Growing up with Baba, I often heard the phrase “That would please Baba” or “Baba is pleased.” Sometimes, Baba would use it in a cable or it would be in a letter from Mani and, occasionally, it was something I would hear Elizabeth or Kitty say. You can imagine the excitement in my household when something arrived from India.
First, Elizabeth would immediately call us to come over to Dilruba; we would all gather in the living room and she would read the message aloud. If we were in New York (where we lived from ’59 to ’65), she would read it over the phone, then send us a copy, or the original, if it was marked JaneTrio. When I reread those letters and cables now, it reminds me of how often Baba used the word “pleased” when commenting on something we had done or given. He didn’t thank us; He would say, “I am pleased with your work” or “with your gift,” and the most precious, “with your love.”
As an adult, I didn’t have to look far for living examples of how to please Baba; I only had to watch Elizabeth and Kitty and Margaret to see love for the God Man in action. They instinctively knew what would please Baba; it seemed their every word and deed was inspired by their desire to please Him. The western disciples were introduced to this theme of pleasing Baba early on. In one of her talks, Kitty recalls: It was in the early 1930s when Baba, speaking of love and truth, spelled out on His board: “Faith and love are God’s gifts of Grace to you.” And we replied, “Then what can we give you, Baba? To this Baba spelled out on His board, “Try to please Me and you will know how to love Me.”
I discovered that wanting to please Baba and actually doing what pleases Him are two very different things, the latter being far more difficult for me. I remember Buz and I talking with Eruch about this one day and we were stunned to hear him say: “How infinite is the Beloved’s pleasure that He would allow a shit like me to sit at His feet. I know only what displeases Him.”
I confess I often put my own wants first. I find a way to rationalize acting on my desire instead of paying close attention to His inner voice that is telling me something different. Sometimes, I will first ask Baba to forgive me and then do what I want anyway; it might be expressing anger or impatience, or some overindulgence, or perhaps just being lazy when I know I should be working. I catch myself having critical thoughts and judging people, forgetting that it’s His business, not mine. But I find the most insidious thoughts of all to be worry. I’m convinced that if I don’t worry, “it”, whatever “it” may be, won’t turn out the way I want it to. These negative thoughts can be so persistent and annoying that they remind me of how Baba has compared thoughts to mosquitoes:
“Suppose there are numerous mosquitoes swarming around and they start biting you at night. What would you do to get rid of this annoyance? Would you just sit there and cry? No! You would at once get a mosquito net. You would resort to a remedy and it eventually would have the desired effect. Even thought the mosquitoes would come in hordes at first, you would not feel disturbed, for they would almost all be outside the curtain, though a few might have come inside the net. Likewise, deal with all these thoughts. They, like mosquitoes, are sure to come and annoy you, but you have to put up a curtain of thoughts about Me, by letting My divine image be present before your mind’s eye. Meditate on Me so that the other thoughts automatically stop pestering your mind. Let the mosquito net of meditation on Me save you from being bitten by your thoughts.”
There’s another quote of Baba’s that serves as a wonderfully clear guide for me: “Think of things that you would not hesitate to think of in My presence. Speak words that you would not hesitate to speak in My presence and do things that your would not hesitate to do in My presence.”
I remember one day, at Dilruba, I overheard a conversation Kitty was having with a new person. They were sitting in the dining room by the window overlooking Long Lake, Kitty’s favorite spot on a sunny day, and I heard the man ask, “Do you feel Meher Baba’s love all the time?” Kitty thought for a moment and replied, “No, I can’t say that I do but, you see, I have this conviction about who Meher Baba is and it makes me want to please Him all the time.”
There is no doubt in my mind that I want to please Baba. But there are some days when the mosquitoes are so abundant and pesky that it becomes a daunting task to just plow through the swarm and unravel the net. It’s clear I have many opportunities for practice ahead of me. I just hope someday, some lifetime, pleasing Him will be second nature.