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22

A Visit to Prague, Oklahoma

BY PHILIP LUTGENDORF

 

On May 24th, 1952, Avatar Meher Baba and several of His disciples were injured in a serious automobile accident not far from the town of Prague, Oklahoma. Meher Baba was thrown from the car and lay for some time, bleeding by the side of the road. Later, an ambulance arrived and took the party to a small clinic in town, where they were treated. Meher Baba remained in Prague for thirteen days before returning by ambulance to Myrtle Beach.

 

In late March of 1970, shortly after Adi K. Irani and Meherjee Karkaria 's visit to Chicago, Dorothy Pierpont, Chris Hudson and I set out for a spring vacation from the University of Chicago, intending to drive west, to Colorado and New Mexico. On the return trip we hoped to visit Prague, and look up some of the people who had known Meher Baba 's company during His stay there. We hoped, moreover, to find the site of the accident; the spot where the God-Man had mixed His blood with the soil of our continent.

 

After spending a number of days in Taos, New Mexico (where we found a center-spread article on Baba in a local underground paper) we set out on our return journey to Chicago, getting a late start due to an unusual desert snowstorm. We planned to drive all night across Texas and Oklahoma, reach Prague in the early morning, and then push on to reach Chicago by night (for we would have to return to classes the next day.) The long drive from the bright Southwestern skies back to a smoggy city was a somewhat depressing prospect, and we were not in the best of spirits. To make matters worse, we did some calculations, and it appeared that we would reach Prague at perhaps 3 or 4 a.m., too early to talk to anybody, and we would have to press on without fulfilling the purpose of our trip. As night fell, our increasing tiredness added to our low spirits. We drove across a seemingly endless, barren part of Texas, and the night driving began to get unnerving. Towards 11 o 'clock I started to notice a blurry light through the windshield, which I thought was merely a smudge reflecting back the glare of the headlights. After a long while, though, I realized that it was outside the car, and then Dot noticed it too. We stopped the car and got out, and saw the first comet any of us had ever seen. From a faint star-point hanging over the eastern horizon a beautiful tail of light shot out and arched . upward into space. It hung suspended, never spent or exhausted, combining motion and motionlessness. It hung over the spot where the road we were travelling met the horizon. The sight of this comet lifted our spirits and filled us with wonder and hope. It was a sign to us. No doubt it was seen by many other people, photographed by astronomers and so forth, but it was a sign to us. All night long as we drove the comet hung before us, always pointing to that place in the east, beyond the horizon, where we now felt something waiting for us. Slowly, as the stars move, the comet rose in the sky; it was almost directly overhead when it finally disappeared, long after the stars had vanished, as morning dawned.

 

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