Dear Mr. Francis Brabazon:
I hope this letter has found you in the very best of health — you don't know me but my name is Cedric Williams, I'm 22 years old and I'm in a Louisiana State Penitentiary serving 25 years. The reason I'm writing you is because of "Meher Baba". Before I go any further allow me to inform you on what motivated me to write you. It was back in the year 1975 the 22nd of January I was in a small jail in Mississippi. The jail caught on fire, I was in the last cell. The fire started because of bad wiring: the jail was very old itself. All the guys were shouting trying to get out of the cells. It was about an hour before anyone in authority heard us screaming for help. The heat and smoke were enormous. It was about another half hour before the firemen arrived. As I said this was a very old jail, they didn't have automatic doors. Each and every cell had to be opened by hand and key. I was lying on the floor with my coat over my face trying to breathe through it. The smoke had just about put me unconscious. There were two other guys in the cell with me, much older than I. By the time the fireman made his way to the cell I was in, I was too weak to move from the floor. I peeped up and saw my cellmates rush out of the cell, and the fireman moved out just as fast. I knew that it was the end for me, because I couldn't find the strength to move. I remember calling God for help, then all of a sudden, I gazed through all the thick black smoke, and I saw a man dressed in what appeared to be a white gown. I knew it was God, because He walked toward me in all that thick smoke. I saw that the smoke didn't seem to bother Him. He took my hand and walked me down the long hall of cells. The thick black smoke was everywhere yet it didn't seem to bother me anymore. He walked me into the office where all the authorities and firemen were. Then He seemed to disappear. They rushed me to the hospital, and I didn't awake until the next day, which was when I inquired about this mysterious man dressed in white with long hair. None of the policemen on guard at the hospital saw Him. There was one guard who I knew should have seen him, because he was right at the door when this mysterious man walked me in the office, but he said that he didn't see anything. All of them say that I walked out alone.
Anyway, I never forgot the face of this beautiful man. I just really found out yesterday who this wonderful man is. It was "God Himself," "Avatar Meher Baba." Almost eight years have passed since 1975 and I have thought of Him constantly, yet I didn't really know who I was thinking about, until now. This is how I found out who this most powerful one is. I was put in isolation (dungeon) yesterday and there was a small book on the floor entitled "The Awakener". There's also a picture on the cover, a picture of Meher Baba. Right away, I recognized the picture, there's no doubt, He is God, He's the one that saved my life from that fire in 1975. He is the one who has floated in my thoughts and dreams for nearly eight years. Francis, I feel as though I have found the missing part of me. It is my greatest desire to learn how to praise our Master, so that I may receive His endless blessings. I feel a deep desire to spread the word of "Baba" so that he may know how much I appreciate Him saving my life. The book that I found in this cell is The Awakener. I read the poem you wrote, for Mehera's birthday, only through true love could one write something so beautiful. I'm sure you must be a real busy man spreading Baba's teachings, but if it's not asking too much, I would like for you to teach me how to live the way Baba wants us to. On the back cover of the book (Reminiscences),* I saw a few addresses of information centers about Meher Baba, but unfortunately I have no money. My mother died November 11, 1979, I never knew my father. My two brothers and two sisters live with my grandmother now. She gets government checks for keeping them. I make 4 cents a day working in this prison. I use that for post stamps and writing material. Your poem is what really made me write you, because your love for Baba is expressed loud and clear. The book didn’t say whether or
* Vol. XIX, No. 1 P. 22