Josephine Esther Ross ( nee Grabau )

Born : November 21, 1907 - New York, USA

Died : December 4, 1998 ( 91 ) - Lake Luzerne, New York, USA

Married : Charles Kenneth Ross

Children : Rosemary Richards, Anne Ross

Parents : Mary Antin & Dr. Amadeus

Siblings :

 

AMERICAN

 

Her mother was Mary Antin - see her page in the "Personalities" folder

She was sister-in-law to Kenneth Ross's sister  Margarita  'Margaret'  Starr-Ross , who was married to Meredith Starr.


CLICK ON THE NAMES TO GO TO THEIR PAGES

Courtesy of Love Street
Courtesy of Love Street

About the Author: ( from the book jacket )

Josephine Esther Ross was born in New York City on November 21, 1907, daughter of Dr. Amadeus William Grabau, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Columbia University, later at the University of Peking, China, and of Mary Antin, author of THE PROMISED LAND and THEY WHO KNOCK AT OUR GATES and lecturer on problems of immigration and related subjects.

Josephine met Avatar Meher Baba during his first visit to America at Harmon-on-the-Hudson 10th November 1931, and many of the poems in this book result from that meeting. In June, 1937, she married Kenneth Ross, a fellow disciple of Meher Baba who had met Baba in East Challacombe, England in September, 1931, as part of the early English group. Kenneth and Josephine lived on a farm in New Jersey until his untimely death in 1954, when she relocated and worked for the State of New York in Albany.

Some of her poems have appeared in the Meher Baba Journal, Bangalore, India. She is a member of the Theosophical Society in America.

From LORD MEHER, Bhau Kalchuri, Volume Four, p. 1474:

Mrs.Ross with her husband, Charles Kenneth Ross, a fellow disciple of the Indian Master Shri Meher Baba, operated a New Jersey farm for many years. After his death she worked for the New Jersey Department of State in Albany. Some of her poems have appeared in the Meher Baba Journal, Bangalore, India. She is a member of the Theosophical Society in America.


 Died :

Ross,  Josephine E Grabau   d.4th Dec.1998    b.21st Nov.1907     Place of Death; Lake Luzerne, NY

She was 91 at the time of her death and was survived by her three daughters - Rosemary Richards, Anne Ross and Margarita Ross and her grandchildren.



For poems of Josephine Ross, go to ;
http://home.online.no/~solibakk/josross.html

I Came To My Beloved by Josephine Esther Ross, from Songs Of A Modern Disiciple.

A memorial collection of poems were posted on the Meher Baba listserver at the time of her passing in December, 1998.

Mary Antin

Ron Greenstein sings a poem of Josephine Ross he set to music.

POEMS

I CAME TO MY BELOVED
Josephine Esther Ross 

 

I came to my Beloved
Garlanded with flame;
And now my heart is beating
To the rhythm of His Name.

I came to my Beloved
Through sorrow and through pain;
My body has been strengthened
By wind and sun and rain.

My spirit had been beaten
By the storms of life,
Bruised, and yet triumphant
Over sin and strife.

I came to my Beloved
Sheathed in golden flame;
My life is now attuned
To the music of His Name.

LET THERE BE PEACE
Josephine Esther Ross 

 

Let there be peace within the heart,
And quiet in the mind
That God's great Wisdom may descend
Enlightening mankind.

We cannot hear the "still, small voice"
That ever seeks to guide us
We cannot sense the Shining Ones
Who ever stand beside us,

Because we are so occupied
With outer, daily strife,
And have no leisure to enjoy
God's proffered gift of Life:

The quiet thought, the loving heart,
The silence of repose;
The healing of a kindly word,
The fragrance of a rose;

The sky at dawn, the stars at night--
These are but gentle things,
Yet knowing them we are aware
Of passing angel's wings.

Let there be peace within the heart,
And quiet in the mind,
That God Himself may now descend
To heal and bless mankind.

SHARING
Josephine Esther Ross 

 

My Love belongs to all the world,
And not alone to me.
O Love, wilt Thou not take my heart
And fill it full of Thee?

My Love has duties everywhere--
No matter where He goes
My thoughts will be as close to Him
As perfume to a rose.

But Oh! what bitter sorrow
Never my Love to see,
Whose life belongs to all the world
And not alone to me.

Yea, some may see Him daily,
And rest beneath His wing;
I can only long for Him,
And these poor verses sing.

Some day, I know that He will come
On wings of Light to me,
And we shall dwell united
Throughout eternity.

Ah Love! what bliss, what anguish,
That I belong to Thee,
Whose beauty shines for all the world,
And not alone for me!

Meredith Starr & Josephine Esther Ross on the far left and Margaret Ross on the far right.
Meredith Starr & Josephine Esther Ross on the far left and Margaret Ross on the far right.
Courtesy of Meher Message magazine - V1 - No.11 - 1929 -  p.49
Courtesy of Meher Message magazine - V1 - No.11 - 1929 - p.49
Courtesy of Meher Message magazine - V1 - No.11 - 1929 -  p.50
Courtesy of Meher Message magazine - V1 - No.11 - 1929 - p.50
Courtesy of Meher Message magazine ; Vol.2 - No.1 - 1930 - p.33
Courtesy of Meher Message magazine ; Vol.2 - No.1 - 1930 - p.33
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2. Courtesy of Awakener-Vol XIX No1-p30-1
2. Courtesy of Awakener-Vol XIX No1-p30-1

In May of 1931, Malcolm saw Richard Mayer again in Boston. He also met Thomas Watson who, along with Mayer, was planning on sailing for England to spend some time at Meredith Starr's retreat. In June, Malcolm and Jean sold their bookshop and moved to Hancock, New Hampshire, to live communally with a group of like minded spiritual seekers from Boston. In July, Mary Antin called, saying Milo Shattuck had come back from England. Shattuck had not yet met Baba, but had heard all about him from Meredith Starr. Jean and Malcolm were deeply impressed.

 

 

 

A young poetess named Josephine Esther Grabau came to meet Baba on November 10th. ,1931.

Her mother Mary Antin, author of The Promised Land, was helping Jean Adriel with the household affairs at the retreat. One day, Mary called her daughter to tell her that she must meet Baba. When Josephine was ushered into Baba's room, she hesitated. Chanji told her not to be afraid. Baba held out his hand to her and she knelt at his feet. "I was lost in his luminous, brown eyes," she recalled. "Almost at once, I felt I knew him. Here was the living Christ. There was no doubt in my mind."

Baba motioned to her if she wished to ask anything. Josephine said that she would like to help people. Baba gently replied, "First, you must learn how to help."

Josephine was allowed to stay at the Harmon retreat to assist her mother with chores. She was given a room in a nearby guest house, but the first night she was there, it caught fire and burned to the ground. The residents, however, were not upset, as it afforded them the opportunity to move into the house where Baba was staying. Thus, they were able to spend the night under the same roof with him.

The next day, November 11th, Baba called them to his room and asked if anyone were hurt. On being reassured that all were fine, Baba explained, "Fires often spring up where I go."

 

Lord Meher Volume 4, Page 1474

 

 

In Harmon, a representative from the Paramount Film Company approached Baba with a request for a message to the world. Baba gave one, which Malcolm read out. Soon after, it was relayed by Paramount Newsreel throughout the Western world.

About twenty people came to see Baba at Harmon. Brother Beheram would perform on the sitar and Josephine Ross would dance each evening. She would also compose heartrending poems for Baba. Written at the time, this poem by Josephine reflects what many were feeling:


Like the flame burning upon the altars
of a thousand, thousand hearts you came,
And from every altar rose sweet clouds of incense.
 
Wherever you went you took light with you
and people's lives blossomed into new beauty.
At last we knew what love was; at last we understood
why Jesus had such power over men's hearts.
 
Looking at you we saw Jesus,
and loving him we loved you the more.
Love and joy and beauty, peace and light and life –
these we found incarnate in you.
And our faith was turned into certainty.
 
Hitherto we had believed in God;
now we knew that He existed for we found Him in you.
Life became a succession of days
of flaming glory and radiant beauty,
And you were that glory and that beauty.
 
Every moment was filled with divine joy –
and you were that joy.
Our hearts burned with a love we could hardly understand,
and you were that love.
 
You were the center of the universe,
the sun toward which we turned
as naturally as do the flowers in summer.
And you warmed us and fed our starving souls
with pure beauty that was the essence of your being.
 
We found sanctuary in your arms and
in your presence, holiness.

 

So, on the Memorial Day weekend, Darwin and another young fellow named Donald Holloway drove to Harmon, about one hundred and sixty miles away. They soon found the retreat, only to learn that Baba had finished his work there early and gone on to California. This was a deep disappointment. However, the feeling there of Meher Baba's "loving presence" was still very evident. They were welcomed by a few of Baba's followers who were still there, namely Josephine Grabau, Mary Antin, Milo Shattuck, Anita de Caro, Howard Inches and Grace Mann. Josephine asked Darwin if he would like to write to Baba. He did, pouring out his heart in a letter, offering his life in Baba's service. Darwin immediately mailed it and returned to the retreat for dinner. Halfway through the meal, he began to feel Baba replying to the letter. Darwin felt a "welling through the heart with unmistakable love ... answering everything in my letter," and tears began falling from his eyes. Although he deeply regretted missing Baba, Darwin was happy that he had found Baba's followers and longed for the day when he could meet the Master in the flesh.

 

Lord Meher Volume 6, Page 1928

 

The first day, Baba arrived at 6 A.M. It was the middle of summer and the heat was stifling in the un-airconditioned apartment. Baba was very tired, as he had not slept for many nights, and was most uncomfortable in his leg cast. But after the first few interviews he looked transformed and beamed, "You see, so much love has revived me."

Kenneth Ross, his wife, Josephine, and their three daughters, from New Jersey, were the first to meet him at 7 A.M. Baba asked for a bowl of fruit which he placed beside his couch. He dispensed a grape or cherry as prasad to people who came.

 

Lord Meher Volume 11, Page 3869

 

Baba's message "Divine Bliss and Human Suffering" was read by Don Stevens. In it Baba explained about the difference in suffering between an ordinary man, Perfect Masters and the Avatar, and ended: "Ordinary man suffers for himself; Masters suffer for humanity; whereas the Avatar suffers for one and all beings and things."

As the waiters began to serve dinner, a well-known radio and television personality, David Ross, feelingly read a number of spiritual poems, one each from the great Masters Kabir, Hafiz and Rumi, and one from Baba's close lovers such as Delia DeLeon, Norina Matchabelli, Malcolm Schloss, Josephine Ross, Jean Foster, Ruano Bogislav, Francis Brabazon and sister Mani. Baba sat almost motionless at times during the recitations.

 

Lord Meher Volume 14, Page 4981

 

Kitty Davy's write's Elizabeth Patterson's recollections Of Baba in New York in late May 1932 ; extract courtesy of The Awakener ; Vol.X11, No.3 - page 6
Kitty Davy's write's Elizabeth Patterson's recollections Of Baba in New York in late May 1932 ; extract courtesy of The Awakener ; Vol.X11, No.3 - page 6

AVATAR

 

SRI MEHER BABA  

 

 

Above the tumult of the world
His Message pure and sweet—
The Voice of Baba calls us
To worship at His Feet.
 
From Heart to heart His Love goes forth,
From Soul to soul His Light,
From Mind to mind His Wisdom,
From Life to life His might.
 
His Beauty is a Flaming Sword,
A Beacon shining bright
That penetrates the clouds of self
To guide us through the night.
 
His Wordless Word a Challenge,
His Tenderness a flower,
That soften with compassion
The impact of His Power.
 
Above the tumult of the world,
His message sweet and clear:
"Come unto Me, my children,

Draw nigh and have no fear.

 
"Come unto Me, ye weary,
As birds unto the nest,
Drop at My Feet your burden
And find in Me your rest.
 
"Come unto Me, my loved ones,

And find in Me release.

Be still and know that I am God,
The Messenger of Peace.
 
"Be still and know that I am God.
Be done 'with doubt and strife,
I am the Resurrection,

I am Eternal Life.

 
" For I am He that cometh

And I am He that came,

The Crucified, the Glorified,
Eternally the same.
 

"Behold, My pierced hands and feet,

The thorns upon My Head!
And yet, again, I come to give

The sacred Wine and Bread.

 
And, once again, upon the Path
Which blessed Jesus trod,
I come to guide a sinful world
Back to the Heart of God."
 

 

To Baba
...The Awakener

 

HE Who glows within the rose,
    He Who every mystery knows,
He Who comes like gentle rain
 Soothing all our earthly pain;

 

The true Awakener of the heart
               Who sees the Whole within the part;
     Who raises man above the earth,
     Renewing him in mystic Birth.

 

A flame, a fire, a perfect flower,
    A penetrating Cosmic Power;
 A cleaving sword to strike away
The crudities of mortal clay.

 

      A Voice that calls across the night;
         "Arise! and seek the Perfect Light
              From whence you came, It is your Goal,
       And dwells eternal in your soul."

 

He Who glows within the rose,
    He Who every mystery knows,
         On the path where Saints have trod,
               Behold Him come, the Son of GOD!
Courtesy of The Awakener magazine ; Vol.1 No.1 page 17
Lonchamps Restaurant, New York -  22 July 1956 : Josephine Ross is seated on the left, next to Lowell Shaw and with her two daughters next to her. Courtesy of Meher Nazar
Lonchamps Restaurant, New York - 22 July 1956 : Josephine Ross is seated on the left, next to Lowell Shaw and with her two daughters next to her. Courtesy of Meher Nazar
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2. Courtesy of LSLP ; Apr-June 1999
2. Courtesy of LSLP ; Apr-June 1999

TREASURES

I haven't any silver,
Nor have I any gold;
But in my heart a secret
That never can be told.

I've neither land nor houses,
Nor have I jewels rare;
But in my heart the image
Of a face surpassing fair.

Oh, I have neither wealth nor rank,
Power, place nor fame;
but in my heart the music
of a well-beloved Name.

(from SONGS OF A MODERN DISCIPLE
Manifestation, Inc., 1989)

Courtesy of ; HEART TALK – Adi K. Irani Secretary Collection – Fifty Sixth Letter
Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Archives, Meherabad

In this Heart Talk posting dated 10 January 1932 — shortly after Baba left the US from His first trip there — we go to Meherashram, Harmon, NY, where Baba stayed on His first visit to the US. Josephine Ross, who was later known for her poems about Baba, was the daughter of Mary Antin, a noted author, who helped look after the property. Countess Nadine Tolstoy had been with Baba at Harmon in 1931, along with a young German immigrant nurse named Martha Hentschell.

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Courtesy of : HEART TALK – Adi K. Irani Secretary Collection – Fiftieth Letter
Avatar Meher Baba PPC Trust, Archives, Meherabad

This week's Heart Talk is another letter from Jo Grabau dated 24 March 1932, the day that Baba embarked from Bombay for England via Italy.