Since our last book review (Vol. 19-2), three remarkable books have come out that complement each other in an amazing way. They are Love Alone Prevails by Kitty Davy; Because of Love, by Rano Gayley, and Love Personified , by Hermes Reiter. Note the word ‘Love' in each title. It refers of course to the leit-motif of each one, that ocean of love incarnate, Meher Baba. The first two are autobiographies of two women, dear friends actually, who, longer than any other Westerners, have lived side by side with Baba and His mandali, especially in India.
The third book is a pictorial treasury of the life of that very Master. All three are finely made books — expensive, yes, because of today's printing costs, but a treat for the eyes and heart. Kitty Davy's story spans a life with Baba that began at the very moment He came to the West, September, 1931, to the present (she is now the guiding light of Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C.) Especially fascinating is her account of the “blue bus" tours, 1938-41, complete maps of which are given in Rano's book. Rano's life with Baba starts only 2 years later, in 1933; she still lives in India and con siders it home . Her book includes many of her fine pencil portraits of Baba, plus the story of her chart of the "Ten Circles," telling how Baba guided her art work. Hermes' fantastic collection covers the life span of "the most photographed Avatar in history." If Baba had come even a century earlier we would not have these precious glimpses of God in human form. All the artists in history cannot equal one photo of the actual Christ. Here are photos of Him in every mood, with every gesture, in every working phase, except the internal work we will never fathom.
We see the Godman has moods — of joy, tenderness, humor, displeasure, absorption, suffering; the camera has caught, so to speak, the human side of God, so quickly obscured by history and dogma. And in these two delightful autobiographies, we see those moods reflected in the mirrors of two of His close companions, — Kitty and Rano… the interaction of the divinely human with the human being striving to become divine.
Spiritual autobiography is never easy. It requires more than literary skill even at self-revelation; it requires depth of insight. Recently I have read quite a few autobiographies of modern women struggling towards the goal. Through A Narrow Gate by Karen Armstrong, a moving story of a nun who left her order because of its harsh medievalism; The Zen Environment, by Marian Mountain, who studied under several roshis, who have their own severities; To Live Within , by a Swiss woman, Lizelle Reymond, who spent 5 years with her guru, Sri Arnivan, in a Himalayan ashram. Most interesting was Mother's Agenda, Vols. I and II, by "Mother", the feminine counterpart Sri Aurobindo Ghose. She was a Frenchwoman initiated into the discipline of “Integral yoga", itself an attempt at a universal approach. Baba said Sri Aurobindo was that rare phenomenon— a yogi who reached the 6th Plane by his own efforts, but "even Sri Aurobindo has to wait for Me," Baba intimated; i.e., to give him God-Realization.
I found fascinating the contrast between the disciplines of these Eastern gurus and that of an Avatar. It accentuates what Baba has told us: He takes His disciples under a veil along the spiritual Path, without any complicated spiritual exercises or study; only simple obedience to His orders, if that can ever be called simple! Also, it shows how Baba balanced the life style of East and West, in and out of His ashram, on His constant travels in India and the West with a mixed group of disciples, men and women, Eastern and Western. It foreshadows a ‘new age' blending of Eastern and Western spiritual disciplines; it is a much more humanized, and odd to say, relaxed approach to the “razor’s edge;" to the point, as Eruch says, where we don't follow the Path, the Path follows us. You can also say Baba was a master psychologist, who understood individual temperament and culture.
But the primary emphasis is on love — love for God through love for the Godman. As He says, love alone brings Union, the crossing of the incredible gulf between the 6th or