M.V. ( T.M.S. ) CIRCASSIA
A few of the Western lovers left behind in Cannes had come to Marseilles to see Baba off as he boarded the M.V. Circassia for Bombay on the afternoon of November 3rd at four-thirty. This separation from Baba, after staying with him for ten weeks, was most painful. Their hearts cried out when they recalled the different scenes and incidents in Baba's intimate company in Cannes. The Master's humor, his seriousness, his taunts, his endearing ways, his jokes and profound explanations were bitter-sweet recollections.
The voyage on the M.V. Circassia proved most comfortable as Baba's cabin was with an attached toilet and bath, and the ship's crew was very respectful and saw to it that the women mandali's privacy was undisturbed. It was the Circassia's maiden voyage and the crew was especially courteous.
During the voyage, Baba spent most of his time bathing and feeding Mohammed the mast, and being with the women mandali, with whom he would eat his meals. When the ship docked at Port Said on November 8th, Baba disembarked with the women for a day of sightseeing.
When Baba had boarded the Circassia, he had glanced at the other passengers and remarked to Norina, "One sincere soul will be found among the many." But he also cautioned her not to reveal his identity to anyone on board. On one occasion, however, Baba gave her permission to give an interview about him to a group of interested passengers whose curiosity she could not suppress. Afterward, one woman came up to Norina and pleaded with her for an interview with Baba, which he granted on November 16th.
The woman was Mrs. Isabella Paul of Transvaal, South Africa. She was on her way from England, determined to find God in Tibet. For years she had longed to come to India and was headed for the Himalayas. Upon hearing Norina speak Meher Baba's name, Isabella Paul instinctively knew she had found what she had been looking for all these years. She was the one to whom Baba was referring to Norina when he had boarded the ship.
Baba also met a few of the other passengers on board who expressed their desire to meet him.
There was some engine trouble which caused the ship to lose speed one day, and Baba sent Norina to the captain to inquire when they would reach Bombay. Norina first talked with him about general topics and then casually asked, "By the way, when will we be reaching Bombay?" The captain told her, and she returned to tell Baba. He then sent her back to ask the same question again. Upon her return, Baba sent her right back to the captain once more. Finally, the captain's frustration erupted, "Lady, what is wrong with you? You keep coming to me with the same question! Can't you remember what I have told you?"
Early in the morning, Saturday, November 20th, 1937, the Circassia docked in Bombay, very much on schedule. Elizabeth Patterson's automobile, a white V-8 Ford ( 1935 Ford Auburn Deluxe Convertable Sedan ) , and a trailer also came on the ship with Baba's group. Padri met Baba and the group in Bombay and was instructed to take Norina, Kitty and Rano to Poona, where he was to take them around the city and then bring them to Meherabad. Baba, along with the other men and women mandali, promptly proceeded to Meherabad, only staying in Bombay a brief time to refresh themselves.
M.V. or T.M.S. ( Twin screw motor ship ) CIRCASSIA was built in October 1937 and scrapped in 1966.
The CALEDONIA (above) 11,252 tons was practically identical in form to her sister ship CIRCASSIA with the exception that the steam pipe abaft the funnel reaches the top of the funnel, whereas her sister's stopped mid-way. She was launched by the Marchioness of Linlithgow on March 12th. 1947 and delivered March 23rd, 1948 for the Bombay service. In 1965 she arrived in Amsterdam for use as a floating hostel for students of Amsterdam University. This fine ship was finally towed to Hamburd in March 1970 and broken up by Ritshers.
The following video shows the same car as Elizabeth's but not a