21st March 1932

Letter : Herbert Davy ( Shanghai ) to Meher Baba

PAGE 1 :       Reply cable C/- "Citibank" Shanghai    *   Address : C/- National City Bank of New York, Shanghai, China

Dear Baba,

     It is time for me to write another letter, I wrote a long letter on the 7th of March to England. I was very puzzled  by hearing nothing from you after your wires at the end of January "saying that intsructions were following".  Expecting these I altered my plans  and have been waiting 40 days in Shanghai to hear from you.

     I had orders to evacuate Nanking on the 11th of February, but no orders to leave China. It seems fairly certain that there will be no more teaching for this term at Nanking though if the Japs withdraw from the Yangste Valley it is possible that it will reopen. We must wait and see.

     On the 13th March came a wire in from Rustom, saying "why no answer to Baba's two wires ?" Did he refer to your January wires or to 2 more recent ones; if the latter they have not reached me perhaps because I am no longer in Nanking. I had hoped to evacuate to India and to join you there; instead Rustom wired me on the 18th March to say that he will be in Shanghai on the 29th of April by the (SS) Chenonceaux  a very slow boat. I want to see Rustom again. If Shanghai should not be safe, I have arranged to wire his boat on route, it is such a long time to wait till April 29th. At the moment it is quietening down considerably here. But I suppose that sooner or later I shall have to evacuate China until the war is over, where shall I go to if I do have to leave ?

     My last letter from you was from Paris via Chanji, oh so long ago, I miss you very much more than I can say in this letter, the more because my life is and has been so strange out here. Practically, all the time I have been living in my boxes always expecting to move at the end od the week, first it was to the new house or to the club that was to be provided for us ( which never was ) in Nanking, then evacuate to a safer house after the bombardment, then to Shanghai, again battle and expecting an evacuation and word from you to say what I should do, still uncertain - shall I move to Peking, with the Commission, or travel, or stay in this rather unpleasant city and see nothing of China until Rustom arrives, if he does.

     The League may now want me, if there is no teaching at Nanking to stay here and act as a kind of Secretary for them in Shanghai while they go North. ( They may change their minds about this ). It will be a long time until the commission reaches the stage of writing the report so I can not assist them yet.

     I visit schools and colleges and may give some odd lectures to groups - the old boys, YMCA, - and I may teach in the schools if they require some one to help them out, I thought you would like me to thus get in touch with young Chinese ; I met a group of Zen Buddhists ( 6 ) ; I write to Four of my students and to some Chinese friends in Nanking. I meditate apart from these activities I do nothing and live like a very lonely hermit.  You will be disappointed that I am not in touch eith greater numbers but it has been difficult because there has been chaos all the time. At Nanking strikes and troubles and revolution, deplorably low standards in the University, they could hardly understand my English even the students of the English Dept., - hence teaching to many students in their departments was ruled out in the main...


PAGE 2 :  ** Confidential For Baba Only

 ...I mention numbers because I remember  you asked me how many students would there be at the University ? I said 2,000 I think you had the idea that I would be able to come in contact with all or a very large number of them. I always make the point of walking through crowded streets as if to come in contact with as many Chinese as possible - perhaps this is merely superstition ? Is it ?

     From the same point of view I have wondered if you would like me to visit as many places in China as possible ? You see that as far as more intimate contacts go one usually is hindered by language obstacles and can only become intimate with people who speak English very many of course and occassionally by an interpreter. It is through an interpreter that I talk to the Zen followers. Did you receive the copy of the Chinese Sutra I sent ?

     I do not meet many European people, they are mostly out of sympathy many are very definitely anti-Chinese, so it seems better so. Also the questions of vegetarian for and not drinking makes social intercourse  with them a little awkward.

     There has been so much confusion about sending my salary from Geneva that it is now being sent to Kitty's bank account in London direct ( that is all but a quarter ) I am trying to save this also up here so I can send it to Montreal if required. There may be some misunderstanding with Meredith ( Starr ), from his letters I see that he still expects me to send a portion to him for E.C. ( East Challacombe, England ). I have not explained to him because you asked me not to - will you clear up any misunderstandings with him ?

     Similarly re Kitty's M.S. ( Meredith Starr ) asked me to put the money down for buying E.C.  I wrote to Kitty and told her to ask you for your advice before deciding. I would like to help especially not to hurt M.S. feelings and trust. I have been trying to help about the raising of the sum M.S. asked so urgently for in his letter from America. I do not know if Cadbury will help, I hope he will. I cannot explain in a letter fully my method of concentration, but I think you can read my mind in this. Is it an effective way of helping ?

     When will I see you again ?  Is it only 6 or 7 months since I sat on the beach at East Challacombe  and in the Dairy at your feet., it seems so long ago. I wish I could think that I was more worthy but instead I seem to become less worthy and to have done my work out so badly. Even medit - for which I have now so much more time seems not to improve. I am so looking forward to seeing Rustom and hearing your news and having someone to whom I can talk with about you. I had hoped that he would arrive here at the end of March instead of the end of April. What an I to do with him when he comes - Travel ?  or to introduce him to Chinese people I know ?

     I sent a wireless message to you on your birthday thinking that you sere then at E.C., also to tell you that I was in Shanghai on 148th February.

     Love to all - M.S. both Margarets , Esther, Kim & Co.,  Zilla and Kitty, by now you will have seen Will Suggett, and to your dear M.

     Yours                 Herbert

This letter was typed from the original letter by Anthony Zois