JANE BARRY HAYNES
ACTRESS, THEATRE DIRECTOR, BOOK EDITOR-COMPILER & PAINTER
Jane Barry Haynes had theatrical background in America and later tuned a staunch lover of Meher Baba.
Her life time episodes and conversation with Meher Baba are briefly described as under:
She boarded a plane to Myrtle Beach, and through a book by J. D. Salinger titled Franny and Zooey, she began to find the answers to her search. The book contained quotes from spiritual texts and opened new avenues of insight to her; she now understood that her life and everything else was all governed by God’s divine plan.
In Myrtle Beach, Jane took over the theater, renaming it the Carousel Star Theater. Zazu Pitts, a popular comedienne and actress, was an old friend, and it was she who opened the new season in 1957. One day in the middle of June that year, after the show had begun, Zazu expressed an interest in visiting some of the beautiful homes in the area. Zazu insisted on being taken by Jane, and though Jane was extremely busy, she relented and took the film star to a home with an aviary where a Miss Universe beauty pageant had been held sometime before. There, out of the blue, Zazu asked Eileen, “What about this Master who calls himself Meher Baba?
I would like to see Him.” Zazu had heard of Baba in Hollywood from Mary Pickford.
The moment Zazu Pitts uttered these words, two memories rushed into Jane’s mind. She remembered seeing an article in her father’s newspaper in May 1952 of a Spiritual Master who had come to America. She also recalled driving through Myrtle Beach with her mother-in-law, who had mentioned that a holy man from India visited a retreat there.
Jane heard Zazu and Eileen making arrangements to go to the Meher Center, and she said she wanted to go, too. Eileen ignored her, thinking she was not the “spiritual type,” and Jane walked off to fume in the car. On the appointed day, however, when Eileen came to the theater to fetch Zazu Pitts, she found Zazu had gone elsewhere. Jane reluctantly was persuaded to go in her place. At the Center, Elizabeth came out of the kitchen to greet her. Jane recalled: “I instantly felt the peace, joy and loveliness of the place. This is really something, isn’t it, I thought.”
Jane began visiting often and grew closer to Elizabeth and Kitty. As mentioned, Norina had recently passed away and, apparently, Baba wished Jane to take Norina’s place by Elizabeth’s side as her new companion and helper for the ongoing work at the Myrtle Beach Center.
Jane Barry Haynes aged 33 was one “newcomer” who came particularly close to the Beloved during this visit, and later played a key role in the development of Meher Center. She pursued a career in the theater as an actress and producer. Since her childhood growing up in North Carolina, Jane had always had a longing to go to Myrtle Beach (“It was sort of like a Mecca — I didn’t know why.”), which she finally did in 1947. Ten years later, she was given the opportunity to manage the local theater-in-the-round there.
Separated from her husband, she took a chance and moved to Myrtle Beach with her three children — two sons, John and Charles, and a daughter, Wendy. At that time, in 1957, despite having led a prosperous life, Jane had recently emerged from a traumatic experience of deep emptiness. She later related:
Everything had come together at once. I felt covered with the world. There was no worldly experience I had not had. One night I cried out from the depths of my being inside my heart, almost from the floor: “Help me! If there is a God — Jesus whom I pray to every night — please help me.”
Ramjoo on 21st June 1957, he drafted letters to Ivy Duce regarding copyright matters. Before dying, Norina had told Elizabeth, “Don’t grieve for me; let me go.” So the evening after she died, Elizabeth and Kitty went to see a play at the local theater. At the door, they were met by the theatre’s owner and manager, Jane Barry Haynes, who welcomed them warmly. More about this new “bird” later.
Jane began reading about Baba’s life and was tremendously impressed by Elizabeth and Kitty’s selflessness, purity and love. Jane later recalled: “Never had I experienced these words, these ideals put fully into daily life. This I could not turn away from.” In spite of her Christian Presbyterian misgivings, Baba’s longhaired younger photographs during the 1920s perfectly fulfilled her image of how Jesus may have looked.
Now the Christ had arrived in Myrtle Beach in the flesh.
Early on the morning of Monday, 19th May 1958, Jane’s telephone rang. It was Elizabeth, who said, “Baba has sent for you. He wants to see you now.”
Jane was flustered. “I cannot come now,” she said to Elizabeth. “You told me no one would be allowed to come the first day, and besides I have so much to do …”
Elizabeth said very quietly, “Jane, I want to tell you something.
When Baba calls, that is the time to come.”
Something in her voice got through and Jane went. Baba had arrived at the Lagoon Cabin at 10:00 A.M. Jane entered the room. “I thought: I’ve never seen anyone so beautiful as him. I thought I would be nervous and afraid, but I was not. I felt very much at ease. Baba was so full of love and understanding. He seemed to accept me as I was.”
Baba was seated and beckoned her to sit beside him. She said, “You look so well. They have told me you have not been so well.” Baba, without glancing at her, looked past her beyond the door. A look of great suffering appeared on his face and, making a hand gesture, he conveyed, “No one understands my suffering.” Baba noticed her looking at his feet, hands and body and remarked, as he touched her hand, “Don’t look at this form. This is not Baba.”
Elizabeth was called in to join them. Baba teased her, “All Baba has received is letters about Jane.”
The meals for those attending the sahavas were being catered by Muriel Houston’s Driftwood Restaurant, and Jane had earlier remarked to a friend, “I don’t know about what a Master is, but I’ve heard the food is going to be good.”
Suddenly Baba asked her, “Have you eaten?” When she said no, he told her with a twinkle in his eyes, “Go and have something nice to eat.” She left the Lagoon Cabin, but hardly had she sat down in the kitchen with Toni Roothbert when Kitty came running in and said, “Baba says you must sit next to him. He has decided to let everyone come, and that you are to sit by him.”
Jane walked back to the Lagoon Cabin, where Baba was welcoming each new arrival or group as soon as they entered the Center. Jane sat next to Baba, watching the unfolding panorama of new faces coming before their Lord and Master. Some laughed, some cried, some knelt down, and some simply said hello to him
Early morning Jane Haynes had woken from a deep sleep and suddenly began weeping.
She had come to the Center very early and was seated on the aisle at the back of the Barn. When Baba entered carried by the dancers, just as he reached her chair, he indicated to the dancers to put him down. He brought his face close to Jane’s and inquired, “Did you sleep well?” He knew. Again, while leaving the Barn two hours later, Baba passed by Jane and gestured for his chair to be put down. The same question was repeated, “Did you sleep well?”
Jane later recalled:
Then he let me look for the first time into his glorious eyes. There was something in his eyes that seemed to temporarily lift the veil. Everything disappeared. There was only Baba. No Barn or people. He appeared so young and so beautiful. He was the Christ whom I had tried to know and love since childhood. Baba showed me my Jesus, so unmistakable that I cried out in my heart, “But it is you!” And I heard within as I gazed at Baba’s face: “Yes, it is I, it is I.”
This shattering experience was engraved on Jane’s mind, never to be forgotten.
After having this tiny glimpse of Baba’s divinity, drunk with love now that she truly appreciated who he was, Jane was understandably beside herself when Kitty came running to inform her that Baba wished to view the film taken by Charmian Duce of his trip to America in 1956 at her theater downtown that afternoon, and the entire group was to join him. The ballet dancers pitched in to help and went ahead to decorate the theater.
Elizabeth who had been waiting to see how Jane would take to Baba, said, “You are in no condition to pick up Wendy [Jane’s daughter] from school; you may have a car wreck! I’ll go and get her.”
Baba allowed Charles Haynes to ride with him in the car to the theater. He sat next to Baba in the front seat and Kitty was in the back. On the way, Kitty tapped Baba on the shoulder and said, “Baba, I must ask you something. What about the [Haynes] children’s father?”
Baba turned to her and with an intense look put his two forefingers together and then broke them apart, indicating, “It [the marriage] is finished.”
“But Baba,” Kitty persisted, “how can you say finished? The children, don’t they need their father?”
Baba turned to her with a look of amazement on his face and gestured, “What do you mean, Kitty, their father? I am their father and I will always be so.”
At the theater, a group of military wives had shown up with their membership money just as Baba was arriving. Jane pleaded with the women to leave, and, grabbing Wendy’s hand went running to receive Baba at the door. Jane and Wendy were dressed in twin purple orchid dresses, which Baba admired. Wendy, age six, flew straight into His arms, and Baba kissed her.
Going to His bedroom, Baba called each woman separately to receive her gift from Mehera. Jane Haynes had been called with this first group, though she was a newcomer. She was sitting on the sofa, thinking that the only reason she was there was because of her friendship with Elizabeth. But when she was called into Baba’s bedroom, he remarked to her, “Try to believe I love you for yourself,” and he handed her a pair of earrings with his picture in them.
Later, Baba returned to the living room and passed around a small box containing a lock of His hair when he was a young man. It was auburn and curly. He also presented beautiful, large colored photographs painted by Beheram to all his centers and groups. He gave each of the 20 women present some of his hair from another lock, and instructed each to leave directly after receiving this very special prasad.
In the Barn, Baba was seated on a satin pillow wearing a pink coat. He gestured for people to make way to allow Jane Haynes to sit beside him. Casually, He remarked to her, “You know Baba is very sensitive to sore throats. People stay near Me, but I catch colds easily.” Jane had a chronic throat problem, which was worse during that period. Afraid that she would infect Baba, she scooted away as fast as she could. But no sooner had she done so, seemingly out of nowhere came a viselike grip. She felt an iron arm around her, and she was snapped back next to Baba. Jane was amazed for two reasons: Baba’s suffering and frail and broken body were so evident — and yet His grip was so powerful! Secondly, no human being could have reached the distance Baba did; she had been too far away.
After listening to some music, Baba left the Barn for the Lagoon Cabin. Jane Haynes was allowed to be present when the dancers came. Baba asked her what she had been thinking while watching their performance in the Barn. Jane laughed and said, “You know, Baba. Because they are so brilliant and beautiful, I would like to keep them here for My Theater.”
“I thought that was what you were thinking,” Baba replied, and he too chuckled.
At the beach, besides carrying His chair, some of the women had been given the privilege of holding Baba’s umbrella over him. Jane Haynes had not had the opportunity and was feeling jealous and a bit miffed with Baba for not knowing her thoughts. Baba called her to the Lagoon Cabin, and she knelt before Him. “Was there something you wanted to tell Me on the beach?” he asked.
Jane said, “I only wanted to carry the umbrella and tell you that I love you.”
Baba embraced her, remarking, “Now, isn’t this better?” As she started to leave, Baba turned to the mandali and remarked, “Old friend. My very, very old friend, Jane. I love her very much.” Jane pretended not to hear, as she wished to hear it again. She leaned forward, asking, “What?” And Baba sweetly gestured it again.
Jane Haynes had been so moved by Baba’s company that she wished to give him something in return. “You have given me a new life,” she thought. “You have lifted me up from despair, transformed my life, put your hand of grace on me and my children. I have nothing, nothing to give.” Then she remembered a book of Norina’s titled Jesus, The Son of Man written by Kahlil Gibran, which Elizabeth had given her to read. The section about Mary Magdalene’s description of meeting Jesus had touched Jane especially. She decided she would read this passage to Baba, and she phoned Elizabeth, saying she wished to do this.
On the morning of the 29th, Elizabeth greeted Jane brightly, saying, “It is all arranged; I have seen to it. You will read that piece in the Barn this afternoon.”
Jane was aghast. “I didn’t mean that!” she shouted. “I wanted to read it to Baba privately. How could you have done such a thing?”
Just then someone came, “Jane, Elizabeth! Baba is calling you.” In the Lagoon Cabin, Elizabeth started weeping. Then her emotions subsided. The problem was told to Baba, who remarked, “It is all right.
Elizabeth loves Jane very much.” He brought his two fingers together and remarked, “Spiritual twins. But Elizabeth loves Baba far more. My sign for her is this [a fist] — a rock! Now stop the tears.”
Jane said, “It’s my fault; please forgive me. I wasn’t clear about it.”
Baba’s arm shot out and he grasped her like steel, telling her to sit down. “Elizabeth, where is the book Jane likes so much?”
“At Youpon Dunes.”
“Go and fetch it. Jane will read to Baba.”
Jane was given fifteen minutes to freshen up, and left the cabin while Elizabeth drove to her home to bring the book. When she returned, both re-entered the Lagoon Cabin. Jane sat in front of Baba and began reading. In the middle, Baba’s fingers began moving rapidly. Not knowing of Baba’s Universal work, Jane surmised that perhaps she was not reading well. The moment this thought came, Baba’s fingers ceased their activity. Jane recalled: “Just like Gibran’s description — ‘As still as the statues in Antioch’ — Baba’s eyes never left my face.”
When she had finished, Baba was silent for quite a while. “Now come,” he remarked, and Baba embraced her tightly, and she knelt before him. Looking at her, he revealed, “The way you have done this, given this to Baba, touches my heart very much. For you see, I was Jesus, I was Jesus Christ. Now let’s go.” He then took her in one arm and Elizabeth in the other and they walked outside.
After the tape recitation, Baba called Jane into the Lagoon Cabin, where he emphasized to her, “Do not be nervous or afraid, for I will be with you always.” As she turned to go, Baba added, “physically,” and he had Adi repeat what he had said. When Baba returned to India, he sent this telegram to Jane: “Reborn in My love, you are blessed. Love me more and more.”
Jane had always felt that she would die before the age of 33, and in a sense, she had — but to be “reborn” in the Avatar’s fold!
In 1958, Jane Haynes was living in New York City with her three children. She had been writing a children’s book about Baba, but somehow the project was not progressing well. Baba wrote to her: “You are not to worry. More important to Me than any books written or unwritten is the love you bear for Me.”
At one point, Baba called Jane and told Jane to sit at His right. Jane was a bit overdressed and could tell Anita was wondering who this newcomer was. Baba turned to her and asked, “Anita, what do you think of Jane?”
She looked startled but recovered and said, “Oh Baba, very beautiful — very young and beautiful.”
Baba looked serious and shook his head, gesturing, “No, not beautiful here [pointing to his face]; beautiful here [pointing to the heart].
Jane could not understand why Baba had said this about her, a woman who, she felt, was “covered with the world.” Much later, she realized Baba was seeing his own love in her heart.
Jane had been told not to take her children out of school for the sahavas, but to bring each individually after school to meet Baba. Her oldest son, John, age ten, was the first to be brought on the afternoon of the 20th. John had recently been involved in a serious automobile accident. While riding his bicycle, he had collided with a Cadillac and had to have 120 stitches on his scalp. Jane was fearful of brain damage, but Baba placed his hand across the boy’s skull and assured her, “Don’t worry, it will be all right.”
Jane Haynes and others followed by several women from Australia came for darshan and Baba embraced everyone.
After moving from Myrtle Beach in 1958, Baba had ordered Jane Haynes to try to revive her acting career. She and her three children (“the Trio” as Baba called them) relocated in New York City, where Jane briefly appeared in a Broadway play. She had a rough time finding roles to act and for many months had no work. When she came before Baba, He asked with a mischievous expression, “Tell me Jane, do you have work?”
Thinking, “You know very well, Baba, I haven’t had any work,” she replied, “Yes — Baba’s work!” as she had been working on a children’s book about Baba.
After Jane Haynes had kissed His feet (“The culmination of my entire life was at that moment,” she later said), Baba asked her, “Are you happy?” She nodded, and Baba declared to her, “I am the Christ. I am the Christ. Open your eyes that you may see me as I really am.”
Baba looked like a little child to her, “so tiny you could have picked him up,” she recalled.
Jane Haynes’ daughter, Wendy, had been sitting on the floor next to Baba’s chair during the music program and had nodded off to sleep for a few minutes until Baba shook her awake. Wendy was feeling shy and self-conscious before meeting Baba this trip. She was now eleven years old and more aware of who Baba was. But as soon as he embraced her on that first day, her shyness vanished and she was thrilled once again to be with him. At one point, she was hopping about so happily that Baba called her his “gazelle.”
On another occasion, Baba asked Wendy, “Who do you love more, Mommy or Baba?” Wendy started to say “Mom …” but caught herself and quickly said, “Oh, you Baba!” Baba laughed and gestured, “Your love for your mother pleases me. Always keep cheerful in My love.”
When she came forward for her last embrace.
On 10th November 1962, Baba along with the men and women mandali, left Poona for Meherazad. Adi drove him in Meherjee’s car, followed by the DeSoto driven by Shaikh, and Adi’s car driven by Waman. At 8:00 A.M. Baba stopped at Bund Gardens, where the Poona lovers had assembled. About 65 of the Westerners, including Elizabeth, Kitty, Jane, Wendy and Charles Haynes, Darwin Shaw and family, Ruth White and Bili Eaton, were also waiting for him there. They had been delayed because of a problem in booking their return flights. Baba sat in a chair for a while, and departed after his arti was sung. Baba’s lovers pressed around his car to kiss his outstretched hand as he left.
The sight of the East-West Gathering thrilled and pleased Age. In Baba’s love, a vast array of individuals had become one family, whereby distinctions of race, sect, class and religion were wiped away. It was the first time in this cycle that Age had witnessed such a spectacle. Age had listened attentively when the Avatar declared that he was the Father of the whole universe and all its inhabitants his children. Neither East nor West remained. A small portion of humanity had become one family, which, over the years, will grow into a universal family of all mankind. Age collected much material for its record to help facilitate this.
Jane Haynes has perhaps summed up the feeling of many who participated in this unique gathering when she wrote:
The East-West Gathering was unprecedented. It was the only time in our lives that we ever experienced what Baba calls oneness. You hear about it and read about it and try to understand, when Baba says to try to find him in everyone, that we are all one. But because of our false self, it is one thing to hear it, another to experience it.
We actually experienced oneness under the pandal. There were people of every color, race and creed present. But with the Beloved sitting there, moving his beautiful hands like a symphony conductor, it seemed as though it was one heartbeat. It felt like we were one person sitting there. Every single soul felt that he or she was the only one in the whole world, and Baba was giving him or her something special. His divinity made us feel that way.
Jane Haynes was living in New York City with her three children. She had been writing a children’s book about Baba, but somehow the project was not progressing well. Baba wrote to her: “You are not to worry. More important to me than any books written or unwritten is the love you bear for me.”
After reading about Sakhares’ work of setting up a Baba information booth at the New Delhi Industries Fair, Jane thought why not have Meher Baba represented at the New York World’s Fair scheduled to open in about a year. Kitty was visiting the family and liked Jane’s idea so much that she wrote to Sarosh, who conveyed her letter to Baba. 4926-1963
Later, on 19 February 1963, Adi wrote the following note to Jane Haynes:
Baba wants you to know he is very pleased with your efforts to secure some little space for him in the New York World’s Fair. If you do not succeed in getting one, Baba does not want you to feel disappointed, for you already have a corner in his heart. Baba sends his love to you and to his dear Trio.
Baba sent this telegram to Jane Haynes on 7 March:
I would want those lovers in America who can afford to contribute toward the cost of this project to do so and thus spread my divine message of love through the World’s Fair.
Thus, an important project in spreading Baba’s message in America was set in motion.
The opening of the pavilion was delayed until 8 May 1964, but Baba’s telegram made the final trying weeks a joy instead of a trial. It was estimated that half-a-million visitors a day came to the fair, and many passed Baba’s corner, saw His picture and heard His name through the untiring efforts of Jane and many others. Baba indicated from the beginning, “I will do My work in My own way at the fair,” and it was evident by those who were drawn to Him and later wrote to the Myrtle Beach Center for more information. Fred and Ella Winterfeldt inquired as to how to answer questions that people might ask. Baba replied through Mani in a letter: “Baba says His love is with you, so do not be at all nervous about questions you might be asked. Your love for Him will speak for itself and answer all questions.”
Soon after the New York World’s Fair closed in October 1965, Baba had ordered Jane Haynes and her children, “the Trio” (John, Charles and Wendy), to return to Myrtle Beach, where Jane was to help Elizabeth and Kitty with the work at the Meher Spiritual Center. Jane was likewise given permission to build a house on the center property near Baba’s and Elizabeth’s houses and she began its construction in March 1966. Accepting her as a spiritual twin-sister, Elizabeth loved Jane and paid for the house. When the Haynes family moved into their new home later that year, Baba sent this telegram:
Now that Jane and Trio are at my Center, they should live a life which will be my message of Love and Truth to all they come in contact with.
They will not and must not let me down because they are very dear to me.
On a previous occasion, in 1960, when Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy in the election by a narrow margin, Baba mentioned that Nixon was destined to become president. Nixon had a small “encounter” with Meher Baba’s name when he attended the World’s Fair in New York in 1964. Jane Haynes and her daughter Wendy were just leaving the Pavilion of American Interiors where there was a Baba booth, when they saw Nixon surrounded by a crowd, signing autographs. Jane thrust a copy of the “Universal Message” into his hand for him to keep, but, instead, with barely a glance, Nixon signed his name above Baba’s and returned the brochure to Jane.
References/Images from: Various Lord Meher volumes, discontinued website's ambprasarkendra & love-remembrances, images and dates, stories etc from respective copyright owners websites or publications used with permission - i.e. In His Service, Glow International, MeherBabaTravels, MSI and MNP Collections, from AvatarMeherBabaTrust, BelovedArchives websites and from various other website sources, Books, journal etc. More information where ever available with us like letter scans, stories etc are added. Kindly feel free to Contact us with any updates, photos or corrections etc.
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