JOSEPH JOHN BASS
John Bass was ardent lover of Meher Baba and met Him in Lagoon cabin on 15th May 1952.
Some of his interactions with Meher Baba and dialogues are written below:
On 20th May 1932, Baba went sightseeing by car around the city with the mandali and saw the Empire State Building. He met many people that day, including, Joseph John Bass, 40, who had been introduced to Baba through Norina. John Bass was to become a lifelong disciple of the Master.
During 1936, in London, Baba granted separate interviews to many of His lovers including John Bass, but Baba decided not to allow them to come to India, directing them instead to return to America. To the rest of His Western lovers Baba explained in detail about their forthcoming stay in Meher Retreat in Nasik. He fixed the date of their traveling to India as a month from then, in December.
Elizabeth wrote on 17th July 1947 to Darwin Shaw and John Bass, then in Myrtle Beach:
Today Baba went over the maps, pictures and data about Myrtle Beach. Baba is definitely coming in the near future, so take care of Myrtle Beach properties as you would take care of Baba, and work hard to get rid of mosquitoes.
Interviews with Baba began on 18th July 1952, at Ivy’s apartment (33 West 67th Street) in New York City. 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 John Bass would introduce them to Baba.
According to Baba’s instructions in 1944, Norina Matchabelli and Elizabeth Patterson had established a spiritual center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Center was to serve as a retreat and also as a source of information to spread the message of Meher Baba’s love to the world. Several American lovers helped Norina and Elizabeth, chief among them being Darwin Shaw, Frank Eaton and John Bass.
Baba met with Darwin Shaw and John Bass on Thursday, 15th May 1952, in the Lagoon Cabin.
Ivy and Charmian were instructed to personally convey this to John Bass and few others and then to return to Myrtle Beach on 10th July, further informing those on the West Coast: “Baba is definitely coming in July 1953 and your waiting for these months will bear better fruit t.”
Baba called a halt for afternoon tea and called in John Bass and few others. As tea was served, Baba narrated the story of King Janak (a Perfect Master and the father of Sita who married Ram).
On 23rd July 1952, a coup d’état took place in Egypt. Baba had been continually stressing that He wished to land in Cairo to contact a mast, but now he was forced to change his plans. He turned to John Bass and remarked, “The revolution in Egypt is John’s fault.”
On the morning of the 20th of April 1953, Baba and the group landed at New York’s Idlewild (JFK) Airport, John Bass of New York met Baba for five minutes at this time. He later recalled:
I felt such great divinity in Baba’s presence. I don’t know how to describe it. It is something I have never felt before or afterwards: the feeling of Baba’s terrific power and energy. At the same time a certain peace permeated me, so that I remarked to Elizabeth, who was outside the room at the time, “But, Elizabeth, Baba is tremendous, magnificent!” Elizabeth replied, “Yes, Baba is what He is.”
When Baba arrived in America in 1956, Henry and his wife Kecha, drove north to New York from Virginia and went to the Hotel Delmonico to meet Baba on 20 July 1956. Kecha had some errands to do, so Henry got out and went inside. He and Liz Sacalis got to the floor where Baba was meeting people and gave their names to John Bass.
By 22th July 1956, 135 guests, mostly from the New York area, but some out-of-town lovers as well, assembled in the large Palm Room of Longchamps overlooking the garden at Manhattan House. Baba wore a pink jacket and white sadra. All rose to greet Him when He entered.John Bass introduced those who came. The first persons introduced were Raymond T. Bond, 63, a vice-president, and S. Phelps Platt, Jr. of Dodd, Mead & Company, the publisher of God Speaks. Both men were greatly impressed. Emphasizing the importance of God Speaks, Baba commented: “When I break My silence, that book will be priceless. It will be treasured by the whole world.”
John Bass then presented to Baba a gift, a clock with its hands set on Indian time. Four other clocks for the mandali and one for Mani were set for London, Myrtle Beach, San Francisco and Australian time zones, the places Baba would be visiting on this tour. Baba was happy as He accepted the gifts and gave them to the mandali.
John Bass cabled Baba that Malcolm Schloss had died in New York on the 7th of October. Baba had told His Western lovers to go straight home after leaving India, but Malcolm had stayed in Paris for a few days and again in New York, instead of returning directly to Hollywood, California.
Baba instructed Meherjee to send these two telegrams in reply:
Inform all concerned that most fortunate Malcolm passed away from you all on most important day of seventh in unique circumstances after embracing Baba and completing Baba’s work.
Baba stopped using board, but conveyed by gestures specially send this message for Malcolm’s group that Malcolm very fortunate passing away on the 7th and has come to Baba. Baba wishes you send autographed pictures to Malcolm’s group, according to his list, and Baba’s robe (sadra) to person taking charge of his group. Baba wishes you let Baba lovers in America, Europe, Australia know both My cables.
Baba took a peach from the bowl beside Him and asked, “Who are good catchers?”
Baba tossed several peaches in different directions and then teased John Bass (as he had done in 1952), “John tells Me, ‘Baba, just relax and have a cup of tea.’ But there is no sign of tea at all.”
In 1956, John Bass, head of the Monday Night group in New York, stood and said, “At times, Baba, there is a tendency to unite or try to attract each other’s members.” Baba then asked each in turn to say something. Malcolm Schloss quoted a line from one of the songs of Kabir: “Where is the need for words when love has intoxicated the heart?”
John Bass said, “I really do not know what to say … My mind is a blank.”
“To be blank is an excellent thing,” Baba remarked.
Baba asked John Bass, who was standing by the doors, to open them. Forming into a queue, the men filed past and looked inside. Some bowed at the threshold of the Avatar’s final resting place. Everyone then walked down the hill.
Baba turned to Ivy, head of Sufism Reoriented, and asked, “Ivy, are you happy? How do you feel?” As she nodded he said, “Fine. Are you ready for a nice fight? (How do you feel?”
Laughter broke out and John Bass continued, “I always emphasize that those who met Baba in 1952 do not need any ‘ism’ — just to read and study Baba’s own teachings.”
Don Stevens rose and said, “Baba says, each of us has our own two hands, our own two arms. Have you ever felt your own hands would strangle you? They may try, but they cannot. They could only strangle another person.”
Baba continued: John Bass is My left hand, Ivy is My right hand and all of you are My throat! So how can these two hands throttle Me? Is it possible? Suppose there is a red ant; it is possible the right hand might slap the left hand in killing it.
In 1956, Meher Baba said to His western group of lovers:
So naturally, you have groups and offices. Everything should be done in harmony. Each group should cooperate with each other. If someone belongs to the Sufis today and wants to join John Bass’ group, he can do so. But if he then tells John his group is hopeless, useless, and goes back to the Sufis and condemns John’s group, the grace of My love is set aside. I don’t like backbiting or criticism, which creates misunderstanding and confusion. If you want to change groups, do it, but do not keep going back and forth
In India, at the meetings, all points will be cleared up for those who attend. I do not want to tell anything about this meeting. Nothing has ever happened like it before. Continue to work as you are doing until that meeting. Everything will be cleared up then. I want you all to continue as you have been doing on the lines I gave out this morning, until the next meeting, when everything will be made clear to you. Until then, continue to work.
If John Bass comes to know of some good news, it is his duty to tell the others; the other group heads should know about it and vice versa. Then all can love Me. I want to create the head and the heart in balance.
John Bass and Ben Hayman had been out for a stroll. Baba remarked to them, “I thought you had died — you (John), not Ben! Ben and I are young; but you’ll die first because you are older than Ben.” All laughed, because John was more than ten years younger than Ben.
In 1956, Baba stated to the group: “You have all spent so much money to come here, to be with Me, but there is no time now with all the appointments. But tomorrow, at Ojai, I want to be with you all, eat with you, play with you, fight with you!”
In 1958, after several postponements, Baba’s visited Myrtle Beach third time. Two hundred and fifteen “birds” from England, France, Switzerland, Israel, Mexico and different parts of the United States came. Among longtime lovers John Bass also arrived as well as few newer comers.
After John Bass returned from India. In 1962, he wrote to Adi inquiring how they should conduct their Monday Night meetings in New York City.
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