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33

 

said of Baba, “This is the first time that I have met a man who really has Divine Love."

 

Unfortunately the Count developed a fatal illness which lasted two years. Following Baba's wish, Nadine nursed him faithfully. "I owe my Master all the superhuman help which enabled me to go through the greatest trials — at the same time He removed certain obstacles from my life." Ilya became a changed man, and amazed her with his "real surrender and a most divine patience and serenity." He told her once, when he was ready to go, All is gone, all has crumbled, only my love is unshakeable." Some days, in a positive mood, he would say "If I have to live, we will live only to make others happy." He once told a group of visitors, "The most important thing is that my wife and myself have a perfect spiritual understanding. This is of greatest importance!" Once, when Nadine entered quietly, thinking he was asleep, he opened his eyes, and with deep love, said "0, it is you, Dinochka ... me, asleep when you are here?! No, even if I die, I will be watching you from there and I shall always guard you from mistakes, because we always have to pay for them such a terrible price." Nadine attests that this son of Leo Tolstoy died a true follower of Meher Baba.

 

On her first meeting with Him, Baba had told Nadja to give up yoga, as it had already injured her. "Yoga is not for the West," He said, an interesting comment. Perhaps these kriya yoga exercises, whose purpose is to raise the kundalini energy up through the chakras, led to her final, incurable illness (Lou Gehrig's disease) in which her throat muscles atrophied. It is interesting that Nadja (rechristened Nadine, to distinguish her from Baba's cousin Nadja) was put on a year's silence by Baba when in India.

 

On the day they met, the "Compassionate Father" spelt out her future on the board with the unforgettable words: ''I will repay you for all your suffering!

 

I will give you permanent bliss. You will see things as they are, as you can see things now, here, in this incarnation. You are a beautiful soul."

 

Her own sufferings and her days of nursing Ilya must have prepared her for the spiritual role she played in the Nasik days in India, for Baba put her in charge of the dispensary there in 1937. It was a free hospital for the poor, women and children. Baba told her: "There are thousands of hospitals in the world, I could have here thousands of nurses to work. If I have given this work in the hospital to you, it is because I want you to learn serving in real spirit, selfless service." She describes the scene: "To the hospital came mostly the poorest elements of the country, wrapped in their rags and worn-out saris…the real destitute . . . when the medicines and injections given by the professional doctors could not bring its due relief, Baba's appearance and loving embrace acted as the "holy wine," reviving their hopes and giving them the lasting impetus of recovery. The joy of seeing Baba and the faith that He alone can really help, acted within their hearts as a sure remedy," she says in an article in The Meher Baba Journal .

 

I met Nadine in 1943. Of the three women disciples living together in New York, it was Nadine who first met the newcomer privately. Her room was filled with photos of Baba, and it was one small picture of Him by her door in which He looked exactly like my inner vision of Jesus, which convinced me at once of His Avatarhood. I had not seen any photos of Him before this moment. Nadine's warm welcome and her amazing blue eyes also "clicked" — she was the woman who had said to me, in a dream, "Attendez le maitre parfait" — wait for the Perfect Master.

 

By this time, she was a widow and was living wholly on the providence of Elizabeth. One of the three "spiritual troubadours" sent West by Baba to do His work, Nadine quietly did her share. Her devotion to Baba, her down-to-earth warmth and humor, her perfect surrender to His will, especially as the dread disease took it silent toll, touched the heart. There was very little left of the Russian aristocrat. But there was that incredible depth of courage and stoicism that I do associate with Russian character.

 

I had introduced my best friend, Adele Wolkin, herself of Russian extraction, to my new-found Master and to His women disciples. It was her "karma" to be chosen to care for Nadine in her last days (she, too, later became a professional nurse). I will let her describe her experiences:

 

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