Meher Baba in France, 1932. Cropped image by A. Zois
Meher Baba in France, 1932. Cropped image by A. Zois


On 24th March 1932 Meher Baba and 6 of his men Mandali ( close disciples ) embarked on his 1st World Tour on the SS. Conte Rosso which sailed to Venice, Italy via Aden and Port Said.

From Venice the party travelled by train to Milan, Paris finally reaching London via Folkestone on the 7th April. Most stayed at Kitty & Herbert Davy's home, 10 days later, Baba and his entourage drove to East Challocombe on the Devon coast near Combe Martin.

Seven days later - ( 24th ) Baba and his party went back to London, staying several days again at the Davy's home before taking the train back to France after crossing by ferry, briefly stopping in Paris and onto their final destination of Lugano in S-E Switzerland very close to the Italian border.

1st section of Meher Baba's World Tour in 1932
1st section of Meher Baba's World Tour in 1932

Meher Baba visited Lugano in 1932.


On 27 April, Baba entrained for Lugano, Switzerland, at 11:00 A.M. with the six mandali (Adi Jr., Beheram, Chanji, Ghani, Kaka, Adi Sr.), Kitty, Minta, Kim and Delia.

Arriving in Paris at 6:15 that evening, they went to see the Eiffel Tower and then returned to the railway station.

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On the train to Lugano, Baba would cover his face and do his inner work. Kim lay practically the whole night with her head on Baba's feet, "in a bliss which is indescribable," she later related. They arrived in Lugano at 11:30 A.M. on Thursday, 28 April 1932 and stayed at the Grand Eden Hotel.


That evening, they went up one of the surrounding hills in a small train and admired the view of the town and lake. They had tea and hot chocolate at a lovely, small restaurant, where Baba got up and danced to music being played on a mandolin and another instrument (perhaps a fiddle) by a man and a woman. At night, there was Indian music by "the boys" (mandali).

The next day, Baba went for an hour's trip by boat on Lake Lugano with the group.

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Grand Eden Hotel, Lugano
Grand Eden Hotel, Lugano

29 April 1932


They returned to Lugano at 7:00 P.M., after stopping at a restaurant for tea and cakes. They went to a film that night.

Margaret Craske arrived on the 30th and joined the group. That afternoon they went up Mt. Brè by funicular where they had tea. (Baba had only biscuits and water with lemon juice.) On a small plateau they played a game of gilli-danda, which Baba enjoyed. They went for a drive the next afternoon, also, although it was raining, and to the cinema in the evening.

Kitty Davy had shouldered all the responsibility for the visit to Switzerland (at her own expense). So during this trip, she was minutely supervising every detail of the arrangements for food, travel and lodging for Baba and the mandali, and was thus engaged from morning to night. She was doing her best to please Baba and labored sincerely in Baba's service.

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Travel poster of Mt. Bre at that time.
Travel poster of Mt. Bre at that time.
Mt. Bre
Mt. Bre
Mt. Brè funicular transport
Mt. Brè funicular transport

3 May 1932


Afterward, they listened to phonograph records. Baba liked the rumbas and asked Margaret to improvise dances on the spot in front of some of the locals. Kim, a trained opera singer, sang a few Negro spirituals. In the evenings, usually they would go to a movie or other show, and they once saw a group of Spanish dancers, whom Baba especially enjoyed watching. They went to another movie that night.


The weather in Lugano had been dreary and the sun had not been seen for days. Baba observed, "I seem to bring bad weather with me. Maya is doing her best to prevent me from enjoying my rest. But I will turn the key and make the sun shine for at least one day."

To get some relief from Lugano's weather, Kitty arranged a boat trip to Mt. Generoso. They left the hotel at nine the following morning, Tuesday, 3 May 1932. The majestic scenery of the mountains and lake was beautiful.

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This is the pier in which Meher Baba and his entourage landed when they visited Mt Generoso. This is also the pier in which the "Special Agent " disembarked as well. Photo coutesy of Depositphotos.
This is the pier in which Meher Baba and his entourage landed when they visited Mt Generoso. This is also the pier in which the "Special Agent " disembarked as well. Photo coutesy of Depositphotos.

On the boat, an elderly Swiss laborer sat opposite Baba for almost an hour and left the boat when it stopped at a small harbor. As he stepped off the boat, he turned and smiled at Baba. Baba later asked if they had noticed anything unusual about the man, but since they had not, he explained:

He was my agent. I have come here for complete rest, and in order to do that, I must temporarily hand over the work to someone else. This morning, I have done that with this man. I had to raise him from [between] the second and third plane to [between] the fourth and fifth, so that he could take on the work I am giving him.

The transfer of my work must take place either in a thick jungle, on a high mountain, on water or in a crowd. That is why he smiled, looked at me and went off. You should have noticed how he answered my "taps" with his stick on the boat — by giving properly-timed taps with his stick in reply to mine.

Baba had borrowed Ghani's walking stick to demonstrate this. Although the man was not looking at Baba, he successfully copied Baba's taps exactly, three different times. Baba had also sent one of them to give the man some bread and butter, which he ate.

This agent of mine is married, but none of his family have any idea of his spiritual status. There are very few adepts [ those between the third and sixth plane ] in Europe. There is only one of the seventh plane; he is one of the 56 God-conscious souls on earth. There is also one person of the sixth plane in Europe. These adepts are still nothing compared to my circle members. Those of my circle will all be of the seventh plane; they have all been doing my dictates for ages.

These last four days, I was working universally and speedily laying the foundation of my work in Europe next November, and at two o'clock this morning, it was completed. Now the sun is out, and for all that, these last four days of trouble and dreariness.

Yet still I feel sad. Why? How can I be happy when I see myself bound in millions of unrealized souls? Not until the last drop is Realized will I be happy!

The scenery was magnificent and, enjoying the view, Baba compared it to Kashmir.


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Dr. Abdul G. Munsiff " Ghani "

Monte Generoso on the right from Monte San Giorgio
Monte Generoso on the right from Monte San Giorgio

Lake Lugano Ferries





BUILT : 1927


PASSENGER - CREW : 150 + 2


LENGTH : 32 m. / 105 feet


WIDTH : 6.60 m. / 21.7 feet


MAX SPEED : 20 kms / 12.4 mph


Named LUGANO in 1961





BUILT : 1931


PASSENGER - CREW : 240 + 2


LENGTH : 31.35 m. / 102.9 feet


WIDTH : 6.28 m. / 20.6 feet


MAX SPEED : 21.8 kms / 13.5mph



Meher Baba's father - Sheriar M. Irani
Meher Baba's father - Sheriar M. Irani

But the next day, 4 May 1932, was not a happy one, for they received word that Baba's father had died on 30 April at the age of 79. Ramjoo had sent a cable to London on the 1st, saying, "Father Sheriarji expired Bombay last night," and Quentin forwarded the message to Lugano.

Previously, during the middle of the night on 30 April, Baba had suddenly clapped and called Adi Sr. Baba pointed to his chin and then threw his hands upward. But Adi could not follow Baba's gestures and Baba had sent him away. Only after the news arrived did Adi realize what Baba was gesturing that night. Pointing to his chin had signified a beard, Baba's gesture for an old man.

Baba consoled his brothers Beheram and Adi Jr., and explained to them about death, "Death is necessary and is like sleep. When a person awakes from sleep, he finds himself as he was. However, after death, a person finds himself in a different atmosphere and in a different body. Both death and birth are dreams. Where is the sense in being merry or miserable for the sake of a dream?

"Bobo's death, however, is not sleep. He has gone beyond it and is awake forever! He is emancipated and has gained mukti [ liberation ]."

Memo ( Baba's mother ) was cabled: "Father Sheriarji is near me. Don't worry. Mind your health. Should I send Adi? Wire immediately. Baba."




A letter from Buasaheb in Nasik was also received in Lugano, indicating that he intended to return to Persia. Baba had Herbert cabled in China, instructing him to send Vishnu and Raosaheb back to Nasik to help run the Circle Cinema and Sarosh Motor Works, as Rustom, too, was in China. Baba also asked Adi Sr. to return to Nasik from London, instead of proceeding with him to America.

That evening, all went to a concert of Spanish music. Baba enjoyed the music and accompanying dancers.

At 1:30 in the afternoon of Thursday, 5 May 1932, they went by bus on another outing to the village of Cademario where they played games. Baba was in a good mood, but back at their hotel, he took very little supper, complaining of a constant pain in his stomach and a feeling of nausea. Adi Sr. and Kaka went to the market to buy a bottle of sarsaparilla to help his digestion.


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Cademario, Switzerland
Cademario, Switzerland

When they returned from Cademario, Baba called them into his room. Records were played, both Indian and Western, including the Negro spiritual, I Want To Be Ready (most likely sung by Paul Robeson). Adi Sr. and Beheram played the harmonium and sitar for a while. Baba appeared to be in a dazed condition..................


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They went to see a film on Friday, 6 May 1932. Afterwards, while Baba was discussing matters with his lovers in Kimco's room, all highly praised the message Baba had given in the Paramount Newsreel and which was printed in the London newspapers. The message, "Like Beads on One String," was read out again. ( see 1932 newsreel video above )


After reading the message, news was received that the President of France Paul Doumer had been assassinated by a Russian communist named Gourgoulov. "It seems my agents are speeding up matters," Baba commented.

There was talk about the possibility of war and Baba responded, "There will be a bloody world war. Its more intense physical sufferings — such as massacres — can be avoided if I take the suffering on myself. In that case, my body will suffer various diseases and I will become a physical wreck. In any event, the result of my work will be the same. I will have to take upon myself the suffering of all. If I do not, it will be exceedingly unbearable for the people of the world."


(The signs of Baba's physical suffering already seemed apparent: Ever since leaving Bombay, Baba had had stomach pains, which coincided with the conflict then raging between China and Japan. During the past few days, he had been having recurrent eczema.)


Baba's words brought tears to his lovers' eyes. They discussed it for days, and Kim and Minta prayed to Baba not to bear the whole brunt of the suffering but to let them have some of it. Baba replied, "Only I can bear my suffering. None can share in it."

Baba was preparing them to be firm and resolute so that any eventuality would not affect them.

On the 7th, he explained that he had decided to split his working into three parts: "Some portion of the suffering I will have to take upon myself. Some will be spent in false propaganda and in the twisting of facts about me. Some will be expended in small strifes  [ wars ] and outbursts in a few countries here and there."

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 Paul Doumer
Paul Doumer

On Saturday evening, 7 May 1932, after ten days in Lugano, the group left and arrived in Paris the next morning at nine o'clock. They stayed on the fifth floor of the Hotel Powers. Kim and Minta became intensely jealous of each other and, alone in her room, Minta again tried to commit suicide, but she was stopped and Baba comforted her.


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 Powers Hotel, Paris, France
Powers Hotel, Paris, France

Two days later on the 9th May, Baba and his group trained to Boulogne at 8:30 am, ferried to Folkestone in England, then onto London arriving at 3:30 pm.

Three days later Adi K. Irani was sent back to India, via Maiselles, France.

Baba left London for the port of Southampton on the Sat. 14th May, departing on the SS. Bremen for New York, USA.

This concluded the European leg of Baba's World Tour.