Breaking His Silence in the Hollywood Bowl
The God-Realization Dresses
At Agra [in April 1933], Baba called us to him individually and asked if we would mind if He had to send us back to Europe and America for His work. Not six months or longer, and no journey across the Pacific to be with Baba when He planned to break His silence in the Hollywood Bowl, so we thought. Some of us had even taken special dresses along for this great occasion, among our rather extravagant and unnecessary wardrobes. I mention this en passant because it shows how little some of us understood, in those days, what life with a spiritual Master meant, or the real significance of Baba’s breaking His silence. Delia [De Leon] recalls that Baba later commented, ‘Did you think I would speak on a definite date in a large hall before a crowd of people? I went into Silence without giving warning and I will speak in the same way—who knows when? But when I speak, the whole world will know and realize who I am!’”
—Kitty Davy, Love Alone Prevails, pp. 94-95
Margaret Craske told the story of Baba announcing he would break his silence in the Hollywood Bowl in 1932. The Western women traveling with Baba prepared for the occasion by having “God-Realization gowns” made. Except for Margaret. She saw Baba’s plan as one of the “carrots” he occasionally used to encourage his disciples. So I guess if we need a “carrot,” we get a carrot.
The Awakener Magazine
“On His second visit to the West in 1932, many contacts had been made with the Hollywood film world. It was Jean who stood beside Baba at the Hotel Knickerbocker and introduced the screen luminaries to Him, among many others.
“Baba left for China, promising to return and break His silence in the Hollywood Bowl introduced over the radio by Mary Pickford! It’s easy to smile now, but all took it seriously then. Expecting instant God-Realization, some even had elaborate dresses made! (At least Norina got some use out of hers — all white —she used to lecture in it) Suddenly, Baba’s plans to return to California were cancelled, leaving the Schlosses to face the music. Almost all the new contacts left, disillusioned, including two astrologers, Dane Rudhyar and Marc Edmund Jones, in whose home Baba had stayed. Dane had cast Baba’s horoscope and seen Him as the great World Teacher of the Age.”
—The Awakener Magazine, vol. 20, no. 2 (1983), p. 23
On His 1932 visit to Hollywood, Baba said he would return and break His Silence July 12th, over the radio, in the Hollywood Bowl — introduced by Mary Pickford. For this extraordinary event, at least two women devotees decided they were going to be properly attired, and went out and bought “God-Realization dresses”! One cost almost ₤200. Of course, Baba did not break His Silence, as we all know; and many years later in India, when questioned about this, Baba said, “Fancy your believing that story!”
—The Awakener Magazine, vol. 18, no. 1 (1978), p. 36
“Before going to California, Baba had told us he would break his silence there in July, and that this event would be the signal for the spiritual quickening which he had been predicting for so many years. We were naturally anticipating this moment keenly, because we — as among those close to him — would share in this quickening in a very profound way. This Baba had told us at the time of his first visit. Yet Malcolm [Schloss] and I had confessed to each other privately how utterly inadequate we felt to participate in such a momentous upheaval in consciousness. We knew how ill prepared we were to take our places as co-workers with a living Christ. Of course we also knew that in a ‘twinkling of an eye’ one could be changed completely. Yet we were deeply aware that the spiritual basis of our lives needed to be greatly intensified before the ‘eye’ might ‘twinkle.’
“Nevertheless Baba had definitely declared that he would speak in July and that humanity would experience a great expansion of consciousness. We gladly believed him — perhaps because we wanted to be relieved of the necessity of further conscious growth — but we were not greatly surprised when he told us there would be a slight postponement. He must first make a hurried trip to China, he told us, and would then return to break his silence in Hollywood Bowl, with Mary Pickford to introduce him! How any of us could have given credence to this fantastic story I cannot now imagine! Certainly it revealed what babes in consciousness we then were. Only too willing were we to be lifted up to Heaven by the boot-straps without further delay! One day, in India, years later, Baba laughed as he recalled the picture to us: “Fancy your believing that story—that I would break my silence over the radio in Hollywood Bowl!”
“But believe it then we did, and ardently anticipated his return from China. Before leaving with his party Baba had instructed Malcolm and me to go to San Francisco and prepare the ground for his return. Through contacts which we had from our bookshop days we got in touch with various ‘key’ people, who arranged for us to speak about Baba and tell of his imminent return and the breaking of his silence.
“On precisely the evening when we were to attend the largest of these gatherings in Piedmont word arrived from Baba that he was not returning to America, but was proceeding to India and Europe; nor would he break his silence at that time. This, frankly, was a very dark moment for us. Within a few hours we were expected to tell these new friends of Baba’s expected return to America; to describe the quickening effects upon consciousness which his speaking would initiate for mankind; to proclaim him as a supreme example of Godhood, worthy of the deepest trust and faith. But in our hearts dark doubts were refusing to be silenced. We did not then know, of course, that for many years he had been predicting the breaking of his silence, and for as many years postponing it. We felt like trustful children who had been cruelly deceived. Either he did not have the God-knowledge with which we had credited him, or he was another of the imposters who pose as advanced spiritual teachers. Either he was deluded or deluding, the rational mind argued and for a few hours held sway.
“Now, in retrospect, it is difficult to recapture the agony of soul I went through. But, at that time, being a neophyte among Baba’s followers, I had not become accustomed to his sudden changes of plan when his inner work demanded it. Even today, after fifteen years of close association, I would not attempt to explain why he does and says certain things. Once, in Cannes, in discussing a letter which He had recently received, and in which the writer was bewailing the fact that Baba’s promises were not materializing according to schedule, he indicated to me that everything he had promised would come true, “but in own time and in my own way.’”
—Jean Adriel, Avatar (1947), pp. 144-46.