||How many times she repeated that!
She made this group a family. I don't suppose most of us would have known each other if it were not for her. And yet, any time for the rest of our lives, if we see each other on the street, we will remember her love. I call on God this moment to bless every one of us that we stay in harmony, live up to her aspirations for us, spread the light and love humanity and each other as she loved each of us. Thank you.
Karen: So many people have asked what it was like to spend a day with Hilda. Although I'm not sure one could ever say any day was a typical day with Hilda, I think the best you could say is that each day was an adventure and that no two days were ever alike. But one day does come to my mind and I would like to share it with you.
Hilda got me up one morning and she said, "Karen, are you hungry?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Well, we can eat later." She said, "How would you like to go to Broadway? I'd like to get a gift for my goddaughter. I thought we could go to some of the stores." Now Hilda had some favorite stores on Broadway. Her favorite one was Weber's. There were a lot of discount stores on Broadway, and she had great fun looking in them and trying to get a good buy.
So we got dressed and on our way to Weber's, at 104th and Broadway, there was a lady who was lying on a bench. Her legs were very, very swollen. She was a bag lady. Hilda stopped and she looked at her and she started to talk to her. She looked at me and there were tears in her eyes. She said, "We've got to do something for her. She's cold. She's hungry."
So we went back to Hilda's house and with great love and affection, Hilda decided to make her a couple of sandwiches. I still remember this day as if it were yesterday. First she made her a couple of cheese sandwiches, and then she decided that she should put some lettuce on the sandwich, because she probably didn't have any green vegetables. Then she decided she needed some vitamin C, so we hunted around and found an orange. And of course we had to get her a napkin.
Hilda said, "You know, she's cold. Let's find her a blanket." So we went to the hallway and got out a bunch of blankets. I thought that the brown one would be good, but Hilda said, "You know, if Jesus were here, he would say, 'Give your coat plus your cloak,' I shouldn't give her an old blanket. I should give her my favorite blanket." So we went into Hilda's bedroom. Hilda had a very soft, light blue blanket. It was the kind you just wanted to cuddle up in. Hilda said, "I want to give her this one. If we're going to give anything, I want to give this one."
So then, of course, the phone rang and Hilda took a couple of calls and we prayed. I remember one call that was from Colorado, a woman with cancer. We prayed. After the phone call, in the living room, Hilda noticed that the plants hadn't been watered. So we did that too. And of course as she was watering the plants, she'd talk to each one. The one in the corner that Rajah, Shanti and Valli's father, had brought in once had been real little and was growing very tall. So Hilda talked to the plant for awhile. She said, "My, you're growing big and tall. It won't be too much longer before you'll outgrow this apartment." This was the kind of rhythm that we had.
We then went to the lady. Hilda gave her the food, talked to her, and gave her the blanket. Then we went to the pizza shop on 103rd and Broadway. While we were there, a drunk came in. He was very bent over. He looked at Hilda and he started talking to her. He said, "You know I'm no good. I've ruined my life. I'm just no good." Hilda touched him on the forehead and she said, "Never say you're no good. You're a child of God." I never forgot that.
I think the thing that moved me so much, being with Hilda, was that I never saw her treat anybody differently. Whether she was talking to the doorman, to someone who delivered groceries, to a priest, to disciples, she related to everyone's soul, and she loved everyone.
Hilda accepted all paths. She accepted all religions, but as a young woman she gave herself to Jesus and it was Jesus whom she married. When we were working on the Dear Hilda book, Hilda wrote a talk on Jesus to be included in the book. She said to me that she felt that this talk summed up her personal spiritual relationship with Jesus. So I would just like to read a couple of paragraphs from the talk that Hilda wrote on Jesus.
May I tell you a simple story of my Jesus, the one I know so well, the one I dearly love, who never died or rose but just is and never changes through eternity, never changes with the seasons, whether it be Christmas, Easter, summer, winter, fall or spring?
I love him well, this Lord of mine. Perhaps, as my love story unfolds, this love so full might embarrass some of you whose heads are so full and hearts not yet simple. My heart overflows and tears run down my face as I think of the mighty man of will Who was always depicted on a cross, head down, blood dripping still. I took my Lord off the cross and found a mighty force, enough to build edifices around the world, even in villages of India and far off lands, though he trod this Earth two thousand years ago. Jesus started to teach me deep in my heart and head. He said, "Love is the answer. Love is divine. If you cannot love your brothers, then you cannot understand my life. I will have died in vain."
In the ensuing years, until now, as I stand here old yet young, I have wiped his face in the thousands I have stood before and told of the nails mankind has driven into his flesh again and again and themselves, too. For he said, "What you do to the least of them, you do unto me." And as I wipe each face, each bleeding heart, and with gentleness remove all fear from what man calls so loosely "mankind" and I call "him," I have felt his love well up within me and burst my heart into a thousand lights, brighter than the noonday sun.
He dwells deep within my heart, whose binding strings he did release and under his guidance, I've drawn a large circle, its circumference wide, wide enough to take in all mankind, no matter what their creed, be it Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian. All are one to him who loved mankind enough to spill his blood. All he asked of us is to love.
Jed: I had the grace and fortune to live in Hilda's home. Many a time she would say to me, "You know, when I pass, it'll be the small things that I do that you'll remember me by." In the last two weeks, I've thought a great deal about that and it's true. I remember the simple things that Hilda did, the very, very insignificant things — how she would clean the house so meticulously. She would clean a cupboard, straighten books, tear up papers, with a joy and an enthusiasm and a love that made it not insignificant, that made it as though she were doing something in the world, as though the heavens were changing with each tear of a paper. Whenever you would help her, you felt you were doing the greatest things in the world, and time seemed to stand still. She would always tell us about Saint Therese and her Little Way. To me that was how she lived her life, doing the little things that some people didn't notice.
She loved all of us equally, whether we were famous or not. She made us feel that her love was so special, that she understood us like no other. And she made us feel that God loved us like no other. Hilda's enthusiasm for life was unparalleled. She could take something that was so mundane and make it so great. The National Enquirer is one of my favorite papers now, and I'd never heard of it or read it before. She could take an article in the National Enquirer and make a whole Thursday night class on it, and people would be quoting it like the New York Times. Whatever she did, she put her whole self into it with devotion and love.
In the last month of her life, she read a great deal from a book on her Satguru, Nityananda.2 She said several times, "You know, in the past I always avoided the part of his passing, but I feel somehow now I can read it and it will have no effect on me." I know now what she meant. She often read stories from this book to us in the house. One in particular was of a young boy whose parents were devoted to the Master. He awoke from a dream on the day of Nityananda's passing and he told his parents, "The Master came to me and he said that he has to go. The great sages had come to him and there is work for him on the other side that only he can do."
I know that Hilda devoted her life to us, giving us everything that she had, and it is now that the Masters of the Great White Lodge and the holy ones on the other side have work that only she can do. And she is about her Father's business now. Hilda was so much to all of us. Often she would tell us on a Thursday night of the great ones, her teachers who gave her so much in this life. All of us here, for the rest of our lives, will always be able to say, "I sat, I listened, I loved one of God's great ones, Hilda Charlton."