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'I was in heaven'
I met Hilda just as she returned from India. It was right before Christmas. A girl I new invited me to her house because she was having a few (very few, she specified) people over to her East Side apartment where she was going to serve a small buffet for a lady that had just arrived from India and was going to show a film of Sai Baba. Even though I had been meditating and doing yoga for well over a year with Yogi Dinkar, who was part of and later a split from Maharishi Mahesh Yoga Transcendental Meditation group, I didn't know who Sai Baba was. Yogi Dinkar had returned to India and I was kind of lost and praying for guidance.

There were very few people indeed at the party. The film was shown and Hilda spoke afterwards. I was in heaven. I had no idea what would happen from then on, but while people were going to the table to serve themselves, Hilda was sitting in a small room right off the living room and I just went, sat next to her and asked if there was a chance that she could possibly teach me. She said to come to her house the first Friday of the New Year at 6:00 p.m. I asked, What was I supposed to bring? (I might have been thinking initiation fees, as they were doing in New York at the time.) She answered, "An open heart." So I went on the appointed date, we meditated in her bedroom, where she had a sofa bed that was closed to receive visitors. We sat on the floor. There were maybe five or six of us. Hilda sat on a small children's chair. She talked a little, we sang, meditated and I thought I had just gotten off the "local" and gone on to the "express." I immediately felt the connection between Hilda and St. Therese (Little Flower). With my eyes closed, I could see Hilda moving in the little space that was left in the room with her arms open and moving them in circles, as she usually did. Except that I had never seen her doing it. And from her hands I could see rose petals falling............

As time went on we moved the meetings from her bedroom to the living room, until the living room became too crowded and there were people filling the length of the hallway to the very front door. Latecomers had a hard time squeezing in. One night I was sitting right in front of her and she raised her hand and said that due to the fact that we couldn't all fit in there anymore, one side of the room, which she pointed, would skip the following Friday, and only the other side would come and then skip the Friday after that. I was sitting right in the middle, so I figured, as brokenhearted as I was, that I would join one of the two groups. However, as we were leaving the apartment that night, Hilda put her right hand on my heart and said: "You come every Friday, because you are looking for God."

From then on we all know what happened: the meetings got moved around until they finally settled for a while at St. Luke's in Greenwich Village (Lucky me, that was just a few blocks from where I lived). Then we got moved around again, mainly because of space, and we finally settled at St. John the Divine. It wasn't much later that I had to leave the apartment in the Village and I really couldn't afford the move. Besides, since I shared that apartment, it was really big and I was wondering if I would end up in some kind of a dump. But not so! A sculptor friend of mine had left the city to live in the country and she had less and less use for the apartment that she used as a studio in the Upper West Side while she was living at El Dorado Towers. So she thought it would be a good idea if I moved in there, rent free, until I could afford it. The apartment was the same size as the one I had in Greenwich Village. Except that here, I was living by myself. And the address on West 108th St. was six blocks from Hilda's and 4 blocks from St. John the Divine. When Hilda came to visit for the first time to bless the apartment I couldn't wait for her to get there and see it. After the meditation she just said: "God takes good care of you." I lived in that apartment until I moved to Mexico in '81.

More experiences that come to mind: A dear friend of mine had given himself to alcohol and drugs. I could see it coming for a long time and I could see how helpless one becomes in trying to avoid the inevitable in a case like his. He eventually moved out of New York, I had stopped seeing him for quite a while. He wrote a couple of times and I could see his life just falling apart. He finally ended up in a Rehabilitation Center in the Midwest. One morning I woke up from a dream in which this fellow was trying to reach me on the phone, and I , in the dream, was trying to reach him also. As soon as I got up, the phone rang . It was he. He had just received notice that his father had died, he couldn't handle it and he said he knew I was the only person he could talk to. With God's (and Hilda's) blessing he was finally cured and left the Center to start a new life in Florida. On his way down from Minnesota, he stopped in New York to see me. We made a dinner date with some friends in a restaurant and then we stayed there after everyone had left and we talked and talked. We left the restaurant and walked towards Central Park and we talked and talked and sat on one of the benches at the edge of the park and we talked, went into a bar, we both had cokes and talked so more. Almost towards morning, I walked him to his hotel. We chatted a little more and, as it was beginning to dawn, I took a cab home. When I arrived at the apartment, it was just about 6:00 a.m. Michael Swerdlow had been living there too for a while. Ever since I began taking frequent trips to India. As I walked in, Michael said: "Hilda just called, she wanted to know where you were, because she hadn't found you in the ethers."" Of course," I said," I didn't sleep last night." And went to the phone to explain to Hilda what had happened.

As a student of Hilda, I never believed in working on developing certain powers. I understood fully that powers develop by themselves if you follow certain disciplines and strive for perfection in the love and omnipresence of God. I was so glad to find out that you don't have to be a saint to have miracles happen and so sad to see the way that we humans overlook miracles and called them by other names, such as luck or coincidence. Some miracles are just natural laws that we are not being able to reach or understand. It is really what Hilda called "God in action." Therefore. we never studied telepathy, or did any kind of exercises to achieve that sense, or whatever it is that is called, but here is an example. What would you call it? There might be some "kids" around who would still remember this.

Hilda was sitting in her living room one late afternoon with a few of her kids. I don't remember what it was that was being discussed, but Hilda said that I would know something about whatever it was she said she wanted to talk to me so she started calling out my name, asking me to call. I was walking on Avenue of the Americas in midtown Manhattan. I happened to pass by a phone booth and the idea came into my head to call Hilda. All of this happened very quickly because I went right to the phone booth and started looking into my pockets for change. All of a sudden, a passerby stopped and asked me, "What do you need?" I said, "I need a dime to make a phone call." He said "Here," handed me a dime and walked away. I called Hilda and whoever answer the phone said very joyously: "It's Lionel!" I could hear the laughter and the cheering, but I couldn't really figure out was going on until Hilda got on the phone and explained.

                                                                                     - L.F., Mexico

'Her fun with God and the world are inspirational even yet'
As a student of Hilda's in the late '70's and early '80's, I am more than ecstatic to have found her website today. What a delight to have this connection established!

Stories about Hilda? My whole life is a Hilda story. She has profoundly influenced my life and in turn, those of the people I meet. My kids have known Hilda without meeting her because of what she has given me. Any religious ceremony or activity I find myself attending is viewed from the perspective of Hilda's uniquely ecumenical training. Her manner of teaching, the depth and reality of her love of God, her fun with God and the world are inspirational even yet.

When I heard of Hilda's passing, I could hear her 'yahoo-ing' across the universe in her freedom. Despite the tears that fell, I couldn't help but smile.
                                                                                     - R.F.

'Hilda planted this seed'
Although I never met Hilda while she was in physical form, I am always profoundly touched by by her books. Recently I was reading "Pioneers of the Soul," a compilation of Hilda's last teachings. by In one of her talks, she planted a seed in my heart and the seed sprouted and grew. Hilda was talking about the Divine within us, and suggested that we "Practice being God" and allow the Divine to see through our eyes, hear through our ears, think and act through us (not a new idea, but a very good reminder!!) I sat on the front porch and pondered this "Divinity within." On a whim, I stood up and went to the porch railing and listened. I could hear the waves crashing on the shore a few blocks away. Oh Lord, listen, can you hear the waves! Please, use my ears and listen to your splendor. Together, He and I listened to the birds singing their morning song. We looked across the road and over to the railroad tracks and watched the Amtrak shuttle whiz by on its way to LA. I invited the Divine to look through my eyes and bless those silhouettes we saw in the early morning light. We watched the neighbor children walking to nearby bus stops and a jogger run by. We looked at the expanse of lawn, the colorful flowers in the flower bed, and the snail crawling up the wall of the house. We gazed down lovingly at two loyal dogs curled at our feet. Oh what a sweetness!! My heart felt light and full of love. I seemed to feel just a inkling of that Love God has for all His creation. Hilda planted this seed and it grew and blossomed and brought me such joy that morning and all through the day as I tried to remember to let the Divine see through me, hear through me, speak through me, BE ME. Sai Baba tells us over and over that we ARE DIVINE. He calls us Premaswarupa, embodiments of love. Most of the time I forget to "Practice to be God", but on that glorious morning of practice, I experienced a little of that Divinity Within. Thank you Sai Baba! Thank you, sister Hilda, for teaching me from beyond.
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