Meher Baba's Home in the West
August Newsletter 2022
Shaw Family Photo
 "Be patient. Wait in my love. Those who wait for me never wait in vain. You will see me, but wait until I call. Hold on to my daaman — and wait for my call."

Meher Baba
Lord Meher, Online Edition, by Bhau Kalchuri, p.5335
Dear Meher Center Family and Friends,

Much love and greetings from Meher Center. The Gateway at the Center is preparing details to be sent out about the 2022 Holiday Reservations Drawing (formerly called the lottery). This drawing will be for the period between December 16th, 2022 and January 2nd. The drawing has been kept up at the Center to ensure fairness of availability during a very busy time of year. We hope to send you more information in the coming week. Stay tuned! And we look forward to seeing you during the holidays!

During the East-West Gathering in Poona, India, in 1962, Eruch confessed, "I found that out during my long stay of many years with Baba. I thought obedience was easy; but I did not know Baba would say 'Get up' and 'Sit down' at one and the same time! So I tell Baba: 'I am absolutely helpless. I cannot obey you, I cannot love you!' "

Baba commented, "Eruch loves me very much. He is my right hand; but obedience is a terrible affair. The apostles of Jesus also knew how difficult it was to obey him."

Eruch added, "We cannot please Baba even with obedience; so it is not obedience. Yet to please him is the aim of everything we do."

Baba explained at length:

"The best is to just remember me and forget everything else, leaving everything to me. This is a complicated matter for those who are very interested in spirituality, but not for those who love me. Try to remember me, try to please me, try to do as I wish. That is how you should live in the world; otherwise, it is too complicated." *

In Baba’s love and service, 
Buz Connor
For Meher Center board and staff

*Lord Meher, Online Edition, by Bhau Kalchuri, p.4843
Entertaining Baba
This silent video highlights some of the joyful entertainment put on for Baba at the Center during the 1958 Sahavas. First, Lenny Willoughby leads the crowd in a rousing version of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” with a backup band including Henry Kashouty on the trombone. Then, after a video of Baba being carried in His lift-chair by some of Margaret Craske’s dancers, we see a skit put on by a group of men dubbed, The Alligator Club. In the skit, Dana Field portrays a baby being wheeled around in a wheelbarrow “carriage” by his “mother.” Finally, there is a video of more Alligator Club members before a playful shot of Kitty Davy. Baba said that watching the Alligator Club’s work made Him laugh so hard He almost broke His silence.

Video, 2:27
Meher Spiritual Center, May 1958
Used with permission from Sufism Reoriented
"Prayer Made Perfect"
by Preeti Hay
Meher Nazar Publications collection
The Universal Prayer brings to mind a magical, moonlit night at Beloved Baba’s Samadhi, where all gather in the echoing sounds of His direct words of praise. Or, think of a quiet, reflective afternoon at the Lagoon Cabin where His prayers hang beside His chair. Sixty-nine years ago, Baba dictated the Universal Prayer in Dehradun on August 13th, 1953. Since then, embedded in every word is His eternal presence. 

Baba’s erudite disciple, Dr. C.D. Deshmukh noted that since 1949, the offering of prayers became a large part of Baba’s Ministry. Eruch also shared that even before the Master’s Prayer or the Repentance Prayer were dictated by Baba, He had Eruch note down prayers from Christian, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Hindu and Sufi traditions and instructed the Mandali to recite them. Baba said, "The ideal prayer to the Lord is nothing more than spontaneous praise of His being. You praise Him, not in the spirit of bargain but in the spirit of self-forgetful appreciation of what He really is. You praise Him because He is praiseworthy…” [I]

Within the unconventional structures of Baba’s life and work, prayer seems to be a common thread for connection between God and Man. So much so that the God-Man himself participated meticulously in the recitation of the Master’s Prayer. In an article titled, “Participation in Prayers by Avatar Meher Baba,” Dr. Deshmukh says, “It is not merely a prayer which Avatar Meher Baba recommends to the aspirants; He Himself participates in it with folded hands as one of them.”[II]
Prayers with Baba were never a casual matter. They were a very serious and solemn affair for which Baba prepared Himself and the Mandali. The water pot and basin still rest beside Baba’s chair in Meherazad, where He used to wash up before the prayers. As always, the Mandali were in a hundred percent readiness for His orders. They kept themselves tidy and clean to pray with Him. After the prayers Baba would ask the Mandali to put their feet up on a foot stool and He would bow down to them!
Baba’s own scrupulous participation in the prayers despite His physical suffering is unfathomable to an observer and sometimes even to a disciple. In the late 1960s, Baba’s universal work left Him inexplicably drained, and yet He chose to participate in the prayers. The Lord of the Universe stood up each time despite His pain and fatigue. As time passed, it was impossible for Him to stand alone – someone had to hold Him. And yet, He remained standing the whole time. He did not let His suffering deter Him from folding His hands in complete reverence, descending onto the level of His disciples. 
Because it was so hard for Baba to stand, in later years, He gestured, “Read it faster.” Eruch did His best to read the prayer as fast as he could. But one time, reading at the speed of a train, Eruch thought how ridiculous it was to pray this way. This image of a speeding train made him laugh out loud in the midst of reciting the prayers. As a response, Baba expressed that in His state of health, participating in the prayer was no joke to Him. “I have given these prayers to humanity, to posterity, to recite them. And whenever anyone offers these prayers, even after I pass away, owing to My present participation it will help everyone and anyone spiritually who recites them. All that matters is My having participated in the prayer. So every time anybody repeats the prayer, I am there with him, My presence is there.”[III]
Dr Deshmukh observes, “Even at the risk of being taken to be quite an ordinary man, with all human frailties, he prays again and again.”[IV] To bring this very point home, Eruch once recounted the horror of a close disciple of Baba’s at watching His Master pray like a mere mortal. The disciple was a doctor of philosophy and could not grasp the behavior of the Avatar of the age. Some years later, this very disciple came upon a story of Lord Krishna. 
Krishna’s favorite disciple, the famous saint, Narada, was denied entry into the Lord’s House by the guard because the Avatar was praying. Narada was shocked. It had never occurred to him that Krishna could pray. Confused, he waited. When he was finally let in, he expressed his confusion to Krishna. “Is there anyone above you to whom you pray?” Krishna laughed and took him to His praying chamber. There Narada saw replicas of himself, Arjuna, Radha, other close disciples and all the gopis with their families. "These are my gods. I shower my love on them and they shower their love on me in return.”[V]
In His latest advent, Meher Baba said, "The Avatar does not pray for his own purity - he prays for others. His praying is quite different; it is not for himself. In fact, the Avatar himself is the Prayer made perfect.”[VI]
[I] Beams from Meher Baba on the Spiritual Panorama, by Meher Baba, pp. 74-75
[II] “Participation in Prayers by Meher Baba,” by Dr. C. D Deshmukh, Divya Vani, July 10th, 1962, pp. 44-48.
[II Glimpses of the God-Man, Vol 4, by Bal Natu, pp.98-99
[IV] “Participation in Prayers by Meher Baba,” by Dr. C. D Deshmukh, Divya Vani, July 10th, 1962, pp. 44-48.
[V] ‘Eruch on the Master’s Prayer’’, Awakener Magazine Online, Vol 19 Number 2, p. 16
[VI] Lord Meher, Vol. Twenty, p.6763
Caring for Meher Center: Shells
If you have ever been to Meher Center, it is most likely that you remember the beautiful shell arrangement to your left as you enter the Center Beach. In beautiful script, the shells spell, “I am the Ocean of Love.” These very shells were the inspiration for the famous song by the same name, written and composed by Bob Holdt. 

Bob, a longtime Baba lover, and musician was blind. On a trip to the Center in 1979, on his way to the beach, he felt the shells with his fingers. Then, he continued on to the beach. While he was out there, a rare phenomenon happened: the words and the melody to the song, “I am the Ocean of Love,” came right out from within him. The song went on to become an unforgettable treasure in the Baba world.

While these shells have been at the very spot for as long as anyone can remember (think decades!), they do require some degree of maintenance. At the moment, work is being done on the shells. They have been put away as the crew is cleaning up the area. This also gave the crew a chance to clean up the thorny, overgrown green briar vines on the Cedar tree that makes the backdrop for the shells.

How often do the shells need attention? “On an average, we redo them every four months depending on the season. They get moved around, buried or just collect mildew. Redoing them also gives us a chance to switch up the designs, scripts and borders and add artistic detail,” says Regina Marks, a Maintenance Crew member.
He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
by Valerie McKean
Shaw Family Photo
Love and music filled the air of the 1958 Sahavas held at Meher Center in Myrtle Beach from May 19th - May 30th. Two hundred and twenty five people gathered who had been invited and had agreed to Meher Baba’s two main conditions: to love and to obey Him. 

Baba often called for music; live performances as well as recordings. Max Häfliger provided Swiss Yodel recordings, Liz Sacalis played music from the King and I during the Children’s Birthday party. Liz and her sister, Virginia set up a record player at Baba’s house and it was moved between different Center locations. 

Records were brought from India as well. Baba told the group that He did not enjoy classical music - neither Western or Eastern. He preferred, “music that expressed heartfelt longing and praise for God.” Jeanne Shaw recorded Meher Baba’s explanation of one of the qawwalis in her diary. Baba said, “God-man is the Ocean of Unity. The saints are pearls in the Ocean. The singer says, ‘Ask anything from Qutub [Perfect One] and he is wise who asks him for God, because he is the only one in union with God.’” [I]

Strains of “Begin the Beguine”, Baba’s favorite song, drifted through the trees. Darwin Shaw wrote, “When it came to the part that goes ‘Darling, I love you,’ I was deeply touched because I had the impression that Baba was looking directly at me. I later found out that Leatrice had the same experience! This made us wonder how many others had the same experience.” [II] 

African American Spirituals recorded by the gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson, known to many as the queen of gospel music, and the great contralto Marianne Anderson, were played. Both women were powerful in the struggle for Black artists to overcome racial prejudice in mid- twentieth century America. One song in particular, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” was played again and again throughout the Sahavas.

Jane Barry Haynes recalled the afternoon of May 26th, “Marian Anderson’s rich voice filled the Barn; they played Baba’s favorites, her spirituals, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” and the last, “Let My People Go”. Baba touched his right foot and then His forehead twice, as this song was played. No words can describe the fullness of peace and love that swelled into the hearts and souls of all during those times in the Barn. That devotional music, born of love and suffering; here the Son of God sat before us once again.” [III]

Charles Purdom and Darwin Shaw both noted that Baba made the sign of perfection after hearing “He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands” and Baba gestured with his right hand, “I’ve got the whole Universe in my palm.” [IV]   

Rip-Roaring laughter emanated from the Barn on the afternoon of May 27th. A performance of skits, jokes and songs was given by the men who called themselves, The Alligator Club. At one point, all the men sang “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”. At the end of the performance, Baba said, “Today’s performance is one of the few things I shall miss in my next advent!” [V] 

Eloise Lein Prue recalled hearing the recording of “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” at the Barn. She said, “I always remembered that and from then on till this very day, whenever I see something in the newspaper that upsets me I say to myself, “He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands.” I just leave everything to Baba.” [VI]
On Friday, May 30th, Meher Baba departed Meher Center, His home in the West, heading for the Wilmington airport. Three busloads of Sahavasees had left the Center in the wee hours of the morning to be at the airport when Baba arrived. Baba’s caravan to the airport consisted of several cars. Jane Barry Haynes recorded, “About five miles out of Myrtle Beach, Frank Eaton, caretaker at the Center, was driving: he suddenly reached over and switched on the radio. As he did so, we heard the strains of Baba’s song “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”. I guess each of us wept a little with joy at this farewell song that we knew Baba played for us. (Indeed, after our return, Elizabeth told me that as they drove along, Baba had suddenly turned to her: ‘Turn on the radio, Elizabeth’ — and the passengers in the God-Man’s car heard His favorite spiritual.” [VII]

Baba repeated that He holds the whole world in His palm to Leonard Willoughby after he sang the spiritual on November 1, 1962, at the East- West Gathering. Two days later, at Baba’s request Leonard sang the song again. Baba then said, “The words are true. It is a fact. I am very happy to have the whole world in my hands. It seems so quiet, calm, peaceful! Just a little speck!” [VIII]

[I] As Only God Can Love, by Darwin Shaw, p. 454
[II] As Only God Can Love, by Darwin Shaw p. 454
[III] Letters of Love, by Jane Barry Haynes, p. 54
[IV] The God Man by Charles Purdom, p. 333
[V] The God Man by Charles Purdom, p. 334
[VI] “Meeting Meher Baba,” Eloise Lein Prue, Glow Magazine, Feb. 1997 p.4
[VII] Letters of Love, by Jane Barry Haynes, p. 62
[VIII] Lord Meher, Online Edition. by Bhau Kalchuri p. 4867