Jfrlcher Babas th 35 Arnaflithi 2004 -
Editor’s !Report Jai Baba Folks, hoping this issue—April 2004—will actually reach you in the month of April! I found the lateness of the last two so dis— tressing, but Baba’s timing is way beyond my control—try as I might to combat it! I have toll nd OU dear subscribers SO understanding, all telling me not to worry that they are just So happy to get the magazine whenever it arrives. The letter from Nancy pretty much sums up what all of you who have written 01 called have said:
;‘/v Dear Dma, I haze izear/y Ccflhl/)/CtLd rL’adilzg the very heauti/uelaiid mflspmrmflg trmhute to Ba/IVatuc Ui the current LainpPoct. it truly touches heart iiiiti lily soil!. I am a/zz’(lys amazed how wondeiflul each LampPost ms—each 01W conveys so iiiiich ofBaha :c lore. Thankyou (lilt/the stqftagamn (lnhtagamn. 4iid thankyou to the percon who i’imi/ z// ofthe staples! Much love to you all mu Beloved Baba, Nancy Kahn iiy
To those of )IOJ who asked—I had a wonderful Amartithi thank you very much! It was made extra special by the fact that we were allowed to use the fabulous new Meher Pilgrim Retreat (MPR). Everyone was extremely excited about it, dubbing it the Five Star Meherabad Marriott! Be sure you don’t miss reading the write up Manu Saunders gave to the Youth Sa havas she attended at Avatar’s Abode. An exquisite piece of writing from this young Australian lady, it is enough to make every teenager work all year to get the fare to make it Down Under for next year’s Sahavas! As you may remember, we usually enclose a return envelope with the January issue for you to (hopeftilly) pop in a check to help keep the LampPost shining down your street. As I was still in India when the magazine was being readied to mail out & the small envelopes were nowhere to be found, I told Pris to wait till I returned and we would include them with the April issue. Many ofyou have asked just how much you should pay for a subscription—our answer is that it is a donation—give as you see fit. It actually costs us around $15 per person per year for those in the States to get the magazine out. For our overseas subscribers, the postage alone costs $20 to some coun tries, but we do not like to ask for more. 2
Some pay nothing, others pay $504100. As is said: “Al1 donations gratefully received!” The Los Angeles Center cannot afford to underwrite the magazine so it has to be totally self-supporting. Some months ago, the Meherabode Board of Directors looked at our financ es—or lack thereof—and decided some Draconian measures were necessary to help bring the outgo in line with the income. One way was to cut the mailing costs, which are thousands of dollars a year. To this end you were all sent a letter asking ifyou wished to continue receiving mailings from our Center. Not quite two thirds ofthose on our mailing list responded (most in the affirmative), so we can only conclude that the rest of the mail was thrown out unopened. Quite apart from the wasted money, this is what we, at the Love Street LampPost, absolutely do not want to see happen. Baba’s beloved visage thrown in the wastebasket? So please, ifyou would rather not be receiv ing this magazine, please do use the enclosed envelope to let us know. If you would like to continue receiving it—then we could sure use a little financial help. Send whatever your heart moves you to. Mother’s Day is coming up in May, and to honor the Mother of the Avatar for this Advent, we are featuring a bio ofShireen and some ofher writings to her son. She comes across as not quite the counterpart of the Mary that the Catholics worship. Indeed, she was a much more down to earth human being ofwhom Baba was once moved to say, “I feel sometimes like murdering her, yet I embrace her lovingly.” But her love for Him was never in question! We are taking a departure from the usual content of your LampPost in this issue to review (sort of) two commercial movies, The Passmon ofthe Chrmst and Judas. When I read all the reviews of the former, I felt here was a story I would like to tie in with the suffering of our Beloved. It so happened Lynn Wilhite, one of the organizers th of2002’s 50 Anniversary ofBaba’s accident in Prague Oklahoma, hadjust seen it—after visiting the accident site and placing flowers in remembrance. I asked her to write a story for us on that, and then watched in amazement as the Hollywood statistics came out: The Passmon ofihe Chrmsttopped the box office receipts for—so far—three straight weeks!
Even more amazing, in those three weeks it has taken in $264,510,209 (that is
hundred and sixty four million!) whereas Lord ofthe Rings, Return ofthe King (winner of 11 Academy Awards) took in only $371,147,794 in thirteen weeks! Who said God is dead in America?! That is an astounding response from the general public! Perhaps the spiritual awakening Baba spoke of?... In His love, Dma
Letter to the Editor ear friends at the remarkable Love Street LampPost,Jai Baba, On the Poetry page of the January issue you published Anyway, telling us the words were on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta. That indeed they are, but they were not written by Mother Teresa as it was implied, incorrectly, by Lucinda Varley in her book Mother Theresa: A Simple Path. Anyway was written as a paper by Kent M. Kieth whilst a student at Har yard in 1968. He was pleasantly surprised to find that they meant so much to Mother Theresa that she had them at the orphanage. He had no idea that they had traveled around the world for over 25 years. He de cided to put them in a book titled Anyway, the Paradoxical Commandments (finding personal meaning in a crazy world). I find it a wonderful book to open at any time of the day and get help in ‘right action.’ “This book does not focus on popular symbols like wealth, power and fame. Instead it focuses on meaning—the meaning you can get from loving others” Kent M Kieth, has a BA from Harvard and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He holds a law degree and a doctorate in education. He is currently vice-president of development and communications at Hawaii YMCA.
—In His Song, Raine Eastman-Gannett
ri. r f (ii / r r /‘ r fr ,p(JDIlcaI l t on of me nuazar icener uaoa erner 0/ (Joull2errn IJa1iJornia •
£ ovc 5treerJZamp nJ?os r features
efcome. Love Street £ampPost is dedicated with love to .J1vatar J4’leher Ei3aba. Dts primary purpose is to contribute to a sense of community among all 2 tis lovers by providing a place for sharing -/is remembrance. J1ll members of the EBaba family are invited to 2 : contribute to this feast of Love. E our stories, photos, artwork, poetry, letters, articles, and humor are all actively soiicitcd. We seek expressions of EBaha’s message of,Love and lritth.
Submissions, subscriptions, donations:
Love Street Lamp1?osr Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California 1214 South Van Ness Avenue
THE AVATAR’S MOTHER
YOUTH SAHAVAS AT AVATAR’S ABODE
THE MARRIAGE OF JESSICA CLAIRE CRAFT TO FLINT RUNNINGBEAR MEDNICK
ON BABA’S VERY SPECIAL WORDS
THE PASSION AND THE SUFFERING
R. LYNN WILHITE
JUDAS—A BETRAYER, OR JUST DOING HIS JOB?
A KEENER EYE
A CLARIFICATION ON THE WORDS OF DON STEVENS
Los Angeles, CA 90019-3520 323-731-3737
website: www.meherabode.org e-mail: Bababook@pacbell.net
Deadlines: for the January issue: April issue: July issue: October issue:
November 8th February 8th May 8th August 8th
2 16 19 21 23
EDITOR’S REPORT PASSINGS
Dma Snow (at the addresses above)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BOOKSTORE REPORT REVIEWS
310-837-6419 from 9 am. to 4 p.m.
WHAT’S HAPPENING AT MEHERABAD
VARIOUS CONTRIBUTORS 38
310-839-BABA (2222) 24-hour fax
OUR GAL AT MEHERABAD
JAI BABA FROM MEHERABODE CHILDREN’S PAGE BABA MEETINGS AROUND THE WORLD
VARIOUS CONTRIBUTORS 45
Love Street bookstore:
e-mail: Bababook@pacbell.net website: www.lovestreetbookstore.com or www.MeherBabaBooks.com
Credits: editor: Dma Snow design and layout: Pris Haffenden, Cherie Plumlee, Tom Hart proofreader: Cherie Plumlee, Tom Hart, Kathy Hill pre-ffight: Tom Hart distribution: Pris Haffenden, Charles Gibson, and Dma Snow mailing list information: Pris Haffenden 3616-1/2 South Centinela Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90066-3124 Phone: 310-390-2779 Please call with address corrections or questions. cover: Photo Collage by Cherie Plumlee—Photo of Samadhi by Pam Topley; photo of Baba by Bhaiya Panday, used courtesy Raju Panday back cover:
thank you We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the individuals and organiz ations that own the copyrights to the A4eher 13aba pictures we have used throughout this issue to bring joy and love to the hearts of all Love Street L ampPost readers.
£ove.Stred.CaiitpJ2osis published quarterly, injanuary, April,July, and October. All contents © 2004 Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. All quotations, photos, or books ofAvatar Meher Baba, © AMBPPC1 India
All words, images andgraphics in thispzthlicatian arepraperty afthe copyright holders and/or the contributors. Messages andphotos ofMeher Baba © Avatar Meher Baha Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, Ahmednagas India, and © Lawrence Reiter. Unau thorizedduplication isprohibitedby law.
7he Avatai’s Jkiother—SIiireenbcti Story asscmbled by 3raiik Ei3loisc, 2slcw 3crsey ecently letters from Meher Baba’s other Shireen to her beloved son have been made public by the Archives, Museum and Research Committee of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India. Following an overview of their lives together, are several examples ofthese letters, which, I believe, reveal something of the unique relationship between “mother” and “son” when that son is other than the usual reincarnating soul. Sheriar and Shireen Irani were married in 1892. Sheriarwas thirty-nine; Shireen was nd fourteen. On January 2 1893, Shireen gave birth to a boy named Jamshed. As Shireen was too young to cope with the responsibility of caring for the child, he was raised by her older sister, Dowla. Shireen was so unprepared for her duties with her first-born that when her sister brought Jamshed to her, she shied away from the baby. After some months, Shireen again became pregnant. Unlike her first preg nancy, this was a blissful experience for her and she felt the natural joy of an eagerly expectant mother. From the time she was aware that she had conceived, she was convinced that the child would be extraordinary. On the early morning ofFebruary 25, 1894, the day of her second son’s birth, Shireen had a vision. She told her mother, Golandoon, “I saw a glorious person like the sun sitting in a chariot, and his cool brilliance pervaded the atmosphere. A few people were pulling his chariot, while thousands ofpeople led him in a procession. Tens of thousands of eyes were gazing at him, consoled by his divine radiance I, too, was in the procession and marveled at the luster ofhis face. His light fell on the whole procession and people’s eyes were fixed on him; they could not look away.” The newborn was named Merwan, since he was born in the month of Meher—the sun or light—according to the Zoroastrian calendar. His parents affectionately called him Merog. Shireen loved Merwan fervently and thought ofhim as her first-born. After a few months, Shireen had another dream: “I dreamt I was standing at the doorway of our home, holding Merog in my arms. Nearby was a well, and out of it rose the figure of a . . .
small but striking woman—a splendorous deva, like a Hindu goddess. She was rising out of the center of the well and I admired her lavish green sari and the many green bangles adorning her arms. On her forehead were painted multicolored bright jasmines. In her hands she held an arti worship tray containing flowers, burning camphor, incense and oils. “I stood motionless and quiet in fascina tion of her until she beckoned me to hand over Merog. The goddess implored me,
‘Give me your son. .give him to me.’ “Frightened, I held on to Merog all the more tightly and awakened from the dream. I was relieved when I saw Merog sleeping by my side.” 2 There were many unusual incidents that occurred during Merwan’s childhood years. “Even in his childish mischief he was ex ceptional. For example, when Merwan was eleven months old, one day Shireen left him outside in a cradle underneath a tree while she went back to the kitchen to cook. When she returned, a dreadftil sight nearly made her faint. A deadly black cobra had crawled into the cradle and had curled itself around Merwan, who was happily playing with it. Terrified, Shireen screamed loudly for help. The cobra quietly slipped away, as if it had only been innocently playing with the little child. Shireen clasped Merwan in her arms, and she later related that he looked at her as if to say, ‘Why did you interrupt my play? I .
was having ftin.’ By the time the neighbors gathered, the cobra had disappeared. The neighbors consoled Shireen, assuring her that this was an auspicious sign ofher son’s exceptional fliture. “Merwan started walking before he was a year old. His mother was pleasantly sur prised when one day he stood up and walked to her without stumbling. But his new skill soon proved vexing. No matter what Shireen tried, Merwan could not be kept inside the house and constantly managed to escape. “One day Shireen became so exasperated that she picked him up outside and, taking him back into the house, tied his leg to the bedpost with an old sari. She put a plate of puffed rice and some water near him and then returned to the kitchen. Merwan started crying, upset by his loss offreedom, but Shireen ignored him and eventually little Merwan fell asleep. “When Shireen came to check on Merwan she found him sleeping; on his cheeks tears sparkled like pearls. Shireen was overcome with tenderness for her son, for he looked so helpless leashed to the bedpost, and she untied him. Moments after awakening, however finding himselfno longer bound, he ran outside to the lane. Shireen would often have to tie Merwan to the bed, and this continued until he grew to a more manageable age. Sometimes Sheriar would come home, find his son tied and free him out ofpity But after he had played with his father, he would escape outside until a passing neighbor would pick him up and bring him back to the house. “When Merwan started talking, he called his mother ‘Memo,’ and his father ‘Bobo,’ and these names of affection lasted the remaining years. Shireen would affectionately call her husband ‘Sherog.’The boy, who was adored by the entire neighborhood and doted upon by all, was also referred to af fectionately as ‘Merog’ by neighbors.” 3 “Although the boywas young, his mother had already started making grand plans for him. Shireen would often tell her relatives, ‘When Merog grows up, I shall send him to England for his education. My boy will become a doctor or scientist.” 4
Merwan was a playful child and would steal sweets from the kitchen, leaving his mother wondering where they had gone. “Despite her best efforts, she could not solve the mystery and the sweets kept disappearing no matter where she tried to hide them. “One day she caught hold of her son, ‘Merog, are you stealing sweets from the kitchen?’ “With a surprised look, the boy replied, “What? Sweets? Memo, you know I only like dal and rice with spinach. Why are you asking me about sweets?” He was so earnest that Shireen believed him. As a young boy, Merwan was also fond of cream, which he would stealthily skim from the top of the milk pot. He would always share the stolen goodies with his friends.” 5 Another unusual incident occurred when Merwan was in grade school. “One day Mer wan was walking down the street on his way to a nearby field. Suddenly, a herd of large water buffaloes came stampeding down the street toward him. Shireen shouted warnings to him, thinking her son was about to be crushed to death. The buffaloes charged straight toward him, but something quite miraculous occurred. Some spectators said that one moment the child was about to be trampled but then they saw him sitting in the street and the buffaloes just avoided him—running to either side of him. “Other spectators claimed that one buf falo just stopped in the street and hovered over the child, protecting him from the rest that were stampeding. Others claimed that at one moment they saw him trampled by the buffaloes but the next moment they saw him safely standing on the other side of the street as the herd charged by. Whatever the true account, all were astounded by Merwan’s miraculous escape.” 6 Neither dreams, premonitions nor un usual events would be enough to prepare Shireen for what she would face when Mer wan became God-realized by Babajan, the female Perfect Master who resided under a large banyan tree not far from her home. “Merwan was enraptured in an unspeak able ecstasy, an ineffable bliss of realizing himselfto be God. All ofhis divine experi ences were completely internal. There was no sound heard from him. An unearthly silence pervaded his room. No one in the family knew what had happened to him that night. “Where is Merog?Where is Merog? Did you see him go out early?’ Shireen asked her family the next morning. ‘I’ll see ifhe went
confided in Sheriar, ‘Merog must be very upset over something, because he refuses to speak... We will let him rest all day and lie in bed. He seems very withdrawn. This evening he should come out ofit.’The father nodded in agreement. “But no matter what the mother did, Merwan remained in this coma-like condi tion for three days. Onlywhen he was made to sit up did he change his prone position. The entire family was becoming more and more worried. “Suddenly on the fourth day, Merwan began to move. He went downstairs and, without saying a word, started pacing back and forth in the house. His eyes had not closed in three days. He had not slept the past three nights and his eyes looked vacant—hollowed out. He seemed subdued, for his manner was reserved around his parents and brothers. He showed no appetite or thirst. His body simply moved about the house; he behaved similar to a somnambulist or robot. “After a few more days of Merwan’s strange behavior, Shireen had had enough. Terribly worried, the parents spent a lot of money consulting with the best physicians in Poona. Many were called to treat Merwan chiefamong them was a family friend, Dr. Bharucha. He gave Merwan an injection of morphine, trying at least to induce sleep; but the narcotic had no effect and the young man’s eyes remained open. Nothing the oth er doctors did seemed to change Merwan’s mood or behavior. His mother thought his mind was disturbed and hoped the doctors could reestablish ‘peace of mind.’ To his mother he appeared absorbed in something but refused to divulge what it was. Shireen understandably became more and more upset and superstitiously concluded that some ‘evil eye’ or ‘witch’s spell’ was responsible for her son’s condition.” 7 Shireen and Sheriar viewed Merwan’s state from very different perspectives. Mani, in her book God-Brother, recalled the unique relationship between her mother and father: “Mother was really an excellent mother. She maintained and managed the house and family with much care, and pos sessed great intelligence and wit. Mother was the practical one. I guess she had to be, with a husband who was too generous with his worldly goods, giving money and things away to anyone he felt was in need. This would disturb my mother because she would have to penny-pinch on the household budget. “I would often find myparents looking at the same object from two different angles. .
back to his room. It was she who found her son in this state. ‘Merog, get up, it’s late. Breakfast is ready. Get up. Time to get going to your classes.’ “With a palpitating heart she went over to him and stood by his bed. ‘Merog. .Merog. Can you hear me?’ she cried. His mother was stunned and became speechless to find him lying motionless, staring outward. She looked closer at him, ‘Merog Merog, can you see me?’ she cried. She had no doubt that her boy was alive, although his lips and eyes did not move. His expression startled her. His eyes were open, but did they see her? They were as if gazing somewhere into a distance far, far beyond—without the slightest movement of his eyelids. His face looked normal, but there was no life in his body; yet he was not dead. ‘Merog...Merog...What has happened to you, my darling?’ she cried. “Until then, no one in the family except his father (who did not speak about it) had any idea of Merwan’s true spiritual status. In spite of being enraptured in a whirl of divine glimpses over the past months with a resulting aloofness from others, Merwan had not confided in anyone. Although the family had observed some abnormality in his behavior since he had started associating with Babajan, they ignored it and thought it was no more than a fascination with the old saint that would soon pass. Shireen was bewildered. She grabbed Merwan and shook him, making him sit up in the bed. Examining him she saw that he had neither fever nor any physical injury. ‘Merog, you will be all right,’ she said. She .
. . .
Mother saw a thing from the material angle. Father looked at it only from the spiritual angle. “Mother always discussed everything with Father at the end of the day. While playing “trains” by myself (making a train out ofempty matchboxes), I would hear her say, ‘Shorog, such and such a thing happened this morning,’ or ‘I heard so and so saying this and that about us.’ “As she went on and on, I would be struck by her logic. Not a single false note fell on my ears, and I would say to myself ‘Memo is right. What she says is so true.’ “But after she finished, Father would gently explain from a spiritual angle: ‘No, Shireenog, it is not as you see it. It is really like this...’ and so on. Hearing him I would find myselfsaying in wonder, ‘But of course, Bobo is right. What he says is so true!’ “And so as a child I learnt much from the daily interactions between my parents. It was like watching the two pans of a hand-scale going up and down, with an issue being weighed till balance was gained. Amaz ingly, the little that Father said calmed and satisfied Mother every time.” 8 Even after Merwan established himself as Sadguru Meher Baba, Shireen found it very difficult to let go ofher dreams ofhis leading a normal life. She was torn between her feelings as a mother and her growing awareness ofher son’s extraordinary role in the world. From reading this letter sent in December 1929, one might conclude that her motherly concerns trumped her confidence in Baba’s method ofworking with his disciples. Dear Son Merwan, Writing to say that today I received a letter from Mani saying thatshe has a badcough and
herhealth is notgood Andlgot very scared after reading this—I had also had a bad dream. So son, sendMani in the car withJal. The train will be very troublesome. Jal can also have a changefor5-6 days. Mani is my only daughtei Ifshegets worse Iwill not be able to bear it. So p lease send her to Poona quickly by motorcar withJai We have our doctor in Poona who will examine her chest andgive her medicine. My d;eams always come true. So fyou keep Mani any longer in Nasik she will become very sick. And untillsee her with my own eyes, my mind will not be at peace. There is nothing else to write. Send Mani soon. Mother Shireenbai 9
Poona 11-3-28 Dear Son Merwan, Your welcome letter has reached and I am informed ofits contents. Ihave never said no to followingyour orders. Adi himse(fis also happy. But son,just as Ihadso wished thatyou would study a lot, andprosper in life—remember I hadwantedto makeyou an engineer—so in the same way, it is my wish to Iletthis childprogress to higherstudies andsecure a bigpost. Itoo have my hopesfor him as much asyou have. When you wantedto take Beheram away to school didlor didlnot do [asyou wished] immediately?ButI do notwish to takeAdi awayfrom schooL Iwant him to progressfurther and so I have left him toyou. lam miserable and fsomething should happen to me, then, as per my word and will, you make him progressfurther [in his studies]. We, your mother andfathei and also Adi, are very happy to read thatyou are going to make arrangementsfor him in the Nagar city (vil— lage,) school. There is no objection to his staying in the Ashram but there he does not keep good health at all—he himse(fsays that—he does not feel hungry at all, he cannot eat and his health suffirs—he had not toldyou about this and he has become very weak Please write immedi— ately about what arrangements are to be made for him. I have left all this to you. But fyou are keeping him in the Nagar village school, let me know so I can give him his clothes. Padri told us and I got scared and so I wrote this letter to you. I was afraid about what answer I should give them. IfI did not wish to obey your orders then I would not have given up eating meat andfish for the last six years. You had ordered me to eat one egg, but that too I stopped when you told me not to. And I do not miss repeating your 101 names as you have said to—I hadjust missed one day. Wellson, let me know the details so Ican supply him [Adi] with all his clothes, or else should I wait untilJune when the Nagar school will reopen after holidays. Let me know. Yourfather was also very happy to read about the Nagar school. Please writeyour reply soon. Ifthe school is having holidays now, Ican bring him inJune. Whateveryou say. .
Mother Shireenbai Poona 2-3-30 Dear Son Merwan, Your letter has reached and have noted its contents. And son, at present Bailyc brother Homi has comefrom Karachi and he related
to others that all thepeoplefrom Faramc house hadpacked and were ready to come to Nasik in 2-3 days time, for the marriage of Freny, Boinanc daughtei: Just then your telegram arrived telling them not to come. Yourfather has become very sad on account ofthefact that in his old age, Merwan did not get any ofhis sons married, so that his wish could befulllled Father was thinking ofarranging the marriage ofsonJal with this [very]girl. Beheram is stillyoung butforJal it would have been very nice. Well, whatever is destined will hap— pen. But son, be kind enough not to allow this wedding to take place in Nasik because your father willftelsaci Andsecondly, Ihad written to you about the house butyou have not given me a detailed reply. At present, Pilamai has gone to live there. And allow son Beheram to remain in Panchgani where the climate is good, and also there is a lot oftrouble in Bombay. Then you can do whatyouftel is best. Later whenyou wish, sendboth ofthem to Poonafor two days. Wite and let me know fyou will be eating when you sit. My regards to Dadachanji [Chanji] and I thank him very much. And son, in the same way keep writing to me every now and then. Andgive my good wishes to son Beheram andJal and tell Beheram to keep writing to me. When Iget lettersfrom you all, Ifrel veiy sat4fieci Father has conveyed many, many good wishes to you. Look after your health and write giving us all the good news. Accept mygoodwishes as well andplease write to me in detail regarding the house. And yourfather was very happy to read thatyou are sending bothyour brothers to Poona. Your well-wisher mother Shireenbai S. Iranic Regards andgood wishes Poona 12-2-30 Dear Son Merwan, Last nightldreamt thatyou werepreparing to travelandyou set out onyourtravels. Iwoke in the morning andwas relating this dream toyour father when Adi said, ‘[ too dreamt that Baba set out to travel and he was walking but even fromfarlcouldsee that his hands were soiled’ So son, I am worried I was relying on you to make arrangementsfor Beheram andAdi. And you willalso make arrangementsfor ourstay. 14’’ do not wish to stay any longer in Poona. But son, fyou aregoing to travel, do so after thinking of youragedmother—fatherandAdiandBeheram. Andplease make such arrangementsfor Adi Beheram that we can get some helpfrom them. Son, I have never allowedyou to know about our tightfinances. I have always been living
with dignity andpride. You will recall that I had given you a present ofRs. 1000for your birthday at Manzil-e-Meem. But at present we are in a badposition because offinan cia/problems. Yourfather has been sitting at home, unemployed, for the last 5-6 years. And recently, Mulog also let us down and we are badly offmonetarily. So I once again appeal to you that fyou go traveling, please think of us and Adi-Beheram before you go. Secondly, on this Friday, the 14th, I am comingby the morninglO o’clock train and will reach at night. Freny Masi—Padric mother—is also coming with me. So jfpos— sible send son Jal to the station and f he cannot come, we shall come on our own. I willgo to the ladies [the women mane/ak] at night but let me know throughJal as to where to put up Freny Masi. And fJal does not come we willboth go to the ladies. Nothing else to write. Accept the good wishes offather, Adi and Mani. Goodwishes to sonjaland ‘Pendu
“Gaimai thought: ‘Baba wants me to do as Shireen says, so I’d better carry out her request.’ She wrote to her sister and, after a few days, Banumasi arrived injabalpur with a packet of fish, wrapped in ice. Baba was with the masts at the time. “It was Baba’s order that anyone corning should not enter the bungalow in his absence, and also that no one should open any parcel when he was not there. Banurnasi
Mother Shirinbai CampPoona
27-2-1929 Dear Son Merwan It is now thiee orfour days since we wrotetoBeheramandJalbutnotasingle repyfrom either ofthem. Father health is • not good. We have nobody to hesp us. And they are not even writing a letter? How is everybodyc health? Are Jal and Beheramc hands hurting that they cannot write a letter Everybody sends their regards. Write a reply to this lettei Mother Shireenbai
Once during one of his mother’s visits, “Baba gave the duty of looking after her to Gaimai, advising her, ‘Try your best to keep Shireen pleased and always do as she requests.’ Gaimai was determined to serve her well. “Meanwhile, Gaimai’s sister Banumasi Kerawala was in Bombay and was about to join Baba with her two sons, Dadi and Sam. Shireen asked Gaimai one day, ‘Write to Banumasi to bring me fish from Bombay when she comes.’ “But Mother,’ Gaimai replied, ‘eating fish is forbidden in the ashram; it is against Baba’s order. Even the Westerners have to live on vegetarian food.’ “This restraint is for you people,’ said Shireen, ‘not for me. Send her a letter. What are you afraid of? Am I not your God’s mother?’
the entire fish! When Shireen saw this, she wailed, ‘Merog! Why do you harass me so? You didn’t want me to eat it and so this had to happen!’ “Now do you believe that I am God?’ asked Baba. “Maybe for others,’ she conceded, ‘but to me you will always be my naughty Merog!’ “Baba had a hearty laugh and those present enjoyed the humor of the whole
was therefore waiting for his return, sitting on the veranda. Shireen walked by and seeing her asked, ‘Have you brought the fish for me?’ Banumasi answered yes, and handed her the packet. “Shireen took the parcel inside and asked Gaimai to cook it for her lunch. Within seconds, Baba walked in and asked, ‘I smell fish. Where is it coming from?’ Gaimai told him everything and Baba was very, very displeased. “Shireen intervened, ‘I have called for the fish! Why are you getting so upset with her?’ “Baba indicated in no uncertain terms, ‘Mother, you can have fish in Poona, not here! No one can eat meat or fish in my ashram!’ “Who are you to stop me?’ “I am God!’ “You may be God for all, but to me you are my Merog. The doctor has told me to eat fish for my diabetes and you can’t stop me from eating it.’ “As this heated argument was going on between mother and son, a stray cat slipped into the kitchen and made off with
Shireenmai was well known for her wit, intelligence, and strength of character. She passed away, at the age of sixty-five, on February 25, 1943 forever merging in the Ocean of Bliss. Mani wrote: “From the time I left home to stay permanently with Baba, my only contact with the family was through him. So, although I loved Mother dearly and grieved privately when she died, I did not ask to ac company Baba when he drove down to Poona after the news came, nor did Baba recount the event to me on his return. “Personally, there are facts about my Mother’s passing awaywhich will shine forever in the firmament of my heart. Firstly, that she died on 25th February, the same date that she gave birth to her beloved son forty-nine years before. “Secondly, the vision had by Eruch’s mother, Gaimai, who was living at the time in Poona. As Gaimai later related to Baba and us, while she was standing beside Mother at the last, to her utter amazement she clearly saw a stream of little golden hands issuing from Shireenmai’s nostrils, and fluttering above her like butterflies, lastly followed by a full-size pair. These golden hands all circled over Mother for a while, before they slowly spiraled up and away out of sight. “There is another little incident of interest that I recall, which occurred at Panch gani a day before we received the news of Mother’s illness. We were out enjoying a long walk with Baba over leafy paths and under groves oftrees, when we came across a thickbranch that had fallen down. Baba had Nargis Kotwal and Mansari carry the heavy branch on their shoulders all the rest of the way home. Later, in the light of Mother’s passing away 500fl after, we saw this incident as symbolic of a body being carried on a bier. It did not surprise us to thus see a spiritual aspect ofhis work being expressed outwardly in material form, familiar as we were with Baba’s ways of working. 13 7
Concerning his mother’s attitude towards him and his work Baba said: “This control of selfis more difficult than walking on fire or glass. It is easy to win a war of nations, but most difficult to win your own self. It is the only real thing on this Path. To keep a calm head, to tolerate and swallow—the Sufis call it zapt. “My mother helps me most now. She gives ample opportunity to others to control themselves. You have won the greatest war when you win yourself. When she comes, you will have more opportunity for control. For example, I feel sometimes like murdering her, yet I embrace her lovingly. You should do the same.” 14 On one occasion, during a period of seclusion work, “Shireenmai came to Meherabad, where she had an argument with Gulmai. Hearing about it, Baba observed: ‘My father, Sherarji, was an extremely good soul. His heart was very good, and he was quiet by nature. But the nature ofmy mother Shireenmai, is just the opposite! I have to balance both favorable and unfavorable dis positions. I tolerate a lot and have to suffer much because ofher nature. Still, I love them both, and both will be emancipated and gain 15 salvation.” (Endnotes) 1 Lord Meher, Vol. 1, p. 144 2 ibid, Vol 1, p.l 46 3 ibid, pp.l 8 4 -l 47 ibid, p.l 4 48 5 ibid, p.l 2 5 6 ibid, pp. 155- 156 7 ibid, pp. 199-201 8 God-Brother, pp. 58-59 9 HeartTalk, Letter 41, 15 January 2004 ©2003, AMBPPCT 10 Mehera-Meher, vol. 2, p. 142 11 ibid, p. 173 12 Lord Meher, Vol. 7, pp. 2407 2406 13 Mehera-Meher vol. 2, pp. 207-208 14 Mehera-Meher, vol. 2, p. 142 15 ibid, p. 173
The Opportunity of a Lifetime jack Small, 7<entucky nce I was sitting in the Tomb. Sud denly I became aware ofthis feeling of love thatjust seemed to pour out ofmy heart flowing towards Baba. It became very clear it had nothing to do with me. It was as if Baba was reaching into my heart and puffing Himself out of my heart to Himself in the Tomb. Baba was claiming what belonged to Him. His love in my heart belonged to Him, not to me. The best I could do was try to stay out ofthe way and not interfere with this flow oflove to Love. I described this to Eruch later on and he said, “Imagine you are in a very small room and there are two people in love and they are being very affectionate with each other. What would your attitude be ifyou couldn’t get out of the room and leave them alone? You would try and get out of the way as best you could. You would at least try not to watch. But if you are forced to watch, you would try to shrink in the corner and allow the love-making to go on and try not to interfere.” So the best we can do is to try not to get in the way ofBaba loving Himself through us. Then Eruch added, “Of course, it’s Baba in us who gets in the way, and it’s Baba in us who gets out of the way!” Baba explained that He is connected to each one of us with a very fine thread from our heart to His, and He doesn’t want that thread to break. So when we go on our own way and do what we want, when we disobey Him and follow our own minds, He unreels the thread so it doesn’t snap or break. When we stop resisting Him and obey Him He reels us in. So to love Meher Baba, there is nothing we can do but at least we can try not to resist His love. He is always calling to us, pulling us, but our minds and our attention are focused elsewhere, in other directions and towards other interests. Ifwe would just let go of our own selfish desires we could experience His love. The things Baba tells us to do are only things that keep us from getting ffirther involved in the world, in il lusion. By avoiding lust, anger, drugs, other masters etc., He can pull us to Him, He can pull our hearts to His heart. He can pull out ofus what belongs to Him. He cuts off our attachments through suffering. Ifwe can ac cept these difficulties as coming from Him, we will be drawn closer to Him. It isn’t easy to wake up from a nightmare if we think
that the dream is real! .How can we experience Baba’s love in the midst of all these many distractions, difficulties, and temptations? It is because of the many distractions and temptations that we can experience His love even more, He gives more of His love to us to counterbal ance the attractions of maya. Mehera explained this so beautiftilly. She indicated that Baba has said that a little bit of effort means a great deal because the temptations are so great in this difficult age we are in. During the so-called Age of Truth, it took a great deal of effort to advance spiritually because it was easy to love God. Generally people were loving and obeying God during the Golden Age. But because the temptations are so difficult now during this Kali Yuga, everything we do has so much more significance. I feel because it is so difficult nowadays to be faithful to one’s husband or wife, to be honest, to avoid lust, drugs and other masters etc., that obedience to Baba has so much more significance, so much more meaning now. This is the op portunity of a lifetime, the opportunity of many lifetimes. The Awakener Volume XXI #1, ©1984 by the Universal Spiritual League in America . .
Jll4editation and Concentration should be distinguished from concentrati on. In concentration, ]v,Jeditation the mind seeks to unite with it’s object by the process of fixing itself upon it; whereas meditation consists in thinking about a particular object to the exclusion of other things. In concentration, there is practically no tT1OVCIY1CIEIt of the mind; in meditation, the mind 1Ili)VCS from one relevant idea to another. In concentration, the mind dwells Ul)Ofl an idea without amplifring it or con— necting it with other ideas. In meditation, the mind assimilates the object by dwelling upon its attributes or implications. In concentration as in meditation there is the intermingling of love and longing for the divine object. Persons who have not the capacity of intense concentration, have to begin with meditation, .vhereas those who have the capacity for concentration find meditation unnecessar The latter may immediately concentrate on the form of a God—i’vlan or a Sadguru ()r SO1TIC such fOrTflula as “I am neither the gross body nor the subtle bod nor the mental bod I am Atman.” Godto Man ant/Man to God, Edited by C.B. Purdorn. Page 89. ©l975 Adi K. Irani
)outIi &ihavcis at /lvatar’s J1bode .Y1ustra1ia—Jctnuanj 2004 lIlcinu Saunders, Queensland .Australia en I sat down to write this article, I didn’t know where to start. I have so many emotions left over from Sahavas ‘04 and I couldn’t put them all in order. So I decided to introduce my theme with some lyrics from a recent popular song, by two quasi-popular divas.
impressionable souls to lose control of their unfortunately, it is the one thing most absent journey and turn away from their destina in this world. We are so lucky to have an op tion—only because the light at the end of portunity to show love for another human the tunnel wasn’t bright enough for them, being in the purest form possible, without or was dimmed by the glittering neons of worrying about opinions and judgments. Maya’s Sunset Strip. The world’s obsession Love is a dirty word in some circles, simply with its own self-destruction is a force too because it seems to be one ofthe most misstrong for the average understood words in the English language. person to reckon with Sahavas gives Baba’s young lovers a As time progresses, chance to escape the boundaries and stig Maya’s marketing savvy mas of the world we have to live in, and becomes more and more be loved and accepted for who they are by advanced—and harder people they have a subconscious connection to reftise politely. with. It was amazing to see the array of gor So, young Britney, geous flowers that bloomed after the first come over here, I’ve got day or so of awkward shyness—pint-sized something to show you. beat-boxers and guitar maestros, dancing diIjust spent a week with vas, mini Monets and A-list actors. It is so 28 of the more beauti refreshing to spend a week in the company flil souls in this world. of such wonderful people and share such an Young people from so amazing, unique experience with them. In many backgrounds, that week, I started to see what living in a with so many interests, world filled with love would be like, and how Closing Circle, Baba House so many opinions, and so much happier everyone would be! “Hey Britney, you say you want to lose many talents, but with one control? thing in common—their ( Come over here, I’ve got something to love for the only Real Thing show ya) we know, God. People who Sexy lady, I’d rather see you bare your have spent the last 12 soul months being told to be (Ifyou thinkyou’re so hot, then show me someone else, ‘lose control’ what you got!)” and believe in the ‘reality’ of You may very well question the relevance an illusion. People who are ofthese words, but before you turn the page, tricked into stress and worry I ask you to think ofyour life as a teenager, over unimportant things. and you should begin to grasp my point. People who are faced with In this deceptivelyfriendly Venus fly-trap the unhappy burdens of the we call the world, it is SO easy for young world every day. People who hold on to the hope Q inc/i Gunther at workshop—Iranian Tea in background that Love gives us. People whose hearts tap into their Every one ofyou is a unique drop of the Source, and in it find renewed One Perfume, and each ofyou has your own strength to face the world. distinct aroma. Ifeveryone is so fragrant in his or her own right, just imagine the scent This Sahavas drove home the following fact to me—that we are we would create ifwe blended a little bit of our heart with everyone else’s! so lucky to be who we are, and have the opportunity to know the To perceive the spiritinil V(IIUC of oneness Truth in this lifetime. “Pure love is to promote real unity and cooperation. is matchless in majesty; it has no Brotherhood then becomes a spontaneous parallel in power, and there is no outcome oJtniepL rception. darkness it cannot dispel.”There is nothing greater than Love, and, Meher Baba Garlanding iii Baba i House
’Iarringc of3essica Clairc Craft to 7he 4 3iint !J?unningbear ç,lllcdnick L/i1l1le!j
Craft Sydney .J1ustralia ,
he 7th ofJanuary, 2004 was a beautiftil day, testifying to the significance of their love for each other and for Beloved Baba. Meher Baba said: “Married life has to be undertaken as a real spiritual enterprise which is intended to discover what life can be at its best.” As sister to Jessica and now sister-inlaw to Flint, I have certainly seen their wholehearted desire to enter the state of marriage with Beloved Baba’s words set firmly in their hearts. The day began with a blessing. As midnight approached the night before the wedding, the skies broke and the ground spattered with precious raindrops; a traditional sign ofgood luck in India. In the morning, everyone awaited the arrival ofthe bride and groom at the Dacha. The outside area was covered by a colourful Pandal adding a carnival air of excitement as people milled happily. As can onlybe done in India,
Flint made a huge effort to give speeches and performances that reflected how much they cared for the couple.Jessica wore a stunning western-style blue dress beaded with interweaving circles. The vows written byJessica and Flint were very touching; both agreeing to love each other and Baba as much as they could and to stick together even when the path may not be easy. It was a very beautiftil thing to watch the union oftwo people who were so sincerely ready to face the joys and challenges of married life together. Perhaps the best way to sum up the beauty of their union is with a quote they included on their wedding invitation:
The Happy Couple
ceremonies in honour of the happy couple. As with all good weddings the food was deli‘ cious thanks to Alan Wagner and his team. All ate their fill and greeted the couple with warm hugs and congratu lations. A small group ofclose friends and family of Jessica and Flint then accompanied them to Pune, where the official papers were to be signed. After a private visit to the tomb,Jessica and Flint headed off in a Sumo car while the rest of us boarded a hired bus. At five that evening, we all gathered together in front ofthe house waiting expectantly for the bride to arrive. The ceremony was very touching; all the friends and family close tojessica and
The wedding breakfastprior to the ceremony
the ‘wedding committee’ had been able to find a frilly restored bright red convertible *..-; — 1934 Chevrolet tucked away in a garage in remote Ahmednagar. This became the - i-. : j ( wedding car and was the vehicle that I gally carried the beaming bride and groom to the morning reception. Flint looked very handsome in a blue outfit and turban. Jes sica looked just beautiftil in an intricately hand-embroidered cream sari. 130 guests were treated to a program devised by friends and family of Jessica and Flint. The atmosphere was one ofcelebration as ---HlighiL’ the Magician turns afrog into a Flint the performers performed songs, plays and ..
“Unutterable is the story oflove None canportray it. Ifone tries, it will be like The dumb explaining the Sweetness ofsugar By no more than a mute smile” —Kabir
The spiritual value of married 1ft is directly related to the iza— ture ofthepreponderantfactors that determine its daily course. If it is based upon shallow consid— erations it can deteriorate into a p artnership in se(Jishness aimed against the rest ofthe worliL If it is inspired by lofty idealism, it can rise to afthlowship that not only requires and callsJbrth inceasingly greater sacrcesjbr each other but actual/v becomes a medium through which the two souls can offer their united love and service to the wholefizmilv ofhurnanitv. .
—Avatar Meher Baba
On rBaba’s 7 )ery Specicti Ww’ds Doii C. Stcveiis, 5raiice February 25, 2004 en Baba had Eruch tell me what Baba hadjust said about the manner in which He composed and gave out works to be printed and also addresses to groups of lovers on special occasions, He then followed with a direct command: Pointing His finger at me while Eruch gave His words, He said, “And it is your responsibility to tell my lovers what Baba has explained to you today.” This is a very clear statement and I doubt that anyone who loves Baba would have taken that directive lightly. Yet, the complications that have arisen by trying to follow this clearly important command are extraordinary, and instead of diminishing, become more numerous as the explanation He told me to spread becomes more widely known. Naively, I thought that such an important enrichment concerning words, given out by the Beloved Himself would be welcomed by all. But, sadly it is not so. Reflecting on this, I cannot help but very seriously ask myselfifin some manner I have neglected some part, or badly chose some words, or even failed to find any words to explain some of what Baba had Eruch tell me that day in Mandali hail at Meherazad. What had set in motion the entire un precedented interchange was my comment to Baba during the editing ofthe Deshmukh five-volume edition of the Discourses, that “I do not know what good it will all do.” Baba’s demand to me to explain what I meant by that, and my story to Him of the general discrediting ofwords and philosophy and logic by seekers on the spiritual path in our day, precipitated Baba’s withdrawal into incredibly long minutes of interchange with Eruch, ofwhich I understood none of Eruch’s replies to Baba’s hand gestures. Finally, when Baba turned back in my direction, and Eruch attempted to explain the gist of what Baba had laid out to him in that considerable lapse of time, it was to explain that Baba had clarified that words given for these special purposes were charged with something like atom bombs ofspiritual energy. Baba went on to explain that a devotee who worked with those words would absorb this energy, even ifhe had not
intellectually understood one word of what he had read. “And furthermore,” Baba then had Eruch add, “this energy will be invaluable to the spiritual seeker in his advance on the path.” Then followed the finger-pointing por tion and my responsibility to Baba’s devotees to tell them what Baba had explained that day in Mandali hall to me. I had always thought this was very simple, clear and important, and that when I felt the day had come to start to deliver what Baba had told me, it would be readily understood and welcomed as a sign of the great love of the Avatar for His lovers. In fact, the first time I spoke of this in a rather important public occasion was on the final day of a meeting Mani had proposed shortly before her death. This was a joint conference between the Trust Committee on Publications and Copyrights, and the Books Committee of Companion Enterprises. Having given much valuable help and attention to the proceedings during the earlier days, Bhau Kalchuri had made time to attend this final summing up, When I added this story to the proceedings, as it seemed very apropos, all were rather stunned at what Baba had said. Bhau then faced us all and said, “Don, what you havejust told us is extremely important.” That was the sum total ofBhau’s remark, but it was so clear and affirmative that I did not doubt that one of Baba’s key disciples recognized at once the import ofwhat Baba had said.
Now it is several years later, and I have carried the torch ofthis message from Baba personally to a great many groups around the world, through the medium of what I have called, “God Speaks Seminars.” The response from those attending has frankly far surpassed what I might have expected, and in any case, it was in each instance very gratifying to me personally. But, gradu ally, the reaction emerged. The only honest enumeration I could give ofwhat works are accredited to Baba or closely associated with him, obviously did not include all the favorites of all Baba’s devotees. Even in certain cases, it did not include all of a given title from Baba himself. The most noteworthy of that situation was God Speaks itself. This unique work actually consists of three parts, the first eight chapters being given directly by Baba to Eruch, then expanded by Eruch and at once meticulously corrected by Baba. The last two chapters were written by Eruch under Baba’s general guidance and supervision, but were not formed in the same manner as the first eight sections. Then the real dilemma for many to absorb: What was to become the Supplement to God Speaks had been written up by Dr. Ghani as note-taker from Baba, and then apparently recast into a quite different content by Ghani. Finally, when Baba had this read to Him after Ghani’s death, it was almost completely discarded by Baba. However, eventually it was rescued from threatened oblivion by Ivy Duce under a flexibility ofchoice granted her by Baba, and then, in some degree incorporated into the final book ofGod Speaks as the Supplement. To this day, there remains much confusion about how much ofthe Supplement is totally from Ghani and how much was initiated by Baba himself. The understandings and discrepancies and counter citations from various authori tative sources abound and seem never to diminish nor simplify. It was recently about here that I began to wonder ifan important part of the fog and smoke might be due to a lack of more careful precision in my shar ing ofwhat Baba was obviously telling me, and what He obviously had not said in any case. This can be so important that it is this portion of the story that I wish to lay out here in some detail. II
While Baba had Eruch, in Baba’s pres ence, explain to me in detail, not only once but twice, the very precise procedure by which he gave Eruch the first eight chapters of the book God Speaks, and then in the Discourses editing days, further explained that this detailed and very precise manner ofgiving out his words on important occa— sions, was that which he used when he attached atom bombs” of spin— tual energy, nevertheless, Baba did not say that he never added such spiritual bombs at other times in his dictations. Nor did Baba say that none of his words given out with less precise methods of handling, had flO spiritual energy attached to them. This is important. Frankly, to be a bit querulous, I do not know why it should be necessary for me to tell not only what Baba did say, but to point out as well what He did not say. But if that is helpful, I have now added that important observa tion. The next thing I think may be confusing, and on which I might be able to add a few words to calm some of the concern that tends to arise, is simply that the Avatar has a great many points of entry into our lives and helps us with a very great many different problems that beset us. It is not only making prog ress on the Spiritual Path that is important in our ongoing and in which Baba helps us. I cannot count the number ofstories I have heard of different devotees finding themselves in baffling and desperately painful predicaments, when they call upon Baba’s help. The tales ofhow Baba has apparently interceded in such instances are numerous and touching. This is another kind of help, and of vital importance; and it is here that I feel Baba gives us the great book of daily life, the Discourses, which contains such a tremendous store of principles designed to help us along. While I have nothing from Baba that indicates that it is a reserve of spiritual energy for progress on the Path, I 12
think it would be quite insane to say or even imply that therefore this book from Baba has little importance, or even considerably less than another work of His, or even of God Speaks itself And now a final point: While my own direct conversations with Baba and Eruch gave me a number of clear cases of knowl
edge concerning the manner of composi tion of several major works, those intimate interchanges certainly did not cover all the words Baba has given out to everyone. It may well be that other works have had exactly the same treatment that Baba had Eruch describe twice to me. Baba did not pretend that Don Stevens should be the repository of all cases of all importance for His words and vital help. Everyone is a repository here who loves Baba and is loved by Him. My only function is to pass on what Baba clearly expressed to me, as well as to tell as much as I can of the background of His statements, those that I heard directly from Him. Beyond this I cannot and will not go.
To the person who says that obviously Don has left out something very important, or does not know some very pertinent facts that are known to others, is obviously not only probable, but certain. Let us not get excited by omissions when there have been few, or even almost no, words set out concerning backgrounds of many of Baba’s works. In this regard, Laurent Weichberger and I were astonished and delighted some weeks ago to find in conversa tion with Meherwanjessawalla that from all his memory and evidence available, the book Life At Its Best was handled by Baba in almost the same manner that He used with Eruch for the major portion of God Speaks. We at once wrote an article (reviewed and ap proved by Meherwan) about what Meherwan told us and suggested withjoy that this was almost certainly another invaluable resource of the sort of spiritual energy that Baba had described on that memorable day in Mandali hail. Is there any reason really why one should cast under even a slight shadow any of the words that have come from Baba, or even been in His close vicinity? Aren’t they all bound to contain a great treasure for us? The only thing to try to regard with care is the proper use and preservation of those words, which we know mdclibly He indicated as having special properties that can be of great help in our advance on the return path to the One.
Live not in ignorance. Do not waste your precious 4fe—span in dffi’rentiating andju4ging vourfihlowrnen, but learn to longfor the love of God. Even in the midst ofvour worldly activities, live only tofind and realize your true identity with your Beloved God —Meher Baba
7he ¶J1?cission and the 5uffering !:R. Lynn Wilhite, Oklalunnci th, February 25 J stopped to place a bunch ofpale pink and green silk flowers at the site of Meher Baba’s automobile accidentjust outside ofMeeker on the way from my home in Prague to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. I was on my way to see The Passion ofihe Christ, Mel Gibson’s film re-enacting the suffering and immola tion* of the Christ. An hour after placing the flowers, I sat in a darkened theater as the drama ofJesus’ agony, death, and resur rection unfolded before my eyes. The Passion, Gibson’s tour de force, elec trifled and shocked millions as it played repeated runs across the nation on the th 110 anniversary ofthe birth ofthe Avatar ofThis Age, our Beloved Meher Baba. The agony of the crucifixion, juxtaposed against thejoy ofthe celebration ofBaba’s birthday, has been a powerful and profound metaphor for those ofus who follow the God-Man of this day and time. The joy of the Avatar’s birth—experienced simultaneouslywith the somber truth of His suffering in every age has dramatically highlighted the truth of the eternal presence oflight and darkness, spring and winter, life and death for those ofus still caught in the net of Eternal Illusion. The particular circumstances and characters surrounding Jesus’ suffering were deftly portrayed in the film. His mother and Magdalene, Peter, John, and Judas played out their roles—along with Pontius Pilate and the Roman legionnaires, the high priest Caiaphus and the council ofthe Sanhedrin, sympathetic or angryjews, the professional torturers, the rabble, and Simon of Cyrene. All of these, the apparently good and evil, were necessary to accomplishJesus’ passion, in history and in film. It seems to me that the seeds sown by Meher Baba during His visits to Hollywood in the mid-1930s have at last reached matu rityc To my mind, Gibson’s movie is the first full-bloom ofthat fruition.The silver screen has at last become a vehicle for profound spiritual truth. The Passion—yes, over the top and raw—brings a message of spiritual awakening to the whole nation. Millions were given an awareness of this divine gift, which continues down through the ages, on the anniversary of the birthday of the God-Man. And those ofus who follow the Avatar of this Age know that part of His
self-immolation occurred over fifty years ago on American soil. There is a long list of comparisons and contrasts that could be made between the passion ofJesus and the immolation ofMe her Baba, the Compassionate Father. To my mind, a significant difference was the virtual helplessness of the women surrounding Je sus, whereas, in the Meeker-Prague Acci dent on May 24, 1952, women were given active roles. There were eight women in Baba’s two cars and two in Joseph Palmieri’s vehicle. Including Meher Baba, only three men were directly linked to this portion of Baba’s crucifixion in the West. Baba’s closest
female companion, Mehera, was allowed a portion ofHis suffering, as well as Elizabeth Patterson, Meheru, and Mani. There is a yet greater difference, in this age ofthe Kali Yuga, between the sufferings ofJesus and those of Meher Baba, during this Second Coming. For us, the Avatar of This Age took upon Himself magnified sufferings, far greater, and more prolonged than Jesus’ torments. Because Meher Baba th was the 25 Messiah or Christ in this cycle of time, His sufferings were, therefore, the most intense, surpassing all of the twentyfour previous advents many times over. For example, Avatar Meher Baba undertook numerous seclusions and fasts, illnesses, walking tours, and difficult automobile trips, as well asjourneys by train, sea, and airplane. He accomplished two Calvarys—one car cident in America and another, four years later, in India from which He never fully recovered. He worked with the destitute, lepers, the mentally ill, God-intoxicated masts, the helpless and the blind (both physically and spiritually). He turned His compassion toward the downtrodden and those discarded by society. For the sake of
Mankind, He undertook Silence—never to speak or sing again for forty-three and a half years—from July 10, 1925 until His passing. On His deathbed at Meherazad, He suffered hour after hour with spasms until His cruciftxion was complete and He finally dropped His precious divine body at noon onjanuary 31, 1969. However the apparent humiliation and sufferings of the Anointed One in every coming is far from the whole story. The hidden message is the glory and manifesta tion that come into human history from time to time as surely as spring comes every year to the earth. In Gibson’s film, almost two hours are dedicated to the betrayal, judg ment, sadistic abuse, and apparent death of J esus, woven in with scenes from His days as master teacher. However, the divine truth of this re-enactment of Jesus’ passion lies in the last few seconds—virtually the only understated part of the movie. These few scenes express the stunning, pristine secret behind the suffering of the Promised One in any age. The stone rolls back from the mouth ofthe tomb and as sunlight plays on its dark, rough walls, we see Jesus, whole and refreshed, with only a few scars to indicate His passion and death. Clearly, no such brutalized body—beaten, scourged, crucified—could be healed in one and a halfdays (from 3:00 on Friday until sunrise on Sunday), except by divine power. This is the glory—that death has no sting and the Christ always lives, despite appearances. Likewise, incredibly—with the breaking of His divine silence—the dawn of Baba’s love becomes daily brighter all over the world because ofthe sufferings and sacrifices of the God-Man of this age. Our Beloved Compassionate Father accomplished an even greater glory and manifestation than J esus, notjust for a few or for the world, but for the whole Universe. The result of this greatest manifestation will be that the entire world, not just a chosen few, will recognize Him and experience His infinite love and compassion. Avatar Meher Baba IC Jai! * [Editorc note: Contrary topopular belief burning is the third definition of immolate in the Wèbsterc Unabridged dictionary. 1. to sacrfice, 2. to kill as a sacrjficial victim. Sure suiprised me!]
3udas—çA Befrayc or 3ust rDoing 2tis 3ob? Diiit-i 51iOfl), ,LOS LA1I9CICS ather Frank Desidcrio, a practicing Roman Catholic priest, produced a film about Judas. He said hc had hoped it would reveal the man’s humanity. It was ShOt ifl 2001 and has been gathering dust Ofl the ABC networks shelves ever since. They denied they had withheld the film for fear ofoffending the religious right, but after \Iel Gibson stirred up a storm with his The Pacsion ofthe Christ, the’ felt they were safe in scheduling it. I was very interested to see the slant they had put on his life, because I had heard that Baba had told us Judas loved Jesus very much and was very reluctantly doing as His l\’laster had asked him to do when he betrayed Him to the soldiers in the garden of Gethsemane. Unfirtunately, I could not remember how I came about this information, thinking that it was probably something I heard Eruch tell us in Mandali Hall. However, since we cannot publish anything in the Love Street LampPost without attribu non I enlisted the aid ofTom Hickey to do a search for me. He came up with quite a few mentions ofJudas in the 20-volume set of Lord Meher, now available on line. (www.lordmeher.org) Following is what we found: From LordMeherVolume 11, page 3817 Filis [Frederick] and Adele [Wolkin] had been allowed to spend the week at the Center [Myrtle Beach] with Baba and “the girls,” the term of endearment for the women Mandali. They would be with Baba at the Guest House in the evenings, before He left at 6 pm. On the evening of May 14th, Baba asked them to tell Him a story. Adele, feeling very nervous, stumbled her way through a story of Saint Peter. At one point, Baba bent His head and stated, “Peter loved me the most—but even he denied me.” Delia [De Leon] asked, “Was that a conscious act or did he do it unconsciously?” “None of the apostles loved Jesus as Pe ter did,” Baba stated, “It had to be. It was God’s will. He was conscious. Afterwards he realized me.” Delia said, “I always understood that was unconscious when he betrayed udas J Christ.” Baba explained to her, “The greatest service was Judas’ betrayal. When he kissed
Christ on the cheek, he did nothing. God did all. He behaved under a veil. He, of all the disciples, had the most difficult task to do for the Master.” Baba then indicated that J udas, too, had been given Realization. Volume 3, page 966 next The day at Meherabad, while ex why plaining the Avatar or Christ always has a person likejudas among his disciples, Baba drew a circle on the ground with his finger, and keeping his finger on the circum ference ofthe circle, he disclosed: Lord Ram had his Ravana,Jesus hisJudas. One of the twelve men in the circle is always like that. Suppose my finger was a compass. I, as the Master, am the point in the middle and the outside ring is my circle. Now observe what happens when the circle is complete and the compass is stationary. The pencil is still on one point ofthe circle. The oe who is under the point shouts! That is Judas. Eleven members of the circle are GodRealized during my lifetime—the twelfth after I die. He, my Judas, being the dark side of me, realizes me after I have physi cally departed. Volume6,page2l83 Baba explained about Jesus Christ and his apostles Peter and Judas: Now, who is Christ? The individual soul. Who is Jesus? The Avatar (Prophet) ofNazareth. What is Christ? The Son ofGod state. Judas helped Jesus Christ in his Universal work. If Christ had not undergone the crucifixion, he could not have taken the burden of the universe upon himself Jesus brought about his own crucifixion. Peter loved Jesus the most. Jesus loved him most, although the love ofJesus for all was the same. Can you explain this? Loving all the same and yet some more than others? It is like the different parts ofthe body: they all belong to you, but you love some parts more than others. The eyes are more dear than your fingers. Is this clear? J esus loved Peter most in this respect. Pe ter was his eyes. When Jesus said to Peter, “You will betray me,” Peter knew he would betray his Master, the one whom he loved most, and yet he bore it bravely. It was the most difficult thing to do: to know that he would betray and yet not to become weak.Jesus made Peter know that he would betray him for his work.
J udas was also made to betray. Peter betrayed wiffingly. It is most difficult when you love the one you betray. For example, suppose you [pointing to one] love me most. You are Peter. You [pointing to another] are Judas. I want you both to kill me. Now you, Peter, are made to kill me. You would not willingly do so. You are asked by me to kill me, and you love me more than your life. But you will lovingly kill me for my work. Even Arjuna could not be like Peter. Krishna had to show him his universal body before he would kill his brothers and relatives in battle. You,Judas, [pointing to that one] love me very much. I turn the key and you go against me for my work. You do not go against me ofyour own accord. I make you go against me in order to tell people all about me. You do it willingly, knowing that people hearing you would beat me and crucify me. All this means love, faith and sacrifice. If you do what I ask willingly, you really love me. Ifyou are made to do it, you love me a little less. Baba concluded, “God’s grace makes you love me. My grace makes you one with me.” Volume 13, page 4612 With every advent of the Avatar on earth, the twelve men of the inner circle and its appendage of two women gather round the personality of the Avatar as the self-same fourteen types of individualities, who in the shape ofdifferent personalities, always occupy their respective offices when the Avatar manifests on earth. And, during and after the life span of the Avatar, they individually and collectively ftmction in the same way as their predecessors, who had held and functioned in the same offices of the inner circle during the past advents of the Avatar. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that with Christ’s coming again, come Peter [Baba has told us that Eruch was His ‘Peter’],Judas, and all his apostles. But, this can never mean that the very same Peter, or the self-same Judas, reincarnates again and again. These can never incarnate, because all ofthe twelve individual personalities of the Avatar’s inner circle attain God-Realization in every Avataric period, either during or soon after the life span of the Avatar. Once God-Realization is attained, rein-
carnation is impossible. The only exception to this rule is the Avatar himself who comes again and again to redeem humanity It is not the same individualized personalities ofthe inner circle that reincarnate; it is the individualities oftheir particular offices that come with every advent of the Avatar. It is because, in all the Avatar’s advents, each of the twelve men and two women of the inner circle hold exactly the same office and function in exactly the same manner; that is why it is said that the Avatar always brings with him the same circle. As soon as the veil [Vidnyani] with which the Avatar descends on earth is rent by the then-living Perfect Master or Masters, and the Avatar realizes his Avatarhood, the twelve men and two women automatically group round the personality ofthe Avatar to occupy their respective position in the inner circle, and to ffinction as usual according to the dictates of the Avatar of the age. Volume 18, page 6141 Jesus said to his disciples: “All stickby me. There will be a time when some ofyou will betray me.” It was not a test; it was the work of the Divine Being. Judas turned against him. It is saidjudas betrayed him, but it was a great help. It was not a betrayal byjudas, it wasJudas helpingJesus to frilfill his mission. It was all in the divine plan. “It is so difficult to see me as I am. Even Judas, who had lived with Jesus from childhood, could not know him as the Christ. Volume 15, page 5196 Jesus had ajudas who betrayed him. Dur ing the lives of all previous Avatars, there was a Judas [a betrayer]. This is what has been ordained. God incarnated as Meher Baba, as the Avatar, at the most crucial time which is the end of the cycle, and as such, being the last Avatar of the cycle, Baba will have twelve Judases. Primarily, there will be one Judas who will be a Parsi, and the other eleven will be his colleagues in the act of betrayal. The eleven Judases will consist of Parsis and others, among whom will be two Parsi women. Food for thought (and pointless specula tion!) indeed... Father Desiderio said he had hoped that this filmJudas would put a more human face on the betrayer of Christ. It succeeded in that—for me at least.Judas was portrayed as a man of action (with a spiritual bent) who wanted theJews to overthrow the oppressive yoke ofthe Romans. He expected the muchprophesied Messiah to do just that, and so Judas did his best to raise an army ready to
fight for their freedom. He was a Practical man with a capital P! He just didn’t get it when Christ told him his Father had said he was to die to set men free—not conquer them with weapons. But not having read Lord Meher, the good Father didn’t have the inside track to the Truth.
)3 ou will Lose )3our 5enses
ne day soon after his return to Meher abad, Baba went to the family quar ters near Arangaon. He sent for Vishnu. Vishnu came immediately, running to Baba barefooted. After a brief discussion, Baba directed him to go and bring Raosa heb. Vishnu was about to turn back when Baba directed him, “Don’t walk barefooted, take my sandals.” Vishnu picked up Baba’s sandals, touched them to his forehead and put them down again by Baba’s feet. He replied, “Master, I could never wear your holy sandals.” Thereupon, Baba bitterly remarked to the others present, “How unlucky Vishnu is! When I give him my sandals to wear, he just touches his forehead to them and puts them back. This type of worship and reverence pains me. It is not worship; it is punishment. By disobeying me, Vishnu does not worship me he punishes me. And the sad part is that he thinks he is revering me. “Not to keep my word and to worship one’s own sentiments is sheer disobedience. Vishnu does not revere me. He reveres his own emotions, and to him, they are appar ently superior to my orders. Such things deeply pain me.” Disturbed, Chhagan asked, “Are we not to consider your sandals as sacred?” “Every belonging of mine is sacred,” replied Baba,” and to have a feeling of reverence for them is good. But they are not more important that I am. My word is the most supreme! For that reason, revere my word rather than my things. While carrying out my wishes, let there be no room for the expression of your own emotions and feelings.” Baba’s mood changed and he then asked those present, “Have you ever examined what I defecate?” Some replied, “Yes,” and some said, “No.” But none could give a description which
satisfied Baba. So he himself explained: “You have no idea what my feces contain. In the beginning of creation, I defecated, and all the suns, moons, stars and universes came out. They are all my excrement! Butjust imagine! When this dirty thing is so beautiful, how can you ever imagine my real splendor? You will lose your senses ifyou ever see even a glimpse of it.” LordMeherVol. 4 ,pp. 1160-1161 Bhau Kalchuri ©1989 Lawrence Reiter
should not behave like that.
SJ”Jaja Drnni ife did not always run smoothly. Baba would at times be upset by some happening, or lack of obedience, and then He would make His displeasure very clear. In February 1925 for Baba’s Birthday celebration Masaji and Dowlamasi did the cooking. At one point a stray dog came by and put its nose into a bowl of curd. Dowlamasi quickly sent it off but it looked very fttnny with the curd all over its mouth. Many men and women were there, and although sitting near Baba theywere talking and laughing among themselves. Naja happened to walk by and laughed, and it seemed as though she had laughed at a man present, but actually it was at the dog. Immediately Baba called her, slapped her so hard she fell down, and spoke harshly to her in front ofall there. “Why did you laugh at that person? I don’tlike all this talking and laughing, men and women together. When I am here, people should not behave like that.” Everyone became subdued, realising their discourtesy to Baba. Later, after all had gone, Baba again called Naja, kissed and embraced her, and said: “Don’t worry, it was not your fault. I had to make an example. You are my cousin, who else could I use? And now, am I not embracing you?” Naja had been crying, feeling she was often the one to be reprimanded for something she had not done, but now all was explained, and Baba told her to sit down and press His feet. Lives ofLove—Naja, Judith Garbett ©1998 AMBPPCT
¶:P:tss iitjs i3rynar 714e1il 2’Iow rDances with 21is 73eloved 3anuanj i9h, 2004 rynar Mehi, Ballet Master of The Asheville Ballet passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, following a heart attack. Friends gathered on the 18th at the Fletcher School of Dance to remember him with dance, music, poetry and food.
toured three continents with the company and helped Cunningham set the direction and establish standards for dance on film and tape in the landmark Westbeth Video Project. He is one of two people credited with bringing the Cunningham technique to Europe. “Mehl also danced in musicals at Lincoln Center, on Broadway, with Agnes de Mile, and in Hollywood with Donald O’Connor, Ethel Merman and Ginger Rogers. He ap peared on the Ed Sullivan and Perry Como shows. “Mehi taught and created choreography for schools and companies all over the world, from San Francisco to Paris, to Alaska, to London, to Brussels, to Vermont, to Texas. At the time ofhis death he was Ballet Mas ter for The Asheville Ballet and taught at Fletcher School ofDance, The International Ballet Academy, and Western Carolina Uni versity “His friends, colleagues and students mourn the loss of a gentle and noble soul, a consummate artist, a most generous teacher, and a beloved arnie.
of others. Most telling was his special connection to Baba. .Yes, I was very fond of Brynar; so sad to hear of his passing. He was relatively young—mid 60’s perhaps. Tall, lanky—rath er handsome looking I would say, with short hair, slightly receding hairline and features that reminded me of a famous Russian bal let dancer. I first met Brynar in London sometime in either the late ‘80’s or early ‘90’s. There . .
of Wann Remembrctnce for ‘l rynar 3 emj Watson, JI/4jrtle J3eac1t Ann Dunn, Director ofthe Ballet Cornpany writes, “Brynar Mehi, dancer, teacher and choreographer, was born in the Great Lakes Region and raised in Southern Cali fornia where his professional dancing career began under Anna Sokolow. In New York City, he danced for her with the Manhat tan Festival Ballet, under Alica Alonso in her Giselle and Coppelia, and with Charles Weidrnan at New York City Opera. “Mehi’s lifelong teacher and mentor was Margaret Craske, from whom he acquired a sense ofthe great value ofteaching, and with whom he shared an appreciation ofthe work ofMeher Baba. He met Baba in 1962 and considered that the turning point in his life. Other profound influences were choreogra pher Anthony Tudor and ideokinesiologist Andre Bernard. “Mehi danced with Merce Cunningham and [ his] Dance Company in many signature works such as Rainforest and Winterbranch. He created roles in several pieces and was given one of Cunningham’s own solos. He
friend ofmine wrote yesterday—asking •fI knew Brynar at all, and ifso, were there any impressions that I would like to share. When responding to this person in an e-maillast night, it gave me the opportunity to reflect a bit. I began to marvel at what a wonderftil, extraordinary person Brynar truly was. A touch of nostalgia and a feeling ofloss when writing about him suddenly overwhelmed me. Brynar was an exceptional person in many respects because of his genuinely honest, forthright nature. Although he had reserved opinions on certain issues, he was so unassuming about it that one never noticed. I found him to be quite comfortable discussing anything and everything when involved in animated discussions. He was at ease with others and mixed well in many varied social surroundings. He appreciated others in a most simple, sincere manner, which gave him that unique ability to im mediately gain the confidence and affections
was an instant rapport. He was so charming and likeable, a great conversationalist. Whenever I arrived in London in those brief few years that he lived there, we used to go pub hopping. I love those quaint old English pubs. Getting together with Brynar was always a thoroughly uplifting experi ence. Not surprisingly, he was exceptionally popular with his students. His love for Baba was very evident and yet he was discreetly quiet about it around his students and fellow colleagues unless directly asked. Briefly, to narrate some of the details he had shared with me: He first met Baba at the 1962 EastWest Gatheringwhile serving in the Army; stationed somewhere in Europe (I think it was Germany.) He was also actively involved with the Sufism Reoriented order under the watchftil eye and supervision of Murshida Ivy Duce at the time. Upon his first meeting with Baba in the company of other Sufis, he was asked what his career interests were (Brynar was one of four Sufis that had been asked this question by Baba, at Ivy Duce’s prompting.) Without
hesitation he told Baba that he would like to become a dancer. The subsequent scene that unfolded for Brynar, was, I must say, utterly fascinating. The way Brynar described it, there was an over-all tone of seriousness among this group of Sufis while in Baba’s presence. Among some of the things discussed were spiritual themes and topics of a similar ture. Then it moved to the more mundane practical affairs closer to home; Ivy began voicing her concerns to Baba—her feelings of inadequacy in matters of health that bedeviled her, saying it seemed to interfere with her ability to oversee the large respon sibilities Baba had placed on her shoulders. All the while, a sense of respectful obei sance prevailed. Baba was endearing, but that respectful, formal decorum persisted throughout the meeting. As they exited the room, Margaret Craske and her dancers who had been qui etly waiting outside, started preparing to enter; a changing of the guard so to speak. As the two groups passed one another, Margaret greeted Brynar (I believe there was already a familiarity between them at that point). Brynar excitedly informed her that he had received Baba’s approval in pur suing a dancing career. Typical of Margaret, she spontaneously remarked that since that was what Baba suggested, why not join her and the other dancers and see Baba for a second time. Consequently, he turned around and followed the others in. And so, due to an unexpected set of circumstances, he found himselfonce again happily in Baba’s company. However, this time it was strikingly different. As he tells it, the mood immedi ately changed. The once serious atmosphere prevalent just a few minutes before, had completely disappeared. Ajovial, humorous, warm, affectionate camaraderie melted away all self-conscious inhibition. Baba’s affection for Margaret and His delight in her off-thecuffsense ofhumor were contagious. I cannot recall how long Brynar said the session lasted. It became quite evident to Brynar that day that the path Baba had chosen for him could not have been more perfectly de signed. It proved to be a major turning point in his life. His venturing into a promising new career with Baba’s encouragement, as well as discovering a brand new, exciting way ofrelating to Baba, left him deeply touched and grateful. Brynar lived in the Bay area for quite a number of years, but later, as his career progressed, he became a well-respected
Ballet teacher in Europe. Brussels, Paris, and London are some of the cities where he taught and lived. More recently he moved to Alaska and then finally to North Carolina. He was a wonderful, fun person to get to know. I am rather sad about it, as he seemed so young and vital. May Baba’s will prevail. At least we can take comfort in knowing that he is resting in the eternal embrace of his Beloved.
t: iii of Avatctr’s ..Abode, 9?ests WitIi 73aba 3:rom .Raine Eastman 9annett, ..J1ustralian expatriate in California.
orna Rouse passed on to Baba on the 19th February at her home on Avatars Abode, Keil Mountain, Queensland Australia, at 7:20 p.m., 2004.
Lorna was a wonderful person and it was a privilege to be included in her circle of friends. Quiet, strong, and very beauti ful, she was Baba’s until the very end. Lorna and Robert were part of Francis Brabazon’s very early group in Sydney before he went to live in India in 1958. They were instrumental in the proofreading ofStaywith God.When Babawould so lovingly make suggestions to Francis about his book, they were immediately sent back to Lorna and Robert from Meherabad to Australia; and if one reads Robert’s book The Water Carrier, or The Making of a
Book one can see how valuable they were to Baba’s work through Francis’ literary works. Lorna was the ultimate bohemian, and yet very much like the women Mandali and had obviously been much influenced by them in her natural grace when speaking of them and Beloved Baba. Aware, informed, artistic, knowledgeable, humble, and generous. It was also due to Robert and Lorna’s great knowledge of blues and folk songs that we have some of the Brabazon blues and folk songs too. Robert is a fine painter and also a good singer and poet and was always so supported by Lorna. When Francis returned to Avatars Abode in 1970, it was Lorna and May [Lundquist] who were the trusted and devoted typists who would attempt to keep up with Francis’ work that came pouring out of him after Beloved Baba dropped the body. Lorna also seemed to find time to cook for Francis and talk to us girls and take care ofBeloved Baba’s very beautiful room at the Abode as well. Lorna, Robert and their daughter Radha lived in the old farmhouse that was on the property when Francis bought it January 1958. It was moved down the hill from the position Francis had chosen to build the house for Baba. The Mandali had stayed there, and all Baba’s cooking was done by Lornawhen Beloved Baba stayed on Avatars Abode. Saturdays they would stroll up the slope and picnic and chat with us. They always included us young ones in the early 1970s. I have loved her very much these past 34 years. To arrive at Avatars Abode every weekend and see Lorna’s beauty, her gleaming long hair and incredible laugh, was always something to look forward to through the drudge and grind ofa weekly 9 to Sjob. On the weekends and special nights at dinner with Francis, there was nothing quite like Lorna’s custards and deserts. She did not eat sweets herself and Francis would always comment on how amazing it was that she could make such delicious deserts. During all those years of coming to Avatar’s Abode, one could talk to her about absolutely anything and she was always aware and helpful, her knowledge ofBaba’s and the women’s thoughts on all sorts of matters were always relevant and loving. Her strength and femininity were role models for me. With the passing ofLorna, so goes an era. We keep our hearts close to Robert and Radha and her husband and children, Jai Meher Baba, The Victory is His! ‘7
From Bhau Kaichuri in a Letter to Raine: Dear Queen ofGhazal,Jai Baba, I receivedyour copy ofletter to Robert [Rouse] and Bernard [Brufordj This is how I came to know ofthe death ofdear sister Lorna Rouse. May Beloved Baba keep His loving Nazar on her so that she may come back ever closer to Him in His Love. Robert and sister Lorna looked afierAvatarc Abode very wellfrom the beginning, and they were the best medium to look after Avatarc Abode in the absence ofFrancis Brabazon who was with Beloved Baba. Francis would always write letters to them under Beloved Babac direction. They both are very fortunate. —With all love andJai Baba In His Love and Service, Bhau.
From Suejamison, Australian Expatriate in California: ince meeting Lorna in 1972, I was always a little in awe ofthe beauty and natural elegance that she had, a quiet confidence and carriage ofherselfthat only a woman who is sure of herselfhas. In Lorna’s case, since her acceptance ofMeher Baba as God in human form, she had the knowing ofwho her real selfwas, which only made her more beautiftil. I loved to visit Lorna and Robert in the “old” days, always a cup of tea available, always both of them so generous to answer questions about Baba or to just discuss life and be supportive. Lorna was a role model for all of us younger ones new to Baba as she devotedly cleaned Baba’s room and changed the flowers daily with reverence and respect. We saw that same kind of reverence and respect from the women mandali when we started going to India in 1973. God speed Lorna, you will be missed by many.
3 fl each heart there iies a root of love 3 0 CflClt heart there lies a root of love 7:liese roots will join to feed ci tree L.A tree Baba of )3our Love }1nd this tree will grow with ruins stretched wide i__Aitd this tree will grow with arms stretched wide Dts leaves will form cooling shade 3or wayfarers to )3our Love. 7his tree will bear a frajrant fruit 7his tree will hear a fragrant fruit Dts flesh will taste of nourishment rare weet compassion of )3our Love.
Baba you are here, jou are here, Baba you are here, you are here. Baha you are here, you are here, Baba you are here, you are here. —jorna Rouse, 1971
w must lose ourselves in order tofind ozirsc/ves thus loss itse(fis gain. w, ii;ust die to se(fto live in God: thus death jizeans Lj/i’. Jf must become completely void inside to be completelypossessed by God; thus complete emptiness iiieans absolute Fullness. l4/ must become naked ofsc(flood bypossessing nothing, so as to he absorbed in the i?y’inity ofGod thus nothing means Everything
J1m There with )3ouA 3filis 3redcrick
aba was giving darshan at Poona in 1961, Westerners could come for one hour. Fred bought tickets for himselfand Ella but she reftised to go; she was in the midst of making copies ofthe Family Letter to be sent out to 500 people. She felt Baba wanted her to stay and fulfill her responsibilities. Fred did everything in his power to persuade her, keeping her ticket open to the last. But her answer was still no. Fred went to India and saw Baba, and much to his delight, the Master allowed those Westerners who came to stay several days. During one darshan Baba called up Fred in front of everyone and asked him why he hadn’t brought Ella. Fred explained why she had stayed behind. Baba persisted, “But you should have brought her.” Fred replied he had done his best and even kept her ticket open. Baba was not satisfied. “Why didn’t you bring her?” By this time Fred was embarrassed by being rebuked in front of everyone, in fact became more and more angry until his whole body was trembling. Baba continued to press the issue. Finally Fred burst out “It’s your fault, Baba!” At this point Baba beamed and gave Fred His familiar sign for “perfection.” He then dictated a cable to be sent to Ella along these lines: “Fred may be here with Me but I am there with you.” Fred later discovered, that at the very moment of his exchange with Baba, Ella was so stricken by remorse for not going to see Baba, that she was contemplating suicide byjumping from her apartment window. Fred felt that Baba, by stirring up intense anger in him, was using the energy to save Ella. It’s a well-known fact that Baba would scold someone not present and at that very moment that person would “miraculously” escape some difficulty or danger: by talking about them He was attracting their negative sanskaras to Himself One can imagine how deeply touched Ella was by Baba’s loving cable giving her super support in her remorse. From Fivdella.A Bouquet ofMemories, by Filis Frederick TheAwakener, Volume XXI, #2 ©1985 Universal Spiritual League
L/lnnouncing The Combined Dictry: LA 2’Iew &rictl Dnternet 2ublication the fifty-fourth anniversary ofMeher Baba’s inauguration of the New Life on 16th October 1949, the Trust Archives is happy to launch a new project in its on-going programme of sharing with the worldwide Baba family precious documents and manuscripts from its archival collection through publication on the internet. Over recent months, in its “Heart Talk” series, the Trust has published transcripts of early letters—from Baba to William Donkin, from Baba to Ramjoo, and from Baba’s mother Shireen to her beloved Merwan. “Heart Talk” will continue over the weeks and months ahead, running concurrently with the new series that is being launched today. That new series is called The Combined Diary, the title inscribed at the head of a 750-page, two-volume set of notebooks containing the reminiscences of five of Baba’s disciples—Padri, Pawar, Pandoba, Nadirshaw, and Chanji—over a period running fromJuly 1924 through the end ofAugust, 1927. The plan is to publish the Diary on the internet serially, in several-page segments, in facsimile reproduction from the original manuscript. On a weekly basis, then, subscribers to Tavern Talk will receive emails with links; ifyou click on these links, you’ll access the weekly installment (in the form ofpdffiles in Acrobat). Both the handwrit ing and prose style of the manuscript are quite readable, and they convey a strong feeling and fragrance of the early years of the Meherabad ashram. This serial internet publication ofthe Diary will continue until the whole Diary has been issued, which should take about two years. The phase that the Diary covers was a wonderful and extremely dynamic period of Baba’s life.The Meherabad ashram had just been established the year before, in 1923; during the followingyears ofthe Diary penod Baba created a thriving colony there, had built many of the early historic Meherabad structures, established the Meher Ashram and Hazrat Babajan school for children, opened a hospital and dharamshala, began His long Silence, wrote His Book, gave His darshan freely and extensively both to
individual seekers and larger crowds, and trained his early disciples in His unique divine ways. The authors of The Combined Diary write from the perspective of men who had the extraordinary good fortune of having recognized the Avatar of the Age and who wanted to leave a record oftheir experiences. The incidents of their daily life with Him, and what theywere able to see ofHis workings from their angle of vision, give rise to many remarkable narrative moments which we hope many ofBaba’s lovers todaywill find to be ofgreat interest and value. This Combined Diary is another special treasure being shared through the on-going archival work at Meherabad and Mehenazad. Because the volume ofpreservation work is so extensive, it will take some time before the greater body of this material can be made available through traditional media. But happily, the new electronic medium of the internet provides an avenue for sharing some of this material right away. By this means some of the excitement and delight ofreading things in their original form can be shared with Baba’s family world-wide. The facsimile copies that you will see bear a stamped imprint of “Avatar Meher Baba Trust” on every page; the handwnit ing ofMani, Baba’s sister and Chairman of the Trust, appears on the title page, and we believe that the Trust stamp on subsequent pages was put in place under her direction. The Combined Diaiy is copyrighted by the Avatar Meher Baba P.P.C. Trust and should not be republished without the Trust’s written permission. Jai Beloved Baba! the Avatar Meher Baba Trust Archives
J4leherctbctd )3oung .J1dult &thctvas
“Sahavas is the intimacy ofgive and take of love...Drink deep atihisfountain oflove, but do not lose consciousness! Ifyou can but taste even a drop ofthis love what a wonderful experience it will be!” —Meher Baba
ll young adult Baba lovers are invited to participate in the 2004 Young Adult Sahavas held at Meherabad, India. Date: 2nd August to 9th August 2004. [ Please note the date has changed from previous years.] Who: Young adults from around the world between the ages of 19 and 30. What: The Sahavas is a gathering for young people to join together in their love for Meher Baba while in His home at Meherabad. Program: The events that will take place include talks by guest speakers, visits to Meherazad, music and art programs, discussions on Meher Baba’s life and teachings, service projects, sports and much more. For more information or to receive an ap plication form, please write to: Meherabad Young Adult Sahavas Avatar Mehen Baba P.P.C. Trust King’s Road, Post Bag #31 Ahmednagar, M.S., 414001 INDIA Email: email@example.com
Website JRe-lctunched e are glad to inform you that the website of Meher Baba Delhi Centre(India), www.MeherBabaTheA vatan.com which was down since last 2 months, has been re-launched with a new name MeherBabaTheAvatar.ORG hitp //www.MeherBabaTheAvatar.org Kindly, help us spread the word by informing all your friends and family. Also dont forget to update your bookmarks by replacing MehenBabaTheAvatar.com with MeherBabaTheAvatar.ORG h&tp //www.MeherBabaTheAvatar.org Feel free to send your suggestions and comments to improve this small effort in spreading Baba’s message of Love. In Beloved Baba’s Love & Service, Jatin Bhasin Webmaster, MehenBabaTheAvatar.ORG ‘9
Save the rDate! 3une 26, 2004 13ack by popular demand and at the request of Bhau:
Bhauroast III 1/teherana 3undraiser 7 9 ala Event and J !1?oyal Roasting of 13hauji and LInique J3aba-Art ..J1uction ma Snow (Editor, Bookstore waili) and Charles Gibson (Chiropractor to the Mandali, singer, songwriter and guitarist) have announced their intention of devoting their lives to Meher Baba and each other. (Actually Baba has been a major part of their lives since 1952 and 1970, respectively.) They have set the date for the wedding as January 1st, 2005.
L.,/lt JI/leher J4/tount,
Ojai, California Saturday, May 8, 11:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Special Guest From India, Dr. G.S.N. Moorty r. Moorty first contacted Meher Baba by letter in the 1940’s. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, he had extensive contact with Baba, organizing, among other things, Meher Baba’s incognito visit to Rishikesh. Dr. Moortywas one ofthe last lovers outside ofMandali and family to visit Meher Baba in October, 1968. Program will start with a potluck lunch at 11:30 am. All are invited. —
his event is limited to a certain number of people. It will sell out within days of announcement. For early reservation call (925) 284-4181. Have your credit card ready to reserve your seats. More info on www.Meherana.org
Spring Sahavcts with
13hau 2<alchuri at Meherana, Memorial Day Weekend May29 -May31, 2004 Details on Meherana’s website: www. Meherana.org Or phone: 209-966-5078
Contemplation on the ‘Bridge ofWeaknesses to Gain the Strength”
Wekorne to Our World
Saturday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Special Guests From Australia, Bill and Diana Le Page —
Bill Le Page met Meher Baba in the 1950’s and will share about his life with Baba. Artist Diana Le Page will show slides ofher artwork that will be part of the new Meher Pilgrim Retreat at Meherabad. Program will start with a potluck lunch at 11:30 am. All are invited. 20
Merwan and Cecelia Scott and big sister Kay/a with the new addition to the Scottfarnily, Isabel. Isabel was welcomed into Baba world onjanuary 5, weighing 7 lbs 12 oz. Hello Isabel!
7he £cvc Strcc1 Bookstore Welcome to the Bookstore! Jai Baba Folks, ack from Amartithi and as usual, I bought loads of goodies back for you. So many in fact that I had to enlist the aid of four other people to help carry them back. We will get them on the website as soon as possible, but Pris Haffenden, our web waffi, is hard at work doing the layout for this issue. Among the multitude of Baba trinkets, brooches, stand up desk plaques, key chains, and scarves, many ofwhich have to be seen to be wanted, are the small (about 10” x 14”) brightly colored flags made in Baba’s seven colors—$6. We also have cloth shoulder bags ofthe same—$8. For those ofyou un familiar with how these colors came about, we give you this information: One day at Meherabad in 1924 when Baba was 30 years old, during the Ghamela Yoga period, the seven colors of Baba’s flag came into being. This is how it happened: To prevent stray cows and goats from destroying the jasmine saplings, a wire fence was erected on all four sides of the Jhopdi hut. Later it was proposed that a flag be flown near the Jhopdi and on April 23rd, a debate ensued about it. The Hindus said the color of the flag should be red, but Ramjoo objected, saying that red reflected only Vedanta, and that green was better. Then the Hindus took objection, arguing that green was typically a Mohammedan color. The Parsis and Iranis disapproved of both colors, and to bring about accord, Baba proposed “The flag should be of seven colors.” Naval prepared a flag accordingly, and after it was sewn, it was hoisted near the Master’s Jhopdi in the evening. As the flag flew, Baba asked, “Do you know why I sug gested a seven colored flag? The seven colors represent the seven planes of consciousness.” Meher Baba had specified the positioning of two colors: “Red should be at the bottom of the flag and skyblue at the top. Arrangement of the other five colors is your decision.” He later added: “Besides representing the seven planes of consciousness, these colors also represent Sanskaras—Impressions. The colors in the flag signify man’s rise from the grossest ofimpressions oflust and anger— symbolized by red—to the culmination in
the highest state of spirituality and oneness with God—symbolized by sky blue.” There were a few books that have been out of print for a number of years that I very happy I was ) see back in —Questions vieher Baba An1 I .cwered, $4, and When He Takes Over, a collec tion of stories of people’s coming “) Baba as told to Bal Natu, $5. \Vhile in j tralia I picked up The Divine Humanity ofMeher Baba. This is a collection of stories by Meh erwan Jessawala (Eruch’s brother), Sam Kerawala and Dma and her husband Navaisha Talati. Sharing the same name, I was interested to read her story Opening to the very first paragraph I was most surprised to read “. . .Baba said that no two souls come together haphazardly either in marriage or in birth.” Since I am planning on getting married in a year’s time—after swearing I would never remarry— this really caught my eye! I read on: “...You have no what trouble idea ii Di H I have to go to. I have to search the viøpe entire Universe to bring together the right souls at the right time.” Fascinating! The stories were collected by Bill Le Page, 160 pages, paperback. $15 Another from Australia that we have been out of for a while is a wonderful book by Judith Garbett. She has written —
I I t
memories of all the women Mandali gleaned from over 20 years of visits to India from the early ‘60s on. It is a large format book, titled yes ofLove $25. Pilgrims who hear Katie Irani singing on Mehera’s porch when they are in India have been begging her for years to record her songs. Thanks to Billy Goodrum, Los Angeles musician of fame, we now have a CD of her songs. Singing For Baba $12. Listen with your eyes closed and you are right back there. . .home. When I read the following I was reminded to tell you about the beautiful plaster casts we have ofthe Beloved’s feet, footprints and hand.The last two are white, but the feet are painted to look like bronze. You may have noticed a pair in Baba’s bedroom in Mehe razad. The Mandali gave the original casts to our Artist in Residence Jurgis Sapkus. He makes the reproductions from these. The ‘bronzed’ feet are $110 the pair, the footprints, $55 and the same for the hand. Meher Baba says the feet, which are physically the lowest part of the body, are spiritually the highest. Physically the feet go through everything, the good and the bad, the beautiftil and the ugly, the clean :
and the dirty, yet they are above everything. Spiritually the feet of the Master are above everything in the Universe, which is like dust to Him. When people come to a Perfect Master and touch His feet with their heads, they lay upon Him the burden of their sanskaras—those subtle impressions of thought and emotion and action which bind the individual soul to recurrent earthly lives. This is the burden to which Jesus re ferred when He said, “Come unto Me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The Ocean ofLove, Delia DeLeon, Copyright 1991 Meher Baba Association, London From the sublime to the ridiculous—well not quite; we have some very good quality ball point pens, ergonomically correct and very comfortable to grip ,with Dont Worry, Be Happy written on the side, under that
Avatar Meher Baba and alongside, a smiley face. $2 Such a shame we aren’t printing in col or—this version ofBaba’s colophon is very colorful and very beautiftil. The outside of it is in green with the pieces in between in
Our best seller of the past two months has been the great new book just released written by Darwin Shaw, As Only God Can Love. One of the earliest of Meher Baba’s American disciples, Darwin presents here a phenomenal memoir of a man who has lived in the world but has spent most of his life following and personally serving the being he instantly recognized as the Christ. Throughout the pages Darwin’s love for Meher Baba is a tangible thing, as is Baba’s love for him, a disciple who F sponded immedi ately and without question to every request from his master. Darwin was 24 when he first heard of Meher Baba and 26 when he met Baba in 1934. We have many accounts of life with Meher Baba in India, but this is one ofthe rare tales ofwhat it was like for a Westerner with ajob and a family, to make God the main focus ofhis life. It is a superb account: lively, honest and loving, truly a must-read. The Discourses, read out loud, on CD People have been asking me ifwe had any spoken words ofBaba’s on tape or CD. Well, we have Don Steven’s Commentaries on the Discourses, a set of3 audio tapes that sells for $15, Eruch talking on Yours Brotherly $15, Living with the Avatar by Padri, $8, Bhau talking on TheBelovedi Threshold, $13, Three Incredible Days with Baba, Adi K Irani, $19, but nothing ofBaba’s words. Until now. Pam Topley, an Englishwoman who spends most of her year in India, rounded up over 30 people to read through the entire Discourses. All readers have beautiful clear diction and you can enjoy listening to Meheru, Bal Natu, Dr. Anne, Dr. Charles Gibson, Nan Wicker, Adair Adams and many others. It takes 18 CDs to get in every word. The CDs are in three sets ofsix. Friends, this is only $4.17 for each CD! Till next time. happy shopping. .
coral. The photo ofBaba is exceptional qual ity; that too is in color on the palest of pink backgrounds. It is printed on heavy gloss stock and measures 12 x 13 inches. Check it out on our website. Only $8
In His love and service, Dma -‘
_lVItiraijct’s Eternity is fAlow slew )3ork .Review b 11 9eorge Chen, 2 f as Thomas Merton said, we make ourwhat we are by the way we talk to God, then Maraiya, in her wonderful new CD entitled Eternity isNow, has most assur edly made of herself an inspired writer and composer oflove songs. Her collection is a gentle, haunting glimpse behind the veil of a lover’s intimate thoughts and feelings. There is nothing raucous, shrill, or overblown here; only gentle breezes, faint echoes ofBrazil, and ofsongwriters like Burt Bacharach and Francis Lai. Lyrically and vocally, we have the impression of overhearing secret, whispered entreaties to a Beloved standing just offstage, squarely within the singer’s line ofsight, and somehow, miracu lously,just a little more visible to us, too, by the end ofthe 13-song, 45 minutes set. How Maraiya accomplishes this magic can be summed up in two words: understated honestc In the simplicity of her lyr ics, and the sensitive economy ofher guitar and piano accompaniment, Maraiya reveals herselfas a creator ofspace rather than noise. She seems to delight in demonstrating that if something is true, then its power will be magnified by gentleness. Nowhere is this more in evidence than what I might, with a great deal of license, call her “Brazilian” ballads: the softly swaying For Us; the cminently coverable Easier to Love; and Home, the haunting evocation of Myrtle Beach with the irresistible hook, “Baba, Baba, Baba, Baba, Baba, Baba.”This song alone is worth the cost ofthe entire album, but beware—for once in your head, even sanskaric surgery will be powerless to remove it. Maraiya is an amateur in the best sense ofthe word: in her art, love comes first and last. But don’t be deceived.The simple melo dies, sparse arrangements, and straightfor ward sentiments ofEternity is Now are the work of genuine talent, one who could, if she had the inclination, write successfully for Tin Pan Alley and the mainstream. As it is, I believe that many ofthe songs in this collection will live long and happy lives around Baba campfires for many years to come. Bravo, Maraiya! Encore? I selves
Let these words be inscribed on your heart: ing is real but Goá Nothing matters bitt love/br God : —Meher Baba .
JReviews The Spiritual 7rctining Brogramme
5Rkoda ‘Dubctsh, a 13ri4 13iography 2uby Dubash, 7oronto, Canada hoda Dubash was born in Karachi, akistan in 1920. She was raised in a conservative Parsi (Zoroastrian) family and first heard ofMeher Baba when she was a child. When she was in college she met her future husband, Adi Dubash, and they had a courtship of seven years before they were engaged to be married. A few months before her wedding she was most distraught to find that Adi was a follower of Meher Baba, because most ofwhat she had heard about Baba was not good. She decided to marry him anyway, resolved to but about bring a change in him so that instead of going to of heart would go in the opposite Baba, he Meher Needless to say, she was the one direction”. who changed and got entrapped in the Divine Fisherman’s net. Rhoda and Adi had two sons. The first son, Merwan, lives in Toronto, Canada and is a devoted follower of Meher Baba. The second son, Homi, died in a domestic ac cident at age five. Rhoda was by profession a schoolteacher. She taught kindergarten classes at BVS Parsi School in Karachi and eventually introduced the Montessori method ofteaching children. When she retired she was the Principal of the Montessori section. She also taught English to adults from various European consulates in Karachi. Rhoda first met Meher Baba in 1945 and subsequently met Him on a number of occasions including the 1954 Darshan programme in Wadia Park Ahmednagar, 1958 Savahas in Meherabad, 1962 EastWest Gathering in Pune and three glorious visits ofabout sixweeks each in Guruprasad, Pune, in the 1960s. Over this period of her association with Meher Baba she had come to accept Him as the Avatar, God in hu man form. “...
In the early 1980s Rhoda and Adi left their home in Karachi and moved to Ah mednagar to spend the rest of their lives in the service of their Beloved Avatar Meher Baba. They lived in a house adjoining Lower Meherabad and took on vanous duties with the Avatar Mehen Baba Trust. Adi worked in Meherabad and eventually became a Trustee ofthe Avatar Mehen Baba Trust. Rhoda worked in the Trust office for many years with Eruch and Mani until she developed maculan degeneration and was no longer able to read or write. Oven this time her hearing also deteriorated to the extent that she could no longer follow normal conversations. Rhoda passed away to her Beloved Meher Baba on September 19, 2001—only six weeks after her dear husband Adi had passed on to Baba. [Editorc note. In the ‘90s Rhoda would hold Teas and invite eight or ten guests from amongst the ‘, tilrrims. I was urrenuermg to Him (ill appreciative : attendant at one fthese teas and . video taped her life story—or an overview ofit—in about twohours. What afascinating lift led especialt5i she t relationship in C My Life with Meher Baba to Baba—with ‘ _L. Baba pulling her in, iiiid shepushin.çr Film away, tillfinally she succumbed and acceptedHis embrace. Ican waitforthe book. Itshouldbe agreat read!] 4
‘Now you are older and are beginning to realize that there is greater work ahead ofyou than whatyou have been doing. Andyou have been searchingyour minds andhearts as to what this work might be. It is not dffèrent workfrom whatyou have already been doing—it is the same work done in a dffèrent way. And that way is the way of effacement, which means the moreyou workfor me the less importantyoufrel in yourse(f My work isyour opportunity. the way of my work is the way ofeffacement, which is the way ofstrength, not ofweakness, and through ityou become mature in my love.” . .
—Meher Baba, East- West Gathering, 1962 Spiritual Training he Trust’s Spiritual Training Programme started in 1973 with the arrival of the first Spiritual Trainees. They, and the Spiritual Trainees who came during the next several de cades, lived in close THE SPR1TUAL TRMNTNG ai 1 y associa ion I’ROGRAMME with the Mandali. Pbk This association : was the basis for the training of the first group of Spin[ tual Trainees. They lived at Mehenabad I the Samadhi), : at Mehenazad (the resident place of Beloved Baba) on the Trust Office at Ah mednagan (where the Trust is administered). By working alongside us, this first group of Spiritual Trainees came to know what ways would be pleasing to Beloved Baba. They would hear stories from us about how we lived with Beloved Baba. But soon, the “shop” (as Baba called His own work) of the Mandali will be closed, and therefore, it is necessary that some guidelines for Spiritual Training be established to help you, the current SpinitualTrainees, and those ofyou who will come in the ftitune. Beloved Baba Himselfcneated the Trust, and He specified that different objects under the Trust have to be fulfilled. Because they are His instructions, they are also His Wish. Who would want to fiiffill His wishes other
than those who love Him? The first group of Spiritual Trainees helped us with the de velopment ofthe Trust. Naturally, this work will continue with you, the SpiritualTrainees of future generations. You will be the ones who want to lead a life solely dedicated to ftiifilling Baba’s wishes (as put down in the Trust Deed), and at the same time, seek your own personal relationship with the Beloved in your hearts. Beforelgetinto theparticulars oftheTrust’s Spiritual training Programme, I want to bring up some points which are very important for you, as Spiritual Trainees, to understand: The Responsibility and Duty ofthe Beloved and the Lover; DivineWill and Divine Wish; Rituals and Ceremonies.These topics always bring up many questions and having a proper understanding ofthem will help you in your Spiritual Training. —from the book The book sells for $5
.Rada Om 13hajans and Artis Raine J4leets Rani rDidi and
Creates a JPowerftti CD .7<athryn Wiederhold, California ast and West will come together” Baba said. Truly in Raine Eastman-Gannett and her twin spirit, Rani Didi, this unique blend occurs—each with equal expertise. Raine has always studied divergent musi cal traditions and styles. Her years of hard work and research have come to fruition in this outstanding collection ofEastern Artis E Meher
Western selection). Rani’s voice is rich and ffill-bodied, at home in the crystal bell higher ranges and the deeper tones. It can sound like her har monium or it can dance over its deepness like altar bells. It can be percussive and prayerful—always astonishingly versatile. Her clear, precise diction, wonderful phrasing, ftll range of several octaves, and authentic enunciation come forth in each piece. This is a rare achievement ofsatisfying toe-tapping rhythms and haunting devotional vocals. Go to the Los Angeles Sahavas and witness Rani Didi, musical guest, in full force. Our Irish songstress plays Western songs on her guitar and Eastern Artis, Bhajans and Ragas on her harmonium, khaytals, ghungaruns and bells. I have given several copies ofthis CD as gifts to very grateful friends who say they never tire of Rani’s well chosen renditions. Rani’s accompaniments are terrific. The CD is balanced, well-produced, and impressive. Hum along with timeless ancient sounds of the mysterious East. Do not miss this excellent, exciting, creative and rare “Feast of the East.”
The J44ctking of 8 5orts ofEovers of9od” JRaine Castman-9an nett
Thmôu Ahw n
/4eh(r !I Nuza
and Bhajans. “Eastern music without shaky squeaks and nasal flatness!” one listener ex claims. (The Australian Arti—with music and lyrics by Francis Brabazon is the only 24
C 8 Sorts ofLovers is an exerpt from The East West Gathering by Francis Brabazon, a discourse about the different types of lovers made into this superb aside contained in that book. The East West gathering was at Guruprasad, the Palace in Pune loaned to Meher Baba in the hot summers by the Queen of Baroda, so in my mind it had always had the feeling ofthe King and the Palace as is said over and over in the book too. Many times I have performed it and then in 1996 when
Katie Irani came to the Bay area and Mehe rana, the “Love Street Singers”, ofwhich I was the Director, put it on as a musical with narrator. Everyone loved it and it always sat in my mind to do it as a CD someday. It stood in line though behind other projects of CDs that were much further in progress. Last June 2003 I came to the Avatar’s Abode June Anniversary as usual and when that marvelous event was over, after a long drive back from Bribie Island with Devana Brown, our guest that year, I rang Sam Saunders and asked could we record it. He agreed and in about a three hour session in his tiny studio we finished most ofthe vocals and guitar. Upon my return to California, Sam sent the WAV files of the music we had colabo rated on and my engineer Carl Resnikoff thought they were super. I thought after re reading many of my Troubadour books and
listening to many of my old records Francis had influenced me to buy, that it needed percussion, as I know a lot about eastern percussion I decided on this for the rythmic flavour and I contacted the Tablajijim S anti Owen who said he would love to be involved in the project and found the thought of 12th Century/Indian Percussion fascinating; not really so far fetched when the troubadours would go as far afield as the Silk Road and Persia for poetry, instruments and tune ideas and bring them back to the French Court to win their tenure back again in the court and be the queen and king’s entertainment hopefully again. Julia Skiff a Baba Lover and a violinist with the San Francisco Opera (Julia had once played classical violin for Francis at Meherazad and at the time had been thinking not to go on classically but Francis suggested she continue) also agreed to play on three tracks and it was starting to sound more and more cohesive. The beautiflil cover painting
of the glittering pink French 12th century castle was a back drop that I commissioned from Lisa Greenstein back in 1996, so a good photo ofthat was taken. At this point Lisa also kindly agreed to volunteer her time and do the CD book insert for me and what a glorious colour sense she has, the fine arts painter in her nature shines. The lovely photo of Beloved Baba playing the Bayan was taken by Bhaya Panday Meher Photo Shop and Pat Sumner helped me attain the permission.The photo on the backwas done by Elizabeth Hearn and all around many Aussies were involved. A lovely surprise was the photographic idea beloved Baba put into place—when you remove the CD from the jewel case there is a beautiflul photo by Bernard Bruford of beloved Baba’s sandals, the sandals we have in Baba’s room before they were covered by glass. I am most grateful for this photo to Bernard Bruford and although my memory failed me of the origin of the picture of the sandals, arriving in Indialast December 2003 there was Bernard at the Pilgrim Centre and I remembered at once. (Sorry not to have been able to credit him on the CD). The photo of Baba on the Bayan has notation around it of the great love song Bernant De Ventadorn wrote for Eleanor of Equataine and sent it to her when her French marriage was annulled and she was given to an English king for marriage (he was heart broken). I included all the words of The 8 Sorts OfLovers so people could pon der their richness as often as they pleased. From there on it was a matter ofmixing and sending it to my Masterer Bob Olhsson in Nashville (a Sufi who came to that understanding through Sam Lewis, Francis’ friend from Fairfax who had been there when he was in Fairfax California under the guidance ofRabia Martin). I had a lovely release party at Alan and Karen Talbot’s home and then set offto India to place it at Beloved Baba’s feet. Alan Wagner asked me to do a concert of it in Hostel “K Theater at Meherabad. The CD The 8 Sorts ofLovers of God is released and available for all to share and enjoy! Jai Baba! The track Meher Baba He’s the King was played on www.KPFA.com World Music, a two-hour show and I received lots of emails and calls from Baba Lovers and others after this. Who would think Baba would utilize one’s work to have His Name said over and over anyoldThursday morning in 2004? But He did. Many a person who was in touch really needed it at that moment. The CD had a life of its own and by-
passed all my other projects and I am so happy it did, Francis really pours his skill into the lyrics and poetry. We are most fortunate to have this perfect piece from him. Thefollowing is a letter to Raine, engen— dered by a listen to her new CD. “I have just finished listening to your delightfully wondrous CD. Sitting here singing “Meher Baba, Meher Baba, He’s the King!” as it plays the last song. I didn’t get the work done that I had intended to do while listening...impossible ofcourse. I could only look at Baba’s pictures around my room and listen, sometimes with sparkly rain showering my eyes. I loved them all of course, but the ones that touched my heart the most were “Meher Joy” with the Bach concerto and then “0 Glorious Eternal Ancient One” (Australian Arti) quite undid me—put me right back at His Samadhi. Yes, God willing I can continue to trace His face and name on the sand, and you can dash lightly across the beach dipping your toes in His ocean ofdivine love singing melodies of His name with the wind, and we’ll have a party and invite all those who would tenderly trace His face on the sand, paint His face on the rocks, dance and sing on the beach in glorious praise of His extraordinary beauty and profound and eternal love. Bhau could uncork the bottles of wine, and Baba, eyes sparking with love, would pour; Mehera would hold the wine glasses for Him, Mani would pass them out, Bal would make sure everyone was comfortable, Mohammed would gather beautiftil shells for 3-B to make a shell mo saic of Baba’s face, Aloba would ring the bell whilst the wine was being poured. .and you can fill in the rest. Well, I guess it’s obvious your CD touched my heart!
and their stories with us. On her new CD, Singing For Baba, Katie shares with us the songs she sang in Baba’s presence and some of the circumstances surrounding her performances for Him. When Katie was young Baba arranged for her to have music lessons and learn Indian classical music. In the liner notes to the
CD she relates the story of her first perfor mance for Baba. She then began singing for Baba by herself and with the other women Mandali. On this CD there are songs I had never heard before. On one she tells how in the early days on Meherabad Hill they would sit around Baba and he would play the drum and lead them in song with the rhythm ofthe drum. On the CD Katie sings two songs from that time, Meher Baba Guru Maaja Aiyee and Nivruti Gnayan Deo. Katie also describes how Baba would ask Mani to compose and direct musical comedies for Him. When Baba would re turn from grueling Mast tours they would perform for Him as a form ofrelaxation and relieffrom the burden ofHis work.The song “Deccan Queen” from the CD is one such song that Mani wrote and Katie performed for Baba in the context ofa play. Katie relates the humorous story beautiflilly. Katie sings several songs that Baba Himself wrote—Ishtiake, Gujerati Arti, Gune Garam and others. She also relates how Baba composed songs in His silence. LA new CD by 7<atie Drani Baba would work with Mani to develop the melodies and then she would teach it to the Billy 9oodrurn, California rest ofthe women Mandali. On the final se lection ofthe CD Robert Een accompanies ne ofthe greatest gifts Baba has given Katie on cello for a beautiful version of the to those of us who endeavor to Love Gujerati Arti. Him is the companionship of those who Katie has been Singing For Baba almost lived with Him. The Mandali. To see and all ofher life and she continues to share her feel first hand the Love ofthe amazing souls songs with Baba Pilgrims in Meherazad, and that spent their lives in Baba’s presence and service is for many ofus one ofthe strongest now on this CD. links we have to Baba’s life on earth. The Mandali have lovingly shared themselves .
Singing for 73aba
4 A mwtithi 2004 Dina Snow
his year’s Amartithi was the That is a wonderful thing to see— best I have been to—without after many hours and sometimes a doubt! I am hoping that what you days oftraveling, the weary pilgrim read in this magazine will make staggers out of the airport to be those who have never been before, met by hundreds of faces lined up say to themselves, “OK—2005 will along the retaining bar, with arms be the year I finally get it together outstretched, most begging you to and go to Amartithi!” take their taxi, go to their hotel, ‘let How was this year different to me carry your bags’. It can be very all others you may ask? Well, the alarming—especially to first time MPR, that we all dubbed The visitors. But to see someone holdFive Star Meherabad Marriott ing a large card with a photo of our had a lot to do with it. Sure there Beloved with a beaming smile on is something fun and exciting and His face and our name on the card primitive in moving out ofthe PC is sooo wonderffil! (Pilgrim Center) and into the Iso- Looking into the Ushape ofthe topfioor rooms ofthe Meher Pilgrim Retreat. For the past four or five years I lation Ward, back by the hospital, have always asked Pathan* to pick far beyond Hostels A thru D, and sleeping glass. No worries—we were handed a winme up. He is not only a driver I know and mattress to mattress with 15 other women dow size piece ofheavy cotton and four pegs trust, but a wonderful warm and caring man in the same room, and for the men to have (clothes pins) and we hung it and clipped who gave help to my 90-year-old Mother a similar situation, but up on the roof of said it to the iron framework for privacy. The way above and beyond the call ofduty during building, but... evening breezes that blew through were a her last visit to India a fewyears back. It had Although the official opening date of the welcome relief from the heat. Actually, the been my habit, and that of most incoming Meher Pilgrim Retreat is not until 2006, weather was wonderful. I have been to Ampilgrims, to be picked up by their driver and Ted Judson, the architect of this magnifi artithis before when it has been close to 100 go to the Leela hotel, close by the airport. cent building, said it was possible to use the degrees and people were willing to sit under This is a beautiful five star hotel, but to women’s side in the state it is in now if we the hoses that the volunteers were using to have to sit in their lobby from one or two didn’t mind roughing it somewhat. To that wet down the dusty walkways. am. until it was daylight to begin the long end, the workers went into overdrive and I had spent Christmas with my son and trip to Meherabad was excruciating. The accomplished miracles in the final 5 days his family in Australia, and after an overreason for this was that we had often heard before it was time for us to move in. Doors night stay in Singapore, arrived in Mumbai there were bandits on the road and that to were hung on the bedrooms, toilet stalls at 11:30 p.m. on the 2othJanuary. As usual, travel at night was too dangerous. On closer and bathrooms. The wrought iron window there was a driver waiting for me with the examination, I found out this applied mostly frames were put in—but alas, no time for sign saying “Jai Baba, welcome Dma Snow”. to Good Samaritans (don’t stop for what
seems like a broken down car), but obviously the professional drivers you request, either from the Trust office, Gary Kleiner or directly to Pathan and his company of drivers, know better than to do anything like that.They know they are carrying Baba’s lovers to His home and are bound in His love to get you there safely. Especially now we have the wonderfttl freeway going through, cutting the journey in half eliminating the torturous, excruciatingly slow ride over the Ghats, that is not a problem. I acceded to Pathan’s suggestion that we leave immediately and boy, was I glad I did! No traffic on the road at lam, and with
Lookiiig/±c.jii the U back towanic the L’11t1111CL’ oil over to flit Samadhi.
my pillow on the back seat, I curled up and slept for the next five hours. Pathan woke me as we were pulling into the PC. It was still dark, 5.30 a.m., so the PC guard opened the gates; I quietly put my suitcases down outside the office and headed up the hill. A beautiful pink was starting to flood the skies as I slowly made my way up the path to the Samadhi, savoring every step, thanking Baba for a wonderfttl, painless ending to a long voyage. I was greeted at the Samadhi by Indra and was first in line to start helping with the daily cleaning ofthe Tomb. After Arti I had a great time meeting up with old friends and we all walked down to breakfast. At 9.30 Pathan returned to pick me up and take me to the Trust office in Ahmednagar, as you cannot check into the Pilgrim Center until you have checked in at the Trust office. That accomplished, we drove back to Meherabad and I was given my room assignment. No time to unpack, as it was one of the few days in which we could travel to Meherazad and see the Mandali. While on the bus I was thanking Baba that I had gone with Pathan’s suggestion that we travel imme diately to Meherabad; I arrived on Tuesday and in the entire two weeks I was going to be there we could only go to Meherazad three times! I would have missed one of those precious days had I waited until daylight to leave Mumbai. Back at the PC that afternoon I saw my Aussie roommate, Wendy Usher, whom I had never met before and with whom I was to strike up a close friendship. Thank you Baba! When I () to Amartithi, it is not just for the spiritual renewal—I go to cover it
for the LampPost and to restock the Love Street Bookstore. All the different Baba Centers from around India bring the little treasures they have made to sell in the stalls at Amartithi—photos, key chains, jewelry, carry bags and flags in Baba’s seven colors, and all sorts of other things. The best of these make their way into the large canvas bags I carry on both arms as I wander up and down the rows. The stall owners know me by now and will clear a path through the crowd gathered at their tables when they see me coming. They know this woman has money to spend and buys in quantities that at first would make theirjaws drop! When I find an item that really tickles my fancy, and
Wendy infront ofthe signforArnartithi. 27
I know that you, my readers and customers will be delighted to buy, I take a dozen or two—or three! I usually end up with about 200 pounds (weight!) of merchandise and so have to divide it up with other willing packhorses to get it back to Los Angeles. Luckily, I had four such people this year. However, I get ahead of myself. When I heard that we were going to be able to stay at the MPR, I brought my video camera in order to frilly document the momentous occasion. I had made a film last ear too, intending to edit it and then make it available in the Bookstore for people who had never been to Amartithi and wanted to see what it was all about. Alas, when I returned home last year, having stayed until after Baba’s Birthday, I was SO swamped with catch—up work, I never had a chance to put it together. This year, I vowed to mysclf would be different!
of the building and then there is the Amartithi itself. There is such a massive transformation of the Samadhi’s environs that the workers have to start weeks in advance. The bamboo structures go up first, and then day by day, as the 31st approaches, the brilliantly colored cloths are placed on the bamboo framework to create one giant pandal stretching from the Samadhi itselfdown the hill to the out door amphitheater. Canvas is laid on the ground for the pilgrims One ofthe many greeting cards now available. to sit on, and as the families arrive, are also computer experts as well as being they stake out their spot with bags ofclothing and food, and there they stay for quite artistic, and have designed some really beautiftil cards, laminated photos and other the next two to three days. th Comes the 28 treasures I have brought back for you. ofJanuary each year, the Westerners have to vacate the Pilgrim Cen Christie stood in the courtyard with her clipboard, ready for the onslaught of ter and move into their temporary Amartithi dozens of excited pilgrims just dying to quarters. Previously, as get inside their rooms. She let us know I said above, it was to the Back of Beyond what our room number was and where : we were banished, but it was located. Although the building we this time—excitement were in will be strictly for women, for this mounts—ahh, this time, Amartithi the women were upstairs and the men downstairs. We were very happy with Lt was over the road, that—great views and zephyr like breezes. over the train tracks, winding through the The men very kindly lugged our suitcases outer lying boundaries upstairs for us. There will eventually be lifts of the Trust property, ( elevators), but for now—strong backs and north beyond the Sa willing legs. I don’t know about the men, madhi, and finally, after but there were certainly excited squeals a bone jarring, kidney from the women as we dashed to the doors marked with our number—”Look at the size thumping drive, with of this room! This is for only two people?! excitement reaching Busloads ofpilgrirns arrive at the MPR. fever pitch, the bus pulls Unbelievable!” There will be many people who will be The cupboards did not have their doors into the parking lot in most interested in seeing what the new front ofthe New Pilgrim Center! on them and no furniture. We were told that there would eventually be a desk per bed, MPR looks like, quite apart from those Eager hands reach up to help the pas and—get this! Partitions between the beds. who were here and wanted a record of their sengers out of the bus and unload all their visit to show friends and relatives upon luggage from the roofI hn’ rin their return. Therefore, my thought now is the morning, having to combine 2003 with 2004. I am telling you called Pathan to get now that it will be available (to make myself me a car. Why? Bemake time to get it done!) by the time you cause I had already read this magazine. It will be in DVD and spent over $800 in VHS format. I will try to get a ‘region free’ the Trust compound DVD so that it can play all round the world Bookstore—Meher Nazar, and also in as numerous visitors from Europe told me they would like a copy. the Meher Dabar Cyber Café. Do I So with the documentary in mind I asked Chris and Christie Pearson to take me have goodies for you! I am so happy to over the MPR a week before everyone was to make the move up there. On film, they see that India now are giving us details as to how things were has some very high built, what materials were used, what the quality printing. various rooms would be used for, and many The young men that Christie holds court with the room assignments. other such items. There is much coverage work in the Dabar café 28 .
he Dining Room was probably the least ready for us, but they made up for it wonderfully by hanging painted canvas ‘walls’ and brightly colored cloth on the ceiling. Looking up we could see the spaces in the red brick walls that are waiting for the magnificent 5’ x 10’ (1.5 x 3 meters) paintings on canvas that Diana Le Page is Temporary ceiling ofthe Dining Hall. working on. This Janu ary I was in her studio, (close by Avatar’s Abode in Australia) and I was privileged to see a number of the ones she has completed. Her paintings are a chronological representation of the life of the Avatar, 16 in all and will be on either side ofthe long room.
A detailfrom one ofthepaintings Diana Le Page is creatingfor the Dining Hall.
4 Chic wall adornments in the Dining Hall.
Thispainting is ofBaba in Hollywood in the ‘3O. 29
“Way too little!” I expostulated. “Ask for 2000/-. That is a nice round sum in rupees, will help out with the finances, and is only $44.” Christi demurred, and stuck with the 1400/- figure, but as she sat at her table in the Grand Dining Room collecting the money, I was loudly exhorting all and sundry to be a little generous and donate 2000/-. How the Trust can manage to do all this for us is beyond me. The least we can do is to help out with a little over and above what we are asked to pay. I had asked Christi if she could billet me with my newfound friend Wendy, and we were delighted to find we were in a room for two. A large spacious room for two, which I proceeded to fill with A spacious roomfor two—compare to the isolation ward atprevious all the suitcases packed Amartithis (see below). with my purchases. We were very happy to 4 also find that we had a private entrance to the bathrooms right next door! Those of you used to the old bucket of hot water poured over your body with a tiny plastic jug will be ecstatic over this next bit of informa tion: showers! Actual !r honest to goodness hot and cold running A water showers! Oh bliss!... Talking of the bathrooms, there were bottles of liquid bliss... The Samadhi is soap at each basin and also a large packet of washing powder at the big tub for us to only a five to eight minute walk from do our hand washing in. Chris and Christie Pearson put an inordinate amount of work the MPR, depending on whether you are into making the Amartithi lodgings go smoothly for us. I asked her in astonishstepping it out eagerly ment at seeing all these lovelylittle touches, or dreamily meander“Did the Trust provide these things?” “No” ing over. Large white stones mark the path. she said “I bought them in the Bazaar with the moneyyou will all be paying me to lodge There was something here for the week.” “And how much is that?” magical in following I ask. “Fourteen hundred rupees. I tried to the path as it curved over the land to Babe as economical as I could, and I think we willjust cover costs.” “But that is only $31!” ba’s final resting place, the stones seeming to I exclaimed. “For an entire week, with three meals a day—three delicious meals cooked glow in the moonlight as the pilgrims moved byMaster ChefAlanWagner and his crew?!”
The cupboards did not have their doors on them and no ftirniture. We were told that there would eventually be a desk per bed, and—get this! Partitions between the beds. Are you beginning to see why we dubbed it the Meherabad Marriott? There was a wastebasket in each room along with the mattresses, blankets, sheets and pillows. In
along it—some lost in their own thoughts, communing with Baba or gaily chatting with a group offellow travelers. Some ran—late for the duties for which they had signed up. There were three main jobs for which you could volunteer—the first was Bikewafla, in which you peddled your bike all over Meher abad, after first having created a colorful tee shirt to designate you as such. Walkie-talk ies and cell phones were in abundance, but sometimes papers and packages were needed to be transported, so call up a Bikewalla, put it in their basket and off they went. Then there was the one that was most eagerly sought after and whose list filled up most rapidly—Tomb duty. Four or five people were needed around the clock, each being either in or directly outside the Samadhi helping move the crowds along. You stayed for two blissftil hours, bathed in the love of the thousands who passed through. For the majority oflndians, it was the only time in the year that they could come to Meherabad, and they came from all points ofthe countr many traveling for days to make their pil grimage. There is a sign up sheet for each of the 24 hours over a three-day period. These sheets for Tomb duty are usually filled by J anuary 26! However, ifyou came too late to sign up for the Tomb, there is always Baba’s Cabin, the little tin shed that stands beside the Samadhi.That also needs crowd control, as there is a steady stream ofpilgrims going through, bowing down at the stretcher that carried His body from Meherazad to Meherabad on the 3lstJanuary 1969. It was the first Amartithi for Wendy, my roommate, and she signed up for all three jobs—or privileges. I don’t think she got more than four hours of sleep at a stretch th But she was high on to the from the 30 the excitement and the massive amount of
We were allowed to stay in the MPR—to recuperate from the enormous excitement and lack of sleep and sensory overload as it were—until February 3. We all packed our things and bid a fond farewell to our home ofone week—so looking forward to next year here. The majority ofpeople moved back into the PC, but others, llke myself had to start the longjourney home. Until next year, hope to see you there... * [Pathan has been a Baba loverfor many years and is a most reliable person. He has a number jdrivers who work for him, all with his high sense ofresponsibility. They all carry cellphones with them andpilgrims may use these phones for emergency calls anywhere in India or around the world You can’t ask for better service than that! You can contact Fathan and arrangefor his services by emailpathan13@yahoo. com ortelephone Sunset at Meherabad direct to India +91 241 150. To callfrom the US... one shouldprx that number with 011. Another number is 011-91-98-230-6 7022. Both ofthese are cellphones that he carries with him allthe time andhe does not mind, even jfsomeone does not know the titne conversion, to be woken up in the night to help out Baba lovers who areplanning their trips to Meherabad 1 He told me thatfor mostpeople in the US it is about 12 hours earlier where they are than in India, butJèelfree to call anytime. He said, “WeprovideAnytime Travel, so we also have toprovideAnytime Calling!] ——
The very willing bikewalli Wendy Ushe,:
love flowing out in all directions. Ifwe could just bottle that up and give to everyone we come across, what a blissftii world it would be. Every couple ofhours, when the mound of flowers so lovingly left on the Tomb and the stretcher gets too high, volunteers carry them off to a special place and it starts all over again. These flowers can be collected and brought back home to make a beautiful memento. However, a caveat—pull the roses gently apart so you just have the petals and make sure you dry them absolutely thoroughly. Check also for bugs—you don’t want to be bringing any into your country. Then put them in a zip lock bag. But do keep in mind some countries are against you bringing plants in. I felt mine were dead enough to satisfy the customs but full oflove and llfe enough to grace my Baba table at home. The crowds were the usual—about 100 Westerners from at least 12 different coun tries and about 30,000 Indians. Amartithi is really a magical time—not just for your own intimate contact with the Beloved, but there is so much love, camaraderie and just all round good times being had by all. I noticed one overseas visitor attending her first Amartitbi had a consistently sad, worried look on her face for the first few days. I was getting quite concerned about her, thinking she must be going through a very hard personal time, but then I was very happy to notice by the 3W that the frown had turned upside down and she had a continual smile on her face. I guess she had acceded to Baba’s directive: “Don’t worry—be happy!”
Einstein Takes a rVacation was reading thepaper one day to Baba and this one headline said, ‘Einstein takes tivacation. “And this intriguedBaba, so Hegestured to read on audi diet It seems one day Einstein went to the ocean with hisgrandchildren. Andtheyplayed on the sandand hadagoodtime, andatthe end ofthe day the children called to Einstein to conic and watch the sunset with them. So Einstein went and admired the sunset. And that was the story. It wasfust a littleJllleryou may st-tv. The idea ofEinstein, this great intellect, playing on the beach with his grandchildren struck someone as amusing and they wrote the article. But when 1finishedBaba lookedat me andgesturea “What doyou thinktEinstein knows ver’ well that thesun does not rise or set. This is merely an illusion caused by the eartlfc rotation around the sun. He knousthis,yetstillhe can admire the “sunset”with hisgróncIchildren. He does not try to explains to them about astronomy andphysics. Heplays with them andjoins in thegame andadmires the sunset just as they do. “It is the same with theAvatai “Baba continued “Whenevericome, Icome down toyour level lam omniscient, buti come down to the level ofhumanity, and on your levelladmire the creation, although Jknowfuliv wellthat it isfust illusion.” ...Speakingofsunsets, this remindsmeofanotherfigureBabagave one time when Iwas walkingwith Him. It was noon and 1 e were walkingandit was very hot andBabagesturecllike this, ‘Doyoufi’elthe heafilt is very hot, isn’t itfllndlsaicj, “Yes, Baba, IJèel it. Then Baba sudden# asked me, “Which is inoreglorious, the sunrise I the sunset?”Andfsaic4 “The sunset, Baba. Baba saic/ “Yes, it is so. Then He asked, “Do people ever come out to admire the sun when it is at its zenithP’Isaid ‘No, Ballet. “Baba said “People do not even see the sun then, they are not aware ofit. Theyftel the heat, but the’ir do not even look at the sun. It is only at sunrise or sunset thatpeople glorify the sun.”And then He continued andsaid “It is the same with my advent. When lam about to come, there isgreat anticz,bation. It is the sunrise. But then, when Icome, now that I am in your midst, it is like the ,niddtsv sun. But when Idrop My body, that wilibe theglorious sunset andthen allthe worldwillbecome aware ofmy advent.” That is whatBaba told me. “
—EruchJessawalla, ThatcHowlt Was ©AMBPPCT
Al G7sso, Amber Mahler and Steve Edelman.
Wish I could remember what our conversation was aboutâ€”looks intriguing. Outside Baba Samadhi, L. to R. Nadjoo Kotwal, Katie Irani and Dolly Dastui:
Thkiizg a break with afrieizd while shopping in Ahmednagai 32
Emma Branchfroin North Carolina had herfoot hennaedJbr the occasion, but the Mischievous Chicken livesforever tatooed on her leg!.
Debbie Nordeen conducts the Meherabad Choir.
Meher English Schoolpriczpal Ste/la Manuel introduces her choir ofsenior students.
The school choir gets an assistfrorn Sue Biddu.
The outside east—facing wall ofthe Dining Room—the side away from the living quarters, which will have an outdoor dining veranda with a canvas awning covering over it. The view will be gorgeous: About iSfi. oflandscapedgarden, behind which will stand thefabulous multi—colored “Welcome to my World” wall.
The low wall behind the stacks ofwood will be the 10’ high by 80’ long wall with the hundreds ofpainted tiles thatpeople all over the world have contributed.
¶JPositive 2 1ope
he booths at Amartithi had a new face this year, as a service project, Project Positive Hope, put up its banner and introduced itself to the Baba community in India. The booth sold lovely cards with photos of Baba sites taken by Pam Topley (who also shot our cover photo). Proceeds went to the project. Project Positive Hope is working in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in rural India. The project is the dream ofthree Baba lovers, Ann Speirs, Dr. Ramesh Khade, and Dhirendera Rawat. They have been joined by another non-government organization, Prithvi, with a long history ofwork in rural women’s empowerment. Prithvi will be a partner in the development and management ofthe project. All are working earnestly to bring it from a dream to a practical reality
..; ... The TB Sanitorium in Arangaon where Dr. Aloo worked and Baba ‘:( ‘ .. ,.. visited, is coming available and Project Positive Hope is trying hard to get it as a site for their campus project. It has lovely old trees and a very healing and special atmosphere Anne Spears Di Ramesh Khade at the PPH booth. For infcrmation, and to be included in the project’s c-newsletter when it gets going, please contact Ann Speirs at firstname.lastname@example.org. Identify your interest in the project in the subject line, so you won’t be deleted as spam. PPH is still in its early developmental stages, establishing itself as a legal entity selecting its Trustees, and beginning to identify needs, locate sites and tap ftinding sources. As things firm up we will send out more information. .‘
An afternoon siesta in the aftermath ofArnartithi, back at the old PC.
:: :: .:::::::..
A bowl ofdeep red dried rosepetals graces my Baba table at home. I had placed a garland ofred roses on the Thrnb shortly after my arrival. The next day, afterArti, I retrieved the garlandfrom where the day oldfiowers are placed Carefully separating thepetals and allowing them to dry thoroughly, I brought them back with me. Iplan on using them somehow at my wedding.
ç/4 J( r:prenta Camp, J4lehercthad 8thJanuary 2004. Ward Parks and I are talking on the patio of the new Meher Pilgrim Retreat dining room when he asks me if I’d like to take photos of Amartithi. I am already excited to be camping out at what I have dubbed a ‘five-star ashram,’ and now I enthusiastically answer, “Yes!” Rather than experiencing Amartithi only for myself
I will have a keener eye thinking of what others would like to see. As I make a mental list of events Ward would like included, I review my film supply. I have two rolls on hand and can get two more tomorrow. I tell him I’ll be ready. Our conversation over, I see people in the dining room are moving toward the front, aiming their video cameras in that direc tion. I follow in time to see Alan and the kitchen stafffinish lowering a big picture of Baba into place. It is a historic moment and I don’t have my camera. Under my breath I say, ‘Thank you, Baba,’ and resolve to keep with me from then on.
The First Tea
Returning at teatime I now see the dining room looks like a page in a resort magazine with its red chairs and big windows, with a view of the valley and mountains. In ac tuality it was brilliantly colored cloths laid over the beautiful wrought iron ceiling and whimsically painted palm trees and grass on canvas all along the walls to block out the construction work going on behind it. I photograph different people relaxing with a cup ofchai and talking and a woman working on a writing project. Pleased with a good beginning I sit down and listen to stories of Mansari and Eruch. My mind wanders
to photo possibilities and a friend who has told me he’d like to video people getting off the train. I’m feeling quiet and happy, and deeply thoughtful about my privilege ofbeing here. 29th January. As I prepare for the day and a trip to town in the morning, I pause briefly to consider the weight ofmy camera I’m going to be carrying as I walkthe bazaar in the heat. Then I stuff it in my shoulder bag remembering the Baba photo I missed. With straps from two heavybags tight across my chest I head for the bus feeling like a mule with saddlebags. I have a few errands before boarding and find myself at Mandali Hall. Below the sign ‘Bhau Kalchuri, Chief Organizer’ the door to his room is open. The contents are in a pile on the veranda and Laurel is supervising the bai’s cleaning. Remembering I haven’t said morning arti, I change my plan and step into Mandali Hall to Baba’s chair. It has four times as many flowers this morning. Halfway through the Master’s Prayer, my mind wanders and I begin thinking about a photo of Bhau’s room being cleaned. It is probably open only once a year and the cleaning may be over by the time I finish. Torn between prayer and photography, I finally stop before beginning the songs and go out. I am in time. With my camera poised, I wait until a bai steps out. She’s wearing a bright orange sari and holding a broom. Click. My discipline pays off. I head for the bus feeling more confident.
Samadhi 4:00 pm. Red, blue, and yellow pandals shade the ground from Samadhi to the
amphitheater in a colorful ceiling. The sun’s horizontal rays are edging into the tent where setup work for the entertainment still goes on. It is too dark inside for my camera to get a good photo so I am standing in the tamarind orchard with the sun at my back. As I am looking at the whiteness of the dome above the gay colors, waiting for something to happen, two men talking animatedly appear to my right. They will be crossing in front of me but too close for the shot I’d like. I ask them in sign language if they would move closer to the Samadhi and then walk on their way not looking at the camera. They smile as they figure it out. Click. On the courtyard side where there’s still good sun I find a bai hosing down the dirt and a worker up on an electrical pole who looks down and smiles as I call out ‘Jai Baba.’ Deciding to test my flash I shoot one young volunteer under the pandal who wants to look right at my camera like a passport photo, but after letting me motion him to turn back the way I first saw him, I get my shot. As mellow light begins to slant into the shadows under Samadhi porch, I see
a young girl in a long pumpkin-colored dress look under the railing toward me. She darts away and a willing volunteer goes to her mother and brings them both back. Watching my hand language and my smile she peeks under the railing again, her dress burnished and face framed in light. That is my last click before the official beginning of Amartithi.
First Day 30th January 10 am. On the hilltop I
find a man in a red T-shirt with Baba cards fanned out in his hands in a small crowd of people. He’s saying, ‘Take OflC.’ And with a smile, reading the message to them. Click. Walking down the path I step to the side and wait for young children being carried to appear in the stream of people coming up. Click. In the field between the railroad tracks and the road I go into the large rect angle of rows of stalls busy with shoppers and hungry people eating. I catch people buying flowers and trinkets, a man grinding
the curved steps to the second floor where women stay when I look up at the laundry strung along line on the second floor balcony. A woman appears there, and I ask her to lean forward framed by the drying clothes. Click. In the dining room a boy brings a plate of French fries from the snack bar to my table. Click. I catch him as his hand slowly moves one French fry across
will affect my photos but I pull up the flash and shoot the preparations as Jal Dastur adds sandalwood sticks and starter fluid. Dadi Kerawala steps up to the one-meter circular pit with a smallgroup ofmen. The
sugar cane into Juice, and women cooking outdoors over a wood fire. Then it’s back up the hill. I’ve finished my first roll and intend to put in a new OflC when I get to the top. Suddenly I realize a train is stopped at the crossing and people are getting off Entreating “Baba, Baba,” I dig for my camera and a new roll, praying the film catches the first time. Snapping the back shut I catch the last people getting offas the train begins to pull away. “Thank you Baba.” I am holding the camera, but He is the one taking the photos. I don’t need to understand His purpose but know it is behind everything I do. Back at the MPR for lunch before afternoon duty at Baba’s cabin, I’m halfivay up
the space of his hunger into his mouth. 3lstJanuary, 2:15 a.m. I wake up fifteen minutes before my alarm is set to go off. Signing up for duty twice at Baba’s Cabin, I hadn’t realized one 4 to 6 time was p.m. and the other 4 to 6 was am. But I’m an early riser. I let the present man on duty know I have arrived and explore, walking carefully around people sleeping. The queue for dar shan goes from the Samadhi doorway back four hundred people to the entrance to the walkway of railings that reverses direction seven times before reaching the porch. When I finish at Baba’s Cabin at six, I leave feeling so happy with my first ex perience that I am already thinking about signing up for cabin duty next Amartithi. In the dark I go down the hill, cross the Nagar Dond road to where a big crowd is already in line for the dhuni fire to be lit at 7, and find an empty space five feet from the fire pit. I perch on two railings side by side that make a comfortable seat. To my left, at the microphone men are taking turns singing arti songs in different Indian languages. My camera is out. I’m not sure how the gradu ally brightening light
first flame springs higher into a momentary two-foot blaze. Click. Pilgrims are moving by quickly. I wedge myselfback through the crowd ten deep pressing toward the railing and cross the road to a guard’s whistle.
11:50 a.m. Under the pandal a sea of thousands of Indians and a hundred westerners wait in quiet readiness for the quarterhour ofSilence to begin. Knowing the scene is too big for my camera to embracc, I scan the people sitting outside in the bright sun. Finding a man dressed all in white next to three parents and children, I ignore that I’m wearing my best blue dress and sit down on the dirt. I wave my camera at these people and smile indicating I’d like to take their photo. In the first few seconds of quiet I catch the man in white, then rest my camera in my lap and alternately close my eyes or look at the faces showing devotion, curiosity; patience, and on the children, obedience. Watching the time, in the last five seconds I aim at a young boy and a girl who is wearing Bollywood sunglasses. I have no clue as to
what she is feeling, but she has been discreetly looking around each time I’ve looked at her, suggesting she’s experienced this many times. I frame the two mothers, one who has been nursing her son who has now put his head on her lap next to the head of the other mother’s son. Click. I brush the red dirt offmy bare legs and dress, and before retiring to cook my lunch, take a walk around the compound. I decide to climb the study hail steps for a view ofthe pandal, but the yard below is big and empty ofpeople and boring through the lens. I’m about to give up the shot when sev eral groups ofpeople appear and briefly look up at mc. Two clicks and I’m done until tomorrow morning as after lunch will be my time for darshan. 1st February. Ward has told me that the closing is special even though fewer people come. I look to see what people are doing in their last hours here. Light slants onto people’s faces at several places in the darshan queue. I wait for those who are wearing bright clothes that will enliven the shadows. Click. I find a man sitting next to his packed bags whose face is unreveal I ing ofhis feelings other than tiredness. Waving my camera in request I see him straighten his shoulders slightly. I hold my camera steady and look at him from above it until his face relaxes into a smile in response to my smiling ‘Jai Baba.’Then I see a big family spread out with a lot ofluggage. One young girlwith her back to me is taking off her long pants. I wait as her shorts are showing, but finally before she gets her dress pulled back down I take the photo as behind her the mother and grandmother are looking directly at me smiling broadly waiting for my click. My final photos are ofa few volunteers who have been on the hill almost continuously, possibly sleeping a few hours.
Photo Album After the excitement ofAmartithi and working this time, as well as enjoying the new Meher Pilgrim Retreat, I’m now anticipating putting Mother & Father ofthe Bride & Groom (Alex Wylde EJoelMednick,). the photos into an album. I’ll take a rickshaw to town and wait while Sitting with them is Reid Pearson. the films are developed. I keep only photos that tell a story and evoke my feelings; the rest I tear up. The albums will be a gift to Ward and the memory ofphotographing Amartithi his gift to me. .
Charcoal drawings by Diana Le Page. Reproductions of e powerful art works 1 available through the Bookstore :
What’s 2Iappenin9 at Jkleherabad LA 2’Iew )3ear Stonj 2teather 2’Iadel, JVklterabad fter Mehera’s birthday—full of songs and flowers—had passed; and the col— ortul tent and decorations for 1\Iehcrazad’s jO)’tUl, funny Christmas program were down; after the New Year had been welcomed with midnight Arti at Baba’s Samadhi, and the holiday crowds were about to go home, an )is()dC at the Pihçrim Centre testified to Ba— 1 C ba’s myriad ways of introducing Himself. About 2:00 p.m. one day in early janu ar two Indian men appeared in the Pilgrim Centre Reception office. It had been a busy morning, and there was still a lot of chaos in the office. They were very polite, waiting their turn for the receptionist’s attention. Once they got it, they asked, “Could you tell us something about 1\Ieher Baba?” The re ceptionist gulped (thinking oflunch), smiled faintly and handed them two pamphlets containing Baba’s life-sketch and some of His important messages. After a few more brief exchanges, one of the men, realizing that he had to make a stronger impression, said, “Let me tell you how we came to know ofMeher Baba. It might interest you.” The story unfolded. He and his wife re cently visited Singapore. While there, one night his wife had a short but very powerftil dream. In the dream, she was standing in a tomb, covering the tomb marble with a “chaddar,” a cloth covering. She knew somehow that it was the tomb of Meher Baba. Then she woke up. It was such a vivid dream that she told her husband about it. They were puzzled on two counts: one, they were Hindus, not Muslims, and it is the Muslim tradition to cover the tomb of a revered person with a cloth, not something Hindus usually do. The wife herselfhad never done such a thing in her life. (As most Baba-lovers know, Baba’s tomb marble is indeed half-covered by a cloth.) That was one puzzle. The second was that she had never heard of anyone named Meher Baba. So, they did what people do nowadays who are looking for information: they went on the Internet to find out about Meher Baba. They had no idea who he was, or what country he was from, or in what part ofthe world his tomb might be, ifthere was one. You can imagine their surprise to find
on the net that Meher Baba was born in Poona, which is where theylive, and that his tomb was only two-and-a-half hours away from their home! When they returned to Poona, they gath ered up their child and the wife’s mother and father, and all came to Meherabad to pay their respects at Baba’s Samadhi. The whole family seemed very moved by their experience. From a traditional Hindu world to be launched overnight into Baba’s orbit! To receive such an invitation! Well...it was a surprise—and an enchantment. You could see that in them. So, instead of lunch, the receptionist ended up really enjoying the rich feast ofsharing Baba’s storywith these openhearted pilgrims at His door.
.7frIehernbctd Dnaugurct! 7rctck JI eet 4 JPeter 2siordeen, 21orth Carolina n the tradition of Meher Baba’s love for sports, today (1 1 January) some of us at Meherabad thoroughly enjoyed the inaugu ral track meet at the new Meherabad Ath letic Field near Meher English School. This sub-junior level meet (ages 6-14), featured over 200 boys and girls competing from area schools and clubs in the Ahmednagar district. After inspiring speeches by two of ourTrustees,Jal and Shridhar, at 11:00 a.m., the games began with the shorter sprints, the
Photo by Etzion Becker
long jump and the shot put. The last heat before lunch was the 50-meter dash for girls ages 6 to 8.The six-year-old daughter ofone of the coaches who had been tugging on her father’s pant leg periodically all morning and asking him whether it was her time to run yet, finally got her chance. Though she switched lanes with another little girl halfway through the race, and did not win, she was happy to finish, running into the arms ofher proud papa. After a few minutes she ceremoniously made the rounds, shaking hands with some of us. After the lunch break the meet proceeded with the longer sprints and runs, the high jump, some relays, and a few cross-country heats. At the conclusion, the awards cere mony was attended by several ofthe Trustees and others with Chairman Bhau Kaichuri distributing the congratulatory tokens with loving embraces to the winners. He also spoke to the crowd about the Trust’s ath letic programs and plans, and lovingly poked fim at our key sports education supporter and head chef Alan Wagner, who is one of the residents most fluent in Marathi. Their humorous exchange was most amusing to everyone. Before departing, Alan’s crew treated the participants to the traditional sweet dish of rava. Athletic facilities are an objective of the Trust deed. The Meherabad athletic field was made possible by the generous donation ofa Baba lover who wanted to see an athletic facility for both boys and girls. Through the long-standing efforts ofMeherabad resident Steve Myhro and Pravin Harel (both superb runners in their own right), track and field energy came to Mehera bad. Their Meher Runnmg Club made a decent showing at today’s meet. Even though the facility is still little more than a roughly leveled dirt field with eight oval lanes in white lime, it appears that athletic games are here to stay at Mehera bad. By Baba’s grace the future will see steady im provements to all athletic endeavors here.
iitIiday 70 )3ou Eaba! A’iiy you aIwtjs took b.enign1y upon us 1 2’Iivedita Nagpal, J44umbai
ithough Baba insisted one should cele brate His Birthday in one’s own Centre, it was curiosity that led me to Meherabad to see how Beloved Baba’s 1 10th birthday was being celebrated there. Would that Shirin mai would again acknowledge and bless her son Merog in the midst ofthe multitudes of humanity ofwhose Beloved He was. Festive balloons and a colored notice on the door ofthe Pilgrim Centre greeted one on arrival about four days before the B-day. I wonder how many of us have thought that on another 25th, Christ was born too. Thoughts race back to Shirinmai in 1894 when she had dreamt that her second child to be born would be admired the world over. She narrated her dream, “I saw a multitude of humanity pass by my door. They came to take a glimpse of my son.” Sheriarji too knew his second child would be special. During ‘Chela Nashini’ (40-day fasting ritual in a circle) he heard a divine voice, ‘What you are seeking for shall not be found. But it is in the destiny ofyour son to achieve it.’ He was named Merwan and was called Merog by his parents. As a child, Merwan Sheriar Irani was quite a mischievous rogue, prone to playing with snakes at the age of two! Mother Shirinmai could never get over his childhood antics. When she complained to Sheriarji, the latter never reprimanded Him. Silently he prayed to Him. It took a while but Shirinmai also bowed down to her son. Today the world bows down to Him as the Avatar of the Age. A simple seven-day celebration was scheduled at Meherabad for the 110th birthday of Beloved Baba. A sitar recital, flag hoisting by Bhau at the Trust Office, feeding the poor, Arti at Upper Meherabad at 5:15 am, a play at Hostel A and a quiet
dinner followed by a Baba video. Was it so when Baba was around? Mehera once recounted her early days. She said, “It used to be cold in the mornings. One morning mother (Daulatmai) woke me up at 2.30. She said, “Hurry up or else we shall be late. Today is Merwan’s birthday. Get dressed and come for tea soon.” And Mehera says, “We heard Baba’s gentle voice singing a song
and almost stopped working in the kitchen, only to see Baba at the door! We were so surprised! Those days we dressed him up. We had made clothes with embroidery on it for Baba. He dressed like Krishna. Once we weighed Him on the scale that was dangerously going low. It would have broken poor Baba’s back had He not the presence of mind to get up before it broke loose!” Those days were so beautiful. Baba fed the poor on His birthday and also distributed clothes. In later years Baba used to call Ghazal singers to the Mandali Hall at Meherazad.” Now 110 years later Meherabad still celebrates Beloved Baba’s birthday trying to match the scenario when Baba was around. The poor are still fed in the name ofBeloved Baba. All over India, Baba Cen tres hoist Baba’s Flag and recite the seven names of God. Across various time zones in the world Baba’s birthday is celebrated
as He would have loved it. A sitar recital by Prabha Joshi was organized. She has been performing for the last three years for Baba’s Birthday. This year Bhauji said about her, “Each time we hear her she has improved over her last performance.” She made some more new fans. For a number ofpilgrims it was a good recital for only 5 rupees. The play about Upasani Mahara] was the highlight on the evening of the 25th. Extravagant in production it had more than 70-odd Baba lovers helping out. The play was about the time Mehera first saw Merwan in Upas ani Maharaj’s ashram in Sakori. Naturally in later years when this was staged it was her favorite play. Alan Wagner and Heather Nadel produced the play this year. The response to the play was thunderous. Baba lovers from Pune, Mumbai, “Nagar” and other far away plac es came to see it. Overseas pilgrims stayed on from the Amartithi to celebrate Baba’s birthday and participate in various programs flitting between the Trust office and Meherabad. Much before that at 5:15 am at Upper Meherabad everyone gathered at the Samadhi for special Arti. Bhajans and songs followed later with Tea being served in the Tin Shed where Baba’s Ghadi is kept. Red roses filled up the Tomb’s marble cover and glittering decorations shone all day as they sparkled at one another. At the tin shed it was discovered that nurse Laxmi bai (she works with Dr. Anne at Meher Hospital) also celebrates her birthday on the same day and she was wished well too! During the day, some of the pilgrims were taken to the Trust office to feed the poor. It was quite an experience for some Western pilgrims who were doing it for the first time. But almost all were looking forward to tea and cakes and the play at Hostel A. The auditorium was fill and hot. The Choir started full throttle at 4.30 pm. 39
While all was ‘on time’ and ‘as scheduled’ in the audience, backstage was quite frantic. A little peek in the green room was quite amusing. Harry Muir went around asking if anyone needed AC (air-conditioners to combat the growing heat) and anyone who said yes was promptly handed a little cup of ice cream! In addition, for the seventy odd people around the stage, a water drum, lots oftea and cake and ‘pan-cake’ were available to beat the heat. After the play it was time to leave. Some had understood the play, some had not, as it was in English. Some Baba lovers were returning by the same dusty roads they came, to reach home before it became too dark. Some chose to skip the Baba video at the Pilgrim Centre to reach Pune or Mumbai to get back to work the next day. Life was returning to normal. We hope Baba makes each day simple and smooth like this for each one ofus. It was nice having celebrated Your Birthday, Beloved Baba.
center ofhis life, all that he did and said im pressed upon those around him the power of this truth and the life lived for it.To live a life centered in God’s omnipresence, it seemed to me that cold sweet morning, would entail constantly summoning one’s best for God, just like Eruch standing to greet Baba in his visitors. Scanning the faces around the Samadhi, I could see the same summoning, the same reaching out and up to Baba, in all the people singing, clapping, and hugging
designers, and the many others whose hard work made the play possible, I could see in all ofthem that same reaching up for Baba. Theywere all doing their best for the Avatar, and their efforts and faith shone through to all of us watching. I could then sense a deeper sweetness in the play: through the love that each person brought to the play, it seemed like Baba released a waft of His presence, and therein, laid the real treat of His birthday.
with huge smiles on their faces despite the time and temperature. It seemed to me that morning that when anyone says a prayer to Baba, or sings a song to Him, or does anything with Baba firmly in mind, that person is living the reality ofBaba’s presence. I ruminated on this thought throughout the day, finding myselflater in a seat watching the birthday play on the life of Upasni Maharaj, written by Heather Nadel and directed by Alan Wagner. Bruce Felknor brought to life Maharaj’s travails as a desperate, wounded seeker of God; and Peter Nordeen embodied the compassionate, all-knowing Sai Baba secretly guiding Maharaj. Against the backdrop of Mehera Kleiner’s painted sets and Bob Frederick’s computer graphics, as well as Ward Parks’ music and Debbie Nordeen’s choir, the play entertained all in attendance. Laughing as various pilgrims and residents would plunge into their roles, I was struck by the same thought I had earlier that morning. From the actors, to the choir, to the set and costume
In thejovial celebration outside the Music & Arts Demonstration Centre after the play’s completion, I could imagine Eruch standing there remembering all the little ups and downs through the course ofthe perfor mance. With his ‘Powered by God’ T-shirt tucked neatly into his pants, his thick brown glasses snugly atop his nose, I could hear him say, “That’s what Baba deserves!”
EIkbds EBirthday Brian Collins, Ccilifornia my first cold morning steps led me rom the Pilgrim Centre across the road and railway tracks and into the waft of warm air at the beginning ofthe Samadhi’s path, I didn’t know how my first celebration of Baba’s birthday at Meherabad would go. At the Samadhi, I inched along in the snak ing darshan line, hugs and “Happy Baba’s Birthday” sprinkling the otherwise dark, silent morning. The devotional energy of the 100 or so people there grew during the singing of Baba’s name and crescendoed in the seven unified shouts of “Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai” at 5 a.m., spilling over into the prayers and artis that followed. The simple sweetness ofthe ceremony was truly special. Later, sitting on the cement steps of the Sabha Mandap, gazing at the morning-gray Samadhi while taking bites from myprasad, a friend shared a beautiftil Eruch tidbit with me. At times, when Eruch would stand to greet visitors, they would insist, “No, no, please don’t stand up!” Eruch would reply, “I’m not standing up for you, I’m standing up for Baba!” A smile grew on my face. To me, all that Eruch did seemed saturated with the living truth ofBaba’s omnipresence. As Baba was so naturally and dynamically at the 5
r Your celebrating Mv shastipurti .
birthday today with allyour love, enthusiasm and zeal has deep/v touched Me and makes Me give 3)011 114:1) blessings/br the ultimate understanding that we are all One; that God alone is Real and that all else isfaice. —--Meher Baba
TO All BABA LOVERS FROM THE MANDALI CONCERNING BABA TREASURES Meheru Irani, Meherazad March 2004 For some time the mandali have been hearing that Baba treasures are being sold. When this first came up, we knew it was advisable to record in writing our unanimous view on this topic, and we feel the time has now come to publish this on the Trust Web site and in other Baba publications, so there is no doubt as to what our guidance is regarding selling Baba treasures. It is very painftil to hear of such things and we feel shocked and very sad to know that this trend is growing. Baba’s personal items were originally given by Baba Himself or dearest Mehera with His permission, and later by other mandali members. They all come from this source. Nobody is blaming anyone. However, we the mandali had given these precious items not only in our love for Baba and because ofthe love we saw in the eyes ofrecipients, but also in the confidence we felt in the ones to whom we gave them, that these love gifts would be treasured and cared for in the proper way. Many ofthe early Baba lovers, to whom these items were often entrusted for sharing with others, are no more. We have come to know that some people who these treasures have been passed on to, do not have the same reverence for these articles. They are priceless and irreplaceable a tangible link to the Avatar of the Age. Yet we hear of instances where the true worth of the spiritual gift is being thrown away in exchange for financial gain. Still it is heartening to know that most people cherish and share them in the spirit of our original intention. Please read the mandalis’ unanimous view on this topic that follows. We give it to you in His dear Love and ask that it be shared with other Baba lovers. -
In Beloved Baba’s everlasting Love, Meheru Meherazad, 27 November 2000
Memorandum to: Eruch, Bhau, Aloba, Bal Natu, Goher, Katie, Arnavaz From: Meheru
J ai Meher Baba to you. I am writing down my thoughts in response to the email we received from a Baba lover. When I read his letter I was deeply concerned as to what to answer, both as one ofBaba’s mandali and also as a member ofthe Archive Committee. This Baba lover knows that what he has received of Baba from his family’s Baba collection is priceless beyond the worth of any earthly treasure. Yet circumstances are forcing him to consider disposing ofit in exchange for monetary help. It made me really sad and at the same time very concerned. He himself in his heart knew intuitively that this was a step that needed deep thought and right guidance hence he turned to Baba’s mandali for advice. I too feel this needs deep thought, not only because this dear one has asked for our guidance, but because how and what we give out now from Baba’s mandali will become the guidelines for the friture. I sense that Baba is showing us it is time to give a united and clear statement from the mandali, to be included in the AJVIRC’s [Archive, Museum and Research Committee’s] policy and which can be given out by the AMRC, so that we leave no confusion or division on this subject. In my life as one of the women mandali with Baba in association with Mehera and Mani, and as one who has had much to do with Baba’s personal things, I have been able to observe their thoughts and views on this. Also Mani addressed this question in an interview in 1995 that was published in the Love Street LampPost and included our Policy. Excerpts from Mani’s 1995 interview on rafffing and auctioning Baba items
published in the Love Street LampPost.
Mani first talks ofMehera’s care ofBaba’s personal items. She then quotes Kabir: “One hair ofhis body is worth billions ofsuns.” Mani continues: “So whatprice doyouput on that? Somehow Iwas so struck by it: itc like Baba hasprovided[in this quote]for this moment,for this question. His hair, tooth, nails, all these have noprice. Even though I like, I love, the motivefor the raffling ofHis hair [it wasfor the development ofa Baba centre] andlknow whatcprompted it, it is not right. It is not right. Never that. His hafr tooth and nails should never be raffled A signed book is all right, Iguess.” Mani was then questioned about a touched photo: “That an object touched by Baba, not something belonging to Baba. I would hesitate even with a sadra. A sadra can bepassed around, loaned out, so everybody has a chance to be near it. But it is good to have certain things clear in onec mind, that anything belonging to Him is never at any time to be auctioned or raffled Ifitc not clear now, what will happen later” In other discussions, Mani made it clear that for the right motive she felt it was acceptable to auction Baba photos and signed books, but not anything from His person or his personal articles such as His clothing. I now realise that in addition to Mani’s interview on this subject published some time ago in the Love Street LampPost, we need to give out ajoint statement from the mandali to be the guidelines for the future. I ask that you, as members ofBaba’s Mandali, join unanimously in signing the following statement to give clear and united guidance from the mandali for the ftiture so that we leave no room for misunderstandings on this most important matter. With the guidance already laid down by Mani and our own years ofobservation and experience ofhow precious Baba’s personal items are, we want all who are fortunate enough to be entrusted with possession ofthese treasures, whether Baba lovers or not, to .
realise the responsibility they carry, so that they can ensure their protection and take the right action in regard to them. Anything ofBaba’s person or His personal belongings such as His clothing, must never be sold or auctioned. With the right motive and for a good purpose it may be acceptable to auction items touched by Him, such as Baba photos or signed books. Always in beloved Baba’s love and service,
Meheru R lmiii
Approved by: -..
Eruch 13. Jesawalla
Au Akbar Shapurzaman
Goher R Irani
‘9od Dn 2tuman 3form” film is 7rctnslctted into 3ctrsi 3:rorn Debbie Rordeen, J44eherabad.
he Farsi version of the DVD and Video of the God in Human Form film is being completed here at Meherabad. This version contains extra information and pho tographs pertaining to Baba’s work in Iran. In mid-February it had its first showing on a computer monitor in a Meherabad office where Bob Fredericks, Peter Nordeen and narrator Farshid Namiranian had worked for hours completing the work of coordinating recorded narration to the visuals on the very afternoon Farshid departed for the States. J ohn Gunn recorded the narration. Mehdi Gaffari provided the translation. Dr. Arjang was instrumental in obtaining permission for the music of famous violinist, Farid Farjad, to be used in the soundtrack. Khosrow Namiranian, who was a Prem Ashram boy, was one of the 10 or so Persian Baba-lov ers who crowded into the computer room to view the film. There were tears ofjoy to finally have a film in the mother tongue of the fatherland of Baba’s father... The mas ter copy should be completed by April. Stay tuned for more information!
Katie R. Irani Arnavaz N Dadachanji
W1uit Are 7he ne night, Ramjoo asked Baba, “What are the stars?” The Master explained: “Stars, like planets, are spheres; but many of the planets are inhabited by human beings. They resemble the Earth in culture, science and in every way materially. .but from the spiritual point of view, our Earth is the most advanced, for the Perfect Masters are born on this planet. “These other planets seem far off from one another but, in rea1ity they are close. After Realization a man finds them issu ing from himself in the millions—like tiny bubbles. He finds himself to be the source of everything—the Maker of all! Although the gross spheres of the universes are dif ferent, the spiritual planes from beginning to end are one.” Later the Master explained that there exist in the physical cosmos eighteen thousand planets with human life forms, and millions of planets with evolutionary life forms, along with millions and millions of universes, which are in a state of cosmic evolution. He clarified that Earth was the only planet where the process of involution occurred—that only on Earth do human beings experience the planes of spiritual consciousness. And he further explained
that not only were the five Perfect Masters on Earth, but the entire seven thousand member spiritual hierarchy of saints and advanced souls. At this time, such esoteric points were not public knowledge.” —LordMeher, Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 2, ©AMBPPCT
Our9a1 at Jklelterabad Jiidy &epltens 3 February to 29 February 2004 o much activity goes on here at Meher abad, from Amartithi to Baba’s birthday. Plus, there is the exhaustion left over from Amartithi. This is the time of year that many Residents are just trying to make it through the rest of the season. During the summer many of us go to the West to visit our families. On top of being tired, we are dealing with the heat! It has been in the 90s most of February. Last week it was 98 degrees at 2:00 p.m. in the shade! Ifyou are out in the sun you feellike you are getting burnt. Ifit is this hot now it is kind ofscary to think what it will be like in May—our hottest month! A Baba lover from Nagpur told us that Nagpur is the hottest place in India. I think he said it gets in the high 120’s. He said the city does not allow anyone to drive on the road between 12 noon and 4:OOpm—the roads are so hot that the tires ofthe cars and other vehicles would explode! He also told us that everyone puts a sliced onion under their hair covering, or in their pocket. He said the onion absorbs the heat. Apocryphal? Tuesday3’ We reopened the Meher Pil grim Center after Amartithi. Before the buses arrived, the receptionists got together and sorted out the areas to cover for the arriving pilgrims. Since we would have 56 pilgrims, coming all at one time directlyinto the MPC, we had to have the orientation broken into parts. At one table would be the sign-in book, with two receptionists, one for the men and one for the women. The returning pilgrims that had already been at Meherabad before Amartithi would sign in first. The group of pilgrims who had not been at Meherabad before Amartithi, or had not been here for a couple ofyears, were sent to a table where theywere given a frill orientation. Afterwards, they were given a tour ofthe Pilgrim Center before signing in. th Wednesday 4 The first Historical Tour ofUpper and Lower Meherabad since Amartithi was given at 10 a.m. Sam Kerawala came to the MPC and shared some ofhis Baba stories at 4:30 p.m. That evening at 6:00 there was a meeting for Residents and Trustees in our Spiritual Training Academy. Christine Pearson was resigning from the responsibility she had taken on for the past fifteen years, being in
charge of all the overseas pilgrim’s accom modations during Amartithi. She has a new job back at home and cannot take the time off anymore. So, Christine gave us a history ofwhat she had been doing, and brought it up to the present. She covered the problems and how they were resolved. It was such a well-organized presentation. We are going to miss Christi and her easy-going way of doing things. th Thursday 5 Meherazad reopened for pilgrims. Meherazad always closes for Amartithi, so the buses were very packed going out there. Friday 6th Bhau gave a talk at the Pilgrim Center at 4:30 p.m.. That evening at 9:00 Irwin Luck showed the first part ofhis movie on Baba’s work with the masts titled Meher BabaAvatar ofthe Age. th Saturday 7 This was the anniversary of Beloved Baba’s Interment, so many garlands and flowers were placed on Baba’s shrine. Special songs were sung at morning Arti. Bhau gave a talk at Hostel D as he sometimes does when there is a large group of Indian Baba lovers staying there. And that evening, Irwin showed the second part of his movie. th Tuesday 10 There was a forum in the Study Hail up the hill, conducted by Gokaran Shrivastava. Pilgrims were given a chance to talk on their Baba experience. There were so many attending that many had to stand. It was something the pilgrims enjoyed sharing th Wednesday 11 I gave a tour of Historic Meherabad in the morning. In the afternoon, at teatime, Sam Kerawala shared some sto ries of Baba at the MPC (Meher Pilgrim Center).
th Thursday 12 Dhuni Day. Every Dhuni we get a large group but this Dhuni was even larger since many were here that had stayed on from Amartithi. It was very festive. Friday 13t Bhau came to the Pilgrim Center to give a talk at 4:30 p.m. In the evening a Baba movie was shown. th The movie Godln Human Saturday 14 Form was shown at our theater. Tea and cake was served at 4:00 p.m. and then the movie was shown. Peter Nordeen, creator ofthis movie, said the Farsi translation was completed the day Farshid Namanranian, who had done the translation, had to leave for the States. Some final work on it will be completed before the Pilgrim Center closes for the summer. Then it will be taken to the States for duplication. Los Angeles has the largest group of Iranians outside Iran. A number of them have become Baba lovers. They even have special meetings at the LA Baba Center in Farsi. How wonderftii for them to be able to see one of the most beautiful movies of Baba in their own language. th Monday 16 Bhau came to the Pilgrim Center to give a talk. nd Sunday 22 During morning Arti, Roshan Kerawala sang the song Baba had taught her.When asked ifshe knewwhat the words meant, Roshan said Baba had given her the English translation, which she then sang for us. Tuesday 24th I was up the hill at Baba’s Cabin by 6:15 a.m., so Heather and I could change the cloth on Baba’s stretcher for His birthday. We changed the curtains, shelf cover, stretcher and pillow cover. We put on the beautiftil blue cloth with gold embroidery I had made last year for Baba’s birthday. On the pillow was the exquisitely beaded Masteryln Servitude colophon with Beloved Baba’s picture in the center. Mehera and Mani’s shrines also had special covers put on for Baba’s birthday. After morning Arti, the portico area was decorated with the festive decorations that are used only for Baba’s birthday. Even colorftil blinking lights are strung up all around the top. There was a dress rehearsal at the theater for the Birthday play. Everyone had to be there by 8:30am. I was helping with the makeup, so I made sure I was on time.
I had not been involved in the play for a number of years. In the afternoon, under the tin shed, many pilgrims help cut roses and string flowers to make thejali. Everyone was having fun. A video was shown at 9:00 p.m. ofBaba, instead of the normal Mandali videos that are shown on Tuesday night, because Wednesday was Beloved Baba’s birthday. Wednesday25 February. Beloved Baba’s 110th Birthday. Many residents are up by 3: 00 a.m.. There is a 4:00 a.m. wake-up bell at all the pilgrim accommodations. This gives the pilgrims time to get ready and head up the hill. Everyone wants to be at the Sama dhi at 5:00 a.m.—the time Beloved Baba was born. At 4:55 everyone began chanting Baba’s name. Then at 5:00 we all shouted “Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!” seven times. We then said the prayers and sang Happy Birthday to Baba. Singing continued for a few more hours. For those who wanted tea, it was served under the tin shed. It is hard to describe thejoy that is felt being on the hill, singing to Baba for His birthday. At 7:00 a.m. a bus was waiting down the hill by the Dhuni to take anyone who wanted to go to the Trust. There is usually a ‘feeding ofthe poor’ program on the 26th. However, this year it could not take place, so there was a giving ofsnacks at the Trust instead. I do not know how it went, because I stayed at the Samadhi and sang songs. Those who were in the play, or helping in any way, had to be at the theater by 1:30 p.m.. The play was to be put on at 4:00. This year the play was the story of Upasani Maharaj, one ofBaba’s five Perfect Masters. Near the end of the play I was able to go into the audience and watch for a while. It was so well done. It was videoed, as each play has been for many years. Tea, cake and ice cream was served on the veran dah after the play was over. Most of those in the play went to say hello to the Mandali who attended. The Mandali always like to greet the actors and see their costumes up close. That evening there was a cast party and the food was delicious. We were all able to start to unwind after an extremely busy three weeks. th Thursday 26 went to Meherazad on the bus. This was next to the last day. I sat in Mandali hall and videoed as Meherwan (Eruch’s brother) talked about Upasani Maharaj. He had gone to the play and shared some really good stories. th Bhau came to the Pilgrim Friday 27 Center and gave a talk at 4:30 p.m. That evening there was the 48th wedding anni
versary party at Jal & Dolly’s. Good food, good dancing, and good company. th I gave the Historical tour of Saturday28 Upper Meherabad at 8:30 a.m. It has been getting so hot by late morning that an early tour was pleasant. At 10:00 a.m., When Merwan Grew Up, a children’s film, was shown in Hostel A (our theater). Bob Frederick put together this film ofdrawings ofBaba by the children who attend Meher English School. He showed a drawing by a child, and then brought a picture ofBaba’s face out from it. All the children from Meher English School attended the showing and one of the children gave the narration. A resident com mented that there was not a dry eye among the Westerners who were watching. At 4:30 p.m. the new restored and ex tended film 0 Parvardigar premiered at the theatre. Richard Casey introduced it. This movie was originally done by Pete Townsh end. Baba has told us that this prayer would replace the Lord’s Prayer. In the evening a bus left at 8:30 p.m., taking pilgrims to the Ahmednagar Baba Center at the Trust Compound to enjoy some of the ongoing celebration for Baba’s birthday. This night was music and a magic show. Sunday29t In the evening at 8:00 p.m. a bus took Residents and pilgrims to the Trust Compound for a dinner put on by the Trust. Earlier in the evening one of the on-going programs for Baba’s birthday celebrations was performed there. This was the last day Meherazad was open for pilgrimage this season. The buses were packed. No program was given at Meherazad. This allowed the pilgrims the freedom to spend this last day as they wanted. It is hard, knowing you will not be able to visit Baba’s room or sit in Mandali Hall by His chair for such a long time. In the evening there was a dinner party at a community member’s condo.
What J4ligIit ‘‘Displectse 2lim? J4lani S. Drcrni Meherazad 22 April 1980 our very intriguing dream intrigues me too, as does the priceless question: “What would please Baba?” There are as many answers as there are lovers who desire to please Him, for the relationship between the Beloved and the lover is specifically personal—and delicate, and each one has to tune in within oneself Fortunately for us it is an unending venture, for in the constant trying is the constant remembering. And remembrance is the key: the more we remember Baba, the more we forget ourselves, until His remembrance becomes as natural and as effortless as breathing—a joyous whole in which all the daily duties and responsibilities are absorbed. You ask for a first step in pleasing Baba. The first step is not to do anything that would displease Him. Mind may say, “How do I know what might displease Him?” But the heart always knows, and whenever you have avoided displeasing Him you will see Him smile. The effort not to displease Him is in itselfpleasing to Him—when the first step is taken the next step reveals itself. In reaching the Beloved’s pleasure we need to have His constant remembrance, absolute trust, and a lot ofpatience with Meher Baba who has such stupendous patience with us! So Baba says, “Don’t worry,” because once we are determined to be His, He takes care ofit all. —Mani Letters From the Mandali ofAvatar Meher Baba j:w ii Compiled byJim Mistry, ©1983 AMBPPCT
In Beloved Baba’s sweet love, Judy
To loveMefoi whatlmaygzveyou is j]11ll To sacry’lce anything in My cause togain somethznfryoiirse(fzs like a blind man sacrficing his eyesfor szght I am the DivznBeloved worthy ofbeing lavedbecauselam Love. R who lovesMe be’ause ofthis wilibe blessed with unlimitedsight and will ee Me as I rally am. —MeherBaba
1i’thday; ....debiations .i.t 7:Iie rDhuni 13irds of J4/leherabctd Pctyam Russ, .
he Dhuni Birds of Meherabad”, a play written by Jurgis Sepkus, was performed by a number of LA Baba lovers on Meher Baba’s th 110 Birthday Celebration. While most us were amateurs (having performed in a play only once or twice or for some never before!) it was truly a wonderful expe rience to come together in Baba’s love. During the few rehearsal sessions (no small task with over 15 people spread out across L.A.), we had great firn, singing mostly out oftune, forgetting where we were supposed to be, and having no “director” so to speak. Only Baba, the Annabelle Goodrurn played herpart well. best director of all, could have pulled us together for this performance. So some may ask (even those in the play!) what was the play all about? The play was actually a play within a play, or more accurately, an opera within a play. Through the interactions ofbirds during an opera performance, this musical comedy creatively portrayed human strife, its ever-constant propen sity towards selfishness, and its ultimate awakening to love and truth. The play begins with the mischievous chicken announcing to the birds the opening ofthe new opera house in Arangaon. But when the birds realize that their great conductor “Beneducci” who is “ill and indisposed” has been replaced by none other than a drunkard turkey, they quickly lose heart. They become quite obstinate, yelling and throwing things at him. Poor Mr. Turkey cannot take this any more and walks away. The birds suddenly : realize they have no conductor and ask the mischievous chicken (Baba) to help them. With the assistance of a crow, penguins, an owl, a dove, a duck, a macaw, queen Merzaid ( Mehera), an army ofwarrior birds, 5everal human slaves, and a host of other fantastic birds, the mischievous chicken redeems and harmoThe “Orchestra—Chris Hajftnden on Oboe Pris mzes au or creation.
Jurgs Sapkus, theplayc creator and costume designei
helps Kennedy McIntosh with his Director Turkey costume.
Nancy Merwan played thepart of”Queen Mer-zaid.”
Haffenden on Guitar and Esther Matison on Recordei:
The costumes were incredible—wish you could all see how coloiful they were.
Ed Flanagan as ‘Mehrwangi.”
Eveiybodyjoins togetherfor a song.
The birds were all afluttei
At the end oftheplay, the “Penguins’presented everyone with the birthday cake.
he Persian music part ofthe program started offwith Roshan Mervan, who sang a beautiful love song she had written in praise ofMeher Baba. She was accompa nied by a very talented musician who played the dulcimer, Mr. Milad Ahmadi. Nahid Nodust then sang a popular persian song known to many Iranians titled Passionately in Love with You. She had never before sung on stage! A well-known ghazal by Rumi called the Reedc Song was sung in Persian by Fayre Davis. It was simply enchanting to hear her sing this beautiftil composition. Not having ever sung or performed before, a group of mostly Persian Baba lovers who called themselves the â€œMad Amateursâ€? sang a ghazal by Hafiz called the Divine Dance. Nasser Abbaszadeh accompanied them on the sitar and Jamshid Ebrahimzadeh played the daff a traditional Persian instru ment. The performance ended with the group along with many from the audience dancing to a wonderftil Persian folk song.
Billy Goodrurn was also on hand to lend his musc to thefestivities.
We Welcome the 2004 Board of Directors and We Welcome You! Jai Beloved Meher Baba! Meherabode’s Mission states: ‘The specific and prirnar purposes are to nurture an awareness ofAvatar Meher Baba by establishing and maintaining a place of community The Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California shall make information about our Beloved Avatar Meher Baba’s life and His message of Love and Truth available to all. It shall provide an opportunity for active love and service in His name. It shall be organized and run according to democratic principles.” (First paragraph) There are lots ofwonderful opportunities to help fulfill Meherabode’s mission. Let’s do it together! What energy, talents, skills, or ideas would you like to contribute? We invite you to contact any one or all of us. LoisJones is or Board of I)irectors President and Program Director. She has overall responsibility for presiding over the Board, coordinates long-range planning and construction, and represents the Center to the general public and the Neighborhood Association. our Program committee is in charge ofthe quarterly calendar ofevents, coordinating weekly and special Center programs, guest housing, Sahavas committee and iiorc. Lois’s phone # is: (310) 473-1584, e—mail: email@example.com. Steve Berry is ur Vice President. He assumes the duties ofthe president in her absence, and he also supports the numerous activities of the Program Committee. Steve’s phone # is (714) 966-1078, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Regina (Regi) Sadono is our Secretary. She is in charge ofthe minutes ofthe Board meetings, membership list, database, phone tree and more. Regi’s phone # is (818) 367-1606, e-mail: email@example.com. Chris Lyttle is our Finance Director and chairs the Finance committee. He has overall responsibility for budgets, accounting, taxes, insurance and much i’nore. Chris’s phone # is (805) 376-0241 email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Kerry McPherson is our Director of Service and Outreach. He chairs the Service committee, which helps with emergency assistance to members, hospitality, community assistance and more. Kerry’s phone # is: (818) 366-0308, e-mail: email@example.com Karma Page is OU Personnel Director. In that capacity she chairs two committees: the Personnel committee and the Gardening The Personnel Committee coordinates volunteers for the Center for staffing, housekeeping and mailing projects. The Gardening committee organizes grounds maintenance. Karma’s phone # is: (714) 389-2734, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Behnaz Partovi is OU Fundraising Director. The ftsndraising committee is responsible for raising money for Center operations and renovations through special events, Fly to India Sweepstakes, Dinner Auctions and more. Behnaz’s phone # is (818) 832-4554, e-mail: Behnaz.Partovi@Siernens.com. Cookie Riendeau is oUr Fixed Assets/Facilities Use Director. She chairs two committees: Fixed Assets and Decorating. She’s in charge ofbuilding maintenance, property rental, inventory control and more. Cookie’s phone # is (818) 706-1224, email:email@example.com. Dma Snow is our Director of Publications and Communications. She is in charge ofour bookstore, the Love Street Lamppost and all publicity. Dma maintains the world’s largest, broadest inventory ofBaba books, photos, videos andjewelry as well as accessories and a multitude ofother items. Dma’s phone # is: (310) 837-6419, email: Bababook@pacbell.net.
In Baba’s Love and Service, The 2004 Board of Directors
The best thing for you to do is just to love Me honestly, work for Me—I alone endure. —Avatar Meher Baba
Chiidren; fl9::C I
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I Baba—Alevai; 1938 Baba meditating in the cave under the stalactites, watched over by His devot— ed dog Cracke: Drawing by Francesca Cole, age 9—Lafayette, California.
Sunday school teacher was speaking to a group
Aof four-year-olds about Jesus, Joseph and Mary. After the lesson the kids were to draw a picture de picting their favorite part of the story. The teacher shared the pictures the children drew with the entire class. She got pictures ofthe Babyjesus in the manger with animals, she got pictures of the three wise men and the like. Then she got to a picture from little Jimmy, a pic ture ofan airplane with four people on it. She called Jimmy up to explain his picture. She toldJimmy that she could see Mar Joseph and the Babyjesus, obvi ously in their “flight” to Egypt. She didn’t understand why there was another man on the plane. Jimmy quickly explained, “That’s Pontius, the pilot.”
A Clarification on the Words of EDon Stevens t: ciurent Weichberger, England March 2004, his comes as a clarification concerning recent articles which have appeared in both NetiNeti and the Love SereetLampPost about the repeated presentation ofthe Don Stevens seminar, “Meher Baba’s Word and His Three Bridges.” Having now personally attended five ofthese seminars (London, Hyderabad, Seattle, El Cerrito, and Myrtle Beach) and helped Don to prepare the book with the same title, I have been asked to revisit ten of the key points that may have been left somewhat vague or doubtftil, as follows: 1. When Don mentions that he read a message from Meher Baba, where Baba speaks of Himself as a “bridge” to God, we still have not been able to locate the original printed message, and we do not know to whom the actual message was delivered. This will need research in future generations. In any case, Don is very clear in his own intuitive sense that this advent of the Avatar, as Meher Baba, is the first of three bridges to God in his own model of the “Three Bridges.” Don says about this point, “I seriously doubt that this quote Don makes of Baba’s address will ever be found as this was a small and very informal piece ofonly several pages apparently printed lo cally for the few Baba followers present at a local meeting and only to try to give them the words Baba had given at a small local gathering. Obviously I thought it was a very big statement that merits knowledge wide and loud.” 2. One ofthe points that Don repeatedly brings up is the problem of paraphrasing Baba, writing something that Baba may have said, or that sounds like something Baba has said, and putting that inside of quotation marks, as if it is a genuine quote from the Master. This is not a good practice and can be tremendously dangerous. Quotes should be attributed by source and checked for ac curacy. Otherwise, over time it will lead to massive confusion about what Baba really said, or wrote. Editing Baba’s words is a closely related problem, since editing Baba’s words after He has “dropped His body” is a falsification of what words are actually attributable to Meher Baba Himself. Either Baba wrote it, or said it (through various means ofcommunication with the alphabet
board, gestures, or other means) or He did not. Changing Baba’s words after He has passed away, and keeping His name as the author is a subtle form of falsification, and it should not be done. 3. It has been reported about “love” and “reason” that, “Baba indicated that someday there would be such an imbalance between the two that people would have to work hard to get it back.” I believe, however, that Meher Baba did not indicate this while in the body, but that Don Stevens has intuited this future. In other words, this is purely Don extrapolating his own understanding based on the comment from Baba to Eruch that, “Don is an almost perfect balance between head and heart.” Don says regarding this point, “Completely true that this was Don’s extrapolation brought about by his observation that Baba very rarely repeated Himselfunless He wanted to highlight that something was or would be later of great importance.” 4. It has been reported that, “Baba told Don, ‘I placed the spiritual charge of My word into your being. however this did not occur while Meher Baba was in the body. This event actually took place in London during 2003. It was an intuitive experience received by Don (as reported by him in his new book) in which he shared what was communicated by the intuitive voice: “Read My words with your hearts open. Use the techniques of meditation I have given you for the frame of intuition for the spiritual charge I have attached to my words to flow into your being. After that, be content that I am one within you and will guide you on the course of your life.” (See Meher Babai Word and His Three Bridges, by D.E. Ste vens, p. 43, Companion Books, London, 2003.) Don continues, “Baba never at any time made any such statement to me and I did not interpret the London experience in this manner. I felt it was from Baba and was simply a very clear and important message from Baba about how to go about His words in the future to receive maximum benefits from His words.” 5. Regarding the work that Don reportedly did to help Baba with printing of the Song ofthe New Life message, this is a case of mistaken identity. According to Don, it was Adi K. Irani, Baba’s Secretary, who helped arrange that printing. Don simply . . “
received a final printed copy as did many hundreds of other Baba followers around the world at that time. 6. Concerning the similarity between Baba’s method of working on God Speaks and his later book Lift At Its Best (which was worked on by Meherwan Jessawala) we wrote an article based on an interview with Meherwan to share more about this point. (See Neti Neti, International Meher Baba Newsletter, December 2003, No.148.) The article is entitled: How the Book LfèAt Its Best Was Born, and it was approved by Meherwan. The article reveals significant differences to how God Speaks was created. 7. It has been reported that the book Listen, Humanity gives in Part One a tran script of the sahavas known as the “Three Incredible Weeks,” however, it is actually a transcript ofthe first week ofthe “Four Language Groups” sahavas with Baba, which was held during a later year. Don says the “Language sahavas was held one year later than the three incredible weeks.” 8. About the problems between Charles Purdom and Meher Baba over philosophical points published by Purdom in his major biography of Baba entitled The God-Man, Don acted as a go-between (or “Mercury” as Baba called Don) between Baba and Purdom to help resolve the problems. The one point that Purdom would ultimately not agree to change in the book revolved around a statement Meher Baba made that Purdom was confusing the meaning ofthe two words: “consciousness” and “awareness.” 9. Also in The God-Man, for some mys terious reason, Purdom changed a sentence of The Song of the New Lift. The original version by Baba and Dr. Ghani read: “Let despair and disappointment ravage and destroy the garden ofyour life;” However, Purdom changed it in his book to read: “Let not despair and disappointment rayage and destroy the garden ofyour life;” 10. Finally, on the topic ofthe conscious changing ofwords authored byMeher Baba and then reprinting them, or making up words and then attributing them to Meher Baba as the author (and other variations on this theme) Don says this contributes to the betrayal of Baba’s Word. Thank you for this opportunity to attempt to clarify a few delicate points.
WORLDWIDE MEHER SABA MEETINGS
he following is information about the various Baba groups around the country and a few from overseas. If your local data is not included please send to me and should things change from the published details, please let me know that before the next issue’s deadline. —Dma
Union Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505 Phone 505-983-6621 firstname.lastname@example.org MONTANA
Andy Shott, phone: 406-549-5949 336 Connell, Missoula, MT 59801 NEW YORK
Meher Baba House Angela and George Chen 124 Pondfield Road West, Bronxville, NY 10708 e-mail: info@MeherBabaHouse.org www.MeherBabaHouse.org
Irma Sheppard, phone: 520-321-1566 3562 East Third Street, Tucson, AZ 85716 e-mail: email@example.com
Winnie Barrett 10 Sunny Ridge Drive, Asheville, NC 28804 Phone: 828-645-9252 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Sheldon Herman, phone: 336-288-8090 or 336-235-2730, 2405 Kery Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408, e-mail: email@example.com Peter and Debbie Nordeen 5 Fern Street, Ashe ville, NC 28803 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (EL CERRIT0)
Call for information regarding meeting times and related information: 510-845-4339 or Ben Leet at 510-351-8259 e-mail: Benleet@earthlink.net The Northern California Avatar Meher Baba Center is located at 6923 Stockton St., El Cerrito, CA 94530-293 1 www.MeherBabaMeherBaba.org NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (SAcRAMENTo)
Meetings first Friday of the month at 7 p.m. Marilyn Buehler 916-925-4451 e-mail: email@example.com wwwpremsay.com/MeherBaba SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (LOS ANGELES)
Meetings are Saturday evenings 7-9 p.m. held in our center “Meherabode,” phone: 323-731-3737, 1214 South Van Ness Ave., Los Angeles, CA 9001 9 (JustEast ofthe intersection ofArlington and 12th Street.) The Avatar Meher Baba Center of Los Angeles now has its own web site at wwwMeherabode.org to bring the local news, programs, activities and announcements to the Baba community and the public. COLORADO
Meetings Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. at various homes in the Denver-Metro area. (Also the contact p ersorifor Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, andArizona.) Barbara A. Roberts, Phone: 303-238-4649 3475 Moore Court, Wheat Ridge, CO 800335543 (suburb of Denver) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org FLORIDA (TAMPA BAY)
Jane Paladino,Tampa, FL, 813-962-8629 Tom Decker, Clearwater, FL 727-536-9282 Deborah Price, Palm Beaches &Treasure Coast, 561-842-0267 email@example.com Joan Engsberg, 772-286-2594 firstname.lastname@example.org HAWAII (MAuI)
Meredith Moon Phone: 808-573-1188 or 808-572-6556
Fax: 808-573-1189 e-mail: email@example.com 1940 Olinda Road or P0 Box 1269 for mail Makawao, Maui, HA 96768 USA HAWAII (M0LAKA.)
Shirley Alapa at “Meher Dham” Phone: 808-567-6074 or 808-567-6383 Fax: 808-567-6363 Message: 808-567-6363 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 69K Farrington Ave., Hoolehua, HI 96729 mail: P.O. Box 177 Kualapuu, Hawaii 96757
Chris &Anne Barker, phone: 936-560-2631 3101 Skyline Drive, Nacogdoches, TX 75965 e-mail: email@example.com
Philadelphia and surrounding tn-state area of New York, NewJersey, and Pennsylvania. Bi-weekly meetings on Saturdays at 4 p.m. Frank Bloise, phone: 856-696-4374, 431 West Garden Road, Vineland, NJ 08360 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Group meets once a month on the third Sunday. We take turns hosting the gathering. It’s always at 1 p.m. with potluck first and then meeting. Connie and Doug Leavitt, work: 207-594-0909 home: 207-594-1968 evenings and weekends. P0 Box 125, Spruce Head, ME 04859 e-mail: email@example.com; or Noreen O’Brien, phone: 207-273-3173 home: 101 Hart Rd., Warren, ME 04864 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Ken Lux, phone: 207-594-6391 P.O. Box 108, Rockland, ME 04841 e-mail: email@example.com NEw HAMPSHIRE
Call for info: Liz Miller at 603-749-3668 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
M ASSACHUSETTS Meher Baba Information Center (Cambridge) Michael Siegell 617-864-3997 or Linda Porelle e-mail: email@example.com NEW MEXICO
Robert Reser and Edle Andersen Meetings are held the last Thursday of the month at 7 :00pm in our home 1921 Fort
KathyHill,phone: 757-617-1862, 9628 Salem St., Norfolk, VA. 23503 email: Kathill@mfire.com WASHINGTON, D.C. Pamela Butler-Stone, phone 310-946-0236 Friday and Saturday meetings. www.lifeimages.com/MeherBaba
Michal Sivan, phone/fax: 02671-5835 46 Hebron Road,Jerusalem, Israel 93513 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org MEXICO
Rafael Villafane Phone from US: 01 152555295-05 12 Cell from US: 01152555502-7225 E-mail is best as I travel alot: email@example.com We have meetings about every month, in Mexico City at 7 p.m. No particular meeting day, people on the list are contacted prior to any meeting, e-mail addresses are preferred. I am also found in Cancun or Acapulco at times, so e-mail me if you will be in those areas. SI
Topentrafe into the eence fall being andsigncance andto release thefragrance ofthat inner attainmentfor theguidance and bent ofothers by expressrng in the world offli rns truth 1ove,pzirny andbeauty—thzs is the sokgarn which has any inirinsw andabsiIute worth All other happenrngs zncidents and attainments ca in themselvet have no laarng zmportance —MeherBaba
AVATAR MEHER BABA CENTER OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
1214 SOUTH VAN NESS AVENUE LOS ANGELES, CA 90019-3520
NONPROFIT U.S. POSTAGE
PAID LOS ANGELES, CA
Address Service Requested
PERMIT #3 I 394