"A dear friend, Filis, phoned me one day, excited to share the news that I might attend a talk by a disciple of a Perfect Master — Norina Matchabelli. That was the first time I heard of Meher Baba. I vividly recall that evening. As I travelled on the bus from my uptown home, I was enveloped by a rare new feeling. I felt suffused by a current which switched my inner being into a high gear. Reflecting on that feeling after many years, I identify it as the beginning of an enhanced consciousness, as Baba's way of rending a tiny bit of the separatist veil. My memory of that transitional period of deepening consciousness is integrally tied in with meeting Nadine Tolstoy, Norina Matchabelli, and Elizabeth Patterson. It was one of the happiest events of my life, next in significance, perhaps, to that supremely happy event of meeting God Himself, Meher Baba in 1952.
"The first talk given by Norina by 'thought transmission' I found to be a momentous experience. As a philosophy student at Columbia, I had a habit of mind that was skeptical, objective, and analytical, which often results in a rather negative feeling and omits the most important function, making use of the intuitive heart. But there was no doubt about my feelings when I left that first talk or the others that followed; my heart was very joyful and light. Of course, I wanted to return again and again. The Beloved One had made it a very positive experience for me. I said to myself, I want to feel like this all the time!
"Nadine's role was to meet newcomers. I flatter myself if I say she seemed like an old friend. As I am too of Russian extraction, there was an ethnic element which accentuated the ease and pleasantness I felt with her. She was a Countess and had a noble bearing, along with pure blue eyes and a contagious sweet smile that drew me to her immediately. Someone has said "We learn best from those we love," and she inspired love. At a second meeting she invited me into her private quarters, upstairs in the duplex. She was waiting to receive me with extended arms. Her manner, so spontaneously loving, touched my heart deeply. Just entering into the ambience of Norina, Nadine and Elizabeth was truly coming into an enlightening world of brighter values.
"After some months Filis and I were invited to live with these women disciples. Of course I felt unworthy of this grace. I never dreamt of sharing the life of such women, renowned not only in the worldly, sophisticated sense, but more importantly, in the spiritual sense, insofar as Baba had said they were members of His Circle.
"I found all three women had remarkably creative imaginations of a selfless nature, and Nadine, no less than the others. Particularly during the course of her illness, which began to deteriorate during my first year of residence with her, the intensity of her spiritual love showed in her daily life. Some friends who came with the intention to console her found themselves as I did, uplifted by an atmosphere of a purer, vibrant life, benevolent and harmonious in effect . . . one felt disarmed . . . who was there to console in the face of such good will and cheer? Her visitors would generally be greeted by her charming smile, her glowing eyes. She never lost her sense of humor, or lost touch with reality. Her physician explained that a characteristic of her illness was lucidity, no dulling of the mind's faculties.
"Caring for Nadine was Baba's grace — she was my instructor par excellence; as she had been chosen by Baba to be the matron in a maternity clinic He had established at Meherabad. She would show me how to massage her, how to prepare her food, and other services, not least of all, how to feed her canary with words of love as well as food: "Baba loves you, Baba loves you!" In fact, Nadine's voice had been compared to that of a precious bird! Baba called her 'His nightingale,' after she sang for Him in the Nasik ashram.
"In serenity and faith Nadine seemed to transcend her physical travail. She had an ardent yearning to remain alive only to see Him again. But her spiritual victory lay in her complete surrender to His will. Ultimately, her breathing was cut off, and an emergency trip to Roosevelt Hospital was made. Elizabeth, Filis and I were