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35

 

present in her room when Norina clairvoyantly described Nadine's departing soul. We watched her pass away with a most relaxed expression on her beautiful face."

 

That was in 1946. I too recall the moment of Nadine's passing, her blue eyes blazing, her lips silently repeating, "Baba, Baba, Baba," inside the oxygen tent. As He said, "Mine is the victory." A great soul came to Him that day. Her ashes rest outside His tomb, on Meherbad Hill, under a simple stone that says, "Her happiness was Baba."

 

P.S. Here is an interesting story Nadine told me. When she and Ruano Bogislav met, there was some immediate, unspoken antagonism that neither could understand, which made life together in the ashram — and Baba made them roommates! — very difficult. Nadja asked Baba, "Is it something from another life?" "Yes", He said. She prayed for His help. And then one cold night in North India, she awakened to find Ruano tenderly covering her with an extra blanket. The "karma" was broken, and they were afterwards good companions.

 

 

VI    Ivy Oneita Duce

 

Baba once said, "The world is My ashram," and some of His devotees He has kept continuously in the world. Ivy Duce was certainly typical.

 

Born on the same day as Baba, February 25, but in 1895, Ivy had a conventional childhood which she turned topsy-turvy for her day by studying law. She also had a lovely soprano voice and studied singing (Baba once asked her what she really wanted to do in life and she answered "To be a singer.") Following her law career, she travelled, often by mule-back, in South America as secretary to an oil engineer, and that is how she met Mr. Duce, who later became an executive of the Aramco Oil Company. This worldly position required her to change her domicile frequently, to travel, to entertain high-ranking diplomats, sheiks, and businessmen.

 

Inwardly, however, she was seeking enlightenment. After experimenting with astrology, Tarot, and an unsuitable "guru," she became the mureed or student of Murshida Rabia Martin (named for the famous Sufi Saint) whom Inayat Khan had chosen to continue his Sufi work. As I mentioned previously, Rabia had come to live with us in New York and learn about Meher Baba. After accepting Him as Avatar, she informed her students; many left, but Ivy was one of those who stayed "in Baba," together with Lud Dimpfl, Don Stevens and Samuel Lewis. (Sam, too, lived with us in New York and was caretaker of the Center in Myrtle Beach for a year.) Rabia never lived to meet Baba, but appointed Ivy as her successor, (a decision which turned Sam Lewis away from Baba, unfortunately).

 

Ivy asked Baba if she could come to India and meet Him, and Baba acquiesced. This was in January, 1948, just before the New Life and His ashram was still intact; Elizabeth and Norina were still there. Ivy had come to visit us several times in New York, together with her beautiful and charming daughter Charmian, and that is when I first met them both.

 

She has described her meeting with the Avatar in her autobiography How a Master Works. Baba not only gave her inwardly a taste of His infinite love but clarified her position as Murshida or leader of the Sufi Order. He affirmed it was her destiny, and "reoriented" its whole structure to be one-pointed on Him.

 

"He said that as long as I didn't claim to be a saint or anything, and if I remained totally honest, He would guide me," she told a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. She describes her experience in Baba's home: "I got up to examine (some photos) and as soon as my mind was off guard and on the photos, I suddenly felt as if a javelin had been hurled at me, and I fell back into my chair while my heart seemed to be turning upside down over and over. I burst into sobs but was aware that the Master had crossed the room and stood behind me. He bent over and kissed the top of my head where the pituitary gland is. The Sufis describe a spiritual experience known as 'overturning the chalice of the heart,’ which is to empty the heart of all except God, and I assume this

 

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