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Irene Billo joined Baba in 1938 in India, and spent eight years with him which included much travel in India and life in the ashram at Meherabad, Ahmednagar. The following material from Irene includes her talk given at Myrtle Beach, S.C., in October, 1980.
As my meeting with Baba is through my parents, I would like to start my Reminiscences about life with beloved Baba, with a translation of two notes of my father which I found in his Bible on returning home in 1946. My father had died in 1940, during the year when four of us had to keep silence in India. My father had the habit to meditate, pray or write down his thoughts on God early every morning between 2 and 4.
The first note is dated 18th, October, 1934: "I am extremely happy to have seen Him, and wish to thank Him for all the love I am lucky to receive from Him, since I met Baba in July 1934, through spiritual channels. I beg Baba to help me to become closer and closer, and become stronger and stronger in His love. Moreover, I am extremely happy, that my wife had also the chance of meeting the Beloved. The seed of His love will open our hearts and grow in it."
"Was happy to receive the translated message from Baba from Mysore, through Walter Mertens on 16th, February, 1936. Early morning on 18th February, 1936 I decorated beloved Baba's photo with flowers, and at the glorious light of a candle, I sent with my mind and heart the most ardent and loving thanks with birthday greetings. The distance disappeared, I experienced His presence and the connection was overwhelming, feelings were exchanged without words. In such an experience all barriers of space and time disappear. Strongly I felt beloved Baba's heartbeats and willingly I follow His wholesome instructions. I feel deep in my heart, what beloved Baba does for the spiritual welfare of the world and for the upliftment of humanity. He strengthens our hearts and minds and changes them, to be better workers for His great work of Love of the present. He ordains healing, redeeming forces from heaven to earth which will change the chaos of today in the spiritual paradise of tomorrow. That is what we long for and which is so important for us. Baba is the Leader of the new age, and we follow Him wholeheartedly, with smiling face, radiant through this great luck." My father had met Baba on His first visit to Zurich, and it was my father who had introduced Walter Mertens; Hedi Mertens followed on the second visit of Baba. I had not known this until after the death of my father. At that time I was at school in France and in England, with only short visits home.
At the beginning of 1938, letters were exchanged between India and Switzerland, Baba wanting some of us to come for two years to join the ashram in Meherabad and renounce worldly life for that time. I quote some lines from a letter from Kitty dated April 30th, 1938: "Now for your kind of work. You will not work in the kitchen, you will probably help in the hospital or clinic which Baba wants to start in Meherabad." On June 14th, Nadine Tolstoy, Hedi Mertens, Helen Dahm (who had then painted the Tomb
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