Bill Le Page, Woombye Australia
In May 1969 forty-seven of us from Australia honoured Beloved Baba’s invitation for what has become known as the Great Darshan, held at Guruprasad, Poona. (Francis and I took great delights in working out while there that the number of Australians attending was proportionately greater than the number of Americans!)
In a Family Letter (Mani would perhaps send five or six letters a year giving news of Beloved Baba to the West) Mani said, “How Beloved Baba will give His darshan to the thousands who will come, yet remains to be determined; but it will be. He will give His darshan.”
That Baba did give His darshan I can testify: as I knelt before His chair at Guruprasad, I felt His arms around me as though He were physically there. And I know that so many who also took His darshan, perhaps all, who echo Francis’s words: “What a Beloved is our Beloved; what a mighty Beloved.”
As Mani said in the Family Letter after the Great Darshan: “You had the Beloved’s darshan. And you had His sahavas, seated for hours before Him in Guruprasad, communing with Him in silence and in speech. Often you crowded the hall, yet you were never a crowd to us. It was not a sea of faces we saw, but so many shining drops in His ocean...You brought Baba with you, and He was already here to receive you, you took Him with you, and He is ever with us – such is the profound God-humour that makes life’s joke bearable.”
During these days we greeted Beloved Baba’s beloved Mehera, and she greeted us with a soft, shy “Jai Baba!”; we listened to Francis reading his talk “The Mighty Beloved”; we listened to the women mandali singing the Gujerati Arti, for which Baba himself had written the words and music, and poems in praise of Beloved Baba; we listened, too, to Adi K Irani give a talk on Baba; and all through ran the thread of commentary by Beloved Baba’s “mouthpiece,” Eruch, helping in his own devoted way to embroider the tapestry of each day.
At other times the Australian women spent time with Mehera and the other women mandali, while the men were with the men mandali. On one day we all travelled from Poona to Ahmednagar and spent time at Meherabad and Meherazad. On another day we were taken by Baba’s jovial brother Jal to Sassoon Hospital, where Baba was born; to the tomb-shrine of Babajan, one of the five Perfect Masters who brought down God on earth; to Baba House, where He lived for a period, and to His room where set in the floor is the stone on which in 1921 He would repeatedly knock His head, explaining years later that this physical pain helped relieve the spiritual agony He was experiencing then. On the centenary of the hospital, 9th December 1968, Baba gave a special message which was also published in several newspapers: “I give My blessings to the administrative, medical, worker staff of this hospital in which I, the deliverer of the World, was delivered to the world.”
As we left Guruprasad for the last time on 20th May morning after saying goodbye to the mandali and taking Baba’s darshan, Mehera farewelled us with folded hands and a quiet “Jai Baba!” And so we returned to Australia.