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19

 

The Comedy/Tragedy masks
BABA AND
THE THEATRE
by Delia De Leon

 

Baba made it clear right from the start that he had important work to do in the world of entertainment. It was on His first visit to England in 1931 that He expressed the wish to go to the theatre. The play selected for this event was a musical comedy called " White Horse Inn" at the London Coliseum.

 

I do not think any of us who were with Him that night, at least the Western group, had any idea of Baba's way of working. I certainly did not for it was my first meeting with Baba — in a box in that packed vast auditorium I sat beside Him. Baba was in Western clothes with flowing hair; He looked radiant. The play was a jolly show with music, singing and dancing. I heard Baba chuckling and was made aware of Baba's sense of humor and that He was enjoying the show. I seemed suddenly to be living in a sort of timely moment in which I was conscious only of Baba with a new awareness and perception. He was completely familiar to me and I knew that at last I had found what I had been seeking all my life. Subsequently Baba explained that there were three principle ways in which He worked: 1. Individually 2. Collectively with crowds and masses in theatres, cinemas and large gatherings 3. Universally. But He said often, "Do not try to fathom me, love me."

 

From then onwards the pattern was set for visits to the theatres, cinemas or for those with Him to provide entertainments.

 

It was also in England in 1932 that Baba gave His first message to the West in an interview given to the Paramount News Reel in the course of which He said: "My coming to the West is not for the object of establishing new creeds or spiritual societies or organizations but is intended to make people understand religion in its true sense . . . I intend bringing together all religions like beads on a string to revitalize them for individual or collective needs."

 

So through the medium of the screen the Avatar was shown in action for the first time, dictating on His alphabet board the message which was read aloud by Charles Purdom. This was of tremendous importance for it enabled people all over the world to see this film then or in the future. Baba once said that in times to come people would get illumination through seeing Him on the screen.

 

Just after this Baba said it was necessary to go to Hollywood to make a link with the film world as He wished to meet the stars and producers for His work. One of the early English group, a variety artist, Quentin Todd, had many theatrical contacts in both England and America. He brought Ivor Novello, the famous and popular actor-manager to see Baba. He gave Baba a box and other seats to see his current comedy then running in London. At the end Ivor Novello went into the box, embraced Baba and introduced Phyllis and Zena Dare to Him and invited Baba to stay at his country house any time He came to England again.

 

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