Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills

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31061952 TRIP TO THE WEST1952

When they were taken to meet Baba, Baba fingered the cross on the Catholic boy's chest. "It's a blessed medal," the boy murmured. Baba nodded. Baba sent both boys away, however, as he found them too young and frail.

On 17 July, Fred Winterfeldt sent a boy in the hope that he would prove suitable for nightwatch, but Baba sent him back the same day. Watch near Baba was a very important duty, but being unable to comprehend Baba's gestures or read his board well, the boys were unable to carry it out. Besides, to stay awake the whole night was something only the mandali, who could dance to Baba's every whim, could do.

Finally, Filis called her cousin Keith Macgaffey, eighteen, of Binghamton, New York, who was a sophomore at Colgate University. He came on the 17th with Darwin Shaw after Filis begged him to "help take care of a very sick man with a broken arm and leg." The young man was to be paid a modest fee. Keith turned out to be suitable; he could even read Baba's board. Once, at Ivy's home, Keith asked Baba to explain what God-realization meant. Baba touched his forehead and dictated, "It is like a headache. Until you have had one yourself, you cannot understand what it is like."

The first morning after Keith arrived, Baba asked him, "Will you obey me?" Keith said yes.

"Even if I ask you to do something bad?"

"Yes," he answered. Keith wrote all this to his mother, a strict Anglican. The whole family became upset and drove down to Scarsdale to see who it was their son was working for. But when they met Baba, all doubts vanished.

On another occasion, Baba asked Keith, "What do you want to be?"

"I am not sure," he said.

"A doctor?" Baba asked. Later Keith Macgaffey did become a doctor. Although Baba kept Keith with him, he was not allowed to do nightwatch.

Interviews with Baba began on Friday, 18 July 1952, at Ivy's apartment (33 West 67th Street) in New York City. Charmian drove Baba there daily, with Adi Sr., Gustadji, and Keith in Darwin's car. Margaret was also present. Baba's leg was still in a plaster cast, and Keith would push him in a wheelchair. Although Baba had not fully recovered, still he agreed to see people. Many came to meet him, and Ivy and John Bass would introduce them to Baba.

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