Diane Cobb was thirteen in 1956 when she first met Meher Baba, who nicknamed her “Baba’s Beloved Baby,” otherwise known as “3-B.” Diane’s father was Lud Dimpfl, one of Murshida Ivy Duce’s students in Sufism Reoriented, the Western Sufi order “reoriented” by Meher Baba. Diane is the young girl with shoulder-length blond hair seen with Baba in some films taken in 1956. She is here at
Young Diane Dimpfl was among the crowd that gathered to greet Meher Baba when he arrived in
Diane also met Baba at
—Baba looked very beautiful in 1956. Diane described his many “changing faces of love”—now smiling and vivacious, now majestic, now looking wistful as if to say, “Do you think you could try to love me?” She spoke of Baba’s looking like a king completely at his ease, not caring whether he appeared like a king but naturally radiating “effortless might.”
—She heard Baba tell people on more than one occasion, “I am never displeased with you,” or “I am always pleased with you.” Once another little girl (Tara Frey) was overheard saying, “Oh, I hate mys
—Diane’s mother, Bea Dimpfl (who did not then love Baba yet), wanted to give Diane a haircut and permanent at home because she thought Diane’s hair a mess—she insisted on it, saying in response to Diane’s protests, “And don’t go running to Baba about it.” When Charmian Duce came by with
—In 1958, some of the Sufi men had put on an entertainment for Baba having to do with an “Alligator Club.” Diane and her aunt Ellie decided the women should have a club too, so they created the Stinkers’ Club, whose sole aim was to get near Baba by whatever means necessary. (It was difficult to get close to Baba with all the people.) They had a hard time getting members, though she said Filis Frederick and Beryl Williams were game. Diane and Ellie tried various mischievous ruses to get to see Baba, until they actually thought of asking Adi Sr. if they could tell him about their club, and Adi said, “Of course, Baba said you were to see him whenever you asked.” They came and presented Baba with his membership card—they had made up cards with drawings of skunks, each with a flower name. (The mandali got cards too—Eruch was “Magnolia.”) Baba, of course, was to be the president, and Diane informed him that he was the biggest Stinker of all. She said he laughed so hard she could hear the sound of it in his nose!
—In 1958 they were eating with Baba and Diane had a 7-Up. Baba was expressing a lot of concern about it, asking her father if she was “allowed” to have 7-Up. Diane, who was 15 at the time, thought this was preposterous and asserted that she drank it “all the time.” But Baba kept making a fuss, saying it was too chilly and she would catch a cold from it. He would touch the glass to test its temperature, and so on. She was very annoyed by this and waited till Baba wasn’t looking and then gulped it all down. The next day she woke up with sore throat and couldn’t even speak. Anyone contagious was not to go near Baba, so she had to stay in bed. By the time she was better, she found that another child had replaced her as Baba’s favorite—Charles Haynes. She spoke of how naturally reverential Charles was (proudly showing her a prize possession, the white Bible his minister had given him), and how he adored Baba even though he didn’t seem to quite realize who Baba was. She tried hanging around Charles in order to get closer to Baba, but that didn’t really work (though she did get to know Charles better!).
—Baba said that Murshida Duce should initiate Diane as a Sufi, even though the rules were that you had to be at least 16 years old, and she wasn’t. When other children heard about it, they wanted to be Sufis too, and Baba allowed it.
—In 1962 Baba no longer looked as beautiful as he had in 1956, was no longer as energetic, smiling, and charismatic. He looked old and ill. Diane began to see that what she had thought was her love for Baba was really her enjoyment of his lively personality and the good way he made her feel. She realized that to really love Baba would be to care more about how he was feeling—and to love him even if he ignored you or didn’t look as outwardly attractive. She had the opportunity to observe Mehera brushing Baba’s hair, and she noted the elation that Mehera felt in Baba’s presence—the feeling that Mehera was overcome with joy and gratitude each time she was able to be with Baba, even though she saw Baba frequently. And it didn’t matter if Baba seemed old, tired, or unsmiling.