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30

 

awake and be interested. Eventually, however, he motioned us to go to bed, the Easterners remaining with him.

 

Unlike concerts in the West which last two hours at the most, the Eastern singer improves as the evening progresses, and is fortified with cups of strong tea and spicy "pan." Also the appreciative response of the one to whom he addresses his songs encourages the singer to greater effort. Baba never tires of listening to these songs of longing and love for God.

 

West Meets East

 

The meeting of Eastern and Western disciples on Meherabad Hill within a month of our being called to Nasik was soon to alter completely the lives of a few of the Western group, myself included.

 

Dadachanji, a close disciple who accompanied Baba on his trips to the West, had spoken to us, in the early days of 1932, about a small number of Baba's close women disciples living on Meherabad Hill. He expressed a hope that one day we women too, might be privileged to join this group, but Baba, beyond mentioning their names and their great love and self-sacrifice for him, never so much as hinted about such a possibility.

 

The Eastern and Western groups met for the first time in 1933, at Kandevele, 20 miles outside Bombay. We were staying in the Hotel Majestic, Bombay, having just arrived from Europe on our first visit to India, and had been met at the dock by a group of Baba's men disciples, including Vishnu, Pendu, Chanji, Adi and others. The next day at 2 p.m., cars arrived at the hotel to take us to Kandevele, where Baba with the Meherabad group was awaiting our arrival. Also present were Rustom's mother Gulmai, his wife Freni, and his sister Dolly, in addition to the six from the Hill—Mehera, Mani, Khorshed, Naja, Masi and Valu. In our group were Norina, Elizabeth, Margaret, Mabel, Minta, Delia, Vivien, Audrey, Christine and myself.

 

We were delighted to meet those we had heard so much about. They were charming and made us feel at home. I remember they had brought a number of beautiful saris for us to wear, a splendid thing to do, as thereby the East and West were at once brought together on a topic of common interest. They assisted us in dressing as we could not have managed the draping of the saris by ourselves. Baba sat in the room watching with interest our reactions and happy to see the two groups mingling so harmoniously.

 

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