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Articles

Amartithi
  – Bruce Felknor

"You'll find Me in the garden"
  – Jenny Keating

'Heart Tires of Its Gaudy Dress' – Francis Brabazon
  – Buck Busfield

HOLLYWOOD
  – Billy Goodrum

Trust and Intimacy
  – Jenny Keating

Living with Baba
  – Bruce Felknor

When Words Fail . . . Just Use More Words
  – Buck Busfield

Suffering and Service
  – Juniper Lesnik

SPOILER ALERT
  – Billy Goodrum

The charm of His ways. . .
  – Jenny Keating

The Importance of Being Furnished
  – Bruce Felknor

It's Been Fun
  – Steve Klein

Let’s Talk about Love
  – Juniper Lesnik

Cannes
  – Billy Goodrum

In the world but not of it . . .
  – Jenny Keating

Give Me Your Imperfections
  – Wendy Connor

Children of the One God
  – Bruce Felknor

As the Poet Says
  – Steve Klein

Happy Endings
  – Jenny Keating

Thoughts on Furniture
  – Billy Goodrum

Going Home
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Tale of Two Connections
  – Bruce Felknor

The Flowering Seed
  – Wendy Connor

Baby Steps
  – Steve Klein

Patience
  – Jenny Keating

Hold On!
  – Juniper Lesnik

Waiting for the New Humanity
  – Billy Goodrum

Remembering
  – Bruce Felknor

The Beloved's Beloved
  – Wendy Connor

Compare and Contrast
  – Steve Klein

It's in the struggle . . .
  – Jenny Keating

Time
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Tipping Point
  – Billy Goodrum

Learning Poise
  – Bruce Felknor

When "Good Enough" Isn't
  – Steve Klein

Conflict and Joy
  – Jenny Keating

Sleepless in San Jose
  – Juniper Lesnik

Vacation Incarnation
  – Steve Klein

Nerve Endings of the Soul
  – Jenny Keating

"Let the World Wait"
  – Wendy Connor

Religion vs Spirituality
  – Steve Klein

The Bigger Challenge
  – Wendy Connor

Que Sera Sera
  – Steve Klein

To Be Honest
  – Juniper Lesnik

Praise and Blame
  – Steve Klein

Being Right
  – Steve Klein

To Love God is To Love Our Fellow Beings
  – Juniper Lesnik

God is Alive in the World
  – Wendy Connor

Determined to Be His
  – Steve Klein

The Stuff We're Made Of
  – Juniper Lesnik

"I Will Always Be With You": Memories of the East West Gathering
  – Wendy Connor

Half Full or Half Empty?
  – Steve Klein

Love The One You're With
  – Steve Klein

Ordinary Life
  – Juniper Lesnik

Baba Loved Us Too
  – Wendy Connor

Feeling His Love
  – Steve Klein

He is both Father and Mother
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Leap of Faith
  – Wendy Connor

Becoming His
  – Steve Klein

Don't Worry, Be Happy
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Life Worth Living
  – Wendy Connor

Love The One You're With
  – Steve Klein

What a Mighty Beloved our Beloved is
  – Wendy Connor

To thine own self be true?
  – Steve Klein

The Sweets of His Love
  – Wendy Connor

Sickness and Health
  – Juniper Lesnik

Giving Advice
  – Steve Klein

"Garlic-Faced"
  – Wendy Connor

To Love and Be Loved
  – Juniper Lesnik

Talking About The Truth
  – Steve Klein

The Script was Written Long Ago
  – Wendy Connor

Excuse Me, Which Way to God?
  – Steve Klein

Letting Go
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Mosquitoes are Bad Today
  – Wendy Connor

What If A Teaching Moment Never Comes?
  – Steve Klein

Beads On One String
  – Juniper Lesnik

Youth Sahavas '07
  – Wendy Connor

Stop, You're Both Right!
  – Steve Klein

God, Please Give me a Job
  – Juniper Lesnik

"It Just Passes More Quickly"
  – Wendy Connor

Multiple Meher Babas
  – Steve Klein

Winking Back
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Treasure Within
  – Wendy Connor

Holding On, But Losing One's Grip
  – Steve Klein

1969
  – Ann Conlon

Obedience
  – Ann Conlon

Meher Center – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

Armageddon, Anyone?
  – Ann Conlon

What Does Baba Want Me to Do?
  – Ann Conlon

Baba's 'Things'
  – Ann Conlon

What Does THAT Mean?
  – Ann Conlon

The Way It Was – Meherabad
  – Ann Conlon

Doing "Baba Work"
  – Ann Conlon

Broken Heads
  – Ann Conlon

Enid
  – Ann Conlon

On Being Ill
  – Ann Conlon

Meherjee
  – Ann Conlon

To Each His Own
  – Ann Conlon

Youth Sahavas
  – Ann Conlon

Kitty
  – Ann Conlon

The Lonely Path
  – Ann Conlon

Isn't He Enough?
  – Ann Conlon

He Said What?
  – Ann Conlon

Goher
  – Ann Conlon

Taking a Dare
  – Ann Conlon

Seeking Suffering
  – Ann Conlon

Amartithi
  – Ann Conlon

Dreams
  – Ann Conlon

Margaret
  – Ann Conlon

"The Disciple"
  – Ann Conlon

I Wonder ...
  – Ann Conlon

Backbiting, etc.
  – Ann Conlon

Hearing His Name
  – Ann Conlon

Rites, Rituals and Ceremonies
  – Ann Conlon

His Promise
  – Ann Conlon

"Baba's Group"
  – Ann Conlon

Then and Now
  – Ann Conlon

Middlemen Revisited
  – Ann Conlon

Padri
  – Ann Conlon

Gateway Days
  – Ann Conlon

The New Life
  – Ann Conlon

Books, Books and More Books
  – Ann Conlon

Elizabeth Patterson
  – Ann Conlon

His "Last Warning"
  – Ann Conlon

Is That A Religion Coming?
  – Ann Conlon

Detachment
  – Ann Conlon

A Country of Our Own?
  – Ann Conlon

Manifestation: Did He Or Didn't He?
  – Ann Conlon

Remembering Mohammed
  – Ann Conlon

Advice (Sort-Of) for Newcomers
  – Ann Conlon

You're a Baba Lover If...
  – Ann Conlon

Real Happiness
  – Ann Conlon

Baba Lover, Baba Follower or Both?
  – Ann Conlon

Meherazad – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

The Strongest Memories
  – Ann Conlon

All (Baba) Things Considered

The Strongest Memories

This column, intended to appear here twice a month, will wander from pillar to post, depending on what strikes my fancy, but it will always be focused on Meher Baba. It may be memories of times with Meher Baba or his mandali. It may be comments on what is happening in the Baba world today, or what I wish was — or wasn't — happening in the Baba world today. It may be recommendations for Baba books I personally love. It certainly will be subjective and opinionated.

In this initial column, I want to talk about being with Meher Baba in India in the early 1960s. I'm not going to tell the whole story here, but rather choose some moments that have stayed with me strongly over the years.

We've all heard stories about people asking Baba for what they wanted, his declining, their pushing, his finally giving in. This story is about one such incident, with a result, I'm sure, that was lost on the one who "pushed." During the 1961 Sahavas, one of Baba's long time followers asked permission to make a speech, even though Baba had already said he wanted none. Baba declined permission, the man continued to plead, and Baba finally gave in. There was a little three or four-year-old boy sitting close to Baba's feet and the moment the man began to talk, Baba started wiggling his toes at the little boy. A thousand pairs of eyes went immediately to the boy and Baba's feet, and no one heard a word of the man's speech.

The point: the Baba follower was happy, but it was Baba who got his way. For all its impact, the man might just as well have never spoken. It has made me often wonder, when I think I've gotten my way, if he isn't really getting His and, like that follower in 1961, I'm just too self-absorbed to see it.

Those who met Baba in the body, out of real conviction or just out of kindness, have gotten used to saying to those who did not meet him, "But you've met him in your own way; it's all the same." Well, it isn't. But in one respect, in Baba's own words, it's not the same in a way quite different than what you might expect.

On the day I first met Meher Baba in 1961, he asked me if I knew why St. Francis loved Jesus more than Peter did.

I said, "No, Baba."

Baba said, "It was because Francis never met Jesus; his love and his longing was that much greater."

Think about it: who comes out higher up on the "I-love-Meher-Baba" scale. The seeker who met him and was instantly overcome by that tangible outpouring of Divine love, or the seeker who never met him but whose heart was so open that Meher Baba promptly moved in? I like to think it's actually a tie.

* * *

Baba frequently told the story of Mira, a Hindu princess, whose love for Krishna drove her to give up her royal and wealthy life to spend her years wandering and telling people about her Lord Krishna. When Baba told me about her in 1961, I had never heard of her. He told me who she was and then twice said, "Mira never put anyone or anything between herself and Krishna." That statement struck me very powerfully and I took it as an order. In all the years since, it has sent my antennae quivering whenever I thought I was getting close to doing that or I thought someone else was trying to place themselves between me and Baba. I'm sure there have been times over the years when I've over-reacted to others' attempts just to be kind or to express interest, but I figure better paranoid than naive.

* * *

And then there was the question of "God Speaks."

"Have you read it?" he asked.

I had tried, because Baba had asked every family to own one copy and had asked everyone to read it.

Somewhat embarrassed by the question, I told him the truth, "Baba, I tried, but I only got to page 64 and I didn't understand a word.

I was certainly surprised when Baba threw his hands up in the air, laughed, and signed, "Don't bother, it's not important."

I did not take that to mean that "God Speaks" was not important for anyone, because it certainly has been. I just thought he knew I'd never get through that book, that it simply wasn't my way. He knew, I'm sure, that my relationship with him had nothing to do with philosophy or theology, and to expect me to struggle though "God Speaks" would be like trying to get blood from a stone. I found the one part of "God Speaks" that made sense to me when I jumped to the supplement and found the line that says, "This book was written to satisfy the convulsions of man's mind." What a relief!

Don't misunderstand; I have the greatest respect for people who have not only read "God Speaks" once but many times and who find tremendous value in it. It was simply that my mind was not having convulsions over the origin or purpose of the universe, but was much more preoccupied with how to make the God-Man an integral part of my life this time around. Perhaps I'll get to "God Speaks" next lifetime.

* * *

Perhaps the strongest impression of those five days in 1961 is one of love and laughter, certainly the antithesis of a God perceived by many religions as judgmental, angry and punishing.The love Meher Baba poured out during those few short days was overwhelming, filling my cup, overflowing and turning into a river in which I felt I had drowned. Along with that love was a pervasive flow of laughter that permeated every hour that we were with him. Some of it came from his reactions to his lovers' actions or words, some of it from his lovers' serious attempts to make him laugh.

He laughed the hardest, I think, on the day when young Baba lovers from Pune presented a skit depicting all the Avatars. The finale came when Baba's 15-year-old twin nephews, Rustom and Sorab, impersonated Baba and Eruch. They were so perfect in their act, and so funny, that Baba's laughter brought tears to his eyes. I hope that humor is not lost over the years ahead, that some attempt at turning Baba into a religion doesn't manage to wipe out one of the most endearing, refreshing and memorable aspects of his human personality. If there is such a thing as sin, then I think losing that humor would be a major transgression, and it will be our fault, and our loss.