Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills

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1337THE WEST LEARNS TO SING1931

Disembarking at the port of Cherbourg on Friday, 11 December 1931, Baba arrived in Paris that evening and stayed at the Hotel Powers at 52 rue François. Margaret Starr, Margaret Craske, Delia, Kim and twelve-year-old John Cousins had arrived in Paris the previous day and joined Baba.  The next day, Kitty and her niece Zilla arrived in the afternoon.  At night, they went to the Aubert Palace cinema and saw Charlie Chaplin's City Lights and another night a Laurel & Hardy film.

Although Quentin had been called to Paris, he was unable to come because of Christmas play rehearsals in London. He had, however, instructed Margaret Craske to purchase three white gardenias each day to present to Baba on his behalf with the message they symbolized: "I love you."

While in Paris, when Baba gestured something, Meredith would continually interject his interpretation to the group: "Meher Baba means this ..." This was annoying to Baba, and whenever they went out, Meredith would try to walk beside Baba with his wife Margaret on the other side. Finally, Baba decided to have done with it.

Baba remarked to Meredith, "You are going through a change in consciousness and there are powers [spirits] in Paris that could be inimical to you. It is dangerous for you to remain here." And so on the 13th, Baba sent Meredith and Margaret Starr back to England.

Baba had been quite delicate in his treatment of Meredith and had not reproached him despite his overbearing manner. On occasion, Meredith put on Baba's sandals and walked around in them. Baba would watch him strut about without comment. A Master's sandals are considered sacred in India and Meredith's behavior and lack of respect would make Chanji fume within. To Baba, only his work was important and for some reason he needed Meredith for it. But as soon as his work was completed, Meredith was not able to maintain his contact with Baba, as will be seen.

With Meredith's departure, the atmosphere turned warm and less formal, and the group became free and open-hearted before the Master. Baba, in his own wonderful way, brought this about. Before they left the hotel to go sightseeing that day, Sunday, 13 December 1931, Baba asked Margaret Craske, "Why haven't you put on lipstick today?" At first, she could not follow what he meant. After Baba gestured to her three times, she understood and shed the reserve Meredith had enforced.

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