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framed by a halo of long dark hair. The hands were most noticeable — they kept up an incessant pantomime, and were strong, slim and sensitive. Someone said, 'This is your surprise, Baba.' He patted my hand, and I think from that moment I must have intuitively recognized Him as my Master, for I suddenly wanted to cry. I felt stunned. The stage, the actors, seemed to recede and become vague and far away . . . "


Ever since a child, she had had an intense desire to know God; this desire had run parallel with her desire to be a great actress. Now she was meeting Him — and where else, but in a theatre! She too met Baba at a low point in her life and after a deep spiritual search. The figure of Jesus had always attracted her but "quite outside the Church," she relates.


In 1933, Delia with her sister Minta was one of those in the group of women called to India and sent back home to face the unpleasant publicity. Like the others she passed this test with unswerving faith. She was part of "Kim and Co.," soon shortened to "Kimco," and like some of the others, joined Baba on several visits to Europe. Baba had given special names to the "Kimco" gopis* — hers was Leyla, Margaret's was Zuleika, Kitty's was Saroja. Later on, Elizabeth Patterson was "Dilruba" and Norina, "Nurjehan."


In December, 1931, on His return from America, Baba invited "Kimco" on a short visit to Paris — also the Starrs, though Baba sent them back after a day or so, so only lighthearted "Kimco" was with Him. They visited the Eiffel Tower. Delia also shared in Baba's subsequent visits to Europe (Portofino, Santa Margherita, Cannes) and also joined the Nasik ashram group (1936-37) and the return visit to Cannes the same year.


During the war years, Delia remained in London and was supervisor of the Florence Nightingale Hospital for bombed-out people and held many Baba meetings there, helped by Will Backett and Charles Purdom. The separation from the Beloved during the war years was hard for all the gopis, but it was sweetened by loving letters from the Master such as these:


                                                                         Nov. 5, 1938
                                                                        c/o MS Irani



Dearest Leyla:


So you received a cold letter of welcome from your darling Baba. That was too bad. But have you not misunderstood My words? It is true that I need no disciples here or elsewhere. I can do My work alone through the heart of man without choosing a few selected ones. But in this Avataric period, as in the time of Jesus, I choose to live in close contact with Me (either here or elsewhere does not matter) those who have been with Me from ages past and who love Me deeply and whom I have loved since eternity.


Still this does not prevent My saying 'I can carry on My work without you.' All could leave Me, but the work would go on. It would be harder for Me. It would be a crucifixion but nevertheless the work of Love would not suffer. Nothing can stop God's work. If my own refuse or disappoint Me I must get the work done through some other medium. But I would suffer, so my faithful Leyla must never let Me down, but stick it right to the bitter end, whatever hardships may be in store. Why did I call you the faithful Leyla? Not for no reason. You know, in spite of what you say in your letter that nothing can separate you or all mankind from Me, because I am in all and God cannot be separated from Himself, can He? But as I have explained so often, that just as the eye or the ear may be more useful and necessary to a man than, say, his sense of smell or touch, so some are more necessary to Me for My present work than others. I say now as always 'Kimco is My heart and will remain forever My heart' wherever they are and you know the value of the heart to the body. Without it man in the human form could not exist, and I too without My heart would feel part of Me was missing.


Have I not shown you many times both in the past and now, how deeply I love you and I know how much you are capable of feeling My love at certain moments when I wish it so. I know the inner growth of each. Must I further demonstrate My love to convince you? Where would your faith come in?


*The early followers of Krishna were called gopis.


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