By Preeti Hay
When I was asked to write this Guest column, I found myself hesitant. It was rather strange because I studied writing and have been a journalist and freelance writer for some years now, so obviously it was not the writing part. As for the subject, why would I hesitate to write about something that is such an intrinsic part of my fabric, that even if I tried I could not separate yarns of HIM from my being because there would be nothing left, would there? But that’s exactly what it was. Like many of us Baba lovers, I’ve always felt very private about my inner life with Baba. He is like a pearl hidden within our exterior shells and and how can words ever express His meaning in our lives? So for me, writing about Baba has been limited to and buried in lifelong pages of journals. Having said that, I decided to write this column.
In my work at the Meher Spiritual Center, one of my favorite parts is to meet new guests who have found their way to Baba. Part of getting to know them is taking them onto the Center for the first time. It’s amazing to see their responses, to tune into their minds and hearts as they are being touched by Beloved Baba’s presence in the unique way that He chooses just for each one of them. In conversation, they will tell me their stories, and I am always amazed at the countless ways souls find themselves back to Him. Every once in awhile, they will ask me how I heard about Baba. I smile and most times I say I do not have a story. I was born into it, I grew up with it, and so here I am. And it’s true, I have truly been in awe of great stories, some miraculous, some serendipitous, and some long journeys of deep yearning. In comparison, I do not have a story. My grandparents came to Meher Baba in the 1950s, my parents were second-generation Baba lovers and I was born into this scenario; a fish in like waters. I do not consciously remember questioning it, because Baba was obviously God, and later in life I strongly came to believe He was my Master, too.
Anyway, back to meeting new guests: Recently, I met a young girl at the Center. It was her first time, but she had a spark in her eyes, like she had found a treasure. She asked me how I came to be here and I gave her my usual response. “Oh,” she said, “what a gift, you were served God on a platter.” Wow, I thought. She was right. She had summed up my good fortune in a few wise words. Yes, I may not have a flashy story to share, but I believe Baba found me even before I could search for Him in this lifetime. Maybe I did the searching in another lifetime, maybe I did not, how does it matter? All that matters is that I am here now, so close to His avataric advent to hear about His form, to watch Him in videos, and have first-hand accounts of Him, to still feel goosebumps at His samadhi and know the fragrance of His presence. How easy it can be to take these good fortunes for granted!
As a child, every Baba lover I met had known Him intimately. Having seen Baba was not the rare thing that it is today. In fact, in my own home, my grandfather had played cards with Baba, my grandmother had cooked for Him, and my father had played in His lap. I visited Meherabad every few months and interacted with the Mandali through the different stages of my life: innocence, growth, maturity, and loss. I giggled to no end in their company and sobbed in their arms. Now I continue to have the pleasure of the company of stalwart souls in Baba and that only enhances my relationship with Him. Under these vast umbrellas of lives with Baba, I was and am a speck, a witness taking the extraordinary opportunity in time to experience closeness with Him through others. I have been a sponge soaking up everything I can. I have listened because it has been a great time for listening.
But now as time passes by, His close ones are going away, one by one. We are entering a different era in the Baba world. Personal connections to Him are extending beyond the connection to His physical form and more through hearts that He touches. Of course, I feel a sense of loss of a time I loved so much and a time that helped me create a foundation with Him. But with that loss also comes joy to watch His legacy grow, to see the magician Himself at work, to see Him pull souls into His fold with new tricks up His sleeve. So I stand at the cusp of old and new, and with this position on the field comes a responsibility. For many Baba lovers of my generation, I think now is the time for us to share, to rise, and to be glad for a privilege to be silent spectators but to also speak about Him if we are called to it. He will use us in whatever way He pleases. If we surrender to Him, we are His instruments. He will give us stories to tell, roles to play, and ties to create, and in a minute He can dismantle them all and move on. My instinct is still to hide behind curtains and wait for the future, but isn’t it already the future?
May we not take our love for granted, may I not take this platter for granted. Let me offer something, just one story or a sense of a time or a generation, as long as it can help make these times vibrant, just as times with Him were. Because they truly are vibrant; to be this close to His advent we will have to wait another seven hundred years! So I decided, even though my voice quivers, I will make my offering in the hope to please Him.