20130202 – Events of January 1969 – Part 10

There was no electricity in Meherabad then, but sufficient illumination was provided. The ancient lamp of God was lighting the way for His pilgrims, as a full moon shone in the night sky the entire week. When Chinta Sarva Rao and Majety Rama Mohan Rao of Vijayawada arrived, they arranged for a generator, and a ring of fluorescent lights encircled the Tomb.

Several thousand people arrived during this week, from near and far. The first to arrive among the Westerners was Don Stevens. Soon after came Harry Kenmore, Adi Jr. and Delia De Leon. Rick Chapman, Allan Cohen and Aneece Hassen arrived on the 4th of February, and Irwin and Edward Luck arrived at Some fainted and had to be carried away. Krishna Nair arrived at midnight on January 31, and walked the several miles to Meherabad from the Ahmednagar railway station. When he saw Baba’s body, he began crying and lost consciousness.

Two volunteers remained in the Tomb at all times. One would fan Baba from the landing of the crypt, the other would be busy collecting flowers at the door and cleaning the floor with a damp cloth. Eau de cologne of lavender and Chanel (which Baba had liked) was sprinkled on him. Three times a day, the doors of the Tomb were closed while the blocks of ice surrounding Baba were changed. Sawdust, and afterwards rose petals, were sprinkled on the ice to impede its melting

Goher would often examine Baba’s body for signs of deterioration. Although the abdomen did bloat a little on the first day, after that there were no more signs that Baba’s body was distending. Only the skin of Baba’s face was visible and it remained smooth, shining and lustrous for all of the seven days.

The women mandali stayed on Meherabad Hill in the east-room and would come several times each day to be near Baba’s body. A loudspeaker was connected, over which bhajans and qawaalis were sung, and poems and prayers recited. Keshav Nigam recited his Meher Chalisa inside the Tomb each day, and Harry Kenmore the Parvardigar and Repentance Prayers. Each evening, Sarosh would apologize on behalf of the trustees of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust for not being able to provide food and accommodation to the lovers. He would then request the devotees to leave Meherabad after having had Baba’s darshan, so that others could be accommodated.

No one wanted to leave Meherabad until Baba’s body was interred, and no one was certain when that would happen. Every morning all would be eager to know Goher’s report about Baba’s condition, as the trustees had declared they would inter the body on the first signs of decomposition. Mehera and Mani thought Baba himself would decide when his body should be covered, which they did not wish to allow to happen as long as the body looked fresh and beautiful. Meher Baba had remarked on the morning of January 31st that he would be free of suffering after seven days. Taking this as a meaningful hint from him, the trustees held a meeting and the interment was fixed for Friday, February 7, 1969, at 12:15 P.M. The 7th also happened to be Meher Baba’s birthday that year according to the Zoroastrian calendar.

Although pilgrims would come weeping, for many their grief would be transformed into joy upon seeing Meher Baba.

–www.lordmeher.org, p6729

 

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