Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills

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1876NASIK & CANNES1937

Mohammed started shouting louder and then began to sing at the top of his voice.

At this point, Mercedes took it upon herself to explain the situation to the policeman, saying, "These gentlemen are from India. This gentleman [Baba] has taken a vow of silence and the other is a mentally ill Hindu undergoing treatment here, but he is harmless." The policeman was wonderstruck at the "odd" characters. Shrugging his shoulders, he waved his hand and told them to be on their way.

For the week that Mercedes was in Cannes, she found Baba in a playful mood. One day he came into her room and noticed her black cape hanging in the closet and a Spanish hat. Baba put the hat on, draped himself in the cape and started stepping in rhythm to a Spanish dance. He gracefully danced around the room from one side to the other, snapping his fingers in rhythm, and Mercedes marked time by clapping her hands. She began to laugh and Baba beckoned her to dance with him. "I was delighted to see Baba so gay and full of fun," Mercedes recalled, "but I hoped none of the women disciples would come in and catch us. This is what I loved about Baba. He was always unpredictable."

Ever since leaving India, Jean Adriel felt estranged. In India she had been ill and depressed, and on board the ship to France, she was again ill and feeling unkind toward everyone. The cabin she shared with her husband Malcolm was far away from Baba and the other women, and she hardly saw anyone during the voyage. Jean did not know, however, that Baba would visit her cabin at 3:00 A.M. to see how she was and to watch over her as she slept.

In Cannes, Jean became more and more depressed until, on the night of 9 October 1937, she left the house, determined to die. Baba, being ever vigilant of his "birds," noticed she was missing and sent a search party to bring her back.

The next day, Baba took her head in his hands and looked into her eyes, asking, "You think I am cruel?"

She could not prevent herself from saying what she felt, "You are cruel!"

Baba repeated what he had said earlier, "I must be temporarily cruel in order to be permanently kind."

Looking at her with compassion he added, "The day will come when even the memory of this pain will be completely obliterated by the all-consuming joy which will flood your soul."

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