Symbols of the world's religions



Jane Barry Haynes

Monday, May 26, 1958

We gathered in the Barn at 10:00 A.M. The "God and Cosmos" discourse was read out, then "Real Birth and Real Death." Then "Fana" — state of unconscious consciousness. Following this profound discourse, one called "Planes of Consciousness, the Next Incarnation"; "Surrendrance," and "The Lover and the Beloved." During this discourse, Baba once again used my hat to illustrate the soul. I was inwardly thankful that I had brought it, and after that day I placed it in a safe place and never wore it again. Baba called for an intermission; perhaps we had absorbed all that our hearts and minds could hold. A few remained near His chair. Baba turned to me, saying,

I love all here (gesturing outwards). Each one I love. But I love Mehera best of all.

At that instant of the infinitely tender expression of Love that suffused His countenance, I was given by Him a deep and profound love for His beloved, Mehera, whose name means Mary. I longed to meet her; and I determined inside that if Baba loved her the best, then I would love her too, with all my heart.

Baba spoke of Saint Mira when all had returned to the Barn. He told the story of her great love for Krishna and said that He wanted us to love Him that way. Baba then asked several around Him if they knew of Saint Teresa of Avila, Spain. There was mention of her work as the reformer of the Carmelite Order, her writings on contemplative prayer. Beloved Baba said,

Yes, all these things are true. But the most important thing was that she devoted her entire life to Jesus Christ — to Me.

I had never heard the words "Saint Teresa"; at that moment when Baba spoke of her great love for Christ, He gave me a deep inner longing to know about her and to study her works. Charles Purdom, the English disciple of Baba's who later wrote the biography THE GOD-MAN, was one of those whom Baba had asked about the Spanish mystic. Later he spoke to me about her, and he gave me the three volumes that had meant so much to him through many long years: THE LIFE, a small underlined book, WAY OF PERFECTION, that he had carried since a young man; and the incomparable INTERIOR CASTLE, or THE MANSIONS.

Beloved Baba planted a fruitful seed in my heart that day, for eighteen years later these writings continue to inspire. I learned soon after that morning that Baba has called Avila one of the four great spiritual centers of the Western world. He spent time there in 1933, visiting Saint Teresa's birthplace; the Cathedral, built in 1210; the place of Teresa's baptism, and other sites of the Discalced Carmelite history. He remarked that Spain is more like India than any other country in the West, and said:

I am so happy here.

He also said to Princess Norina Matchabelli on that trip to Avila, as they looked down from far above the great Avila wall to the Cathedral:

I was here long before that Cathedral was built.

Elizabeth told me later that she thought that Baba meant in the time of Jesus.

But on that day in the Barn I knew none of this, nor did I know that the Beloved would let me go to Avila in 1967 and to all sixteen original Discalced Carmelite foundations in years to come. I only knew that the expression on His face was so beautiful when He spoke of her love for Christ; the happiness in His eyes, and the exquisite gesture of His hand when He said:

That is the single important thing. She devoted her entire life to Christ — to Me.

One's heart simply surged with the impulse to cry out: I would do so too. I want to try to love You that way.

Marian Anderson's full rich voice soon filled the Barn; they played Baba's favorites, her spirituals: "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," and the last, "Let My People Go." Baba touched His right foot and then His forehead, twice, as this song was played. No words can describe the quiet fullness of peace and love that swelled into the hearts and souls of all during those times in the Barn. That devotional music, born of love and suffering; here the Son of God sat before us once again.

That afternoon Margaret Craske's ballet dancers from the Metropolitan Opera, where she had taught many years since her return from Baba's Ashram, performed four beautiful ballets. The walls of the Barn seemed to recede. There was space for the stage area; the beautiful wooden floor glistened. Baba sat midway and the hundred or more behind Him, the first few on the floor, others standing. Again the Beloved gave me a deep experience.

Before the performance began, I was on the Lake House Cabin porch with Eileen Coates, the person in whose home I had first heard the name Meher Baba. She was speaking of Baba when suddenly I thought: It is time — we are late. I ran for my car (we were allowed to drive to the Barn and park nearby), went in, found numbers of standing people. I felt disappointed, as I could not even see Baba's back from where I was. At that moment, Adi's voice called out, "Jane — Baba wants you." I pushed through the crowd and saw an opening on the floor at Baba's right hand, near His chair. I sat down quickly on the floor (for Baba had gestured: Sit down).

Then He said through Adi, turning to me with a radiant smile and a twinkle: "If Baba has a cold or sore throat and you sit this close, you may get it!" I replied hastily, "I wouldn't mind, Baba." But my mind raced, and I thought: Maybe Baba means I shouldn't come so close (never once did I think: It is I who waked today with a bad sore throat). I scooted across, parallel, moving quite a few feet away in consternation. In a split second, the Beloved's arm reached out and pulled me back right up against His chair. The strength of that motion I feel now — it was like iron. Yet Baba's body was broken — His chair way high above us. Yet He reached out with grace and ease in one smooth motion. I could not keep the tears from my eyes — but I held them back.

I tried to watch the amazingly beautiful ballet in front of me, but I could only see the white satin of the pillow Baba sat upon — the deep pink of His jacket — the happy expression that played across His face as He watched all with real pleasure, appreciating the love that flowed in front of Him. Never had Margaret's gifted dancers danced like that; they said this later. It was inspired and it was incredible. The Beloved received these gifts of fervent love and embraced each one so tenderly as each knelt before Him. Margaret, who had met Baba in October 1931, and who lived seven years at His Ashram, was standing all the while nearby in quiet repose — only her lovely eyes showed what emotions she was feeling, to see her dancers performing for God. Baba's special embrace to her was something to behold.

Little did I know that while Baba was giving such priceless gifts I had unknowingly given Him pain. For the next day He said,

I have a sore throat, and I am happy because it was transferred to Me through love.

An infinitesimal example of how He takes on all our suffering upon Himself, enduring all, for the sake of Love.

A little later Baba had all the dancers together in the Lagoon Cabin. He called me there and asked what I had thought of His dancers. I told Baba that they were all so wonderful that I would like to keep them all here at my theatre! And He smiled. How happy they looked — sitting like colorful butterflies at His feet. And the Love He showered upon them was tangible; it seemed to pour out upon them like sweet golden honey. That picture is with me still.


1997 © EliNor Publications


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