Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills


Lord Meher

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Nearing America, Baba made it clear that he did not wish to meet any outsiders while in New York — no new persons, no interviews and no publicity. But Norina had already informed certain people about the Master's arrival and also intended to publicize his visit. She cabled this to Baba on the ship and Baba cabled back, instructing her to cancel everything and that he would not even grant interviews. When the ship docked in New York on Wednesday, 12 December 1934, a group of newspaper reporters and photographers tried to invade Baba's cabin, but he would not meet them and instructed Chanji to send them away. As usually happened with Baba's arrivals in foreign countries, there was some delay in their disembarkation. After a considerable wait, the press dispersed. One newspaper article described Baba as wearing a sweater, coat, hat and carrying a silver-knobbed cane. "Immigration officials tried to make him talk. But he just smiled and let his secretary speak for him."

Immigration authorities were told of Baba's two previous visits to America and he was permitted to enter the country and stay for 60 days. He and his group were allowed to pass through customs without unnecessary questioning. After leaving the customs area, Baba was greeted by Norina, Nadine, Elizabeth, Minta and Graham Phelps Stokes. Stokes had invited Baba to stay at his home again, but perhaps because Stokes put certain conditions on the stay (only two of the mandali to be accommodated and only up to a certain date), the group proceeded in two taxis to the towering Shelton Hotel at 525 Lexington Avenue where Norina had arranged for Baba to stay (in room 3104). Rano and Nonny stayed with their family. 

Despite Baba's cancellation of private interviews, Darwin and Jeanne Shaw, a young couple from Schenectady, New York, were very anxious to meet Baba. For many years, Darwin Cyrus Shaw had been a genuine seeker and student of religion, philosophy and mysticism, searching for the answers to the mystery of life. Both he and Jeanne felt a close connection with Jesus. Darwin had strong feelings that the Second Coming of Christ would take place very soon. Two years before, in the spring of 1932, he became keenly interested when he read in the newspaper that Shri Meher Baba was coming to America and was considered by his disciples to be a great spiritual personage.

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