Meher Baba's Home in the West

November Newsletter 2022

Meher Nazar Publications collection

"Love is a gift from God to man.

Obedience is a gift from Master to man.

Surrender is a gift from man to Master.

One who loves desires the will of the Beloved.

One who obeys does the will of the Beloved.

One who surrenders knows nothing but the will of the Beloved.

Love seeks union with the Beloved.

Obedience seeks the pleasure of the Beloved.

Surrender seeks nothing.

One who loves is the lover of the Beloved.

One who obeys is the beloved of the Beloved.

One who surrenders has no existence other than the Beloved.

Greater than love is obedience.

Greater than obedience is surrender.

All three arise out of, and remain contained in, the Ocean of divine Love."

Meher Baba

*"Gifts of Love," from The Everything And The Nothing, p. 11

Dear Meher Center Family and Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving to all from Meher Center. Of all there is to be thankful for, how fortunate we are to be able to be thankful for the greatest gift of all, the love of God. And how blessed we are to be living in the time of His advent when the gift of this love is awakened in our hearts.

In New York in 1956, Baba said:

“I feel very happy to be with you all today. It is your devotion that made me come to the West during the period of my seclusion. If anything ever touches my Universal Heart, it is love. I have crossed the limited earthly oceans to bring to you all the limitless and shoreless Ocean of Divine Love. Those who do not dare to love me seek safety on the shores. You who love me are swimming in this Divine Ocean. Love me more and more until you get drowned in me. Dive deep and you will gain the priceless pearl of Infinite Oneness.”*

In Baba’s love and service, 


Buz Connor

For Meher Center board and staff

*Lord Meher, Online Edition, by Bhau Kalchuri, p. 4006

"I've never felt such lovely dancing in my life"

In this video, Margaret Craske, devoted disciple of Meher Baba, acclaimed dancer, choreographer and teacher of ballet, delights us with tales of reading mystery novels to Baba. She tells stories of orders given to her by Baba as well as some tearful lessons learned. She reveals Baba's response when she said to Him, "Let's leave the universe and have some fun, Baba!" and the dance class that ensued. 

Video, 37:26

Courtesy of the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California

A Downpour of Love: from West to East

by Preeti Hay

Exactly sixty years ago, in November of 1962, Meher Baba hosted a historic event at Guruprasad Palace in Poona, India. He invited thousands of followers for an intimate four-day Sahavas. What set this darshan program apart from any other that had taken place before was its unique intent, as described by Baba: “Coming together of children of East and West in the house of their Father.”[i]


The immaculate planning for this event went on for months as the Mandali made the best arrangements for His lovers to come. In a Family Letter dated August 16, 1962, Mani wrote, “In Meherazad too we seem to be living two months ahead of time, and thus in the midst of August we are in November ... we women are especially looking forward to it for Baba has said He will permit us to see our Western sisters who are coming to India.”[ii] Mani recalled that the Eastern women had “a backstage view” of the Darshan. From behind the window and door they watched Baba’s loving face reflected in the eyes of His lovers. 


In the pleasant weather of November in India, it was expected that the mornings would be assigned as a time for Westerners to be with Baba. The afternoons were a time when the two groups of the East and West, comprising an estimated five thousand people, would come together under the beautiful shamiana tents set up outside the palace. All went as planned, except for an extraordinary happening on the first day of the gathering.


On the afternoon of November 1, in a land where rains are restricted solely to the monsoon season, the skies opened suddenly and poured out a sumptuous, warm rain upon the love-hungry Easterners and Westerners seated under the colorful tents. Alas, the tents were created to protect the lovers from the sun, but not the rain. “Soon the accumulation of rain became too much for the pandal cloth to retain, and rain dumped on the people as if from buckets. At this point nearly everyone got drenched.”[iii]


In Indian spirituality, there is no greater blessing than rain. It is considered a gift from God that purifies, renews and cleanses. It also brings about good luck. An unseasonal rain perhaps heightens these blessings and elevates them even further. How then can one deny that this rain was showered by the Lord incarnate, who sat upon the dais running the affairs of the universe with the swift movement of His fingers?


Except for Darwin Shaw, no one had brought a raincoat. Luckily for the Western women, this lack of appropriate clothing turned out to be another blessing. Baba directed the Western women to rush into the women’s side of the bungalow to get changed into dry clothing. This created a beautiful exchange between the women. Mani remembered that it was hard to find clothing of so many sizes, but Baba miraculously provided. Thanks to the versatile use of saris, almost all the women were able to find something to change into, except Elizabeth. “We didn’t know what to give to Elizabeth to change into. Then Rano suddenly remembered that she had Elizabeth’s old silk dressing gown,”[iv] said Mani. Interestingly, Rano said she didn’t know what prompted her to pack that gown. It was indeed Baba’s perfect planning.


On the dais with Baba sat Yogi Shuddhananda Bharati, who wore the traditional yellow ochre robe. He had been keen to meet Elizabeth, the head of Baba’s Myrtle Beach Center. And Baba found a humorous way for it to unfold. After getting changed, when Elizabeth joined Baba on the dais, Baba introduced her to the yogi. She bowed slightly in the dressing gown—looking quite regal. “She later remarked that the yogi probably thought these were her ceremonial robes!”[v] At that moment, someone rightfully said, “That rain caused the mixing of the East and the West.”[vi] According to Darwin Shaw, Baba also remarked that the rain was very significant as it brought about the unique meeting of the East and the West.


We will never know how the Beloved, who came for all, used and still continues to use people and events to bring about the confluence of the East and the West—like it has never been done before. About the seemingly ordinary dress change, Mani had a very telling observation. She wrote, “It was like they’d [the western women] come in to change from West to East, because when they went back to be seated again before Baba, they were not in the same clothes.”[vii]

[i] 82 Family Letters, by Mani Irani, p. 147

[ii] Ibid., p. 137

[iii] As Only God Can Love, by Darwin Shaw, p. 505

[iv] The Joyous Path, by Heather Nadel, p. 765

[v] Ibid., p. 766

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] The Joyous Path, by Heather Nadel, p. 765

A Fortunate Responsibility

by Jamie Leonard

“This place is not a retreat for me,” Joe Dunn says of Meher Center. Every workday, Joe drives to the Center, parks his truck, walks to the maintenance shop, and begins his constant meticulous work of tending and repairing and rebuilding.

Joe grew up in Myrtle Beach and spent time “running around the Center” ever since he could remember. But as is true for many young people, he developed his own connection with Baba at the Youth Sahavas: he discovered Baba’s love in the camaraderie and the “enchanting” atmosphere of the Center during Sahavas.

Joe’s family moved away from Myrtle Beach for a few of his teenage years, but he moved back in 2007. That was when Lee McBride, the head of Maintenance who had known him since he was a little boy hammering away on forts in the neighborhood, asked if he wanted to do some work on Center. It wasn’t a permanent position, but still the three “old-timers” on the crew took him under their wing, began to teach him the ins and outs of caring for the Center and maintenance in general.

After a few years, Joe moved to Asheville and started working for another Baba lover building houses. He learned a lot, but after a few years he started to miss the Center and feel like, if this was going to be his profession, he’d rather do it there. “I really got along with my construction crew in Asheville and so it was a bittersweet leaving, but I just felt like my time was up, and it was time to go home.”

So, seven years ago this week, on his birthday, Joe started his long-term, full-time work on the Center. 

When he first got back, Joe describes, “I kinda felt Baba’s presence in my life a little more. It was kinda noticeable. I felt a cheerful happiness.” It was a wonderful feeling, but it wouldn’t be the main way Joe connected with Baba on the Center in the years to come. That would be through the work itself. 

It was different working on the Center than it was working in what Joe calls the “real world,” and Joe could see that, from the beginning, even doing something as minor as fixing a sink or replacing a baseboard. “I’ve learned by watching Dean and Lee and seeing their dedication and attention to little details, stuff that you could never get away with in the real world because nobody’s going to pay to take that much time to do this little detail most people would just overlook.” But on the Center, Baba’s home, there’s a tradition and a commitment to tending to everything as carefully as we can—because of love. Joe says, “I’m getting paid to do this, but I’m also trying to do this for Baba.”

Remembering Baba helps Joe with the painstaking work. “If I’m doing something to Baba’s house [or other places where Baba spent time] I like to think about that ... I’ll try to make a conscious effort to focus on Baba when I’m working sometimes, and I think that makes it easier to do a more thorough job. Especially if I get frustrated with something—you know, a bunch of things are going wrong or whatever—I think, ‘Well, this is Baba making me cut this wrong first, or measure wrong first, and I’ve gotta re-do it.’ Or if a bunch of little steps are going wrong—I’ve just gotta keep doing it.”

I asked Joe whether there was a certain project over the years that was particularly special to him, and, after a thoughtful moment, he said there was. When the Barn was vandalized in 2016, Joe was one of the primary people working to fix it. After they had repaired all the damage, they had the privilege of re-painting that Mediterranean blue ceiling and re-varnishing the paneling that went over the rough-hewn Barn walls. 

That job was a privilege, but it was not easy or pleasant. The walls are what is called “pickwick,” and all the detailing had to be sanded by hand. Joe and a coworker spent months sanding every day. Joe hurt his shoulder through the repetitive movement, and they filled a trashcan and a half with used sandpaper. But like working on the Center in general, along with the details and the difficulties, there was something more. “That’s a sacred building and it’s a very special and unique building … I’m glad I got an opportunity to spend so much time there. And you know, it had never been restored since those walls were first varnished and the blue ceiling choice painted—it had never been redone. So that was the first time, seventy or so years later.”

No, the Center is not a retreat for Joe. It’s the place where he first learned his profession, and the place where every day he puts it into practice, as carefully and methodically and lovingly as he can. “It takes all my time. Sometimes I can’t stand it,” he says wryly. But then he adds, “But that doesn’t last long.” He says that the “old-timers” often say how lucky he is to be here, and that feeling has grown over time. “I do feel fortunate that I’m trusted to work here and take care of this place and that it is a good fit. It feels right to be here, and I think that’s growing exponentially … like I said, I look at this place as a responsibility kind of. But a fortunate responsibility.”