HOLLYWOOD BEAT, Continued from page 17
Meher Baba's youngest brother, Adi Jr., accompanied Him in 1932. He too was invited to the reception at Pickfair. Beforehand he asked Baba if he could have a pair of new shoes, as his own were so very worn. Baba said no. At the reception, Adi, self-conscious of his attire, tried to be inconspicuous. Mary Pickford asked Baba what she could do for his young brother; Baba unhesitatingly replied, "Introduce him to Gary Cooper" — whom Baba knew Adi especially admired. Mary Pickford dutifully brought Gary Cooper, immaculately dressed as always, over to Adi Jr., who, still self-conscious about his shabby shoes, was hardly able to greet the star properly. Thus even Baba's brother got a little Avataric ego-snipping.
On His 1932 visit to Hollywood, Baba said he would return and break His Silence July 12th, over the radio, in the Hollywood Bowl — introduced by Mary Pickford. For this extraordinary event, at least two women devotees decided they were going to be properly attired, and went out and bought "God-Realization dresses"! One cost almost ₤200. Of course, Baba did not break His Silence, as we all know; and many years later in India, when questioned about this, Baba said, "Fancy your believing that story!"
When Meher Baba visited Hollywood in 1956, a banquet was arranged for Him and His devotees at the famous Garden of Allah restaurant, on Sunset Boulevard. After seeing that everyone was seated, Baba declined to stay, although asking everyone else to remain. He gave no reason but perhaps the baraka (impressions) of this place did not please Him. It had been the scene of the most decadent of Hollywood partying in the 30's and even the scene of a notorious murder — that of Fatty Arbuckle. Not long afterwards, the building was torn down. A small memorial now marks the spot.
Concerning Baba's tremendous self-imposed discipline of total silence, an amusing incident happened while He was in Hollywood on His first visit (1932). A clever young reporter was interviewing Him for the Los Angeles Times. Suddenly he sprang the question: "Just how do you pronounce your name?" Baba's eyes twinkled and He motioned one of His disciples, who stood by, to answer the man's question. The reporter flushed and a few moments later apologetically admitted he had come to the interview determined to catch Baba off guard and expose Him as a fraud who had adopted silence as a publicity stunt. The next day, May 30th, the interview appeared in the paper with none of the flippancy which characterized some newspaper reports, but written with dignity and restraint.
In August, 1956, as the Hollywood Citizen-News photographer took His picture, Baba, clad in loose-fitting Indian garments, gestured, "God does not listen to words, rites and rituals. He pays heed to the language of the heart."
J.S. narrates that in "1925, in Los Angeles, when I was four years old, I went to a movie one early afternoon. There was a newsreel and in the newsreel they showed a man with long loose black hair and a mustache, who pointed out a message on a black-board very rapidly. There was another man with him who explained that the white-robed man was giving up speaking for thirty years and was going to use the energy usually used in talking to uplift the world and mankind." No, the lady is not mixed up about the date — although a friend reminded her there were no talking pictures then. The first known newsreel of Baba was in 1932 by Pathe News, in London. What about this 'miraculous' newsreel??