Meher Baba's Home in the West
June Newsletter 2022
Meher Nazar Publications collection
"It is the privilege of youth to be full of energy and hope. Not being caught in any ruts, your dreams of the future have the advantage of being inspired by an unfettered imagination. In the glow of a newborn love or in the warmth of a newly caught enthusiasm, you are quick to respond to the call for action and sacrifice. 

"Life would be poorer without these qualities that are predominantly present in youth. But if you are to derive the full benefit of the qualities with which you are abundantly endowed, you must also try to acquire some other qualities which are rare in youth.

"Hope should be fortified by a courage which can accept failure without upset. Enthusiasm should be harnessed by the wisdom that knows how to wait with patience for the fruit of action. Idealistic dreams about the future should be balanced by a sense of the realities of the present. And the glow of love should allow itself to be illumined by the full exercise of reason."

Meher Baba
Listen Humanity, p. 179
Dear Meher Center Family and Friends,

Much love from Meher Center. We are in the midst of the 2022 Youth Sahavas, which completely absorbs our love and attention during this period. I wanted to share part of a talk given by Mani, Meher Baba’s sister, to the young Western Meher Pilgrim staff in India in 1980. We share this address with the Youth Sahavas staff every year as we prepare together to create a loving and safe environment for the young people who come to His home.

“Never lose sight of the purpose of your being here. You are here because of Baba. While you are working here for Baba, never forget the real work that Baba does through whatever work you do. Each of you is Baba’s special work. While He gives you an opportunity to work for Him, He is working on you. He uses the work you do to do His work within you—He is quite tricky, you see!

“Don’t lose perspective—even though He wants you to wholeheartedly do the work entrusted to you, don’t be so attached to the work itself that you find yourself failing to give what He really wants from you. Keep an eye on yourself. It’s the little things that you trip over, things too small to make a show of, with no reward of glory attached, only service and the effort to please Him. 

“Like the jeweler who tests the metal to see if it is gold, test your acts and words with the touchstone of His pleasure, to see whether they are pleasing to Him. Remember while you are serving His lovers, you are not obliging them. You are obliged to serve Baba. Baba does not need us. Baba only loves us, with that incredible Love that He alone has to give. It is we who need Him.

“Your hearts are His, that is certain, but it is the mind—the mind goes on its own sweet way. Remember that the work you do and the problems and conflicts you face are all His way of working on the mind—it is to deal with the mind that He creates these situations. That is His business. What we have to do is to remember Him. As I said, Baba is tricky; He plays you along and when you are too pleased with yourself, He pulls the rug out from under all the things you are so proud of in yourself. He will pull the rug right out from under you, but He will sustain you in His hands.

“In your work for Him, there should be harmony and communication among you as a team. There should be no islands; islands are what separate the Ocean. Strive to keep the flow natural and to be of good cheer. One of my favorite Baba quotes is: “When love is present, the path to the Truth is joyous.” You are all spokes in one wheel, which revolves around the hub: BABA. And all the spokes have to move rhythmically together for the wheel to keep rolling. Of course, there will be moments when your relations in work and the pressures involved will snap your determination not to lose your temper, but you must become aware of it and do all you can to clear up the atmosphere again.

“Even in intoxication, keep your head on the Wine-giver’s feet.’ So, remember, in the intoxication of work, achievement, service, love, always keep your head at His Feet.”

In Baba’s love and service, 
Buz Connor
For Meher Center board and staff
"I was in heaven"
In this treasure of a talk, Shireen Bonner, Meher Baba’s niece, shares moments with Baba as a child. When she first met Baba in 1965, Shireen was seven years old and nervously trying to remember how to garland and bow to Him as she had been taught. Instead, she looked up into His beaming face and ran into His arms. From that moment on, through many funny and touching moments, Baba became Shireen’s deepest and truest companion. 

Video, 1:19:43
Meher Center Meeting Place, August 1, 1998
From the Meher Spiritual Center, Inc. Archives
"A Gift of Pearls from His Ocean"
On the western end of the city of Bombay lies a quieter beach known as Marve. Many may not have heard of this beach. Many may also not know its curious link with Meher Center and Baba’s first visit to His home in the West in 1952. Like many links with Baba, this link may appear to be small, a consequence of happenstance, but not in the chord that it struck in tender hearts of the lovers of God. This is the story of a memorable act of love and generosity performed by Baba’s sister Mani. This is also the parallel story of where it all started in the hands of the Avatar.
Before coming to Meher Center to inaugurate it in 1952, Baba had just come out of the New Life. His health had suffered on many levels and the Mandali were very worried about Him. Baba’s travel depended upon His health. In a letter to Adi Sr., Padri wrote, “God help Baba and the West!”[i] Baba and the women Mandali arrived in Bombay on Sunday, April 6. They were scheduled to depart for America on April 18. 
Their stay started at Ashiana, the apartment home of Arnavaz and Nariman Dadachanji. It was summer, uncomfortably hot and humid in Bombay, and Baba was restless, shut up in an apartment all day. He was not in a good mood, either.[ii] The neighbors were noisy, and no one could sleep. To make Baba more comfortable, the party moved to the suburb of Bandra, but rest still evaded Baba. At last, they moved thirty-five miles away, by sea, to Marve beach where they stayed at a cottage. Baba liked the place very much. It was quiet, and He and the women took long walks on the beach. The local residents were fishermen, and Baba would watch them in their fishing boats and was quite happy with the idyllic surroundings.[iii]
In the summer of 1995, a pilgrim carried a special gift from Mani for each of the Youth Sahavas participants: 110 individually wrapped boxes that held seashells touched by beloved Baba. In a letter to all the participants, Mani wrote, “This happened recently when I came across the dazzling assortment of little shells we had collected from [Marve] beach and brought home with us. What reminders could be more special than these bright little witnesses to that happy carefree time by the seaside with our Beloved. Just picture us wandering barefoot along the shore, hunting for shells, excited at every new find, rushing to show them to each other. Baba beamed at His own finds and admired Mehera’s and ours as we poured them into His beautiful hands.”
One can also vividly picture Mani’s effervescent excitement at finding these treasures in Meherazad. She must have jumped with joy! And then, her eyes must have twinkled with an idea. Her heart must have thumped with a desire pure as her love: to share these pearls from His ocean with His young ones. Her faculties must have taken command from her thoughtfulness, and she must have meticulously started coordinating the wrapping and transportation of each shell. 
Mani did not miss the symbolism of the connection between these two profound events, separated only by time. She thought each sahavasee worthy of being a safekeeper for such a precious gift. But Baba made her gift just a little more special. Every year since the start of the Sahavas in 1991, Mani had sent a gift. Whether they were special letters she wrote to the sahavasees, or songs, or bookmarks made with flowers from Mehera’s garden, she never forgot the yearly event. The shells were to be the last gift that Mani would send for the sahavasees before her reunion with her Big brother in 1996.
One sahavasee who received the gift of the shell is Laura Smith. She was a counselor in 1995. Laura remembers the final gathering at the Barn where hearts were already full of love, but her cup overflowed. “Mani’s letter to us was read at the Barn. Then, each one of us bowed down to Baba’s chair and picked a box especially wrapped for us by our Meherazad family. Little did I know this would be Mani’s last year, and yet to receive this gift was so powerful. I still have the shell and will always hold it dear to my heart: a personal gift to me from Baba.”
[i] Mehera Meher, by David Fenster, Vol. 3, p. 12
[ii] Ibid
[iii] Lord Meher, by Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 11, p. 3774
Caring for Meher Center:
Setting up the Art Tent for Youth Sahavas
Preparing for the Youth Sahavas is a big task! One important place to get ready is the Art Tent. The tent is provided and put up by a local equipment rental company before the Sahavas workers come, but the work has only just begun. For three and a half days, a team of six to seven Art Tent workers prepare the tent for the campers’ arrival.  
“Our first priority is to get the tent ready, get the workstations out, get the workshop materials ready and get electrical connections in place. Keeping with the tradition we also decorate the tent with saris. Then, we intensively train each other to know different techniques for the activities planned,” says Rustom Meyer, the Coordinator for the Art Tent.
The tent also assists other workers with their decorations and signs. Throughout the Sahavas it acts as a hub for art. The tent offers two workshops every day. Alongside that, it also has ongoing workstations with fun art ideas like friendship bracelets, 3D Pens, face painting and tie-dye. Supplies are constantly rotated and kept in stock so no one ever runs out of colors, sparkles and avenues for creative expression!
What Each Child Needs
by Jamie Leonard
Meher Nazar Publications collection
Meherwan Jessawala’s first memory of meeting Meher Baba was in 1937, when he was a shy seven-year-old. He had heard that Baba was Krishna (his favorite Avataric advent) come again, and had made a small string of flowers to garland Him at the darshan program his family was hosting. But when he saw Baba sitting in front of the gathering, Meherwan's shyness got the best of him and he didn’t even show Him the flowers.

But Baba saw anyway. He beckoned for Meherwan to come up to Him, to bring the flowers. Later, Baba would sometimes be strict with Meherwan, teaching him the inevitable process of giving up his own desires and taking responsibility for pleasing Baba. But on that morning, Baba bent down, took the shy little boy’s hand in His and helped him in the very process of honoring Himself.[i]

Every child, like every one of us, approached Baba with a different karmic history, different desires, different needs. And He responded to each one perfectly. Perhaps the most frequent story we hear is of Baba as the perfect playmate. He would keep children riveted during the simplest of games with His keen-eyed humor, constant interest, and, always, the undercurrent of His unimaginable love. Baba’s niece, Shireen, describes in the video above the unwavering enthusiasm with which Baba would make handkerchief hats with her or guard the toys that she gave Him for safekeeping, and later how He would ask her to tell Him the same jokes, again and again, laughing every time.

Eruch Jessawala, Meherwan’s older brother and one of Baba’s closest disciples for many years, felt that he was far too mature for such games when he first met Baba. And he wasn’t interested in being told that Baba was Zoroaster come again, as Eruch had a deep connection with Jesus and only longed to be near Him. But Baba kept appearing, chatting seriously about appropriately adult topics like the sports Eruch played at school. From this little seed of connection grew a legendary lifetime of devotion to the living Christ.[ii]

Other children were wordlessly and irresistibly drawn to Baba. Ten-year-old Ahmed Muhammed was taken out of Baba’s ashram in 1928 by his family in Bombay. He soon slipped out of their house and walked, without any food or money, for 175 miles. Finally, six days later, with a sigh of divine relief, he reached Meherabad at sunset to garland his Beloved with a string of roses.[iii] Across time and across the world, as Baba flew to visit the Center for the first time in 1952, two young children on his flights made their own pilgrimage: despite the scolding and chagrin of their families, again and again they made their way to Baba’s seat, even when He was just resting with a cloth over His eyes—drawn by a force that maybe none of us can truly understand.[iv]

Baba would sometimes ask children to think of Him as their “dear friend.”[v] And we can see the extent of that friendship in how He related to each of these children: He met them exactly where they were, provided the inspiration or the entertainment or just the companionship that they needed, like the best of friends. And while we adults are often pricklier and more complicated, it seems that ultimately, He does the same thing with each of us: that our best friend loves us intimately, knows us totally, meets us exactly where we are.

[i] My Life with Meher Baba, the Avatar of the Age, by Meherwan B. Jessawala, p. 32
[ii] Talk by Eruch Jessawala, Mandali Hall, Meherazad, India, September 1972
[iii] Lord Meher, Online Edition, by Bhau Kalchuri, p. 1002; Avatar, by Jean Adriel, pp. 110-113
[iv] Mehera Meher, by David Fenster, Vol. III, pp. 16-17
[v] Letters from the Mandali, ed. Jim Mistry, Vol. II, pp. 151-152