ALAN & KAREN TALBOT
The video was recorded & produced by Michael Le Page, see Michael's webpage.
The following video was recorded & produced by Robin Vogel, see Robin's webpage.
The video was recorded & produced by Robin Vogel. See Robin's webpage, click on web link.
The following videos were recorded & produced by Michael Le Page, see Michael's webpage.
Allan Talbot of the Meher Baba Center of Northern California in this talk discusses how Baba inspired
him to establish the first large-scale natural food store up in Berkeley (Wholly Foods), where some 40
million people saw Baba’s image, at least 700,000 customers heard His name , and more than 100,000
Baba cards were distributed from 1970-1977. Allan’s insightful conversation now told for the first time tale includes support cast appearances of diverse notables
from both the Meher Baba world and the realm of American culture both popular and anti-cultural.
Light of the Lord
This article is an expanded version of the final part of a talk I gave on April 14, 2013, at the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. This portion of the talk was unrelated to and independent of the main body of the talk.
I initially heard of Meher Baba in Berkeley in late July, 1968. I became his disciple a year later and remain so. During the course of these forty five years, Baba would periodically provide an experience, doubtlessly for His work. For my part, I have never sought and do not seek such experiences. The purposes of these experiences are beyond my knowledge. As I was trained as a lawyer (presently retired), I developed a capacity of the maintaining discretion. As a result, I kept an inner silence regarding these experiences.
II. In the Beginning
I was born October 14, 1946 in Philadelphia. From 1947 on, I lived in the last part of west Philadelphia. On two sides, we were surrounded by public golf courses, on one side by 10,000 acres of wild natural woods and, on the other side, by the Philadelphia main line. The neighborhood had been a farm, and I recall an apple cider stand at the top of my street until I was about six. We called it “Little Tel Aviv.”
I was the eldest grandchild and grandson on my mother’s Philadelphia side. Apparently, I spoke of God a great deal. When my grandfather died in March 1950, I constantly spoke of going to Heaven to bring him back. My family thought I’d be a Rabbi.
The elementary school was built at this time for the massive influx of Baby Boomers. We had 40 kids in our class. I was smart, active, and an excellent athlete. I wanted to be playing ball outside. I ‘got’ to subjects quickly, so I began to be a class nuisance, telling jokes, being disruptive, and overly energetic. I was not a teacher’s delight, and my behavior grades reflected that.
At about nine, I was now obligated to go to Hebrew School at the Synagogue, about 50 yards from the elementary school. School ended at 3:30 pm and now on Monday, Wednesday,
and Friday, Hebrew School ran from 4-6 p.m.: a total nightmare.
At about eleven, I was now further obligated to attend Saturday morning services from 9:30 a.m. or 10:00 to noon. The only redeeming feature here was the magnetism of the Rabbi, Arthur Rosenbaum. He had grown up in Texas and had suffered extensive antisemitism. He was a passionate man, filled with a deep sense of justice that unconsciously affected my heart. Only now do I realize the effect he had on my life.
Each Saturday, I patiently awaited the end of the service. Then we’d get sponge cake and/or cookies and a sweet Manischewitz grape juice (or wine, if I was clever). I knew when the end was coming by the prayers being sung.
In preparing this talk, I recalled from about 1959 the final prayer of the service and realized the significance of that prayer, which rested latently in my subconscious until 2013. The prayer and its origins in the Bible is noted below:
Blessed may you be in your coming in and blessed may you be in your going out. Deut. 286.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. Number 6:24 – 26
May the Lord make His face to shine light upon you and be gracious unto you.
May the Lord lift up His countenance unto you and give you peace.
This day, now and forevermore. Psalms 121:8.
Beginning in 2007, my wife Karen, a community college teacher, and I started going to India during her winter break until the New Year.
In 2010, we arrived as usual, about the 12th or 13th or so. About two days later, I was at morning Arti. I was seated on the benches on the right side of the Tomb (if facing the Tomb).
Due to the financial crisis, there were very few Westerners at that time. I knew very few people. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the people across from me appeared as pure light.
I could not distinguish whether an individualized soul was a man or woman, Western, Indian or Iranian, tall or short, etc. In a word, the only differentiation was the quantity and quality of light that shone. It is not easy to describe such measurement but the quantity of light could be perhaps 50% and the quality 25%. While this appears somewhat subjective, I was able to discern the diversity of the souls before me. I was amazed, and I stared at the mass of light before me for some time. It was perhaps 6:20 a.m.
After some time, I decided to turn my head left, to see if those souls on the benches facing the Tomb were also light. They were. In fact, everyone at the Samadhi was light. It was further very clear that no one else ‘saw’ what I was seeing. They were all unconscious of this presentation.
Again, suddenly, all the light of the individual souls transferred as a stream to the area before the threshold of the tomb. In other words, the light became a mass of collective light and increased in intensity in quantity and quality. It was awesome and magnificent, beyond mere words.
This light continued for a time. Lineal time was completely lost although I realized that the Arti would eventually occur.
Suddenly, and without forewarning, Light poured forth from the Samadhi. This Light
was pure, unadulterated, constant and beyond imagination. The stream was unequaled. It was love itself, which was Light, from God Himself. This Light immediately integrated with the light of the individualized souls before the threshold. The collective light became enraptured as God’s light permeated its “being.” I can only imagine the expression on my face. My entire consciousness was His Light; yet I was separate from His Light as an observer only.
After some intermittent time, the Light of the Lord receded into the Samadhi. The collective light remained at the threshold, and then suddenly, it too receded to the individuals
souls. But now the quality and quantity of the light of the individual souls was magnified by at least two. The Lord’s Light had dramatically increased the love of the people at the Arti.
At this point, it was about 6:50 a.m.. The Arti was to begin shortly, and I wondered whether I would be able to perform, and, more, what would happen thereafter.
Remarkably, I performed the entire Arti, without a hitch, but then I was to return to the MPR with Karen. How would I function? Would I see only light?
Upon returning to the MPR, I was able to dual-task. I was able to act ‘normally’ and hold a conversation and yet, concurrently, see the light of people and creatures. I saw that local farmers had lesser light than the Baba people and that dogs’ light was greater than that of cattle. Quite a show.
I realized that I would not be able to fully reflect on the morning until the 2 – 4 p.m. rest break. I waited patiently, still able to dual-task. After lunch, I returned to my single room and reflected upon the day’s events. I had no answer to the cause of the experience or its continuation. I decided that it all was Baba’s will, and I would let it transpire as He wished.
I wondered later before falling asleep, if the light would dissipate. It did not. The second morning, I again went to the Arti.
On the second day, the entire sequence occurred as before. There was one exception. On this occasion, I was involved. When the individual souls projected their light onto the area before the threshold, suddenly and without warning, I also joined. I was no longer a spectator, but a participant. I felt my heart open and the inner light pour forth. It was bliss. All my sight was this light.
Now rather than seeing with the two eyes of my head, I saw solely with the eye of my heart. I had never known that the heart had an eye. This eye saw straight into the hearts of others. It bypassed the mind and was unconcerned with so called material reason. It was clear that the mind was subject to thoughts, ideas, disputes, which clouded the heart. The heart was unclouded and existed on love alone.
As I was absorbing all this, again the stream of pure light poured forth from the Tomb. The collective light(of which I was now a part) was overcome by the “madness” of pure bliss. No words exist to properly convey the experience. As I was at the threshold, I could watch God’s light pour forth.
As the day before, God’s light remained for a time and then receded. The collective light thereafter receded. I was beyond joy.
Somehow, again, I performed the Arti, and returned to the MPR by dual-tasking. I decided not to discuss this with anyone. It was too unbelievable.
And so it was throughout our stay, that I was able to dual-task. I wondered whether I would be able to “read” the hearts of people when I returned home. Nearly two weeks later and upon entering onto the plane to return home, I completely forgot the entire episode of God’s light. It was as if Baba placed a selective amnesia on my mind. I recalled everything else about the trip but this. And so it went.
Karen and I again returned in mid-December 2011. This trip would be different. There were to be many Westerners on this trip.
Within a couple of days, the entire sequence reoccurred. At once, I remembered that I had forgotten the sequence from 2010. The memories rushed into my mind. I had to laugh at my “amnesia”.
In any event, 2011 proved to be as inspiring as 2010. At times, I would track to see who was at the Arti (mornings were more productive than the evenings), so I could know who I was seeing as light. It seemed harmless fun.
I wondered whether I would remember these episodes when I returned home or suffer the “amnesia” of 2010. However, this time, I had total recall of both years.
V. And in the End
I have had no recurrences of these experiences since I left India in 2011. I do have a vivid memory of what transpired and the remarkable beauty involved.
I recognize whatever words I use, or how articulate I might be, that I cannot properly communicate the depth and glory of these experiences. Whatever words I could add or subtract would be of no value.
When I first heard the words both in Hebrew and in English,”May the Lord make His face to shine light upon you and be gracious unto you”, I was perhaps nine. I was 64 in 2010, and, thus, for 55 years I unconsciously held these words. Now these words have come true. Why Baba blessed me, I cannot say. But then, He also said “Understanding has no meaning; only love has meaning.”
The eye of the heart, which knows only love and the Light of love, is real and a true gift from the Master to the disciple.