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17

starSam Cohen was a lifelong devotee of Meher Baba. The following account given by him throws a sidelight on Baba's trip to the West Coast in 1935:

 

Many years ago, while living in California, I retired for meditation and prayer into a little shack, situated at a place called Oceano, a small town halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The shack was hidden a half mile in from the beach, nestled among fairly high sand dunes. The reverberations of the waves could be heard, as at high tide they beat against the dunes, and my little shack would vibrate with the impact.

 

Here I closely followed Hindu meditations. My scripture was the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord's Song of the Hindus, which I read over and over again. How vividly the memory of this first experience remains with me, which I will now relate to you:

 

After meditating a certain part of the night, the next morning at about nine or ten, I was seated upon the parapet of my shack, facing the high dunes, with the sun directly overhead, and at that time I was not meditating. Suddenly, with my eyes open, it began to get dark, the stars were out, a cleansing, rushing sound went through me, as the Hindus say, like "thunder in the mountains." I felt certain that flesh and bones had melted in a fiery crucible; and in consciousness I found myself floating in a most blissful state, among the stars.

 

The experience was short, and I was back again once more seated on the parapet of my shack, looking towards the dunes. (Many years later it was explained to me by a Hindu authority that this experience was Samadhi.) Matters continued rather dull and uneventful. There was dryness; there was emptiness; until in 1934, Baba came to Hollywood. I went down to visit him. I stayed about an hour or more, and then went back to the dunes. I then sent a telegram to Baba, asking him to come to the dunes.

 

I was greatly surprised when he sent an answer, telling me to prepare for eighteen people. I was at a loss what to do. For my shack was only six by ten, and I knew this could not accommodate eighteen people. But a mile and half away Gavin Arthur, who was away at that time, had a satisfactory accommodation, and I knew that it would be alright with him. So, with a few people to help, we prepared for Baba.

 

Baba arrived with his group the day before Christmas. Among them were Norina Matchabelli, Elizabeth Patterson, Ruano Bogislav, Jal, Baba's brother, Countess Nadine Tolstoy and others. The party stayed through the greater part of Christmas day. Things were rather primitive. Water had to be carried in from an outside well. Baba bathed with buckets of water carried to him.

 

The next day Baba spent in granting interviews to different people who had heard of his coming. In the late afternoon we all trekked to the beach to escort Baba back to town, from where he would resume his drive back to Hollywood. As we walked along the beach single file, Baba's car had broken down, and we all kept looking at Baba in the hope that he might perform a miracle; but Baba decided to let the law of mechanics take its course. So the car was pushed forward and Baba and I walked on ahead.

 

This was when a most unusual experience took place. Baba looked at me, and then pointed to the Pacific Ocean. I said, "Oh yes, it is very big." Baba shook his head, as if to say, "No." Again he waved his hand, and I said, "Oh yes, it is very beautiful." Once again, "No." Finally, a loud speaking voice said, "I AM AS BIG AS THE OCEAN." And you know Baba does not speak.

 

star''Nariman's Uncle", lovingly known to all as "Chanji", accompanied Baba on his travels. He mastered the complex arrangements for Baba's tours, with their large parties and luggage, and continual alterations in plans en route, which almost baffled Thos. Cook and all his Company until Chanji unravelled the tangles. Once good-humouredly they suggested in London that Chanji should bring his bed to their office. His tenacity and steadfastness in Baba's service at all times, were unshakeable and always he radiated Baba's spirit in his tact, patience, love, humor and understanding. Baba said at Chanji's death: — "He was more than any disciple, he was my friend."

Continued, page 36

 

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