Mehera, and the others to all their many medical appointments, with Dr. this and Dr. that. As Ivy says, Baba must have given Western medicos a big push in 1952!
It was at Meher Center, in 1956, that Baba tackled the continuing friction between the Sufi and non-Sufi Baba lovers, with a rousing discourse* to us all. "What is the use of My left hand slapping My right hand?" He asked, demonstrating with His graceful hands. He liked groups, He wanted us to work in groups, but not to switch from one to the other. At this time Ivy had moved back to Washington and Baba very graciously visited her home there on His way to California. Here He teased His hostess by "finding" an enormous fish bone in the "perfectly boned" filet.
Before Baba came on this trip, Ivy and I had agreed to try to document it as fully as possible, and we split up the responsibility: she would try to film and tape the trip and I write it up. She also arranged for publicity for Baba at the various big city stops — New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. In the beginning, Baba was agreeable; her press conference in New York came off fairly well, but the rest of the trip was not always successful. Baba wasn't at all keen on the public spotlight. This led to a lot of hassles for Murshida, and one or two amusing incidents. Our trip from Myrtle Beach to Washington, D.C., for instance, was amazingly shortened (the pilot was stunned), we arrived so early there was no limo for Baba — and no T.V. cameramen.
San Francisco, where Ivy had a strong group of mureeds, also proved a test for her. How well I recall how we all waited breathlessly downstairs in the hotel waiting to hear if Baba liked the arrangements! No, He didn't! He was going to cut His visit short and leave for Australia! Then Adele and I were called and Baba asked if we would switch rooms with Him — ours was in the very center of the hotel where He wanted to be. Of course, we were delighted. Making arrangements for Baba and His "fellow travelers" is easy and on this trip Murshida was greatly tested. I know she once said the real behind-the-scenes stories could never be told. But that is true of any account of "timeless time" spent with Baba. It would take a Tolstoy to describe it all, perhaps because imagination can do a better job of character delineation, showing the inner conflicts and problems on which the Master is working. It is hard to be objective or even to guess exactly what Baba is doing to you or why. It is a test of your surrender to accept that it will ultimately make you one with Him.
In surrender to His will, Ivy was a fine example. In '52 Baba had said to me, "Ivy has done great work for Me, and will do even greater work." On this '56 trip in San Francisco, when she invited Him to visit the Sufi Center, He asked me and Elizabeth Patterson to go along. I recall it vividly. Baba sat in a special chair, and inwardly I heard His voice say "I am the greatest Sufi of them all." Then came the gestures, then Adi's voice translating them into the same words. He walked down the aisle and put His hand on Ivy's head, and she burst into tears.
Four years later I transferred to the West Coast and began to gather a Baba group in Los Angeles. It was slow going and I would often fly up to San Francisco to stay with Ivy in her charming apartment on **Knob Hill. She too found her work slow going and often thought she would have to close the Sufi Center. But Baba insisted on her keeping it open saying the souls would come. And they did, in a rush, from '63 on. Baba's young "jewels" of which He had spoken so often showed up, bright-eyed and very bushy-tailed at her door on Sutter Street. Now her crew of trained "preceptors" had a lot of work to do. This was the '60's generation and they, as we all did, had to deal with new problems like drug addiction, phony gurus, changing sexual morals, crazy diets, new roles for women, rootlessness, generation gap, etc. One blessing was the wonderful acceptance of these young people of the fact of Avatar — no Alice Baileyite rejection of the living Christ.
Murshida always had a gift of empathy with young people, and a real gift for counseling them with intuition, wit, and common sense. She also devoted a lot of time to non-Sufis who came to her with problems. She published a little book for beginners, What Am I Doing Here? In the '50's Baba had given her the job of publishing His magnum opus, God Speaks; and later, His Discourses, in paperback; she co-edited both
*See Awakener, Vol IV No. 4
**correct spelling is Nob Hill -webmaster J.k.