arrived. They were scheduled to arrive in the evening, but no one knew for sure when. Due to some hassle about accommodations, they would have to board buses at the airport and come directly to Poona. We felt sorry for them as we had a pretty good idea how tired they must be. Nothing was formally planned for us. We were told to shop and entertain ourselves. Some of the Sufis were invited to Guruprasad, to figure out the staging for their program.
I didn't feel like shopping. Somehow, the knowledge that Guruprasad was so close, made everything else seem grey in comparison. I knew I shouldn't go there uninvited, so I decided to just ask the hotel manager where it was. He answered by putting me into his private car and asking his driver to drop me there free of charge. As we were driving I became very nervous. I knew in a matter of minutes I would be deposited at the front door and I didn't know what to do. As the driver let me out I still didn't know what to do. Fortunately I didn't have to ponder my problem too much longer. A man dressed in white grabbed my arm and whisked me into a back room. I sat alone for what seemed an eternity, but was probably only 10 minutes. Rano Gayley came in and made me feel very much at home. I explained about my compulsion to come. She laughed and then introduced me to a young Baba lover named Bakhtaver who was typing all the lists of Westerners and hotel rooms. Every few minutes she would have to start the lists again. Last night's changes had to be incorporated in the new lists. I got a pretty good glimpse of what the mandali and workers must have been going through for so many months as we charted and unchartered our various trips.
Rano told me about the time when the mandali weren't allowed to talk to outsiders about Baba at all. She said it was so difficult then, because so many were so curious. She said it was so wonderful now that everyone could speak so freely and the world was becoming more receptive. Afterwards she showed me the main hall where Darshan would be held and then Baba's bedroom. I couldn't believe I had been there and could hardly speak as Bakhtaver and her husband drove me back to the hotel.
I returned just in time to find out that the women mandali had invited all the women to a meeting with them. Also the men were invited to meet the men mandali. I was so excited I couldn 't eat. I ran up the three flights of stairs to my room and started to plan on what to wear to the meeting. I tried not to think of what to say or of the actual meeting.
Buses came at 4:30 and in a few minutes we were all at Guruprasad. Twice in one day, it was hard to believe! Mani, Mehera, Rano and all the other women were in a line to greet us at the door. We each had a chance to embrace them all. Mani did most of the talking that evening. She told some marvelous stories: One time when she was in the hospital for an operation, Baba came and visited her every day. This took place during the time when the mandali could not tell anyone who Baba really was. All of the nurses took a tremendous fancy to Baba and waited anxiously each day for his visit. After he left they would ask Mani who he was and she would always have to answer: "My brother." This became a ritual. They began to bring all the premature babies to Baba, still not knowing who he really was. Mani never did tell them. In fact, when they asked her why he never spoke she answered: "He's very shy!"
Everyone got a kick out of that story. Mehera asked Mani to tell some people's dreams about Baba. Mani started with a young boy who dreamed the sun started to come closer and closer to earth. This caused panic and people started to gather in large crowds and chant: "Rama, Rama, Krishna, Krishna," and still the sun would move closer and closer. More and more people gathered; louder and louder they shouted. All the while the boy kept yelling; "Shout Meher Baba!" No one listened at first, but suddenly with a slight murmur a few started to chant, "Meher Baba, Meher Baba," then a few more and then everyone began to chant: "Meher Baba, Meher Baba!" And as they did, the sun slowly went back to its original place in the sky. This story brought a happy smile to Mehera's face and her happiness permeated everyone's being.
Mehera urged Mani to tell this next story:
A man, an Indian professor, was at one time a great seeker. He had every book on Masters and was seeking a Perfect Master and the Way. Every evening he lit candles to several pictures of deities and prayed.