Flag of Madrid
Flag of Madrid
Puerta del Sol, 1933
Puerta del Sol, 1933
This is how Meher Baba would have looked like during his visit to Madrid. The photo was taken at Sakkara, Egypt in Dec 1932.
This is how Meher Baba would have looked like during his visit to Madrid. The photo was taken at Sakkara, Egypt in Dec 1932.
Present day Madrid
Present day Madrid

24th October 1933

 

Baba's disclosure that Avila was one of the four main spiritual centers in Europe and he had visited it in the ancient past was a surprise to them, as Baba had never before mentioned that he wished in particular to visit Avila. He had left the arrangements of their Spanish trip to them. It was their London travel agent who suggested stopping at Avila on their way to Madrid!

They left for Madrid the same day, arriving at 10:30 that night, and went to the Hotel Principe Don Juan, at Calle de Recoletos. Baba had informed the men, "The rest of our time in Spain will be pure rest and relaxation. It will be a holiday."



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Note : There is no hotel by that name presently in the street even though the street has several hotels. Quite possibly there has been a name change since the 1930s.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paseo_de_Recoletos

Puerta del Sol, anterior 1933
Puerta del Sol, anterior 1933

Baba wished to come in contact with the masses, so each day they would stroll along the crowded streets of Madrid. The air was clear and bracingly cool, and the sun was brilliant. Baba particularly enjoyed standing among the crowds in the central square of the city, called Puerta del Sol — Gate of the Sun. He came to this square several times every day.

Despite his European clothing and beret, all the Spaniards would turn and stare at Baba as if drawn to something they could not resist. Baba explained to his companions why the Spanish people reacted thus, "It is due to the internal work I am doing, as I move about quite unnoticed at other times."

 


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At night on the 25th, they went to a rather seedy cabaret that was frequented by prostitutes and the like, yet there were colorful gypsy flamenco dancers on stage whom Baba enjoyed watching. He was no doubt also working for the welfare of this class of humanity in unseen ways. Baba and the group then went to see the movie King Kong ( 1933 ), starring Fay Wray.

As they were walking back to their hotel, the local Spaniards turned again to look at Baba as he strode by them on the sidewalk, and some actually followed him out of curiosity.

 


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerta_del_Sol

Gran Hotel Londres


now : Petit Palace Londres

 

At the hotel, Baba explained, "Madrid is the last place of my present visit to the West and I do not intend to return to the West for another year. Hence, I have much work to do before I leave."

He repeated, "It is due to my special working that people's attention is attracted toward me everywhere I go. I worked intensely this morning, standing for ten minutes in the very big, busy square, while Quentin and Norina were inquiring about certain information that I sent them to gather. All the while, one very old man was intensely gazing at me."

The next morning, Baba was quite upset when he was not able to get hot water on time for a bath. He called Herbert, who had made the arrangements, and rebuked him severely, "I cannot work here! I will leave for Marseilles. I have never been able to have an early-morning hot bath in the West!" All wondered why Baba was scolding Herbert, as Baba himself had chosen to stay at this hotel over another one.

He ordered Herbert and Norina, "Go and see the travel agent and demand that we change hotels." Upon contacting the Pickford agent, it was learned that, due to some mix-up, they were staying in the very hotel that Baba had rejected. Only then could they understand why Baba had been upset.

At noon they shifted to the Gran Hotel Londres, at Galdo Number 2, and it proved to be ideal. Baba's room overlooked the Puerta del Sol. But he soon began complaining that there was not enough garlic and pepper in the food. This was Norina's area of responsibility and she became frantic as she ran up and down three flights of stairs to the kitchen before every meal to ensure there was plenty of garlic in the food. The staff must have thought her somewhat eccentric, but the very reason Baba complained was to draw the hotel staff's attention to him. His work was unique and he would have his purpose served under any pretext.

Baba would placate Norina, spelling out to her, "Don't worry ... don't be upset." But whenever Baba reprimanded her, she felt like someone was sticking a pin in her while saying, "Now, do not mind this ... I am not hurting you!"

 

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Note : I believe that Meher Baba's room faced the Church on Calle del Carmen and from his balcony on the 3rd floor ( above the lobby level ) he could see the Puerta del Sol plaza looking down this street.  AZ

 

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen

 

Church of Our Lady of Carmen

 

This church was located opposite the Hotel Londres on Calle del Carmen and Meher Baba and his entourage would have walked past it every day whilst they stayed in Madrid. Baba's hotel room would have faced the church.  AZ

 

The doorway of the church shown in this video is situated around the corner in Calle Maestro Victoria.


La Argentinita

 

 Antonia Merce

 

In the evening Baba went to hear beautiful Spanish music, and he also saw the exquisitely artistic and charming dancing of La Argentinita, a renowned Spanish dancer.

 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Argentina_%28dancer%29

They then went to the riverside Capitol Café, where Baba would sometimes place a lavish order for drinks or snacks and then suddenly get up, not touching them and leaving everyone to run after him. This tended to get on Herbert's nerves, in particular, because he financed part of Baba's trip and considered this an utter waste!  He had not learned     ( and unfortunately never did ) to accept the Master's ways.

 

On Friday, 27 October 1933, Baba visited the Prado, the national Spanish museum of painting and sculpture. For two hours, he looked at paintings of Jesus by El Greco, Velasquez, Goya and Rubens. This was perhaps the only occasion that Baba stayed and viewed an art gallery or museum for any length of time.

 

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https://www.museodelprado.es/en


Museo Nacional Del Prado

 

Prado artworks


Meher Baba posted a postcard to Delia De Leon in London. This is the only artifact of his visit to this city. There were no photos taken during his visit.

Postcard - front
Postcard - front
Postcard - back ; Signed by Meher Baba  "M S IRANI"
Postcard - back ; Signed by Meher Baba "M S IRANI"

The actual painting in the Prado

Christ Crucified is a painting of 1632 by Diego Velázquez
Christ Crucified is a painting of 1632 by Diego Velázquez


"Christ Crucified" is a painting of 1632 by Diego Velázquez depicting the Crucifixion of Jesus. The work, painted in oil on canvas, measures 249 x 170 cm and is owned by the Museo del Prado.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Crucified_%28Vel%C3%A1zquez%29

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museo_del_Prado

Royal Palace

When he visited the Royal Palace (on the 28th), Baba was stopped by a guard who told him that he would not be allowed to enter unless he removed his hat. Baba refused to do so, because the beret concealed his long hair. Those with Baba ( Herbert, Quentin and Minta ) asked if they should stay with him or take a quick look around the palace since they were already there. Displeased that they did not know his pleasure ( that they should always stay with him ) but had to ask, Baba answered sharply, "Go!" Baba went outside and waited for them. By the time they returned, they had realized their mistake and Baba consoled them by telling them to forget it.


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Palace_of_Madrid

 

From 2:30 to 4:30 P.M. on the 27th, a meeting was held of the newly formed Circle Editorial Committee. Herbert was appointed the director, Will Backett the secretary/treasurer and Norina also took an active role.  Its future publication work was discussed and instructions given for the printing and distribution of two small booklets: The Sayings of Shri Meher Baba and Shri Meher Baba: The Perfect Master — Questions and Answers ( and its translation into German, French, Italian, Rumanian, Russian and Spanish ). 

 

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Quentin was in charge of the nightly entertainment and they would go each night to a different movie. That evening, Quentin took Baba to see a comedy, A Bedtime Story, at Madrid's finest movie theater, the Capitol, which had an orchestra and a revolving stage.

Another night, Quentin took Baba to the Theater Español to see Love of the Sorcerer, a ballet.

Baba would often say he wished to go to the movies to contact the spectators internally.

 

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1930s ; Capitol Cinema
1930s ; Capitol Cinema

Madrid 1930s


Immediately after his work was over, he would get up and leave. Those who accompanied him had often become engrossed in the film's story but had no choice other than to leave with him. When Baba went anywhere or did anything, it was only for his spiritual work, and the various places and events were all his different mediums.

On the last three mornings of their stay, they walked to Casa de Campo, a beautiful park. 

 

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_de_Campo


Casa de Campo


Plaza de Toros


Some in the group had mentioned their desire to attend a bullfight, while others were not in favor of going to such a brutish affair. A bullfight was to be held at the Plaza de Toros on the afternoon of 29 October, and Baba surprisingly asked them to buy tickets. Those who wanted to go had told Baba that it would be a good opportunity to contact a large, typically Spanish crowd.

Watching as the first bull was killed, one of the women was overcome with fright and had to leave. Then one of the mandali, feeling ill at the brutal sight, had to go outside. In contrast, Baba seemed bored throughout and thought the whole ordeal childish. After the second bull was killed, Baba indicated that his work was accomplished and it was time to leave. He remarked, "Those two bulls were fortunate. They will incarnate next as human beings and rapidly advance on the Path, because they were killed in my presence."

 

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In the evening they went to a German submarine film ( Morgenrot ) at the Cine Astoria.

They walked the next day ( 30th )  to the highest hill which overlooked the city. Beneath an olive tree there, they sat on the ground around Baba. Baba instructed Norina, Quentin and Herbert on future work, informing them, "You all will be partners in my work." On this beautiful, sunlit hill, Baba discoursed to them about the mind, the soul and the individual.

Then, for the first time, he impressed upon Quentin and Herbert the meaning and depth of his mandali's obedience and of how they were unmindful of their own happiness in order to keep Baba pleased. He also told them of the God-intoxicated mast Mastan that he kept in India, and of his semi-divine state of mind. 

From 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. on Tuesday, 31 October 1933, their last day in Madrid, they went again to the park. Baba asked Chanji why he looked so depressed, but Chanji only grunted.

 

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Baba also saw a film in Madrid called  " The Cohens and the Kellys ...." It's unclear which of the two titles was seen.

The fact was that, for the mandali, the trip to Spain had been anything but a vacation. Baba had created situations in which he continually embarrassed and teased them in front of the Westerners. Chanji, Kaka and Adi Jr. felt like they were at a breaking point — while to the Westerners, everything seemed wonderful. Several times in private, Chanji had broken down and wept. Although Baba had tried to console him, Chanji could not check his feelings. At other times, Baba would be indifferent and cold toward him, and these terribly "pinching moments," as Chanji described them, were filled with desperation and internal suffering. So, for the mandali, staying with Baba was never easy.

 

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Madrid's Central Railway Station - Estación de Atocha


Baba sent Norina to Zurich, and Minta and Quentin to London via Paris. He boarded a train to Barcelona at 8:20 P.M. with Herbert, Chanji, Kaka and Adi Jr. On the train, Baba turned to Herbert and remarked, "Last week, it was goodbye in London. Here tonight for those who left. And it will then be at Marseilles for you. There are always these sad moments of separation for me, either at leaving India or at leaving those in the West."

Age marveled at the Ancient One's compassion. "On behalf of his lovers, the One who never leaves us even for a moment was feeling sad at separation from himself !"

 

They arrived in Barcelona the following morning ( 1st November 1933 ) at 9:22. As the train pulled into the station, Baba spelled on his board, "My agent knows I am coming. He is unique among my agents, as he is a policeman in ordinary life."

 

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On the 27th August 1937 , Baba remarked to Delia and others, "I want to be out among crowds for some time as I did in Madrid. Be on the lookout for such places and find out the time when crowds gather."

Delia said in a joking manner, "You mingled with the crowds in Madrid and the result was a revolution!"

Regarding Spain, Baba remarked, "I destroy to rebuild. I moved freely there for hours among the crowds and worked to bring about a new regeneration and reconstruction of men and things. This required the destruction and devastation of all existing things there which you are now witnessing." 

Dorothy Norris, who had first met Baba at Harmon in 1931, arrived in Cannes on 28 August and stayed for a few days.

 


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Madrid Today

Films that Meher Baba saw in Madrid


Trailers shown below

Aerial view, courtesy of NASA.
Aerial view, courtesy of NASA.