In Love with Meher Baba, by Pete Townshend

Page 7 of 7

Baba Meetings in my Old Flat

In Britain there are fewer Baba lovers. There have been a number of centers in London over the years, but it is only recently that the number of young people becoming interested in Baba indicated a need for a permanent center. The first one that I was involved in was actually one of my old pads. Right in the heart of Soho, it was on the top floor of an office block. It was an incredible experience to walk into the sunstreaming up there through big half circle windows, and hear Don Stevens, our London father figure (he's actually from S.F.), give a talk on one of Baba's discourses. In the back of my mind were memories of the times I had spent there. Listening to records on a giant system at 200 watts. Making love in the bed built up near the ceiling, watching Alice in Wonderland on the telly, eating baked beans straight out of the tin. Speedy from Thunderclap Newman lives there now, and the atmosphere has probably returned to its original down-home state, the light warm buzz of Baba's presence less evident and yet still there.

The second is still in use. This one was, believe it or not, my wife's flat. We are a many-flatted couple. Though we do manage to live in one building only today. This one is in Victoria in a basement. It's cool and fairly light for a basement, and it's small. A hundred people have been known to squeeze in there. Only about 20 of them got served with tea. The center is run and financed by a committe which includes myself. The committee sees to it that it is open a couple of days a week, and keeps the bills paid and the library full. It also drinks a lot of tea. One of the dearest women alive is Baba's constant reflection at the London center, Miss Delia De Leon. She is an actress who is now in her 70's, who met Baba when he looked like the most exciting thing to hit Hollywood. "He was magnificent!" It was clearly love with a capital L at first sight for Delia. Baba of course loved everybody and reciprocated. She has the heart of a young girl, and Baba has said that she is very spiritually advanced. Her flippancy and impetuosity are more likenable to a mischievous child than an illusion-wise worker for the Avatar. All of the older Baba lovers are remarkable in their ways. They have something, and people outside of the group have remarked on this independently, that makes them different. That makes it a happier day when you have seen them. That something is Baba.

When a person decides to find out about Meher Baba he does probably very much what I did. Searches for literature in all the centers, or borrows it from people that he knows to be Baba followers. There are no secrets. There is no back door. There are very few who are so spiritually proud that they refuse to talk on groundworking terms about finding Baba.

In London, it is amazing that the older Baba lovers, some of them having followed Baba for more than 30 years, react to the young with complete open mindedness. They accept the fact that most new young Baba lovers have been doped up to the eyebrows for years before finding Baba, and they accept the hippie dress and free talking terminology that goes with it. Most interesting to me is that they never ever question an individual's right to laugh at his fellow seekers. Or to laugh at himself or make fun of the older Baba people. In the States for example, despite the fact that people are obviously willing to be happy in Baba's name, there is a much more serious and devotional approach, almost leaning towards Eastern moods. The spiritualy path under Baba is regarded as the most serious business that an individual can take on. I tend to agree.

But then I also take the Who seriously, yet I laugh at it and the people in it, I scoff at our mistakes and our successes. I have to laugh when people ask about "followups." If the Who had waited for decent followups to "My Generation," for example, they'd never have made any other records. I'm saying this essentially for the people who love to laugh, who don't take life seriously but do regard it with respect. Who will be cracking jokes about the Mafia as Red Chinese fill them full of holes. They're my kind of people. They're the people I want to see shouting Jai Baba! They're the people, who when someone challenges they'll take it up, but they won't pretend it means anything, until Baba challenges them. Baba loved all kinds of people, he could see God in each and everyone of them. The criminal, the prostitute, the beggar, the false saint, the vainly rich, the indulgent westerner, the poet, the drug addict and the pusher, the soldier, the Christian, the Mohammedan, the middle road rock star.

The Glorification

Baba did not come to teach. He came to awaken. He did not come to form a religion, nor organize any cult, creed, sect or movement in his name. He did not take steps to do so. His Mandali were treated as an intimate family, with the ultimate Authority at the end of the table. He loved them with a devotion unparalled in an ordinary family. Not one left his side by their own choice.

I feel that never will I be able to stand back from myself and pretend anymore that God is a myth. That Christ was just another man. That Baba was simply a hypnotic personality. The facts are coming home to me like sledge hammers, not through the words I read in books about Baba, not through even his own words. But through my ordinary daily existence. Meher Baba is the Avatar, God Incarnate on our planet. The Awakener.

As the river flows down outside my home, I look out and remember that eventually it will reach the sea. Each little stream that runs into the Thames feeding it and building it sustains the ocean. Retains the cycle of life that keeps our planet moist and airy. We too need sustaining, love is the only thing that can do it.

When next you gaze into the deep brown eyes of that girl with slightly easy smile, try to see the eons that lie behind them. The world weariness that only balance can end. The deep deep desire for peace, eternal peace. The peace that dying does not achieve. Try to see it, and then look for it in yourself, you might find, yes, you just might find – you get what you need.

I am the New Christ
You have waited and waited
for me for a long time.
I am the real Guide.
You will know me
You will see me.
My word is Power.
My thought is action.
I am the Truth.

Jai Baba!

This story is from the November 26th, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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