Experiences of Michael Le Page with Meher Baba
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
“When did Meher Baba enter your life?”
“I was born in 1951and my parents were followers of Meher Baba before I was born. When I was three years old, my family moved from Melbourne to Sydney, to live in the house that was being built on land that Francis Brabazon had bought at Beacon Hill, a coastal suburb of Sydney. Although, I was surrounded by Baba’s followers and His photographs; my first conscious memory of anything to do with Meher Baba is when I was about five years old. I was about to enter Primary School and Francis, who lived with my family, told me two things. One was the concept of the Avatar; that God takes birth in human form from time to time and that Meher Baba was the Avatar. The other concept which he explained to me was about reincarnation. He told me that we die and we are reborn and the journey of life goes on and on. Though I was a child, or perhaps because I was a child, both of these concepts, that of the Avatar and that of reincarnation appealed to me and easily got embedded in my mind. I accepted that Meher Baba is the Avatar and that we have lived before and we shall be born again. There was no doubt about these two concepts. I guess this is the first conscious memory that I have about Meher Baba’s messages.”
“Could it be that because your parents were already Meher Baba followers, hence, accepting Him as the Avatar came naturally to you?”
“Yes, I would say so. Our house had many Meher Baba photographs. Most conversations would revolve around Meher Baba and Francis was a charismatic leader of the Australian Baba community. He was naturally accepted as a leader of our Meher Baba Australian community. Everybody looked up to him. I spent many many happy hours in Francis’ company”
“So, at the age of three you were living in Sydney, Australia. Was it like an ashram or were you living in your house?”
“Well, it was both. In 1949, Francis Brabazon bought several acres of land and he began constructing a large house in the hope that Meher Baba would come and stay there. It was both, a family home and a Center for Meher Baba. First, it was a home to the Adams family – Stan and Clarice Adams and their children, Noel, Cynthia and Colin and then from 1954 onwards it became a home for my family. The main room, which we called The Big Room, was twenty feet (6 meters) wide and thirty feet (9 meters) long. It was designed as a living room but keeping in mind that it could also become a meeting hall to hold Meher Baba meetings and for people to meet Meher Baba if He ever came to Australia.
“In the backyard of the house, a stage was constructed for performing plays. It was never actually used for that purpose but that was Francis’ intention. Remember, this house was actually built as a Center for Baba as well as a family home. Francis was closely connected with Baron von Frankenberg. Baron von Frankenberg was the head of the Sufism movement in Australia. It was the Baron’s money that provided the finances for Francis to buy the land and build the building, which is why I’m calling it as a home and a Centre.
“Okay. So, Francis met the Baron in about 1940 and one could say that they also shared a disciple-teacher relationship. Baron died on March 30th, 1950. Organically, there was a transition from Sufism and Baba to exclusively Meher Baba. When the Baron died, a lot of his estate came to our family home. As children, we got to play with different things that belonged to the Baron. Baron left his estate to his wife. His wife died two years after and after a bit of time, this estate was passed down to Francis.
“How did your parents come into contact with Meher Baba? What is their story?”
“In 1947, my father’s sister and my mother’s sister-in-law, independently of each other, brought my parents, Joan and Bill to a Sufi meeting in Melbourne. That is where my parents first met, at the Sufi meeting. They married in 1948. They got to know Francis and they got acquainted with the very small Australian Meher Baba community. Eventually, they met Meher Baba in 1954.”
“Where did your parents meet Meher Baba for the first time?”
“My father, Bill Le Page met Meher Baba in India in September, 1954 at the meeting which is now called The Three Incredible Weeks. My mother met Meher Baba when He came to our family home in 1956.”
“Did your parents take to Meher Baba immediately?”
“As far as I know, they did. They didn’t have a struggle. Both of them came from spiritually minded backgrounds and they were individually drawn to Meher Baba. By the time I was born in 1951, they had dedicated themselves to Meher Baba.”
“What was the one thing that really attracted them to Meher Baba? I mean, they were Australians who had seen enough of the world. Here comes a Man who goes about calling Himself God. Was there some kind of a conflict between the mind and the heart?”
“It’s a great question. I can’t answer for my mother. She was very devoted to Baba but she was also very private and she never did disclose her journey with Baba to anybody. If she had any inner conflict about Meher Baba, she didn’t show it. So, as far as I know, my mother had been a spiritual seeker. So, I think the whole notion of spiritual seeking was quite familiar to my mother. I think all fell in place quite easily, first exploring the Sufi path and then within a year or two, following Meher Baba without a lot of internal struggle and the same also with my father, Bill Le Page.”
“Now, let’s start with you. At the age of five, you accepted Meher Baba as the Avatar?”
“When was the first time you met Him?”
“That was in August of 1956 when I was five years old.”
“Do you have any memories of those days?”
“Sure. I clearly remember all that which took place; though not the sequence of events. Meher Baba came to Australia from the 9th of August to the 14th of August, 1956. I certainly don’t remember the days or events in a sequence, of the day by day, stuff which took place but I remember Him seated in this large living room which I was telling you about. I remember, Him drawing me up through His gestures to sit on His bed with Him, which was His bed at night. He also used it as a sofa, as a Divan in the daytime. He engaged me in a game of where each one of us would try to catch each other’s hands. It’s the same game that Meher Baba played with His nephew, Dara Irani.
“Baba would lovingly call me Marco. He always called me by that name. I remember the playfulness of this exchange with Meher Baba. I remember really getting furious with Him because I couldn’t beat Him. I remember competing intensely with Him. I remember the sort of good natured way in which He responded to me and enjoyed the game. His entire visit, in a way feels like having been at a carnival with lots of sights and sounds and joyfulness and wonder. I remember a row of my friends from the neighborhood sitting across the street, watching all of this and I knew that there would be trouble for me later on. In fact, I was teased about it. There are other things that people tell me, for example, Meher Baba stepping over me when I was sitting on the floor. He stepped over me and caught my head between His legs. I apparently wrapped my arms around His legs. I couldn’t move and He couldn’t move but I have no memory of that. That’s just what some of the elders have told me. Except for my friends across the street, watching me; it was a time of joyfulness, pleasure, playfulness and great naturalness.
“I can still picture the scene of Meher Baba on the bed, in the family home. Whenever I remember this scene, for some reason the color gray comes to my mind. It is not a very special color or a very pretty color but for me, everything seems to be cocooned in a soft, beautiful gray ambience. Interestingly, I’ve heard some of the older people describe that color is associated with Meher Baba. There is the pinkness of His soft complexion but there is also this soft grayness and lightness to His whole physical being. I don’t know if I am making sense.”
“Perfect sense and I’ve always been told by a number of people that there was a beautiful fragrance around Meher Baba.”
“Did you also feel the same?”
“No, I’ve never had that experience. No, I didn’t. I’ve heard this as well but I have no memory of His fragrance.”
“Let’s fast forward to when did you meet Meher Baba again?”
“Meher Baba came back to Australia in June 1958 and my birthday falls on the 4th of June. Meher Baba arrived in the afternoon. There is another property in Australia called Avatar’s Abode. It is in the State of Queensland and it is a thousand kilometers to the north of Sydney.”
“So, Meher Baba came to the Avatar’s Abode and on the second day, I was sitting in the main hall. In the main hall, there was a section of the hall in which His bedroom was located. The rest of the hall was where we gathered for the meetings. Thus, on the 4th of June, I was sitting in the hall with the adults and other children. Baba was seated too and as I faced Baba, Eruch Jessawala leant forward to Baba and said, ‘Baba, it’s Michael’s birthday today’. Baba gestured for me to come forward and He embraced me. I put my head on His left shoulder and we embraced. That was my birthday gift from Baba.”
“What was going on within you? Here was an Individual whom you treated as God in human form. You must have been around eight years old at that time?”
“I was seven. I had just turned seven. At that particular moment, I just felt slightly self-conscious and pleased to get this embrace. Later, that same day, Baba was throwing prasad to the group. All of us were assembled and there were children, teenagers, adults and I sat about 9 meters away from Him. There were roughly about fifty people assembled. Baba looked at me and He threw the prasad at me. One of the men, John Bruford intercepted the prasad and snatched it out of the air.
“By the way, John Bruford is the person who has made the beautiful sculpture of Baba, which we see in Baba’s bedroom at Meherazad. We also see his work in the Blue Bus. He was a hero to me, a mentor, a very inspiring person but he did this, as we would say, a cheeky thing, snatching the prasad out of the air. Everyone laughed, including Baba. Baba gestured for me to come forward and stand in front of John. Now, I’m about, let’s say, seven meters away from Baba. Baba aims the prasad at me and it comes through the air gently, hits the palm of my hand and bounces out and falls on the ground.
“Baba gestured for me to come more forward again, another meter and a half foreward. He again threw the prasad at me. It comes gently through the air, hits the palm of my hand and bounced to the ground again. By this stage, I’m feeling slightly self-conscious, slightly puzzled as to why I couldn’t do this fairly simple task. Baba is now expressing exasperation with me, though I knew that it was a mock exasperation. He actually wasn’t exasperated. He was enjoying the game. Then, I was made to come more forward and again it hit my palm with great accuracy and flew right out. Everyone was laughing and Baba was laughing and there was this sense of great fun going on. I knew that Baba was enjoying this game but I was puzzled and frustrated that I couldn’t do this relatively simple task.
“Baba gestured for me to come more forward. By this time, I am maybe two meters away from Him. He throws the prasad, it hits my hand, it bounces to the ground again. Everyone erupts with laughter. Baba asks me to come more forward. Now, I’m about a meter away. I could hardly be closer. The same thing happens, hits my palm and bounces to the ground. Baba then with this mock-exasperated look pulls me in, puts the prasad in my right hand and closes my fingers over the prasad. You know Ruzbeh, to this day, I don’t know if Baba was just having fun with a child or whether it had some greater significance. I have no idea.
“On that same day or perhaps on another day, Baba gestured for me to stand up. He asked me, ‘who do you love the most, mummy, daddy or Baba?’ I stood there and I thought about my mother’s good points and her negative points. I thought about my father’s good points and his negative qualities. I began to go back and forth in my mind between my mother and my father. I just stood there trying to figure out who did I love more and then, all of a sudden, it occurred to me that Baba wanted me to say that I love Him the most. So, I said, ‘Baba’. This was a totally calculated move on my behalf. There was, in reality, no conscious feeling of love for Baba. You see, for me, Baba was God but could I say that I truly loved Him; I don’t know. It was a totally calculated statement that I thought was the right thing to say under that particular circumstance. Baba gave this beaming smile as though I had said the most heartfelt, spontaneous and honest thing under the Sun; which was far from the truth.”
“This habit of Baba asking everyone, whom did they love the most must have a greater meaning?”
“I believe so too. I didn’t think much about this at that time but now, I feel that Baba was trying to nudge us all to realize that ultimately, all of us have to love God more than our own family members. The second thing is that, I have a difficult relationship with my father. I had a very loving relationship with my mother who passed away in 2012. I feel in retrospect that Baba may have been preparing me for an emerging difficult relationship with my father. A third possibility, of course is a hundred percent speculation on my part. My career, my life’s work in the outside world has been as a clinical psychologist. A big part of clinical psychology is getting a clearer understanding about one’s relationships, the emotional reality of one’s relationships with one’s parents.”
“At what age did you formally begin praying to Baba or was it more of a relationship of just love?”
“It’s a really good question. I wasn’t formally praying, in the sense of setting aside a time of the day for prayers but I had learned from Francis and from my parents, the idea of taking Baba’s Name. Thus, as a child, from time to time, in difficult times and in joyful times, I would take His Name but there were no formal prayers going on.”
“Was there anything that differentiated the way you and your parents loved Baba?”
“My parents loved Baba in a very different way from each other. My mother was very intensely private, very devotional, would almost never speak about Baba but was clearly deeply devoted to Baba. My father would talk very freely, publicly and openly about Baba. My relationship with Baba, I think, is different from either of them. I am from a different generation, I’m from a generation that is, I think, more tolerant, more open minded.”
“So, after meeting Baba at the age of seven when was the next time that you met Baba?”
“The next time I met Baba was in 1962 at the East-West Gathering. By that time, I was eleven years old. It was my first visit to India. I came along with my mother and my two sisters by ship. My father flew to India and met us in Mumbai.
“Were your sisters also Baba lovers?”
“My sister, Jennifer whose story you have published is a Baba lover and my sister Maree is not one. We came by ship from Australia to India. There were about thirty other Baba lovers from Australia with us.”
“How many days did it take you all to reach India?”
“I don’t remember, maybe, something like two weeks to get to Colombo. From Colombo, we were to fly to India. Unfortunately, for us, the India-China hostilities had just started and all domestic flights had been commandeered for the war effort. We ended up sailing from Colombo to Mumbai which took another few days.”
“Were you excited about meeting Baba again?”
“It was a tremendous adventure for an eleven year old. Wonderful experiences! Amongst the amazing adventure, there were some very powerful moments. One was on the ship itself. I was provoked into a physical fight by another boy who was older, taller and stronger than me and I threw him on the deck of the ship, not knowing what to do next. I sat on his chest because I didn’t want him to keep hitting me. He lay flat on the deck of the ship with me sitting on his chest. There was a circle of children around us. As I sat on his chest, wondering what to do next, because I didn’t want to release him as then, he would have attacked me again, I suddenly thought about what Baba would think about all this fighting. I was going to see Baba and here I was, in a physical fight with this other child. I don’t know why but I started crying and my tears just fell on his chest. There was this stunned silence from the children around because they couldn’t fathom as to why the boy winning the fight was weeping his eyes out?
“That was the last time I ever had a physical fight with anyone. Even when I was provoked later on in my childhood and teenage years, I always walked away from violence. I was actually unable to fight back. I just couldn’t do it.”
“Is it because you didn’t want to let Baba down? Was that the reason?”
“Well, when I was sitting on this boy’s chest, I felt that Baba would not like such behavior from me, on my Pilgrimage to Him. I just knew this for certain. After that day, I actually just couldn’t physically fight with anybody. It wasn’t even a decision that I sort of made or some pledge or anything of that sort. I truly couldn’t physically fight back anymore. It was like, I had no strength to fight back. It wasn’t a decision which I made or a thought that Baba wouldn’t want this violence. I physically was unable to get into a fight. It’s not that I lost my strength but I lost the ability to fight. For fun, I wrestled with my friends and played sports where there was this shove and push but I could not fight anybody seriously ever again.”
“This journey was not just a journey. It was an awakening for you.”
“Yes, you could say that.”
“You all landed in India and left for Poona?”
“Yes, we came to Poona and we arrived in the afternoon on the second day of the East-West Gathering. The East-West Gathering was for four days, from the first to the fourth of November, 1962. We arrived on 2nd of November and the Australian group came up on stage and you can see photographs of us coming up on stage. As I approached Baba, He was seated on His chair and I was about a meter away from him. His arms were outstretched. My arms were outstretched. As I leaned forward, I saw golden effulgence around Him and it was about a meter in diameter and it was shimmering gold light, in a circular shape but shimmering with light.”
“You clearly saw it?”
“Yes, I clearly saw it. Just before I leaned down and embraced Him, put my head again on His left shoulder. When I stood up, the light was no longer present. I never experienced this again. It was just that once. Around 2016, I was at Meherazad with Meherwan Jessawala, Eruch’s younger brother. For some reason, I told him the story. He said, ‘children are allowed to see such things’.”
“Beautiful. How did you feel when you again hugged Meher Baba? I think it was after four years that you met Him?”
“Yes. Correct. I didn’t have any really strong responses to Baba, one way or another. I embraced Him. I felt that I was glad to be there but in my entire life, I have never had any overwhelming experiences with Meher Baba. It wasn’t intense, it wasn’t emotional, it was just…. well, look, you know, of course it wasn’t mundane, it wasn’t routine but it wasn’t dramatic in any sense. It wasn’t dramatic. That’s the right one, not dramatic.”
“Did you find any change in Meher Baba?”
“Now, that you have asked the question and after a little thought, for the first time in my life, I would like to say that He was less dynamic, less energetic. He was not playful with me at all. I was not aware of Him suffering. I was not aware of the physical decline but when you ask, I think, yes, He was less robust and less energetic. That’s all that I can really say.”
“For how long did you all stay in Poona?”
“We were in Poona for the rest of the East-West Gathering and then, we had to wait for our ship to return to Australia. I think, we spent maybe a week or two in Poona.”
“Where did you live in Poona?”
“At the Wellesley Hotel, which has since been demolished, I gather, many years ago.”
“Did you meet Baba again on the trip or was it a one off meeting?”
“I met Baba several times. I met him a number of times in the mornings, in the side room of Guruprasad, where, along with other followers, we spent time with Baba. On one occasion, my mother and I were called especially to meet Baba. The East-West Gathering was divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The morning sessions were for Westerners only because of the greater distance we had traveled. The afternoon sessions were for the Easterners and the Westerners together. In the morning sessions, I would sit in the side room at Guruprasad with the other Westerners. I was young and very keen to contribute in entertaining Baba. I would constantly think of jokes that I could tell Him. Francis had told us often that as Baba was carrying the burden of His Universal work, we could help Him by entertaining Him.
“One day, all the Westerners were asked to come out from that side room into the circular driveway, which was in front of Guruprasad, for a photo opportunity. Baba sat in a green armed chair. I found myself sitting at Baba’s feet, at His left side. If you see movies and photos of that time, you’ll see me sitting at Baba’s feet. By this time, I had become much more self conscious at the age of eleven, much more hesitant to impose myself upon Baba. I spent a great deal of focus on just behaving well and doing what was expected of me. I was a bit surprised to find myself sitting at Baba’s feet. Many, many years later, I saw a film of the East-West Gathering in which I saw that Eruch had put his hand on my back and shoved me forward. That’s how I got to sit at Baba’s feet. I was sitting at Baba’s feet, few centimeters away from Him. I was pondering over a particular question. We are all present for this photo shoot and it was a great opportunity but I wondered who the real subject was? Were we the subject or should Baba be the main theme? I was seated there thinking about this and I looked at the camera. I looked up at Baba. I looked back at the camera. I looked up at Baba, trying to decide what should we be focused on? Should we be focusing on the camera or should we be focusing on Baba? So, you will see me, looking out at the camera, looking up to Baba and you’ll see me do that a few times. When the photo and film shoot was over, Baba stood up and we all stood up as well. For a moment, I was face to face with Baba and I was about forty centimeters away from Him. The first thing that I did was I looked up into His face. I didn’t have to look up very far to see His face. I realized that He was not as tall as I thought He was.
“Baba was still taller than me but I didn’t have to look up very far to see Baba’s face. I just had to look up a little and I stood there face to face with Baba. I thought to myself that all this time, at these gatherings, I had been really well behaved. I had been courteous and respectful and not imposed myself in any way on Baba or on anyone else. I decided that this was my opportunity to connect more deeply and personally with Baba and I wanted some kind of recognition from Baba. I stood there looking up into His face and willing Him with all the force that I could muster to make an eye contact with me. His eyes swung back and forth, back and forth either side of my face but He never made an eye contact with me. Many, many years later, I told this story to a group in Berkeley, California. One of the people in the audience suggested that from what he had heard, at the East-West Gathering, Baba had taken off one of the veils of the seven veils that shielded His Divinity from us or hid His Divinity from us. This friend, Ron Greenstein suggested that it would not have been safe for me to have actually made an eye contact with Baba. Should I continue?”
“Yes, please do so.”
“The next day, the East-West Gathering came to an end.
“The Australian group had some time to fill in before we went back to Mumbai and then go back onto the ship. So, a plan was made for the group to go to Mahabaleshwar, which ofcourse has a connection with Baba. On the day of the trip, I was slightly unwell. I might have had a sniffle or an upset stomach and my mother decided that I shouldn’t go. She and I stayed back at the Wellesley Hotel and I was a little disappointed and a little puzzled because whatever I was feeling, seemed very minor but we stayed back at the hotel and the rest of the group went to Mahabaleshwar. This part of the story which shall follow, I got to know from Bhau Kalchuri. An hour after the group left, a car turned up outside the hotel and it was Baba’s car. Bhau told us that in the morning, Baba was in that side room with the men mandali at Guruprasad. He asked somebody about who went to Mahabaleshwar. He asked, ‘did Robert Rouse go to Mahabaleshwar?’ ‘Yes Baba.’ ‘Did Bill Le Page go to Mahabaleshwar?’ ‘Yes, Baba.’ ‘Did Michael Le Page go to Mahabaleshwar?’ ‘No Baba, he stayed back in the hotel with his mother’. Baba apparently said to the men mandali, ‘look at the love of the mother for the child!’
“So, the next thing that I know is that Baba’s car turns up at the hotel and my mother and I are taken to Guruprasad. Baba was in the side room with the men mandali. I entered and the first thing that I noticed when I walked into the room was that, on the far left hand side of the room was an Indian family, a mother, a father, a son and a girl who was about my age. I thought of how pretty the girl looked. I sat down at Baba’s feet on the floor, maybe, about just over a meter, in front of Him. Baba looked at me and gestured, ‘what are you thinking?’ I was in a jam. In reality, I was thinking about this girl.” Michael began to chuckle. I soon followed.
“I realized that I was caught. What was I going to do? I had heard stories of Baba asking the same question of the mandali. I said, ‘Nothing, Baba’. Fortunately, He dropped the subject. Then, Baba asked me, ‘who do you love best, mummy or Baba?’ The same question from 1958 but this time, He asked only about my mother. Of course, this time I had had a practice run. I immediately said, ‘Baba’. Eruch, on his own, looked at my mother and said, ‘you have lost again, mummy.”
“Was the East-West Gathering the last time you met Baba?”
“Do you remember your last meeting with Baba?”
“Yes. We had all gathered under a tree. I’m not sure whether it was a Banyan tree or a Mango tree but I think it was a Mango tree in the area of Bund garden, Poona. I think it has now been cut down, unfortunately. It’s not the tree where Babajaan’s Dargah is; it is another tree. We all gathered under that tree with Baba. I think prayers were recited and an arti was sung, maybe some bhajans were sung. I worked my way through the crowd, pushing and elbowing and got through to sit close to Baba’s feet. When we all got up, Baba was going to go to His car, a short distance, of may be, I don’t know, around 15meters away. There was a large crowd. We all got up and we all walked very slowly to Baba’s car. I remember ending up standing at the back bumper bar of Baba’s car as He was helped into the car. As the car slowly inched away, I didn’t know the word “intuition” then; but I just knew intuitively that I would never see Baba again.”
“You felt it?”
“Yes, I felt it. I did not see Him again in His physical form. When He dropped His body, I was seventeen years old.”
“From 1962 to 1969, did you not want or yearn to meet Baba?”
“No. I didn’t have a strong desire to meet Baba. I felt very connected with Baba. Francis was living with Him from 1959 to 1969. There was a constant flow of letters from Francis to my family and some of them personally, to me. There were poems and stories which he would write to me. Then, there were the Family Letters. Baba’s sister, Mani, made us feel very connected with the worldwide Baba community. I felt very close to all of them but I didn’t have a desire to see Baba. I was very involved in my life as a teenager. I was in sports and though I was not a very good student, I loved art and yeah, I was just very involved with my friends, my social group, my school; but no strong desire to see Baba.”
“You would pray to Baba?”
“Well, I just naturally got into the habit of thinking of Baba and of taking Baba’s Name. Again, I didn’t formally pray to Baba at any stage, except in about 1967, when Baba asked us all to recite the prayers every day. I think, initially, we were asked to do it for a month, every day and then I think it was extended to maybe a few more months. It was something which I was happy to do, though it felt more like a chore. It wasn’t very spontaneous. I was happy to do it but it wasn’t very spontaneous. It didn’t feel particularly rewarding in any way. I was just doing what Baba wanted me to do. Yes, when Baba did drop His body, I did have a fleeting thought that I wanted to go to India.”
“At seventeen, I didn’t have the means. You know, I was still in high school. I actually took down the dictation of the cable which came, saying that, Baba had dropped His body. Within a few moments, I did have a thought that I’d like to go to India but I never acted on it.”
“How did you feel when you got this news?”
“My first thought was how would this news affect my father? My second thought was how would this news affect my mother? Will they be distressed? I didn’t feel distressed. I didn’t feel a sense of loss. It was an event in my life but it wasn’t a momentous event. I didn’t feel as though anything had changed much for me. I didn’t feel that I had missed out on anything. I didn’t feel regret. I didn’t feel sadness. I felt concerned for others but not for myself. I didn’t feel it. To this day, I don’t know if I ever feel a sense of loss, even now. I mean, I miss Baba’s physical presence from time to time; but I don’t feel a sense of loss. I didn’t at the time. I don’t to this day.”
“Could it be that you feel Baba is yet with you?”
“Yeah! That could be possible. I think that’s very possible. I can just tell you that hearing of Him dropping His body, I can say confidently that I didn’t miss His physical form at that time. My life continued pretty much as before.”
“How did your parents take Baba’s passing over?”
“I don’t know. My mother was never very expressive about such things. I was concerned that both of them would be distraught. I don’t actually remember them being distraught.”
“Has Baba ever come in your dreams?”
“Yes. Yes. Many, many times. Yeah.”
“Do you remember any of those dreams?”
“Well, I have them somewhere in the computer. I’d have to re-read my notes but yeah. I’ve had dreams. I’ve had a dream about Babajaan too. Generally, I try to write them out because I know how quickly dreams can fade away from memories. I think on my computer here, I probably got at least half a dozen. I’m happy to send them to you.”
(Michael couldn’t locate the file of dreams from his computer.)
“What does Baba mean to you now?”
“Baba is the complete source of meaning for me in my life. He is the complete source of comfort. He is my focus. I am a very active member of the Meher Baba Community. I spend a lot of my time into making videos. I think, on my YouTube channel, I have made over a hundred and twenty five videos which have been viewed over a hundred and seventy thousand times.”
“Wow. Tell me about Mehera Maa. What is your impression of Her?”
“I think that I may have met Mehera in 1962 when I was eleven years old. For many years, I had the feeling that I had clasped hands with Mehera, which could only have been at the East-West Gathering. I don’t know it’s possible; the whole thing may only be in my imagination but what I see, what I can say confidently as an adult is that, I always kept a physical distance from Mehera. I didn’t feel comfortable looking at Her. I didn’t feel comfortable being that close to Her and I never felt close to Her. I could see that, particularly for women and for some men, she was a really remarkable soul but I felt extremely hesitant to have any connection with Her.”
“I don’t know. I don’t know exactly. It’s not that I did not meet Her. I met her many times until she passed over in 1989. I was just uncomfortable being too close to Her. Let me give you an example. A friend of mine took a video and I edited it. It’s in black and white and it’s about thirty minutes of Mehera in close up, close-cropped. He has zoomed in on Her and one of the other Australian man, a Baba lover said that, ‘it was so great to see that video but I would never have dared get that close to Mehera’. I felt the same way. I didn’t dare get that close to Her. I don’t really know Ruzbeh, I could say, feelings of unworthiness, awareness of Baba’s order, awareness of how the men mandali themselves kept a distance from Mehera. I don’t know exactly but I just know that I never felt relaxed with Her and I wanted to keep a physical distance from Her.”
“Could it be that you were just in awe of Baba’s orders?”
“Yes. I don’t know if I would have put it that way but I think you may be right. That in some way the residual of Baba’s order was still with me. I can’t really rationalize it because it’s not rational but something kept me at a distance from Her.”
“You know what Michael, it is very strange but even I avoid looking at Mehera Maa’s face.”
“I don’t look at Her face. I look at Her feet.”
“Well, you’ve got the same affliction as me.”
“Yes. It’s a very strange thing. I don’t know. Maybe the orders of Meher Baba are so entrenched within me that I quickly look away from Her face and look at Her feet.”
“Well, it is hard to explain.”
“I truly love Mehera Maa and I believe that She is Baba’s Shakti. If you call Meher Baba God then She is His Shakti. Baba Himself has said She is Radha to His Krishna.”
“Yes, of course.”
“I sometimes feel that She has not really got Her due in the larger scheme of things.”
“Like a very simple thing, in the Meher Baba Center in Mumbai, there is no photograph of Mehera Maa.”
“Wow. I’m surprised. I’m very surprised. I did not know that.”
“I forgot to ask you something earlier. You said at the age of seventeen you did not really miss Meher Baba’s physical form but you did love Him, right?”
“No. To this day, I can’t tell you that I loved Baba.”
“You must have fallen in love with Baba at some later stage?”
“I don’t think I have.”
“You don’t think you have ever fallen in love with Baba?”
“No. All I can say is that everything else in my life has faded into insignificance. Baba is the most significant aspect of my life but I can’t say that I am in love with Baba. I can’t say that I love Baba. I am quite often touched by things associated with Baba. Touched with Baba and things associated with Him but I can’t say that I love Him and I definitely can’t say that I fell in love with Him. My relationship with Baba is such that everything else drops away gradually. Everything else becomes less important but I have never had a feeling of being in love with Baba. I have never had an overwhelming sense of love for Baba. I just have a sense that everything else is unimportant.”
Strangely, while Michael spoke these lines about him not falling in love with Baba, I sensed only true love for Baba come forth from his voice.
“But is Baba important?”
“Yes, absolutely! Absolutely! Most important!”
Be blessed always.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
I would like to believe that every word that has poured forth, has come through the unbound grace, love, mercy and compassion of Avatar Meher Baba. I would also like to thank my sister Jennifer Bharucha, Jimmy Khan, Mehernath B. Kalchuri, Roshani Shenazz and Jennifer Keating, who have been instruments chosen by Baba, with whose help these interviews have been made possible. I would also like to thank Jimmy Khan and Cyrus Khambata for their invaluable editorial inputs. Be blessed always. Jai Baba.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha