Symbols of the world's religions



Margaret Craske

In 1931, a woman by the name of Millicent Deakes, who was at that time living in the Andaman Islands, took a trip to India to see Baba. For some time she had been corresponding with Chanji, and then one day she decided that the time had come to see Baba.

Alas! Before setting out on this trip, she did not seem to think it necessary to find out if Baba would be available or even if He would see her. Therefore, when she arrived, she found that He was away. He was taking His first trip to the West.

A few years later she tried again, and again mistimed her visit.

When the second World War reached that part of the East, she was taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war in a concentration camp at Singapore.

As soon as the war was over, the British arranged for many of their nationals to go to regain health and sanity at some of the Indian hill-stations. Millicent was among them. After a time she found herself in Bombay, and at once the longing to see Baba reasserted itself. Again, instead of making an appointment, she arrived at Meherabad, where Baba refused to see her.

The poor woman went back to Bombay where, after a time, she received a message from Baba telling her to come to Ahmednagar, and that this time He would see her. She spent a short time with Baba, and then He sent her to have the evening meal on the hill at the women's quarters.

Since we never had visitors, the housekeeper — Katie, I think — was in a difficulty. Our enamel plates by this time had not much enamel; the mugs — also enamel — were stained by strong tea; and the knives and spoons were at about the same level. The compound where we ate was, in the evening when she came, lit by hurricane lamps, the globes of which were held together by sticking plaster and which at intervals gave out strange sounds. Everyone had her own utensils which she washed and kept in a special place on a shelf.

Millicent Deakes did not take much notice of us. She was crying and continued to do so. Her mind was completely on Baba and her interview with Him. We barely existed. When we finally sat down to eat, she came back to the world, looked round at us and at the primitive arrangements, probably sensing a mild embarrassment on our part, then said, "Don't worry about me. I have just come from a concentration camp myself."

And just for one moment, we saw ourselves as the outside world might have seen us.


1980 © Sheriar Press, Inc.


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