Jean Adriel

Standing: Jalbhai, Minta, an unidentified woman behind Baba, Norina, Nadine, Elizabeth, Rano, Adi Sr.
front: Jean Adriel, Nonny, Ruano

Jean Robinson was born on September 21, 1892 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Her father’s name was Gilbert Lawrie Robinson and mother’s name was Elizabeth Wilson. She later took the name Adriel through numerology. She grew up to be a tall, regal blonde with a pleasing voice.

As a career, she took up social work in New York City. Later, she married the poet Malcolm Schloss whom she met in his bookstore, “The North Node” in New York. Both were widely read in metaphysical subjects and earnestly seeking enlightenment. Through the bookstore they made many contacts with spiritual seekers in the late Twenties and early Thirties. These proved invaluable to Baba’s first visit to America. In 1931, very suddenly, through a young poet, Milo, a contact was established between the Schloss’s and Meredith Starr, who told them a Perfect Master, Shri Meher Baba was expected shortly in England. Jean and Malcolm were set to go, when a cable came in which Baba asked them, instead, to make arrangements for His arrival in America. Through a friend, they obtained a lovely home on the Hudson at Harmon. This was Baba’s headquarters for a month in November, 1931.

Jean writes in her book Avatar of her first meeting with Him:

“My most outstanding impression of that first meeting is one of peering into bottomless pools of Infinite Love and tenderness, as my eyes met His. My heart pounded with tremendous excitement and for a while I could not speak. I felt that in an inexplicable way He was the reason for my very existence; that I have never really lived until this moment; that He was deeply familiar and precious to me, even as I was no stranger and very dear to Him.”

Baba stayed a month at Harmon, meeting many individuals, contacts of the Schloss’s, including Princess Matchabelli and Elizabeth Patterson. It was a time of intense unfoldment for both Malcolm and Jean. It took Malcolm, skeptical of the need for any outer Masters, longer to surrender, 11 days, he reports. Baba named the American group “Jeanco”; it included the Schlosses, Elizabeth Patterson, Norina Matchabelli, Nadine Tolstoy and Anita de Caro; He intimated they were all in His Circle.

Of course, Baba put Jean and Malcolm to the test His usual test in those days: the swiftly changed plans, the so-called “broken promise”. On His second visit to the West in 1932, many contacts had been made with the Hollywood film world. It was Jean who stood beside Baba at the Hotel Knickerbocker and introduced the screen luminaries to Him, among many others.

Baba left for China, promising to return and break His silence in the Hollywood Bowl, introduced over the radio by Mary Pickford! It’s easy to smile now, but all took it seriously then. Expecting instant God-Realization, some even had elaborate dresses made! (At least Norina got some use out of hers; all white, she used to lecture in it.) Suddenly, Baba’s plans to return to California were cancelled, leaving the Schlosses to face the music. Almost all the new contacts left, disillusioned, including two astrologers, Dane Rudhyar and Marc Edmund Jones, in whose home Baba had stayed. Dane had cast Baba’s horoscope and seen Him as the great World Teacher of the Age.

But the Schlosses were made of sterner stuff, as the cliché goes. They were called to Europe and took part in Baba’s visits there, notably at Cannes. Jean, in poor health, was in seclusion and missed many of the outings with Baba. I recall one meditation Baba gave her: “Jean is not the body, Jean is soul.” The reward of many deep inner experiences of the Master perhaps made up for her physical weakness.

Her background in metaphysics and Jungian analysis stood her in good stead. She could understand how Baba brought up the “shadow” side of His disciples in their clashes and moods. She and Malcolm were invited to Nasik to join one of two Western couples. It is hard enough to follow the spiritual path alone, but to walk it in tandem is doubly difficult. For example when Baba worked on Malcolm’s ego often through his importance as a writer. He worked on Jean’s as well, and vice versa.

So the harsh climate of India was hard on her health. But Baba showed her special tenderness; once, visiting a Buddhist temple with steep stairs, He ordered her to be carried up and down. Another time, she was on a diet of watermelon juice (probably her own she was tremendous on diets) and Baba procured it for her. Jean and Malcolm were in the “meditation” group as opposed to light-hearted “Kimco”. Baba used these temperamental differences even clashes of opinion, for His work. And one does suspect, for His own amusement sometimes.

When the Westerners returned to America, Malcolm and Jean separated amicably. Malcolm went on with his poetry and his meditation group in Hollywood. Jean took up writing also, publishing her biography of Baba, Avatar, in 1947. Charles Purdom had written a biography, The Perfect Master, in 1937. But hers was more personal, more intimate, more feminine, if you will. She was criticized for revealing some of her occult experiences.

Like Norina, she had many such, and in an effort to understand had studied the metaphysics of her time. The biggest influence in those days was Theosophy and its many variations. Mime Blavatsky had popularized a watered-down version of Eastern thought in the West. It was heavy on “ascended Masters,” for example supposedly in Tibet. Once asked about Tibetan Masters, Baba said “In Tibet there’s nothing but wind and stones.” Of course, one must make allowances for Baba’s sense of humor. When Jean asked about Masters, Baba said “Masters, masters! I am your God.”

She also went to Sant Kirpal Singh, who at that time was traveling in the West giving initiation “with experiences”. Baba said Kirpal Singh was a genuine saint and one of His “five favorites” and that he was on the fifth plane. There was quite a correspondence between Kirpal Singh and Baba. Kirpal Singh asked Baba why He didn’t give His disciples experiences. Baba replied, “What’s the use of experiences when I give, I give all.” At another time Singh had asked Baba where he was, if he was God-Realized. As Baba explains in God Speaks, one may have such overwhelming experiences on the planes, that one believes one is “already there.” But only a Perfect Master or Avatar can truly know. It was at this time we all received a warning not to go to saints, but to stick only to Baba.

It was in the Forties that Jean Adriel, together with her friend the movie producer Alexander Markey, found the mountain property at Ojai, California, which they christened Meher Mount.

In 1948 Jean and Delia de Leon were called to India for a short time before He began the New Life. It seemed Baba wanted to contact some of His Western women again at this time (He had also called Norina and Elizabeth). Like the gopis visiting Krishna in His palace, Jean found a Baba quite different from the early “honeymoon” days: He was more distant, more impersonal. The years of war and partition in India had required different work for the Avatar and His Circle had to share the changes.

As her drift from Baba accelerated it became a puzzle to the rest of the Baba world. But Baba, tender as always, arranged that a group of us send her financial aid as her poor health continued. She traveled from the East to the West Coast several times and also went to France.

ow Jean did a lot of travelling from the U.S. and Europe, back and forth, England, France.

This was in 1975 after she suffered some strokes. Since 1975, Jean has been moved 19 times, including the various hospital stays. In spite of brain damage, Jean can astonish one with glorious lucid moments in which she seems to dwell in another realm. The reverse can also happen. Her eyes sparkle at mention of Baba, for yes, Jean has re-accepted Baba. Surely visits from Baba lovers have made impact in heart-to-heart contacts. Jean was 90 years old September 21, 1982. Died: May 16, 1984 California, USA


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