(July 30, 1956) Those not going to Washington, D.C. with Baba embraced him for the last time. Baba also paid a final visit to his dear “Nurjehan” – Norina. They gazed at each other silently before the Master enfolded his disciple in a last embrace. Baba took from his pocket a fine lawn handkerchief, folded it and pressed it to his heart. He tucked it into her pocket saying, “Keep this under your pillow every night. I am with you always.”
Baba left the Center around 10 A.M. The last face he saw was Norina’s, standing at the screen door waving goodbye. It would be the last time she would ever see Baba.
The car driving Baba and the mandali drove on ahead to Wilmington, North Carolina, followed by those accompanying in buses. At the airport, Baba sat on a wooden bench and had a small bowl of food provided by Kitty. Those leaving for New York came to bid him farewell; some were moved to tears at the impending separation. No one was to ask questions. Baba got up and walked among his lovers, joking with some, patting others. He embraced Carrie Ben Shammai again. Fred Winterfeldt put on a striped tan hat plus Bili Eaton’s feather hat to amuse Baba. Baba came and stood beside him and Ben Hayman and told those with cameras to take their picture.
The group flew from Wilmington at 1:10 P.M., on National flight 320. Baba was to stop for the day in Washington, D.C., en route to California. On board, Eruch brushed out Baba’s hair and retied it in a pigtail. Afterwards, Baba told him to give the stray hairs from the brush to Ruth White, sitting across the aisle.
Later, Baba leaned back against a white pillow and closed his eyes. It was then that one could see the lines of suffering that reminded one of the Christ. Yet a few moments later, Baba was smiling and gesturing to his lovers, “Are you happy?” Several times during the two-and-a-half-hour flight, Baba placed a blanket over his head for a few moments and was absorbed in his inner work. The plane circled over the Potomac River and Mount Vernon and arrived fifty minutes early, at 3:45 P.M. The plane was to have stopped for mail in New Bern, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia, but both cities radioed the pilot not to stop – something unheard of.
A crew of television cameramen and reporters were to have covered Meher Baba’s arrival in the political capital of America, but Baba for his own reasons eluded them. Even the hired limousines had not yet arrived. Bernard Carvalho had even arranged for a police motorcycle escort, to avoid being caught up in traffic. When Baba had heard about all these arrangements in Myrtle Beach, he pointed out to Ivy Duce, “I do not like these press conferences where reporters only look for sensationalism and often distort what is said – nor the publicity, nor TV, nor any part of it!” He finished with this poignant statement, “Do you think Jesus would have gone through Washington with a police escort?”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 14, pp. 5041 -5043.