Meher Baba loved people who dared, who were willing to take risks even if they had no way of knowing they’d win anything.
I suppose that’s what we’re all doing with Baba — risking it all in the belief that we’ll eventually win him. But when we start we don’t really know if there’s anything to win, do we? And that’s taking the biggest dare of all.
When I think of daring people, though, I’m more apt to go back to the mandali in India and to those early Westerners who defied all conventions to seize the “dare” and run with it. People like Kitty Davy, Margaret Craske, Delia DeLeon, the Becketts who sailed for India in 1937 expecting to stay with Baba for many years, perhaps the rest of their lives. He sent them back to England within a month or so, to face the cynical and critical British press and have their story and their pictures plastered all over the country’s newspapers. Can you imagine having to handle that one? They did and went on to dedicate the rest of their lives to Meher Baba.
I once talked to an early ballet student of Margaret Craske’s who told me all Margaret’s students were horrified when she and Mabel Ryan left their school in London and went off to India. She said the story that went around said Margaret had sold her very valuable school and given all the money to Meher Baba. Not true, by the way. She gave the school to a former student, Peggy van Praagh and went to India with only a 10 pound note in her shoe.
And then there were some of the early mandali, who ignored the criticism of families and friends to leave all and follow him, literally into the wilderness, so strong were their convictions. I guess that’s the key to taking risks, to being daring: total conviction, the sense that what one is doing is right, and no doubts are to be entertained.
That conviction has shown up in later generations of Baba lovers: the Westerners who flew to India in 1961 on a moment’s notice for the chance to have five minutes with Baba, a trip which Baba called “a test of the daring of the lover;” the young sisters who stood up to raging parents in order to follow Baba; the many Baba lovers who, through circumstances, go it alone with Baba, with no support from peers; the Indian gypsies who walked a thousand miles to have a few moments in Meher Baba’s presence in 1962.
Daring then is the mark of the true Baba lover. And no matter how nutty that may seem to others, it is what makes us — us!