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24

 

Before we went to see Dr. Burleson, I asked the nurse if we were in the part of the building which had been there in 1952; when she said yes, we asked if she had been there at that time. The answer, again, was yes. "Then do you remember Meher Baba? "

 

"Who? "

 

"Meher Baba!"

 

"Oh, of course!" (a big smile) "I took care of him! And I remember Mehera and Mrs. Patterson and Mr. Sarosh Irani. I rode back to Myrtle Beach with them in the ambulance!"

 

Our hearts were really pounding now. The feeling was something like the excitement and joy of meeting a dear old friend in the midst of a strange land, or finding a note that your Beloved has left for you. We asked the nurse if we could talk to her later and, beaming, floated down the hallway towards the Doctor 's office. just as we turned the corner we met him, setting out on his rounds through the hospital. I knew it was him because he walked with crutches, and the waitress had mentioned to us that Dr. Burleson had lost a leg several years ago, and now had an artificial one and walked with crutches. In addition to this, Dr. Burleson had a very powerful presence about him, a dignity and depth that I felt at once, and experienced more fully as I talked to him. In spite of this, and knowing very well that it was him, I involuntarily asked, "Is this the way to Dr. Burleson's office? " He replied, "I'm Dr. Burleson, and you want to know about Meher Baba." And we immediately got into a very wonderful conversation with him. Probably in his mid-sixties, Dr. Burleson radiated a sense of great strength and energy, contained in a very quiet exterior. He spoke softly and slowly, and his words seemed to come from a great depth. At times he appeared to be almost retiring into himself when he spoke.

 

"Oh yes, I remember Baba…” he began, and the way he said "Baba " was very beautiful. I felt at once a sense of intimacy, and was reminded of it each time he spoke His name. We asked a few questions about the accident itself. Dr. Burleson recalled that before the accident it had been raining for several days, and the ground had become very muddy. He said that he had to spend hours picking pieces of broken glass and earth and grass out of the injured peoples ' wounds before he could even begin to stitch them up. "It was such a mess. It took us days to get caught-up with that bunch. " Repeatedly, he spoke of how terrible, how bloody the accident was. He spoke of Mehera, whom he recalled as "the beautiful young lady with the head injuries." She had been the first one to be brought into the clinic (Dr. Burleson did not accompany the ambulance to the scene) and he had not expected her to live. She had suffered "the worst skull fracture I've ever seen", like "an egg that you've dropped on the floor". He began to work on her immediately, trying to save her life. After a little while, members of Baba 's party who were uninjured (from the second car, which arrived on the scene a few minutes after the accident) began to come into the room to ask him to come and look at Baba (who they feared might die). Dr. Burleson tried to ignore them and continued working on Mehera, but the people became more insistent: "Baba—this and Baba—that, I didn 't know what they were talking about. " Finally, he decided to go and see what all the noise was about and entered the adjoining room where Baba had been brought. "But as soon as I come in the doorway, he starts grinning at me and smiling away, so I figure: he can't be too badly hurt!" Very softly he added, "till I found out later. . ." So the doctor had attended to Mehera first, as Baba wished. As Dr. Burleson told us this story, it was easy to picture Baba smiling, perhaps gesturing "Be happy " …

 

I asked Dr. Burleson at what point he became aware that Baba was silent: "Oh, right away when I went in to get his personal history and, you know, he starts

 

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