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Editor’s Report Jai Baba Folks, ithough as I write this it is already arch, I feel we couldn’t start our magazine in a nicer way than with this message from one of Baba’s dearest. It is Meheru’s New Year Wish to you all: “May your love for Beloved Baba keep growing in your heart and His Presence be felt more and more in your life. This is our loving New Year’s wish to all our Baba family.” —Meheru. Signs of Spring are everywhere in Los Angeles: the birds are singing their special Spring songs, the tulips are blooming, daf fodils are nodding their golden heads in gardens everywehre and my back fence is smothered with wisteria, making the air redolent with their gorgeous scent. All very lovely, but not in synch with where the April issue ofthe LampPost should be right now. I attended a meeting of the Long Range Planning committee yesterday morning and was told I had to get tough! Margaret Magnus and her husband Sam Ervin have been doing a marvelousjob with the meetings they have been organizing on every aspect ofthe Los Angeles Baba Center. As they bring up each topic, flow charts are created showing where we want to see (in this case) the Love Street LampPost in one year, five years and then taking a fantasy stab at what it might be like in 20 years, writing down what we would like. Margaret and Sam, although living over an hour’s drive away from the Center, have often been among the few volunteers we get to staple the magazines shut and put the address labels on them. It is a longjob and difficult to get people to help. Ideally I would like to see the magazines mailed the day after I pick them up from the printer. Due to lack oflabor, it is many times a week or more that they sit at the Center awaiting attention. This is one area where we can make an immediate difference. Let a mailing house handle the job I was told. I have always resisted doing this because it would add another $12-1400 a year to the cost of production, and since the Baba Center does not underwrite the publication, it all has to come from donations. When the producing ofthe LaizpPost was dropped in my lap many years ago, (thank you very much Baba!) I was told it was not to have a required subscription fee, but it
was also at that time just a newsletter of a few pages. As it has grown into a magazine I have found it necessary to ask for dona tions, because without them, the magazine would cease to exist. Many ofyou have been faithful about slipping a check in those little envelopes that come with the January issue. Manywonderftil people also have been most generous with their donations, giving well above the $16 it costs us per person per year. (These go to cover for the people who don’t donate.) Now, it’s going to cost a little more due to the mailing house costs. I’m not asking for more money from those who do donate, but perhaps if you can’t remember the last time you sent in a donation, if ever, it sure would be appreciated ifyou could be conscious ofthat and send us a little something each year. We are looking to the day (probably a few years from now) when it will be an online magazine. It could be a lot more current then, with information added weekly, perhaps even daily. It would certainly solve the problem for our overseas subscribers, where each magazine costs $6-$8 to mail! (But we still only ask $20 a year from them.) Another way it was suggested to cut down on the amount of stress generated by trying to put a (sometimes) 56-page maga zine together in 3 weeks was to make the deadline earlier and to adhere to it. I have been very lax about that, accepting submis sions up to the verylast moment ifthe layout has not actually been finished. This is not fair to Pris, Cherie or Tom, whoever of the three happens to be doing layout that issue. It also means my job never finishes—I am constantlyworking on the magazine. I guess our members don’t like to see me going around with such a crazed look! Bottom line is—note the new submission dates on the opposite page. They are two months ahead of the date of issue, and we will be strict about not accepting anything after the announced deadline. Sorry, but I do need to keep my sanity On another note, a quick reiteration of our policy on articles published might be in order. The Love Street LampPost exists to help spread Baba’s message of love and truth.We publish His sayings, excerpts from His writings, stories ofthe Beloved by His Mandali, and memories from others who were with Him when He was in the body. What we decline to publish are the average person’s interpretations of what they feel Baba really meant, or their ideas on how they feel Baba would want others to live their lives. What we do like to read are
personal stories from our readers about the ways Baba has impacted their lives in a most meaningftil and unmistakable way. Our Beloved can be most unsubtle at times—leaving no doubt as to what it is you are supposed to be doing! Take my marriage for instance. .but that’s another story, for another place—like the center of the magazine. So many ofyou have wanted to hear about it, see photos and find out just what it was that Baba did to make such a radical thing happen to me, a confirmed single woman, that I felt well, perhaps it didn’t smack too much of self-interest (not to mention nepotism), and that I could tell you how He made it all come about. What I also found out while in India this January was that two other couples met during Amartithi 2003, as did Charles and I, and subsequently married. Our Beloved was, as Bhauji would say, infinitely active that Amartithi! I heard some amazing stories of the ‘coincidences’ that occurred when Baba was determined to bring two people together. Tell me your stories! Let us read how Baba has impacted your life and brought about radical changes. Just remember to get them in by May 1st! In His love, Dma Snow Gibson .
ef puJka/in o//Je Z’oaIar 91 (eler J7aa Genler o/cSoullern Gab/orniz
Love cStreetJ.ampost ye/come..
7he Love StreetCampPost is dedicated with love to /1vatar J4leher
EBaba. Dts primary purpose is to contribute to a sense of community among all :-iEl5 lovers by providing a place for sharing 2 .1is remembrance. L/4!! members of the EI3aba family are invited to contribute to this feast ofLove. Your stories, photos, artwork, poetry, letters, articles, and humor are all actively solicited. We seek expressions ofBaba’s message of
THE AMARTITHI WITH A DIFFERENCE CHILLs & THRILLS AT THE AMARTITHI AMARTITHI AT THE MPR...
DINA SNOW GIBSON
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DINA SNOW GIBSON
MEHER BABA, THE DIVINE MATCHMAKER
Love and Truth.
DINA SNOW GIBSON
DINA SNOW GIBSON
THE MASTER & THE OLD MAN’S FOUR SONS
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A CHILD’S EYE VIEW OF MEETING MEHER BABA
A FIVE STAR SAHAVAS SITE
M0NIKA HAFLIGER K0CH0WIEC
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thank jou Love StreetLampPost ispublishedquarteriy, b theAvatarMeherBaba Center ofSouthern California. All words, images andgraphics in thispublication areproperty ofthe copyrzght holders and/or the contributors. Messages andphotos ofMeher Baba © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, Ahmednagai India, and © Lawrence Reiter Other contents © 2005AvatarMeher Baba Center ofSouthern California. Unauthorized duplication isprohibitedbv law.
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the individuals and organiz ations that own the copyrights to the J44eher 73aba pictures we have used throughout this issue to bringjoy and love to the hearts of all Love Street L amp.Post readers. 3
ht’ 4 2iappeninj ca Jl4eIierazad appy 2kw )3ear from EBhau 2Catchuri! I2 Bhau’s Message for the New Year 2005 eloved Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai! Every year, as we enjoy New Year’s Eve to the ftillest extent, we all enter the New Year on the 1st ofJanuar But no one pays attention to what this New Year really means. The real New Year is that year which always remains as the New Year, every moment, every hour, every day and every year, not attached to the past or future. This Year is always in the present. Therefore, as we enjoy our New Year celebrations, we must long for that New Year that keeps us always in the present, and connects us to the Eternal Year, which alone exists. The past and the future are the signs oflllusion—they do not exist. To wake up from the dream oflllusion is the goal oflife. We must remain existing in Reality which will make us free from Illusion. I wish you all a very happy and joyful New Year in Beloved Avatar Meher Baba’s love. May He create the desire in us to long and long to wake up from this dream oflllusion and recognize Him as the Reality
With all love and Jai Baba to you, In His love and Service,
on the first Heart Talk of2005 (available on line at http://ava tarmeherbaba.org/mailman/listinfo/tavern-talk) Meheru would like to share with you this Discourse by Beloved Baba and the fol lowing ‘Saying of Shri Meher Baba.’ The Discourse is taken from Notes from My Diary by F. H. Dadachanji (Chanji) and both are published in the Meher Babajournal, September 1939. Meheru’s New Year Wish to you all: ‘Mayyour loveforBeloved Baba keep growing in your heart, and His Presence befelt more and more inyourhfe. This is ourlovingNew Yearc wish to all ourBaba family.”
Where is9od ne morning, during the usual talks with the mandali, Baba lightly touched upon an interesting subject about God. He abruptly started asking everyone in the room the question, “Where is God?” All replied on the spur of the moment, in various ways. One said, “Everywhere,” another replied, “In the soul,” the third pointing at heart softly whispered “Here.” One argued about the conception of God and then tried to answer. Another expressing his inability for a solution, answered, “It is the eternal problem.” Thus the question went around till it came to the turn of Dr. D., who was the last of all asked by Baba. He seemed to have smilingly surveyed the situation all the time, and came out with the spontaneous assertion “In Baba.” For a moment all were taken aback. It was so simple, so natural, so easy. Baba then pointed out that if we all took Him as our Master, Perfect and One with the Infinite, and honestly believed it, that was the only conclusion— logical, true and simple. Baba’s object in asking us this question was probably to draw out of all present what we have learnt in different ways and degrees, and from that explain further. Giving His own answer and explanation to this most interesting and important question, Baba went on: “God is where you (individuals named as K., or A.) are not. That is reality Where you (as so and so) are, God is not. That, your being alooffrom God, is an illusion. Where your false ego establishes itself as you (so and so) and says you are, God cannot stay. When your false ego as you disappears, God comes in.” Referring to the group’s various answers individually given, Baba further explained:
1 “To say ‘God is everywhere’ is a general term, and nothing new. Pandits all over say that, and Vedanta is full ofthis explanation. To merely say it is of no use. You must find it, feel it, experience it. .
2. To say that ‘God is in the heart’ is again part truth. If God is everywhere as you all know and say, why then should you limit His [being] only in the heart, and not in the head or your thumb or toe? Why should you try to see Him in one particular part and not in the other? That is a common mistake and characteristic hu man weakness to spot the Highest and most Beloved, or revered up above, somewhere in the skies or in the heavens, or when sought in the body, to find Him only in the parts men like best, i.e., in the heart or the eye, as if He did not exist equally elsewhere in other parts, in the back or the bones, in the nails or in the flesh. Is God in the rose and not in the thorn? Or in flowers and not in filth? This weakness of seeking God in things you like and shuddering at the idea ofHis existence in things you do not like or abhor must be overcome. It is only when you rise above all these ideas of good and bad, and recognize, see and feel flowers and filth alike, and find God equally in all, that you could be said to have learnt and known something real. Otherwise it is all parrotlike, a false conception, an illusion. Besides, taking it for granted that the best and most ideal abode for God to dwell in the human body is the heart, it must be remembered clearly that even in this best abode dedicated by human beings for God to dwell, He who is the Purest of the Pure would not come in unless that abode ofthe heart, however spontaneously and lovingly offered, is absolutely clear, empty and devoid of any foreign element. The slightest hindrance in the shape of an alien thought would prevent Him coming. And those who trulywant God to dwell in their hearts must have them utterly clean and empty devoid of selfish desires, i.e. lust, greed, etc.” 3 Coming to the answer given that “one should first form a concep tion of God and then reply” and the long philosophical explanation that followed, the Master pointed out: “All these talks are cut and dry Pandits babble it everywhere, for years, without finding any clue, till they die babbling. The orthodox section of all communities listen to these innumerable dissertations by religious students and scriptural scholars, and form various pet beliefs about God and His existence somewhere in the skies or in the best things, and not in others, and cling to these erroneous ideas tenaciously without the least effort at enlightenment or to go beyond the four walls. They refuse even to talk or listen to the fact of having actual experience, and consider it blasphemy even to think ofit. It is only these talks and philosophies that appeal to them, and they are quite satisfied with these. That is why I say it is all philosophy and of no use without experience. One must try not only to learn and know, but to feel and experience.” .
4. Referring to an answer that “finding God is the eternal problem and struggle”, Baba explained: “It is true; but one must not stop there and make no efforts, taking that problem as impossible to solve, and feeling despondent, give it up. That search and struggle must continue, with added vigour and enthusiasm at every step and the longing developed so intense that it becomes one’s only problem in life. To that end, he should struggle, moving on and on, and try to find all sources ofenlightenment in the solution ofthis.The best, easiest and quickest way is to find a Guru who has realized God. Although that is not easy at all, and one may have to come across many false and fake ones before he finds the real one; but, if the longing for that eternal search is kept up, he shall come across one who will guide him aright to the goal. Even those living in company with a Master should not feel content, and merely say that they have found everything because they have found a living Master. For even though it is a true statement, it lacks actual experience. And experience can never be had without effort. So try all ofyou to see your Master as he really is, and not as he appears to you, and even in your Master try to find that Infinite Existence that pervades everywhere.”
conveys everything that the negative question as asked by Baba required. He closed the topic with His concluding and significant remarks, “God does not exist where there is duality.”
Where is 9od 2’Jot?
Laura Lal, 2aris, 3’ance. ..Jimartithi 2005
After discussing the affirmative side of this question, Baba ex plained the same from its negative aspect also, asking in turns the same question negatively, “Where God is not (does not exist)?” It rather puzzled all, abruptly as it came. In the Master’s august pres ence, it is the general experience and also a fact that all feel lost at times, especially when He tries to bring out something from one or the other, and explain something to the group. The best and cleverest brains are lost in thinking. The Master at these particular moments uses these formal talks for His working. In reply to the negative question asked, which left all thinking, one of the Mandali spoke out “Nowhere”. That is the word, the only one that is so expressive, so convincing. IfGod exists everywhere, certainly there is no spot or speck on earth where He does not exist. Hence this reply “nowhere”
Saying of Shri Meher Baba:
“The act ofworshi shouldspringfrom the heart. Let it be borne in mind that worship ftom the heartpresupposes great efforts. It can— not be evoked by a mere wish. Ifone decides uponpractising true bhakti (worship or devo tion), one has to make heroic efforts in order to achievefixity ofmind,for contrary thoughts are very likely to disturb one mind.
A4ehcnbad },4s:jc Music is Divine Art of Meher Baba. If you hear the song of love, you are floating with the music and you dance up and down Meherabad Hill and you are free like Baba’s Queen and feel that wonderful sensation, and your heart is open. Tears oflove and joy come rushing down my cheeks and it is soft like a soft breeze and is stroking your body and hair and you will feel a hand is touching you. He is lifting up something. Open your eyes and your burden is falling and the veil is going away and you will hear a love song like something is coming to you and your heart is beating and is coming into life again. You can hear the drumming ofthe vibration. Someone is knocking at your door and the door will open and your shell is falling and breaking into pieces and you are free from your burden once again. What a happy ending. Finding your life song. Jai Baba! S
Vtoment 1 Cabin J 1Reather2Iade1, J1’kherabad, 223wwary he cloth covering the stretcher in the Cabin on Meherabad Hill is golden yellow this month, and it is gleaming in the lamp light of an ordinary mid-January morning. It’s early and all around is quiet; you hear none ofthe pre-Amartithi daytime noise ofpeople lashing bamboo poles together, or tractors bringing light equipment or railings for the line barricades. It’s still dark outside, and pilgrims are slowly drifting up to the Tomb for cleaning and morning Arti. The crowds are less than were here for Mehera’s birthday (celebrated with a special gathering at the Samadhi), or for Christmas at Meherazad (with carols and songs and dances and that hilarious skit “Avatar Idol” in the garden). Less too than on New Year’s Eve, when in the darkness of midnight, about 200 gathered at Beloved Baba’s Samadhi to pray in the New Year. The people are less, but I’m sure no one here now can help but feel what begins each morning and grows stronger each day: the rising energy of the approaching Amartithi. I always feel that Amartithi is the stretcher’s day of days, for it was on 3lstJanuary 1969 that the stretcher carried Beloved Baba’s body from His room at Meherazad to the Hall there and then in the ambulance to this Cabin on Meherabad Hill. As they afterwards recalled, here Mehera and Mani and the women gathered around His body for their last private time with Him. After some hours, as His body was taken the short distance from the Cabin to the Samadhi, they had to give Him up “to the world”. Now the “world” is coming once again for Baba’s thirty—sixth Amartithi. The sun that hits the Samadhi dome just before Arti this morning will go on to light up Meher Pilgrim Retreat ftirther along the Hill (where 160-plus pilgrims are going to stay this year amid the continuing construction), and will bathe lower Meherabad and outer Meherabad and the new Amartithi site and the new new Amartithi site (where many thousands of pilgrims will stay) in its white winter light. By noon that old sun will be looking down on preparations and activity in every corner of this place. But it is still dawn in the Cabin, and the stretcher that carried Him is simple and man-sized. In a few minutes, the God-Man’s lovers will start to sing: “0 Glorious, EternalAncient One, Your Face is a bright transcendental sun, Lighten this dark world and the teal-s I weep, My heart, Mehei, Igive to You to keep.” 6
When Madhusudan Sang a song offarewell to his Belovec4 They say the window ofyour heart opened a little And love spilled through in waves oflight Bathing those gathered at thepalace on that day, Moving the hearts ofall So that even the tough guys Wept. Now, standing atyour tomb shrine, We can see the window opened wide And light streams through Flooding our hearts with suchforce That many weep openly Swept up in the springtide ofyour love. Our tears oveiflow even though we know You have not departed, You never left us, You are always here. Sarah McNeill
J1martithi Webcasts Ward 2arks 1 7kk1wraba4 3OthJanuary [Although this notice is no longer relevant, we arepublishing it to letyou know that this does happen everyyear now, with the technologygetting evergreateic So ilyou cannot be in Meherabad nextJanuary, sit infront ofyour computer andbe transported ‘virtually. ‘And the very best thing about it is—it cfree!]
ith the 2005 Amartithi program scheduled to begin several hours from now, our program of Amartithi webcasts is already under way. While last year the webcasts were ‘virtually live’ this year they will be live literally. Each day from now through Tuesday 1st February, on the Trust web site you can tune in as on a radio to three or four several-hour segments of continuous live audio, interspersed with segments of video. You can find full information about the webcasts, including the program schedule, in the Events and News section of the Trust web site: http//www.ambppct.org. The highlight ofthe three-day commemoration, ofcourse, is the fifteen-minute silence beginning at noon on 3lstJanuary; the two hours before this silence and the hour following it usually constitute the climax of the Amartithi gathering. All ofthe posted schedulings are according to India time. Twelve noon on Amartithi day (3lstJanuary) in Ahmednagar corresponds to: 6:30 a.m. (3lstJanuary) Greenwich mean time; 1:30 a.m. (31st January) in New York; 10:30 p.m. (30th January) in Los Angeles; and 4:30 p.m. (3lstJanuary) in Sydney. on this thirty-sixth anniversary of Meher Baba’s dropping the physical form, those of us in Ahmednagar join with His lovers around the world in our remembrances and salutations to Him, the Avatar of the Age.
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with n 7Jiffe:enceI
rJ3j Snow9ibsou must not be very spiritual; I let exterior circumstances interfere with my enjoyment of Amartithi! For the past five or six years it had always been the highlight of my year. First, and I guess, foremost, I missed my new husband. After all, we had returned from our honeymoon just a few days before I took off, alone, to India. I arrived there with a cold that proceeded to get steadily worse; and then the rains came—and came and came! But I get ahead ofmyself... th, I always plan my arrival in Meherabad for January the 28 the day when Amartithi accommodations are set up. All the Westerners have to vacate the PC (Pilgrim Center), load their luggage on the buses and truck on up the hill to the MPR (Meher Pilgrim Retreat). I joined the crowd bussing my luggage over the bumpy road, which had noticeably improved since last year. The excitement was palpable as we filed in to the registration office, got our room numbers and then raced off to see where we had been billeted and with whom. New friends were made and old ones caught up with. Oh thank you thank you Baba! I was lucky enough to get one of the single rooms downstairs. Last year I had been upstairs, and lugging two 70 pound suitcases up and down the stairs was no fun! This year I was free to buy as much as I wanted for the Bookstore, and I did! There were so manyWesterners this year, we filled both the men’s and the women’s quarters. Last year it was the women on one side of the women’s quarters and men on the other, but this year the men’s quarters, in a separate building, had been completed sufficiently for occupation, so the men could stay there. The MPR is absolutely marvelous, a beautiftil group ofbuildings constructed in a warm red brick, but as it sits out on the open flat plains it gets all the wind and cold. Not enough ofthe newly planted trees have grown to act as wind breaks and shelter, and hundreds more need to be planted. Temperatures dropped to the low 60s, and I was chilled! After all, I had just come from the warm climes of the Caribbean and an unusually warm winter in Los Angeles. I started to unpack my case, but the 36 hours of travel time hit me like a ton of bricks and tiredness overcame me. The plane seemed to have worsened my cold, the sun vanished under gray skies and I took to my bed. Light rain started falling and we thought, “Oh good, it will settle the dust!” But it didn’t stop. Not tropical downpours, just a light drizzle, but continuous, and by noon the next day we were no longer thinking ‘oh good’—it was more like: “OK Baba, we know rain is supposed to be a sign of your blessings but this is getting a bit much!” th On the afternoon ofthe 29 J was snuggled up in my bed when I heard loud cries of excitement about a rainbow that had just ap peared. I grabbed my camera and raced up the stairs to the roof. I was stunned by the sight! Never had I seen a rainbow such as this. It was huge, brilliant, seeming to have more bands of color than the average rainbow, and even more unusual—we could see both ends ofit not too far away in the fields. According to biblical tradition, this was God’s promise of no more rain, right? Wrong! It rained pretty much right through till the 1st, which then dawned bright and sunny. Mercifully, it did cease occasionally, most notably st, during the 15 minute silence at noon on the 31 but it did make
life a tad uncomfortable for the thousands of Indians who were sleeping on pallets on the ground under a lightweight pandal. Stoic, was how I would describe these pilgrims—the rain seemed not to faze them at all. They just huddled a little closer together on the ground tarps, enjoying the Amartithi programs and trying to avoid the places where the rain was coming through the ‘roof’ most heavily. After all, those pandals were designed to keep out the blazing sun, not the falling rain. I was told it was the first time since 1981 that it had rained during Amartithi. Many of us were trying to figure out what the message in that was. I mean, surely it was some kind ofsign? What on earth could He mean? But as Baba said—”Don’t try to understand me, just love me.” I spent the three days ofthe Amartithi celebrations in bed, yenturing out only to see the Meher English School choir sing their songs and catching a few other acts while I was down there. But I could not ignore myjob as roving reporter/photographer covering the event for our readers. Baba’s Ghadi was, as usual, taken from the tin shed under the water tower (opposite Mansari’s kitchen) and was placed on the Sabha Mandap—the roofed cement slab opposite the Samadhi. The ladies arrived from Meherazad to take darshan in the Samadhi and took their seats in plenty of time for the 15-minute silence. These 15-minutes are the most potent of the whole three-day festival. Complete silence from tens ofthousands ofpeople (except for the occasional child’s cry or a snore from the older folks), to be broken by “Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!!” at 12:15 on the dot is very powerful. All those people with their minds on one thing—the Avatar! I would imagine Baba could do all sorts ofUniversal Work with hundreds of thousands of souls around the world concentrating on Him at that time. I guess Babajust didn’t mean for me to participate in Amartithi this year—He made certain I spent most of the time in bed. When the sun had returned to its full glory on the 2, my cold mysteriously vanished and I was able to get out and enjoy myself a little more. The view from the MPR rooftop is glorious, and somehow sunrise and sunset are very powerful times for me. I loved being ‘alone with Baba’ on the rooftop at those times. Walking the path to the Samadhi is such a peaceful experience, the land—His land, all about you. Visions came ofwhat it was like in the ‘40s as Baba strode across the fields, with His men Mandali running behind Him, trying desperately to keep up. This picture is brought home very vividly when, as you enter the MPR from the parking lot, you come face to face with a beautiful mural that the well known Eng lish artist, Anna de Polnay, is painting, depictingjust such a scene. Commissioned by the MPR architect Ted Judson, Anna started work on the 21 foot long by 10 foot high scene of 1937 Lower Meherabad in December 2004 and hopes to complete the work this coming October when she returns to India. It is a composite of Masaji holding the umbrella over Baba’s head, with Pendu, Chanji, Padri and Kaka Baria bringing up the rear. Anna is using acrylics on a canvas frame attached to the wall. When it is finished, what an entrance to the Center it will be! It transports you back to the times when the Avatar actually trod the earth around here. continued onpage 12
a rmi early on the 3. nes uts& the rare let-up ofthe rain the crowds enjoyedajĂ¨w nwments ofsunshine, andenterâ€” tainment cantinueddespite the weather
Clockwisefivm Top: Stella MarniehprinczpaloftheMeherEnglish &hool leath herseniorpupils in praise of]â€™ItherBaba Fresh-squeezedsugarcanejuke was a bifgftvorite with the crowd. Eddie and Annie theAussie Dz!Q. As they were !astyea aUThe zrious stalls were Wown the hiFjust over the roadinfront ofthe PC. Balaji ofHyderabadat his stallseilingthe new sâ€™ideos tapes and books in English at anbelievably bwprices
Clockwisefrorn Top:Babacghadi in itsAmartithiplace on the Sthha Mandap. r1â€™inwn gather outside Mansaric kitchen. Now that departure is necn the sun comes out! Giving respects to Matzi Gobe Khorshed and Mansari
Clockwisefrom Top Lq/tAdriennepeifirming atMehemzadMandnliHaliAthienn?c henna portrait r?fMeherBaba. Packedandwaithzg to go and now the sun comes out! Down thepath from the &smadhi toward lower Meherabad to catch the train. The i’77th1 stops at Meherabad oniy durinçAmartithi. The sunset on the last day. Last chance togetsome chai beJbre the long tnt home. The Pandal iv dismantledandput away until next yeaz
What a difference the trees make! I was here in 1969 for the Great Darshan and the only trees visible were those few along the path up the hill. Valu planted them in the 1930’s to shade Baba as He walked between the women Mandali on the Hill and the men Mandali at Lower Meherabad. Then in the late 70’s (or very early 80’s), Mehera, ever the avid gardener, wanted more shade for the pilgrims walking up to the Samadhi.To this end, she collected seeds from karunj trees at Meherazad, cared for them until the saplings were ready to be planted and then sent them to Janet Judson to put in place along the path. Today it is wall-to-wall shade all along the path, and everywhere you look you see veritable ‘forests’ of trees, with many more scheduled to be planted. In fact, as you look across the lands on the way up the hill, you see what appears to be the aftermath of a gang of giant moles run amuck! But on closer inspection, I found they were holes dug, waiting for the trees to be planted in them. While walking from the MPR to the Samadhi, you pass what looks to be a major nursery, with hundreds of four and five foot saplings in bags, waiting to be planted. James Fulgenzi is lending his expertise to the project, helping permanent resident Peter Booth. Another pilgrim,Jesse Massa, is helping Dadi with the afforestation work. Jesse had an orchard in the States. Then I heard that Jeff De Loe, a landscaper and horticulturist, would be moving from Denver to take up residence in Meherabad to plan the landscaping of the MPR. What a wonderftil job that will be. Already there are gum trees (Eucalypts) planted in the
Trees in the nursery waiting their turn to beplanteci
patio outside the dining hall next to what will be the ‘Welcome to My World’ tile wall. That area, I think, will be the most beautiful spot in the building. Already it is a very popular place to relax and read, catch up with old friends, or simply sit in silence and absorb the beauty around you. Just wait till all those tiles, painted with so much love, get positioned on the wall! The official Grand Opening of the MPR is scheduled for June 2006. Ifyou can’t make it to India for the occasion, no worries, your LampPost will cover it for you!
Chills and 77irilIs ut the 36th çjlmwithi. 24ivcdita 2agp4 J1’iumbi vatar Meher Baba decided to pour Showers of Blessings, iterally, on thousands of His lovers as they snaked their way to Upper Meherabad for the eternal meeting with the Beloved. The spiritual atmosphere was laden with moist clouds with raindrops, rainbows and chilly air. Not that it dampened the spirits of Baba lovers, but it certainly made them come closer physically. This is th Amartithi ofAvatar Meher Baba. and many the story ofthe 36 other spiritual centers of pilgrimage, which received unseasonal rains post-tsunami across the continent. th• ColorCold was the day, and colder the night on January 30 fbi shawls, sweaters, windcheaters, and mufflers were worn in the chilly atmosphere. The rainbow in the evening across the eastern sky looked like Baba’s flag spread over an expanse ofblue horizon. Could this be blessing number one for the first day of Amartithi? Unde terred by the cold wave, the crowds moved around the hustle-bustle of stalls at Lower Meherabad. The stall owners did brisk business, despite wet roofs. A few enterprising ones managed to cover their stalls with tarpaulin and plastic covers; the rest just did business as usual. The next day more pilgrims were to come and chill out. . .
JRain over worldwide pilgrim sites Strange as it may sound, this year’s rain during Amartithi was sig nificant, as most other spiritual places were also awash with pilgrims and water. The annual Haj pilgrims numbering 2.56 million were knee-deep in water in Mecca as rains lashed across the Holy Land in the Middle EastJanuary 24th. Tirupati Balaji’s abode in Tirumala Hills in South India received a bountiful shower as pilgrims stood in th and the 31st January. Asia’s lines to bow down to Balaji on the 30 12
richest temple received more than four lakhs ofpilgrims during the wet weekend from all over India. And in Meherbad, at the tomb shrine of Avatar Meher Baba, local villagers, other Indian and western Baba lovers from all over the world converged to receive a shower ofblessings. More than 25,000 pilgrims who braved the cold were blessed during this time. Could there be any significance about the showers on these major pilgrim sites? We turn to God for answers. perhaps He means well for those who survived the Asian tidal wave of catastrophe. The ones who survived are the ones who will lead a New Life of compassion and live in spiritually closer times than ever. That doesn’t mean the ones that were swept away were bad, but perhaps their wheels of Karma decided their watery fate was to be reborn in better times. Ancient tales chronicled in the past include Noah’s Ark, which was full ofone pair from each species before the floods crossed the seas and devoured many. Moses too was a witness to the parting of the seas and so it was in Matsya Purana, the ancient text of Hindus when Lord Vishnu’s aquatic Avatar warned the people of a tidal wave now recognized as a tsunami. It was the Divine Will of God then to create and destroy some species. And it is the Divine Will of God now to do the same. . .
¶JPilgrirns seek shelter The 36t Amartithi will mostly be remembered as the one that rained and made shivering pilgrims turn to each other for warmth. Alan Wagner recollects the last time that it rained like this was in 1981. “There were only two big tents at Lower Meherabad, one for
men and one for women. It was easier to look after them as they were accommodated around the Dharamshala and Pilgrim Center. This year too I believe the pilgrims could have been accommodated in the Meher Pilgrim Retreat. But transportation was a problem. The path was muddy and they could not be transported all the way there.” At the New Site pilgrims sat closer to one another and tried to save the children from getting wet. Some pilgrims were accom modated on the porch ofthe pilgrim center and hostels which were now overflowing and also the Meher Hospital. The volunteers who did not get space stood smiling and watching over other pilgrims seeking refuge from the rain. At the New Site many hundreds of pilgrims took shelter in the buses in which they had come. Some enterprising pilgrims at the New Site and at the Mandap on the Hill converted the tarpaulins into army type temporary tents within the tents. The more fortunate ones got at least a blanket and a shed over the head. The organizing committee reported the death of a 65-year-old volunteer due to a heart attack. The rest were fine and braved the chill to take darshan.
LA 13rush with Booty! The thieves resorted to new methods ofpickpocketing pilgrims: The toothbrush was the latest ploy involved! At the New Site early st, in the morning on the 3 1 a couple ofyoung men were out brushing their teeth. Strangely their toothbrushes did not have any toothpaste on them and this aroused the suspicion ofsome plain clothes policemen. Watchful eyes saw them wait for unsuspecting pilgrims to go to the toilet leaving their trousers behind to be searched for the booty They were caught before the act and pleaded innocence (naturally).Theywere from Hyderabad, or so they said, but it turned out that they were from nearby Khopergaon. They were let off as Jal Dastoor explained, “After all, stealing is their profession. They also have stomachs to feed. We let them go.” On the 31st pilgrims were spread all over the hill to maintain silence and partake in Baba’s universal work for those few moments. The sun did show up momentarily during the midday silence. Silence was broken after fifteen minutes at 12:15 pm. And near Baba’s room as eyes opened after a spiritual experience, a nap, or whatever one asked for at that point of time, a man decided to drop his trousers down to his knees! Some eyes opened wide and shut quickly as the strange act evoked chuckles from astounded on-lookers. Luckily the cheap thrill was forgotten as quickly as it was done. Pilgrims raced down to the food stalls to have chai and warm bhajias and other refreshments. The rest stayed back for darshan. Rain rain go away, come on back another day! Thankfully, on 1st February, the cold wave lessened. As pilgrims started to return home Meherabad came back to normalcy. The ones that remained were bathed in sunshine as though the rains had never come. As one pilgrim reflected on the change in weather, “God makes sure we never forget Him. He showered us with His Blessings.” As Avatar Meher Baba has His grace on us he will also give us the strength to weather every storm, cold wave or tidal wave that comes in the world.
..Amtrtithi Eye Wim Jon Adelsman, Washington,January 31 n our family the month ofJanuary contains five special dates, each separated by exactly one week. The middle three are dates celebrating the beginning of life, specifically the birthdays of my oldest daughter’s husband, my brother, and finally my dear wife Hedia. The first and last dates mark the other end oflife with our rd adopted son’s death on the 3 and Meher Baba’s passing on today’s date, the 31st. In India,January 31st is known as “Amartithi” which means “the Eternal Date” and for those who follow Baba it marks the beginning ofHis passing beyond the limitations ofHis physical form and on to His ultimate universal Manifestation. For us however, Amartithi is remembered also for a much more mundane event. Ten years ago today, a little less than two years after we had moved into our “dream” house high on the bluffs of Eld Inlet, we arrived home on a stormy evening to find that a large chunk of our embankment had collapsed into the Puget Sound. My (naïve) reaction was that it was unfortunate but not all that big a deal. However, in Hedia it awakened an old bogeyman and she began to fear we might lose our shirts on an expensive piece of property that could be difficult or impossible to sell, at least for what it was otherwise worth. That fear haunted her and it was only after we had finally sealed its sale several years later that she was able to once again sleep without it gnawing in the back of her mind. About two weeks ago while getting ready to leave for work Hedia discovered that her eye contact was missing (she wears a prosthesis on her left eye due to a serious injury early in her life). This is a big deal mainly because its replacement would cost approximately $3000 and it was far from certain that Group Health would pay for it since she had simply lost it. Before leaving for work she searched for over an hour and I spent much ofthe rest ofthe morning turning all the likely locations inside out. Hedia spent considerable time retracing her usually reliable memory as to exactly what she had done with it (she remembered putting it in the pocket of her jacket while driving home and also repeated several times that she had a bad feeling about doing so). In the meantime she had to wear an older contact that fit poorly and was uncomfortable. The problem dragged on and there was no word from GH as to whether they would pay for it. We looked everywhere and would often begin our conversations when she arrived home with variations on “Well, did you find it?” I recall even pursuing the dead end intuition of thinking that maybe a mouse had dragged it back to its nest behind the stacks ofboxes in our garage. Finally today while spending some time in quiet meditation the thought came to me “Wouldn’t this be a great day to find it?” I opened the hide-a-bed and searched every crack and crevice—noth ing. I took everything off the floors of both of our closets—nada. Then while putting some things back I pulled out a pair of athletic pants that Hedia rarely wears. In the last pocket my fingers hit it. I cried for joy. Tonight when Hedia comes home it will be in the bottom ofa special wine glass in front ofher place setting. Amartithi, a day ofuniversal (and sometimes lesser) manifestations.
w divine 73eloved is always with you, in you mid around you. 1 7 2<now that you are not separate from 2lim. ‘3
I : .
Clockwisefroin top; apanorama oftbe MPR—Meiñ side (7efi) andthe womenc side (right) with the adjoining bridge h4fcompletedbut crossable; the beautfu1 courtyard outside the dinb2g room; birds eye view across the rooftopsfrorn the wonzenc to tbe menc side, a beautfW1y bucolic scenewalkingfrom the Samadhi to the MPR •:
Clockwisefrom above: the dining room; Vilas Fund serves Lindafrorn Thrkev srnze delicious hot chocolate; indispensable Saha’vas workers Debbie Nardeen, Laurel Bemer and Suzi Imura; Debbie Meherabad Choral Grozp rehearses; Nana Kalapuri tempts us with his incredible carrot cake.
Clockwisefi÷orn top hfrAnna tie Polnayfrom England at work p ainting a mural ofMeherabad; nowfor B/IRA!; Sazie sets out painisforthe “Welcome to World”tilepainting day.
Clockwisefrorn top: 5:OOp. m. after drizzling all day Baha gives us this incndib1e raiizbo.. thenproceeds togive es two days ofrain; Charlotte Eaton was here with herfamilyfrom Wiks;Jabuloiis ocean wave design On stone bench in the courtyaid the Keepers ofthe Ba/ia Listserv and tireless workers: Eric Solibakke and Shar Wisernan with Eric v4fi Sgrid
¶BIwu Rcturns to Ahmednagar! S1tivct (Eynwood), 7f/Ieherabad ast night, Bhau and his team (Freeman, Dr. Anne, Mom [Camilla], Mother M [Misti], and I) returned to the Trust Compound in Ahmednagar from Jehangir Hospital in Pune. Although the immediate crisis has passed, Bhau remains extremely, extremely weak. Nevertheless, this morning after breakfast, he insisted upon returning to his office and having all his emails (over 100!), correspondence (a very large stack), cards ( numerous) and Trust reports and memos (voluminous) read out to him. He remains hoarse, and though it is a strain for him to speak, he will not neglect his duty on any account. Today, for the first time, his blood sugar levels are approaching normal. But his team of doctors and their subordinates and staff ( cancer specialist, endocrinologist, cardiolo gist, pain specialist, dietician, orthopedist, anesthesiologist [for the sciatic injection] plus several physical therapists) have emphasized over and over how Bhau must scrupulously adhere to a strict regimen of diet, rest and exercise ifhe is not to end up back in the Intensive Care Unit, with perhaps a much less fortunate outcome than the last one. As deeply as all ofthe people who took care ofBhau love him, they do not want to see him back at their hospital, especially under similar circumstances. Tomorrow, he will resume his exercise program under the close supervision of Mom and Dr. Anne. Although Bhau is extremely eager to resume his talks at the Pilgrim Center, there is no telling when the doctors will grant him permission to do so. And as always, he loves for people to poke their heads into his office in the Trust Compound. So ifat all possible, please relay any messages you might have via pilgrims coming to India to deliver orally to Bhau when they greet him. Many, many people have expressed their wish to send their love greetings and get well wishes to Bhau. So he has agreed that if people send him cards or emails with at the most one or two sentences (please, this means simple sentences, not Faulknerian ones that ramble on interminably, such as this one), with the instructions, No Reply Necessary (very important), and absolutely no pictures or attachments to emails, his
team will read the messages out to him. This way, he will remember dear ones all over the world without feeling obligated to answer each and every email, letter and card as he does now
J3hauji’s EBirthdciy To all those who sent or wished to send Bhau greetings on his birthday. From an email dictated Friday, 22nd January, 2005: BelovedAvatarMe/jer Baba KiJai!
received your beautiful cards and wishes for my birthday, and I do not have the words to thank you. How loving you all are! I don’t want to use the formality of “thank you.” But I feel very touched, knowing that you all have the feeling of Oneness. That Oneness is a great thing. Not only will you have the feeling, but you will have the love for everyone not as every one, but as One. To go towards Oneness is the aim oflife; to experience it is the goal. Please convey my loving embrace to all who have sent birthday greetings, as well as to those who wanted to, but did not because they thought that I might be disturbed in my busy work here. Not only do I feel touched with the loving wishes I have received from many, byway ofcards, letters, emails, and the Inner-net, but I salute their love with love. This year, Beloved Baba’s dear ones re minded me it was my birthday. Otherwise, I would have forgotten. Once, it so happened that I was keeping night watch near Beloved Baba. He rose at 3:00 in the morning and called me. He embraced me and said, “Today is My Birthday.” “Baba’s Birthday is on 25th February,” I thought. “How is it possible that today is His Birthday?” It was 13th January, and I had been un aware of the date. The second occasion was in the year 1968. After my night watch, I went to the men Mandali’s side. I was having tea, and Baba called me. I returned to Him, and He said, “Turn the radio on to the Karachi sta tion. You will hear good ghazals.” But see how ignorant I was (and I am!). I was staring at the radio. I could not even figure out how to turn it on! Baba laughed and asked me to bring the radio to Him. He switched it on and tuned to the Karachi station. I was sitting there for an hour, and though He was suffering spasm after spasm, He listened to the ghazals. Then He said, “Now, turn offthe radio.” I did not know how to do so! I was quite ignorant! Baba laughed and asked, “How was your treat today?” (Meaning the ghazals). continued onpage 18
And now, a note from his doctor:
Ttpdate n EBhaitji’s 2lealth Dr. Anne, Meherabad hauji was discharged from the Poona hospital yesterday and is now back home in the Meher Nazar compound in Ahmednagar. A CT scan on Tuesday showed no ab normalities. This means in particular no recurrence of cancer, so it was a big relief to all. The next day he received a special injection in his spine to relieve pain. Now he can walk with much less pain and this makes a huge difference. He still needs to be supported when he walks to help him keep his balance. Bhauji’s diabetes still needs close moni toring so that his treatment can be adjusted if necessary. To maintain this improvement it is es sential that Bhauji takes the time to do PT exercises twice a day in order to strengthen the muscles in his back. And as before Bhauji must not remain sitting for hours at a time. All this means that Bhauji will NOT be resuming his full office schedule immedi ately. So please, no email or correspondence. This is the best contribution you can make towards Bhauji’s full recovery, along with the love that keeps flowing through the inner connection that needs no computer and no reply. And this from Bhauji:
feel touched with all the inner love
sages :‘ have received, and touched with your love for the 73eloved which makes you do this, and with your wishes to get me
TIpdnte on the Jkkher :free (Aiwr:a4)
Jllichael Raiitsden, DC, JVleherazad Building Progress as ofFebruary 2005
will see from the photographs, substantial progress has been made with the structure of both the New Dispensary and the new StaffQiarters since we gave the first write-up in the July 2004 LampPost. \‘Ve were anticipating being further along and being able to inoe by the beginning ofJul) However this is m)t possible at the moment. This is partly due to the increased ram this last year. We had 39 inches at Me— herazad with a normal of26 inches. Obvi— Ously the increased rain is more important fir a iuimber ofreasons fbr both the farming community and l\Ieherazad; neither had to truck in water since lastJune. Last year prior to the monsoon, we were trucking in 1500 to 2500 gallons a day ju9t to keep th”s
alive and supply water to the 1\leherazad COiflifluflitv. T1ie fhrners are flO’V harvesting their Second harvest, soncthing they have FlOt dOlle fir fiur ears. Ehere is a significant econonic iipict in both cases altl)ugh it did [lOt affect the building finances. Rain stOpped work as also did scarcity of labor. Flowever, after the final stages of construction and basic internal finish are conplete, p1uihing ail electrical xviii he finished 1FI(l the buildings will sit awhile for tlie concrete construction and plaster to properly dry and age (luring the Indian suiner (1’ larch to June). Planning and purchasi ng for equipiient, hirniture, fittings and fixtures iill he conpleted during this tine, aid instillation vill begin soon after the rainy eaon is finished. None Ofthis will interfire with the function ofthe current I)ispensar which has been quite
/tJL’hL’r Fiee’ Di.speiisai’
busy this last year. There were 15,206 patient visits, not counting current staffand their close ffimilies, from 1—1—2004 to 31—12—2004. This is the highest number seen in the last 6 years. There have been a few changes at the clinic but nothing that would stimulate such a large increase of over 2000 visits from the prior years. Perhaps the fiurth year of a signifi— cant drought with its attendant lack _,f fi)od and finances had a hand in bringing these numbers to Baba’s door fr help. A new niedical specialty has been added to the ranks of our treating doctors this year, one morning a week. A pediatrician is now serving the children as needed. ‘VVe have 1lO\V added a con iter 1 and vill be installing an inventory control systen to help manage the growing costs of nedicines for our increasing patient load. Our thanks to the donors fbr that iten uI also to the New Zealand conpany donating the soft\vare. During this year we will he changing a few the internal procedures that we think will fit the physical layout ofthe nexv dispensary. I n this xvav we should he able to inove iilt() the new structure with our fiet running in the right direction. \Ve are ln)ping to add the services of a gynecologist I Se///cio/l I/i/i (!V SOOn xvho is sorely needed
The (SOfOOt bug o’cttioii a;va.
by our funale patients, who constitute the majority of patients. This is no different to the ‘vVest where approximately 60% of patients attending general practitioners of— flees are also female. (Women it appears are more able to l(lII1it a problen than inen ai1 seek help in tune. Is this the reason woinen live longer) Also this year we are hoping that some finances vill become available to 1 irchise a senn—autonatic coinplete blood counter. If the iuiinber of patients continues to in— crease, the current laboratory will be unable to handle the nniiial tests that we currently perfrni ill a tinely inainer and either cx— tended ln)urs fr 0111 current lab tech or an dditioiiil enployee will becoine necessary. I,\ niaiuial test takes up to I S ininutes per pttietvithout interruptions—whereas
one senn—autonnited test takes only one minute. There would be significant future eInployee cost savings if xve had this piece of equipinent.
o//he new in/i
Additionally we are planning to imple ment a program to better assist the many seizure patients that currently rely on the Dispensary for their iong term medica tion/iliness management. There may be a few cost savings for the dispensary as this class of patient utilizes one fifth of the medicine/drug costs. Most of the current staff has served in the Dispensary for six—plus years and some have served over 20 years. It is in part due to their continued dedication that we are able to contunie serving the poor in the surrounding cotnrnunity. It goes witl)ut saying that those ofyou who have given to the Dispensary in either time and supplies or finances are also serving our Beloved in the poor Who COITIC to Baba’s clinic. l\dost Oflll tlv)ugh, it is Dr Goher, Eruch, :N’iai-ii, Arnavaz, Pendu, Aloba, Bhau, Katie, Falu, Shelley 1Fi(i Meherwan that we must thank, whose love fr Beloved Baba and service to Him in the poor in the last 36 years ran this Dispensary and remain the inspiration for all who continue to serve our Beloved in it, fl() iiatter where you are. Ior more inf()rnation contact NIike Rans— den at 1\ieherazad: incardcind@earthlink. net Babac birthday continuedfronzpage 21 li1(1 unknowingly becoie overheated and dehydrated, lit he was found to be oth— erxvise okay. l’he audience filed out of the auditoriun in relief As a beautiful loving end to a day of such overflowing expressions of praise and tluks to iir Beloved Cod, Irwin Iick”s filn “Avatar ofthe Age, the I Iuian Side of God” vas shown in the Theatre later on in the evening. Truly a “l\”Ierry Babamas to all diid to all a good night!” J)e/?J•(l/1i Rai/r fllZL’177 Ti/k, 18 1llnivh
one with the 7ruth -TItrough ages of darkness and suffering mankind anrnits inc and lILY 7.riith. 3 and the 7riith which :7 bring arc insearaLilc, one from the oilier. 7 ant one with the Truth. LA’! ay you all, too break through
the numberless cages and realise that you arc one with the limitless Truth of divine life. -dfrteher 13aba 20
7;at 2louse of the August
24ivcditn .2’Iagpat, JlI4umbai 7he beauty of old age iies in its wisdom. IEditoi note: In our last issue we ian an article exploring the iieed/br a hoine/isr our Baha—loving seiliorcitizens. iVhile in India Iwas askecito ran this article Irving out the start ojjztst such a home iht then in AIeheiahatL At the inoinentjust the landhas heenpitrchasedana’the lion—pro/it charitahle Trust set
up. It woiildseein to he agoodcoining together ofEast ann’ [I’’st ifthis home coida’ answer the iieeac ofthe (I%’5tL’1/1L’1V. 4/Icr all, the lana’ is alis’ai/v there.
niversally the demographic profile of senior citizens is changing rapidly. In iiany hones, parents and children do not want to stay together. It is not always the fiult of the children. The old are also to blame in riviny cases for they do not refrain from interfering in their children’s’ lives. At Oile point, the seniors need to acknowledge that they are being looked after and be content. A new section of old people in India need affordable facilities. J\’Iostly these are the l1rents Of non—resident Indians or inland professionals/businessnen/resident freigners. A large tuiniber of elderly now live alone without their children, and require care, assistance, help and services at their place of residence. Services fir the elderly range froi legal assistance, financial advice, ai-id help xvith pension prohlens, property
tLX notices, etc.
From Old Vanaspatashrarns to Need For Charitable New Old Homes Details ofold—age Iv)nes in the country is flot available, though the first old—age home iii India vas set up as fir back as the early I 8th century There are nearly 1000 old—age iies all over 11i(lia. For iiany older people who have nosvhere to go ud no Ofl to support them, these hoiiies serve as a safe haven. They give a sense of security and friendship to share their grievances svith others like thei staying at the lv)ne, naking them an uiisual thIiilv ofolder people. Fhe voluntary sector was the first to respond to the r ieis ofthe elderly in IiIia. 1 ()ld—age lvies in India are used by the ‘need’ elderly to pass their last iay either as a last resort when for various reasons the fiinilv support systen breaks down, or for seeking solace while (lisengaging fron taI— ily and social concerns. IThe quality of care in these homes varies, ranging from the bare rniriiI-nl_ii-Fi oflodging and hoarding flicilities to provisions for iedical services (though
only at a primary level), recreational pur suits, and social. Old-age homes may offer a viable solutioii to the problems afflicting the urban old, particularly, poverty, hous— ing shortages, and the often harsh conflict between generations. “
Death is God’s most precious boon to
mankind”, says an elderly, dedicated, devout housewife who lost her 85—year old husband after his prolonged illness. Euthanasia might suggest itself as 01W of the desperate ways Out ofold age—indeed out ofthis world! It is not the best answer, but a new home fir the aged is a better solution!
Needfor Having an Old-Age Home in a SpiritualAtmosphere Most Indians spend their final years visit— holy places. For senior lovers of Avatar
l\’Ieher Baha, l’sIeherabad is the ultimate holy I\Iany senior citizens wish to settle down in Meherabad in the hope that in the uituin oftheir lives they will be able to continue their spiritual inirsuits. Senior
through life’s expanse ai-ici experienced every enotion. lo sit hack, reflect oii the past, watch the future and live in the present is a drean of every senior citizen. It’s only when we reach our ripe old age we realize the value of our lives. Tucked away in the interiors of Ahmed— nagar is the spiritual abode ofAvatar C’vleher Baba. Near the serene surroundings of the
citizens have been
toinb shrine of the Avatar in ]\ieherabad nestles the fea I louse otthe August i\Ioon, a cozy home fir senior citizens. “Tea House of the August Moon” has been conceived as a home for the aged, to serve senior citizens, who after retirement have no support systeI of their fiiiilies. It will also help then to live with dignity and
self—respect. It will also offer the ‘Right Care at the Right Fiie’ for individuals whose condition requires attention. ‘VVith the loviI-Ig grace Of Beloved l\leher Baba, Shri Alok Nagpal ofl\lunha has vi— sualized this lv)ie for the aged ud f()rned Iea I louse of the lugust 1\ loon Public
Charitable Trust. The devotion to serve the elderly caifle vhen he sav soine )OOr uid old pilgriis shivering in the cold JaIiary nights (luring t\iartithi atul the gern to provide lccoInnodation vith nedical ficilities for
was lorn. \Vith the main
of serving senior Baha lovers, he has been inspired to fwni “Tea I louse of the August
Moon” into a Trust which will have Eastern and Western Baba lovers as trustees. Selfless volunteers will look after the day-to-day functioning. Trying to care for an aging parent may seem overwhelming for children. Elders are shy about asking for help from their family. Few seek professional guidance, or commu nicate their problems. Once in Meherabad, there is an outpouring of Meher Baba’s Universal Love, which makes one ‘Happy without any worries’. The best legacy we can bequeath to our children is not to be a burden on them; at the same time the elderly can keep their independence, dignity and self-respect. They can also remain in a homey atmosphere and not feel isolated in absence of their children. It is no wonder that those attracted to Meher Baba wish to spend their last days on earth near His Tomb shrine in Meherabad. Preference will be given to those above the age of 60 years and who have retired from active life. There will be no distinction to any caste, creed or nationality With the gracious blessings of Beloved Meher Baba the Home hopes be of service to the needy individuals that knock on its doors. For more information please vis it us at: http://www.augustmoonin dia.com or email Mr. Alok Nagpal at: alok@augustmoonindia. corn for further enquiries. Bhauji birthday continuedfrompage 18 He embraced me, and again He said, “Today is My Birthday.” It had been my birthday, and once again, I had forgotten. Then He called all the Mandali mem bers and gave everyone prasad. Such a Compassionate One! Though He was suf fering and suffering, still He remembered my birthday. So now, His lovers send messages to express their wishes, and I came to realize that it had been my birthday. How fortunate they all are. Though I forget, Baba reminds me through them. That’s why I salute their love for the Beloved. With all love and Jai Baba to you,
In His love and service,
ideas, beliefs, opinions, views or doctrines that a person may intellectually “hold 11 constitute a superficial layer of human personality... -Meher Baba
,JVkher 1kbds 111th 13irthdiiy Celebration ctt J4’kitcrnbtid
he celebration ofBaba’s 1 1 ith Birthday at Meherabad began in the dark hours ofthe early morning of25th February with lovely temperate weather. Some of us had been concerned about the cold spell that had recently hit India with heavy snowfall up in the Kashmiri region, and I, for one, wasn’t looking forward to bundling up in mismatched clothing at 4:00 a.m. for such a special occasion! Oh, but the day began with such a wonderful warmth and just a touch of a cool breeze. By 5:00 a.m., Meherabad Hill shone with hundreds of pilgrims, residents and villagers dressed in multi-coloured saris and kurtas and shirts. The Samadhi was decked with blinking colorful lights, sparkling decorations and sweet-smelling garlands hanging from every post. Beloved Baba’s tomb marble was filled from top to bottom with roses as were the marble tops of the shrines of His special ones all around Him. Suddenly, “Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!” resounded seven times, and in the pin-drop silence that followed, a little song began... “Bells I hear so new and clear, it’s five o’clock in the morning. So many talented singers were present, and each had the opportunity to sing a number of songs, since the singa-long after the 5 a.m. arti lasted for all of three hours! How beautiful it felt to hear so many wonderful musicians sharing such a variety of songs for Beloved Baba. There were Persian singers, a Hawaiian singer, various Indian songs and even a very sweet Japanese version of Silent Night. Group songs and solos alternated in creating a continuing movement ofOne Grand Birthday Song which crescendoed in a howling, rocking “The Highest ofthe High” that had everyone clapping and singing at the top of their lungs, followed by an ear-shattering “Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai!” Later in the afternoon, a grand premier for the Music and Arts Demonstration Cen tre: an art exhibition ofmurals, paintings (on cloth as well as on canvas and paper), and even tiny sculptured shrines holding a vanety ofspinitually symbolic items was shown. So many quiet and hidden artists as well as familiar ones came out ofthe woodwork to display their lovely creations right on the theatre veranda. Finally, the awaited Birthday play offening to Baba, this year an enactment of . .“
the life of Sai Baba the Perfect Master and Qutub ofthe Age who gave Merwan Sheniar Irani Infinite Power and proclaimed Him as Parvardigar! The theatre was packed, with people lined up even along the aisles. Beauti ful choral music both Eastern and Western enhanced the beauty of the story of Sai Baba, beginning with an episode showing his great devotion and service to his Master Zar-Zani-Zar Baksh in a previous incarna tion which lead to Zar-Zani promising him God realization in his future life. The story unfolded with all the quirks of the various Masters depicted with character, sensitiv ity and delightful humour, with Sai Baba (played by Peter Nordeen) himself shifting from the extreme variation of adorable sweetness to terrifying fierceness. An interesting coincidence occurred in connection with a relatively small episode in the play. This scene told of a further interaction between Merwan (our Baba) and Sai Baba. The story was told by Big Khorshed (Baba’s brotherJamshed’s wife) to her adopted daughter Hutoxi. Unbeknownst to any ofthe cast, down in the audience was Hutoxi herself, who had just happened to come to Meherabad for the Birthday after many years and was watching the play! She later mentioned that she received such a shock at seeing herself depicted onstage, and by a Persian actress who so resembled her as a young girl! Another unexpected happening took place at the dramatic height of the play the meeting of young Merwan (played by Merwan Luck) and the Qutub, Sai Baba of Shirdi. It was so beautifully acted, and so intensely impacted the audience, that at the moment that Sai Baba cried out “Parvardi gar Ho!” and lost consciousness, unseen in the audience Bhauji himself simultaneously lost consciousness. The play came to a halt due to this real-life drama, and amidst the commotion ofthe crowd, I saw Bhauji pale faced and unconscious rushed out in a car to Meher Hospital nearby. After perhaps ten to fifteen minutes delay, the play continued, losing none of its vigour, as “Sai Baba and crew” conscientiously kept the show going with encouragement from the Director and other helpers backstage. At the end of the play, it was announced that Bhauji was fine. Deeply absorbed in the play, Bhauji continued in 1st column onpage 20 --
Jj4j English 5choot 4ion the Dina Snow9ibson
f:.. ,:. ‘
Stella Manuel, Pi-incial ofMeher School .
So when I visited the school this year I was looking forward to seeing smooth paving everywhere. To my disappointment it seemed to look the same as always, but not so, Stella hastened to assure me. Construction doesn’t work in India as it does in the rest of the world. Work had indeed been started on the grounds, but they had to work around the Wet Season as well as the vacation time of the school children. It would be impossible to have the children try to pay attention in class with bulldozers going full tilt outside their windows. The ground had been graded, but they had to
The children are taught handicraft making as apossihle source ofincome. 22
I I Tiles readvfor placement
Meher School Quad
nce Amartithi was over and the sun shone brightly in the sky and warmly on our faces, I ventured over to the school to catch up with Stella Manuel, the Principal who has done so much to turn the school around and make it one of the most highly rated schools in Maharashtra State. She is a warm and lovingladywho makes the children feel good about themselves and is a champion of the girls, who have a tough row to hoe in the poorer villages oflndia. Education is their ticket out of poverty and oppression, and Stella sees to it that they get it! The January 2003 issue of your LampPost devoted the cover story to lengthy articles about the school and what their most pressing needs were. I told how they children had just been introduced to basketball, to their intense delight; but they had to play on a stony uneven field. Likewise the quad, in front of all the classrooms and on which the children played, sat, and ate their lunch, was more ofthe same. A very generous Baba lover in Australia cared so much about their plight that she donated $5000.
let it sit through the Wet and then it would settle. After that, a few months later, more work could be done. So hopeftilly by next year we will see the children playing on a regulation (albeit outdoors) basketball court. My dreams of having Nike or Adidas or the NBA adopt the school and see to their sports never eventuated—but only because I have never had the time to approach the powers that be at such organizations! If any ofour readers are adept at that sort of thing and would get a kick out ofseeing a genuine basketball court, bleachers, lights for nighttime games, children with decent sneakers especially made for basketball or other cross trainers on their feet, uniforms etc, etc, just the normal things that all schools in the States, England and Australia take for granted, then please! Feel free to coordinate with the Trust on making this happen! Remember those famous and oh so true words of our Beloved: “Real Happiness Lies in Making Others Happy!”
The childreni slogansforpollution prevention in support ofEnvironment Day.
fl1WUflCCWefltS 4 . ;7 LIPO jfl Last Dssue! We gave you the new email address for Pathan, the driver who can pickyou up when your plane arrives in Mumbai at lam and drive you straight to Meherabad, getting you there in time for Arti and breakfast, followed by a trip into ‘Nagar to register at the Trust office when it opens at 10 am. But alas the typo gremlins were at it again and we mispelled his name. The correct email address is: Pathan13@yahoo.com To telephone from the US, his home number is 011 91 241 242 1577 and his cell phone is 011 91 9823247022.This man goes way above and beyond the call of duty in taking care ofvisiting Baba lovers. There was a young lady who got stranded in Varanasi, and put in an emergency call to Pathan. A car was despatched to pickJessica and her friend up and the round trip was made in 63 hours! Now that’s service! —
2ew rDigital 7)ideo 3i1m
‘4bout the 7rust /1vctilable Interspersinglovely still photos with film footage ofAvatar Meher Baba, His Sama dhi, Meherabad, Meher Nazar, and Mehe razad, a new film is being released about the Avatar Meher Baba Trust, relating, in brief the story of the Trust’s creation, its present activities, and plans for future development. Entitled simply Avatar Meher Baba Trust, the film is now available.
Unique to this Avataric Advent is the fact that Meher Baba created a Trust for the benefit of all humanity. Like any other man, He left behind Him for His loved ones a physical legacy under the Trust’s custody. However, unlike other men, He also left behind a spiritual legwv at I us Tomb— Shrine at 1\4leherab;id to inspire tR1ntless generations to 1 OVC (1 and tlfld I 1in as one’s true Self. Running to I 3 minutes, the tilin provi(les an excellent short ntr(xluction to ar organi— zation that the Avatar I Iimselfcreated and chargedwith certain objectives as set forth in the Trust Deed. The turn’s opening minute shows footage from the Three Incredible Weeks darshan of September 1954, while the narration relates some of what I\Ieher Baba, as the Father of creation, Said about His universal religion oflove and the future of Meherabad. The film provides SOnIC shots of the original Trust Deed, signed by Baba on 6th April 1959, and reviews Sortie ofits key provisions, and reveals how Meher Baba painstakinglyworked out every detail. Following the directives that Baba set furth there, in 1998 the Trust formulated a Development Plan; the film reviews the significance of the Plan, its goals, and what has been accorn plished up until now. The film incorporates shots of Bhau Kalchuri, the Trust’s current Chairman, and EruchJessawala, who share insights on the Trust’s significance. The film is produced and distributed by Meher Prasad. Available in DVD format, by mail order it can be purchased for 3.OO US ( to cover postage and handling) by persons from anywhere in the world. Orders should be sent to Meher Prasad, P0 Box 1686, Myrtle Beach, SC 29582-1686. However ifyou are already placing an order with the Love Street Bookstore it can be added to your order for the $3 fee.
around the world on TV, airlines, museums, even the CBSJumbovision inTimes Square. And now. Oil your computerjJnless you’re very patient, voull need a cable or DSL connection to watch the movies (except for “Name Categories” which you could watch wi th (1 il -up). hrtp://www.mitchellrose. coin. (please!) . .
_/4iivllicr 4111 Lciicration EBaba Lover :Joiiis Ilic 3fold Sean ;\iexLnder 1\Iendoza, son of Michad and i’cresi Iranklin Mendoza, daugh— ter of [)ina tl Jerry Franklin, daughter of l)iana Sno (finir generations, count ‘em!) was born \ larch 9th at 11.14 pm. The little Pisces veighed in at a not so little 9 lbs, 20” long. I Ic joins his Baba loving siblings Nicole, 6 In(l RVt11, 4 at their Los Angeles home, IlOt far from their Grandy, Dma Snow (ibson.
Welcome to 2 Iis M)orld! Kian 1\’Ieher Russ, born to Payam and Glenn Russ of Los Angeles on February 28th at 1 :02 pm, weighing 6 lbs 2 oz.
Streaming Online 3ilins Mitchell Rose (a Holywood filmmaker and member of our Baba Center) has launched a website that streams some of his comedic short films featuring collabora tions with other Baba folk including Billy Goodrum, Ashley Roland, Jamey Hamp ton, Robert Een, Fritz Sperberg, Charlie Campagna, and Rob Thornburn. The films have won 47 festival awards and have played
Life Size J4larb!c Sltiliic for IIIL’ JPilgrim 2circai J urgis Sapkus, I\Iastcr Siti1ptr living
willing to work with the Board’s direction. Free housing will be provided and the chance to have an active Baba-filled life. Duties will include registration and hosting functions, light housekeeping and light bookkeeping. For full information and to receive an appli cation form, please email Dr. Robert Rubey: firstname.lastname@example.org Development ofthe Guest House: in an amazingly short time the Burleson House will be available for individual and small group overnight stays and retreats.The guest house policies and guidelines will probably be similar to the Meher Center, and this will be worked out soon. If you are visiting Prague, you can call Lynn Wilhite at 405 567 1572 as she has agreed to be interim caretaker and will show
in IOS Angeles, vill be sttl1tIn a t.1tue of Biha tron solid marble .inl dn)ltnlg it to the i\ I PR. Jurgis lu%c t t Bihi hnlding I us beloved m.i.t N I hinnnd. I Ic vilI he lcting for I ndi.i in JILl t %pcnd 1l’()t1t iX lflOflthS v()rLItn. ‘1) th . rrt. 1 ‘‘
Ic tr.1\cling to the lulrrlc’ ii \ I Lr.Ln.i I’L— jL%thIn. to %cck out thu h t 4 t niirhlc tr thc ‘cr P’’’— N) hi L, hit “c ilulitc il ut S 11 he IleutleLl ft r tIU.. tri ul ti rt h ni h hie ( )t t Ii. inirIle I t ii ‘ t t rll’L1te hi h L t( this pri1’t, hu k lu ntjc ut NI1(.’S(.’ vith .i tn’teti’n n tie l4ttTn t()r InLrhle Pr)1t iI tt t! (etiters lddre% (1 tile 11.Ltll1I e ei’e 9 I ti H ‘EI11l TI tT in ‘te tiLit ho heL Hit! S I () LiliOtitit kit! Ij. lilt?) ‘ lit! ti ire it t he \ I I1 ( )tl ti Ti tic I .i ‘ it i .l i v u gaze tLl( )Ii tIR..’ tit ile kin i I elped tiiike it hppen lie \ I II is ltiT jt the liov— iltce for I)dlid irtits. \s L1i?itIq flttl in the iiiirtithi report, \nn.i I)e ITT.I ing a 2 1 foOt big turd it the entrance to the \VOtileIS side; L)iiia I e Riges I 6 paintings, etch nine I 1 or ftt, vill he hung along the valls i ii side t he ti ii i ig l11,
More about this exciting project and a write up of the May Sahavas will be in the October issue of the LampPost.
Q&:.’1 with the9o&Mm
Charlie l\lills vill he jiiitiiig a large P(irtr1it
of Baba to ling hove the etitrinee to the dining hail itself and Suhsm Reoriented is donating a stained glass vindov for the tim— ing hall.TedJudson has invited nunher of artists tO stay over there fuir whatever time they need to create their masterpieces. We will have the story in the next issue.
7I/!einorial Dag at J4lclicraiia... Jl4ake It!! If Bhauji can travel thousands of miles from India to be here we can travel a few hundred miles to be with him! Charles Gibson will be the musical guest to wow you with his music. May 28-30th. For informa tion call the Pearsons at 209 966 5078 or email Chris Pearson: email@example.com -
2’Iews from the 2teartland Debbie Nordeen, North Carolina It is with great joy that we inform you that the Burleson House ofthe Avatar Meher Baba Heartland Center now officially belongs to Baba! The Beloved turned the 24
Meher Baba andMoharnmed byjuigis Sapkus
key, and with His generosity and intent through you and 300 other Baba-Lovers, this wonderful new Center is born! In four short months $150,000 was raised. This is just enough for closing costs, some essential repairs, and a little towards our first year operating costs. Jai Baba! His Wish and Will always prevail! Inaugural Sahavas: Plans are being finalized to hold a Sahavas in Prague May 20-22, 2005, to inaugurate the Burleson House. The gathering will focus on Baba’s 1952 visit to the West, primarily the collision in Prague, and we hope it will include many special guests, including Bhau Kalchuri. There will also be much music, storytelling, readings from Baba’s time in Oklahoma, visits to the accident site, the clinic and other local sites, and a ribbon-cutting tea-party opening of the house. Volunteers are needed immedi ately to work on planning and implementing this gathering. It’s only a month away! Let us know ifyou can help in any way. Ifyou can, please contact Carolyn Bail at 479-25 17747 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Caretaker/s for Burleson House: We are seeking a caretaker, a single person or married couple. Our first caretaker/s must be people-friendly Baba lover/s with their own income. They must be sensitive to the politics ofa small town, able to project a kind and charitable image, enthusiastic about creating a nurturing, welcoming haven, and
Put to the Meher Baba bythe Representa tive ofthe Daily Mirror ofLondon in 1932 QWhat do you teach your enquirers? A. According to their individual needs; but when I speak to the whole world, my teaching will be universal. Q Can you raise the dead? A. If necessary. Christ raised the dead and made the blind to see. But to anybody who has attained the state of consciousness that I have reached, miracles are child’s play. Q Did Babajan teach you all that you are teaching now? A. No. She did not teach me exactly. She unlocked the door. I knew that I had powers within me; but it was She who showed me what they meant. It was not something to be taught but to be lived and experienced. Q Do you impose any discipline or rule of life on your followers and encourage fasting and vegetarianism? A. Only according to their individual needs. One of my disciples in India has lived for four years on water and a little milk. But if a man has a family, perhaps, I don’t ask him to forsake it. QFromwhich religious teacher did you derive your philosophy, from Christ or Buddha? A. From no one teacher in particular. Christ, Buddha, Krishna. these are names for states of consciousness. TheAwakener 1959 Volume VI, No. 3 Filis Frederick Editor Copyright 1959 . . .
Whnt’s t’t’ ut JWeItabode ..
J4’khcr Btthds 13irthday Celebrated with ti ¶Pcrfonnance of ‘5jbi!’s Drrnm” jnits, Los ..Anycks 1 A4argaret 7I’k Avatar Meher Baba’s birthday was celebrated at Meherabode with the premier and the one-time performance of”Sybil’s Dream” byjurgis Sapkus. In the play, a young girl, Sybil (Mariah Valentine) dreams of the five Perfect Masters who help demonstrate God’s love. Babajan (Deborah Ashe) begins the narration and introduces the other Perfect Masters: Narayan Maharaj (Suhas Ginde), Lord of the Heart;Tajuddin Baba (HarryThomas), Crown ofthe Prophets; Sai Baba (Ray Lee), the Fakir ofAllah; and Upsani Maharaj (Sam Ervin), King ofthe Yogis. The story unfolds to show how three people bound up by greed and other human frailties have created problems for the world and for themselves: Ugnes (Richard Stermer), a young man of fire who
Richard Stermer as Ugnes, Stephanie Ervin as Audra, and Margaret Magnus as Winsome.
was a scientist in a life ofthe past; Audra (Stephanie Ervin), a woman ofthe water and a lady ofrneans in a life ofthe past; and Winsome ( i\largaret 1’vlagnus), a woman of the air and wind and a lawyer in a life of the past. They are freed by God’s love. Bahajin and Upasni reminiscence ahmt their time with Avatar ;\ leher Baha and explain their roles in helping Him realize His own 1)ivinit-v. There are t’V() musical numbers in the playwith words by S;ipktis 11111 fl1SiC by J\she. The was well received with the audience acknowl— edging the entire cast and crew, including assistant director and set designer, i’\lia Campagna; light and sound by Mark Brutus; music by [)eborah Ashe; pmp assistance from Sona Valentine; and overail assistance tVI(l ranagenent from I)5C Choi.
DeboivhAshe (lft), as Babajan, explains to Shil, plved by Mariah Valentine, about thefive Peifect Masters. Next to Sbi1 is Upsani Maharaj, p laved by Sam Eivin, and Ugnes andActdiv.
Cast members sing the closing song. L to R Sam Ervin, Stephanie Ervin Richard Stermei; Hariy Thomas (Tajuddin Baba,), and Suhas Ginde (Narayan Maharaj).
Kudos to the Director and Plavwright—Juigis Sapkus. L to R Deborah Ashe, Mariah Valentine, Sam Ervin and Rosie Choi (Narrator andAssistant Director,).
lVhat’s up at ..A/Ieiicraiwdc cviiiiiiiicd: A Note From the President Steve Berry. I’d like to give my hearttHt thijiks to the Board tiwmbcrs who served nir Ueiiter SO ve11 in 2004:
What’s :Itappening nt J1’khcr J4’kunt 1 &rn Eruin, Los An&s b
LoisJo,zes—Vice President md Irori,n
Chair (:ookic’ Reiiuli’au— I’i \CI \
Karini Pige—Peronnel Siio’v_’
Parioi,—[undr Rigi Su/o,ia—Se rut IH/111
’rry 4 .
% iL ‘tile ti t h t n in 2f H three t 114 ni ire ft t &1 1) t! tu ti ti our Iil\i ()t1tflhIl1lt I( irI N Ietiuler, itiI ne ‘ ruturnnlg u itter t\vun(v e1r. Ihink nu Ii for ( )LIf lriver in \ lutituirin it Liff,n! i t!ic 2()OS —10(1 110 jilt LkIJItr. ic loird i- L .fTOii1 % h( ) dLtiliIt ) TiLe t hive 1in, oke around, and j4our ‘ iL eR it the SiTC tune. I look tnr ird t ‘rLiiu vith ( )U through( )iit the ear.
New this ear: Char/es Gibso,,—Prr.i,ii Ch.iir Kent I!a,ison—1i xed \ set Lyiine Berry—Service Rosie Choi—Secretary
And gluttons for souls returning for more good tine: l3ina Snow Gibso,i—IihIicitiotis intl Corn— munications Be/naz Partovi—Rindraising Steve Berry—Prcsiden t 111(1 Ii nance
chair Karma Pag—Personnel an(l Finance co—
eher Mount is 173 acres of wooded wilderness on top ofSulphurMountain in Ojai. After Avatar Meher Baba asked His lovers in the West to find a spot for a center two hours from a major city a foundation including J can Adriel and Agnes Baron discovered the property and purchased it in 1946, naming it Meher Mount. In 1952, Meher Baba told Agnes He wanted her to put Meher Mount in her name and to take care ofit for Him. Agnes replied, “If that’s what you want, Baba, I’ll keep Meher Mount for you through hellfire and damnation.” In referring to Meher Mount, Meher Baba remarked, “Next to Myrtle Beach, I love this place best.” Meher Mount is now a non-profit cor poration governed by a Board of Directors, and is open to all. It is a place ofbeauty and refuge. And it is a place for work, medita tion, and losing oneself in service. Most of all, it’s a place where the Avatar of the Age walked, and it carries a special feeling and significance because of His presence. The current Manager/Caretakers, Ray ohnston and Elizabeth Arnold, are leaving J on May 15, 2005 after three years at Meher Mount. They are moving to South Africa to care take of a healing research center there. They have done a wonderful job, and there have been many accomplishments during their tenure.
Dnfrastructure Drnprovements Many of Meher Mount’s achievements revolve around improvements in the infra structure. With strong community support, including money, time and work, Meher Mount now has the major components of the new water system. These components include: 1,500 feet of new pipe from the well to the pool with adjacent electrical conduit; moving the pump switch up the hill; a 5,000-gallon water tank; a pool cover; a reverse-osmosis water treatment system in the house; and an external water treatment
system that is still being tweaked. This infrastructure has greatly improved Meher Mount’s ability get usable water. In addition, the road to the well has been graded, rebuilt and is now accessible to Southern California Edison. The driveway was re-graded and rebuilt with donated gravel. With Ray’s vigilant tending, the driveway held up during this winter’s heavy rains when other driveways on Sulphur Mountain were washed out. These improvements help in both the functioning and the appearance ofMeher Mount. The new Heart Gate on the driveway aids security by keeping out late-night partygoers and helps with safety by preventing people from just wandering on the property It is a welcoming touch and represents a symbolic and actual opening of the heart to visitors. Until the Fall of2004, volunteers at Meher Mount cleared the tall grasses and weeds with hand weed whackers that dated back to the 1940’s. The Caretakers used a push mover that took six days every few weeks to mow the needed areas of the property. Last fall, with support from the community Meher Mount acquired a ride-on mower. Now the required mowing takes one, instead ofsix, days. Each set of caretakers has cared for the property, and Meher Mount reflects this heartfelt investment oftime and energy. Ray and Elizabeth have kept the property clean and tidy while making it more appropriate for wildlife. The tender loving care has enhanced the attractiveness, naturalness and peace one feels at Meher Mount. With the “no dogs” policy, there has been an increase in another type ofvisitor: we are now seeing a greater variety ofbirds and wildlife on the property, including peacocks, bobcats, coyotes, deer, bear and one mountain lion.
Community &ip port The Weeds ‘n’Water Fund Raising effort not only funded the specific water project, it also helped to engage the community with Meher Mount. It provided a model for channeling necessary financial resources to achieve specific improvements. That mo mentum is being carried over into the current Annual Fund Drive, which will become a recurring opportunity for participation. For six months in 2003, Meher Mount had a special opportunity to be one of five
sites featured in a special exhibit, The Essence of Ojai, at the Ojai Valley Museum. The Caretakers, with input from the Board, pulled together photographs and descrip tions of Meher Mount, Agnes Baron and Avatar Meher Baba. Externally, the museum exhibit helped Meher Mount to connect to the local com munityin a way it had not before. More local residents now appreciate and respect what Meher Mount has to offer. After the Ojai Museum exhibit closed, the information and photographs were given to Meher Mount and are now on display in the main room of the house. This ability to have the exhibit on display at Meher Mount provides a great orientation for visitors to Meher Mount. About two years ago, Meher Mount had a mailing list ofabout 100-plus names, now there are about 500 names and addresses. The list provides a way to commu nicate with the broad community of people interested in Meher Mount.
}isitors Dncreased 7 The new Heart Gate and re-graveled, graded entryway create an inviting first impression with a positive, welcoming tone. The signposts giving directions add to a sense of welcome and orientation. Three years ago, there were 500 visitors a year to Meher Mount. In 2004, there were 1,000. There’s more interest in Meher Mount now than there was several years ago. Also, there is a rising desire to visit Meher Baba places of pilgrimage. In the past several years, there have been a number of group meetings focused on Meher_Baba. In addition to the regularly scheduled Anniversary Celebration of Meher Baba’s Visit to Meher Mount (the first Saturday in August), Meher Mount has hosted a number of guest speakers sharing their experiences and meetings with Meher Baba. The speakers have included: Bill LePage, Diana LePage, Adele Wolkin, Tex Hightower, Dr. G.S.N. Moorty Professor Digambar Gadekar,Judge Henry Kashouty and Esfandiar Vesali. Meher Mount is becoming a regular stop in the speaking circuit for visitors and guests.
A!eher JlI4ount’s 3juture Taking a cue from other Meher Baba centers, including Meherabad and Mehe razad, Meher Mount began a long-range planning process. There were two longrange planning community meetings, particularly the larger meeting in February 2004 that provided an opportunity to bring
people together to discuss what they would like to see at Meher Mount. And this input has helped and will continue to guide the Board in developing a long-range plan for Meher Mount.
‘Iew Director to 13oard JimWhitson ofSanta Barbara, California, has been elected to the Board of Directors for Meher Mount Corp. in Ojai, California. J im has been a long-time supporter and a hard-working volunteer at Meher Mount. Jim fills the opening left by the resignation of Bob Hazard of Goleta, California, who was appointed by the former owner/founder and guiding spirit, Agnes Baron. Meher Mount has five members on the Board of Directors. The others are Sam Ervin, Chairman, of Long Beach, Califor nia; Bing Heckman, Secretary/Treasurer, of Palo Alto, California;Jim Auster of Aspen, Colorado; and Jamshid Ebrahimzadeh of Irvine, California. Meher Mount is at 9902 Sulphur Mountain Road, Ojai, California. Tele phone: 805-640-0000. Meher Mount is open Wednesday through Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday.
for a Jfrlanager/Caretaker
Being a caretaker at Meher Mount can be described as inspiring, daunting, frustrating, exhilarating and transforming. Opportunity: Live in one of the few places available in the U.S. where Avatar Meher Baba visited. Experience unparalleled views ofthe mountains and ocean. Enjoy the beauty of unspoiled nature. Interact with hundreds ofvisitors who are moved by their visit to Meher Mount. Workwith the Board to help shape the future ofMeher Mount. Challenge: Experience extreme (for California) weather conditions. Do hard, physical work. Be available to greet visitors five days a week, whether you want to or not. Be on call and responsive 24/7. Be able to handle frustrations and set-backs. Live in difficult housing conditions. Undertake the enormous responsibility of nurturing, protecting and preserving Meher Mount on a daily basis. How to Apply: There are scheduled orientation days at Meher Mount for ap plicants. Please RSVP to 805-640-0000. All tours/orientations are on a Saturday: April 2, 2005 (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.) or April 16, 2005 (1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.). For a more detailed job description, call or e-mail Sam Ervin. Telephone: 562-4980883 or email sam.Ervin@Nrerizon.net. To
apply, send a letter outlining your (a) skills and backgrounds; (b) your relationship to the Meher Baba community; and (c) why this opportunity appeals to you. Send it via e-mail to: email@example.com or mail to Meher Mount, 9902 Sulphur Mountain Road, Ojai, CA 93023.
1pcoming events c-(/ Duncan Knowles: Shares his stories: April 2, 2005 at 12:00 Noon. Duncan, was the husband of Charmian Duce Knowles. Charmian met Meher Baba and spent time with Him. Duncan shares stories ofhis life with Charmian and his own relationship to Avatar Meher Baba. Silence Day Weekend Saturday, July 9 to Sundayfuly 10: Traditionally, Silence Day at Meher Mount is a work party day. Because Silence Day falls on Sunday this year, the whole weekend is open to volunteers who want to work on projects. Given the many projects at Meher Mount, there will definitely be opportunities to be of service. Meher Mount is open from 10:00 a.m. each day. Attend one or both days. For overnight accommodations, see below. Anniversary Celebration ofMeherBaba Visit Saturday, August 6, 2005: Avatar Meher Baba visited Meher Mount on August 2, 1956, for a day of relaxation, joy and intimacy with His Lovers. The anniversary celebration is always the first Saturday in August. Join us for talks, music, food, and fellowship. The program will be from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. For overnight accommoda tions, see below.
For those visiting Ojai overnight a sug gestion for a place to stay is The Ojai Foun dation (four miles from Meher Mount). It is a reasonably priced camping-style retreat center with yurts, bathroom facilities and communal kitchens. For more information contact: The Ojai Foundation, 9739 Ojai Santa Paula Rd. (Highway 150), Ojai, CA 93023. Telephone: 805-646-8343. Fax: 805-646-2456. Web site: www.ojaifounda tion.org. In addition, there are a variety of motels and inns in Ojai. For current information, contact the Ojai Valley Chamber of Com merce and Visitors Center: “http://www. ojaichamger.orgThe Visitors Centers is at 150 W. Ojai Ave., Ojai, CA 93023. Tele phone: 805-646-8126. Fax: 805-646-9762. Hours are seven days a week: MondayFriday, 9:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. —
Without the9od 7here is no goddess. ./1nd without (lie 9oddess 7here is no 9od. 6 Look! 21e is hidden, LAnd cannot be found without her. 9:or they are mirrors, Each revealing the other.
-2 1ow sweet is their love! 7iie entire universe 35 too small to contain them, Eet they live happily in the tiniest particle.
3 sit 7itey together 3n the same place, Both wearing a garment of light. 3rom the beginning of time 7heg have been together, 9?eveling in their own supreme love.
She is a chaste and devoted partner; She cannot live without her Lord. .J1nd without her, 7:he one who can do everything Cannot even appear.
4 7he life of one is the life of the other, LAnd not even a blade of grass Can grow without the both of them. 7:Wv lutes make one note. 7;wo roses make one fragrance. 7; lamps make one light. 7hrough appearing separate 7heg are forever joined.
Poem byJnaneshwai; a Peifrct Master in the 12OOc 28
::eJ’ B4bu, 9.he Divine Dina &owibson
he following is a brief’how it all came about’ that was printed in our wedding program.
amazement saw it was coming from this gorgeous man who looked re markably like Sam Elliot—an actor our was arranged in who’s looks I have admired for many a year! I was mesmerized—the voice, Ieaven b4ore we ever mct! 2 the face and whatever magic dust Although we had seen arranged Baba was sprinkling on us, kept my marriages in India, as Westerners eves glued to his face. It was only we had no direct experience of this. n-lany 1i1Otlths later that I realized Therefore we were totally unaware how Baba was softening my heart ofhow our Beloved’s Divine Machidurii those 14 hours of listening nations would affect us from that to Charles sing: in light ofthe many moment on—that moment being times I vas reduced to tears (quite when we first set eyes on each other. inexplicable to me at the time) at a !*J3(/41 %/ (fe; /( 7 1f1 (i(’1’... 7 It was in the Food Tent during the .,1(f1_ nulnl)er of the songs. Those who Amartithi celebrations at Mehe ___._t__llmmIwL_ _ZHIH knew me, looked at me strangely: rabad, on January 29nh1 2003. It was a day protesting that she never cried at that kind “Dimi list dOeSIt do this!” we both remember as being full of Divine ofstuff. By the time I stopped that day, I had Five days later I returned to the States. Loving Magic. An irresistible wave of been playing and singing fir eight straight At no time were we alone—no private God’s love was aimed directly at the two hours, and she had been there the entire words, O() whispered sweet nothings. We ofus, touching our hearts and our lives in a time. I had never played anyvhere near that started emailing and I came to live for the most extraordinary way. We feel it is truly long a stretch before! Ifyou had asked me sound of an incoming email! He needed to wondrous that God Himselfwould tend to earlier whether or not I had it in me to do leave India to start a new life and to earn us in such a deeply intimate, delightful and such a thing, I would have replied with an money, as he had been treating people at no loving fashion. emphatic “No way!” However Meher Baba charge fir the duration ofhis stay in India. 3rom Charles: I was in the process of said “Way!” and I not only played for eight As he had t1() fixed place in mind to live, I ending one major part of my life, and on hours the first day, I came back the next day offered him my home. Seven weeks later he the brink of beginning another. I didn’t and played for another six hours, without my arrived. From the very first moment, it was know even the broad strokes—much less voice fatiguing or failing in the slightest. In as though we were simply picking up where the details, of what this new phase of my my book, such a thing is so highly unlikely we left off in our last life together. Both of life would be, and was waiting on direction that it borders upon the miraculous. us have gone through much in this lifetime from Meher Baba. I knew that whatever God created an experience in our lives to get to the exact place where we needed to I did and wherever I went, I wanted to we will always remember with wonder and be, to fit so perfectly together. Baba willing be around Meher Baba lovers, and that I awe. Since that time, we have come to know it will be for the rest ofour lives. wanted to continue to work for Him. For and love each other in such a way that there Our CWcddiiig Day. We wanted to start the previous 18 months I had been working is no doubt in either ofus that we were not the year off right, so what better way than as a chiropractor in India, treating Baba’s only destined to be together, but that we to get married on New Year’s Day?! There Mandali, the Western residents, pilgrims have been together many times before; that was never any question but that we would and Indians from the surrounding areas. our love is deep and lasting, and that it took be married at Meherabode, the Meher Baba on the morning ofthat lovingly destined decades ofpreparation for each ofus in this Center in Los Angeles. There was also no day inJanuary I decided to participate in the incarnation before we could come together doubt that we wanted to exchange our vows celebrations for Amartithi by playing my in the way we have. in Baba’s room—the Dome, in front of His guitar and singing in the food tent. Many crom Dina: I had been a single woman chair. The room would hold no more than people came for a while to listen, and then for 27 years and was very happy with that 20—25 people, so we had arranged a video left. There was one woman however, who status. I had never at any time entertained feed over to the Reception Room—the took a seat and proceeded to listen with the idea that it would be nice to be married Meeting Hall of our Center. It had been such enthusiasm and rapt attention that again, or as my mother had wistfully said, raining heavily the week prior to Saturday, I simply couldn’t stop playing. The finish “to have someone to grow old with.” I had the 1st. Friday night I had a talkwith Baba of one song led to heartfelt requests from iVieher Baba, my family and my work with before retiring: ‘Now Baba, I know that her for the next song. She would shush any the Bookstore and the LampPost. I wanted rain is consideredyour blessing, but could we people sitting at the table that started to nothing more. All were very frilfihling and go for something djffèrent tomorrow Could speak, asking them politely but firmly to gave me all the love I needed. we have sunshine as Your blessing” Saturday converse elsewhere, since she wanted to hear Then came January 29t1 2003. I walked dawned bright and sunny! Blue skies, bril the music, and not the conversation, thank into the food tent and was immediately liant! Thank You Baba! The rains returned you! I remember that she had been moved struck by some great singing and guitar on Sunday! to tears on several ofthe songs, and she kept playing. I looked for the source, and to my
I had read many years ago, that starts, “You who marry today. it for her at her wedding. Charles took up his guitar once more to play the Australian Arti. When Charles put the ring on my finger it was an absolute gift from Baba. How I happened upon that ring is told in my story “My Life Under His Thumb” and it is an amazing example of how Baba can be so incredibly sweet (when He wants too!) and make something happen that would cause one to exclaim “Why that’s a miracle!” But of course, we all know that Baba doesn’t do miracles. .sure He doesn’t! Since Charles works with his hands, he didn’t want to wear a ring, so instead of putting a ring on his finger I clasped a golden chain around his neck from which hung the exquisite solid gold Mastery in Servitude colophon created by Radiant Heart Jewelry. There was only one little cloud on the horizon, and that was that my son Christopher who had flown in from his home in Australia with his wife Helen and baby girl Tabitha, had to spend the day with them in the Emergency Room as they had contracted a flu bug that was doing the rounds. I was so disappointed they could not be in the ceremony and the family photo, but at least Chris made it to the reception. Happily Charles’ elder brother Larry was able to attend as his Best Man, and his younger brother Matthew flew in from Alaska.. Nicole and Ryan, my daughter’s children, served so beautifully as Flower Girl and Ring Bearer. After the service they were delighted to be able to hand out Prasad to all the guests as they passed through The Radiant Bride the Receiving line. Four-year-old Ryan took his job so seriously. There were a few non-Baba lovers at the wedding and when they own vows to each other. Talk about magical! Talk about a radiant bride! The photographer accepted the ‘candy’ from Ryan and simply said “Thank you,” Ryan was in the habit ofsaying “Happy, Happy!” before taking a shot. My would say ever so earnestly, “You have to say Jai Baba!” Smilingly seven-month pregnant daughter, who was my Matron of Honor, they complied. As part ofher Matron ofHonor speech at the Reception, my daughter said, “No, Mum can’t do that. She would have to come down several and what better gift could we give Mother and Charles than a levels to reachjust happy!” I was ecstatic—floating on air, thinking said of nothing but the magic of the moment and the incredible love brand new baby—for them to look after!” Which is exactly what I am that was flowing all around us. Charles said later he was surprised to doing as I write this. (See the Announcements page.) As I said, that NewYear’s Day, our Wedding Day, I was on cloud find how much he was enjoying the whole wedding, the pageantry of it all. Weeks were spent choosing just which music would be nine, and if it hadn’t been for the help of some very dear friends, playing in the Dome prior to the arrival of the Bride and what we our wedding wanted to play at the Reception. After the marriage service we chose would not the Triumphal March from Aida for the Grand Entrance into the have come off as wonderfully Reception room. It was a classic moment! My eldest son Michael walked me ‘down the aisle’—actually up as it did. Fred the path, into the Dome, stopping in front of Baba’s chair and hand- Stankus, himing me over to my husband-to-be to the clarion sounds of the bells of self battling Westminster Abbey ringing out (via CD and the sound system) as they the flu bug, did for the wedding ofthe first Charles and Di! Charles (the second!) manfully kept started the ceremony offby playing the Master’s Prayer to the tune he his camcorder had composed for it. When my Mother passed on in 2001 we played, rolling throughas she had been requesting for years prior to that, her favorite Brabazon out, and Tom composition TheBlacksrnith Song. I had asked Charles to playthat at the Hart, from the wedding to welcome Mother in, whether she was still on the other side LampPost staff will be editing or aireadywith us in the form ofone ofmy grandchildren. Following the music, John Page took over. He was standing in it into a DVD front of Baba’s chair, with the magnificent Mastery in Servitude to send to all colophon in stained glass in the window behind it, and read out my friends who the Beloved’s words on marriage. Baba’s presence in the Dome that couldn’t make day was so powerifil. Some of our dearest friends had flown from it to LA on the the East Coast, Alaska, and Northern California for the wedding, day. Kathy Hill, but Baba was our most honored guest. Raine read the piece Francis Rosie and her Brabazon had written for the first marriage at Avatar’s Abode so daughter Missy Giving Mummy away When we found out that our good friend Lois Jones ( many times past President ofthe LA Board of directors) was also a minister ofthe Universal Life Church, we were thrilled! I wanted a traditional wedding with an overlay of Baba’s words, love and Presence. Lois was happy to read that which we had taken a month or two to put togeth er: a large excerpt from the chapter of the Discourses on the Sanctity of Married Life, some of the traditional Protestant marriage service and then a sprinkling of our
. . “
I Completing the ceremony, LoPs signs the registei;
&. k ,. ‘
(1flttn fl4S. $t114 S
IVeddingp;vgram masterfully designedbv Rosie ChoL
Decoratedsolely withfresh roses, it read sinzpz5z “Thankyou Baba,Jivm Charles and Dma.”
Hera to You Baba!Manv thanks/The toast—in sparkling cider ofcourse. ‘
The traditionalcake cutting ceremony.
I Franklins cm the lefrMithael. Teresa andDirnz, Gibsons on the rhL Charles, Mathew andLarry. Mendozas in the centei; Nicole andRvan.
11 Mi andMr. Gibson
3 generations ofBaba 1ovei
‘1 1 :v
Dma with her two sons, Christopher and Michael and our Fathe:
were the most dedicated attendants a bride could ask for, and Marc Brutus and Harry Thomas manned the PA and kept the music flowing and Pris and Chris Haffenden gave us their wonderful brand of guitar and oboe playing at the reception. Thank you so much to them and also to the many of our readers who sent us cards of 32
With Baba behind us, we lookforward to a veiy happy lfi in His love.
congratulations, gifts and loving best wishes. For you, we write this story and hope you have enjoyed it. It is truly Baba’s miracle for a 65-year-old confirmed single woman to turn into such an ecstatically happy, blushing young bride. And what a knight in shining armor our Beloved has given me!
qt.ktit’c n 1 2 4 in kp g tit A’IeJtemna Ckris J&crson, Caiifomiti fter weeks of rain and stormy weather, are up please plan to give a donation and we gathered on a beautiful winter’s take some wood home. There will still be day in January, full of sunshine, for a work a substantial amount ofwood left for those weekend at Meherana. The grounds are evening campfires. We also cleaned up the covered with a luxuriant blanket of short Sahavas kitchen cupboards and did some velvety grass. It is an incredible vibrant “spice management” updating and cleaning green that gives the impression that the out the spice bins. There was plenty of time whole world was just made. Each rock and for chai, lunch, and a community dinner at the leaves and barks of all the trees have the caretaker’s house (rice and dal!). Please been washed clean by the abundant rains check out the photo gallery at http://www. and they sparkle and shine in the sun. meherana.org for pictures of the activities. This is one my favorite times for hiking at At the end ofthe weekend I felt as ifl had Meherana when it is like walking around been on a real adventure that energized me a beautifully manicured park. The grass for my upcoming week in the office. is short and easy to walk across as it has Meherana Site Caretaker been mowed and cared for. There are no Position Open, Applications sticky burrs and our friends, the reptiles, are in hibernation. Also, most importantly, Now BeingAccepted the poison oak is not in leaf at all and the Meherana spiritual retreat center located bare branches are easy to go around. We near Mariposa, California is currently ac can hike with total freedom to the most cepting applications for the position of inaccessible parts of Meheraria. And there are many of those. In the far reaches of site-caretaker. This is a full time volunteer the property there are places that I would position. Applicants must be financially never feel free to venture to in the late independent. Housing is provided at Meherana. Ifinterested call (209) 966-5078 to spring, summer or fall. Now they are open. obtain an application form, requirements of course to visit some of those places you and job description. have to get across Agua Pria Creek and that proved difficult with the full flow of water from the rains. The creek has risen a frill five to ten feet in some places and is very wide in others. Taking off our boots and wading Channian Thtce %wwles across did not seem inviting as the water is he gifts from a Master continue to moving really fast and is very cold. So we arrive and multiply long after he has hiked up the creek towards the highway left the earth. For the Sufi order, these and found that, surprisingly, a huge tree had included the evolution of artistic talents fallen across the entire creek bed and created that enabled us to celebrate His life and a bridge, seven feet in the air, to the other our own devotion more frilly. For me, life side. With some care, you could walk across brought new and unexpected sources of it. Nine-year--old Adam thought this was love and the most touching reminders of great frm and that the new bridge was just how He had shaped my destiny.Within a high enough to be scary and challenging. few months of the Last Darshan, a new Roxy the caretaker dog, ran back and forth stage of my life began when Duncan and at least ten times on the fallen tree while we I were married. We took our vows on were contemplating it. So, one at a time we September 13, 1969, and lived our first year went across, and the log never even budged. of marriage in house a in Lafayette, east of These hiking conditions should continue San Francisco, across the Bay Bridge. After through late March, and I am looking our wedding, we received the following forward to more hiking during the February cable from Ahmednagar: work weekend. The snow on the Sierras is a breathtaking sight from the lookout point at CHARMIAN DUNCAN the top ofthe Meadow trail. MAY BELOVED BABA’S LOVE We also did some work! Four cords of BLESSINGS BE ON YOU HIS VERY wood were split and stacked. Does anyone DEAR CHILDREN YOUR MEHERAZAD FAMILY WISH need wood for their fireplace? Next time you
YOU HAPPY MARRIED LIFE IN BABA’S LOVE SERVICE MEHERA MANI
Baba’s blessing on the marriage had already made itself apparent, first through Mehera’s recognition ofDuncan at the Last Darshan and then through a remarkable coincidence that occurred one night shortly before our wedding. On that night, Dee ( Duncan’s nickname) and I were sitting at dinner, and I was feeling great happiness. My contentment made me think back in contrast to that terrible mid-divorce day in 1965 when I was crying miserably over a magazine picture of a joyous young man rolling down a sunlit hill. I decided to tell Dee this story and began to describe the picture. I didn’t get very far. Dee took over and described the photo and accompanying article in far more detail than I could have. He could do so, I was stunned to learn, because *he* was the man in the photograph! It turned out that years earlier, he’d been living on a ranch near Cloverdale when a photographer came up to shoot pictures and asked Dee to pose for him. One of those pictures showed him rolling down a bright green California hill with poppies growing in the sunlight. It was this picture, later published in a magazine, that had so utterly broken my heart. And now the man who seemed once to embody all that was beyond my grasp was to be my husband. With what sweetness had Baba laid his plan! SpreadMv Love, Charmian Duce Knowles Copyright 2004 Sufism Reoriented
9reetings from the Bookstore
3ai Baba folks,
ur regular customers just know I came back from Amartithi loaded down with goodies for the Bookstore. Certain things were purchased with certain of our good friends in mind; you have been buying from Love Street for so long I know your tastes and often something will catch my eye that has ‘your’ name on it! I brought back 140 lbs worth of books, CDs, photos, jewelry etc and Judy Stephens, bless her heart, is bringing back another 40 lbs. But my very best find of all was not something I bought over there. Have you ever noticed how when Baba wants something to happen, by golly, He makes it happen! Well I must confess I don’t often go to Arti, I prefer to be alone with Baba by the Ghadi and say my prayers to Him there, when it’s just me and Him. But this one day right after Amartithi I had a strong urge to get up early and go! So I did, and was rewarded by the most incredible singing I have ever heard at the Samadhi. It was a young woman who was singing acapella in a rich deep voice with such poi gnancy, such longing and pain in her voice, I was rooted to the floor. I couldn’t see who the voice was coming from—there were too many people there. Then someone else started to sing. I couldn’t bear for the sound of The Singer’s voice, still echoing in my head, to be erased by another. I left. At breakfast I searched until I found her—Adrienne. I excitedly plied her with questions, who are you, where are you from, how long have you been singing? All was answered in time. She and a girlfriend planned on staying at Meherabad for a month or more and then traveling around India, eventually returning to their home in Oakland, California in August. She told me she already had released one CD and had cut another, but it had not been released as yet. “I must have it!” I told her. She arranged for her Mother to send it to me. It arrived this morning and I have not stopped playing it! on a scale ofone to ten I give it a 15. Adri enne composes her own songs, accompanies herselfon guitar, (and she doesn’tjust strum
of his heart’s conversations with God—$12. We received three new books after our deadline for submissions was long passed so we do not have reviews of them for you, but I know one of them a I great many ofyou will jump at: The Wonders ofSilence by Dr. Moorty—$15. Last year when he was touring the States, speaking at many of the Baba Centers, he mentioned the book he had written on his life growing up with Baba, and spoke also ofhis father, one of the very Tll. W(Nt)ERS (W early Mandali. I was shipped just 50 of them from India, so it’s first come first served. Michael Kovitz took the 101 names of God Baba gave us and wrote .1 sne2 I a 00K aoout tnem— Meditation and Prayers on the 101 Names ofGod for $18. See the Reviews section for more on it. Not only available here, but also at Amazon.com and in other commercial bookstores. We have a new book byDon Stevens—Mandali Email, $12. It lays out the correspon dence between Don and Bhau Kalchuri as they honestly and openly discuss their dif ferent understandings of Baba’s words. Happily in China it is no longer ajailable offence to read a book on God, because The Discourses is now available in Chinese! $18 There is even a website: http://www.meherbabachinese.com The Theme f Creation; An Exploration of Avatar Meher Baba:s ‘God Speaks’ is the new documentary by Tim Thelen encompassing the essentials ofMeher Baba’s most important published work.This new documentary traces thejourney ofthe Soul from its unconscious origin, through evolution, involution, and on to God Realization. :
a few notes either—beautiful playing) and sings. She sings with a husky, bluesy, jazzy style with the occasional break in her voice that sounds so good. Move over Norah J ones! Adrienne told me she is fairly new to Baba, but He must have got her good! On this CD With My Open Heart at Meherabad she pours her heart out to Him. There are seven wonderful tracks and it sells for $12. And while I am on great new CDs, Jim Meyer has just sent me his latest—LoveChains, Songs ofHafiz. Luckily I received that a few days before I heard Adrienne’s, so it too got its many days worth of continuous play! It is up toJim’s usual high standard and makes for very powerftii listening; he feels it is his best work so far. Jim tells us about the making of the CD in the Reviews section. It sells for $15. Many of you had been asking me for the silver pendants with Baba’s photo in it. We finally had 60 ofthem made, in square, oval and round, all with beautiful photos of the Beloved. Pris is getting them up on our website as soon as she can. Unfortunately it crashed and so she has had to start all over again, so please excuse us during ‘construc tion’. Go to: http://www.lovestreetbook store.com to see where we are. I also found some smaller pendants while in India, so we have pendants for you ranging in price from $12 to $22, see next page. Our dear Bal Natu wrote many books during his time as one ofBaba’s Mandali, but especially popular are the series of Conversa tions. The fourth one was released just after he passed on to Baba. It is the final sharing .
Adapted and edited with invaluable assistance from Don Stevens and the kind permission of Sufism Reoriented. The DVD includes footage and stills of Baba as well as interviews with 12 ofHis cbsest followers: Rick Chapman, Allan Cohen, Kendra Crossen Burroughs, Robert Dreyftiss, Charmian Duce Knowles, Carl Ernst, Bhau Kabchuri, Pascal Kaplan, Phyllis Ott, Tom Riley, Don Stevens and Adele Wolkin. Music by Richard Peikoff Tim Theben and Larry Thrasher. Itis narratedbyRichard Stermerwith amnning time of54 minutes. Available on DVD only, it sells for $25.00 Tim Thelen is the director who produced Meher Baba the Awakener, a documentary made to be broadcast on PBS—nation wide. It created a lot ofinterest and the Love Street Bookstore received many enquiries for the video and ftirther information about Baba. I expect the same response from his latest production. Panday, a photographerwho took hundreds of wonderful of photos of Baba throughout His lifetime, passed the Studio on to his son, and Panday Jr. is now turning out beautiful, quality, photos.We have them from the smallest, many laminated for carying around in your wallet, up to 12 x 16. Many have been made into greeting cards with envelope, no writing inside. These are just $2 each. See page 55. They are also beautiful for framing and sitting unobtrusively on your office desk. Anything I can help you with, feel free to call 310 837 6419, 9-5 weekdays or email me. In His love, Dma
Pendants: lA-iC 2 in. square $22; 2A-2D pcfldants 1 1/2 in. long oval $20 3A, 3B 1 in. round $18; 3 smaller oval all same photo $18, $16, $14.
Tee 1, black and white photo with soft green leaf decoration $8 Tee 2, very colorful! $8 Tee 3, soft red, with blue and black lettering $8
1AYATARMEH BAM:j ;
Tee 4, color photo of the gate to Baba’s home $8 Tee 5, extremely sharp photo, black and white $10 Alltees on awhitebackground50/50 cotton. All Indian made except for the Manzil-e Meem, so are thin. Wash on gentle cycle and hang to dry—none ofthese tee shirts should be put in the dryer.
The 101 iines of9od b J4/Iichael 2<ovitz [This review takenfrom the Forwardto the book written by Carl Ernst7
he 101 names of God that are the subject of this book derive from a misty antiquity but theyretain a remarkable freshness even today. They form part of the ancient Zoroastrian prayer compilation known as the Khordeh Avesta, which can be traced back at least 2000 years, and is traditionally associated with the Prophet Zoroaster himself These names are all in Old Persian, an Indo-European language with close affinities to Sanskrit. These names also continue to form part of the regular Zoroastrian litany of prayers, both among Zoroastrians in Iran and Parsis of India. The great modern spiritual teacher, Meher Baba (1894-1969), periodically drew attention to these 101 names of God as an important spiritual legacy from the Zoroastrian tradition, and he occasionally would have them recited alongside prayers from Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh sources. Meher Baba would certainly have recited these divine names during his youth, as he grew up in the Parsi community of Pune in Western India. But in an important declaration about this prayer given in 1963, Meher Baba also emphasized that these 101 names can be an effective prayer of divine love, regardless of one’s religious affiliation. Meher Baba gives both in the original Old Persian and in the translation the list of 101 names contained in this book. These 101 Persian names of God invite comparison with the well-known 99 names of God from the Islamic tradition. All of those are in Arabic, and are taken from the descriptions of God found in the Qur’an. Recitation of these names, and meditation on their divine qualities, forms a central part of the Sufi mystical practice of dhikr or recollection of God. Recitation of those names is considered to imbue the reciter with the divine qualities contained within the names. A glance at the table of contents of this book will indicate some of the distinctive characteristics of the 101 names of God from Zoroastrian tradition. Some names emphasize God’s transcendence beyond human comprehension: Without Beginning,
Without End, Exalted One, Detached from Au, Formless, Lord Invisible. Other names speak of God’s infinite power and knowl edge in relation to the world: Lord of All, In Touch with All, Bountiflil One, Lord of the Universe. Still other names reflect on the intimate relationship between God and creation: Worthy of Our Profound Thanks, Remover ofAffliction, Bountiftil Giver, and Preserver of Creation. There is a particular emphasis on the profoundly ethical teachings of Zoroaster, summarized in the triple formula of”good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.”This stress on truth and justice is revealed in divine names such as Never Deceiving, Just Accountant, and Lord of J ust Rewards. These names of justice are matched by other names stressing divine mercy, including Forgiver ofSins, Infinitely Patient, and Compassionate Judge. An es pecially interesting series of names (begin ning at No. 61) describes the cosmic role of God as the Transmuter ofone element into another. In the end, God remains unique in his beauty: Rayed in Glory, Haloed in Light. It is significant that the very first of the 101 names is Worthy ofWorship. The Old Persian term for Worthy ofWorship is yazad, or in modern Persian izad, and are both derived from the Avestan term yazata, “adorable,” found as a description of God in the Gathas of Zoroaster. Meher Baba retained this name (with the spelling Ezad) in the conclusion of his Universal Prayer. Michael Kovitz brings to bear his own creative interpretation in the meditations on the 101 divine names that comprise this book. He draws upon spiritual symbolism from a variety of sources, including Hindu, Christian, Sufi, and Buddhist themes. An accomplished musician and poet, he reflects with sincerity and passion upon the divine qualities inherent in these names. I hope that this book ofmeditations will bring this remarkable ancient prayer to a new and ap preciative audience Carl Ernst, author ofEternal Garden and Unveiling ofSecrets.
Love Chains-&ngs of R4z by jirn 1eyer, fNorth Carolina
first began putting Hafiz to music in
1972. (Bob Brown was instrumental in encouraging me musically, as he did a number of fledgling Baba singer/songwriters). I recorded “Wine Worship”, an Aj. Arberry
translation of Hafiz, on my first solo record, One Real Friend in 1975. Over the years I have recorded several other Hafiz translations, including two of Daniel Ladinsky’s on my 1994 cassette, RelentlessLovd. (This collection also included, “Come To Me”, an adaptation ofan H.Wilberforce Clarke translation.) Love Chains-Songs ofHafiz has been in the works for over five years. It represents my ongoing fascination with the myriad variety of English translations of Hafiz, clearly brought about by Meher Baba’s awakening of this greatest of all poets in the consciousness of the West. As such, the CD’s 15 songs represent the translations of seven different individuals. I have freely adapted these translations into song form, with the hope that the original flavor and meanings are maintained and enhanced. Only one song, “Separation” (Ghazal 352) a translation by Paul Smith (copyrightl986, New Humanity Books) remains exactly as translated in ghazal form. The opening song, “Where Are You Going” is freely adapted from a translation by H. Wilberforce Clarke and is somewhat of a tone poem, with a remarkable musical accompaniment by my co-producer, Tom Dimock. Tom is a great musician and an outrageous slide guitar player as demonstrated throughout this CD. Another H. Wilber force Clarke adaptation, “My Desire”, lent itself beautifully to a folk/blues approach. Two translations by my old poker buddy, Danny Ladinsky appear in this collection: “Journey into Nothing” and “A Brilliant Flute”. Four Aj. Arberry translations are here: “Awakening” (ghazal 1, done up as a Reg gae/Caribbean/swing concoction), “All My Pleasure”, “The House of Hope”, and a re recording of “Rose and Nightingale” (which first appeared on mylong out ofstock, 1990 cassette,Journeys ofihe Heart).
Two songs, I Cast”, and “Wake the Dead”, are freely adapted from the Persian translator, Salehe Salehpour. The first song is in classic, uptempo Delta blues mode and the latter is more countrified. The great translator, Richard LeGalli enne, is represented by three selections: “Sad Rain Song”, “Exiles”, and “My Beloved”. These are very soulful, with “Exiles” being a rather forceful blues. The CD itselfgets its name from a song that was translated by Baba’s own Maude Kennedy, called “Love Chain”. In many ways it is the centerpiece of this colletion. It features a driving beat and multiple chord changes. “
I derive a great deal ofjoy singing for my Beloved Meher Baba, and I am certain that He encourages me to continue to do so. I only hope one clay to please Him in some small way with my meager attempts. Because Baba so loved Hafiz, it seemed only natural for me to lay this labor of love at His Feet. 1 do want to give a special “thank you” to T)() Tall Tom Dinock, who not only recorded, engineered, mixed and co—produced this CD from his bedroom studio (Thunderstorm Hollow S tudios), but also played fliOst of the instruments. He is a gift from Baba. *Available in audio cassette from the Love Street Bookstore—flU .
.A Singing 7:o 71w Eternal Be1oved J.ainc Easttiiuii janneu, California ancis Brabazon, Beloved Baba’s resident iViandali Poet, wrote this wonderhil song cycle fir Avatar Meher Baba’s 74th Birthday, February 25th 1968. This gem was then, and still remains, unpublished; but a private printing of 50 signed songbooks was nade at that tine and given as gifts. It was presented to Beloved Baba for His final Birthday in this Incarnation. Francis returned to Avatar’s Abode 50011 after Baba dropped the body, and when we Australians living in the area first became aware of this sweet song cycle, we longed to learn it. VVe had the perfict op— portunitv when, as a group of onw forty
Australian Baba byers, we returned to India with Francis in January 1973 and were invited to sing at Armatithi dur ing the three days of entertainment at Meherabad. It was a delight to see the Mandali remember the last time they had heard it in 1968 and to see how much they loved it this time around. For many years I had wondered how to release this song cycle so that everyone could learn it’s secrets of concentra tion and repetition of His Name and Attributes. Perfect is the way the song cycle leads us through the Avatar’s shared wisdom, and then with Francis’ pure and seemingly simple yet skillful way ofwriting, takes us back to His Name at the end. In 1985 the opportunity arose when a dedi cated group of good singers and musicians (eight in all) decided to devote the time and energy during their pilgrimage at Mehe rabad to learn it. Inspired by a line from a number ofFrancis’ poems, I called the group The Love Street Singers. We were offered the Rahuri Cabin at Meherabad for rehears als and to my delight I found that most of the singers could sight read the music well, and we were sounding strong, lovely and yet natural. But the best part was yet to come: Mani was made aware of our efforts and asked us to perform it for all the Mandali the following Sunday at Meherazad. This CD is the focus of2O years of wondering how to overcome some of the trickier aspects ofthe live recording that Hughie McDonald had made that day in Mandali Hall. Slowly but surely the way to keep the feeling of the iViandali present, the atmosphere of the Hall evident and yet enhance the overall performance quality unfolded. After tape clean up, digitization, and several tracks of bells, tamboura, madhal, framedrum, khaytals, sha man stick, etc. were added, I feel it is as pure and spontaneous as the day we presented it in Mandali Hail with all the Mandali present. The group who gave many hours of their Pilgrimage to present once again to the Mandali, Francis’ gift to Beloved Baba in this beautiful song cycle are:
Lorraine Brown,John Conners, Raine EastWendy Haistead, Ted Judson, JackMormon,JaySchauer andJudith Shotwell. Guitars:Ted,Jay and Raine.Tabla:John Conners. Percussion enhancements: temple bells, madahal, frame drum, khaytals, gungarus & shaman stick, Raine. Francis Brabazon says about the piece: “The repetition of the Name of Godman and the praises ofHis Attributes has always been known to be the most interesting and beautiful path to the door of the Beloved. But as just speaking the Name and Attributes tends to become a bit dry and monotonous at the beginning—that is until the Name and Attributes begin to shine with the light inherent in them—it has been found better to sing them to simple tunes which give buoyancy to the words without distracting the lover from his concentration on the Beloved. Naturally such repitition and praises are better, more effective, in one’s mother tongue, for only that goes to the depths ofone’s heart.” Lyrics and melodies by Francis Braba zon. Sung by The LoveStreet Singers at Meherazad. Directed and produced by Raine Eastman-Gannett. The CD is available at the Love Street Bookstore $14 Photocopies of the song book are available at “Rainy Day”: www.Nadaom.com Thanks to my dear friend and Mentor, our Mandali Poet, Francis Brabazon. Thanks to the Mandali who have loved this song cycle since 1968. Thanks most of all to Avatar Meher Baba, the Singer and the Song. Editorc note: Ifelt I had to include some unsolicited testimonialsfroin two Aussies who have known both Francis andRainefor many decades, andto whom this song cycle by Francis has great import and who have been waiting for 20 years to see it on CD. To say they were man-Gannett,
enthusiastic in their praise would be grossly understating the case. Dear Raine: FANBLOODYTASTIC!!! Received parcel yesterday evening opened it today on HIS birthday and played it straight away. Thank you so so much. Fanbloodytastic is an understatement—more like fanbloodytastic in spades (and in hearts too). It has always been my favourite Francis piece. I have been bugging Sam for many years to produce it—never dreaming I would ever get to hear one of the earlier productions! Andfrom another: Bravo!!!!! A magnificent production! Well done! So simple and perfect. Thank you! I’ve been straining over that one fir years and am now very happy you have done it, and done it WELL. Jai Baba! And then in re/i’rence to her previously released CD: Bhajans and Artis by Rani Didi “Surely this is the most amazing and beauti— flu version ofthe Australian Arti and exactly how Francis conceived it, I have played it all day and the Eastern flavour and accompani ment to such a lovely Mozart like tune is so clever. Your years with Francis have given you the wisdom to knoW his music.” This is indeed a lovely CD. Besides some well known hhajans, it has the I lindi arti ( Aadi sachetana) the Gujerati arti, and the above mentioned Australian arti. Also $14 -
Leap of 3aith
11 jit1ie Rust b
Dsn’t Lit Wondqu1
reviewed by Jauc i3rowu,
by Jioger W. .Robiuson. ::Revicni 1)!] J’l/lisclia JutcIl1)crg
eacli 3 ..A/Iyrtlc i itting in the audience at the Southeast Gathering one day in April, maybe seven years ago, I was very surprised and thrilled with the incredible talent ofJulie Rust.
Out of the blue, there she was—this magical singer, songwriter, piano player, singing lyrics that very few would dare to sing—-so honest, so deeply touching. The music disarmed most ofus in the audience that day, made us cry, softened us, and there was nothing to do but love her and thank Baba for her. At long last, after many trials in her life, Julie has completed Leap ofFaith, her brand new CD. ‘Trust In Me’, my favorite cut, is track two: “My wall became so strong, couldn’t let anyone in, couldn’t hear anybody say ‘trust in me’. I promise everyday I’ll be right here, trust in me, you will begin to see no need for fear. Then I met a man who lifted me up so high, I began to see what was living on the other side, there was music and there was dancing and there was Love.” J ulie’s voice is really soothing and goes along beautifully with her piano playing. She sings her oxvn harmonies. .Baba’s Cu— Jerati Arti being one ofthe highlights. Her husband Rusty accolpanies her on acoustic guitar, along with Stan Lassiter on electric and acoustic guitar, Jack Flarris, acoustic guitar, Robert Bond and 1\”Iickey Grimm on drums and Roy Vogt and Rick Plant on bass. Debra Harris adds cello to one song. The CD was Pr(lCe(i and recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. ‘\Jl songs were vrit— ten or co—written by Julie Rust with the exception of the (llijerati Arti which was written by IVieher Baha. All ofit is absolutely delightftil. $12.
es. it is wondertiil! \‘Vhat a happy event it is to listen to a new collection of songs by Roger. His songs always create a loving and intiniate atn)sphere that supports a warm sweet embrace in the arms of iir Beloved, 1\leher Baba. \‘Vhile the themes and voice on this CI) continue tining the rich vein othis previous CD the 5ound is very different. Roger has arranged these songs with drums and a Wi(IC veriety of orchestral SOundS troll his synthesizer. One of the songs called “fhe i\.rrival ot Always” is an instrumental. On “Drink Deeply Now The \Vine”, “Still Believe in l’he Love f\Ian”, and “Soar— ing Infinite Love”, Roger sings in the voice .
The wonderful melody and poetry of “Soaring Infinite Love” make it one ofthe standout tracks. “0 Dearest One” and “The Blind Man and The Ancient One” are declarations of love and allegiance made by the lover tor the Beloved.This is part ofthe universal dialogue that all lovers have with the Beloved. Roger’s beautiful baritone, as always, delivers these expressions intimately and genuinely. I could fill pages expressing appreciation ot Roger’s ielodies, lyrics and voice but there is one more thing that is unique and rare... it is his absence. On the songs “Be— come lVline Alone, “The OnlyTrue Friend” anc:l “Isn’t It \‘Vonderfiil” Roger sings as the voice of Meher Baba. Roger sings these songs ill such a way that he disappears and Baha appears. Fhis is a seeningly siTple 1it actually iery difficult task. I ai glad to say Roger disappears because it is so wonderful to hear Baba sing Ilis nessage to our hearts. These are three more standout tracks which I f()ufl(1 fliOst noving. (_;() lni yourself a copy of this CD aiui then buy one fir a friend. lfyou do, then we can all look forward to Roger’s third CD!
troubadour conipanion vho is
the way towards the goal. I Ic describes our shared experience and urges us on together.
J44rntdali Etnciil Between Don &cvens
731mu 2<!rnichuri l urictia 4 L—’
/1pplcbaiim, Californ ii
ant/u/i Eiiiiii/ is an intintite revealing corresp )ndence
Don Stevens and Bhau Khaldhuri vritten the sunier aiI fill of 2004. Reading it is an intense U(1 tlvight— provoking experience. Clearly both Bhau and Don shared fron the deepest parts Of thenselves, honestly ui authenticall and tried their best to communicate about tiOt only delicate interpersonal matters 1it also hOOt profoundly inportut questions
‘Bhau Ilchuri &Dol7jtevens
regarding sources and interpretations of Meher Baba’s words. They embarked on a long and meticulous journey together to accomplish this task for which they had to build many bridges to meet each other in order to clear up wild misunderstandings, as well as overcome what appear to be cultural, philosophical, and personality differences . Throughout the correspondence they approached this challenging way of relating with the utmost care and love—always aware of each other’s feelings and strengths. Yet this sensitivity did not stop them from the mission, initiated and pursued with determination by Don, to clarif correct, and communicate regardless oftime and health constraints, or Bhau’s mitial reluctance. There is a sense ofurgency in Don’s letters to conduct this correspondence before it is too late. Don writes to Bhau: “As you and I are the only ones left now who have been deeply immersed in Baba’s words under his direct supervision, the reconciling of our views on Baba’s words has become a very key necessity for the proper continuation of the dissemination ofBaba’s works.” These letters back and forth illustrate how committed both Don and Bhau are to living the very individu alized paths each feels Baba gave him. At times Mandali Email is so personal and charged that I felt seW-conscious reading it and had to remind myself that I was not surreptitiously reading a private communica tion. Early on in the correspondence, Bhau writes: “Please Don, if there is anything that creates misunderstanding, it is always best for us to discuss and thrash it out.” With this courageous intention, discuss and thrash they did. One area of contention that is consid ered is the issue of hearing one’s inner voice of Meher Baba. Some questions that their dialogue raises are: Is this really Baba’s voice? Can messages for the public be given from Baba in this way,via a Mandali member? Can
anyone’s consciousness be trusted enough to fully get out of the way for Baba to come through clearly? Ifso, is this a psychic or oc cult experience, or merely intuition? Didn’t Baba say the voice of intuition is his voice? What does this all mean? Many questions arise which though not necessarily resolved in this book, at least are asked, and now we have the opportunity to hear the valuable perspectives ofboth Bhau and Don. Some other issues that are discussed and clarified are: the role of reading intellectual and philosophical works (including Baba’s own writing) in the life ofthe spiritual aspirant, the balance of the head and the heart, the attribution of sources in Bhau’s books, and the confusing topic of un-natural vs. non-natural sanskaras. Don points out instances where Bhau’s explanations appear to contradict what is in Baba’s writing, and then Bhau cites historical references and stories of explanation. One of Don’s main concerns is expressed in this statement to Bhau: “The extreme sensitivity of this fact lies in the manner in which Meher Baba’s own precepts and words given to us by Him can result in a confused situation in which Baba’s words are left aside, and your own exposition is taken as the official presentation ofMeher Baba’s philosophy in this area.” Bhau’s responses to Don’s concerns often revolve around his deep faith and belief that Baba is guiding all that comes to him and all that he expresses to the public. In addition, Bhau discusses how Baba gave him instructions for his writing and that Baba repeatedly told him not to worry, for “Everything will be crystal clear to you.” Another issue up for discussion is Don’s story of how Baba said there is something like an atomic bomb of spiritual energy attached to Baba’s words. Interestingly, Bhau responds that ifthis energy attached to “His word is just kept and is not used, it v ‘1 be meaningless. The words should be put into action . . .“ Both Don and Bhau use Baba quotes and stories to illus— trate their points. Although Bhau willingly answers many of Don’s questions, he also states, “You must note and realize, that spirituality is not meant for =— discussion .
At separate times during the correspon dence, both Bhau and Don acknowledge, each in his own way, that they may never come to a resolution about certain differences of opinion. Bhau suggests that they each follow their own duty towards Baba without interfering with each other’s duty. Don writes, “I would not be averse to haying the two of us say very simply to the Baba-world that here we have a difference on an important matter, and have agreed to maintain our separate positions with abso lutely no rancor, nor intent to try to change the other’s viewpoint. I would like this to be a public matter and for everyone to see that in real fact neither of us is the least bit annoyed, to allow the other to maintain his position.” As it was quite an ambitious and challenging correspondence in many ways, this statement from Don is comforting. It is natural that there might be some degree of uneasiness in the reader to see two of Baba’s close and beloved companions disagreeing, vehemently at times. There are even mo ments when I thought I might have detected tones of criticism or sarcasm towards each other. However, along with this initial discomfort in myself I found even greater respect and admiration for both Don and Bhau for putting themselves on the line for each other and for all of us, for the sake of their deep love for Baba. Along with the very important and intriguing content ofthese letters, the beauti liii individual personalities ofBhau and Don shine through in their writing. It is easy to get a sense of their unique contributions and the path each walks with Baba. There is the added treat ofboth authors including fascinating and touching stories oftheir life experiences with Baba. I highly recommend this book ofletters. Paperback 79, pgs 8 1/2x
La 3oret /I 3ive 5tw Sahctvas Site! -
:Dina Snow9ibsou Lodge, the main hall, is I meeting a very large log I cabinwithasoar I ing cathedral celling built by Alice Bemis Taylor and her husband in 1928 as a private residence. Also on the 450 acres (most ofit wooded with soaring pines) is an exqui site chapel built frost on the ground and clear blue skies by Mr. Taylor for and sunshine, with a snow covered Pike’s his wife’s personal The beaut/iil Ponderosa Lodge, meeting hal/for all events. Peak gleaming in the distance. There was use. This adobe he Denver group invited Charles Mission style chapel is on Colorado’s list of some snow on the ground that had fallen a few days prior, a delightftil sight to the two to be their musical guest for their historical sites. Los Angelenos. celebration of the Beloved’s Birthday, held The cabins for sleeping are scattered Most ofthe Sahavasees I knew by name here every year and known as The Rocky about the property, many with double from their having ordered from the BookMountain Sahavas. They also wanted to bedrooms so married couples or families store, so it was a delight to finally put a face hear the talk I gave at the New York Center can be together. ‘Sage’, our lodge, had four to the name. And what a treat it was to hear in 2003 titled “My Life Under His Thumb” bedrooms, two bathrooms and a fireplace in Virginia Sadowsky from New York, a witty and so asked me to accompany Charles. I the living room. What luxury! The dining raconteur who spoke of her life before and call my talk that because in 1987 Mani told room was a short walk down the path from after meeting and spending time with Baba me that sometime in the mid 60s she was Ponderosa or across the field from the cabins. when He came to New York and Myrtle sitting in the Meherazad kitchen reading The staffwere the friendliest I have ever had Beach in the ‘50s. She set us all to laughmy latest letter and looking at a photo of the pleasure ofbeing associated with, and the ing with her at her self-deprecating humor. my husband, myself and our three children. incredibly delicious food was such that one Baba came in, stood there looking at the needed a brisk walk after each meal to burn Judith Shotwell, harpist of great repute. charmed us with her playing, and Sara Dc photo and then reached down and put His off the massive quantities that one had just Loe who was leaving in two days to go to thumb over my face, holding it there for a consumed. Lunch and dinner were always Seville Spain to study Flamenco, gave us a few moments. followed by desert! Weather permitting, preview of what she has learned so far. Jeff When iVIani told me this I was totally one could sit on the outside balcony and de Loe, soon to be moving to Meherabad ignorant as to its meaning. Not so today! enjoy the most stunning view ofPike’s Peak, Since He gave me the winning ticket to the which is also Los Angeles Fly to India Sweepstakes and clearly visible I became involved in the running of the from the main Bookstore and editing this magazine, I am lodge. When very aware that He has me right where He building their wants me—Under His Thumb! home the Tay We were very honored and happy to be lors very cleverly asked, and since neither of us had been to had their house Denver before, we looked forward to it with situated to take great anticipation. It could not have been advantage of more wonderftil. Our hosts,Janet and Nick this magnificent Dascalos met us at the airport and drove us sight. to their home for Thursday night. Friday The weather morning Charles spentjamming with fellow could not have musicianJeffDe Loe and then we all packed been nicer up and headed offto La Foret. brisk mornings A more beautiful, comfortable and cozy with a slight Pike Peak as seenfrom thefront door oft/ic lodge. spot could not be imagined. Ponderosa .
with his wife Meg, gave us a couple of his very funny songs written to Baba. Charles and I were wonderfully received and found the overall atmosphere to be very warm, friendly, and full of Baba’s love. We are deeply grateful to them for inviting us What a Birthday!
Captions c1ockwisefi.im above left- Dma tells of MvLf UnderHis Thumb’S. Virginia Sadowsky andDina enjoying a conversation. Charles Gibson singing his vemion of the Gujeratiuirfi. Sara & Loe dances a Flamenco tango. Virginia entertains us ‘with herstories.Jeffde Loe sings a ballai
!.he .lfr1t:tster and the Old Aian’s four Sons. Story © Bhau Kaichuri, Artwork © Nadia Wolinska Here is a story, as told by Baba, ofa perfect master, an old man and his four sons: II his life, the old man would come to the master. One day, he said to him, “Master, now I am old. Very soon I will die. I also want my four sons to follow you, so please advise them.” “All right, bring them tomorrow,” the master replied. The next day the old man brought all four sons to the master. “One at a time, send your sons to me,” the master instructed the old man. The first son came before the master, who enquired, “What do you want to do?” “Master, whatever you want me to do, I will do,” the first son replied. So the master told him, “I am very, very happy. Last night, I was thinking about you and what would be good for you. Ifyou do a normaijob, then, ofcourse, you will become a slave. You will be bound. This is not good for you, you should be free! Do you want to cultivate land?” “Yes, master, ifyou want me to do it.” “Become a farmer. Cultivate the land, and you will be free. But don’t tell anyone, this is a secret for you. Now go.” So the first son left, thinking that the master had given him something secret and that he must not tell anyone. The second son then came to the master. “If I ask you to cultivate the land,” the master said, “what might happen? Sometimes it will rain, and sometimes it will not. If it rains, then you will have a good crop. But if it does not rain, then you i will have a bad one. So I do you want to cultivate land?” And the second boy answered, “Master, you please decide.” “No, land cultivation is not good for you. Go into business. If you do, 4t-, you will earn a lot. So, do you want to go into business?” “Of course, master, if that is what you want!” “Good. But this is a secret for you. Go out and
go into business. Do not tell anyone.” Then the third son came to the master. The master said to him, “I was thinking about you, and what you should do. If you cultivate land, that will be no good. If I ask you to go into business, then sometimes you will incur a loss and sometimes a gain. So, this also would be no good for you. But ifyou take a job, on the first of every month, you will get a salary. Do you want this?” “Yes, I would like ajob ifyou want me to have one, master,” said the third one. And the master said, “Okay, good. But this is our secret. Do not tell anyone.” Then the fourth son came to the master. “Of course, I have been thinking about you,” said the master. “Ifyou do land cultiva tion, there will be rain at some times, and no rain at others. This is no good for you. If I ask you to do business, you will incur a loss. Also no good. If I ask you to do a job, you will become a servant, and this, too, will be no good for you. So why don’t you remain here with me?” And the fourth son replied, “Master, I had wanted to be with you!” “This is a secret, so do not tell anyone,” the master informed the fourth son. Why did the Perfect Master give different orders to the different sons? Because their treatment needed be according to the disease from which each one suffered. Though we don’t know our own disease, everybody has one. Only the masters know this.
So why has Baba said, “Remember Me and follow My Wish?” Only the One who knows impressions can give a person proper treatment according to their disease (impressions). You cannot say, “Just do this or do that” as a spiritual discipline, because spiritual discipline is different for everyone. What is spiritual dis cipline? “Eat like this; don’t eat like that?” But what importance is there in eating or sitting? Eat everything! Sit comfortably! Why sit like this or like that? That is not spirimality In spirituality we should be free from all these impressions. Only when im pressions are wiped out are we really free. He is doing everything for us, and He has taken on the burden of our impressions for us. He is an expert cleaner; it is His business. Impressions are an obstruction, and when they are cleaned, awakening will occur. Ifyou had spoken to the Mandali mem bers who had been with Meher Baba, they would have told you that the instructions Baba gave them were specifically for them, not for people in general. Baba would give orders according to the individual Mandali member’s need. For example, Gustadji only observed silence and did nothing else. Eruch and I, however, always had a lot of work. FIis orders were always according to the disease. Only Beloved Baba knew what our disease was, and He gave us treatment correspondingly.
2isJi.ore }/jjfr 2juiiis ‘Beiovcd EB•abi
rJ2ctssins “Baba directs me to inform you that you should try tofind ajob in Bombay. If after tryingyour bestyoufailtoget one then you go to Surat atyour home. In the meanwhile pull on at thefirm whereyou are working atpres ent. Asfor asking Blessings ofBaba ofdoing HIS work, Beloved Baba wants you to note thatHISBLESSINGSare always at handfor those who work in His Cause with Sincerity and Love.”
by JPkber 2iwi4r A.:istry jd 2ith 8mm ishore Mistry, aged 67, a tireless worker or Beloved Baba and Secretary of the Mumbai Baba Center, suffered a massive heart attack on January 7, 2005 and died almost immediately. At the time, he was on his way to Meherabad. Of his passing, Bhau Kalchuri has remarked, “What luck he had, that while he was on the way to Meherabad from Bombay, at Thana, he joined Baba! This joining Beloved Baba is different. He was coming to Paradise on earth, but he went to the Real Paradise (Vaikunth).” Kishore heard about Beloved Baba in Surat at the age of 1 6. Within two years, he went to Bombay, where he discovered great lovers ofMeher Baba and joined a circle of youths whose tutoring was administered by Kaikrushoo Pleader, Baba’s Mandali mem ber. By this time, Pleader had come down to Bombay, and was busy instructing a new generation ofBaba lovers on how to please Beloved Baba. These persons included Kishore’s lifetime friends Gulabdas Panchal and his brother Ratilal, and K. V. Nene, whose daughter he later married. The atmosphere in Bombay (now called Mumbai) at that time was a fertile one for new Baba lovers. So many old and close ones were in that city at that time, including Kharmanmasi, the Dadachanji family, Rao saheb, the Talati family, the Karanis, Soona masi, Pilamasi and small Khorshed. These close ones provided love, companionship and instruction to the new boys and girls joining the family of Baba lovers. Pleader was especially influential on them. The profound and amazing stories of Pleader’s experiences, and his explanations, made a great impact on Kishore’s life. At that time, there were no textbooks in the “University of Love for Baba,” and so the instructors were very important. Kishore met Beloved Baba in 1954-55. The family doesn’t remember the exact date of the first meeting, but the impact of that meeting was such that Kishore began to lose all interest in worldly affairs. Within his heart, he began to search for ways to come closer to Beloved Baba.
Beloved Baba was closely monitoring the activities carried out by the Bombay group. In another letter in 1960, Eruch writes: “Beloved Babac instructions to you are 1) Love Baba with allyour heart. 2) Holdfast onto His daamanfor Baba is theAncient One. 3) Baba lovesyou very much. 4) Continuefor 2 months in the old service and fthis boss of yours is pleased to keep you longer then con— To do so, he became heavily involved in tinue the same service, fnotfind anotherjob the activities carried out in Beloved Baba’s in Bombay and fyoufind one, thenjoin the cause in Bombay. He joined the group of new service in Bombay. Ifyourpresent boss enthusiastic Baba workers led by Shri S.R. asksyou to leave his service after two months Siganporia. The group was instrumental in andfhe is determinedtogiveyou notice, then holding its first public function on the occa it is best thatyou be on look outfrom nowfor sion ofthe 62nd Birthday ofAvatar Meher anotherjob whileyoustillhave the two months Baba on 25th February 1956. The response in hand. 5) Baba wantsyou to cooperate 100% with Sorabjee Siganporia and fyou are able was tremendous. Working for Baba came at the expense to do so 100%you willsat4fy Baba and you of any more formal study. This did not free will also make Baba happy. 6) Baba wants Kishore from uncertainty about whether he you, Goolab, Ratilalandothers to work in the should try for more education. One example Cause ofTruth as humble workers ofBeloved ofdirect correspondence from Baba that was Baba. SpreadHis Love alloverBombay with in response to Kishore’s seeking direction much humility, simpleheartedness andwithout on the issue of further study was received least malice in heart and mindfor anyone. 10) by him in early 1958. The scribe (and the Baba wantsyou allto work unitedly with one readily recognizable voice of the correspon heart and love Baba with allyour heart and dent) is Eruch Jessawala, who handled all soul. 11) Baba wantsyou write to Him once a fortnight ofthe developments ofyour service. correspondence with them: 12) Beloved Baba sends you and allHis dear ‘Baba wantsyou to loveHinzforHe is the onesHisLove. 13)Also conveyBabacLove to Lord ofLove andfor the sake ofloving Him Sarosh-Khorshed-Merwan. 14) Baba wants as He ought to be loved. Love Baba NOT you ailto remain happy and cheerful.” because your lovefor Him will make you pass [Points 7—9 were left out ofthis excerpt since in your examination! Your very life is The they were not of universal interest.] Surely Examination, fyou couldbutpass in this ex the points are just what any ofus would be amination allother examinationsfade out into overjoyed to receive. insignficance.Andtopass in this examination Within a month, this came from Beloved you have to love Baba with allyour heart and soul without expectation of reward either Baba’s Eruch: material or spiritual. It is a hard affair but “Baba sends you His LOVE and He cxeveryone has to sit oncefor this exam andpass pressed His happiness to find you obeying by His Grace.” His instructions. Baba wciithyou to remain Kishore also received advice on other under the guidance ofSorabjee and to carry worldly problems from Baba. This letter out whatever instructions he may give to you from time to time regarding Beloved Babai came in March 1960: work in Bombay. Baba is happy to find you —
going out in search ofa newjob. Baba wants you to tryforthesame anditwillbe best fyou canfind it in Bombay. Ifnot,you willhave to go to Surat.”
Kishore was so intelligent that he picked up the skills he needed to be quite helpful to any enterprise, just by observing and asking questions. Eventually he became an accountant and, at that, one with the most precise and exacting standards. For instance, in accounting for Baba work expenditures, he would be careful to render the accounts to the accuracy of the smallest coin in use at the time. Soon thereafter: “Baba was happy to hearfromyou thatyou wilijoin a new servicefrom tomorrow_3ft March. Also that you were planning to pay visitto Guruprasadon3TApril. BelovedBaba sends his love toyou and toyour new boss who sentsalutations to Baba through you.” Kishore’s new boss was a devotee of Sai Baba ofShirdi, and was sympathetic, giving Kishore more scope to help organize and attend the various Baba events at which the public was made aware ofthe modern advent of the Avatar. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has tried to participate in group-oriented work for Baba that the Bombay group at times would go through troubled waters. In 1962, Baba wrote again to Kishore to address this point as follows: “Baba wantsyou NOTtofeel worried over what did happen, but He wantsyou to know that He isproud ofyour deep understanding regardingyour duty to remain resigned to His Will. Try andtry again andthere willbe a day when you will succeed to controlyourse’fand gain control overyour eagerness and natural keenness to be nearBaba when He had desired you to see thatyou awaitedHis directpermis— sion before coming. Baba says that He knows ofyour deep lovefor Him andyour anxiety to please Him at all costs. This has made Him happy andHe says thatyou are very dear to Him. He sends His Love.” By 1964, Kishore, having reached the age of 26, got engaged to Rajani, who survives him. Beloved Baba Himself performed Kishore’s engagement with Rajani by putting both their hands together in His own hands and declaring both of them as engaged to each other. The two of them were from different communities, which posed some annoyance to them, as their respective communities were not happy with the marriage proposal, but Beloved Baba smoothed everything over, and five weeks later they 44
went through the registered marriage (civil) ceremony. On that occasion Beloved Baba sent a telegram to the two of them: “My Love Blessing to you and Rajani on occasion ofyour marriage to remain united in my love and service. Convey my Love to My dear Nene and Family and to your parents and family.” Soon thereafter: “Beloved Baba wants you to visit Mehe razadany one day at2:QOp.m. He wants you to come alone to Him at Meherazad. Baba wants you to return after an hourc visit to Meherazad. Baba wants you to inform Adi kaka in advance ofyour date ofvisit here so that he can makefor you some arrangement oftransport. Beloved Baba sends His Love to you and Rajani.”
The Bombay Centre was formally inaugurated in 1962. Kishore served there as joint secretary (the otherjoint secretary was Dolly Dastur), and during the East-West Gathering in November Baba gave him and other volunteers the duty oflooking after the Australian contingent. In 1966, Kishore came down with what was feared to be tuberculosis. Baba was kept informed about his condition, and sent this letter: “BelovedBaba rememberedyou veryfondly this morning andHe wants to know whether or notyou are continuing the treatment chalked outforyou by dear Hoshang Bharucha. If by chance you have discontinued the treatment, then Baba wants you to resume itforthwith withoutfail. Baba wants you to write to Dr. HoshangBharucha immediately details ofyour p resent condition and send reports of blood check up etc. Baba wants you to do exactly as Hoshang wantsyou to do asfarasyour medical treatment is concerned. Beloved Baba wants you not tofeel unhappy or worriedbut to keep happy and cheerfid. He sends His Love and Blessing toyou and to Rajani.” Kishore recovered, and until his end enjoyed good health. The family grew in subsequent years with the addition of children, all of whom are active and engaged Baba lovers. A son born on December 7, 1967 was named by Baba himself. Typical of the joy correspon dence with Beloved Baba could bring was this delightful extract of a letter dated the following day: 4llMeherazadis very happy today to hear that dear Rajani has delivered a bonny son th December with belovedBabac NAME on 7 on her lips. The newborn babe is bound to
be as devoted and loving as his parents. Beloved Baba has named His new bhakta as MEHERKUMAR, andBaba directed me to convey His Love andBlessings toyou, Rajani and bonny son Meherkumar. Hope both Ra jani and dear Meherkumar are in good health by beloved Babac Grace. Beloved Baba sends His Love to you and directs me to inform you thatyou and Rajani keep happy in His Will andrememberHim andloveHim allthe more. He is verypleased withyour loveforHim and your Service in His Cause. He isproud ofyou andyour love/He wantsyou both to take good care ofdarling Meherkumar and teach him to love Baba with allhis tiny heart.”
Two other children who are very active in Baba work followed: Meher Shobha was born in 1970. The Mandali suggested her name. She became a homeopath and contin ues to give her loving service at the charitable clinic of the Avatar Meher Baba Centre of Poona. In November 1971, Rajani gave birth to Meherveena. She went on to compose the music for and to sing beautiful ghazals, the words ofwhich were written by Beloved Baba under the pen name of”Huma.” Music was quite important to Kishore. He had a natural talent for it. Injuly, 1958, Baba commented that he had heard good things about the Bombay Bhajan singers and permitted them to sing two devotional songs to Him. The singers were Keshav Nene, Gulabdas Panchal and Kishore. On many occasions, Kishore and his wife Rajani used to sing together, presenting ghazals and bhajans to Bombay Center audiences. Kishore used the opportunity ofworking for Baba to intensify his focus on Baba. For example, Meherkumar recalls that when Amartithi time came (and Kishore was always a volunteer for Amartithi), Kishore would getvery charged up.When Meherku mar would see him at Amartithi, it would be like seeing another person. All worldly interests were completely absent from his personality at that time his whole focus was on pleasing Baba with the work. Like so many staunch Baba lovers, Kishore was stubborn and focused, and didn’t tolerate practices that he felt were unbecoming to Baba. For instance, he was strongly opposed to those who came into the fold ofBaba lovers, but continued to worship other deities. He could be bold and blunt on expressing his disapproval of this practice. He also disapproved of rituals, creeds and dogmas, and demonstrated his views on these matters though they made him un popular in some near and dear circles. —
Meherkumar recalls, “Papa had a tremen dous sense about the importance of time. He used to time every activity and observed that a thing happens within the time set for it to happen. Timeliness in Beloved Baba’s ways ofworking, demonstrated in seemingly trivial matters, made such a lasting impres sion on Papa that he never failed to respect the time factor about any activity He not only used to follow it himself but used to expect the same respect for time from every one of us.” Kishore took Baba’s instructions about being punctual quite literally, and was himself determined to live up to these instructions. In addition, he was determined to master obedi ence to Baba’s instructions once he recognized what those instructions were. In addition, Meherkumar recalls, “He strived and strived very hard to to sow the seed of Beloved Baba’s Love in the hearts of his children; nurture the seedling and provide a suitable environment to ensure its growth in the right direction. He was extremely vigilant and as a father observed our words and deeds very closel) He kept checking all the time whether we were going in the right direction. He continuously kept on warning us about not getting too much involved in worldly matters but always try to keep ourselves in tune with Beloved Baba. He constantly kept hammering that Beloved Baba is the ONLY REALITY...He is the only ONE that exists and only ONE that matters. He often used to remind us about how fortunate we were to come close to Baba in this very life and how important it is to make the most of this life (unique opportunity) to come closer and closer to Beloved Baba.” Pleader had taught him to avoid praising or being praised. He also kept his feelings to himself. As his son remarked, his love was deep within. He studied homoeopathyvery deeply and he thought it was effective, with less sideeffects on one’s body and also affordable to the common man. He used to give medicines to the needy with Baba’s name on his lips. There were instances where he cured almost impossible cases. One ofhis patients was Rajani. She was diagnosed with possible breast cancer, but he administered medicines, and no cancer developed. On another occasion he cured a stomach tumor in her by administering homeopathic treatment. Then there was the case ofa man who had been discharged from Tata Center because he was assumed to be in the untreatable final stages ofheart disease.
Kishore’s treatments, in Baba’s name, were responsible for a complete recovery. He believed that the medicine that he gave was merely a medium through which Beloved Baba’s love flowed to cause the healing. Upon hearing ofKishore’s passing, Bhau Kalchuri sent this additional communica tion, some days after the one given in the first paragraph: “The family is really unique. [Following Kishore’s demise] I saw everyone happy and cheerful, and I felt touched when I saw my dear Sister Rajani coming to me smil ing. What a gift you have received from the Beloved, and how my dear Kishore has served you all. This service is unknown to everyone. Nobody knows. And how can one know; because it is inner service... It was really an amazement to everyone who knew dear Kishore that he passed away. But no one knows that he has not passed away, but he has met the Beloved in such a way that He will keep him immortal. I am really happy that you found him hale and hearty when you saw his body. It is a great gift that Beloved Baba has given to the fam ily, that the burden ofsanskaras which they would have taken a long time to spend, and then again collect new impressions, were just wiped out in no time, because the connec tions are broken. That day was a unique day, when I met the family and the smile ofeach one. I felt as ifl should bow down to Beloved Baba’s Love in you all, who have given so much courage and strength to realize that no one goes and no one comes. It is a dream. Though people say this through talks, very few can feel it, and still fewer can experience it. How loving and merciful our Beloved is, that when you saw your Papa’s face, you saw him smiling. I feel very much touched. You are really unique, and how fortunate my Sister Rajani is, who has such a blessed family. Your father was completely dedicated to Baba’s Cause. What a gift He has given that not only did He make him free from births and deaths, but also He cleaned all you dear ones. The smile you all had was the joy which Beloved Baba has given. I really felt touched, and I will never forget in my life the gift of the Beloved.”
9turi 2 Iazrn by .Amitabk ..hiukIwijec, 3abalpur auri Hazra passed away abruptly on 8 February 2005, from cardiac arrest, in South India, where she was visiting her grandson, my brother.
Gauri learnt about Baba from her husband Professor Amiya Kumar Hazra* after their marriage. Although Amiya explained the Avatar to her, the explanation failed to capture her imagination, and she didn’t take Him to be God. However He arranged for her to experience His compassion. One afternoon, as she sat by a window ofher house puzzling over who Baba might be, Baba with all His incomparable splendor appeared at the window. She felt the overwhelming warmth of Baba’s presence and His love, and from that time forth was securely in His fold. She and Amiya married in summer of 1962. At the East-West Gathering in November 1962, Baba called them before Him, joined their hands Himself and said, “Now you are properly married.”This was her first opportunity for ; she also attended the 1965 Pune darshan program. She was very well educated, with a master’s degree in commerce and economics, and taught school for most ofher adult life. It was her good fortune to teach in a school where most of the teachers were also devo tees ofMeher Baba. She thus spent most of her working time in the company of Baba lovers, with whom she had the experience of being bathed in the eternally blissful sunshine ofBaba’s love. She corresponded with Baba throughout her married life until such direct communications were no longer possible and there are charming incidents both in Memoirs ofa Zetetic and in the correspondence web site at www.trustmeher.com/zetetic. She was a reticent, yet avid, Baba lover who held on to Baba’s daaman till her last breath. May her divine sojourn be peaceful in Baba’s lap! *Author ofMernoirs ofa Zetetic and Of Men and Meher Baba
April 17, 1917—December 16, 2004 erna Cecilia Mansfield Hofmann was born April 17, 1 917 down under in Ballarat, Victoria, which was the center of the first gold fields in Australia. Her mother Cecilia May Cregan loved her girls and it was from her mother that Verna learned the ways of being a lady in the upper class of society But Cecilia had a special closeness to her second daughter Verna that turned into a deep friendship. Verna’s love of books and literature came from her mother’s Welsh half while that great wit and mischievous smile was from her feisty Irish half. Verna and her mother had a continuing stream of inside jokes about Father. And that great independence Verna displayed throughout her life was developed from witnessing Mother getting what she wanted, no matter how “unlady like” Father thought it to be. It was in Western Australia, while living there a second time during 1968 with her three younger children, that Verna heard Meher Baba’s name. Ana had attended a public meeting in Perth hosted by Bill Le Page and she exuberantly told her mother all about Him. However, at that point, Verna had no real interest. Verna had moved to Myrtle Beach in 1972 after an aroundthe-world trip, where she visited not only the spiritual places of Jerusalem but also the homes ofMeher Baba in Australia and India. She loved the ocean and woods and her interest in Baba had grown. She wanted to know more of Him and she enjoyed the community ofBaba lovers that lived nearby. Kitty Davy and Verna hit it off immediately and Verna became Kitty’s seamstress. Shortly after her move, Verna became the first bookkeeper for Sheriar Press and worked there for many years. She did not profess to be a 46
“Baba lover” but rather a “Baba respecter”. She loved Jesus dearly but eventually in her later years Baba became her Jesus. In 1973 her daughter Ana moved to Myrtle Beach followed by her sister Carolyn in 1974. In the late 70’s Susan, the youngest, also moved there. Verna made ever effort to be close to her three daughters. She worked to develop relationships with each one which she had never really had a chance to do when strug gling to raise and support them with her former husband Ross in Pennsylvania. Each one ofthem can attest to her determination in nurturing these relationships. After Verna retired she continued to live in North Myrtle Beach, taking walks along the beach and through the woods of the Center and forever collecting her thousands ofbooks (“one day I’ll get around to reading all these!”). And it wasn’t too late to get her four-year Bachelor ofArts degree, majoring in history Verna was a great Grandmother to Susan’s children and she became a “mom” to many ofthe Baba lovers in the area. Ana and Susan stayed in North Myrtle Beach and always kept contact with their mother. Carolyn and her husband Daniel moved all over the world raising their children and lived in NMB twice more. In 1996 Ana and Gary, who lived next door to Verna, started taking care of her more and more. Eventually in June of 1998 she moved in with Carolyn’s family in Marblehead, MA. In these later years, Verna became a happy seventh member ofthis Montague household. All four of Carolyn and Daniel’s kids came to love their Grandma deeply and appreciate her wit and quirkiness, but none more than Brendan who was 6 years old at the time. Cregan Montague, halfofthe Divine Maggies dynamic duo, was one ofher lucky grandchil dren, named for Verna’s mother. Then injuly of2000 tragedy hit with her first major stroke. It was hospital for weeks and then 2 separate nursing homes. The Montagues longed for her to come home and she struggled through rehabilitation to make that happen. But another stroke hit during Christmas of2000, which meant no chance at all of ever going home. In June of 2001 the Montagues moved to the midcoast of Maine and brought Verna to her final nurs ing home. The Knox Center for Long Term Care and its loving staffwas a true blessing. It allowed Verna to finish her extraordinary life of love and service in the comfort and love ofsuch a special place with people who sincerely loved her. Verna was trapped in a body that didn’t work for the last 4 and 1/2 years of her life. There were many days
that must have been such tor ture for her. But she sur mounted hat de
rHer left .j arm still worked, allowing her to reach out and grab others for a big hug (and to occasionally let her nurse Richard know she was displeased with something). And that wonderful twinkle in her eyes and that mischievous smile were always there at least once a day to light up the lives of those around her. Verna served her Beloved Baba right up until the end by loving and serving those around her. Her last written verse before the stroke in July 2000 beautifully captures the life of this very special servant of God: “Take it as a blessing, take it as a curse, Whatever happens, we can’t rehearse... God knows what’s best for us, so let’s not be perverse...” th 2004, Verna OnThursday, December 16 peacefully passed away into the arms of Baba. Carolyn, Daniel and Brendan were by her side chanting Baba’s name. At the mo ment ofdeath, they said Baba’s Prayers and Daniel sang Begin the Beguine. That evening, Verna was brought home to rest in her bed for four days, truly a gift from Beloved Baba to His Verna and her close family.
Jreiny rDadciclwnji reiny, wife of Rustom, Hoshang Dadachanji’s immediate older brother (oldest being the late Nariman, husband of Arnavaz) had been battling cancer for some three years. She had an operation in Pune on the 7th and passed on to Baba 8th Feb 2005 just after it. She was cremated at Meherabad on the 8th at 4:00 pm.
Leatrice 3ohnstøn There will be afuill story ofour dear Leatrice in thefidy issue. Ifthere is room and fthere are any stories orphotos you would like to share, sendthem to us by May 1st.
A.tie &tfllfl by 7<enneth Lux
A Secret History ofBegin the Beguine, Part II the May/June 1992 issue of the old Denver area Meher Baba newsletter, with the delightftil title of Broken Down Furniture News, I wrote an article called “A Secret History of Begin the Beguine.” It has had some continuing popularity, and I believe the text of it is has been available on the Baba ListServ. Herewith is a follow-up. At the end of what has been a terrible year, particularly with the unbelievable tsu nami, whose death toll is still being counted as I write, and may be for a long time to come, the single death of swing era band th leader Artie Shaw on December 30 was in the headlines on the 31st (first page banner in the BangorDailyNews). His death at the august age of 94 was a very natural one, regardless ofcause, in contrast to the tragedy of “Nature’s Rebellion,” as Baba has called such phenomena as the earthquake-caused massive tsunami. With the big emphasis of his hit song, “Begin the Beguine” in the newspaper account of his life and career, and probably other media as well, I think we can take this as Baba’s secret message of consolation to us in His worldwide family as the New Year starts. Shaw was quite the colorful character and complex personality ofsubstantial intelligence, as the bio points out. In researching my previous article on him, I read his 1952 autobiography The Trouble with Cinderella. Before starting it, I assumed that the title referred to the trouble he had with his eight marriages, some ofwhich were to the most glamorous and famous women ofthat time. In fact, although the marriages come in for discussion, as well they must, the Cinderella he refers to in his title is not the women, but fame. Shaw, an ordinary young man, as all
ofus are ordinary as we start out in life, was suddenly catapulted into fame and fortune at the age of28 with his swing recording of Cole Porter’s song, his version of which is considered an early epitome of the pop hit song. (This is not to degrade it, as I consider his version deserving of its fame). Xavier Cugat had put out a Latin-oriented version shortly before, but it did not go anywhere. His personal recounting of his life up until its middle period in the book is actually quite well done, and it has been widely noted that this is one of the successful and intelligent show business autobiographies. In fact it effectively conveys what we can call Shaw’s agonies or, at the minimum, his discontents. For it turns out that Shaw did not take well to fame, or even to being a very successful musician, nor certainly to being married. As he explains in the book, and subsequently, Shaw really wanted to be a writer. And not just a writer of his autobiography; he was inherently philosophically-minded, ifin an untutored way, without any post-high school education. Shaw’s continual dissatisfaction with all the rewards that life can bring—and he had it all—indicated a man on a search. It would not be too fancy or overblown to see it as a search for meaning, for what is any life search, but ultimately a search for that? Shaw, like so many others of the celebrity world who had made it big, could have been satisfied with that and played it for all it was worth, and wound up like so many others of that ilk, as late life fodder for the tabloids. But that truly was not Shaw. So did Shaw ever find what he was looking for? From the admittedly limited knowledge I have of his later life, I would have to say no. And furthermore, being Artie Shaw, the great popularizer of “Begin the Beguine,” I also would say that if he did not find Meher Baba, then he did not find what he was searching for. I wouldn’t say this for most other people of fame, and even offame and search, but for Artie Shaw I would say it. After all, without his version, bringing what originally was one of the minor songs of Porter’s show, “Jubilee,” to public awareness, I think it is safe to say that it probably never would have become the song that it was for the Avatar ofthe Age, which included Baba’s asking the Mandali to have it played seven times at His side when he dropped the body. Having been in that role, albeit completely unknowingly, in the life of the Avatar, I would say again that if Artie Shaw, who was on an intense search throughout most ofhis life for the meaning
ofwhat that life, or anylife was, did not find Baba, then he did not find that meaning. In his own way, he was close, but yet so far. What is most fascinating in this regard is the known fact, well noted in the obituaries that it was in part the fame of “Begin the Beguine” that drove him out of the music business. The overwhelming success of the song meant that Shaw could never get away from it. From 1938 on, when he recorded it, he was always asked to play it—again and again. “Ad nauseum,” as the articles state it. Shaw, who besides wanting to be a philosopher, also had ambivalent feelings about popular music, and had aspirations to be a serious musician. This led him to quit the music business several times. Accordingly he renounced his band and popular music, only to come back to it for one reason or another. Each time he came back he would release another song, which would become a mega hit. One gets the feeling that when something like this happened, you could almost hear Shaw saying to himself “Oh no, not another hit.” It is interesting to note the parallels, fanciful as we may be in drawing them, between the lovers of Meher Baba and Artie Shaw, at least in one sense. Baba says, “No matter how hard you try, you can never get away from me.” And ofcourse we can’t, since he is our Real self. Not knowing about, or unfortunately not being a lover of Meher Baba, Shaw did not try to get away from Him, but he did try to get away from Begin the Beguine. But he could not, and the song haunted him down through all his years and right up through his obituary. However, he did finally make the break from the music business, and reportedly laid down his clarinet for the last time in 1954. Now, this was one of the most significant years in the advent of the Avatar. Baba announced he was the Avatar in that year, as well as giving “The Final Declaration,” holding “The Three Incredible Weeks,” other unprecedented mass darshan programs, and also giving up the alphabet board. Baba gives up the board, and Shaw gives up the clarinet. Would we be surprised if he, in his next life, finally found the object of his search? In his own agonized way, he earned it, didn’t he?
1 Chiid’ac Lye 7)iew of Ji4ëeting 4 ;41anik 2kflijr .7Qc1Wwkc, Wiit Creth CilifQmin In 1952, I lived with my parents in Swit zerland. I was 1 1 years old. My mother told us we were going to go to Solduno, near Lo carno in the southern part ofthe country,to meet Meher Baba, and that He was like the Christ. For me, this was the same as saying that He is the Christ. We went to public school, but went once a week to Catholic instruction. My younger sister Vreneli (Verena) told our religious teacher, a Catholic nun, that she was going to see Meher Baba. The nun didn’t get it, but finally concluded enthusiastically that Vreneli was going to Rome to see “papa,” the Pope. It was then I realized that one had to be careful about what one said. When we arrived in Solduno, the Ger man people who owned one part of the L shaped house had moved out temporarily for Baba’s visit. That was the part Baba and the women Mandali were going to live in and also my mother with us three girls, Rona 12, Vreneli eight years old, and myself. There was a gorgeous garden on the property, surrounded by a wall. There were even palm trees by the entrance. It was all enchanting and I felt quite rich. On the day of the night Baba was to arrive, I remember going into Baba’s room while the adults were bustling about. I had heard that Baba had been in a car accident and was hurt and I heard that He was supposed to sleep on a hard mattress to have more comfort. So I checked the mattress intended for Baba. I bounced it with my hands and it seemed very soft. It seemed to me that the hard mattress was on the bot tom and the springy one on the top, and I thought, “Why don’t they reverse it. They are doing it wrong. They don’t want to hurt Him, but now they are going to hurt Him.” But I said nothing aloud. That night we children stayed up late, waiting, but Baba did not arrive at the time He was supposed to, and we were finally sent to bed. In the morning my mother woke us and told us that Baba had arrived late at night and that we were going to see Him. I was excited about it and also a bit afraid. When we three girls were brought to Baba, He was in His bedroom sitting on His bed with His legs on top. I was shy and terribly embar rassed with all the adults around. They were smiling and rather quiet and then talking in
alanguage I didilt know. I liked Baba alot. If only all these people hadn’t been around. Baba smiled and made gestures and I was fascinated by His fingers. They moved constantly and very fast. I couldn’t move mine that fast! I remember staring at Baba whenever I could. As far as I was concerned, it was bad manners to stare, so I tried to be inconspicuous about it. When He turned His back on me, I stared blatantly. I remem ber seeing His braid and bald spot and neck and shoulders verywell. I wanted to see what the difference was between Him and other humans. It seemed to me ifl couldjust stare a little longer, I would get it. I was convinced that He was the Christ, but why couldn’t I quite see it? Later when we had a meal, I wanted to see how Baba ate and drank. So whenever possible, I stared then too, but only when He didn’tlook. The children ate at a separate table, which made the staring easier. I also stared when Baba had to do exercises with an exercise machine with Dr. Donkin helping Him. I tried to hang around without really hanging around. But the staring was very hard, because it wasn’t allowed for me to look like I was looking. So I only got short glimpses. And I never could quite fathom the difference I was seeking.That didn’t take anything away from my conviction about Baba. It just meant that the struggle went on. We three girls played in the garden. I found it amazing to be surrounded by so much luxury. We lived at that time in Zurich in an apartment and didn’t have any pets, but here was a kitten, which we could pick up and carry around and even lay on its back like a baby. My older sister Rona played mostly with the cat. I lived in constant competition with Rona. While she was superior to me in every regard, I always felt that it was really the other way around, but that nobody got it. Rona didn’t fight with me, but I fought with her either inwardly or outwardly pretty much always. So I simply didn’t like what she liked. And since Rona played with the kitten so much, to me it was out ofbounds. But now and then I couldn’t resist the kitten and I picked it up too and found it very exciting. Irene had brought her white bunny Trixli. Rona played with the bunny a lot, too, so I left the bunny alone. Now that Rona played with it, it was untouchable for
me. Once, Rona picked up the bunny and it struggled and fell and severely injured its back. I was so grateflil that this didn’t happen to me. Last year, I asked Rona about it (we get along very well and I love her now). She said that the bunny was close to the entrance and that a car was coming in and she grabbed it because she was afraid for its life. The bunny felt the jarring grab and struggled to get free and slipped out of her hand. Irene loved that bunny very much. It was brought to Baba who told Irene that the bunny would be all right, even ifit died. He also had Rona brought in and He made sure that everything was okay between Irene and Rona. Later, we had Trixli with us often in our apartment in Zurich when Irene went places. It could get around slowly by dragging its hindlegs on the floor. It was a darling bunny and I enjoyed it then. As children, we each wanted to adopt one ofthe adult visitors as our very own. Who was I going to adopt? I considered Mehera, but she was being protected by the women around her. I felt a gleeful satisfaction that I could see Mehera while my father, who seemed so powerftii, was not allowed to. Deep down I wanted to get closer to Mehera, but she looked so fine and pure to me that I felt that she was not to be “owned” by me. So I left her alone from my possessive feelings. What about Mani? I adored Mani. She was total fun to be with. She played with us children often. She was always silent and communicated with gestures, since Baba had put her on silence. It was such fun to watch her. Rona immediately gravitated towards Mani, so I pulled back and gave her to Rona. I looked at each of the Mandali with critical eyes. Mehera was unattainable, Mani was gorgeous but taken by Rona, Meheru looked too strict to my child eyes, Goher was busy, Rano looked too masculine and tall, Anita was too European and big-city elegant. How about Charmian. I liked how Charmian was different from the rest of the Westerners. I remember her standing apart and leaning against a column. I liked her expression. But her skin was much too white and her lips much too red. What about the men Mandali? The men lived about five minutes away in another house and we sometimes brought stuffthere, so I scrutinized them, too. Gustadji was
much too small. Sarosh was too big and noisy. I liked Meherjee, but somehow I left him alone. I liked Dr. Donkin a lot, but he looked so darn British, I couldn’t stand it. I liked Dr. Nilu, too. What about him? Nilu wore pink shirts and on his dark skin that looked irresistible. He had big dark eyes just like Vreneli, my much adored little sister. But Vreneli found Nilu most admirable and the two of them fitted together very well. He smiled so sweetly when she adored him. So naturally, I gave Dr. Nilu to her. The only one left was Baba. He was completely available. No one seemed to own Him. I puzzled over His looks, because He didn’t seem to look at all perfect. He had a bald spot on His head, His hair was thinning, He seemed a bitlumpy like old people, and He was suffering greatly as far as I could see. Yet He seemed just right. So I chose Him. Still, His form puzzled me constantly. How could He look the way He looked while something inside me still knew He was perfect? I tried hard to figure out what made that possible. Why couldn’t I fathom it? There seemed to be a secret behind it all that I just wasn’t getting, no matter how much I looked. My mother showed us a photo that had been given to her by the owner ofthe house where the men Mandali stayed. She had photographed the flowers in her garden, and when she developed the picture, a beautiful image ofJesus Christ was on it. (My mother still has that photo.) That was the way I imagined Jesus. But Baba looked different. I definitely stuck to Baba and there was no doubt in me that He was the highest. But why His looks? And then it struck me! It was because of His suffering. I knew that we were all guilty and that He suffered for the whole world, but it seemed to me it was the grown-ups that made Him suffer, and particularly all those hustling and bustling grown-ups around Him who were too noisy! One evening we all went to see fireworks. We drove up a mountain and sat and waited and waited. Word came that Baba was getting impatient about this waiting and we were going to leave. This happened several times. When the fireworks finally started, I was disappointed with the puny things because it all seemed too far away. Another thing I remember about Baba’s visit was the driver ofthe car hired to trans port Baba. He was Swiss, big and heavy, and he seemed a really nice man. He wore impeccable suits that covered his big waist. He seemed eager to serve well and he looked
like he always tried his best. Even though he was big and heavy he moved fast and eagerly. I heard that he was a family father. I remember studying Hedi’s body and wondering about her legs. They bent out so much and then went in so much that I wondered how she could walk and how difficult it must have been for her to work. It seemed to me such a body would bring nothing but pain since nothing was holding together well. I wondered how long she would live with such a wobbly body. My mother confirmed to me that Hedi had health problems. I also remember Tobi Mertens, Hedi’s youngest son. I thought he was such a fine young man and I admired him. One morning my mother discovered a scorpion by Rona’s bed. In my mind, scor pions were deadly, because every year we heard offarmers dying from scorpion bites. But my mother was so calm about it, it was not a big deal. Once we all went out together. I don’t remember who came, but it included Baba and lots of people, my parents, my two sis ters, and me. What I remember from that trip was the ice cream we got in a restaurant. We three girls were being raised very strictly. We didn’t go into restaurants and we rarely had ice cream. But here we had cassata, a green ice cream with pistachio nuts and other things in it. This treat was served in a chalice-like silver dish on a saucer. It seemed heavenly to me. I felt very lucky and most luxurious. There was no doubt that we got this rare treat from Baba. It left a deep impression on me. Once I was in the paved part of the courtyard of the L-shaped house when I came upon Baba talking with Mani. Baba was in His wheelchair in the courtyard and Mani was in the “loggia,” the terrace on the second floor. Nobody else seemed to be around. Baba and Mani were “talking” with each other and I felt that I had stumbled upon a private moment. Should I leave? Should I hide my eyes? There was a battle raging in me between two forces. One side ofme felt very indecent and snoopy and bad mannered and was pulling me to behave myself. But another side ofme was resisting and saying I don’t care if it is wrong. This sight is so fascinating that Fin not about to give it up. So I stayed rooted to the floor and watched. The two joked and laughed with each other in royal entertainment. You could hear no sound, yet it was so alive. I was just fascinated, and I drank it all in as far as my
torn position allowed me. Neither Baba nor Mani seemed to care about my looking on. In fact, they seemed not to notice me, even though I was convinced they did. Then it was all finished and I went on my way. Finally the time came and we said goodbye to Baba as He and His party left for Geneva and then to Paris, where they flew back to India. In 1956, I had a summer volunteer job working with a mountain family in the French part of Switzerland. They had four small children and a fifth one was on the way. I was 15 then. My mother had told me that Baba was going to come to Switzerland on His way to America and many people were going to see Him. I said that I would not come to the gathering. I felt that people were always pestering Baba and I wasn’t going to be one ofthem. He was all powerful and He could do His job very well without all those pesky flies around Him. My mother wrote to Mani and told her that I refused to come. I hadn’t told her about the pesky flies. Mani answered that she was disappointed in me and said that from time to time the iron needed a new charge from the magnet. I could understand that very well and when my mother wrote (there were no telephones) that Baba was going to stop at the Zurich airport, I decided to come. I was picked up by my parents in Zurich and we traveled together to Kioten, the airport. We waited in a reserved room. When Baba came in, He looked to me so fragile and suffering. To this day I cannot connect myperception ofHim then with photos I see from that time and the descriptions I read of how fast He could walk. As far as I could see, He could barely walk and was supported on either side by a Mandali. He walked like a raw egg, like everything was hurting and in a fragile state. He sat down and motioned to my father to make a speech. I was so self-conscious, I could have disappeared into the ground. I had pity for my poor father to have to talk in front of all these people. But I thought he did it with ease, and I admired him for that. Still, I was all the time busy being embarrassed for him. The waiters served Baba an ice cream. It was the kind that in the U.S. is called a sundae. I had never seen such a thing before. In Switzerland, windows of sugar bakers displayed similar confections, but you knew that they were made of gypsum. This one was real. On the very top was a cherry. Baba took the teaspoon and ate the equivalent of one fiftieth ofa teaspoon. I wondered if He •
Above: Dr. Goher with Monika and Vèrena. Below: Mansari talking with Max Hçftigei Monikafather; behind them are Michael, Mani, Alexy andMonika Kochowiec, 1979.
wasn’t going to eat more ofit, but He never did. I thought about the regretful waste of this goodie, and at the same time I admired Him for His enormous self-control. People filed past and when it came to my mother, I got the feeling that Baba was lovingly scolding her for something that I didn’t understand. In my thoughts, I said to Baba that she was the nice one; He should scold my father.
When it was my turn, I gave Baba my alpine wildflowers that were by now pretty droopy. Baba kissed me on the forehead. The experience was so light, so nonexistent, that I almost forgot about it. But my father was impressed, and he reminded me of it later, when I could still remember it. Pretty soon after that Baba left. Again He was supported on either side, as far as I could see. I cried out inside, “Oh Baba, when will you be free of all that suffering and walk again with ease?” That was my last impression ofHim in the physical body. When I was about 18, my mother told me that we could write one letter to Baba. I thought I had to, because this was an invitation to do so. But all words seemed so inadequate and stupid. They seemed to contort everything. I tried many versions, but all felt insincere. Finally I remembered a conversation I’d had recently with my mother. She had asked me ifBaba might be the silent one in Nordic mythology. I got a bit impatient and said that I would never fol low anybody but the highest ofthe high and that Baba was definitely the highest and if there was anybody still higher, then Baba was that one, too, and anyway, if He wasn’t the highest, I was making Him the highest, no matter what. So in my letter to Baba, I wrote, “You are the Highest No other of the High. words came to me. It felt a bit short, so I drew some daisies and bluebells and roses to fill up the space. It looked very inadequate and childish, but it couldn’t be helped. That was my letter. .
‘vteiiem S ¶Beth c7frtaec, Colorado od and Gardens online magazine is the result ofan idea that came to me while I was working in the garden last summer, the light-toned marigolds reminding me of Molly Sheehan’s story about dear Mehera. Molly dreamt of evolving a white marigold on her Green Hope Farm and later discovered that Mehera had for years been up to the same enterprise, saving the seeds ofthe lightest-toned blossoms so that she might grow a pure-white marigold for her Beloved Baba. I envisioned a magazine that would com bine spirituality and gardening, dedicated, ofcourse, to Avatar Meher Baba. Initially, I saw a paper magazine, but the cost proved prohibitive. Though I knew nothing about constructing a website, the price seemed right, and since my Internet Service Provider was local, I could pick the owner’s brain as I set out to find a top-notch designer. Before long, one was sitting in my home studio. Dean Rickman is a bouncy, cheerful character, one of those energetic, happyto-be-of-help types, and, as he mentioned offfiandedly, he ran some seven miles every morning along the paths near his home. I told him what I hoped to accomplish through the website while he stole occa sional glances at the photograph of Baba on my computer. “Great!” he said. “God and Gardens... that’s a pretty catchy title. This should be fun! You want something that will pull gardeners in? We can do that.” That’s when I had to backtrack a bit, and repeat the primary purpose ofthe site. “Hmm,” he said, “let me see if I’ve got this right—people will visit the site to... what? Find out about this guy?” I told him I hoped so, but the main audience would probably be made up of people who already knew about Meher Baba. “And there are enough ofthose to make it worth the trouble?” he asked doubtfully. I told him that hundreds of thousands ofpeople around the world knew of Avatar Meher Baba, a fact that often stuns me, and seemed to have the same effect on Dean Rickman, momentarily. “Wow,” he whispered. “Well then, off to the races! Let’s do this thing. Here, let me show you a few sites. We could go with a background like this, no problem,” he said happily. As he clicked out of the site, the photograph ofBaba returned to the screen.
included a square ofthe reso lution I had in mind. “Sorry, this simply won’t work,” he responded. “It r : clashes with everything. To j my eye, it’s sort of an ugly color. Way too muddy!” I stared at the email. Muddy? Mehera’s green? I may have thought the same in the past, but I’d be darned ifl’d to bow to the charge now. “Please, give it another try,” I typed. Within minutes, the answer was in my mailbox: “Yep! : I’m right! It’s a no—go color!” The man seemed to think i• that exclamation points could solve everything. I didn’t want to argue to the point oflosing F this designer, and I could cer tainlylive with the wonderful deep rose and turquoise, but didn’t want to give in. It was confusing, the position Baba had placed me in. Was I just being stubborn in my insis tence on the green? It was at this juncture F of the flying emails that I had an appointment to call ‘ Molly Sheen for her inter1952 Myrtle Beach, Mehera andBaba with Bunny. Photo by view, which I aimed to print ‘Charmian Knowles. as the first feature ofGod and Dean’s smile faded. “Who’s this guy again?” Gardens. After we’d finished, I jokingly he asked. shared what was happening with the site’s I offered to lend him a few of my Baba design. Molly became silent. Her laughing books and The Beloved video. “Do some voice wasn’t finishing my sentences as it had research,” I said. “If you still want to work done for the past hour. on the site, we’ll talk about the design.” “This is extremely important,” she said “Great! Perfet!” he said, as if a trap-door with emphasis. “I feel that Baba is creating had swung open. this website. He wants it done. For what The following day, he emailed to say purpose, we don’t know, but your vision of that he was working on a template for the Mehera’s green is very, very important. This site. I didn’t suppose lightning had struck, is your intuition, and our intuitions are given he hadn’t become a Baba-lover overnight, by Baba Himself.” but I was curious about his reaction to the After Molly and I said our goodbyes, I literature and video. marched to the computer and wrote Dean “Haven’t gotten around to those yet!” he a letter. The answer came quickly: wrote back. “Busy, busy, busy!” “I’m offfor a run. Will twiddle with the Not long after, he sent the potential home site when I return.” page, a gorgeous design done in my favorite Waiting was tough but when the next letcolors, deep rose and turquoise. Delighted, ter arrived, Baba’s influence was obvious. and wholly surprised, because I hadn’t said “I have no idea how this happened,” he a word about color during our meeting, I wrote. “AU I can say is this Baba ofyours has nonetheless wrote to tell him that the main a great sense ofhumor. I put that resolution color had to be avocado green, which I knew ofgreen in the mix and this time everything was one ofMehera’s favorite colors. Plus, I just fell into place!” wrote, the green was a pure garden color. I These days, Dean will tell you this is his
favorite of all the sites he has designed. He works on the site practically for free, taking every opportunity to ask his next question about Baba. Lightning hasn’t struck as yet, but don’t we all know it will, in Baba’s own time, and by the stroke ofHis infinite, clearcolored Grace. To visit this site, enter Godandgardens. com.
Aiâni.’s SJtC1Ui J2OWS Biti £eaje
here was, Mani said, rivalry among the thirty or so women in the ashram for progress on the spiritual path in the form of spiritual experiences and the acquisition of powers. Baba of course knew this, and one day, He took Mani aside and said that the next day He would announce to the women that He had given certain powers to her, and that they could ask questions and that she would answer. He then taught Mani a series of answers and a few signs that would indicate to her the particular answer to the question. At 4 pm, everyone was called, and Baba told of Mani’s powers and invited them to ask her questions. This they did and with signs from Baba, Mani answered and all were impressed—she did have some power. A few days later, with everyone again present, Baba told them the showwith Mani had all been pre-arranged. Baba loved to play such tricks, but the interesting point, which Mani only realised years later, was that Baba knew beforehand what questions would be asked! The Divine Hurnanit ofMeher Baba, Sam Ker awala Section, pp. 87-88. ©1999 Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust
A/1y 9od, my 73eloved—to think 3 l-tt:ive spent my dajs in forgetfulness and drink, .J1nd you were t1tinkinj of me! The East- West Gathering p 6, Francis Brabazon 2
Meher House Pub. Australia, 1963. SI
S2*iumor for ?1umti Conversion rDilemma J ewish man goes and visits a Rabbi about a personal concern of his. “Rabbi,” he says, “I am so upset about my son, I don’t know what to do. I raised him a good Jew, taught him the Torah, and instructed him about the Sabbath. Well, I just learned at this last Passover that he converted to Catholicism. Please tell me what I should do to reason with him!” The Rabbi answers: “Funny you should mention this. The exact same thing happened to my son. I taught him everything I know to make him follow in my footsteps and become a good Rabbi like me, and the next thing I know, he converted to Catholicism and became a Priest! I truly don’t know what to tell you: maybe we should ask Yahweh for some insights.” To two men started praying: “Yahweh, God almighty, Creator of the Universe, please come to our rescue. Our firstborn sons have converted to Catholicism! What should we do?” A thundering voice responds: “WELL, TELL ME ABOUT IT!!”
L/lfl Orangutan’s Rea4ing List One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the orangutan was reading two books: the Bible and Darwin’s Origin of Species. Surprised, he asked the ape, “Why are you reading both those books?” “Well,” said the orangutan, “I just wanted to know if I was my brother’s keeper or my keeper’s brother.”
LAncient /1ncestry The following was overheard at a recent ‘high society’ party: “My ancestry goes back all the way to Alexander the Great,” said Christine. She then turned to Miriam and asked, “How far back does your family go?” “I don’t know,” replied Miriam, “All of our records were lost in the flood.”
:-tow Do )3out To 1eaven? “IfI sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?” I asked the children in my Sunday school class. “NO!” the children all answered. “IfI cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy,
11. Love all, trust... me. 12. The pen is mightier than the... pigs. 13. An idle mind is... the best way to relax. 14. Where there’s smoke there’s... pollution. 15. Happy the bride who... gets all the presents. 16. A penny saved is. not much. 17. Two’s company, three’s. the Musketeers. 18. Don’t put offtill tomorrow what... you put on to go to bed. 19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and. you have to blow your nose. 20. There are none so blind as. Stevie Wonder. 21. Children should be seen and not... spanked or grounded. 22. If at first you don’t succeed... get new batteries. 23. You get out of something only what you. see in the picture on the box. 24. When the blind leadeth the blind... get out of the way. ..
would that get me into heaven?” Again the answer was, “NO!” “Well, then, ifl was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children and loved my wife, would that get me into heaven?” I asked them again. Once more they all answered, “NO!” “Well,” I continued, thinking they were a good bit more theologically sophisticated than I had given them credit for, “then how can I get into heaven?” A five-year-old boy shouted out, “You gotta be dead!”
7;Iie Proverbia! Wisdom of Children A first grade teacher collected well known proverbs. She had twenty-five students in her class and she presented each child in her class the first half of a proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder ofthe proverb. It’s hard to believe that these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you and the last one is a classic! 1 Better to be safe than... punch a 5th grader. 2. Strike while the. bug is close. 3. It’s always darkest before... Daylight Saving Time. 4. Never underestimate the power of... termites. 5. You can lead a horse to water but... how? 6. Don’t bite the hand that... looks dirty. 7. No news is... impossible. 8. A miss is as good as a... Mr. 9. You can’t teach an old dog new. math. 10. Ifyou lie down with dogs you’ll... stink in the morning. .
A Sunday school teacher asked her children, as they were on the way to church service, “And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?” A little girl replied, “Because people are sleeping.”
ctry r o 2
Ow’ 2iexL /1dventurc How really amazing, Baba! Only afiw minutes ago I was talking aloud to you, When I heard myse(fsay. “but to Know is the same as to Love!” AndI immediately became silent Th see You smiling so happily.
layers rçflect within layers colors glance against mirrors ofLight doyou know which silver coin lam? doyou dare link the moments together ask yourse(fwhether comparing another to the Highest is Real orjustagameyou’ve come to play?
It didnt take me long, Baba, lb do a bit ofSpiritual Calculus And very5i that, indeec4 717 truly and really know Someone or something Is to actually be One with That Someone or Something! There is no other way, Baba! —
Yet to truly and really Love Someone or something Is to actually be One with That someone or something as well! How wonderfully amazing! —
The only djffèrence between The two would appear to be In the way (how?) This union is attained! Iguess thatc going to be Our next adventure Baba Th uncover how Truth and Love, Though One andlndivisible, d/ftr? —
Beloved Baba, what can I say? pin starting to even talk Likeyou, now! Baba, Lfr with you isjust so really Real! -Mirek
_/11! Lovers ‘ re 2oets 4 All lovers arepoets: only some have voices and some do not. They are the LJè-treec sap thrusting beyond materialismc rot. They areflags ofinnocence above the marshes ofcorruption. They are white sails on the shark-infested waters ofreligion. Theirpurityprotects themfrom thefalse, the outworn and the shoddy,
Thke the biggest chance: Believe
For they woo a divine beloved though they imprison him in a body. Give us time, Beloved, give us time to rightly read and obeyyour sign Foryou yourse’fhave said that true vision is only in your gift ofwine. Give us one drop to make aflame in the dark ofour trouble; Give us one glass and we will reduce the temple to rubble. Ifnow we are intoxicated with somefair face, Your Word will sing us clean andprepare usforyour Gnzce. All lovers arepoets; andpoetiy is the state ofperfect trust. In the end the green sap, theflags and the sails turn into singing dust. From In DustlSing Francis Brabazon ©1974 by Francis Brabazon, Avatar’s Abode, Queensland, Australia
layers reflect within layers one side is out to the other doyou know which side lam? doyou know which sliver is left of me? ask yourse(f quickly why is ityou wonder jfl readyour thoughts or are you my shadow drop justfar enoughfrom me so the words sound like an echo in a dream? Isay they are rzplesfrom His Membrane currents in the Dance C’arve outyour highest mountain
Layers are r4plesfrom His Membrane currents in the Dance Carve outyour own mountain Thke the biggest chance. Believe andlknow that His Riverfiows through me as the Oceanjiows Freely riplingfrom His Membnzne currents in the Dance Carve outyour highest mountain Thke the biggest chance. Believe 0 Believe for itc time to Dance itc time to Dance... —Bridget Robinson
After Ait This 7ini.... Youl think that after all this time Lclknowyou bettei know how to p lease you, makeyou happy, win your heart. YouJ think I;l know what I mean toyou andyou to me, how to spend a day with you alone on my mind, in contentment. After all this time Ishouldknow where we stand, howfar thejourney, howfar we’ve come together You are today more mystery to me than ever andlcannot do more than loveyou still after all this time. -Mary Su Noble
WORLDWIDE MEHER BABA MEETINGS
he following is information about the various Baba groups around the country and a few from overseas. Ifyour local data is not included please send me and should things change from the published details, please let me know that before the next issue’s deadline. —Dma ARIZONA
Irma Sheppard, phone: 520-321-1566, 7320 N. Village Ave., Tucson, AZ 85704. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
San Francisco Bay Area. call for information re meeting times and places 510-845-4339 or Ben Leet at 510-351-8259, e-mail: Benleet@earthlinknet. The Northern California Avatar Meher Baba Center is located at 6923 Stockton St., El Cererito,CA 94530-2931. wwwMeherBabaMeherBaba.org. Sacramento: Marilyn Buehler, phone: 916-812-9496. E-mail: email@example.com; www.prcmsay.com/MeherBaba
firstname.lastname@example.org. Sheldon Herman 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, Asheville, NC 28803. E-mail: nordeens@ msn.com. NEW YoRKNEW JERSEY PENNSYLVANIA
LosAngeles: Meetings are Sundays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., held in our center “Meherabode,” 323-731-3737, 1214 South Van Ness Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90019 (just East ofthe intersec tion ofArlington and 12th Street.) The Avatar Meher Baba Center ofLos Angeles now has its own web site at www.Me herabode.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 person for Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Arizona.) Barbara A. Roberts 303-238-4649, 3475 Moore Court, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-5543 (suburb of Denver). E-mail: babara@ fone.net FLoRIDA (TAMPA BAY)
Jane Paladino,Tampa, FL, 813-962-8629. ContactTom Decker, M.D., Clearwater, FL, 727-536-9282 HAWAII (MAUI)
Meredith Moon Phone: 808-573-1188 or 808-572-6556, Fax: 808-5731189. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Location: 1940 Olinda Road or for mail P.O. Box 1269), Makawao, Maui, HA 96768 USA HAWAII (M0LAKAI)
Shirley Alapa at “Meher Dham.” 808-567-6074 or 808-567-6383. Fax: 808-567-6363. E-mail: email@example.com. 69K Farrington Ave., Hoolehua, HI 96729. Mail: P.O. Box 177 Kualapuu, HI 96757. MAINE
Group meets once a month on the third Sunday taking turns hosting the gathering at 1 p.m. Potluck, then the meeting. Connie and Doug Leavitt, work: 207-594-0909, home: 207-594-1968 evenings and weekends. Mail: P.O. Box 125, Spruce Head, ME 94859. E-mail: publisher@sevencoinpress. corn, or Noreen O’Brien, phone: 207-354-7005 P.O. Box 43, Rockland, ME 04841. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Ken Lax, phone: 207-594-6391 P.O. Box 108, Rockland, ME 04841, E-mail: email@example.com. M ASSACH U SETTS Meher Baba Information Center (Cambridge). Contact Michael Siegell 617-864-3997, or Linda Porelle email: firstname.lastname@example.org. MONTANA
Andy Shott 406-549-5949, 336 Connell, Missoula, MT 59801.
Meher Baba House, Angela and George Chen, 124 Pondfield Road West, Bronxville, NY 10708. E-mail: info@MeherB aballouse.org. wwwMcherBabaHouse.org. ladelphia and surrounding tn-state area ofNY, NJ and PA. -weekly meetings on Saturdays at 4 p.m. Contact Frank Bloise 6-696-4374, 431 West Garden Road, Vineland, NJ 08360. .L1: email@example.com. -
Portland Avatar Meher Baba Group do Baba House (Jim I P0. Box 38, Scotts Mills, OR 97375, 503-873-2048. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. TEXAS
Chris &Anne Barker 936-560-2631, 3101 Skyline Drive, Nacogdoches, TX 75965. E-mail: email@example.com. WASHINGTON, D.C. Pamela Butler-Stone, phone 310-946-0236. Friday and Saturday meetings. www.lifeimages.com/MeherBaba. WASHINGTON STATE
Seattle Meher Baba Group Meetings: every Friday at 8:00 p.m. Also gatherings for special events (Amartithi/Baba’s Birthday). Location rotates each week in homes. Mail: do Cynthia Barrientos 206-713-9905, P0. Box 16081, Seattle, WA 98116. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meher Baba Center 228 Hammersmith Grove, London W6 7HG, 0207 485 7042 FRANCE
Marseille: C. Dallemagne, Le Sylvereal Al. des Pins, 13009 Marseille. Phone: 4 91 41 39 02. Marc Molinari. Cannes: Debby Sanchez, 1300 Route de Callas 83490 Le Muy (near Cannes). Phone: 4 94 45 81 39. St.Nazaire: Christine &PhilippeJoucla, 7 Allee des Pins, La Salette 56610 Arradon (near St. Nazaire). Phone: 2 97 46 13 19. Connerre:Andre Grimard, Champ Brule Duneau 72160 Connerre. Phone: 2 43 89 01 94. Paris: Claude Longuet, 13-15 Rue Pastourelle, 75003 Paris, 1 44 59 30 06. ISRAEL
Michal Sivan, phone/fax: 02671-5835, 46 Hebron Road ,Jerusalem, Israel 93513. E-mail: email@example.com.
Call for info: Lis Miller 603-749-3668. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mexico City: Rafael Villafane; phone from US: 011 52 555 295-0512 cell: 011 52 555 502 7225. E-mail best: email@example.com. We have meetings about every month, in Mexico City at 7p.m. No set meeting day, people on the list contacted prior to meetings—emails preferred. I am also found in Cancun or Acapulco at times, so email me ifyou will be in those areas. Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa: Jeff and Ciny Lowe, phone from US: 011 52 755 544 6303. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings upon request. Please contact us ifyou will be in our area.
Robert Reser and Edle Andersen. Meetings are held the last Thursday ofthe month at 7:00 p.m. in our home 1921 Fort Union Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505, 505- 983-6621. E-mail: email@example.com. NORTH CAROLINA
Winnie Barrett, 22 Chunns View Drive, Asheville, NC, 28805. E-mail:
Meher Babac Samadhi. Photo by Paul Comai
AVATAR MEHER BABA CENTER OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
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LOS ANGELES, CA 90019-3520
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