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48

 

Tom and Dorothy Hopkinson's book 'MUCH SILENCE' was published by Gollancz in 1974 and they had generously put the copyright in the name of the Meher Baba Spiritual League. This fascinating and very successful book was a great help to us financially, but could not solve the problem of ever depleting funds.

 

During these years it was very marked how the lives of so many of our young Baba lovers changed and matured during the critical years after Baba's death. Many married, took up different careers, and there were such a number of lovely and intelligent young children. Finally there was the excitement of the double marriage of Billy Nicholls and Malcolm Harrison.

 

Like the Americans, many felt the need to go to India for spiritual refreshment and perhaps to get renewed faith in Baba. There were personal problems all round, but many accepted their responsibilities, and so held on to Baba's 'daaman.’

 

In the early part of 1975 Peter, driven on by his love for Baba, decided that the time had come to expand and amplify Baba's work in this country and that there should be a place in the Richmond area dedicated to Baba. After viewing several places, he took me to see the ‘Boathouse' at Twickenham. His deep instinct was to buy this place and rebuild it according to his ideas of a Baba Centre Workshop which would have living accommodation and a theatre. Encouragement came from India and America, and I was happy to know this 'dream' would at last come true.

 

While all this was simmering, Tom Hopkinson resigned as chairman because of internal conflicts. I agreed to take on the chairmanship as well as being Vice-President in the hopes of bridging gulfs and bringing us all closer together. Our first decision was to go ahead with the plan of amalgamating the two organizations. Our grateful thanks are due to our Treasurer, Laurie Kaye, for the patience he showed and the amount of work he had to put in to get this done. We had also been in touch with the Charity Commissioners to try again for charity status for the Association and this was granted in September, 1976.

 

With inflation, the financial problems became more acute; it was decided that if the group wanted the work at Eccleston Square to continue, and if they felt it was necessary to have a Centre besides Oceanic, they would have to actualize their beliefs by taking on responsibilities and supporting it financially. Baba never hesitated to pull down structures and dissolve anything that had served its purpose.

 

Peter and I had planned to go to India in October 1975, but for various reasons it was cancelled and changed to February 4, 1976. I had not been to India since the entombment. I could not travel alone, so this was an opportunity I knew I should not miss. Peter made all the arrangements, and he looked after me very well. He was incredibly patient, which somehow always amazes me. On this trip I was able to discuss the film and make suggestions which he promised to consider. It was a joyful two weeks for me. I was given such a lovely welcome. We were fortunate to arrive the day before the seventh anniversary of Baba's entombment and so we were able to take part in this very special day with its prayers and songs. For me, it was a happy reunion with Mehera, Mani, and all the Mandali which I had not expected to happen again. To spend time at Meherazad with them all is a unique experience and there in this lovely, peaceful place one feels strongly enfolded by Baba's love. I was also fortunate to be there for my birthday, on February 10th, and everyone tried to make it a happy occasion for me.

 

All were interested in the progress of Meher Baba Oceanic, and gave Peter their whole-hearted support, and we came back with the happy assurances that Adi, Sr. (health permitting) would come over for the dedication. As Peter and I sat alone in the tomb that last morning to pay our final respects to Baba, he sang his own arrangement of the Master's prayer, 'Parvardigar,' and it seemed to draw Peter and I together in a strange karmic bond. It lingered in my mind many weeks after my return.

 

Work at Oceanic was far enough advanced for the opening date to be fixed for July 3rd to July 10th. Martin Cook and Dudley Edwards were finishing off their film on Fred Marks

 

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