Meghan "Bili" Blakemore Eaton
Born : 5th January 1913 - Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died : 20th March 2007 - Nursing home on Long Island, NY. ( 94 y.o. ) - Cremated
Parents : Father died in 1964 from the long-term effects of a stroke, her mother died in April 1952 from cancer.
Sibling : Dorothy Stapleton
Nationality : AMERICAN
* "Bili" means cat in Hindi
***Special thank you to Charles Tim Cullen for the assistance he has given me with facts and images on Bili Eaton.
Bili's origins are Anglo-Saxon and she grew up with a Episcopalian Church background.
There is very little known background for her till the late 1940s, when she got married.
She worked for the Arthur Murray Dance Studio for 4 years, then took part in the
big strike in 1949 and she was dismissed, then she was hired by the Moya Boleyn
Studio in New York City for a short time until they folded.
Later, Bili then decided to take up a Religious Science course and eventually qualifing to be a practitioner, but never
practiced it. Through a friend, she attended talks given by Mr Justus
George Frederick ( Filis Frederick's father ) who was
a famous author and editor of "Printer's Ink" in 1950.
After a period of time, Mr. Frederick's introduced Bili to his daughter Filis, who was also a writer and editor. Filis had returned from a trip to India and talked about a very special spiritual being called Meher Baba.
Bili and her husband left their names with Filis to be informed when Meher Baba might come to America.
In January 1952, Bili had separated and then divorced from her husband but were still mutual friends. She then moved out of her home when it was sold.
Her mother died in April '52 from cancer.
Later, prior to Meher Baba's visit on 20th April 1952 ( when he arrived to the U.S. ), she had planned to come to the Myrtle Beach Center but that was scrapped and so met Baba on the 20th July in New York City, when he had recuperated enough after his serious car accident at Prague, Oklahoma on the 24th May.
The first image that Bili saw in the Winterfedlt apartment was that of Meher Baba sitting on a tree limb.
When Meher Baba came in April, Bili had a new companion
called, Philippe Dupuis. She called him Frank in her book " A Love So Amazing".
July 1952 - New York ( Ivy Duce's apartment ) - see images below
104 degrees F. - very hot day.
At 4:00 P.M. on the 20th, Baba met privately with one of the members of this group, Meghan "Bili" Eaton, and her companion, Philippe Dupuis. The following is Bili's description of what happened when she entered Baba's room:
At four o'clock we were ushered into the anteroom full of people who were waiting to see Baba or who had just met him. We did not have to wait, but were ushered in immediately. I went first, and my companion behind me. I entered the door and looked, and there was Baba. He was dressed in a long white sadhra, half reclining on a couch, his leg in a cast, with many people around him. The minute I saw him, I received a shock, as if I had stepped on a live wire. It seemed to flash through every nerve in my body, from my feet to my head. There was no time to stop and ponder, as we had to move forward.
As his large, dark flashing eyes looked at me, I felt a tremendous warm wave of love flow from Baba and break over me. It was not just a feeling; it had a physical impact. As soon as Baba saw us, he smiled such a heavenly smile. He looked at me with such love, greater than any love I had ever experienced. It is indescribable. All I can say is, no one ever looked at me with such love or smiled at me like that. All around me was in a haze; only Baba was clear. He turned his head slightly to the side as if unable to contain his joy.
Why should he have been so delighted to see us? Why me? These questions go round and round in your head for a long time after you meet him, as they are still doing in mine. This love that pours out is tangible, like a wave, but, unlike a wave, it pulls you like a magnet. Baba is all love, tangible love, and love beyond my poor brain to fathom. It was overwhelming and it left me in mild shock.
Time stood still and yet it seemed hours were going by, although it could only have taken me a few seconds to reach Baba. These moments are like eternities. Moments with Baba are all too short, but so many emotions and thoughts are crowded into them they extend into infinity.
We were told that Baba does not speak, but uses an alphabet board. I was under the impression that we would be allowed to walk in and past him quickly, as one would be allowed to look at the crown jewels, so I was totally unprepared to take the hand he extended to us, and I was wearing gloves! Baba dictated on his board, "I know them, but they do not know me." (How true that was, when I look back now!) And then he said something else about our love for God and his love for God, and what we would do. But, by then, my head was swimming and I did not comprehend very much.
What a turmoil I was in ... In the presence of Baba's love, all inadequacies stand out like sore thumbs. In the presence of ordinary persons, one does not like to feel inadequate. But with Baba, it is different. No matter how foolish and awkward you seem to be, you love even that because you are with Baba. One must experience it to know it. Baba understands; Baba loves. That is all that matters.
IVY DUCE'S APARTMENT : 33 W 67th St., Apt.FE, NEW YORK, N.Y.
Baba told Bili and Philippe:
Remember, my love and blessings are ever present with you. Your work is my work, and what you do for those who come to you for help is done for me. Selfless service is my motto, and as you know, I teach you all by serving all humanity myself. I have nothing else but love to give and to convey. Do not ever feel disheartened about anything; you have only to try your very best, and leave the rest to me.
BILI EATON PHILIPPE DUPUIS ADI K. IRANI MANI S. IRANI KITTY DAVY
After their meeting with Meher Baba, Philippe he took a plane flight to Texas that same day for business and whilst he was in the air flying, he looked out his plane window and saw Baba sitting on clouds for a long time until sunset came.
Bili was living on East End Avenue, N.Y., at this time.
Bili wrote her first letter to India 28th October 1952 addressed to Adi K. Irani. This was the start of a stream of correspondences between herself and Meher Baba's sister Mani Irani. This lasted for 4 years till December 1956. Mani always drew a little cat (s) on the letters, symbolizing that Bili's name in Hindi means 'cat'.
These correspondences are found in Bili's book " A Love So Amazing".
The only published book on Meher Baba at the time were his "Discourses" and only few attendees had copies when they attended the Meher Baba meetings in New York.
Bili went to the New York Public Library on 42nd Street she wrote out the "Discourses" in short-hand, then when she got back home, she made copies and distributed them to other members of the group in New York.
1954 : MEHERABAD, INDIA
Left to Right - above image
Bili's romantic partner Philippe Dupuis was one of the Western men who went to India to be with Meher Baba for a 3 week period. This is known as the " 3 Incredible Weeks ".
They arrived at Meherabad on the 11th September & departed Meherabad on the 30th September - 21 days.
Baba told Philippe to not to return to the U.S. but to go back to his own country - France.
Bili was confused and upset that she would not see Philippe again. She broke up with him in 1956.
1956 : NEW YORK CITY, N.Y.
Friday 20th July to Tuesday 24th July
Visit Synopsis for Meher Baba's visit :
Arrives in New York City from India & Europe ; Friday 20th. July
Departs New York ; Tuesday 24th July at 8 am.
Plane has a quick stop in Richmond, Virginia.
Arrives at Wilmington, North Carolina at 10:35 am.
Travels by car to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - arrives at Midday.
Departs Myrtle Beach ; Monday 30th July about 10 am.
Driven to Wilmington Airport, arrives 11:30 am.
Departs by plane for Washington, DC. at 1:10 pm.
Arrived in Washington, DC. at 3:45 pm.
Departs Washington DC. by plane for Los Angeles, California at 10:20 pm.
Arrives in Dallas, Texas for hour an hour. Baba exited the plane briefly.
Arrived in Los Angeles Airport, CA. Tuesday 31st July at 5:50 am.
Drove to Meher Mount, Ojai, CA. Thursday 2nd August in the morning.
Returned to Los Angeles in the evening.
Departed for San Francisco by plane Friday, 3rd August at 9 am.
Arrived in San Francisco Airport, California at 11 am.
Departed for Australia by plane ; Tuesday 7th August at 11 am.
Bili Eaton was at Idelwild Airport ( now JFK airport ) along with her new male companion to greet Meher Baba at the airport.
MARION FLORSHEIM ELIZABETH PATTERSON
In the years prior to Meher Baba's visit to New York City in 1956, Bili sometimes stayed at the Hotel Delmonico overnight and approved of the hotel, so much so, that she nominated it to the steering committee headed by Marion Florsheim, for find somewhere for Meher Baba and his Mandali men to stay on the upcoming visit to New York City.
1956 : Hotel Delmonico, New York City
From 8:00 to 9:00 A.M. on Saturday, 21 July 1956, Baba held private conferences with several small groups in his hotel room. Bili Eaton told him, "Baba, I would like to love you more than I love myself."
"Do that," he said, "And you will have everything!"
Baba asked Ivy, regarding Charmian's upcoming marriage to Jay Corrinet, "Are you happy?"
"No, I am not happy," and she burst into tears.
Baba looked at her sternly. "You believe I am God, then why are you not happy? Don't you think I know best?"
"My heart accepts, Baba, but my head is still churning around."
Baba smiled and wiped Ivy's eyes with his handkerchief. Handing it to her, he said, "Always keep it. Don't lose it."
Bili Eaton had hidden behind some nearby shrubbery near the divan and was peeping at Baba through the leaves. She could see him all the time and thought she was so well hidden that no one could see her. She related:
Every time Baba greeted someone, he seemed to open the floodgates of his love. Every time somebody new came in, there would be this wave of love and I would get some of the residue. More and more people came in, and I was getting kind of "drunk." Finally, Baba caught me; all of a sudden, his eyes flashed, he pointed his fingers directly at me and gestured to Eruch ( Jessawala ). Eruch came to get me, but Baba did not seem angry. He let me stay with him for a little while and then dismissed me.
I could see then why Baba did not let most of us, except the mandali, be with him for more than a certain length of time. He would be with a person as long as he thought he could take it and then Baba would push the person away. I don't think that any of us could have stood Baba's presence for very long; it is like being too close to a power station. The mandali had to be trained by him to live with him as they did, because you can only take so much of this high tension.
65th & 3rd Avenue in Manhattan House
22nd July 1956
There was a reception held here for Meher Baba.
FOR WEEKS, Marion Florsheim and her committee had been planning a dinner for Baba in the Palm Room of Longchamps Restaurant in Manhattan House at 65th and 3rd Avenue. For many people, this reception was the highlight of Baba's visit to New York in 1956.
By 5 P.M. on Sunday, July 22nd, one hundred and thirty-five guests ( 135 ), mostly from the New York area, but some out-of-town lovers as well, assembled in the large Palm Room overlooking the garden at Manhattan House. At the head table, Baba's longstanding disciples Margaret Craske, Enid Corfe, Elizabeth Patterson, John Bass and Darwin Shaw were seated with Baba and the four mandali. Baba wore a pink jacket and white sadra. All rose to greet him when he entered at 5:00 P.M.
Meher Baba went to the Imperial Theatre to see the Broadway play "The Most Happy Fella" on 22nd July, 1956
Bili and her partner went along with Meher Baba and other to see the musical production.
Flight : Newark, NY to Richmond, Virginia
& Wilmington Airport, NC.
24 July 1956
On Tuesday, 24th July, Bili accompanied Meher Baba, his Mandali men and many others and they took a flight from Newark Airport, New Jersey to Wilmington N.C via Richmond, Virginia. From Wilmington Airport they took a bus to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Meher Baba was driven by car.
When they arrived at the Center, Bili was assigned to stay at the Lantern Cabin.
1956 : Meher
Baba Spiritual Center, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
On the morning of Thursday, 26 July 1956, Baba walked to the Guest House and was greeted by five of the women staying in the nearby Lantern Cabin: Filis Frederick, Adele Wolkin, Bili Eaton, Beryl Williams and Sylvia Gaines. Baba appeared tired, and Ivy said, "Baba, you worked all night ..."
Baba put his hands to his head in an anguished way and said, "Yes, I worked all night. You have no idea. I have the burden of the universe on my head. I am very unhappy this morning."
1956 : Meher
Baba Spiritual Center, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The group stopped in the little clearing in front of Baba's house and began talking, but Bili Eaton followed Baba. The mandali had gone ahead. Bili recalled the incident:
I could not leave him. It was as though I were tied to him. I stopped at the gate because I did not dare go any farther. Baba turned around and looked at me and the love in his eyes was fantastic! All the while I looked, his eyes were glowing and he looked at me and smiled. It was as though I could feel the pull. I glanced over at the others, but they were standing there not noticing. The mandali, walking ahead, did not notice, either. It was as if Baba and I were alone in the world.
Baba then gestured to me to go and walked on up the path to his house. I remained standing there, unable to move. Baba turned around again, his eyes glowing. He looked at me, and I could feel the pull. He smiled and made the same gesture. He turned around a third time, and this time I made the motion, "Why are you pulling me and sending me away at the same time?" He smiled a beautiful smile, and then I was released. He continued toward the house, but this time I was able to walk away. Not easily, but I was able to move.
1956 : Meher
Baba Spiritual Center, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
On his way to the kitchen, Baba asked if Adele, Bili, Beryl and Filis had written yet to Mehera ( Irani ) and the other women mandali in India. Again, he stopped by the boathouse and asked Harold Rudd if he had slept well.
Later, during a lull, Baba called in the four women, Adele, Bili, Beryl and Filis, and asked them to read their joint letter to Mehera. He admonished Adele and Beryl for their portions and asked them to rewrite them.
Bili Eaton had run back to the kitchen and asked Kitty if there were any lozenges. Someone ran for a pack in their cabin, and Energy ( Marion Florsheim ), on her trip to town, brought back six packets. At lunch, Kitty ( Davy ) asked Baba how his throat was, and this was how the whole story came out.
Baba continued, "That does not mean that I cannot have a sore throat. I do have sore throats. I do have colds. I am susceptible to all the ailments. Universal suffering I take on myself, but at this moment, I am not suffering".
They were about to disperse when Baba explained about sending Mahdah Love back home. As mentioned, Mahdah had become a follower of Kirpal Singh. Baba asked Bili Eaton to read the notes of explanation he had dictated. In them, Baba explained that Mahdah had come all the way from Florida to see him. Baba embraced her and told her that he loved her and that she had a good heart. She said that Baba had helped her very much since she met him in 1952. She was also very happy to know that Kirpal Singh, at the age of 62, had come all the way from Delhi to Satara in the extreme heat to take Baba's darshan, and she thought it significant. Baba replied to her, "I love Kirpal Singh very much. I am the Lord of the Universe and all saints are my children."
And he added, "Just as Kirpal Singh went directly back to Delhi after seeing me, so you, too, should do the same and return to Florida," and she agreed.
Bili Eaton brought up a question on how Baba meetings should be conducted, to which Baba replied, "Why be bound by my instructions? Be free!"
Kitty suggested the groups should meet jointly once in a while during the evening. Ivy said that they did on Baba's birthday, but others said that was not often enough.
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.
1956 : Meher
Baba Spiritual Center, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Bili Eaton’s had a moment in the Lagoon Cabin with Baba during a long-awaited visit to the Center. She had been feeling ashamed and unworthy because of something she had done, until she looked into Baba’s eyes:
For some reason, I felt Baba drew me to look at him. I don't know how to explain that feeling. The look of love in his eyes was so strong and so powerful that had I not been seated, it would have knocked me down. I knew at that moment that he loved me in a way that was greater than all the love from all of my friends and family combined. The look was so powerful that it was like a bolt; and yet, it was so soft and warm. That love sustained me for years. I knew then, without a doubt, that Baba loves everybody. No matter who they are—how terrible they are, how simple they are, the worst murderers—he loves them. This love was so great that my healing began then.*
Flight : Wilmington NC. to Washington DC.
July 30th, 1956
They arrived at Wilmington Airport at 11:30am and departed at 1:10 pm.
The plane arrived in Washington D.C. at 3:45 pm.
1956 : Meher Baba in Washington D.C.
Meher Baba was driven to Ivy Duce's home where he spent the rest of the day there. The remaining entourage were bused around D.C. to see the sights. Not everyone was happy with that arrangement including Bili.
A professional photographer - Harold Chase Davis, was hired to take multiple photographs of Meher Baba. Many decades after the Duce's moved out of this house, the house was demolished in the mid-2010s.
1956 : Los Angeles & Meher Mount, Ojai, California
Meher Baba and his entourage were greeted by the property's caretaker Agnes Baron, who promptly showed it to them. The visit lasted a whole day with Baba and his assemble returning to Los Angeles that night.
The following morning - 3rd, many in Baba's group including Bili, departed by plane for San Francisco arriving at 11am.
1956 : San Francisco, California
The group arrived in San Francisco two hours later at 11:00 A.M., and Baba was met by an enthusiastic crowd and garlanded by the children within the group. It was quite cold, and Bili Eaton gave Baba her cloak, which he wore a few moments and then gave back to her. Baba was driven to a new motel, the Holiday Lodge at 1901 Van Ness Avenue. (Nearly every other hotel was booked, because the Republican National Convention was being held at this time.) Baba had been given a duplex suite far from the central court, but he did not like it, as it was too far from his lovers and there was not a connecting room for the mandali. Other hotels were suggested; homes were offered. Baba was testing the patience of those who had made the arrangements.
Baba closed off the interview room for them. Only he, the mandali, Margaret and Bili Eaton were present. Marie Adair, Tex Hightower, Bunty Kelley and Peter Saul performed a Highland fling, and Tex and Bunty did a dance from the 1920s called the "black bottom." Marie Adair's solo "Dance of the Sun Maid," from the Russian ballet "Land of the Midnight Sun," followed. Peter Saul brought some different shoes and danced solo for Baba. He was rewarded, as were the others, by Baba's warm embrace.
( See image below )
Later in his suite he gave the dancers a few minutes alone with him. He joked with them and played his old trick on Margaret of tapping her on the cheek when she was not expecting it.
Bili Eaton had a private meeting with Meher Baba while staying at the Holiday Lodge
.............. Almost sobbing, Bili Eaton informed Baba, "Someone said to me that you were not my Master!"
"Masters, Masters!" Baba replied irritably. "Masters have nothing to do with it! I am your God!"
1956 : SAN FRANCISCO, CA.
Around 6:30 P.M., Baba called Filis, Adele, Beryl, Bili and Sylvia to read him their letters to Mehera and Mani for his approval. Baba remarked to them: "When I heard about the Australian program arranged for me, I felt tired. I have no relaxation. My only relaxation is making my lovers feel my love. You must not feel sad about my leaving. We will be together in India. Think about the meeting in India."
That evening, Baba went to see a puppet show of Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in the Lilliput Theater, on Fillmore Street near Union Street, one of the smallest in the world.
They also visited Muir Woods and an ice show.
Meher Baba and his men mandali departed San Francisco for Australia on 7th August.
1958 : Meher Baba Spiritual Center, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Bili Eaton had come from New York for the sahavas. She was feeling full of guilt the entire time, as she had fallen in love with a man and had disobeyed Baba's six-month order regarding celibacy. When she first met Baba in the Lagoon Cabin with several others, she hid in a corner behind everyone where Baba could not see her. Baba had chatted with everyone and then asked, "Bili — where is Bili?" and called her to him.
Bili later narrated:
You can imagine sitting at Baba's feet and him looking at me. I thought: "Oh God, what am I going to do?" I just felt this heavy pull, and he looked at me and said: "Do you love me as much as ever?" Time was going fast and slow at the same time. My mind was racing — what kind of answer can I give him? I did not know what to say. Then he said, "Do you love me as much as Anita does?" I had no way of knowing, so I said, "Baba, only you know all hearts." And he smiled and let me off the hook.
Another time when Bili had come to the Lagoon Cabin, five of the group were reading letters to him. Still feeling guilty over her affair, she was trying to be happy and not cry in front of Baba. To offset the feeling of sadness, she began working herself up into a rage.
She later recalled:
For some reason, I felt Baba drew me to look at him. I don't know how to explain that feeling. The look of love in his eyes was so strong and so powerful that had I not been seated, it would have knocked me down. I knew at that moment that he loved me in a way that was greater than all the love from all of my friends and family combined. The look was so powerful that it was like a bolt; and yet, it was so soft and warm. That love sustained me for years. I knew then, without a doubt, that Baba loves everybody. No matter who they are — how terrible they are, how simple they are, the worst murderers — he loves them. This love was so great that my healing began then.
1958 : Meher Baba Spiritual
Center, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Every morning, Darwin ( Shaw ) would drive Bili Eaton, Ella Winterfeldt and Leatrice ( Johnson ) to Baba's house to clean it. Although each had separate duties, they would go to Baba's bedroom and together make his bed. Every day, they would try to finish their work as quickly as possible so that they could be with Baba in the living room and sit at his feet before he left for the morning sessions. If they had not finished when Baba left by the front door, they would go out the back and wave to him as he drove off in the car.
Before leaving on the morning of Wednesday, 28 May 1958, Baba informed Bili, Ella and Leatrice, "Tomorrow, I might go to the beach. It is very, very important to be as physically close to me as possible." Leatrice felt this was meant for her particularly, as she was not the type who would push her way to Baba when he was in a crowd.
During Baba's visit to Myrtle Beach Center, he gave Bili a gift, a pair of turquois and silver earrings ( she later lost one of the earrings ) and an Indian silver necklace. ( see below )(p.52)
Jewellery that Meher Baba gave Bili Eaton
Bili left New York for India on the 26th October, arriving in New Delhi, then connecting flight to Poona, a 36 hour trip.
1962 : Guruprasad, Poona, India ( East-West Gathering )
On Saturday, 10 November 1962, Baba, along with the men and women mandali, left Poona for Meherazad. Adi ( K. Iran ) drove him in Meherjee's ( Karkaria ) 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 ( Patterson ), Kitty Davy, Jane Haynes, 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.
When the Americans left Poona, they went to Bombay for their connecting flights.
In the 1960s, Meher Baba instructed Bili to write to Malcolm Muggeridge ( p.63 )
Through her efforts, Alan Y. Cohen appeared on Malcolm's BBC TV show in September 1968.
Millions had tuned in and heard Alan talk about Meher Baba.
On 31st January Meher Baba had passed away, Margaret Craske, one of Baba's Western women mandali, informed Bili of the news.
Tex Hightower, a dancer and former student of Margaret, phone Bili to see if it was true.
In 1971, Bili Eaton visited the Meher Center after 13 years since her last visit in 1958. He came again in 1979 before visiting India again.
BILI EATON'S CHILDHOOD HOME
7020 Ridge Court, Brooklyn, N.Y.
BILI EATON'S HIGH SCHOOL
BAY RIDGE H.S. BROOKLYN, N.Y.
BILI EATON'S LAST HOME
226 E. 59th St. Apt.5 R E, New York City, N.Y.
The building was built in 1904 & her old apartment is currently ( 2022 ) valued at $US 670,000. There are 16 units in the building. Bili lived here for
almost a decade.
BILI EATON'S FUNERAL HOME
Hilair Farm, 9 Hilair Drive, Huntington, N.Y.
According to Charles Tim Cullen, 5 people attended her service, including Cliff Hackford, all of which were Meher Baba followers. There was a storm at the time of the service.
A LOVE SO AMAZING
MEMORIES OF MEHER BABA
Edited by : Ann Conlon
Published : Sheriar Press