20130131 – Events of January 1969 – Part 8

When Baba was informed that Dr. Ginde had still not arrived, he sent Aloba to phone Adi at his office, telling him to phone Dr. Grant in Poona to send Ginde straight to Meherazad.

At noon, Baba remembered Ginde again, asking whether he had arrived. When the answer was in the negative, Baba sadly gestured, “He should have come by now. It is getting late.”

Baba also ordered Goher to stop giving him injections, gesturing, “Do not forget that I am God.”

Padri gave Baba another dose, and told Eruch to give him another one after ten minutes. Padri was about to leave the room when, at 12:15 P.M., a terrible spasm shook and jerked Baba up, and it made him choke. Baba was sitting on his bed with his back and head raised. He flexed his arms and closed his mouth tightly. His respiration suddenly stopped. There was no relaxation after the spasm, and Baba became motionless.

Opening his mouth, Eruch found that Baba’s tongue had fallen back, and he immediately began administering mouth to mouth resuscitation.

Chhagan ran out to phone Adi to immediately send Dr. Brieseman from Booth Hospital with an oxygen cylinder.

Crying, “Baba … Baba!” Goher started giving him injections in an attempt to revive him. Meheru, Francis and Bhau began massaging his chest.

Mani was crying, “Baba, you are God … You are God!

… See, your Mehera is crying.”

Mehera had entered the room and was sitting dazed on a chair, weeping. “Baba darling! … Baba darling!” were the only words she could utter.

After trying the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for about 15 minutes, Eruch was exhausted and collapsed on the floor. Bhau continued it for several minutes and then Francis did in an attempt to revive Baba. Pendu was holding Baba’s left wrist, trying to feel his pulse. The pulse kept coming and going, he said, but then the rate fell to nothing. Padri held Baba’s tongue with forceps.

At about 12:40 P.M., Adi and Dr. Ginde arrived, followed by Ginde’s car, and then shortly by Dr. Brieseman and Donkin with the oxygen cylinder. Goher rushed out to hurry them. “Come on, come on!” she shouted. Inside she began shaking Ginde, imploring him, “Do something, doctor, do something!”

Dr. Brieseman gave a cardiac massage and then checked Baba’s heart with a stethoscope and passed it on to Donkin who, after examining Baba, gave it to Ginde. Ginde checked Baba’s eye reflexes with his flashlight, and then the three doctors stood together quietly conversing among themselves.

Eruch asked Dr. Brieseman to administer oxygen to Baba, which he did. Goher asked if she could give an intra-cardiac injection, and Dr. Ginde permitted her, but it was too late.

He was no longer the shore of the Ocean,

but had returned to be the ever-present Ocean Itself,

and our Age wept again as He disappeared.

The Avatar had finished sacrificing his body

for the redemption of humanity.

Completing His Universal work, Meher Baba

had entered the hearts of his lovers.

He gave up his cloak of concealment

and left behind tears in his memory.

After it was determined that Meher Baba had truly dropped the body, Dr. Brieseman left, and Dr. Ginde and the men mandali assembled in Francis’ room. The question of informing those concerned throughout the world was discussed, and finally Adi, Eruch and Francis prepared this telegram:

Avatar Meher Baba dropped his physical body at 12 noon 31st January at Meherazad to live eternally in the hearts of all his lovers. Beloved Baba’s body will be interred at Meherabad on 1st February at 10:00 A.M. in the tomb he had ordered to be built long ago.

The mandali’s minds seemed to have come to a standstill. Dr. Ginde tried to comfort them by saying, “Baba is eternal.” Baba had called him to Meherazad for this purpose, so that he might offer consolation to all.

Dr. Ginde told the men, “Don’t be sentimental. Baba would want you to be practical.”

Eruch recalled that Baba had instructed the mandali several times: “Wherever I may drop my body, bring it to Meherabad and place it in the Tomb.” Eruch also remembered that Baba had told him to play the record of the song “Begin the Beguine” when he dropped his body.

Dr. Ginde then suddenly asked, “Where is the crypt? What is the floor made of?” When he was told that the floor was of stone, he said that the stones would have to be removed. Padri left for Meherabad to see that the stone slabs on the floor were taken up, and the task was completed by 7:00 P.M. that evening.

Meanwhile, Donkin left to bring an ambulance, and Adi went back to town to send the telegram to all parts of India and the world. While the record “Begin the Beguine” was being played several times, Donkin arrived with the ambulance. Eruch told Mani to get her movie camera and take a film.

The ambulance reached Meherabad at about 6:00 P.M., and Padri sat in front next to the driver to guide him up the hill to the Tomb. Slowly the ambulance drove up Meherabad Hill.

The ambulance stopped opposite Meher Baba’s tin seclusion cabin, and the stretcher was lifted from it and placed inside the cabin just opposite the door [The ambulance had been sent by Dr. Brieseman from Booth Hospital. Afterwards, the ambulance itself died; it went out of commission and had to be replaced. The trip it made to Meherabad was its last. The stretcher which carried Baba’s body is still preserved in his tin seclusion cabin on the hill.]

Mani brought the record player and played “Begin the Beguine” inside the cabin.

At seven o’clock that night, Padri announced that the stone flooring of the crypt had been removed and its floor dug one foot deeper. The Tomb was ready. The activity had alerted the villagers that something had happened, and the news that Meher Baba had dropped his body naturally spread quickly.

Amidst cries of “Avatar Meher Baba ki jai!” the stretcher was lifted and carried from the cabin to the entrance of the Tomb. Baba was taken inside on the stretcher head first and placed on the side of the crypt. The wooden board on which Baba was to be placed was first lowered inside. Eruch placed three stone slabs that had been removed from the crypt’s floor under the board, where Baba’s head would be placed. The board was therefore at a slant with Baba’s head raised about four inches.

Meher Baba’s body was lifted with the carpet on which it lay. With loud declarations of “Avatar Meher Baba ki jai! Avatar Meher Baba ki jai!” the carpet was lowered onto the board, Baba’s head to the north, his feet at the steps leading down to the crypt. A pillow was placed under his head. Baba’s hair was gently brushed. The scarf wrapped round his head and over his ears and chin was rearranged. The bedsheets wrapped around him were folded neatly, and then blocks of ice were put in the space between the board and the crypt wall. The ice surrounded Baba on all sides and yet did not touch his body. A garland was put around Baba’s head, and with his closed eyelids, he appeared, at first glance, to be sleeping peacefully. Strains of “Begin the Beguine” wafted from inside his final resting place.

—Extracted from www.lordmeher.org, p6696-6714

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