11 April 2010

They Deserve to Be Named

Last night at Meher Center we saw a film of the 1958 sahavas with Meher Baba at Myrtle Beach, on Baba’s last trip to America. Marshall Hay narrated the video, which had no audio, and whenever some familiar person was on the screen, such as one of the mandali or one of the old-time Baba-lovers was on the screen — Adi K. Irani, Kitty Davy, Margaret Craske, Beryl Williams, John Bass, Hedi Mertens, Lenny Willoughby, Donald Mahler — he would name that person for the audience. I had written in my essay “
Looking at Meher Baba” that I did not like it when narrators distracted the audience’s attention from looking at Baba, as if the people around him were the “celebrities” we should take note of. Sitting next to me were two first-time visitors from Ontario, and I was concerned that the narration was causing them to look away from Baba to try to figure out who were these other people they had never heard of.

After the film, Phyllis Ott, who was sitting on my other side, seemed to read my thoughts when she told me that while watching the film she asked herself, “Why are these people being named?” I started to tell her my reaction to the naming of people in the film when she went on, answering her own question in a way I had never thought of. “It’s because they alone among so many were the few who had the inspiration or the wit or the impulse to make that journey, to travel to Myrtle Beach and take advantage of the opportunity to see Avatar Meher Baba,” she said. “That’s why they deserve to be named.”


Tom Hickey said...

A perceptive comment by Phyllis. Baba's life is still so contemporaneous that its impact hasn't yet set in, and all the people, things, and places associated with the Avatar of the Age not yet appreciated as they will be come to be in the future.

I was struck by this in watching a documentary on the life of Buddha on PBS recently, seeing the crowds that still gather at the major places of Buddhist pilgrimage and thinking how the hospital in which Baba was born was recently torn down. It will not be long before people are saying, "You did what?" Many other examples can be given.

My best to Phyllis.

Mary Barrett said...

I am so glad you told this story. I need to remember those who put aside their wants and fears and jumped into the air to be caught in Baba's arms! Their faith in Baba to catch them, to know what was best for them even though it might bring pain or struggle is a example all of us can hold for inspiration and to see what mere humans are able to do in their love for God. Thank you, Kendra

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.