On June 2nd, (1932) Baba went to Paramount Studios again and met Maurice Chevalier, who was making Love Me Tonight with Jeanette MacDonald. Tallulah Bankhead was there and ran to Baba, hugging and kissing him.
Later that afternoon, Mary Pickford came to see Baba for a private interview at 3:30 and meditated in Baba’s presence for five minutes. Baba and Quentin Tod were driven later to Santa Monica by director Ernst Lubitsch and had tea with him at his house. Rom Landau had written letters of introduction for Tod to Lubitsch and Von Sternberg.
In the evening, Baba went with Quentin to Tallulah Bankhead’s residence for dinner, and also to meet Greta Garbo. However, Garbo telephoned at the last minute to say she was not well enough to come. Baba was openly disappointed at not meeting her, as he had implied that Garbo was the “most spiritual” of the Hollywood stars.
Although the mandali were often kept in the background, that night Baba took them to Grauman’s Chinese Theater where he had been invited by the manager Sidney Grauman. Baba enjoyed the variety acts that followed the film and the performance of the comedian Will Mahoney. Greta Garbo’s latest film Grand Hotel was playing and Baba praised her performance. (1)
KAKA BARIA did not know English and had entreated Baba not to leave him alone with the Americans who badgered him with questions about Baba. One humorous account follows: Once when Baba was with a group of his lovers, Kaka was enjoying a walk in the garden. Baba allowed the group a short break and they went outside into the garden. Seeing one of Baba’s mandali, they besieged Kaka with one question after another. Not following what was being said, Kaka was at a total loss and could only think to close his eyes, as if he went into a trance! Observing him, thinking that he was meditating, the new lovers were all the more impressed and stood surrounding Kaka.
One whispered, “There is some yogic power in him … he must be advanced!” However, Kaka was sweating being put in such a very uncomfortable position. Meanwhile, the new lovers were waiting to see when he would come out of his “samadhi.” They were praising Kaka, while he was internally swearing at them! How long could he stand there like a statue? After some minutes, Baba fortunately called for him and he went inside. The naïve Westerners were thoroughly impressed, but poor Kaka was bewildered.
(1) Greta (Gustafson) Garbo (1905-1990) was a Swedish-American film actress. She was acclaimed for her beauty and dramatic intensity. Her more famous films include Queen Christina (1933), Anna Karenina (1935), and Camille (1936). The film Grand Hotel that Meher Baba saw won an Academy Award that year. It is said that she was a great yogi in a previous lifetime.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 5, pp. 1660 – 1661.