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31

 

to the strains of a local band. Through Baba's gate they came, each carrying their offering of coconuts, sweets and garlands. Bhajans were sung, after which Baba gave to each a ladhu or sweet as prasad. When the ceremony was over and Baba got up, all shouted "Meher Baba ki jai!" Then Baba, leading the way through the gate, descended the hill followed by the crowd, a most impressive and touching sight.

 

If I remember correctly, this day was also the anniversary of the death in Bangalore of a very dear Western disciple, Nonny Gayley, and Baba gave the order that fifty poor were to be fed by the mandali and Rano, her daughter, was to help in the distribution of the food. It is a fact that Baba, on the physical "passing away" of a close disciple, has always made it an occasion for feeding the poor, in his or her memory., Baba always encouraged us to face the death of a loved one, not with undiluted sadness but with an alloy—a mixture of sadness and happiness. Sadness for our loss . . . but happiness for their gain. .

 

In 1938, when Mabel Ryan, one of the earliest of the English group, passed on after much suffering, Baba sent the following message to all who loved her: "Now she is happy and she can see Me all the time." It is the habit of seeing each other all day long that makes us miss each other when we are parted, but actually there is no change in the separation called "death." We are still one in Baba.

 

Again most recently, Baba, explaining this same theme, said, "I am never sorry for anyone who dies. . . He who dies with my name on his lips, with me in his heart, never dies. I never worry about them, for theirs is no loss. If I am ever worried, it is for those that suffer through the death which they might allow to alienate them from me. That would be their loss indeed. Why suffer unnecessarily— My 'dead' live in me. That should make you happy: why not rejoice in his happiness? Loving me as you do, knowing me for the One I am, you should be only happy that N. is happy in me. Knowing this, any mourning you may do therefore must be for yourselves only—from selfish motives. You don't know how fortunate they are who die with my name on their lips and in their heart."

 

With these thoughts in mind, I pass on the account of a very beautiful and touching ceremony that was held in Meherabad in January, 1944. A few of us from the women's ashram were asked by Baba to attend the ceremony

 

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