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52

 

These questions are evoked by an article on "The New Humanity," contained in a booklet published in India by Shri Meher Baba, the inexhaustible wick of this flame of love, in which he says, speaking of coming events:

 

"The New Humanity will come into existence through a release of love in measureless abundance; and this release of love itself can come only through the spiritual awakening brought about by the Masters."

 

Can the Masters release such love? Can they produce such a quickening? Was the month of November, 1931, a rehearsal, on a small scale, as we felt then, of a quickening reduced on a worldwide scale when, as the Masters have often said, "The time is ripe?" And will time be ripe when Shri Meher Baba breaks his silence maintained now for over twenty-eight years, "to begin the resurrection of the dead world . . . through the unfoldment of the spiritual revival?"

 

If these questions can be answered now, the answer lies perhaps most truly in the experiences of those who participated in "the rehearsal," for what we shall reap tomorrow was sown yesterday, and, though it may seem otherwise today, fairer seeds of those of hatred and persecution and destruction have also been sown, and the time for their harvesting may soon be at hand. So the following experience may have more than just a personal significance:

 

When I first met Shri Meher Baba on the afternoon of November 6th, 1931, he had descended the New York gangplank of the steamer "Roma" on his first visit to America. With his long hair gathered up under an olive green felt hat and his slight, but strong body cloaked in a greenish -- gray trench coat, he looked as if he had come from Naples -- where indeed he had been -- rather than from Nasik, India, whence he had started on his journey.

 

The only picture I had ever seen of him was a fantastic one which must have been taken by an elf, for in it he looked like the king of the drolls, with a quaintly-shaped hat on his head, a garland of flowers around his neck, and a nose which, in the picture, looked at least an ell long. Naturally, I did not recognize him. Nor was Meredith Starr -- who had arranged for Baba to be our guest during his stay in America, and who had accompanied him from England -- prompt to introduce him. Perhaps it was because they had been so delayed by the immigration officials, who could not understand why Baba chose to use an alphabet board, instead of speaking or writing. But then Baba, with his large, luminous brown eyes, smiled at me and held out his hand, and instantly I knew who he was.

 

My own hand went out hesitantly, for I had been fed on such stories as Shri Ramakrishna's first meeting with Vivekananda, when, according to report, the master touched his visitor's knee with his foot, the room reeled and disappeared, and Vivekananda lost all consciousness except the bliss of union. I wanted the bliss of union, God knows, but the dock didn't seem exactly the place to confer it. Baba thought likewise, apparently, for nothing happened. I was half-relieved, half-disappointed.

 

While I was helping to clear the luggage, Baba paused and made a gesture which Meredith interpreted as meaning that I had a good heart. I was pleased, but not impressed. I knew that, or thought I did.

 

Soon we were down on the street, the baggage loaded in a car that was waiting, Baba and his companions in another car, and we were off to Harmon, 30 miles up the Hudson where Jean, my wife, and a number of friends who were eager to meet Baba had come from various parts of the country to be our house guests, awaited him in a large stone house by the river.

 

It was a more revealed Baba who descended from the car at Harmon. The Italian sphere disappeared with the Italian trench coat. His own atmosphere became progressively established, increasingly manifest. Jean has told of his immediate arrival

 

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