Symbols of the world's religions



Josephine Ross


Date sent:     Sun, 6 Dec 1998 15:58:14 -0700
From:           "Barbara A. Roberts"
Subject:        SONGS OF A MODERN DISCIPLE: Josephine Ross
To:               Baba-talk@JWS.SUNYERIE.EDU

Jai Meher Baba!

Today, I learned of the blessed passing to Beloved Baba of one of His long-time Western disciples, Josephine Ross, on Friday, December 4, 1998. She was 91 and had been living in Lucerne, New York in the care of her daughter, Ann Ross, a nurse.

In honor of this great and much loved lover of Baba-God, here are some selections from her book of mystical poems entitled SONGS OF A MODERN DISCIPLE published by Vantage Press in 1965.

The dedication reads:

To the


O Love, had I forgotten,
Until I saw Thee here,
Down through all the centuries,
Lonely year on year?

Had I forgotten Thy voice, Thy smile,
And all Thy winning grace?
Had I no recollection
Of the beauty of Thy face?

But if 'twere so, why did I then
Come running at Thy call?
My heart had not forgotten Thee,
Who art my all in all!

For Kim

Transcendent Beauty, ever calm and pure,
That calls me onward, upward, through the night,
Oh, purge my soul of weakness and sin;
Illuminate my darkness by Thy Light!
(Eternal Beauty, deep within my soul,
Oh, cleanse me, heal my wounds and make me whole!)

Yea, I have seen Thee on the mountain-top
At dawn, when thrushes fill the air with song
And tender willows brood above the path
Where, white and purple, dew-drenched violets throng.
(Ah Beauty, hidden deep within my heart,
I cannot longer live from Thee apart!)

And it was Thee I glimpsed one moonlit night,
When water splashed into a garden pool,
And silence seemed embodied in a hill
That curved against the sky, moon-bright, snow-cool.
(Eternal Beauty, breath within my breath,
To live without Thee were my spirit's death!)

How many times I sense Thy Presence near
As on the pages of some book I find
A rare, pure thought, a phrase like music formed,
Creation of a consecrated mind.
(Ah Beauty, Thou the very core of thought,
With what a price Thy flaming truth is bought!)

Ah, Thou hast trailed Thy garment through my years,
And left a haunting fragrance on the air
That will not let me rest, that lures me on
To climb yet higher up the golden stair.
(Is it Thy Voice I hear above the strife?
Beauty, I know Thee now...Thou art my Life!)

No more shalt Thou escape, Elusive One:
I'll hold Thee fast by every art I know.
Together we shall fly through starlit space,
And leave the groping earth-souls far below.

(What form is this that at my feet lies prone?
I lift my wings...singing, I soar...alone!)

(A Song to the Beloved)

The strong wind blows across the snow, Beloved,
And the stars are cold in the winter sky.
But O Beloved, in my heart
I have prepared a garden of delight for Thee.
There roses bloom and hidden in the grass
Are violets and sweet anemones.
There, from a scented wood, the thrush pours forth
His liquid song of Love...

The sheep tuck in their tails between their legs,
And huddle together, heads down, facing the storm.
Over them the blizzard rages, and the snow
Drifts high beside my window...

But in my heart, Beloved,
There is sunshine, and the song of birds,
And a brook wanders lazily through the meadows,
Where daisies and buttercups nod in the gentle breeze,
And in a pool, under the weeping willow,
A fish leaps up, his iridescent scales
Flashing like rainbows.

O Beloved, on earth is winter,
But in my heart perpetual summer reigns:
For where Thou art is love, and life, and laughter,
The perfume of roses, the fragrance of myriad blossoms,
In the world of men, Beloved, there is war,
But in my heart a garden of delight,
For Thou art there,
And where Thou art, Beauty adorns her temple,
And Love guards well the gate.


Let there be peace within the heart,
And quiet in the mindm
That God's great Wisdom may descend
Enlightening mankind.

We cannot hear the "still, small voice"
That ever seeks to guide us
We cannot sense the Shining Ones
Who ever stand beside us,

Because we are so occupied
With outer, daily strife,
And have no leisure to enjoy
God's proffered gift of Life:

The quiet thought, the loving heart,
The silence of repose;
The healing of a kindly word,
The fragrance of a rose;

The sky at dawn, the stars at night--
These are but gentle things,
Yet knowing them we are aware
Of passing angel's wings.

Let there be peace within the heart,
And quiet in the mind,
That God Himself may now descend
To heal and bless mankind.


You call me Pagan;
I worship trees;
I make my prayer to the sun and moon and stars,
And passionately I love the good brown earth.
I lift my voice in praise of shining rivers,
And sunny, wind-swept hilltops,
And crimson clouds reflected in still water.

You call me Pagan, for I worship not in churches,
Nor bend the knee to God or holy image,
But out of doors I make my prayer to Beauty.
And yet I know all things are one,
And God and Beauty are but different names
For the same Essence.
You prefer Christ, and I the earth's great beauty.
Yet did not One make both?
And is it not That One we both adore?
You in your church and I in sunny meadow,
You in a chapel, I on ocean's shore.
Then are we fellow worshippers, we two,
And Love shall guide us both forevermore.


My Love belongs to all the world,
And not alone to me.
O Love, wilt Thou not take my heart
And fill it full of Thee?

My Love has duties everywhere--
No matter where He goes
My thoughts will be as close to Him
As perfume to a rose.

But Oh! what bitter sorrow
Never my Love to see,
Whose life belongs to all the world
And not alone to me.

Yea, some may see Him daily,
And rest beneath His wing;
I can only long for Him,
And these poor verses sing.

Some day, I know that He will come
On wings of Light to me,
And we shall dwell united
Throughout eternity.

Ah Love! what bliss, what anguish,
That I belong to Thee,
Whose beauty shines for all the world,
And not alone for me!

Copyright 1989 Josephine Esther Ross

About the Author: (from the book jacket)

Josephine Esther Ross was born in New York City, daughter of Dr. Amadeus William Grabau, Professor of Geology and Palaeontology at Columbia University, later at the University of Peking, China, and of Mary Martin, author of THE PROMISED LAND and THEY WHO KNOCK AT OUR GATES and lecturer on problems of immigration and related subjects.

At one time secretary to Mrs. William J. Gould at Gould Farm, unique social service community in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Mrs. Ross is currently at Harmony Haven, near Albany, farm estate of Miss Georgene Kerchner, head of Social Studies Department at Philip Livingston Junior High School, and founder of the Institute of the Opera, Drama, and Theatrical Arts. A creative arts center is planned at Harmony Haven.

Mrs. Ross, with her late husband, Charles Kenneth Ross, a fellow disciple of the Indian Master Shri Meher Baba, operated a New Jersey farm for many years. After his death she worked for the New Jersey Department of State in Albany. Some of her poems have appeared in the Meher Baba Journal, Bangalore, India. She is a member of the Theosophical Society in America.

From LORD MEHER, Bhau Kalchuri, Volume Four, p. 1474:

A young poetess named Josephine Esther Grabau [Ross] came to meet Baba on November 10, 1931. Her mother Mary Antin, author of THE PROMISED LAND [story of a Russian immigrant], was helping Jean Adriel with the household affairs at the retreat. On day, Mary called her daughter to tell her that she must meet Baba. When Josephine was ushered into Baba's room, she hesitated. Chanji told her not to be afraid. Baba held out his hand to her and she knelt at His feet.

"I was lost in His luminous brown eyes," she recalled. "Almost at once, I felt I knew Him. Here was the living Christ. There was no doubt in my mind."

Baba motioned to her if she wished to ask anything. Josephine said that she would like to help people. Baba gently replied, "First you must learn how to help."

Josephine was allowed to stay at the Harmon retreat to assist her mother with chores. She was given a room in a nearby guest house, but the first night she was there, it caught fire and burned to the ground. The residents, however, were not upset, as it afforded them the opportunity to move into the house where Baba was staying. Thus, they were able to spend the night under that same roof with Him.

The next day, November 11th, Baba called them to His room and asked if anyone were hurt. On being reassured that all were fine, Baba explained, "Fires often spring up where I go."

Baba then went to inspect the smoldering ruin. He asked Jean [Adriel], "Will our hostess suffer financial loss?"

"No," she replied, "on the contrary. It so happens she is in greater need of the money than of the guest house, and will benefit by the amount the insurance company will pay her."

Baba was satisfied, then responded, "Since no one will suffer severly through this experience, we should rejoice that the fire happened. It is a good sign. Those who lost their few belongings in the fire will begin a new life. Those who managed to save their possessions will have to wait for their new beginning."

Some of the guests had lost money in the fire and Baba remarked to them, "Christ asked much more than this." To those who came to Him, He said, "Leave all and follow Me."

Copyright 1989 Lawrence Reiter

Fly on wings of Light to the modern Christ, Josephine

Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!
Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!
Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!

Barbara A. Roberts


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