By Wendy Haynes Connor
From knowing so many people over the years, each of whom has come to love and follow Meher Baba, it appears that He contacts each of us at just the perfect moment and in just the perfect way for our individual journey to Him. And this contact is uniquely Baba’s: He says, “I have come to sow the seed of love in your hearts.” When I was a child of six, I met Beloved Meher Baba for the first time. He was so familiar and loving, not at all the stranger I thought I was going to meet. It was as natural as breathing to run into His arms and from that first moment all I wanted was to stay as close to Him as possible. I know now, that with His first embrace, Baba planted the seed of His love in my heart. I would say that this meeting would mark the beginning of my journey on His path of love.
As I grew older, I began to discover that Meher Baba was far more than I could have possibly realized as a child. While not truly understanding, I gradually came to realize that He was not limited to that beautiful cloak we called Meher Baba. But, for much of my life, my inner relationship to Baba was an unconscious one. In other words, my relationship with the God-Man began as an outer one – one that was focused solely on His beautiful form. And my conscious inner journey did not begin until after Baba dropped the body.
Baba gave me many experiences that, in retrospect, feel key to my inner growth but, at the time, I just didn’t recognize them for what they really were. I’d like to share one experience, in particular, that left a profound impression and proved to be key to my growing awareness of Baba’s presence within me. It was an experience that began in 1962, at the East-West Gathering in India when I was eleven years old. Baba had planned every detail of the trip–including the dates for travel, choosing volunteers to take care of us during our stay, the places He wished for us to visit in Pune, how long we would stay, as well as the daily schedules of meetings with Him. He had also instructed all of us to visit Meherabad and Meherazad – once the official Darshan program ended – while He remained behind at Guruprasad.
The experience that is burned in my memory is of my first visit to Baba’s tomb. Baba told us to go there first before doing anything else. When it came my turn to enter, I remember crossing the threshold and peering down the steps into the empty crypt. It was dank and cold and I was immediately overwhelmed with sadness. I kept picturing Baba back at Guruprasad, smiling and radiant with love. It was such a contrast to the joy I had experienced in His loving presence the past week. It was unfathomable to me that His body would one day be brought to rest in this place.
Fast forward to 1969, after Baba dropped His body and it came time for the Great Darshan, which Baba had said He would give reclining. Again, Baba had planned every detail of our trip and, as before, instructed us to visit His tomb. Remembering my experience in ’62, I was feeling nervous and unhappy, not wanting to go at all. But an extraordinary thing happened. This time, the instant I crossed the threshold, I was overcome with joy and tremendous waves of love came washing over me – Baba’s presence was so strong – I heard Him say inwardly, “You see, Wendy, I haven’t left – I haven’t gone anywhere. I am always with you.”
That reminds me of an experience Elizabeth Patterson had when Baba dropped His body in January, 1969. She awoke on the morning of January 31st with the conscious thought: “I know my redeemer liveth.” This experience of hers had a deep impact on me at the time. I feel that Baba was revealing in her heart the message that He lives eternally – within each one of us. He took on this lovely form to visit us and to plant the seeds of His love – so that we would come to find Him internally – not only as our closest companion, but as our true Self.
Now, looking back, I realize that through every experience, Baba was continually watering His seed of love for the time when I would have to journey inward to find Him where He was all along – within my heart.