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20

 

In Hollywood Quentin brought Tallulah Bankhead to see Baba. She was very drawn to Baba and came several times to see Him. She also tried to arrange to bring Greta Garbo whom Baba had said was the most spiritual of all the stars. Baba visited several studios and met producers and actors, among whom were Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Ernst Lubitsch and others. A big reception was given for Him at the Knickerbocker Hotel, a thousand people being present — one can imagine the work Baba did on this crowd for the future development of the arts in general. Quentin wrote, "It is Baba's greatest relaxation to go to a theatre or cinema and be amused." It was at a reception given for him at Pickfair by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford that Baba gave His message to Beverly Hills, stressing the responsibility of those concerned with the theatre in general and the film world in particular. He emphasized this by saying, "I do not need to tell you, who are engaged in the production and distribution of moving pictures, what a power you hold in your hands, nor do I doubt that you are fully alive to the responsibility which the wielding of that power involves.

 

"He who stimulates the imagination of the masses can move them in any direction he chooses and there is no more powerful instrument for stimulating the imagination than the moving pictures. People go to the theatre to be entertained . . . Plays which inspire those who see them to greater understanding, truer feeling, better lives, need not necessarily have anything to do with religion . . . Real spirituality is best portrayed in stories of pure love, selfless service, of truth realized and applied to the most humble circumstances of our daily lives . . . This is the highest practicality. To portray such circumstances on the screen will make people realize that the spiritual life is something to be lived, not talked about and that it — and it alone — will produce the peace and love and harmony which we seek to establish as the constant rule of our lives."

 

This made it clear the part Baba wished the film industry to play both then and in the future to help awaken people to the true meaning and purpose of life.

 

I think Baba did have preferences in entertainment. He liked comedies and anything with vitality and verve, Spanish dancing for instance. Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush was a favorite as were Laurel and Hardy, and Fatty Arbuckle. So many of the early group were professionals that it was easy to get up entertainments for Baba, as He was a most appreciative audience and anyone who has performed for Baba will know the feeling of exhilaration it gave. But as everything Baba did had meaning and purpose, it was obvious that He was working on the deeper levels of consciousness of the individuals, as well as enjoying the entertainment. Sometimes they consisted of just singing and dancing, often sketches were added and poems recited. There was a period of charades, Baba Himself taking a part and often as a surgeon operating on different ones in turn. Baba's sister Mani was a theatre in herself. She wrote her own sketches, peopling the stage with different characters, sometimes singing and dancing — these were happy occasions. Baba's cousin, Nadja, was also an expert at entertaining Baba with spontaneous skits.

 

From the early days He told us He wished a special film to be produced according to His direction and ideas. The task for this film project was given to Princess Matchabelli. Norina's first husband Karl Vollmoeller had written The Miracle and she created the part of the Madonna using the name of Maria Carmi. She explained: "I was in a sanatorium with consumption when they sent for me. I had never acted or even walked on the stage. But I was filled with a divine illumination. I understood and became the Madonna. Playing the part cured me of galloping consumption . . . My next spiritual experience came when I met Baba. My life has been one of vivid romantic experience. But till I met the Master I never knew peace."

 

Norina got quickly to work and submitted scenarios and ideas for producers, eventually bringing Gabriel Pascal to see Baba. Pascal was a man of exuberance and dynamic energy and was determined to speak his mind to Baba. The meeting turned out quite differently for he forget everything when in Baba's Presence and was completely captivated.

 

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