from a Special Day at the Center for the Nearby Community

Periodically Meher Center hosts special days for Center volunteers or the local Baba community. This one, held on Saturday, 6 October 2007, included early morning Arti in the compound of Meher Abode (Baba’s House); a sumptuous breakfast, lunch, and tea prepared by the incredible Mina Brustman; and a gathering in the Barn for sharing stories. I took notes of a few of those stories.

Richard Blum

Returning to India shortly after the passing of Mehera J. Irani (Meher Baba’s most beloved female disciple), Richie Blum was surprised to see pilgrims bowing down at Mehera's grave. When the women mandali came to Baba's Tomb, he witnessed that they too bowed down to Mehera. This left him perplexed until Mani (Baba’s sister and close disciple) bowed down.

After bowing down to Mehera's tomb, Mani rose and told Richie’s daughter, Mehera Blum, “Do you know why we bow down to Mehera’s tomb? We do it so that some of her love for Baba will rub off on us.”

Ralph Hernandez

When Ralph met Baba on Meher Center, Baba paid a lot of attention to him, making Stella jealous; but it was because “Baba knew I needed help.”

Baba came to the Barn almost every day to meet with people for a couple of hours. One incident stays in Ralph’s memory strongly. He was standing between the two screen doors, and Baba was sitting inside the Barn near Elizabeth Patterson. Baba leaned over and motioned for Ralph to come over. A man near Ralph thought the gesture was for him and he started to respond, but Baba gestured, “Not you” and indicated Ralph. Immediately Ralph’s mind started working. This was in 1958, so he and Stella had had time to learn more about Baba’s ways, and Ralph was apprehensive about what Baba might ask of him. “What’s He gonna make me do?” A hundred thoughts like this went through Ralph’s mind as he stood before Baba.

“Would you like to do something for Me?” Baba asked, as if it were the most important thing in the world and you couldn’t possibly refuse. Elizabeth’s facial expression clearly conveyed, “This young man doesn’t know what’s going on.” Baba went on, “Would you be happy to do something for Me?” Ralph said yes. Baba asked him to go and stand in the parking area while Baba and others went for lunch. If anyone came, Ralph was to inform them that Baba had gone to lunch, and after they came back, then Ralph should go for his lunch. This was the only order that Ralph ever received from Baba, and it was given in a way that seemed very important.

The way Ralph was telling this anecdote, you got the sense that he couldn’t discern the significance of this simple order; nonetheless, he followed it to a T, waiting in the parking lot even though no one came looking for Baba. After Baba came back from lunch, He gestured to Ralph, “Go and have your lunch,” and he did.

Another story that Ralph told was short and simple: Ralph saw Baba starting to get up from His seat, and Ralph felt strongly that Baba needed help. Could he help Baba? Ralph wondered. He took a step forward to help Baba up, but then thought better of it and stood back.

Later on, it occurred to Ralph what this incident could possibly have meant. After the meeting in the Barn had ended, everyone had gone out, leaving Baba sitting there alone. The lack of respect which people had at that time, their inability to acknowledge Baba’s Divinity, may have been what pained Baba (not because Baba demands or needs our respect, but because He wants us to know who He is and why He has come to us).

Mehrnoush Lorkalantari

Mehrnoush, one of Shireen Vahidi’s daughters, recently moved to Myrtle Beach with her husband, Kerry McPherson, and their daughter, Mehera. Mehrnoush recalled that as a college student she was broke, and buying perfume became too expensive. Still, she went to the mall to look at the perfumes, smelling them, checking the prices.

After she had been browsing like this for about ten minutes, suddenly Baba appeared to her, with his beautiful flowing hair and white sadra! He told her, “Buy whatever you want—My treat!”

To be continued

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All quotes of Meher Baba © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust unless otherwise indicated. Writings by Kendra are © Kendra Crossen Burroughs unless otherwise noted.