had Mildred Kyle in Seattle. Rabia declared Baba was the "Kutub" of the Age and went back to announce this to her group. Mildred Kyle, who had been President of her Theosophy Lodge for almost 40 years, did the same thing. Later, Rabia's successor, Ivy Duce, came to visit us to learn more about Baba. Both Ivy and Mildred brought many precious souls to Baba, as did the other women I mentioned above.
Why did Baba choose women for His main work in the West? A good question. A clue may be found in Baba's statement that in the East it is the men who are spiritual, and in the West, it is the women. He also had said Eastern souls were now being incarnated in West and vice versa.
I also feel it is of great significance that Mehera, Baba's female counterpart, shared suffering of His accident in America in 1952, and that it might symbolize a breakthrough for women everywhere, but especially in the West.
At least since the "Age of Enlightenment" — enlightenment by reason, of course,— it been easier for women in the West to be "religiou", as faith leans more on intuition then on reason. The West, for so long, has emphasized the rational or "left brain" activity, supposedly the province of men, that the intuitive or "right brain" functioning has been left to women, often in a derogatory way.
So perhaps it was easier in the Thirties, when the skeptical rationalism of Freud, Marx, Wittgenstein, Russell, etc., (all men!) dominated our thinking, for a group of Western men to step outside of conventional religious roles and follow an "Eastern guru" who emphasized the way of the heart. Baba certainly put some of them to the acid test. In 1933 He invited a number of women and girls to join Him in India, supposedly "for good." only to send them back home in a few weeks to face a blast of publicity from the yellow journalists.
It's time to get acquainted with some of these unusual women. They have been so devoted to Baba, however, that they have played down their lives previous to meeting Him, and "hard" facts are hard to collect. Therefore I emphasize my own reminiscences.
I Princess Norina Matchabelli
As I described above, I first "saw" Norina inwardly and felt a strong inner connection with her. She was born Norina Gilli, in Florence, Italy, in 1880. Her family was in business there. When just a young girl, she developed a severe case of TB and was sent to Switzerland to recover. On a home leave — supposedly her last — she was resting in her family’s garden where Max Reinhardt, the famous stage director, Englebert Humperdinck, the composer and Karl Vollmoeller, the author of Das Mirakel, were discussing the difficulty of finding a woman to play the mime role of the Madonna in the stage play. It was Karl, Norina told me, who looked over at her and said, "Max, there is a Madonna." Mr. Reinhardt had been looking for two years. He did not want a professional actress, but someone with an authentic spiritual aura. Norina certainly had the right classic Renaissance beauty. Later she was called "one of the six great beauties of Europe."
The miracle of The Miracle was that this frail untrained girl went to London, under the stage name of Maria Carmi, endured the trying climate and exhausting rehearsals to become the hit of the play when it opened in 1912*. She was not only healed of the TB, others were healed through her. The play had a long run and toured Europe. It was revived in 1924** to tour America. Norina played the role of the Madonna over 1,000 times. On the American tour she alternated nightly, not too amicably, with Lady Diana Manners, another international beauty. (It was after this tour she left the stage and for a short while opened an acting school in New York City, concentrating on mime.)
***On the first run of the play, she had married the author of The Miracle, Karl Vollmoeller. She took up a career in silent Italian films, many of them comedies. I saw one in which she played a neglected bride; the husband was played by an Italian comedian from whom it was said Charlie Chaplin copied some of his famous mannerisms — the duck walk, top hat, cane. One critic called her acting "intense,
*The first performance of "The Miracle" actually took place December 23, 1911, at the Olympia Hall in London. - webmaster JK 2008
**December 23, 1923 in, New York.
***According to Vollmoeller's biographer, Norina married hm in 1904, not on the first run of the play-1911. webmaster, JK