Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills

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1336THE WEST LEARNS TO SING1931

Beside you we are nothing. And yet we long to be beautiful as you are beautiful, and to return a thousandfold the love with which you have blessed us.

After staying in America for one month, at the stroke of midnight late at night on Saturday, 5 December 1931, Baba sailed on the North German Lloyd liner SS Bremen for France, accompanied by Chanji, Aga Ali and Meredith.  

During the voyage, Baba remained in his cabin, preferring seclusion and avoiding going out lest he be recognized. Very often his fingers would spell out the names of his American lovers on the alphabet board, remembering them and perhaps inwardly sending them his love. 

The Atlantic Ocean was quite rough during the first few days of the crossing and most of the passengers stayed inside as waves crashed across the decks. Since Baba and the mandali's cabins were situated in the center of the ship, the rolling effects were minimal. The five-day voyage was a period of relaxation and rest for him after his strenuous work in America. Baba liked his accommodations and the food pleased him.

On the last day of the trip, 10 December 1931, a few newspaper reporters, photographers and an artist found out about Meher Baba's presence and they requested to be permitted to take his picture. Baba granted their request and as the ship's band played in the background, several photographs were taken, as well as one short reel of film. This was the first occasion the Master had been filmed — but all of these photographs and the film have been lost.

The artist present at the photographing, Emile Brunel, 57, later came to Baba's cabin with a friend, an Armenian carpet dealer of Los Angeles named H. P. Philibosian.  Brunel, a prominent New York City portrait artist and celebrity photographer, requested to do a sketch of Baba in his white robe, and surprisingly, Baba permitted it. While posing, Baba spoke with him about spiritual and religious subjects.

While drawing Baba in his sketchbook, Brunel remarked to Chanji, "You know, he looks like Christ. He has nothing 'human' in him. There is something more — something supernatural. It is all. His beautiful features are an artist's dream."

Brunel invited Baba to visit his studio on Fifth Avenue and wished to see him again in Paris, but Baba did not wish to meet any outsiders while in Paris and gently refused.

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