God Rides – In A Ford







bab10I just talked to Joanne in Prague Oklahoma where Meher Baba had a car accident. She told me 200 Baba Lovers from all around the world came to Prague for a Baba Accident Festival. Twenty minutes away, my grandfather had a auto accident in Saint Louis Oklahoma – in a Chevrolet. Did Baba and Royal listen to the same tunes on the car radio? It is said Baba became a big fan of Jim Reeves while crossing America. I would have liked to been in the car with God, at 3:00 AM, the glow of the car radio sweetly singing out brief moral and love tribulations. Country Western Music is huge in India.

Here are videos of the Fairlane Ford that belonged to Marijee and was shipped to India. I used to own one, my first car.

Jon Presco

As corny as it may seem to some today, one of Baba’s favorite songs was “Welcome to My World” by Jim Reeves. Baba used to pantamime the words to the song as it played on the wind-up record player.

Reeves had a large fan following in both India and Sri Lanka since the 1960s, and is likely the all-time most popular English language singer in Sri Lanka. His Christmas carols are especially popular, and music stores continue to carry his CDs or audio cassettes. Two of his songs, “There’s a Heartache Following Me” and “Welcome to My World,” were favorites of Indian guru Meher Baba, leading Baba follower Pete Townshend of The Who to record his own version of “Heartache” on his first major solo album Who Came First in 1972.

Robert Svoboda, in his trilogy on aghora and the Aghori Vimalananda, mentions that Vimalananda, considered Reeves a gandharva, i.e. in Indian tradition, a heavenly musician, who had taken birth on Earth. He had Svoboda play Reeves’ “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at his cremation.

Baba cautioned the Meherazad mandali to be always with him during the Poona program, and he kept repeating this warning for days prior to going. At 6:30 A.M. on March 23rd, Baba, accompanied by Eruch, Bhau, Kumar and Aloba left Meherazad for Poona in Meherjee’s car. Goldney had returned from Bombay the day before with his Ford car, which he had shipped to India, and he left half an hour earlier with Gustadji, Keshav Nigam and Kishan Singh. Baba’s lovers had assembled at the Poona train station and received their heart’s true Beloved with loud acclamations when his car arrived at 9:45 A.M. The crowd was so thick that Mona Sakhare got caught in the middle. Nothing remained hidden from Baba. He sent the mandali to extricate her, and with the utmost difficulty they managed to bring her to Baba’s car. Baba expressed his love for her and caressed her face as the throng formed into a procession.

On May 24, 1952, Avatar Meher Baba was injured in an automobile accident just outside of Prague, Oklahoma, in which He shed His blood on American soil for the benefit of humankind. Fifty years later, the Avatar Meher Baba Heartland Center (AMBHC) was formed as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization with the intention of creating a center in the Heartland of America to commemorate this monumental event. This Center serves to nurture the awareness of the teachings of Avatar Meher Baba by maintaining a place for retreat, prayer, pilgrimage and study of his unifying message of divine love by giving full recognition to the following statement:
“I have come to sow the seed of Love in your hearts so that, in spite of all superficial diversity which your life in illusion must experience and endure, the feeling of Oneness, through Love, is brought about amongst all nations, creeds, sects, and castes of the world.”

On May 24, 1952, near the small town of Prague, Oklahoma, Avatar Meher Baba shed His blood on American soil. With Him and sharing in His sacrifice were some of His closest disciples, including His cherished and most beloved Mehera.

Meher Baba explained that this American accident would “result in benefit to the whole world.” He said on other occasions that during this Advent it would be necessary for the Avatar to undergo this Self-sacrifice. Baba was seriously injured as a result of this event, and combined with the more severe injuries sustained in the 1956 automobile ‘accident’ in India, was never able to walk without pain again for the rest of His life.

The date of this event was foretold by Baba many years earlier. At Harmon on Hudson, in 1932, Meher Baba gave Elizabeth Patterson a small pink wildflower and told her to always keep the flower and write down the date, that some day she would know the meaning. It wasn’t until years after the accident that Elizabeth discovered the flower He had given her that day, and written next to it in her Bible, the date, “May 24, 1932,” exactly 20 years to day that she would be driving the accident vehicle.

The following story of Meher Baba’s accident was excerpted from the article “Meher Baba’s Accident in America” by Jeff Maquire, originally published in The Broken Down Furniture News, and reprinted by permission of the author. Portions of the article were based on research and writings of Julia Ross, David Fenster, Adele Wolkin, Kitty Davy, C. B. Purdum, Filis Frederick, and Philip Lutgendorf.

by Jeff Maguire

Approaching the accident site from Meeker, the direction in which Anthony Palmieri was driving. The place where Baba was thrown was on the near side of the house to the left. The mailbox to the right where the postman was stopped has since been removed.On the morning of May 24, 1952, Anthony Joseph Palmieri was driving east on Oklahoma’s Highway 62 with Billie Hanson, who would soon be his wife, and her mother, Jane Hanson. Anthony had lost both legs in the Korean War. That day he was driving for the first time a new, specially equipped Mercury sedan. The two-lane highway was slick from rain the night before. About 10:00 a.m., at a spot that is nearly the geographical center of the United States, their car was climbing a rise where, according to Anthony, a mail truck was blocking the right lane. He pulled around the truck and into the path of an oncoming blue Nash with South Carolina plates.

As the Mercury flew towards the Nash, a collision unavoidable, Jane cried out, “Please , God, don’t let us die!” She had no idea that at that moment God, in the human form of Meher Baba, was stretching out his hand to point at her car. As Anthony applied the brakes, the Mercury spun across the road and the Nash smashed head on into its side. Anthony, Billie, and Jane were unhurt.

As with all occurrences in the life of Meher Baba, the Godman, this “accident” was anything but.

In a circular sent out to His lovers on New Years Day, 1949, Meher Baba had warned of a great personal disaster to Himself. On August 15 of that same year, he again foretold of a personal disaster. On June 28, 1951 he added that He would “in the natural course of events, be facing physical annihilation as well, without actually seeking it.”
In 1952, Baba made arrangements to visit the West. He arrived in Myrtle Beach on April 20, and on May 20, most of the men mandali left in advance for Meher Mount, California, to prepare for Baba’s visit there.

Coming from Prague, as Baba did in 1952, the accident occurred at the crest of this hill.It rained the following day. The cars transporting Baba’s party were not loaded until the sun broke through, at 2:30p.m. Elizabeth Patterson, driver and owner of the Nash, was behind the wheel, ready to go, when Baba asked if she had her insurance policy with her. She didn’t, but said she knew where it was at her home. Baba told her to stop on the way and get it. She packed it at the top of her suitcase.

Baba sat in the Nash beside Elizabeth. Mehera, Meheru and Baba’s sister, Mani, were seated in the back. Following them was a station wagon driven by Sarosh Irani, with passengers Dr. Goher Irani, Kitty Davy, Delia DeLeon and Rano Galey. They spent the first few days sight-seeing, spending nights in Columbia, South Carolina and Murphy, North Carolina.

On May 23, they spent the night at the Pond Crest Motor Court in Ozark, Arkansas. Baba and the Eastern women stayed at the motel and dined on bread and milk. Sarosh and the Western women were sent out to a small restaurant. The next morning they arose early as usual, and Baba again sent Sarosh and the Western women out to eat while he stayed with Mehera, Meheru, Mani and Goher.

Kitty Davy would later write, “I think of Baba, knowing what was to happen before the day was over, spending the last few hours with that small, close group whom He had known since they were children and who had loved Him for so many years; finding in their presence the comfort and love He so much needed in that fateful hour.”

After breakfast, the group stood waiting in front of the motel for Baba’s signal to get into the cars. But Baba delayed the start, standing for a long time on His doorstep. Kitty remembers, “He was sad, withdrawn and unusually still.” There were no last minute questions, no hurry to be off. Finally, after 10 minutes, He walked to the car with the Eastern women.

The accident took place in front of this home. Baba was thrown from the car, landing to left the driveway, just outside of the frame of the photograph.As He had many times before, Baba admonished Sarosh to follow closely and not lose sight of the lead car. Referring to an occasion earlier in the trip when He had been forced to wait for the station wagon in the intense heat, Baba warned that this should not happen again. When Sarosh asked if his group might stop along the way for drinks, Baba answered, “Yes, but do not linger.”

They had driven only a short distance when Baba had Elizabeth stop the car. He got out and paced up and down the right side of the road without explanation. Delia DeLeon remembered, “He seemed very depressed and haggard. He walked ahead with His head bent, seeming very far away.”

Later, Sarosh and his passengers stopped in a small town for coffee and cokes.
“We then put on speed to meet Baba at the appointed place,” Delia recalled. “We could see no sign of His car and were beginning to get worried. It was about 10:05 a.m. We heard an exclamation of alarm from Sarosh. We turned our heads to the right. At first we could not take in what had happened; we could not see clearly from the car. We saw people standing ’round Baba who seemed to be lying on the ground. The women were lying in various directions. Sarosh exclaimed, ‘Oh, God, there’s been an accident.’

“With lightning speed we jumped out of the car and rushed forward. The anguish of that moment is unforgettable…Baba’s face with blood pouring from His head, the extraordinary expression on Baba’s face, His eyes just staring straight ahead as if into unfathomable distances. He made no sound or sign…just lay there motionless…. Elizabeth was in the car, doubled over the wheel. Her first question had been, “Is He alive?'”

The site as it appears today. The driveway has been gravelled, and the old garage replaced or renovated.The rain that had made the road so slippery also blessingly made the road’s shoulder soft and muddy, cushioning the impact of Baba and the Indian women.

Delia placed her pillow beneath Baba’s bleeding head. (The blood-stained pillow, unlaundered, remains displayed at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach.) The farmer whose home was in front of the accident heard the terrible sound of the collision and rushed to assist. He lovingly covered the victims with his own blankets. The farmer’s wife was made so distraught by the sight of the victims that she retreated back inside her house.

The first car to pass was that of a man who was taking his wife to the Prague Clinic, seven miles away, to have a baby. He summoned a pair of ambulances to the scene.

Seven miles east of the accident site, Dr. Ned Burleson was making his rounds at the clinic he had founded and maintained since1950. The first person brought into the clinic was Elizabeth, who had a broken arm and eleven broken ribs. Mehera’s injuries were the most critical of all. In 1970, Dr. Burleson said she had suffered “the worst skull fracture I’ve ever seen. Like an egg you’ve dropped on the floor.” He hadn’t expected her to live.

Of the others in the car with Baba, Meheru’s wrists were both broken, while Mani, who’d been sleeping at the time of accident, sustained only minor injuries.
The front entrance of the Prague Municipal Hospital, where Meher Baba and the Mandali were taken. The waiting room with a Baba bookcase and photo are inside to the left.Dr. Burleson was picking particles of glass out of Mehera’s frontal bone when Dr. Goher rushed in and frantically urged him to come and see about Baba. “They were saying ‘Baba this, Baba that.’ I didn’t know what they were talking about…
and barely heard Dr. Irani because of the concentration on what I was doing.”

When Dr. Burleson finally got around to attending to Baba, he was most surprised: “As soon as I came in the doorway, he starts grinning at me and smiling away, so I figured he can’t be too badly hurt! Till I found out later…I was also astounded to
find that he did not speak or make any sound denoting discomfort. I assumed that he could not, but was soon informed that he did not speak because of a willful act.
I knew we were going to have to give him a general anesthetic…to set his
fractures and I suspected that he would say something at that time, but he didn’t.”

In a message Baba dictated on June 13, He said, “The personal disaster, for some years foretold by me, has at last happened while crossing the American continent, causing Me, through facial injuries, a broken leg and broken arm, much mental and physical suffering. It was necessary that it should happen in America. God willed it so.”

Why was it necessary that it happen in America? Perhaps a clue lies in a statement Baba made 20 years before: “America forms the best foundation for the spiritual upheaval I will bring about in the near future. America has tremendous energy, but most of this energy is misdirected. I intend to divert it into spiritual and creative channels.”

Dr. Burleson wrote of Baba the next year: “The most attractive quality of personality that first day was the way he would look at me with those big brown eyes, as if he were reading my mind. Later I determined that the most astounding quality was that something which made it possible for him to receive such profound devotion and loyalty from so many fine and educated people. That quality cannot be forced. Such devotion can only be possible because he deserved it or earned it.”

Years later Elizabeth Patterson, who had received the small pink flower twenty years before, said, “Through the experience of sharing Baba’s suffering to a degree, I feel my life, instead of being nearly cut off, was extended for a purpose; the gift of the little flower was grace from the Master to be treasured in the heart.” The gift of the flower, like the accident itself, was but one tangible thread of the Beloved’s compassion…one thread in the vast invisible tapestry that sustains the Universe.


“Plaintiff, 63 years of age, engaged in buying and selling oil
and gas leases, was driving a 1941 Chevrolet automobile in a westerly
direction, and defendant, Robert Poole, 28 or 29 years of age, an
employee of defendant, Reed Roller Bit Company, was driving a 1952
Chevrolet automobile, owned by said defendant company, in an easterly

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 2,138 people, 864 households, and 567 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,211.6 people per square mile (469.0/km²). There were 1,021 housing units at an average density of 578.6 per square mile (224.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.07% White, 3.70% African American, 9.92% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.09% from other races, and 2.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.12% of the population.
There were 864 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 19.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,779, and the median income for a family was $32,137. Males had a median income of $24,083 versus $19,438 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,381. About 11.3% of families and 17.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 15.9% of those age 65 or over.
It has an airfield with a 840 m (2757 ft) asphalt runway, located about a kilometer west of the town center, its identifier is “O47”.[4]
Prague was originally settled by Czech immigrants, who gave their new town the name “Prague.” On the first Saturday of May each year there is a ‘Kolache Festival’. It celebrates the Czech culture brought from the ‘old country.’ One can learn more at the Prague Historical Museum on the town’s main street, Jim Thorpe Boulevard, which is named for the town’s most famous son, the Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe. Reflecting its Czech Catholic heritage, Prague is also the home of the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus, which draws numerous visitors each year.[5]
On May 24, 1952, Indian mystic Meher Baba was seriously injured in a head-on automobile collision near Prague.[6]
On November 5, 2011 a series of earthquakes struck near Prague, the first one a magnitude 4.7 at 2:15 AM CST, followed by a series of aftershocks, and then a second quake of magnitude 5.6 at 10:53 PM CST, the strongest recorded in Oklahoma history. This continued on November 7, 2011 when another 4.7 hit at 8:45 PM, just five miles northwest of Prague.


On the morning of May 31, 1953, my grandfather, Frank Rosamond, had a
head on collison. He was driving a 1941 Chevrolet. If it was a coupe,
then Frank could have been driving the same car my late sister posed
in for her painting ‘The Crossing’. Shortly after she completed this
foreboding work she asked me if I had seen it, she saying this is how
she dealt with Bill’s death. Bill was a fellow artist, my childhood
friend who got killed by a train after his car stalled on the
railroad tracks in Ogden Utah. He was eighteen. After Christine
Rosamond’s death, The Crossing was put in the window of the Rosamond
gallery in Carmel as if to suggest Fate had played a hand. If this is
the truth, then Fate has taken a real toll on the creative folk in my
family. Christine did not know her grandfather, or anything about his
accident – including what kind of car he owned!

On May 24, 1952, Avatar Meher Baba was injured in an automobile accident just outside of Prague, Oklahoma, in which He shed His blood on American soil for the benefit of humankind. Fifty years later, the Avatar Meher Baba Heartland Center (AMBHC) was formed as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization with the intention of creating a center in the Heartland of America to commemorate this monumental event. This Center serves to nurture the awareness of the teachings of Avatar Meher Baba by maintaining a place for retreat, prayer, pilgrimage and study of his unifying message of divine love by giving full recognition to the following statement:
“I have come to sow the seed of Love in your hearts so that, in spite of all superficial diversity which your life in illusion must experience and endure, the feeling of Oneness, through Love, is brought about amongst all nations, creeds, sects, and castes of the world.”

In the mid-1960s Baba became concerned with the increasingly prevalent drug culture in the West and began a correspondence with several Western academics, including Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, in which he strongly discouraged the use of all hallucinogenic drugs for spiritual purposes.[85] In 1966 Baba’s responses to questions on drugs were published in a pamphlet titled God in a Pill? Meher Baba stated that drug use was spiritually damaging and that if enlightenment were possible through drugs then “God is not worthy of being God.”[86] Meher Baba instructed some of his young Western disciples to spread this message; in doing so, they increased awareness of Meher Baba’s teachings among the young during this period. In an interview with Frederick Chapman, a Harvard graduate and Fulbright scholar who met Baba during a year of study in India, Baba stated that LSD is “harmful physically, mentally and spiritually”, and warned that “the continued use of LSD leads to madness or death.”[87]
On this basis, an anti-drug campaign was initiated by Baba lovers in the United States, Europe and Australia. Although the campaign was largely unsuccessful,[88] it created a wave of new followers, and some of Baba’s views found their way into academic debate on the merits and dangers of hallucinogens.[89]


About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to God Rides – In A Ford

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    Meher Baba has a retreat on Sulphur Mountain where on a clear day you can see the Channel Islands where Royal Rosamond camped.

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