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Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey - Chapter II
My life was spent, during these formative years, almost entirely with men. Often for weeks at a time I spoke to no woman except my co-worker and current chaperone. I candidly admit to this day that I do not understand the feminine mind. This, of course, is a generalization and like all generalizations somewhat untrue. I have women friends and am devoted to them but, as a general rule, I prefer the masculine mind. A man will give you serious trouble occasionally; a woman will give you lots of silly little troubles all the time and I can't be bothered. I suppose I am no feminist but I know that if women are real and intelligent they can get to the top of the tree.

My mornings would be given to Bible study for I was taking an average of fifteen meetings a week, to current correspondence, to conference with the managers, and to tearing my hair over the accounts, for I never had the slightest head for figures. We were feeding five or six hundred men in each coffee-shop every evening and that meant much buying and selling. My afternoons would be spent in a hospital, usually in the wards where there were no women nurses, because there the need was the greatest. I would go from bungalow to bungalow of these big military hospitals with papers and pamphlets and books and, alas, loaded up with tracts. I can only remember two of the [78] tracts today. One was called, "Why the Bee Stung Mother" (and I never found out why) and the other was called, "Plain Talks to Plain People" and I always wondered why the good looking ones were exempt.

I got fairly well known in the hospitals and the chaplains of all denominations used to send for me constantly to sit with the boys when they were dying and, if I could do nothing to help, at least the dying man could hold my hand. I learnt one important thing as I sat with these men and watched them pass over to the other side and it was this: nature or God takes care of people at these times and they usually die quite unafraid and are often very glad to go. Or else, they are in a coma and are physically conscious of nothing. Only two of the men I was with when they were dying acted differently. One, in Lucknow, died cursing God and his mother and railing against life, and the other was a horrible case of hydrophobia. Death is not so awful when you are face to face with it. It often seemed to me like a kind friend and I never had the slightest feeling that something real and vital was coming to an end. I knew nothing of psychic research or the law of rebirth and yet, even in those orthodox days, I was sure it was a question of passing on to other work. Subconsciously I really never did believe in hell, and a lot of the men orthodox from the Christian point of view, ought to have gone there.

I intend no dissertation on death, but I would like to give here a definition of death which has always seemed to me to be adequate. Death is "a touch of the Soul which is too strong for the body"; it is a call from divinity that brooks no denial; it is the voice of the inner Spiritual Identity saying: Return to your center, or source, for awhile and reflect upon the experiences undergone and the lessons learnt until the time comes when you return to earth for another cycle of learning, of progress and of enrichment. [79]

Thus the rhythm and the interest of the work gripped me and I loved every minute of it in spite of the fact that my health was never good and I suffered from quite appalling migraine headaches. These would lay me low for days at a time, but I would always stagger up and do what had to be done. I was handling problems for which (as I have earlier said) I was quite unfitted and some of them were quite tragic. I had so little real experience of life that when I made a decision I never was at all sure that it was the best or right one. I was faced with issues that, looking back, I would hate to handle even today. Once a murderer took refuge with me having just shot his pal, and I had to give him up to justice when the police came and asked me to bring him out. Another time one of our managers absconded from one of the homes with all the funds and I spent the night chasing him down the railroad. I would ask you to remember this wasn't done in my day and my conduct was really quite outrageous from the angle of Mrs. Grundy.

Once I was at Lucknow and woke up one morning with the strong impression that I must leave immediately for Meerut. I had a first class free pass on the Great Indian Peninsula Railroad (G.I.P.) and could come and go as I liked all over northern India. My fellow worker tried to persuade me not to go, but I felt I was needed. When I arrived at Meerut, I found that one of the managers had had a sunstroke, had hit his head on a beam and gone insane. I found his young wife and child in a great state of mind. Suicidal mania had developed and the doctor warned me that a homicidal tendency might result. His young wife and I looked after him for ten days until I could arrange for his passage to Great Britain, where he ultimately recovered.

Another manager got depressed and kept threatening [80] to commit suicide. I studied him for awhile and got fed up with his constant threat, so one day I fetched the carving knife and begged him to leave off talking and do it. When he saw the knife he got seared and I then presented him with a ticket to England. These were some of the men who succumbed to the climate, to the loneliness and to the general discomfort of life in India in those days. We knew little psychology at that time and not much was done to handle the men from the angle of their mental problems. These are only some of the situations with which I was faced and with which I was quite unfitted to cope. It was this constant stream of emergencies which finally broke me down. Paralleling these events were many lovely times. I was successful in holding the men in the Homes and keeping them out of bad districts. I used to impute this to my deep spiritual power and my platform eloquence. I have an idea now that it was because I was young and gay and had no competition. There was no one else the men could talk to except the ladies in the Soldiers Homes. I suppose I had a knack, too, of making the men feel that I liked them, which I did.

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