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20

 

when in Meherabad) and myself, left Zurich for Venice. And then in the night from 15th to 16th June we left Venice on the Conte Verde for India and the greatest adventure of our lives. We arrived in Bombay 10 days later. We stayed first in the Ahmednagar cantonment — we called it the office building. There we slowly learnt the ways of ashram life, which was wonderful, and at the same time very hard, a constant test for twenty-four hours. Baba was as loving as ever, but more impersonal, stricter than before. Whenever we thought we understood or got used to some things, or ways of living they were changed; so slowly we learn and accept (but very hard for us) the ways of a Master. There were tears behind the mosquito-curtain or under the blanket at nights, but in the morning we started anew trying, learning, making mistakes.

 

On 25th August, 1938 very early we started for Meherabad, where alterations had been made, to have enough space for the new Easterners and Westerners to stay and under the personal guidance of our beloved Master. In those early days, we sat around Baba in the afternoons or evenings, either in the girl's room, or under the shed. Baba pointed out and explained many subjects, on Real Love, Sanskaras, Maya, Action-Nonaction, Violence-Nonviolence, the different stages in spiritual life and more, most which have been taken down. Little did we know that this would not go on forever. When Baba said how lucky we were, that in later years we would hardly see Him in person, and only very few live near Him, we could not imagine this to be possible. But Baba was very kind, and he taught us (later) to feel Him, his presence in the heart, regardless of his physical presence, so great was his love for us.

 

When we moved to Meherabad, the mast ashram was already in lower Meherabad. Baba would allow some of us to sometimes come down the hill and let us watch his work with the masts, and especially with Mohammed, who had also been in Cannes. On 1st of October, 1938, the hospital was to be opened. We were preparing everything for it. It was outside the wall, behind the dome. A longish building towards the ashram side was a little office, for Norina, Elizabeth and Nonny, who were working on the Meher Baba Journal. Then a long room like a dormitory with ten beds, a small table in the front, for night duty and a small room as a dispensary and for the lady doctor, when she was there, plus another small building with a bathroom and a kitchen. We were sewing night dresses out of bleached cotton, wondering if these Marathi women would ever wear them. I sewed little garments for the babies, what a nice work. Before we opened the hospital, one evening, a small group came up the hill with a highly pregnant woman. We admitted her by Baba's permission and she was the first patient. What a wonderful way for the hospital to start, instead of having an ill person, to have a woman to give birth to a child. It was always a woman who gives birth to an Avatar, what a blessing to all women!

 

Photo of Baba, Irene Billo, woman, and Mehera-1938

 

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