One devoted couple, who met Baba for the first time during his visit to Myrtle Beach, was Fred and Ella Winterfeldt, two German immigrants who had settled in New York, where they had met and married. Both were interested in finding a spiritual Master. Fred, age fifty-four, had been searching for many years, and Ella, age fifty-five, had felt a Divine Presence on earth since childhood. (1) They decided to save money to take a boat or plane to the Himalayas or some South Sea island, where they would begin their search for their Master.
In mid-1948, a well-dressed lady came to the apartment building where Fred was the superintendent, and signed the lease for the penthouse apartment. As the woman’s fur coat parted open, Fred was drawn to a button she was wearing on her blouse. “Is he a spiritual Master or a yogi?” he asked.
The woman replied, “He is a great Perfect Master.”
Fred was curious, and the woman said that after she had moved in, he could come one day and talk about it.
The woman was none other than Ivy Duce. Fred was deeply impressed by what she told him of Baba. He borrowed Jean Adriel’s book, Avatar, and took it home to share with Ella.
Ella, on the other hand, looked at the book and felt that Baba was a false Christ, and said so. But as she opened it, gazed at Baba’s photograph and read of his love, she too was deeply touched and grew to love and think only of him. They became Sufis under Ivy Duce’s guidance.
Yet gradually Ella felt that her heart was Baba’s alone. She had respect for Inayat Khan, but she wanted only Meher Baba as her Master. And so without telling anyone, she wrote a note to Baba in India, not expecting a reply. But soon a letter came in which Baba stated: “I am touched by your love. The time has not yet come for you to serve me directly, but soon it will.” Ella was ecstatic: Baba had accepted her! She knew she must now leave the Sufi order, and she told this to Ivy, who released her from her vows.
At last, Fred and Ella came to Myrtle Beach to meet their Master. At 3:10 P.M. on May 10th, (1952) they were shown into the Lagoon Cabin. As they entered, Baba stood up, his arms unfurled to receive them. He embraced Ella first. She dropped her head on his shoulder like a tired babe or little bird, and all she could say was, “O Baba …” in a sigh of complete resignation and repose.
Fred, who prided himself on his detached powers of reasoning, was trying to analyze what was going on.
Fred described what happened:
Baba looked at me over Ella’s shoulder, winked and grinned from ear to ear. And at that moment, reason – four years of reasoning – like a burst balloon went out the door. It was replaced by instantaneous knowledge, recognition and conviction of the absolute truth of That with whom I was faced. That feeling sustained me for the rest of my life.
Baba then embraced me. When Baba embraces you, you feel as if you have taken a warm bath of love. You get so full of ecstasy, uplifted – all the pains, cares, dross of life drop away from you as meaningless. There is nothing but him, the only Truth, the only Reality, that has any meaning.
Taking their hands, Baba sat down with one on either side of him, still holding their hands. Meherjee was interpreting the alphabet board. Lover and Beloved were reunited at last. They poured out their hearts and told Baba everything, asking for instructions, which he gave.
Baba disclosed to them: “I have heard so much about you from Elinora [Elizabeth and Norina], and also from your own heart’s voice. I feel very happy. Very, very happy indeed. All you did for me, through love, I understand, I know.
“We have nothing to offer but ourselves,” Fred said. “We have surrendered to you, but we have not lived up to it as we should.”
“I feel so touched, “Baba replied. “What more can one give than wholehearted love? And that you have for me.
“So all your faults are to me just trifles. In the fire of love, all dirt is automatically consumed. What we have to do is be as absolutely honest with God as He is with us. He looks after everything and everyone with divine honesty, and we must love Him with heartfelt honesty. In loving Him there can be no compromise. And as you love me, be sure God will help you love Him, and know me in Him.”
(1) Ella Winterfeldt was related to the German mystic and social philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1865–1925), who founded a system of philosophy called Anthroposophy, which attempted to explain the world in terms of human spiritual value at a higher level independent of the physical senses.
Lord Meher, Original Publication, Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 11, 3802 – 3803.