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November Pilgrimage to Meherabad

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For anyone wishing to experience the majesty of India's nature and wildlife I wholeheartedly recommend Ranthambore... it is truly an experience never to be forgotten. The fort is impressively intense dating from around 944 AD and housing a mosque, a 32 pillared Chhatri and a Temple to Lord Ganesha and offering expansive views to the park below.

Sawai Madhopur is conveniently situated on the main line express rail to Mumbai, taking about 15 hours and passing through a mixture of landscapes from mountains to plains, connecting spacious, rural simplicity with the full on concentrated intensity of Mumbai. Whilst trying to negotiate seating exchanges aboard this overcrowded express train, with a particularly uncooperative and intimidating young man, Baba again flexed His protective presence in the form of a government official, who,after diplomatically persuading the youth and his friend to change seats, volunteered his services throughout our journey. A few stations later the compartment's remaining vacant seat was taken by a returning Jain Pilgrim - offering us all prasad and prayers... and completing our protective entourage... ta da!!

We were met at Mumbai from the train by our beaming driver- escort Michael, complete with welcoming placard "Jai Baba Jan Baker". On route to Meherabad we were invited to lunch with Prof. Digambar and Urmila Gadekar and family. Oh Baba, what joy and what smooth passage we were given. To then sit and talk and listen and laugh to dearest Digambar's stories in the house frequented by Baba in Pune, and for Will to be afforded this joy as well! (Chloe had met Digambar when he stayed at our home in England, and at the East West Gathering Celebrations in Meherabad last year).

And so onward to Meherabad... Is it not with much trepidation that we introduce our children in the hope that it is their time to come to Baba?... and however much I tell myself that I am resigned to His will, this is where I am most tested. So the fact that both my children loved Meherabad was the greatest gift. That Will slipped so effortlessly into the play with other pilgrims and that I could physically feel his hitherto inner tension loosening. Oh Baba! How incredibly kind and sensitive and generous was this trip.

And then, like the cherry on my karmic cake, I was offered, on three unrelated occasions, the opportunity of future work at Meherazad, along with the possibility of acquiring a beautiful place to live. Because I am relatively new to Baba I'd resigned myself for a long, long wait before I'd be considered ready or worthy of residential inclusion - but this time so many things seemed different (albeit most likely it was I who had changed). The prospect of living in Meherabad had, since my first visit, been a dream, and now it might be becoming a reality. For many days my mind kept orbiting around these prospects. Should I buy the property offered or would this complicate and get in the way of focussing on Baba? Because this seemed so perfect was it all springing from my desires or truly a gift from Him? And so the mind started its monkey business of getting in the way of my heart connection. When the opportunity arose, I approached Meherwan Jessawala for his advice, and so simply and matter of factly he responded: "Just grab Him by His collar and give all to Him - He'll sort it all. Keep saying His name, and make sure you give it all to Him and let Him do it all. Do not force anything. He will make it easy if it is His wish". And so I did. And guess what? My heart connection was restored!

I had come expecting emotional turmoil, or at least Baba to be taking something away, in line with all past visits. Instead I had been given such abundance of His love, and now the opportunity of serving and living in His house. I had come feeling like a pilgrim but I was to be leaving feeling like a resident - like I truly belonged. One morning in particular, during Arti, the song book was passed to me and, as I let the pages fall, they opened at "Lord of the Dance". As this had been one of the songs sung at Marion Saunder's Farewell I felt compelled to sing it in her remembrance... and as it happened, the following morning as well, when Ted Judsen brought the additional verses written for her some years ago. How easy each day was now flowing without me trying to direct anything - but how quickly our day to depart arrived!

Because Will, Chloe and Ange left a week earlier, we were sharing our car ride back to Mumbai with Fi Robertson. Three very different characters but all threaded with Baba's love... And we were all laughing at our precious differences when Rachel attempted to break the shell of a hard boiled egg on the car's dashboard. Now, given that I thought it was German built, we were all surprised at the shriek of concern this act elicited from our driver, and imagining the associated impact on German reputation, "boiled egg breaks car before cracking", we dissolved into more fits of hysteria. Imagine then my sobered expression when, stopping over for refreshment a few hours onward, a placard exhibiting the following thought for the day caught my eye:

If an egg is broken by outside force life ends. If broken by inner force life begins. Great things always begin from inside.

Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai X

Jan Baker

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Next story:  Incidents in Baba's Love
Meher Baba's visit to Myrtle Beach, USA in 1952... Suddenly from the back of the house far away, I heard Mani's footsteps racing along the upstairs hall and down the stairs...

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