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Articles

Silence on Silence Day
  – Jenny Keating

Burned by Beauty
  – Buck Busfield

CCCs
  – Billy Goodrum

Amartithi
  – Bruce Felknor

"You'll find Me in the garden"
  – Jenny Keating

'Heart Tires of Its Gaudy Dress' – Francis Brabazon
  – Buck Busfield

HOLLYWOOD
  – Billy Goodrum

Trust and Intimacy
  – Jenny Keating

Living with Baba
  – Bruce Felknor

When Words Fail . . . Just Use More Words
  – Buck Busfield

Suffering and Service
  – Juniper Lesnik

SPOILER ALERT
  – Billy Goodrum

The charm of His ways. . .
  – Jenny Keating

The Importance of Being Furnished
  – Bruce Felknor

It's Been Fun
  – Steve Klein

Let’s Talk about Love
  – Juniper Lesnik

Cannes
  – Billy Goodrum

In the world but not of it . . .
  – Jenny Keating

Give Me Your Imperfections
  – Wendy Connor

Children of the One God
  – Bruce Felknor

As the Poet Says
  – Steve Klein

Happy Endings
  – Jenny Keating

Thoughts on Furniture
  – Billy Goodrum

Going Home
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Tale of Two Connections
  – Bruce Felknor

The Flowering Seed
  – Wendy Connor

Baby Steps
  – Steve Klein

Patience
  – Jenny Keating

Hold On!
  – Juniper Lesnik

Waiting for the New Humanity
  – Billy Goodrum

Remembering
  – Bruce Felknor

The Beloved's Beloved
  – Wendy Connor

Compare and Contrast
  – Steve Klein

It's in the struggle . . .
  – Jenny Keating

Time
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Tipping Point
  – Billy Goodrum

Learning Poise
  – Bruce Felknor

When "Good Enough" Isn't
  – Steve Klein

Conflict and Joy
  – Jenny Keating

Sleepless in San Jose
  – Juniper Lesnik

Vacation Incarnation
  – Steve Klein

Nerve Endings of the Soul
  – Jenny Keating

"Let the World Wait"
  – Wendy Connor

Religion vs Spirituality
  – Steve Klein

The Bigger Challenge
  – Wendy Connor

Que Sera Sera
  – Steve Klein

To Be Honest
  – Juniper Lesnik

Praise and Blame
  – Steve Klein

Being Right
  – Steve Klein

To Love God is To Love Our Fellow Beings
  – Juniper Lesnik

God is Alive in the World
  – Wendy Connor

Determined to Be His
  – Steve Klein

The Stuff We're Made Of
  – Juniper Lesnik

"I Will Always Be With You": Memories of the East West Gathering
  – Wendy Connor

Half Full or Half Empty?
  – Steve Klein

Love The One You're With
  – Steve Klein

Ordinary Life
  – Juniper Lesnik

Baba Loved Us Too
  – Wendy Connor

Feeling His Love
  – Steve Klein

He is both Father and Mother
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Leap of Faith
  – Wendy Connor

Becoming His
  – Steve Klein

Don't Worry, Be Happy
  – Juniper Lesnik

A Life Worth Living
  – Wendy Connor

Love The One You're With
  – Steve Klein

What a Mighty Beloved our Beloved is
  – Wendy Connor

To thine own self be true?
  – Steve Klein

The Sweets of His Love
  – Wendy Connor

Sickness and Health
  – Juniper Lesnik

Giving Advice
  – Steve Klein

"Garlic-Faced"
  – Wendy Connor

To Love and Be Loved
  – Juniper Lesnik

Talking About The Truth
  – Steve Klein

The Script was Written Long Ago
  – Wendy Connor

Excuse Me, Which Way to God?
  – Steve Klein

Letting Go
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Mosquitoes are Bad Today
  – Wendy Connor

What If A Teaching Moment Never Comes?
  – Steve Klein

Beads On One String
  – Juniper Lesnik

Youth Sahavas '07
  – Wendy Connor

Stop, You're Both Right!
  – Steve Klein

God, Please Give me a Job
  – Juniper Lesnik

"It Just Passes More Quickly"
  – Wendy Connor

Multiple Meher Babas
  – Steve Klein

Winking Back
  – Juniper Lesnik

The Treasure Within
  – Wendy Connor

Holding On, But Losing One's Grip
  – Steve Klein

1969
  – Ann Conlon

Obedience
  – Ann Conlon

Meher Center – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

Armageddon, Anyone?
  – Ann Conlon

What Does Baba Want Me to Do?
  – Ann Conlon

Baba's 'Things'
  – Ann Conlon

The Way It Was – Meherabad
  – Ann Conlon

What Does THAT Mean?
  – Ann Conlon

Doing "Baba Work"
  – Ann Conlon

Broken Heads
  – Ann Conlon

Enid
  – Ann Conlon

On Being Ill
  – Ann Conlon

To Each His Own
  – Ann Conlon

Meherjee
  – Ann Conlon

Youth Sahavas
  – Ann Conlon

Kitty
  – Ann Conlon

The Lonely Path
  – Ann Conlon

Isn't He Enough?
  – Ann Conlon

He Said What?
  – Ann Conlon

Goher
  – Ann Conlon

Taking a Dare
  – Ann Conlon

Seeking Suffering
  – Ann Conlon

Dreams
  – Ann Conlon

Amartithi
  – Ann Conlon

Margaret
  – Ann Conlon

"The Disciple"
  – Ann Conlon

I Wonder ...
  – Ann Conlon

Backbiting, etc.
  – Ann Conlon

Hearing His Name
  – Ann Conlon

Rites, Rituals and Ceremonies
  – Ann Conlon

"Baba's Group"
  – Ann Conlon

His Promise
  – Ann Conlon

Then and Now
  – Ann Conlon

Middlemen Revisited
  – Ann Conlon

Padri
  – Ann Conlon

Gateway Days
  – Ann Conlon

The New Life
  – Ann Conlon

Books, Books and More Books
  – Ann Conlon

Elizabeth Patterson
  – Ann Conlon

His "Last Warning"
  – Ann Conlon

Detachment
  – Ann Conlon

Is That A Religion Coming?
  – Ann Conlon

Manifestation: Did He Or Didn't He?
  – Ann Conlon

A Country of Our Own?
  – Ann Conlon

Remembering Mohammed
  – Ann Conlon

Advice (Sort-Of) for Newcomers
  – Ann Conlon

You're a Baba Lover If...
  – Ann Conlon

Real Happiness
  – Ann Conlon

Baba Lover, Baba Follower or Both?
  – Ann Conlon

Meherazad – The Way It Was
  – Ann Conlon

The Strongest Memories
  – Ann Conlon

All (Baba) Things Considered

When "Good Enough" Isn't

Bal Natu never considered himself one of the mandali.  In the 1940s Baba wrote him that, like Eruch, he could come to see Him any time he was free and did not need to come as part of a group. At the time, Bal didn't even know who Eruch was or understand that this comparison signified great intimacy and acceptance on Baba's part. 

In the late 1950s and 60s, Bal, who was a school teacher, would spend his summer vacation in Guru Prasad staying with Baba and the very small handful of men mandali who were there (Eruch, Pendu, Bhau, Aloba, Francis and often Nana Kher). After retiring from his teaching post, Bal came to live permanently at Meherazad.

 Even so, he would talk about the “mandali” with tremendous respect and made it clear that he did not put himself in that category. In later years, when Bal reflected on his life, and went through some of his earlier correspondence, he saw how, in so many ways, Baba had continually reached out to make him feel more at ease in His presence, and less self conscious  about belonging there. This made Bal even more appreciative of Baba's compassionate love but, if possible, even  more reticent about his own worth. Often, when I would be typing something for Bal in the “record room,” he might encourage me to go into the hall to listen to Eruch because he felt that was much more important than doing something for him.

 Bal's manner was almost always rather diffident. When accepting offers of help, he would be sure to tell them they should do something only if they had the time, and if they didn't have anything else to do, and if they really wanted to help, and if there was nothing that any of the mandali wanted them to do, and if it wasn't a bother, and so on. And Bal was always incredibly appreciative of any work done for him, and wouldn't hesitate to express this--telling anyone who would listen about what a hard worker you were because you had typed a letter for him, or managed to put three pieces of paper together with a paper clip. 

 But this did not mean that it was always easy to work with Bal. In his own self-deprecating way, Bal had very definite ideas about how things should be done. And he was always most meticulous about any work he undertook. One time as the Amartithi circulars were being readied for mailing, Bal showed my wife Daphne how to put a stamp on a circular. Daphne was bemused by this, thinking that she did, after all, know how to stamp an envelope, and with thousands of circulars to do, it seemed important to do it quickly.  But she was chastened when Bal continued, “Baba showed Eruch how to do this, and Eruch showed me and now I'm showing you.”  Because the circulars were coming from Baba's place, it mattered that each stamp should be put on with care and perfectly aligned.

This attitude carried over into everything Bal did for Baba which sounds like a wonderful thing, but meticulous can sometimes be a subjective judgment, which made helping him something of an ordeal at times. Most famously, with the Meherazad bookcases.

 Each year, Bal would decide to take all the books out of the display cases in Mandali Hall, dust everything thoroughly and then arrange the books in a more pleasing manner. Each year, Bal would have to find someone new to help him because who ever had done it the year before would tend to turn white and stammer when it was even suggested that they might want to do it again. Strong pilgrims would confidently accept the challenge and then, a few days later, you would see them, sitting by themselves on the veranda with a haunted look about their eyes, clutching their tea cups in both hands, muttering to themselves and starting at the slightest noise. 

 The first day of the work invariably went well. You took out all the books, dusted them, and then carefully put them back just as they had been.  Bal would come in, look at the cabinet and beam with pleasure and compliment you on what a good job you had done. But then, after some period of time, Bal would approach, hesitantly and say, ”I've been thinking about it, and I wonder if it wouldn't look better, if the books were arranged in order of their height.” 

 So you would take everything out and rearrange the titles by height. Again Bal would be effusive in his praise and gratitude but, this time, it didn't take as long before Bal decided that that didn't quite work, and that maybe you needed to separate the books by color as well. And of course, after that, it suddenly made sense to keep the books by Baba on a different shelf from the books about Baba, and then there were the books by Baba people but not necessarily about Baba, and poetry was always tricky and . . . This would go on for several days. Each time you thought you were done, you would inevitably find that Bal had a new idea, “Only if you have the time and wouldn't mind.  If you can't do it, I'll get someone else.” And so you would plunge back into the fray. Most people eventually gave up, making some excuse to get out of the job. I have to admit, that I too pleaded some other pressing work and left the cabinets before they achieved perfection in Bal's eyes.

 But, in so doing, I made the classic mistake a lot of Westerners made when working with the mandali. We tended to think that”good enough” was good enough whereas for them, only pleasing Baba was good enough. We sometimes thought efficiency was important but they were only concerned about doing it well. And when we concentrated on doing something well, we mistakenly focused on the end result whereas they cared as much about how the work was done, as the final achievement. Or as Mani explained once, Baba work is the work Baba does on you when you think you're doing Baba work. I think Baba did a lot of work using Bal and the Meherazad book cases; I wish, though, that I had been able to appreciate that more at the time.