No. 5    Meherabode Gazette  April 2015

Spring Issue:   Surrenderance (continued) 


Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California

1214 S. Van Ness Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90019

In This Issue
1. Give Up Your Trifles!
2. Surrenderance (Meherwan Jessawala)
3. Greater than Love (Mark Choi)
4. Every Letter (Khayla Rose Choi)
5. Music Corner
6. God Speaks (Ward Parks)
7. Fragrance on the Hill (Mansari)
8. "How I Met My Master"
9. Poetry Corner
10. Landscape
11. The Lover Gets the Joke (Lyn Ott)
12. Music Corner
13. What's Happening
14. On Taking Baba's Name (Mehera Arjani)
15. Meher Baba Books
16. LA Corner
Contact Information
Jai Meher Baba!
and  Welcome back to
Meherabode Gazette 
Spring Issue
in which we reflect on some of the
lanes and byways of loving & serving Meher Baba
globally & locally 

Our latest installment of the  Meherabode Gazette ( Winter Issue No. 4) took  Surrenderance for  its theme. It's a theme with scope; we are continuing to explore this subject-matter in this Spring Issue No. 5. As it happens, that Winter Issue  also included " reports on happy events and places," including coverage of  the annual summer Meher Children's C amp at  Meher Haven  in Mariposa (also called  Bhaustock ). The report had been assigned to young, lively and thoughtful  Khayla Choi, who offered this journalistic strategy:

When asked to write an article about Bhaustock, I thought very seriously about what to write. I suppose I could list all the activities we had, like making Bhaustock shirts, jumping on the trampoline, going to the river, swimming at Ralph and Kebi Brown's pool, and playing with chicks and bunnies and other animals around the Haven. However, I feel that the spirit of Bhaustock can best be shared through what several of the kids have written about their Meher Haven experience.
Amidst preparing the current Gazette issue, startling news of the automobile accident (one month ago) that suddenly took Khayla's life, evoked in us many fresh, poignant reflections. In this issue, we offer a review of Khayla's Diary, along with a meditation on the theme of Surrenderance written by Khayla's deep-thinking father, our dear friend and brother Mark Choi.

We additionally continue here Meherwan Jessawala's exploration of Surrenderance, as well as offering a few pages transcribed from a lively talk given at the Sahavas in LA last summer by Meherwan's notable niece, Mehera Arjani.

Another special feature in this issue of the Meherabode Gazette is a first installment of an article by Baba-scholar Ward Parks, who explores Meher Baba's "Divine Theme" that constitutes the central metaphysical core of Baba's magnum opus, God Speaks.

In the current issue, we continue ongoing columns covering Programs at Meherabode and activities at Meher Baba Books; and we present an article about the history of the Meherabode gardens, reflections from Lyn Ott and Mansari, and Poetry and Video Corners. We're also adding the new LA Corner, which you'll find at the bottom of this long vertical dive into Meher Baba.
May you read and enjoy! And may we all join the great divine play now unfolding all around us, a play that requires fresh, daily surrenderances to the Beloved's Will.  May we learn to love him more and more!
David Raphael Israel 
& Mahoo Ghorbani 

Meherabode Gazette is circulated via email to the "local" and "global" email lists maintained by the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. It is intended for wide and general circulation, and you are invited to forward it to your friends.


In case you might have missed it, here is a link to: 


A Tribute to Bhau Kalchuri

And here is a link to: 

The Springtide of Creation!


And here is a link to: 

Everything is for God (Hama Doost)

And here is a link to: 


more to come!

Note: You are reading the Archival Edition of Issue No. 5
(finalized after some tweaks & corrections, early May 2015)

1. "Give Up Your Trifles!"

Ye, who are mad after the vanishing things that do not matter! Hearken unto me!
Give up your trifles that make you so inhuman and cruel. 
Give up the jealousies that are born of petty minds. 
Give up all fear, which is born of clinging to the false. 
Give up all doubts that keep you away from decisive action. 
With faith and courage, you will cross the sea of delusion.

Meher Baba
(through Norina Matchibelli)
from Christopher Wilson and Charles Haynes,  Norina's Gift  (1997), p. 128
2. Surrenderance

[continued from Issue No. 4; see Surrenderance (Meherwan Jessawala)]
Reverting back to surrendrance, I will give you an example of what surrender is in my own personal life. Baba had asked us to leave all and come and stay with Him in His ashram in Meherabad in 1938. Our whole family left everything, sold off a big estate in Nagpur along with
Meher Baba (1937)
all its contents for a pittance, and with all the proceeds we came and joined Baba in the ashram, handing over everything and surrendering ourselves to Him.

Soon after we joined Baba in the ashram at Meherabad, He proceeded on the Blue Bus tours. It was the end of 1938 and Baba left on the tour with all the women travelling in the Blue Bus. He would sit in the bus with the women. My father was anxious about my education, so Baba arranged for me to stay at my uncle's house, Akbar Press. My uncle, Meherjee Satha, was not there at the time. My eldest aunt, Shireen Damania, was staying in Akbar Press with her husband, Jehangirji, and their children. Jehangirji was not a Baba-lover. He was, in fact, very against Baba. Baba had made the arrangements for me to stay at Akbar Press, and had paid for all my expenses so that I could stay there and continue with my studies. I was to be admitted to the school in Ahmednagar.

After Baba and the rest of my family left, I was at Akbar Press where my uncle Jehangirji was constantly after me. He felt that I was a nuisance for him, and he would write letters to my mother complaining about me, wanting that I should be taken away from Akbar Press. When one particularly nasty letter came, my mother read it and was very depressed about the situation. Baba happened to come there at that very time, and seeing her demeanor, asked, "What is up with you? Why are you looking so distressed?"

My mother replied, "Baba, I have received this letter and I feel that we are all nothing but a great burden to You. Meherwan is becoming a problem at Akbar Press, and we seem to be causing nothing but problems for You." Baba asked my mother, "Do you love Me? Or do you love Meherwan more?"  She said, "Baba, there is no question of my loving Meherwan more! You are my all in all, I love You." Baba then asked, "Do you feel that I have neglected your son and that he is unhappy there because of it? Is that what you are feeling?" Mother said, "No Baba! If I have to surrender a thousand sons like him I wouldn't care! It is just the problems we are causing You that make me feel sad."

Baba said, "Come, come. If you have surrendered to Me, it is no problem for Me. I can manage that." Then He added in a very different sort of mood, "You are not worthy of being Eruch's and Meherwan's mother. You are worthy of being My mother." See how important surrenderance is? This is from my personal experience.

Another time
Meherwan & his brother Eruch (photo: Win Coates)
there was a Baba-lover called Pankhraj. He was staying in Nagpur. He was a very old Baba-lover, constantly writing letters to Baba to call him. He wanted to stay with Baba permanently. When Baba was in Dehra Dun in the 1950s, He wrote to Pankhraj and asked him to come and meet Him there. Pankhraj arrived and when he was in front of Baba, Baba asked him, "What do you want?" He said, "Baba I want to stay with you permanently." Baba shook His head and said, "It is not easy to stay with me. It is extremely difficult. You don't know what it entails. It needs perfect surrender to Me. You have no idea what this surrender means." He explained quite a bit about surrender, then He told Pankhraj, "You think it over for a day and tomorrow let Me know your decision." The next day when Baba asked him, "Well, what have you decided?" Pankhraj said, "Baba I have decided to stay with you permanently and remain resigned to Your will." Baba gestured, "You have made a very wise decision. Now do one thing; go back to Nagpur and take up a job. Even if it be a very low paid job, take it and go back."

When Pankhraj heard that he was stunned! Then Baba said, "Well, if you have surrendered to Me, have no thought of what I have said. If you have surrendered there is no need for you to think about it now. Whatever I say to you, just carry it out spontaneously. Go back, and all will be well." Pankhraj left and he got a good job in Nagpur. Baba saw to it that whatever was necessary, he had. Surrender is no easy matter. You have to surrender your body, mind, possessions, everything. That is what is meant by surrenderance.

Now, in my own case -- after the New Life [1949-1951], Baba was visiting the West. My dad was very anxious about me because I had graduated and was just loitering about doing nothing. I was just wanting to receive a call from Baba so that I could go and join Him in the ashram. On His way to the West in 1952, Baba came to Bindra House [in Pune] on the way to Bombay. We had made all arrangements for His and His companions' lunch, and the family was busy in serving Baba and the rest. Baba was sitting with Pappa in his room, and Baba sent word that I should have my lunch and come to meet Him. I hurriedly had my lunch and then I went to see Baba. Baba asked me, "You have now graduated, so what do you want to do? Do you want to study further?" 
I said, "No Baba, I have had enough of studies. I don't wish to study any more." Baba said, "Fine, then what do you want to do?" I said, "Baba, whatever you decide, I want to do that." Baba said, "That is fine, but what would you want to do?" Again I said, "Baba, whatever You wish, I will do." Baba again said, "Good." Then for the third time He asked, "But what would you want to do?" I was about to say, "I want to be with You." But He didn't let me utter that thought. He said, "All right. Eruch is with Me, and he is doing My work. You have a responsibility towards the family. You have to earn and support the family, you look after the family." I said, "Fine Baba, whatever You say."

After Baba left, I took the first job I was offered. It was a very low-paid job. The boss who interviewed me was actually reluctant to hire me because I was overqualified. I was a science graduate and he was offering me the post of a petty clerk, with a measly salary of Rs. 60 per month. He was very hesitant to offer me that. He said, "You have qualified as a science graduate. Take up some other job." I said, "It's fine. I will accept this." It was not the job that I was interested in, I just wanted to follow Baba's orders. So I carried on, and many long years I worked there. I looked after the family and gradually my pay increased. Thereafter, all my life I had to do this, put Baba's order before my own wishes. Surrenderance to the Lord is to obey Him in your lifetime.

Meherwan Jessawala


Editor's Note:

Meherwan B. Jessawala, born in 1930, a younger brother of Meher Baba's Mandali member Eruch Jessawala, grew up in the ambit of Baba's loving care. Meherwan now lives at Meherazad. The above text is from a talk given by Meherwan, transcribed by Mehera Arjani who lovingly sent this to us for publication in this Gazette . The first part of the article appeared in Issue No. 4.
3. "Greater than Love is Surrender"


In the Discourses , a long string of chapters on all the various forms of Meditation and Sadhanas is concluded with " In most cases it is only when the aspirant is driven to realize the futility of all his efforts that he approaches the Master. " Baba then adds that "Spiritual advancement is a succession of one surrender after another until the goal of the final surrenderance of the separate ego-life is completely achieved. " He concludes with " The last surrender is the only complete surrenderance. "[1] Baba makes it clear that on the spiritual path, surrender is not optional -- but integral.

In fact, in his poem "Love, Obedience & Surrender,"[2] Baba puts Surrender above obedience and even love, saying, " Greater than love is obedience, greater than obedience is surrender. " He explains that:

Love seeks union with the Beloved

Obedience seeks to please the Beloved

Surrender seeks nothing

This last line has baffled me for the past 25 years. Is Baba saying that Surrender no longer seeks union with the Beloved? Is he saying that Surrender doesn't even want to please the Beloved? Yes he is. How can this be? What happened to seeking union with God? What happened to intense longing' for God? What happened to living for God & dying for God? How can Surrender not even want to please God? But the truth of the matter is undeniable. Surrender simply no longer seeks. It actually wants nothing, not even God-realization -at all!

Baba says that Surrender knows nothing but the will of the Beloved. Surrender is not at all trying to do (or even engage in) the will of the Beloved 
-- as is the case with love and obedience. Instead, Surrender is the realization that God's will is all that ever happens. Surrender knows that perfection is all that can occur. It knows that God's will (to the degree of no less than infinite precision) is what happens. It knows that there is no such thing as individual free will. Surrender is a by-product of assimilating into one's world view "revealed truths" like this quote from Baba:
There is no free will. Everything is in accordance with the working out of one's own sanskaras, and even this depends on the preordained plan set in execution with the emergence of the original whim of God, which gave the original urge to know 'Who am I?' It is the primal impression that works itself out as one's destiny and as apparent free will.
Thus, in fact, there is no free will.

No one who believes in "free-will" can even begin to approach Surrender. Surrender is not the giving up of one's will, nor is it the conforming of one's will to God's will.  Instead it is knowing that one never had autonomous free-will to begin with. Surrender has already come to grips with the fact that God is the only doer -that God's will IS the only will in play with Zero wiggle room. One surrenders because one has come to assimilate clearly that: "Man, as a separative consciousness, has neither independent reality or independent power. In himself he is nothing and is, in the last analysis, entirely helpless.


But just because one sees clearly one's helplessness, and sees that one has no free-will doesn't mean that one doesn't still want union with God?  How is it possible that Surrender wants nothing?  In my case, for example, I don't believe we have any free-will at all. But this doesn't mean I don't want union with God as soon as possible-and as painlessly as possible. Thus for me the real question became, "How does one get to that place where one no longer seeks anything-period-like Surrender does?" 


The answer to this question was most shocking. Baba says in The Nothing and the Everything the following:


Until Everything awakened fully (infinitely)

and asked itself, "WHO AM I?"

and answered, "I AM GOD,"

the states of Infinite Consciousness

and Infinite Unconsciousness were not established

and creation did not begin.



This statement makes clear that until Everything (& everyone) was fully awakened to the "I AM GOD"state, creation did not even begin.  Creation did not even begin until everyone was already realized. I know this sounds crazy. It is definitely not an easy pill to swallow. However, it does satisfy the question of how it might be that Surrender can actually want nothing.  Surrender no longer seeks because there is nothing left to seek. It has nothing to do because it knows that nothing was left undone. In other words, it knows that God already finished it. In the final conclusion of the Lotus Sutra, which is the last & final teaching the Buddha gave, to the shock of his disciples, the Buddha declares the same thing:


"The Buddha-hood of all sentient beings has ALREADY been achieved (completed)."


This teaching, according to the Buddha, is the highest possible Teaching. In the Lotus Sutra, he declares himself not as a teacher, but as a father, who loved his children enough that he ALREADY accomplished the realization of all of his children even before creation began. In other words, our Father (Baba) loved us so much that utilizing his infinite knowledge & capabilities, he already gave all of us God-realization in an instant before creation even began. The Truth is already completed (in accomplished form) in us. Here's a Zen Koan to help sink this in.


By the time the thunderclap of realization is felt,

The flash of lightning had already struck and gone.


Baba tells us that the best reason for loving God is for no reason at all. Every reason we have for loving God can be deducted from our sincerity.  The belief that "God already finished it" leaves us with absolutely nothing to gain by loving Him. It is only when we have nothing to gain by loving God that we can come to love him "as he should be loved." God should be loved for only the best reason-and that reason is for no reason at all. Surrender wants nothing because God, our Beloved already finished it. My future God-realized self is already there sitting next to Babawith a bag of popcorn watching "my life" which is nothing but a rerun of an infinitely short movie He already finished. When Baba tells us that "Nothing is happening, nothing has happened, and nothing will ever happen." He is telling us that his will is already Done -as in "thy will be Done." -- Finished before it even started! 


Again, in The Nothing and the Everything, Baba says:

In this way, the nothingness of the Original Nothing /  (mother hen) protected and guided the First Drop /  (protecting and guiding each drop thereafter) /  to know The Real Nothing, Nirvan, /  to instantly become The Real Everything, Nirvakalp. [5] 

Accepting this IS Surrender. Surrender wants nothing because there  is  nothing
The author with his late daughter,
Khayla Rose Choi
left to want. Surrender is the complete assimilation of "'He finished it" into one's worldview. Then the heart, in a sudden surge of inexpressible gratitude, spontaneously springs forth with love for God -- as he should be loved, which is for no possible gain -- for no reason at all-the best reason for loving God. 

This essay is a presentation of my world view as a specimen for your examination. As always, I maintain that I could be wrong about absolutely everything.  

Mark Choi


(1) Meher Baba, "The Dynamics of Spiritual Advancement", Discourses Vol. II, p. 183 

(in online 6th edition)

(2) Meher Baba, "Gifts of Love," The Everything and the Nothing (1963, 2003), p. 5

(3) Quoted in Ivy Oneita Duce, What Am I Doing Here? (1966), p. 29

(4) Bhau Kalchuri, The Nothing and the Everything (1982), p. 31 

(5) Bhau Kalchuri, The Nothing and the Everything (1982), p. 22 


Editor's Note:  

It is worth mentioning that Mark wrote the above article approximately two months prior to his daughter's sudden departure from this world. The ways of the Master are unfathomable.

Mark Choi was born in Korea and moved to US to attend college. He was a seeker of God since childhood and came to know about Meher Baba in 1989 when he was 19 years old. Mark has been working on translation of Baba's Discourses into Korean for the past couple years. Mark has been a Meherabode member for many years. After settling in LA in 2009, he instituted the custom of organizing and hosting monthly Dhuni-barbeque dinner gatherings, held outdoors Saturday evenings at Meherabode. After apprenticing as a goatherd to pursue a sustainable lifestyle, Mark moved with his family, establishing a settlement in Mariposa, California where they raise goats, naming the permaculture farm Meher Haven.

4. "Every Letter will be Written with my Heart"

The story of Khayla Rose Choi (2001-2015) is interwoven with multiple stories. The jewel of a vibrant family of Baba-lovers, this bright-spirited young woman's life was cut short on March 14, 2015, in an automobile accident. Khayla was born in Makati, Philippines, and later at age 8, moved with her family to California.

The Choi family enjoy strong ties with our Southern California Meher Baba community, Khayla with her parents Mark and Peni and her three elder brothers (Aaron, Michael, and Joseph) having moved together from the Philippines to Torrance in 2009, where they lived for two years before seeking their fortunes at Meher Haven, their goat-herding and permaculture family farm located up north in Mariposa. Khayla's American grandmother (Mark's mother) Rosie Choi has been an active member of Meherasbode for many years (where she has served as Secretary on the Board). Mark and his family will always be remembered at Meherabode for the Dhuni-BBQ evenings they hosted monthly while living in the LA area.


After Mark completed an apprenticeship in goat-herding, the Chois established Meher Haven and acquired a flock of 400 goats.
On the occasion of the tragic accident, Mark and one son were back in Southern California, having transported the 400 goats to the hills of Rancho Palos Verdes, where the goats had been engaged as official grazers of the lush hills (in an area on a beautiful mountainside overlooking the Pacific Ocean that came to be called Vishnu's Office). 

The Choi Goats at "Vishnu's Office"


Peni and Khayla, along with Aaron's girlfriend Christina Jarrett, departed Meher Haven in a compact car heading south when destiny intervened in the form of an elderly driver in a massive vehicle that veered into their lane, for a head-on collision.  Khayla at once "went to Baba", Christina likewise crossing the threshold from this earthly life a few days later, while Peni survived the ordeal with multiple broken bones, and is now regaining strength. The two younger brothers were in India at the time (working on repair of a roof at Meherazad). They hastened back to California, to gather as a family in this time of transition.  

a memorial table at the celebration of life in Fresno


Many of us joined the Chois last month for a "Celebration of Life" in honor of Khayla and Christina, held in a municipal park in Fresno (near the hospital where Peni was then stationed) held on March 28, attended by scores of friends from both near and far.

Khayla's friends at the Fresno gathering
Khayla's Diary

The volume is thick and stately, ornate flowers embossed on its old-world dark leather cover, several hundred creme-colored blank ruled pages forming its bulk. Eighteen of those pages comprise the hand-written diary that Khayla Rose Choi began to keep in late February this year, a mere 18 days before her sudden demise in a startling automobile accident: a transformative event that (in retrospect) might seem foreshadowed by a few of the wise young writer's trenchant, thoughtful words.

 This small literary treasure, while incomplete, is a remarkable document woven with the twin threads of knowledge and devotion, thought and feeling. Following a terse epigraph page (
In order to appreciate truth approach it through itself, without any game of hide and seek. -- Meher Baba ♥), the young diarist begins: 
Hello. I don't really know how exactly I am going to start this but with a simple welcome. I guess you can call me Khayla, Khayla Choi to be specific. This book is like no other.  Thoughts and observations, along with other topics that I feel like I have to share. Experiences that have brought me to some sort of realization or truth. Some kind of understanding or misunderstanding. I will write it all here, for every letter will be written with my heart. There is much one learns and observes every day, but it seems as if nobody examines or shares it. I've been speaking to people and even myself about these thoughts. I thought it was about time to put it on paper and maybe even share it with the world. I have no way to prepare you for what might lie in these pages. All that I can tell you is that I am most excited to go and to bring you on a journey through myself.
Khayla's diary is well worth perusing in full.  Its scanned pages can be seen on the Meher Gutta blog maintained by the Chois:  Khayla's Diary Also seen on that blog are several other entries with notable documents in Khayla's hand. Further into the Diary:


Wouldn't it be nice to go on an adventure? To travel to distant lands without worry or home. For it is to just be you, your luggage, and the journey that lies ahead. Not knowing what is to come and to not care. Being able to let go of the loved ones you have left behind and to hope they have accepted that you are on your own adventure now. For real love is capable of no attachment and trusting they will be okay. But wait. Aren't you on that adventure now? Life is a journey. So why don't you start letting go and open yourself to new experiences. As if you really are going on an adventure, traveling to far away lands, saving lives, and discovering new things. For your life journey has all of that, it just depends how you want to live it.


Khayla's observations are both immediate and broad:

Us human beings are so incredible. Just think about it for a second. We are capable of so much. We are able to learn, create, feel emotions, share, love, laugh, and even get sad. Isn't it amazing how a mother cares for her child and loves them with all her heart. Isn't it beautiful how we can grow emotionally and physically through our experiences and as we age. At the same time, isn't it interesting how we can hate, destroy, feel depressed. It's all part of the world we live in. I find it fascinating how our bodies work, so perfectly designed for nature. How we are capable of even more than we think. It is amazing how nature works, yet not everyone can see how stunning and perfectly "arranged" everything was before we "messed" with it all. Why can't it go back to the animals roaming wild, the forests lush, people in peace. Why does it have to be animals caged, forests getting taken down, humanity in a state of war. Yet it is also kind of fun to see this world in the stage it's in. Seeing how it's changing. Seeking the truth. Trying to get a message out. Searching your self to see what is false or a lie... Isn't it amazing what humanity can do to this world, both terrible and wonderful? It is all part of life, but no matter what, everything is going to be alright.


 The diarist notes:


Watching a life go right before your eyes is heartbreaking.  Being there when a living thing takes its last breath, last thoughts, last heart beat. I've been there a few times when some goats have passed, crying my eyes out. Although recently letting go of these babies hasn't been as difficult, but it always will be at least a little hard to say goodbye.  When something is suffering, should you be happy or sad when they drop their body?  You know that they will no longer feel the pain yet the mystery and almost emptiness you feel when it all occurs. What is death? Maybe death isn't nearly as "horrible" as we assume.  Without death, there is no life.  If you are afraid to die, you are afraid to live. All this "confusion" yet how come the perfectly unclear answer seems as if you already know it, deep down. Every time I see a life go, I wonder what journey lies beyond its body. What adventure patiently awaits them.


These are the final words inscribed in the stately diary (undated, on or after 3/11/15):


The love and care a mother feels for her child is incredible.  It's amazing how all female species share this instinct.  Wanting to help others through their cooking, cleaning, and overall love.  Such as mothers protecting their child from danger, or supporting their family.  We all have it in us. I really noticed these features today as I felt the passionate need to clean, care, cook, etc. I held my new born baby rabbits, trying my best to help them as if they were my own. Cleaning because I found it fun and productive. Cooking simply cause I want to learn how to make good food. Haha. I've been able to uncover all these natural emotions that are all part of this world. Instincts that keep us alive. Such as a man's need to work, to protect, to mate. Men and women's instincts match up beautifully creating a wonderful pattern of life. Yet things have been twisted in modern society, but that's life after all.


Rest well in Beloved Baba's arms, dear Khayla!  And come back to share with us more news-from-the-heart at the right time. Jai Meher Baba!  

David Raphael Israel
Mahoo Ghorbani 
Khayla's Diary copyright (c) 2015 by Mark and Peni Choi, all rights reserved
5. The Music Corner:
     "Imaginary Landscape with Meher Baba"

A new & unique music-video -- 

first shared publicly in Ashville, North Carolina in a gathering celebrating Meher Baba's birthday (in February 2015)


Imaginary Landscapes with Meher Baba
Imaginary Landscapes with Meher Baba
created by
Said Osio

Featuring the song "O Moon" by Cathy Riley and Jeff Wolverton. Half way into this work, the music shifts to "Begin the Beguine" in an instrumental version by The Violents.

6. The Organization of God Speaks (Part 1)

"To the Universe -- the Illusion that sustains Reality"
As the decades slip by and Meher Baba the Man slowly fades from living memory, a compensating gain is that the magnificence of His Avataric legacy begins to emerge more clearly into view. One part of this legacy involves His books and messages; and among these, God Speaks must surely be accorded the first place as a statement in the domain of theosophy and metaphysics the like of which the world
  The author in disquisition [photo credit: Philip Ludwig]
has rarely seen.[1]  Like the Qur'an, the Upanishads, or the Gospel narratives, it frames Reality; it establishes a muthos or archetypal pattern in the understanding powerful enough, one feels, to ground and support an entire civilization for centuries to come. Yet what distinguishes God Speaks from the great scriptures that preceded it lies in the fact that it speaks in the idiom of modernity and immediately engages the mind and intellect of today.
Baba's lovers, of course, have long known this, and many have devoted to the book years of close study. Much of this research and meditation, naturally, has transpired in solitary private readings or in small-group conversations that have gone unrecorded.[2] But as appreciation of the book spreads and deepens, I feel it would be of value for those with this interest to bring some organized reflections to the print medium with a view toward understanding better not just the process of studying God Speaks (which has been the topic of occasional short articles) but its actual content and subject matter. For as many of us have discovered, God Speaks can indeed be mined for its treasures; and the more deeply one delves, the more one finds there.

A particular problem that often baffles students of the book concerns its evident repetitiveness, which manifests on several levels. Ideas and phrases get stated and restated again and again; and even in the progress between sentences, once finds a large quantity of conceptual baggage being carried over, such that succeeding sentences are laden with reiteration of the terms and verbiage from the sentences that went before. Indeed, I would characterize the prose style of God Speaks generally as hyper-redundant. Why Baba should have preferred to express His themes in this manner is the topic for another day. But as one brief observation, I feel that the repetitive prose style echoes and provides apt vehicle for the "Ocean Voice" that underlies the entire text. For Baba's purposes the mere conveyance of idea content is not enough. The fuller assimilation of what He has to say requires that one marinate in it, so that some of its essence and fragrance can percolate into one's mind-heart and transform one's way of seeing. The repetitive prose helps to accomplish this.

Yet repetition figures not only on the micro but also on the macro scale; later chapters keep returning to topics that were already explained at length earlier. My purpose in this essay is to suggest that much of this global repetition in God Speaks serves in the fulfillment of a clear plan of organization that runs throughout the entire book. The basic repeating structure is what can be called the "Divine Theme," set forth by Baba in a small booklet under that title in 1943[3] and central to His metaphysics from the time of the composition of Infinite Intelligence in the 1920s. God Speaks reviews the Divine Theme three times; these three "passes" organize the overall argument. After an introductory chapter that sets forth basic terms and concepts, the first pass encompasses parts 2 through 7; the second spreads expansively through the 80 pages of part 8; and the third pass codifies this same material into "The Ten States of God" (part 9). While the Divine Theme provides the core content in each of these three passes, Baba's orientation changes and evolves considerably. When one comes to grasp this pattern and the way that it is playing itself out, I feel that God Speaks as a whole becomes much easier to understand.

The Divine Theme

The Divine Theme is essentially a metaphysical story line with the soul or atma as its principal character. In reality, as Baba explains in His foundational first chapter, the soul was, is, and always will be one with God or Paramatma; yet it does not know this. The journey of the soul spans from unconscious Divinity to conscious Divinity, from ignorance of Self to Knowledge of Self, from "Who am I?" to "I am God." In this epic undertaking the drop-soul or jivatama progresses through a series of well-marked stages that constitute the Divine Theme's defining elements. This Divine Theme, then, provides God Speaks with its core narrative. As an elaboration of the Divine Theme,  God Speaks could justly be characterized as the biography of the soul. 

The Divine Theme has been splendidly depicted in visual form through the illustration that Rano Gayley drew under Baba's direction and that was incorporated into the second edition of God Speaks as Chart VIIIA (facing p. 190). Some of the main steps and stages are these. At the outset God in the Beyond-Beyond state has no consciousness either of Himself or of the universe. Creation erupts like an explosion of bubbles within this oceanic stillness as the result of what Baba calls God's Whim for Self-knowledge. Baba's notion of the Whim, unprecedented so far as I know in spiritual literature, is one of the truly great ideas in the history of religious and philosophic thought. This Whim provides the driving force propelling the evolution of consciousness, through the course of which the drop-soul progresses through an almost interminable series of forms, transmigrating from one to the next. Baba's version of evolution stands Charles Darwin on his head in the sense that form is the by-product and consequence of consciousness and not its cause. Evolution has a purpose; and it culminates in the human form, where the soul has at last achieved that full consciousness that it needs as a prerequisite to the Realization of Self.

In evolution the drop-soul gathers consciousness through the accumulation of sanskaras, that is, the impressions and residue of past experience. This very storehouse of sanskaras which, in evolution, secured the soul's growth now, in the human form, stands as the obstacle, the impediment, the veil that prevents the soul from seeing itself. Hence the cycle of reincarnation, which follows evolution as the second great stage in the soul's journey.

Eventually, after 8,400,000 human incarnations, the drop-soul wearies of the reincarnationary treadmill of births and deaths and embarks on that final, ultimately fruitful search that leads it to the spiritual path. "Involution" designates the drop-soul's return through the seven planes, from the gross through the subtle and mental spheres to the Realization of God. This Realization represents the Goal of creation, the fulfillment of the soul's journey and the culmination of the Divine Theme. The realized Man knows Himself as the only One. From this state of absolute Self-absorption a few liberated souls have the destiny of returning to creation-conscious, some as the Perfect Masters who preside over the spiritual hierarchy and help guide the masses of humanity still caught in the mazes of ignorance. 
Such, then, are the contours of the Divine Theme, perhaps the most important single root narrative and extended archetype in Meher Baba's "teachings." While the Divine Theme in various multiforms recurs throughout Baba's "writings" and messages,  God Speaks gives it its amplest and most definitive expression. The explanatory power of the Divine Theme as a metaphysical narrative imbues it with a feeling of inevitability -- how else could the story of God and creation be understood? Yet so far as I know, Baba's account is quite new and unprecedented. One finds nothing quite like it in any of the records descending to us from the Avataric advents of the past-neither in the "Sermon on the Mount," nor in the  hadiths or prophetic Qur'anic utterances, nor in the Bhagavad Gita , nor even in the Buddhist sutras . Only in this Avataric advent, to the best of my knowledge, has the soul's saga been related to us in its complete version, from beginning to end. As a gift to the human understanding, this must surely represent one of the crown jewels in the present Avataric legacy.
[to be continued]

Ward Parks
( 1) Citations are based on Meher Baba,  God Speaks: The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose ,   ed. Ivy O. Duce and Don E. Stevens, 2nd ed. (Walnut Creek, California: Sufism Reoriented, 1973), 3rd printing (1997). The pagination of the third printing (which is the most recent) differs from that of the previous two printings of the second edition.
( 2) In fact, many of the insights that inform this article grew out of precisely this kind of environment, that is, God Speaks meetings at Meherabad over the last three or four years. I am especially indebted to Gary Kleiner, Frank and Diana Bloise, Sue Chapman, and others for their participation in these discussions.
( 3Meher Baba, Divine Theme: Evolution, Reincarnation, Realisation  (Ahmednagar: Adi K. Irani for the Publication Committee, Meher Baba Universal Spiritual Centre, 1943).  Most of the content of this book has been reproduced in the Supplement to God Speaks, pp. 220-228.

Editor's Note:

Ward Parks was caught in the Avatar's net in November 1970 while a freshman at Harvard. He made a first pilgrimage to Baba's home in India in 1972 and has lived there since 1993. Formerly a professor of medieval literature, Ward works in the Avatar Meher Baba Trust's publication program and was among the editors for In God's Hand (2000), Infinite Intelligence (2005), the revised sixth edition of Baba's Discourses (2009), Early Messages to the West (2009), and republication of the Divine Theme (2003-2011). He edits the Trust newsletter, In His Service.
7. The Fragrance on the Hill

It was on 5th August 1969 that Dr Donkin came to Meherabad to visit "The Boss" as he always called Baba. After spending time in the Samadhi, he came and talked with me for about two hours on this and that, again went to Baba, and then left. He looked so completely well and healthy that day.

The next morning when I got up I was already ten minutes late. I took my bath quickly and got ready to go to Baba. I had a strong feeling of urgency -- inside me something said: "Come quickly, come soon." It was not like a physical sound. I said to myself, "Yes, Baba, I know, I'm ten minutes late!" And I took a lantern and hurried across. I do not take my glasses when I go in the morning to Baba, but that morning I took a lantern although it was not very dark.

I came to the doors of Baba's Samadhi, and lifted the lantern. Even when the doors are closed and locked they do not exactly meet, there is a crack, a slit, between them. When you are standing at the doors you can see a little bit inside, just in front of this crack. As I raised the lantern I caught a flash of something white moving by that crack -- like a white sadra -- just the hem, I could not see any feet. I thought, "Oh, Baba, will I find you sitting there, or standing, or what?" I undid the lock and opened the doors. Nothing was there -- just the crypt with its earth, and the platform round it.

At that time of course the Marble was not there -- just the earth in the crypt, which was level with the platform. We kept a heavy sheet over the earth -- because at first the people coming would take a pinch of earth to put on their foreheads; but then they began to take some away, and we wouldn't know where it would go, or how it would be used. So we covered the earth with a sheet, and to stop them lifting this up, I used to put a pile of incense ash at the foot.

 But as I went in that morning I saw there was a hollow; the sheet was depressed just over Baba's feet,
Dr. William Donkin (circa 1946) [photo: The Awakener Magazine]
exactly where we put our heads when we bow down over the Marble. And the top part of the sheet over Baba had been moved -- it looked as though it had been pushed aside, just as a bed looks when one gets out of it in a hurry, and the pile of incense ash was put to one side, carefully.

I thought, "Could someone have come in? But how could they get in?" I went quickly up onto the platform and looked at the windows; they were all securely closed, and the door had been locked. I said: "I must go for my glasses, and make sure I am seeing it all properly." So I closed the door and hurried to get them. Yes, that depression in the earth was there under the sheet. But no-one could have got into the Samadhi, it had been properly locked. What had happened? What to do?

I called the watchman, the old man who was there then, and asked him had he seen or heard anything in the night, but he had seen no-one and hadn't heard anything. I sent him hurrying down the Hill to find Padri to ask him to come immediately. I wanted someone to see it all before anyone else came, and Padri was the best one to see it with me, and he was also a Trustee. So I latched the doors again, and paced up and down, up and down, waiting.

A boy came to me and said Padri was taking his bath, and that he would come soon. I sent him down the Hill again: "Tell Padri that Mansari says come immediately, it is very important."
After a few minutes Padri came, and I opened the doors and we went in. "What could cause this?" I asked him. 
"Termites!" he said. But I knew it could not be so -- no ants would be disturbing that earth.

Now that the two of us had seen it we agreed we should restore it to normal. Padri was on the platform at the head side, and I was at the foot -- where the steps which led down into the crypt used to be, the spot where we all now come to bow down to Baba. Together we worked -- and as I leaned over the earth a wonderful Fragrance came up to me -- so sweet, so beautiful it was. I kept quiet. Was it really there?

Then Padri came down from  the platform, and I watched him. Suddenly he said, "Did you put perfume?"  "No."  He looked
(Meherabad 1979)
at me. "Did you smell it?" 
"Yes!"  He stood there for a moment. "Keep the windows closed, don't put any flowers.  Let's see who are t he lucky ones today."

He went out -- and by 10:00 AM people were coming up the Hill. All that day, and the next, and the next, they came. That old man, the watchman, had been telling his story; and it had gone on from one to another in Arangaon, had spread like fire to Ahmednagar, and to other places. Some even asked, "Is it true that Baba ran out of the Samadhi and has gone away?"
For four days that beautiful Fragrance was there, wafting all over the top of the Hill, around the back, and down to where the path has a flat part. The crowds kept coming each day, those fortunate ones, and all experienced it. Then some time on the 9th August, in the same way that the Fragrance had come, it was gone. It was on that day that Dr. Donkin died.

From Judith Barbett,  Lives of Love  (Mansari, pp. 3-4) (1998)
© 1998 Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

Editor's Note:


Mansari Desai (1909-1997, usually known by first name), was a close disciple of Meher Baba's who lived alone on Meherabad Hill as caretaker of Meher Baba's Samadhi (tomb-shrine). Meher Baba instructed her never to leave Upper Meherabad (except for medical needs). Short of stature, Mansari was towering in the realm of love .
8. "How I Met My Master, Meher Baba"  (New Series)

[ Editors' Note: We are pleased to introduce a new regular series, featuring narratives from Baba-lovers (devotees of Avatar Meher Baba), relating variously the story of the narrator's personal experiences prompting his or her inward draw and dedication to Baba. There are many such stories to enjoy! -- each unique, often colorful, frequently entertaining, and sometimes quite inspiring. Here we begin the story-telling adventure.]

In 1964 my oldest brother comes back from college with a trunk load of pot. I was 14 years old and already pretty worn out from the stresses of growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, with a distant father, a sweet but non-available mother and two older brothers who enjoyed beating the shit out of me!   

So the weed removed me from my surroundings for two years, and then I met Tim Leary who guided me through acid trips. In the meantime, India was arriving on the western shores. Swami Satchidananda caught my attention and I received a mantra and started weaning off drugs. In 1967 I walked down the steps of Weiser's Books in the Village [downtown NYC] and there He was, a picture of the Ancient One, on the support beam in the store. By this time my heart-song was Hare Krishna, and so when I saw Him as Lord Krishna, my mind (what was left of it) stopped and I had to know more. 

So off I went to a Monday night meeting only to be abruptly stopped at the door by one cantankerous old man (John Bass). He mumbled something that was similar to english, yelled a little and threw me out! Hell, I said, I don't want to be here anyway. Nothing but a bunch of old fools attending this meeting!

A few months later, my buddy tells me that Meher Baba was going to break His Silence in the presence of none other than Tim Leary!  
I was excited at the prospect of this Divine encounter! So, off we went, my friend and I. We hopped on a subway line in the underground world of New York and guess what? There was one vacant seat and I took it. It so happens that the girl in the next seat is cute! So I look at the book that she is reading, and it is The God-Man! I said, "Oh! are you going to see Tim Leary and Meher Baba?"

The way she looked at me, I thought that maybe she was looking at a ghost! She said, "No, I'm going to listen to Allan Cohen talk about Meher Baba!" I didn't say a word but off we went to Hunter College!

It was a Monday night, and after Allan's talk (I did ask one question), the Florences invited my friend and I for dinner along with the Luck brothers [Irwin and Edwin Luck]. It is now the fall of '68, and word just broke that the Divine Invite [for Meher Baba's darshan] had finally come! The energy in that Monday night meeting I will never have words for! In any case, I had absolutely no idea what was going on! One thing I knew, and felt, and drowned in a love that I have never tasted before. My heart was melting, and I was not tuned in to all the excitement. I just new that I was home, sweet home!

Before long, I was attending the Harry Kenmore meetings. All I can say is that attending those meetings for me was like being in a Baba Blast Furnace! Baba told Harry not to worry, and that Baba will capture the heart. He wasn't kidding! As loud as Harry was, I felt wrapped in Baba's Arms and left those meetings on cloud nine.
OK, so now spring has arrived and just about every Baba person worth their weight in salt was heading off to India (for the Great Darshan). [Subsequent to Meher Baba suddenly dropping his body (January 31, 1969), the group darshan gatherings he had planned went forward, attended by several hundred Western and Eastern devotees.]

I was always extremely shy and awkward and connected to no one! I'm standing in the dark, dank subway line thinking miserable, suicidal thoughts concerning my relationship with Meher Baba. After all, everyone went to India, so there must be something terribly wrong with me (I had no desire to go). At that split moment of excruciating agony, the Divine Arrow pierced this pathetic heart and the rest of that night i was flooded with a love so deep and thorough, not a word was spoken till the morning.

Funny, yesterday I just read the old family letter where Baba said "sometime, somewhere, somehow" His darshan is assured "for those who cannot come."

Steven Goodman

Editor's Note:

Steven Goodman, a practicing chiropractor for the past 40 years, is based in Myrtle Beach, SC, near the Meher Spiritual Center. He first learned of Meher Baba in 1967, at the tender age of 17. Steven writes: "His Name has caught hold of my heart, and even though I never saw His physical form, His Presence is felt within me as poignantly as one would smell the fragrance of a rose." (The author is seen here adjacent the dining area at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat, Upper Meherabad.)
9. Poetry Corner

Ghazal 9

You warned us that on this path was nothing but pain, 
And we glibly assented, but now we complain.

We were assenting to what was our idea of pain--- 
Tangible enemies to be suffered for love's gain.

Something heroic we had in mind---battle's strain, 
Great oaths and wild blood caught in a drunken refrain.

You told us to leave the matter in your hands---remain
Resigned to your will and whim. You made that quite plain.

What irks is the very ordinariness of this pain---
Not even our names on an honor-roll of the slain.

You told us that the only traffic in Lovers' Lane 
Was when the wind blew---and one had become a dust-grain.

Beloved, another dawn sky bears drought's red stain. 
Forgive us if sometimes hot stone cries for cool rain. 

Francis Brabazon
poem from In Dust I Sing (1974, 2012)
Copyright (c) 2012 Avatar's Abode Trust (Queensland, Australia)
[photo copyright (c) 1979 Bernard Bruford]
10. Meherabode and Its Landscape:
      From a Short History of the Meherabode Gardens


One day, Baba was admiring the flowers in the garden. Colorful varieties had been planted. Baba loved bright flowers and remarked, "I like these very much. They look so pretty." Mehera complained to him, "It's not easy to grow these kind of flowers here at Meherazad, where the soil is so poor. We have to bring soil from far away, near the lake. Then, when heavy rains come, the topsoil is washed away, because the ground at Meherazad slopes. It takes so much time to grow these flowers. It's a lot of work!"


Baba said, "Yes, that is why I appreciate it. Because the soil is poor, you have to work hard, with so much care and love; then the flowers and plants that come up are special. What's the use if it is good soil, if you plant seeds, water them a little, and they grow easily by themselves? I wouldn't have appreciated that as much. This is how I like it. I appreciate the garden because of your efforts."


Mehera said, "I look out on the garden and picture Baba coming round in the garden from far. I imagine I am running to embrace him. "These are some of the beautiful flowers in my garden," Baba remarked, as he gestured towards the Meherazad  flowerbed. Just then, as Mehera walked across the veranda. Baba glanced in her direction and added, "And that is the most beautiful flower."


 from David Fenster, Mehera-Meher (2003, 2013) 

We are fortunate to have such a fine garden landscape at Meherabode in L.A. Much devoted work over many years has gone into its development. Here is a page out of the history of this garden:


Meher Baba's Manifestation took another upward push with the purchase of the Meherabode  property in 1977.  One of the of first areas of development was Mehera's Rose Garden with more than 20 special rose plants carefully chosen. The diverse rose plants are  located at the entrance corner of the main building.

An inventory of the trees was made, and several that were cracking walls and foundations had to be removed. More than 18 new flowering trees were planted, including dogwood, pink trumpet flower, gold medallion, crape          myrtle, jacaranda, Western redbud, and lilac.

One specimen, in particular, a very attractive fully mature Himalayan pine, Cedrus deodara, was lost due to over watering. The culprit hidden, below the surface, a broken pipeline soaking the area during a heavy rainy season did accelerate the decay and death of the Himalayan pine. The sprinkler systems have been upgraded, and repaired. Included in the irrigational operations is an extensive drip system to keep down water expenses. The Landscape Committee is keen on practical management of the hard-scape and soft-scape environments. This will greatly reduce the amount of water needed to sustain the Meherabode garden.
The Greenhouse floor was excavated, a professional metal grid, compacted earth, and new paver stones applied.
The  Dome's stone pathways were completely restored, and complementary perennial gardens established at the   parking lot edges.

The Monsoon Gardens, known as Upper Monsoon and Lower Monsoon, over several years were completely excavated. This entailed the removal of discarded concrete, refuse, and a hodgepodge of materials that had been buried in these sections the last couple decades. These areas were revitalized with mulch, compost, amendments. 

The Monsoon Gardens are gradually evolving as flower gardens. The diversity of trees that populate the grounds have received professional trimming to maintain their health and appearance. The fruit trees -- persimmon, fig, and citrus -- have shown new health after applications of managed fertilization.

Vines were planted on neighbor fences for privacy and their appearance is pleasingly attractive. The bamboo grove required special attention. After a thorough trimming, shaving, and rake cleaning of the bamboo grove, appropriate nutrients were then administered, and the bamboo's appearance is full with a strong leaf growth. Hopefully in the future we can add additional ornamental bamboo to special areas to enhance the visual appearance of the Center.

A newer area incorporated into the expanding garden montage is the vegetable garden. The vegetable garden is located in the northern areas adjacent to the Dome's exterior landscape. The distinct advantage of this area is the complement of full sun. Here we have thriving a harvest of pumpkins, tomatoes, onions, lemongrass, tomato, beets, parley, squash. This area is affectionately known as the Victory Garden. A complete Jai Baba!

To complete this brief survey: it is by intensive mulching and soil improvements that we have enhanced all planted areas. These deliberate acts will assist in implementing community conservation efforts. These improvements were mostly accomplished with special donations. These generous contributions, especially during austere financial times, softened the impact on the Center's operational needs.     
To complete this brief survey: it is by intensive mulching and soil improvements that we have enhanced all planted areas. These deliberate acts will assist in implementing community conservation efforts. These improvements were mostly accomplished with special donations. These generous contributions, especially during austere financial times, softened the impact on the Center's operational needs.    

A Landscape-Walla 
11. The Lover Finally Gets the Joke

One day at Meherabad, Padri asked, "What is surrender?" And before I could even think to try to answer, Padri said, "Surrender is when the beggar gives a gift to the king."

I went away puzzling, "What is there to give, how can the beggar give a gift to the king?" The answer is clear: The beggar has absolutely nothing to give; then the only thing he has to give is his nothing. The beggar has two options, only two. One is to
painting (detail): Lyn & Phyllis Ott (J.&K. Page collection)
keep his nothing as his one possession. The other is to give his nothing back to the Master who is in fact the very creator of all this Nothing. That's the trick - to give back the nothing.
I sat thinking seriously, "How do I get Meher Baba to accept nothing as my gift to Him?" It's impossible. In fact, it's a mighty joke, this whole thing of surrender.

It seems to me now that surrender must be the moment when the lover and the beloved merge together in one mighty laugh. It is the moment when, at last, the lover finally gets the joke and infinite happiness prevails. What is God-realization? It is when man's sense of humor finally equals God's .

Lyn Ott
from  The Awakener , Vol 14, Nos. 3 & 4 (1973), p. 7
Editors' Note:
Lyn Ott (1926-1998) came in contact with Meher Baba in 1964.  In 1966, the Ott family settled at the Meher Spiritual Center in MB. There, despite increasingly poor eyesight, Ott produced approximately 500 paintings of Meher Baba. To compensate for his failing vision, he worked under bright floodlights with his face inches from the canvas. His artistic career was ended by his complete blindness in 1976. Today Ott's paintings of Meher Baba are found in collections around the world. Ott died at the Meher Center 1998, three days before his 72nd birthday.  
12. A Virtual Tour of Meherabode

A multimedia tour of our one-acre Center in Mid-City Los Angeles.  

Music with Kirtan Chant in the background.  


Avatar Meher Baba Center Southern California Tour
Avatar Meher Baba Center Southern California
1214 S. Van Ness Avenue, Los Angeles, California 
A Virtual Tour
13. What's Happening at Meherabode

Even if the whole world goes against Me or worships Me, it is all the same to Me.  The reason why I call upon every individual to work for Me is to make each one share the Divine Cause, and the programs, such as mass darshans, are created just to give an opportunity for the expression of individual and collective love. Therefore, if you are prepared to share My Universal Work, then it must be done with 100% honesty.   
Meher Baba
As 2015 moves into its second quarter, glorious spring -- which banishes winder's sleep and leads into the richness of summer -- is with us again. Springtime denotes the repeating vernal season, and also evokes broad ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, and new growth. How good is that? The beauty of God is especially evident in
Amartithi Celebration (Robert Een & Ellen Gerdes)  
all creatures in this season.

These opening months of 2015 have been a productive period at Meherabode in Los Angeles, California.

Meherabode is going through a fairly smooth ride, and no doubt playing its role in Baba's manifestation period, being a doorway that people may walk through to find Meher Baba. Part of the special value of Centers like Meherabode is that they give expression to an otherwise a hidden truth: that of the Avatar's 20th century life. This is still an unknown factor for most people around us. We feel fortunate to take part in His divine play during this Avatartic period. However, we must confess we have no idea about His plans and unfathomable ways of contacting souls thirsting for truth. It can get busy and crazy at times, yet Baba shows up with His Compassion and
Amartithi Celebration
(Richard Stermer) 
abundant help to keep
(site rental)
us moving forward.

As Meherabode continues to flourish in His Love, He has blessed us with a sound financial state at present. Regular fundraising and the Center's rental activities continue in process, while the basic financial foundation is on solid ground.

This year our site rental activities at the Center took another life altogether. Since January, we have had many film production companies approaching us to rent our Baba Center. Hand of God, an American drama series created by Ben Watkins for Amazon Studios, has been filming its debut series in the Victorian-style mansion next door, and they have been renting our grounds to park their production trucks, serve food, and use our reception room for meetings. Also, CBS Television has been one of our clients
NVC Workshop
(Terry Faulkner & Raymond Lee)
using Center for their movie productions.

The important perennial activity at Meherabode is our weekly meetings held late morning on Sundays (now, generally twice per month). We continue efforts to conduct ongoing programs focused on Meher Baba's life and work.
  Among recent programs, Meherabode hosted two workshops on "Non-Violent Communication" developed by Marshall Rosenberg, focusing on quality interpersonal communication that brings people together rather than alienating one another. These workshops were led by Terry Faulkner and Raymond Lee, who have found an NVC practice in their lives to be indespensible.
Gutta with Fred Stankus
  Fred Stankus generously hosted a Gutta Breakfast. This marvelous LA-area tradition pioneered by Fred involves a "round table" feel, where we enjoy a late breakfast repast while sharing selected readings from Lord Meher.

Robert Een
This year's Amartithi celebration at Meherabode featured a special concert by Robert Een, composer, singer and cellist (and the recipient of an Obie Award and two Bessie Awards for composition and sustained achievement), in collaboration with soprano Ellen Gerdes. In addition, a rare musical offering by Richard Stermer was featured among other evening festivities. Group silence beginning at 10:30 pm (corresponding to 12:00 noon, January 31, in India) ended the night. 
The Escape Artist (Robert Een & Karin Levitas)


Our annual celebration of Meher Baba's birthday was conducted over two days. The first one included a special sharing of excerpts from a work of music-theater exploring the inner life of a contemporary spiritual seeker, presented by Robert Een and Karin Levitas. The Escape Artist, a contemporary opera, was given a full, staged performance at Meherabad (India) two years ago.       Further
Baba Birthday (Sheela Bringi & Leonice Shinneman)
celebration on Baba's Birthday featured lively devotional music offered by local musicians Sheela Bringi and Leonice 
Shinneman. A highlight of this event was Sheela's 30-minute call-and-response session of singing Meher Baba's name, which filled the atmosphere with Baba's majesty and presence.  
The Invisible Rider: readings and discussion from the book Avatar of the Age: Meher Baba Manifesting, by Bhau Kalchuri was moderated by Linda Zavala in an intimate Sunday gathering.  
We had a day of prayers for the Choi family along with remembering and celebration Nowruz, the Persian New year.

Dr. Mahmoud Ajang conducted a meeting on Meher Baba on Madness & God-Intoxication. He particularly covered
Diana Le Page
phases of Baba's spiritual work in the 1940s, when Baba contacted and worked extensively with God-intoxicated souls (called Masts in India).  
Author and vivid Baba-story teller Bill Le Page, along with his gifted artist-wife Diana Le Page, visited us from Australia (en route to their extended stay in Myrtle Beach, SC), returning to Meherabode for a relaxing spring evening that began with an outdoor barbecue dinner, followed by Bill's talk with
Bill Le Page
recollections of his meetings with Meher Baba in India and Australia, and Diana's sharing of artworks depicting Meher Baba. It was a great night full of Baba's love and intimacy that concluded with a Dhuni (as the day marked April 12th India time).  
Many seekers and lovers of God happen to visit us on
The Dhuni Fire
( circa April 12)
Sundays. Baba finds them and sends them to our Center. We are here to receive and greet them. A tour of Meherabode's grounds and buildings always engages them as they find Baba's atmosphere to be soothing and loving.

Our aim as His workers are to follow His wish and Will in the most harmonious ways. We strive to seek His pleasure, always. Baba Himself does His work. God is so compassionate that He allows us to have the illusion of serving Him. Yet, I see it as an opportunity for our soul to lessen its own sanskaras. May He always be pleased with our words, deeds and thoughts! Amen.

Mahoo Ghorbani
AMBCSC President 
14. The Transformative Power of Taking Baba's Name


   Meher Baba with Mehera Arjani (1960s photo: Meher Nazar Publications)
 So wasn't that a wonderful [film] clip, where Tukaram tells the Emperor [Shivaji], he said, "You know, you don't need to give everything up. Your duty is to be a king and protect your kingdom and protect your subjects. Whether you're a king, you're a commoner, you're a priest, the only thing you really need to do, to avoid being caught in the snares of this world, is to take the Lord's name constantly."

And Meherwan [Jessawala] says to us often, "The Lord's name is your weapon of offense and defense. It protects you from the influences of the world outside." If you're taking his name constantly, then you are not affected by lust, by greed, by anger, by avarice. You know, all you're doing is taking His name.  And also, it's a weapon of defense, because what the Lord's name does is it takes out all the filth that's collected inside of you, brings it to the surface, and lets it go.

And he says, "It's such a simple thing to do. You take Baba's name constantly."  And by "constantly" he means constantly! I have watched Meherwan. He takes Baba's name all the time. So if you're talking to him, he's taking Baba's name in his mind. And then when he's replying to you, he's still repeating Baba's name. He never stops.

And the important thing about repeating Baba's name is that if you continue to take his name -- Eruch [Jessawala] explained this, I believe he said, "The way to reduce your burden of sanskaras is to take His name." And why is that? It's because when you're constantly taking Baba's name wholeheartedly, everything you do is done by Him! You don't do anything [yourself] when you're taking His name. He's the one who's doing everything. So even though you're using up your old sanskaras, new ones don't attach to you. They go directly to Baba. So as you take His name more and more, less and less are you attached to the world, less and less do you have any need to be appreciated or, you don't feel hurt when people vilify you. Things go on, and ultimately you get to the point where nothing exists except Him, and you merge in
image from
Sant Tukaram (1936)
Him and become one with Him forever.

What this [clip from the film] actually demonstrated is that, very clearly, Baba's name is more powerful than Baba Himself. Baba Himself said that. He said, "Take My name. My name is more powerful than I am!"

And Eruch would tell this story about His Advent as Lord Ram.  When Ram was trying to cross from India over to [the Island of] Sri Lanka, they needed to build a bridge. And Hanuman, the monkey god, thought the best way to do that is to throw big rocks into the ocean, and slowly a bridge will be built which will carry us from one side to the other. So he said, "Lord, you cast the first stone!" So Ram picked up a big rock and throws it in, and it sank. Now the point was that it was supposed to float! He picks up another one, and it sank. So he says to Hanuman, "Maruti, why is this happening?" Hanuman said [in reply], "Lord, it's happening because you're doing it wrong." So Ram said, "How should I do it?" So Maruti [Hanuman] took a stone, and he wrote Ram's name on it. And then he cast it into the sea, and rock floated! So Eruch would say, "See? Baba's name is more powerful than Baba Himself!" And Baba said that too, He said, "My name is more powerful than I am."

Like I said, this talk is mostly by Meherwan, and I'm going to read out something that he has written. He said, "You know, the only way to take His name constantly is to surrender. Unless you surrender, you cannot take His name wholeheartedly." If you're constantly thinking, "Oh, I don't deserve this!" or "Why didn't I get the results of what I did?" then you're not surrendering, and therefore you're not taking His name wholeheartedly. If you don't take His name wholeheartedly, you cannot achieve the result that taking His name is supposed to achieve. So, when he was asked to write something on surrenderance, Meherwan wrote something that I brought with me, and I will read out to you. . . . Meherwan said:

"Surrender is not about us, but about Baba. It is not a show of how dedicated we are, but of how wonderful and satisfying Baba is. When we are called to leave all and surrender to Him, there is nothing nice or pleasant about what He asks. A good example is of Abraham, whom God called upon to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to Him. There was nothing pleasant about the demand or the obedience that was required to follow God's command. But the purpose was not to see how dedicated Abraham or Isaac were, but to show that God was worthy of such a sacrifice. Abraham and Isaac saw this: they saw a God who was greater than life itself. They believed and were prepared to sacrifice Isaac on His command."
This is one of my favorite portions in this talk on surrender: "Surrender is not sought, but embraced. You cannot create the context for surrender to happen. Baba creates the  context, and you embrace the events as coming from Him. For example, when Baba asked Eruch if it was possible to leave everything and come to Him, Eruch said, 'By Your grace, everything is possible.' Eruch had only two choices: either to believe that Baba was God and embrace His wish, or to stand in rebellion against Him. Had he chosen to say 'No,' then his life would never have been the example of a perfect and fortunate slave. In a sense, Eruch chose Life with a capital L against the death of his progress on the spiritual path. He embraced Baba's wish, and so surrendered."

So what Meherwan is saying is that Eruch could have said "No." He could have said, "I can't give up everything. I can't bring my family to You." He could have chosen to continue with his life, continue with his studies, go into a profession, get married, and have a family. But by His grace he said, "By Your grace, everything is possible!" And because of that, he was able to live a life so close to the Avatar of the Age, to be His right hand, and Baba said, "If there is anybody I consider a friend, it is Eruch." For somebody to have that kind of status in the Avatar's life, that is amazing -- to be thought of as His friend.

Mehera Arjani

Editor's Note:

Mehera Arjani
 told us: "I was born on 21 February 1959, in Pune, in a family of Baba lovers going back 3 generations before I was born. Baba was part of our family in a very real sense, and treated our home [Bindra House, in Pune] as His. I have one sister, my parents are still alive (Sam & Roshan Kerawala) as is my uncle Meherwan Jessawala. I grew up with Baba." After living in the UK for 25 years, Mehera now lives at Meherazad. She is a behavioral psychologist who now practices exclusively online, thanks to the wonders of modern technology! 
15. From Meher Baba Books

Meher Baba Books

As an essential activity of the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California (Meherabode), Meher Baba Books

offers a wide array of books by and about Meher Baba for Baba-lovers and the general public, including Meher Baba's primary works as well as diverse books published in America, India, and other parts of the globe. Also on offer are materials in other media -- CDs, DVDs, photographs, cards, buttons, lockets, and other specialized objects.  


The first Meher Baba Centers in Southern California were bookstores, which opened spontaneously in several cities (Pasadena, Venice Beach, Hermosa Beach) in the late 1960s and early 1970s; these were followed by the Love Street Bookstore for several decades.  


Meher Baba Books is the successor to all those ventures. Its physical location is a charming space adjacent to our Meeting Hall at Meherabode in the heart of Los Angeles. There is also the online bookstore at Meher Baba Books, which caters to customers throughout the United States and globally.




As mentioned in the previous Issue, recently Baba has inspired us to reflect on His majestic and powerful words by way of sending a mini-circular offering a selection of His words for collective reflection. This weekly circular has drawn the interest and appreciation of readers in far corners of the globe. In case you have not yet seen it, you can browse at leisure through these past blasts of Weekly Reflections from Meher Baba Books:


#1 Debut! [Nov. 14, 2014]  #2 Four Solutions  #3 Pearls   


#4 Surrender #5 Grace  #6 Mehera  #7 Divine Love   


#8 The New Humanity [Jan. 2, 2015]  #9 Baba's Divinity 


#10 Suffering #11 Forgiveness #12 Amartithi


#13 Remembrance #14 Pearls of His Remembrance  


#15 Baba's 121st Birthday! #16 Baba's Birthday (cont'd) [Feb. 26, 2015]  


#17 The Ways of the Avatar #18 Lover & Beloved  


#19 Prayers of the Heart  #20 Obedience   


#21 Obedience (Part 2)  #22 Work    


#23 Work (Part 2) [April 17, 2015] #24 Happiness!!



(Happy Bookstore Browsers)


In His Love and Service,

Mahoo Ghorbani, Bookstore-walli 
16. LA Corner


  The idea came to mind that it might prove  interesting to establish a Gazette column relating  to the intersection of Meher Baba & Los Angeles. Hence LA Corner You could take this as a casual historical  investigation, or as the pulling out of one thread from the wide  carpet of Meher Baba's international travels. Call it a meditation on  Baba and LA, God and geography, or call it an idle pastime, a sifting of the sands of illusion through the fingers of thought. Anyway my initial notion was to start from the beginning and unfold a thorough chronological narrative.

But vagaries of search engines (those heuristic tools now at the ready for every hand) -- and more particularly the search engine planted in the Lord Meher online edition (the cyber version of the most exhaustive biography of Meher Baba extant, originally penned at Baba's direction by the late Bhau Kalchuri -- are such

that one's first 
clickety-clack move down the primrose investigative path willy-nilly fetches up some semi-random miscellany of glinty references. Like "found art," the catch of a Lord Meher  word-search could prove a handy netting worth pondering.
My late Pune-based poet-scientist friend Max Babi gave a TED Talk a few years ago. I recall his mentioning to me he was looking into the topic of serendipity, and would be giving a talk about it, but I didn't catch up with the YouTube recording of Max's fascinating 18- minute exploration of the history, meaning, and uses of what one might call "happy chance" discoveries till a few days after Max's recent demise (when a flurry of Facebook postings included this link: "Making Sense of Serendipity"). You might check it out.

Max suggests that serendipity -- unplanned, novel observations that prove useful -- have historically represented a pathway for scientific discovery and invention, and they might likewise prove a valuable facet of the creativity that lends meaning to any life.

Honoring Max's formulation, I'll begin this LA Corner with a "random" sampling of LA references from Lord Meher: a sequence of fragments we might ponder one after another. In subsequent issues, maybe we'll get more systematic.

So let's begin in this manner -- considering each curious LA Baba seashell cast up for us on the cyber-search-engine shore.

1. Baba was greeted by three women of the Los Angeles Hospitality Committee,  none of whom had met him before: Hilda Fuchs, Gladys Carr and Marguerite  Poley. They placed a lei of red and white carnations around his neck. Marguerite  Poley had been waiting to meet Baba for nine long years. She had painted several  paintings of Baba on a white horse, one of which she sent to Meherazad in 1948.

(Marguerite Poley with turban; Hilda Fuchs at far right; Lud Dimpfl behind HIlda)

  When Baba embraced her, she later remarked: "I could not feel that he had a  physical body. I felt that we were in the clouds together, and there was nothing  else."

Baba and the mandali were driven to the centrally located Hollywood 
Roosevelt Hotel, at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, where they had reservations.  Some of the group stayed at the hotel with Baba; the rest at the Wilcox and other  hotels. Then, one by one, newspaper reporters from the Los Angeles Times and  other papers interviewed and photographed Baba in his room.

When a reporter 
from the L.A. Mirror-News asked what message he had for the world, Baba said:


Philosophers, atheists and others may affirm or refute the existence of God, but as long as they do not deny their very existence, they continue to testify their belief in God; for I tell you with divine authority that God is Existence, eternal and infinite. He is everything. For man, there is only one aim in life, and that is to realize his unity with God.


To another reporter, Baba repeated:

I have only one message to give and I repeat it age after age. My message to one and all is: Love God. One must love God with all sincerity to such an extent that one loses one's self completely in love. And how does one love God? One can love God as He ought to be loved by trying one's utmost to make others feel happy even at the cost of one's own happiness.
[ p. 4055  (re: 1956)] 
2. Baba was interviewed later that same day by the Los Angeles Times and was asked, "What do you hope to accomplish in the United States?"

Baba answered, "A general awakening which will affect the whole of mankind and will eliminate depression and dissatisfaction existing in the world today." 
Chummy in LA (1935)
[ p. 1429 (re: 1932)]

3. Chummy, the pet cocker spaniel that Baba had purchased in Los Angeles two years before, died at Meherabad at 8:00 P.M. on 28 December 1936. Baba was  present and gave Chummy a spoonful of brandy with his own hands. The dog was  buried at Upper Meherabad the next day.
[ p. 1761 (re:  1936 )]

4. Of the early foreign trips Baba made, this was the only one in which Chanji did not accompany him. As Baba set sail for Europe, Rustom had been ordered to sail to Los Angeles by way of China, to do certain work in Hollywood. Rustom left on 2 December 1932. Chanji was also directed to go to China to stay for some time with Herbert Davy. He took a ship to China later in December.
[ p. 1496  (re:1932) ]

5. Baba then mentioned the increasing awareness of his work and love for him throughout the world, especially among college students in America. And he asked about Suhas [Ginde], [Dr. Ram] Ginde's son, who was a student at the University of California  in Los Angeles and whom Baba had
Lud Dimpfl (Myrtle Beach 1956)
seen before Suhas left for America the previous year.
[ p. 5268 (re: 1967)]

6. Lud Dimpfl, one of Ivy's Sufis from San Francisco, collected $4,500 and flew to Myrtle Beach with a check for Baba's trip. He arrived on [May] 16th, and handed the amount to Baba. Ivy tried to persuade Baba to travel to Los Angeles by plane, but Baba preferred going by car.
[p. 3077 (re: 1952)]

So, a handful of snapshots from LA Baba history -- each begging to be expanded into a fuller story, a wider picture. What about Chummy? Under what circumstances did this cute dog cavort its way into the Avatar's entourage? (Angelenos note: one of your own lies buried by Baba's Samadhi.)

About HIlda Fuchs, I might be able to spin some small tale (I was her piano student for a few years in the 1970s), though much of it will remain sketchy.

About Suhas Ginde (extant with us, and a friend in LA), we might say more in a later installment.

The Lud Dimpfl anecdote will awaken recognition in many readers: Meher Baba, by declining to travel by plane to LA in 1952, was (one may say) arranging the logistics for his destined automobile accident eight days later in Prague, Oklahoma, while en route from Myrtle Beach to California in Elizabeth Patterson's car.

When we read lines in Lord Meher such as "Rustom had been ordered to sail to Los Angeles by way of China, to do certain work in Hollywood," we may likely never know exactly what that "certain work" was. The mysteries of inner work accomplished in real time by spiritual figures and their disciples remain hidden "behind the curtain" (to borrow Hafiz's phrase), shrouded in deep mystery.

Yet the topic of Meher Baba's work in and with Hollywood forms a big LA Baba topic -- a theme we're apt to return to in further LA Corner musings. For now, let me turn you over to the good graces of filmmaker Robert Fredericks, whose cinema exploration, Meher Baba's 1932 Message to Hollywood, is simply superb.

Meher Baba's 1932 Message to Hollywood
Meher Baba's 1932 Message to Hollywood

And there we are swearing to love forever
And promising never, never to part . . .
Catch you again at the Corner next season. Jai Baba! 

David Raphael Israel
(born in 1956)
Meher Baba in LA (1956), photographed by the Los Angeles Times


Painting by Marguerite Poley
A Heartfelt Acknowledgement

Thanks to all contributors. Our deep gratitute to the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba,  to the greater Los Angeles Meher Baba community, and to Baba-lovers and God-seekers near and far throughout the world, who we hope might find things worthwhile to read, contemplate, and enjoy herein. May all beings be happy in His Love!

In Beloved Baba's love,
~The Editors
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