Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills


Lord Meher

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Baba, Kaka and Chanji were accompanied on this trip by Norina, Elizabeth, Margaret and Kitty. The following day they arrived in Zurich where Baba met Hedi and Walter Mertens and their children. Anita de Caro was living with the Mertens family and studying art at Otto Haas-Heye's school. On this occasion, Baba instructed her to go to Paris to continue her studies for three months and await his call to come to India. Baba visited Walter's brother's house and met those gathered there. After a while, Baba remarked, "Someone I was expecting has not come. Now, I'll have to come back again [to the West]." He was referring to a young Swiss woman named Irene Billo, whose rendezvous with the Divine Beloved was soon approaching. Irene knew of Baba, but felt too "scared" to come and meet him. She naively thought she was not pure enough, which Baba of course would know. She had secretly gone to a restaurant nearby with friends, but then cried all night at the opportunity missed.

After two days in Zurich, Baba and the group took a train back to Paris on Sunday, 8 November 1936 and met Ruano there. She too was informed about coming to India and was to make plans accordingly.

Baba and the group were driven half an hour away, outside of Paris to spend the night at a large, late 17th-century estate, Château de Galluis, near the village of the same name. The property belonged to Madame Ganna Walska, 49, a wealthy Polish-born opera singer and friend of Norina's who had not met Baba previously.  The country house was magnificent and its garden and grounds beautiful. Baba met a small group of a dozen people. After a lavish meal, he was shown to his bedroom. It was winter and the bedroom was an unused one. Blasts of frigid air seeped in through the windows and Baba was unable to sleep. (He later complained about it bitterly.)

The next morning, a photograph of the group was taken, and Ganna gave Baba a tour of the main house and guest house. They admired all the many art treasures, and when they came to one painted portrait of an aristocrat or an ancestor, Ganna proudly exclaimed to Baba (perhaps facetiously), "That is my Master!" Elizabeth was mortified. Norina was quite embarrassed because she had been determined to bring this well-known aristocratic woman and others of her class to Baba, but since their inner connection was not deeply established, she rarely succeeded. At one point, however, Ganna did express some interest in coming to India for a stay in the ashram.

In truth, Ganna Walska had never believed in Baba, but she did respect him and felt the privilege of hosting Baba. "Traveling from India to stay in the West less than ten days," she later wrote, "why should [Baba] spend one night and half a day of his time in France to sanctify Galluis with his presence?"

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