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Meher Baba in Spain

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Don Stevens and Avila

Avila

Avila

In 2006 Don Stevens led a group of companions on the first Beads on One String European Pilgrimage through Italy and Spain. These ‘satellite’ pilgrimages, were centred on a seminar in Marseille, exploring the new ideas that came out of the journey to India , 2004¸ visiting the places Baba had sent Don and have now become the basis for the Beads projects.

In Marseille¸ where Baba first arrived, 1931, the seminar explored this new territory through Zen Buddhism, Christianity and Sufism, art and intuition.

The pilgrimages in Italy and Spain covered key locations visited by Baba; Assisi, Portofino, Madrid, Avila and Barcelona. Cordoba and Granada were included in the trip, sites of spiritual harmony and beauty within the Medieval Islamic state of Al-Andalus.

In an article for Neti, 2006, Wayne Smith talks to Don particularly about his discoveries in Avila;

“In August 2006 following the Marseille seminar Don took a party of pilgrims on a tour of important cultural and spiritual sites in Spain, several of which Meher Baba had visited in 1933. A month before the tour Don made a startling and very timely discovery while rereading Ivy O Duce’s book ‘How A Master Works’, something he had never consciously noted before. In the following account given over a Neti lunch not long after the pilgrimage, Don describes the visit he made to Avila and the discovery that he made. He begins by outlining Herbert Davy’s own account in Ivy’s book, of a walk that he had made with Baba from one of the medieval gates of Avila into the open countryside surrounding the walled city, a walk which Don hoped to recreate over seventy years later;

Don: …so they go out the south gate cross the little river with a bridge over it and onto the far side, (it’s not built up and apparently rather deserted in appearance, very few trees). Baba veers off to the left and they start going up a hillside, going between very strange stone formations and on up further, quite some distance they walked, and eventually they came to a flat part of the hillside between two outcroppings of stone. You get there and Herbert Davy says then beyond there is a valley running east-west and in the distance beyond the valleys are these peaks of mountains. So, all this was written by Herbert Davy. Are you ready for the punch-line? Baba explained that in a previous incarnation he had visited this spot and often came to this particular location to walk back and forth and to sit and to meditate-an incarnation which was long before the cathedral was built…Got that one properly registered?-long before the cathedral was built.”

Don now explains his theory around this minor incarnation of the Avatar which he refers to as a ‘veiled incarnation’, similar to that of Shivaji in India:

“So I said to myself, my God, so this must have been then a continuation of the Jesus Christ incarnation when he came to build a nest for St Teresa, one of the four great pillars of Christian Mystics right here in Avila…and the Avatar does something like that ahead of time!” *

Don was so astonished and intrigued by this new discovery that he decided to reschedule the pilgrimage to spend a whole day and night in Avila and asked Rafael Villfarne to contact the hotel management there to find a local guide to help locate this exact spot.

Along with a group of companions Don was driven up the winding track from the city of Avila, then climbing over stiles and up through a rough field towards the enormous and curios rock formations, not unlike those in Hyderabad, with a compass Sevn located the exact spot, the look on Don’s face was of triumph and joy!

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