Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills

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1306THE WEST LEARNS TO SING1931

What is the use of only outwardly living simply? The elaborate dress of desires and longings is there, side by side with a feasting ego! The real meaning of leading a simple life is to be totally desireless, and to become desireless is impossible without a feeling of love for God.

A portrait painter named Julian Lamar, 38, was a close friend of Malcolm and Jean, and he was among those staying at Harmon. As soon as he saw Baba, he pronounced, "How radiant your eyes are! What a glow is on your face! How could this luster and glow be captured on film? A camera can never catch you. How could this luster and glow be captured in a photograph? Your photo will never reflect your true beauty. I would like to paint your portrait if you would consent to a sitting."

Pointing to himself, Baba gestured, "This is not the original picture! My real portrait is something quite different and to portray it accurately, you must wipe out your own image."

Baba meant the annihilation of the limited ego-mind. "This is beyond my understanding," confessed Lamar. "I can only paint you as I see you, but I need your consent." Baba gave him permission and Lamar was pleased. 

Two days passed before Baba began seeing a few outside visitors on the 8th. On Monday, 9 November 1931, among the first of those he met were James Graham Phelps Stokes of New York City, 59, and his wife Lettice, 38. Malcolm and Jean had contacted many acquaintances who they thought would be interested in meeting Baba. Spencer Kellogg, Jr., heir to the Kellogg fortune, was one of these. His secretary Ann C. Clark knew the Stokes family, and it was she who first told them about the God-Man's coming to America.  Stokes had also been a regular customer at Malcolm and Jean's bookshop since 1927. Graham Stokes was an early idealistic, social reformer, despite being the scion of one of New York's wealthiest and most socially prestigious banking families. He was a tall, slim, athletic, Lincolnesque figure, who had been married previously to a famous Jewish socialist and feminist named Rose Pastor. Stokes, a trained physician, was involved at the time with helping the poor and supported the early civil rights efforts of Booker T. Washington. He served on the board of the Tuskegee Institute with fellow philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, among others.

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