No. 6        Meherabode Gazette         August  2015

Summer Issue:   The Illusion That Sustains Reality


Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California

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

Issue No. 6
1. Vastness of the Soul
2. The Dedication (David R. Israel)
3. Baba & Illusion (Allen Y. Cohen)
4. The Bookstore Years (John F. Page)
5. Music Corner
6. Family Connections (Mehera Arjani)
7.Chairman of the Board (Elaine Munson)
8. Poetry Corner (Norina Matchabelli)
9. So-Called Illusion
10. A Platform For Baba's Chair
11. What's Happening
12. Meher Baba Books
13. Video Corner
14. LA Corner
Contact Information
Jai Meher Baba!
and  Welcome back to
Meherabode Gazette 
Summer Issue No. 6
in which we reflect on some of the
lanes and byways of loving & serving Meher Baba
globally & locally
The curious saying we've adopted as a theme for this issue -- namely The Illusion That Sustains Reality -- is a familiar paradoxical phrase lifted from the short Dedication of Meher Baba's most formidable published work,  God Speaks (1955). Allan Cohen makes reference to the God Speaks Dedication in  his fresh essay appearing in this issue of Meherabode Gazette . David Raphael Israel has also written up a review of the history along with musings on some meanings of this special phrase from God Speaks.
Baba with devotees in Italy, from Elizabeth Patterson's 1933 film

This Gazette issue offers several other items for your enjoyment, ranging from a transcript of Mehera Arjani's talk at the Sahavas in Los Angeles one summer ago, laden with colorful memories of Baba as a child's playmate, to a video link sharing amazing footage of Meher Baba filmed by Elizabeth Patterson in 1933 but only recently restored and released to the world. We are pleased to explore some history with John Page's contribution to the overall story of the founding of the Meher Baba Center in Los Angeles in its first phase (a story that will see further installments in subsequent issues of the Gazette). Elaine Munson (who has lately joined us as Chairperson of the Outreach Committee) offers her tale about "The Chairman of the Board" in the ongoing "How I Met my Master, Meher Baba" series. Mention should be made of the item introducing "A Platform for Baba's Chair" -- highlighting a new decorative and archival improvement that Meherabode visitors can now see with their own eyes. Each of the co-editors has contributed a couple articles to this issue, including David's effort to talk about Baba's first visit to LA, and Mahoo's summary of current activities at Meherabode.


While readying this summer issue for publication, we were in the midst of a rich Urban Sahavas weekend at Meherabode (July 3-5), this year featuring speaker Charles Haynes and musician Jamie Newell. We'll share more about this recent Sahavas in the next issue of the Gazette.


Long before that, we hope you enjoy the various fruits nestled in this summer basket of love. May we all learn to love Him more and more. Jai Baba!

David Raphael Israel 
& Mahoo Ghorbani 
  • We strive to give proper literature citations & photo credits where source information is known. If we have missed giving credit where due, please promptly contact us at [email protected]. (Some omissions or errors can be rectified in a corrected "archival edition" of each new issue.)
  • Unless otherwise noted, copyright for original articles, poems and other writings and artworks seen in Meherabode Gazette rests with the respective authors (or artists), while overall copyright for Meherabode Gazette rests with the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California (AMBCSC), copyright (c) 2015. 
  • Meherabode Gazette is published as a (non-print) quarterly periodical by the Board of Directors of AMBCSC. Co-Editors  are David Raphael Israel  and Mahoo Ghorbani .
  • AMBCSC , a 501(c) nonprofit, public benefit, California charitable corporation, is largely sustained by generous donations of members and friends and volunteer work by members. Regular meetings (free of charge) are held at Meherabode  in Los Angeles. All are welcome to join our activities.
  • The AMBCSC website is here:  Meherabode
Cover Image Credit:
Meher Baba at Meherazad (1960s) -- image used by kind permission of Sufism Reoriented.

Meherabode Gazette is circulated via email to "local" and "global" email lists maintained by the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. Simultaneously, each issue is published online, available to view as a web-page, accessible via the Gazette page of the website, as well as directly via the links provided below.


Meherabode Gazette is intended for wide and general circulation, and you are invited and encouraged to forward it to your friends. Here are links to each of our prior issues:



A Tribute to Bhau Kalchuri


The Springtide of Creation!



Everything is for God (Hama Doost)
Surrenderance (continued)

more to come!
1.  Meher Baba's Words:
"Vastness of the Soul"


It does not require a large eye  to see a large mountain.  The reason is that, though the eye is small,  the soul which sees through it is greater and  vaster than all the things which it perceives.  In fact, it is so great that it includes all objects,  however large or numerous, within itself.  For it is not so much that you are within the  cosmos as that the cosmos is within you.  


Meher Baba, Life At Its Best (1957), p. 43

used with kind permission of Sufism Reoriented 

2. Say What?
     A Few Notes on the God Speaks Dedication

When you crack open Meher Baba's book God Speaks (1955) and turn its pages, you soon find yourself face-to-face with what some might regard as a puzzling or enigmatic Dedication. Conventionally, books can be dedicated to a dear friend, and oftentimes are sent into the world with a dedicatory tip of the hat to a special someone who has inspired and spurred one's creativity as manifest in the book one offers. Often, an author will dedicate a novel, say, to his or her sweetheart, or sometimes to his or her children. Scholars frequently dedicate their tomes to mentors. In publishing argot, a book's dedication is part of the "front matter" -- the various prefatory pages that introduce the work to the reader. At times, book dedications show marked signs of whimsy (this was especially so in the Victorian era, but the trait persists), as if the author, after the long, hard work of writing, is finally able to indulge in the luxury of a polite, convivial or amusing dedication.


One of the most sardonic dedications was penned by the poet e. e. cummings, for his collection No Thanks (1935). The dedication reads "NO THANKS TO..." followed by a list of many prominent publishing houses of the time (presumably all of whom declined to publish the book).


Pondering book dedications, I also suddenly remember these startling lines by a Russian poet: 


Yet until brown clay has been crammed down my larynx,

only gratitude will be gushing from it.


["May 24, 1980", included in Joseph Brodsky, Collected Poems in English (2000).] I seem to recall the poet placed these lines as a dedication for one of his volumes. Even if I misremember and invent this, it could have been so: for one frequent traditional function of a book dedication is the expression of the author's heartfelt gratitude. The title tells you what the book is about. The dedication may suggest out of what love it springs.


In the case of God Speaks, the book's title is itself provocative. The book's Dedication (which reads in full: "To the Universe -- The Illusion that sustains Reality") is provocative in perhaps more subtle but no less profound ways. That it is dedicated "To the Universe" is consonant with the content of the volume. God Speaks has many of the qualities of a philosophical treatise, an explanation of the Universe. It could be called Meher Baba's chief cosmological exposition, in which He sketches the vast story of God's cosmic adventure. That the Universe is defined as "The Illusion that Sustains Reality" adds a twist that sparks a reader's thought. It merits consideration.

Some implications nested in this dedicatory adage are pointed out by Dr. Allan Y. Cohen in his essay (see below) , where Allan outlines his take on the Dedication. Since my Co-Editor and I settled on a phrase from that Dedication as the theme for this journal issue, it strikes me as suitable  to delve into  the history of the formulation itself. Hence this rumination.
God Speaks  (as is typical for Meher Baba's works) is a book Baba generated in collaboration with some of his disciples -- in this case quite an extensive list of them: Dr. Abdul Ghani Munsiff, Eruch B. Jessawala, Murshida Ivy O. Duce, and Don E. Stevens, plus Ludwig Dimpfl, Rano Gayley, Bhau Kalchuri, Dr. William Donkin, Ramjoo K. Abdulla, and Manija S. Irani. The main body of the book was dictated word-for-word by Baba to Eruch; material in the Supplement was largely derived from notes taken by Ghani from Baba's earlier dictations. Origins of the Dedication page (a page which surfaced late in the game, as the book was being prepared for publication) are recounted in an essay by Ira G. Deitrick:


Another interesting detail was the dedication. The dedication to God Speaks . . . was suggested by Murshida Duce. In December 1955 Mani wrote of the dedication in a letter to Murshida Duce, "Everybody loves the little piece you have chosen to go in front of the table of contents. Your idea of the Dedication has produced beautiful results. As darling Baba uses gestures alone, it took my dense brain ten whole minutes to get the wording he gives for the Dedication."


[Ira G. Deitrick, The Story of God Speaks: Its origin, development, editing and publication (2005), p. 17 (excerpted with kind permission of Sufism Reoriented)]


Strange to say, a few persons have floated the theory that Murshida, not Baba, authored the Dedication. While Ira's report that the Dedication was "suggested" by Murshida might ostensibly bolster such an argument, yet Mani's illuminating remark -- that "it took my dense brain ten whole minutes to get the wording he [Baba] gives [via then-new hand gestures] for the Dedication" -- would seem, on the contrary, to indicate a different idea: namely that the wording (or at least the final wording) was given by Baba. (What about "the wording he gives in the Dedication" don't we get?) Okay: did He elaborate on or perfect an initial suggestion from Murshida? Plausibly. Even if conceding that Mani's account, if pressed or finessed into some ambiguity, could perhaps be parsed to support more than this one reading, still, whatever may have been the exact back-and-forth give-and-take that "beautifully resulted" in a final formulation inarguably embraced by Baba, this delightful Dedication (the pithy paradox which announces the book's theme & anticipates its thesis: the astonishingly courteous interplay of Reality & Illusion knotted into a bon mot bow: Meher Baba's God Speaks salvo) emerged (we may hazard) from a creative dialogue. The Avatar then owned the pleasantry. Ira further notes:  


Many people have reported they were puzzled by the dedication, as Mani was initially, because it seems to reverse the expected statement, namely that Reality sustains Illusion. How does Illusion sustain Reality? Illusion is necessary for perfection. "Perfection does not belong to God as God, nor does it belong to man as man. We get perfection when man becomes God or when God becomes man. . . . The Infinite, therefore, has to discover its unlimited life in and through the finite without getting limited by its process. God's perfection is revealed only when He manifests Himself as man. . . . When there is a happy and conscious blending of the finite and the Infinite, we have perfection."


[op. cit., p. 17; quoting Meher Baba, "Perfection," Discourses (1967), vol. 1, pp. 119-120]


This wise & satisfying explanation notwithstanding, the paradox that Reality is "sustained" by Illusion might still manage to remain a thorny Baba Zen koan requiring the remainder of the 21st Century for the thoughtful reader to plumb its ultimate depth of meaning!

Avatar Meher Baba at Khushru Quarters, Ahmednagar (September 17, 1954)
A form of this photo served as frontispiece for the 1st edition of God Speaks (1955);
photograph courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications

To contemplate this mystic formulation is to ponder the whole of Meher Baba's Divine Theme in the dense twist of a 5-word puzzler: The Illusion That Sustains Reality. Is the Sustainer Himself sustained? Is the drop the benefactor of the Ocean? Precisely how and exactly why is Illusion required to "perfect" Reality? Thinking about this, we could turn to Kabir: 


I went looking for Him   till I lost myself

The Drop merged with Sea!   who can locate it now?

Madly searching for Him   it would cost myself

The Sea merged with the Drop!   who can locate it now?


In the first couplet, the poet recalls how he went looking for God. When the drop merged with the sea, who could find the drop any longer? This follows the expected order of things. (The same idea is voiced innumerable times by all of the great mystic poets.) But now look carefully at the second couplet. The poet reiterates he went looking for God. He then strangely asks: when the sea merged with the drop, who could locate the sea any longer? What a reversal! When man (the drop) drowns in God, a veil gets drawn over his Dropness; only Ocean remains in view. When God (the sea) drowns in man, a veil may likewise be said to be drawn (for a time) over its Seaness. He then walks or rides his bike around Poona like an ordinary school boy, none the wiser!


Of course gross consciousness (which epitomizes consciousness of duality per se) always involves such a telescoping of the Ocean into a drop; the Ocean then seems to be lost! This is the commonplace tragedy dogging us gross planers. But the sense we can get from Kabir's second couplet is that for one who has transcended duality (who has identified with the Ocean), the act of surfacing again as a drop is itself a great mystical achievement. (1DedicationBack1Just as the finite merging with the infinite is a stupefying marvel, so too, the Infinite assuming the guise (or the consciousness) of the finite is likewise a source of astonishment for a mystic poet of this caliber. One might go so far as to say, Kabir's ironic reversal of the expected order (in the second couplet) anticipates Baba's reversal of the expected order (of dependency vis-a-vis Illusion and Reality) in the God Speaks Dedication. Kabir is telling us: not only is it miraculous that the drop can manage to know itself as the ocean. It's equally astonishing that the ocean can manage to know itself as a drop!


The God Speaks Dedication is not the only time Beloved Baba has performed this sort of playful switcheroo (this flying in the face of expectation, this radical reversal of implication, this counter-intuitive formulation: this poetical rhetorical device in which the terms of a metaphysical truth are twirled around 180 degrees, to achieve a yet-deeper possibility of meaning). An anecdote from Rick Chapman's account of his 1966 visit with Meher Baba springs to mind; for that story affords another wonderful example. The two are worth considering in tandem.


Rick had gone to India (as a young Fulbright scholar) for a year, little expecting to be able to see Meher Baba, due to the prolonged seclusion He was maintaining. But at one point a letter arrived from Adi: "He [Baba] permits you to visit His abode -- Meherazad -- for 10 minutes at 9:00 a.m." on such-and-such date. Later the date was shifted by two days; anyway Rick showed up at the appointed hour and had a tremendous experience meeting the God-Man. Rick's striking description of that rare rendez-vous, which forms the culmination of his leisurely memoir, is, I'd say, among the most detailed portrayals to be found of the experience of conversing with the Silent One, on whose every (gestured) word the young man hung. Eventually, the conversation took this turn:


"Baba," I continued, "help me to love you as Mehera loves you." Once again, no change -- perhaps the slightest nod, an imperceptible smile. Baba's eyes registered my request, just as an all-wise and compassionate elephant might look upon an ant that had begged to join a great procession of elephants in a trek to another country. The difference was that, in this case, the Elephant had the power to grant the ant's request.


Baba's expression throughout my comments was intent, serious. After the last remark, he began to gesture once again: "God proposes, but man disposes," Baba said, and even in the state I was in, mind slowed down, moving in a different rhythm than it was accustomed to, I found myself feeling some vague sense that this age-old adage was backwards. Again Baba repeated, His face as serious as if the subject were of the deepest significance. "God proposes, but man disposes." Then, in an instant, Baba's face broke into a great beaming smile as He let me in on his cosmic joke: "I had proposed that you come here for just a few minutes and then go away, but you have disposed of My proposal! I want you to stay a while longer," Baba said. God Himself was turning the maxim of an earlier lover of God to suit his own purposes today. For it was seven centuries earlier, in his book on The Imitation of Christ, that St. Thomas Aquinas had formulated the notion that man may propose all he likes in this illusory little world of his but that things will damned well turn out however God disposes of them. And here the God-Man Himself was telling me that He had proposed to see me for only a few minutes, but that I had disposed of His proposal! I smiled broadly at His joke -- particularly inasmuch as it had extended my visit with my heart's Beloved!


[Rick M. Chapman, Meeting God in Human Form (2010), pp. 232-233).]


This particular switcheroo reveals the great courtesy of God: that sometimes He will (responsive to His lover's devotion) alter His plan and give more of Himself. Noting the qualities in Baba's witty reversal of a conventional truism (as unfolded in Rick's superb account), I wish to propose that similar qualities of playful irony and divine courtesy are called into play by the verbal gambit and philosophical somersault of the God Speaks Dedication. One might venture: in that Dedication, Maya is given Her due. She is offered the fullest imaginable tribute, where Her construct (the Universe) is recognized as the essential Illusion required to make Reality (strange to say) even Realer. Is Perfection Reality-Plus? Some day perhaps we'll know.


For we who linger on this endless shoreline, beached in the world whether we will or no, what, anyway, is the Universe? The Illusion that Sustains Reality. Whatever we find unfolding before us in this daunting game, friends, fits under that accommodating rubric.


David Raphael Israel



DedicationNote11. In "The Four Journeys," a discourse in His volume The Everything and the Nothing (1963), pp. 22-26, Meher Baba spells out the same idea; simply returning to gross consciousness after attaining seventh plane consciousness comprises the second of the four journeys of God.


This Involutionary Path has seven Stations and arrival at the seventh Station completes the First Journey to God. 


Although the completion of this Journey is the Goal of all human souls, only a very few at any given moment embark upon it. The arrival at the end of this Journey is the drowning of individuality in the Ocean of Infinite Consciousness, and the Journey's completion is the soul's absorption in the state of I-am-God with full consciousness, and, as God, [the soul] experiences Infinite Power, Knowledge and Bliss.


Out of all the souls who complete the First Journey, a very few enter the Second Journey. This Journey has no stations. It is an instantaneous journey -- the journey of Infinite Consciousness being shaken from its absorption in I-am-God to abiding in God as God. In this state individuality is regained, but individuality is now infinite, and this Infinity includes gross consciousness, and so as Man and God he experiences Infinite Power, Knowledge and Bliss in the midst of most-finiteness -- the unlimited Soul knows Its unlimitedness in the midst of limitation. 


That "abiding in God," which Baba points out includes renewed awareness of the gross sphere, is not yet Perfection, which is attained only with the Third Journey (involving becoming a Sadguru). In one reading (which I'm proposing) of the Kabir poem, the first couplet relates to the First Journey, and the second couplet relates to the Second Journey. Of course Kabir was himself a Sadguru (and thus had completed the Third Journey). My idle hypothesis (or interpretation) is that here, anyway, the poet covers two of God's four journeys. The Fourth Journey occurs when a Sadguru drops the body. Since Kabir's poem is a poem, not an exposition, it is susceptible to multiple readings. Another way to read it is that the first couplet describes the individual soul who becomes one with God, while the second couplet describes the Avatar who becomes a man (cast under a veil). Regarding these two readings, you can take your pick. For me, the poem is equally suggestive of both ideas at once.  [back]

3.  Meher Baba and Illusion:
    Riding the Wave toward a New Humanity 

My Baba-sister Mahoo wanted me to write something for this issue. I thought it might be fun and unusual to explore Meher Baba's surprisingly favorable view of Illusion -- the not-so-real material world -- and to speculate on its implications for Baba-lovers.


In one reading of God Speaks, I noticed anew the Dedication: "To the Universe -- the Illusion that sustains Reality." I found myself wondering, But isn't the whole point of the evolution of consciousness our escaping from Illusion? As I thought about it more, I could begin to see the Universe in a totally different light. Seeing the creation as both necessary and inherently divine has subtle but powerful implications for how Baba-lovers can "assist" Meher Baba's Universal Work, particularly in the coming advent of a New Humanity.


Transformation. So, what if we consider that Meher Baba's path is not to escape from the material world, nor merely to be detached from it, but rather to transform one's consciousness through it and help divinize parts of the creation?  What if Baba's work asks us not so much to ascend above the Illusion but rather to help infuse Illusion by channeling divine energy into ordinary physical, emotional and mental life? Yes, it is a dream, God's dream. But what if our own spiritual success is defined more by how we live in Illusion than how we detach from it?


I'm betting that some of our readers one time or another fantasized about the old Eastern spiritual tradition -- the proverbial mountain cave, with a terrific view and climate, where one could just meditate on the divine, free from binding interpersonal relationships, undisturbed by the press of our physical bodies and worldly responsibilities, doing nothing but remembering Baba, seeing his image and cultivating a level of love that would deserve God-Realization. (Of course, a few selfless helpers would bring us food and  offer cave-cleaning services.) Well, as they say in the vernacular, It ain't happening , at least for Western Baba-lovers at this critical juncture in Avataric history.
Yogic caves or not, on Earth, compassionate change in the world was and is certainly needed:  " Man's inability to live God's words makes the Avatar's teaching a mockery. Instead of practicing the compassion he taught, man has waged crusades in his name. Instead of living the humility, purity and truth of his words, man has given way to hatred, greed and violence. Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this  present Avataric form I observe silence. You have asked for and been given enough words -- it is now time to live them." ( 1 ) back1
The God Speaks dedication (used with kind permission of Sufism Reoriented)
Meher Baba's Work in Illusion.  It is fascinating to note that almost every statement Baba has given about his work as Avatar somehow involves upgrading creation, improving this material world, and unfolding individual human consciousness toward appropriate understanding and behavior consistent with a new age. Meher Baba didn't need to work on "Reality." His unfathomable work and manifestation is all about the qualitative transformation of creation, especially in the behavior of human beings. As a role model in action, in addition to overtly spiritual activities (e.g., communing with the masts and the spiritual hierarchy), Baba gave remarkable and extensive time and energy to work with the poor and hungry, with the disabled, with the mentally ill, with children's education and, in the West, with the amelioration of drug abuse. Along with its deeper meaning, this work models for us true love and selfless service in the context of the ordinary world, to presage a new humanity that would understand the divinity of all, fueled by an unprecedented release of divine love.
There is little doubt that Meher Baba recommends a responsible life in the ordinary world: "God is not to be sought by running away from life but by establishing unity with the one in the many." ( 2 )back2 Simultaneously, he asks for a superhuman effort to curb the expression of lower desires (e.g., anger, lust and greed) and to treat others as well as we possibly can, especially those who suffer.
One of my personal favorite  Baba quotes condenses most of these principles into a single sentence:

To penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and to release the fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others, by expressing, in the world of forms, truth, love, purity and beauty -- this is the sole game which has any intrinsic and absolute worth.(3)back3


Just this one quote could constitute an entire curriculum of Meher Baba 101!! Applied to Baba's specific path, the first phrase ( To penetrate into the essence... ) is all about trying to connect with Baba in the most profound way possible, attaining loving remembrance and committed surrender. The second part ( to release the fragrance... ) could relate to our possible agency in Baba's Universal Work. The reason? -- for the guidance and benefit of others. But where does this take place? -- in the world of forms. Not in the upper planes but here on Earth in the domains of matter. And how do we do this? Through living the very highest principles ( truth, love, purity and beauty) we can understand.



Refining God's Dream through Love and Service. Meher Baba is, of course, one with his lovers. And like his previous manifestations as Avatar, he uses his lovers for his work. He asks a lot of us. Loving him, hanging on to his daaman -- that may be the easier part. But living the path of love and service, acting on the divinity of all other sentient beings -- now that's a challenge! Still, our collective gradual success in service to Baba's work can help speed up the development of a new humanity as well as forward our own spiritual evolution.


Regarding the value of selfless service to humanity, Baba stresses not only the positive outcomes but also escape from the false self: "When you are wholly occupied with the welfare of others, you can hardly think of yourself."( 4) back4 As well,  he assures us that we also can serve by expressing love "in little things. A word that gives courage to a drooping heart or a smile that brings hope and cheer in gloom, has as much claim to be regarded as service as onerous sacrifices and heroic self-denials."( 5) back5 
Interestingly, if we look at Meher Baba's seven-point list of "How to Love God," ( 6) back6, five of the principles involve how we feel for and act toward others. Two have to do with our internal attitudes -- tolerance, patience and contentment with our lot. Summing up, he said: "The practical way for the average man to express love is to speak lovingly, think lovingly and act lovingly towards all mankind, feeling God to be present in everyone."( 7) back7 

From Baba's statements about the New Humanity and the unprecedented impact of his Manifestation, our reincarnating souls can look forward to better times: "It is through divine love that the New Humanity will tune in with the divine plan. Divine love will not only introduce imperishable sweetness and infinite bliss into personal life, but it will also make possible an era of New Humanity. Through divine love the New Humanity will learn the art of co-operative and harmonious life; it will free itself from the tyranny of dead forms and release the creative life of spiritual wisdom... it will enjoy peace and abiding happiness; it will be initiated in the life of Eternity."(8)back8
Back to the original thought -- Meher Baba knows that God's Creation is a divine masterpiece of imagination. God's Dream reveals a remarkable game of hide and seek. We, as characters in the dream, play this fascinating and liberating game to realize that we are really one with the Dreamer. Amazingly, without going through the illusion, we could not know real existence. Compassionately, the Dreamer himself has come down to refine the game and to help us with winning moves: "I give you all my blessing that the spark of my divine love may implant in your hearts the deep longing for the love of God."(9)back9

Meher Baba's counsel goes beyond the intellectual squabbling of the lower mind and beyond the ego's inexorable temptation to create dogma and orthodoxy. Here, let's take a last look at God Speaks, this time in Part 10, Conclusion, where Baba sees his explanations as intending "to appease the intellectual convulsions of the mind of man..." and again reaffirms the relative importance of what aspirants do in the game of creation, not what they believe:
God cannot be explained. He cannot be argued about. He cannot be theorized, nor can He be discussed and understood. God can only be lived. ( 10) back10

Allan Y. Cohen

note22.  Sparks From Meher Baba (1962, 1986), p.12  [back]
note33.  Meher Baba, Discourses (online), Vol. II, p. 110. [back]
note44.  Meher Baba, Discourses (online), Vol. II, p. 83  [back]
note55.  Meher Baba, Discourses (online),  Vol. III, pp.126-7  [back]
note66.  Included in Universal Message (1958), first given in 1954 per Lord Meher (online), p. 3556 [back]
note77.  Meher Baba on Love, K.K. Ramakrishnan, ed. (1966), p. 74  [back]
note88.  Meher Baba, Discourses (online),  Vol. I, p. 25  [back]
note99.  Naosherwan Anzr, The Beloved: The Life and Work of Meher Baba (1976, 2003), p. 111 [back]
note1010. Meher Baba, God Speaks: The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose (1955, 1973), p. 190 [back]

Editor's Note:

Allan Y. Cohen, Ph.D., who received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Harvard University, initially contacted Meher Baba in the mid-1960s and with Rick Chapman and Robert Dreyfuss, was charged to deliver Baba's messages about drugs and spirituality to the American public. Allan has given many hundreds of talks on university campuses, conferences, radio and TV  throughout the United States. His professional research has included a focus on substance abuse prevention. Meher Baba suggested he prepare a book of Meher Baba's statements, finally published in 1977 as The Mastery of Consciousness: An Introduction and Guide to Practical Mysticism and Methods of Spiritual Development (hopefully on its way to being updated and republished soon). A popular speaker at gatherings of Baba-lovers internationally, Allan makes his home in Washington, DC.
4. Pages from AMBCSC History:  
    The Meher Baba Bookstore Years

The first location of Meher Baba Bookstore in Pasadena -- 
at 31 W. Union Street (December 1970)
This Bookstore opened its door in 1969 

There have been Baba lovers in Los Angeles at least since the early 1930s. From the time Meher Baba came through Los Angeles in 1932 and again in 1934, there have been people in the area devoted to him. Perhaps the earliest ones on record are Malcolm and Jean Schloss. Aspects of their story of living in Los Angeles are written up in Jean Adriel's book Avatar (1947).


However, we probably can't assume that they had any sort of regular meetings with other people interested in Meher Baba. At least there is no record of such either written or in my many conversations over the years with Jean Adriel. However in the 1940s, Malcolm, since divorced from Jean, used to hold regular poetry meetings at his house in Hollywood. From the little information available, we can surmise that he and other like-minded people, all of a similar metaphysical background, used to get together regularly, and Malcolm made no secret of the fact that he was devoted to Meher Baba.(1)Johnback1


John and Judy Page with Jean Adriel, early summer 1971


Amongst those early ones who knew Malcolm and used to attend his meeting were Marguerite Poley, Evelyn Blackshaw and Joyce Stermer. They were all to later meet Meher Baba and were all 100% devoted to him. Of course also in the Southern California area from time to time lived Jean Adriel, the author of the book Avatar. All of the above and many more were waiting to meet Meher Baba in 1952 at Meher Mount in Ojai when Beloved Baba suffered his fateful accident in Prague Oklahoma.


Later on in the early 1960s Filis Frederick moved to Los Angeles. Filis had been devoted to Meher Baba since 1943, first met him in 1952 in Myrtle Beach, and traveled with him on two more tours in 1956 and in 1958 in the United States. She began to make contact with the few scattered Baba lovers in Los Angeles. Also by that time, Dana Field, who first met Baba in India in 1954 at the fabled Men's Meeting, was also living full time in Los Angeles.


Adi K. Irani speaking at the Pages' house, summer of 1977 - Filis Frederick is standing behind Adi K. Irani 

Filis was a communicator and loved to share Meher Baba with other people. In 1953 Filis founded the quarterly journal The Awakener- which is a treasure house of intimate stories and discourses by and about Baba. She began to gather people around her who were interested in Baba in the early 1960s in Los Angeles. Both at her work at the Mattel toy company and through advertisements in local alternative publications, she slowly got the word out about Meher Baba. Although Filis was a bit of a promoter, it was mostly through attraction that she slowly gathered around her the people who would later form the nucleus of the Baba group in Los Angeles.


Subsequently, in the later part of the 1960s there was a surge of interest all over the United States and especially in California in the search for God - often via unusual paths. Through a variety of means people in Southern California found out that Filis knew about Baba and they came to her to find out more. Filis saw people in her home, talked to them on the phone and began to hold regular meetings on Monday evenings.


Meher Baba Bookstore in Venice, California -- early 1970s


At the same time various bookstores devoted to Meher Baba sprouted up in the Los Angeles area. These bookstores, which functioned as Centers for him, carried a variety of books, posters, pamphlets and other items related to Meher Baba. They were all staffed intermittently by volunteers and were operated on a non-profit basis. As of early 1969 there were bookstores in Venice, Redondo Beach, Huntington Beach, Santa Barbara and Pasadena.


Each of these bookstores was staffed with whatever people were available in the area (usually students) and had periodic meetings. Some had regular hours, others did not.


This was the height of the "hippie movement"with rampant psychedelic drug use. Amongst the youth of the country there was widespread general dissatisfaction both outwardly (socially and politically) as well as inwardly (what is the purpose of life? - what am I doing here?). Many of those restless youth began to look outside of traditional answers and looked to the east and eastern teachings and masters.


As each of the bookstores entered into the 1970s, with the exception of the Pasadena Bookstore, they gradually begin to close their doors. The main reason that they ceased to function is that the local volunteers were mostly quite young and students. As they graduated from college, got married, moved to new cities or became employed, the pool of workers and the donations necessary to keep the bookstores open diminished.


The sole exception to the local Meher Baba bookstores closing their doors was the center located in Pasadena at 31 West Union St. in the Old Town section. I started that Center for Baba in early 1969 shortly after Baba dropped his body. I first went to the center in Venice Beach at 2700 Pacific Ave about that time. I had been living up in the San Gabriel mountains in the Angeles National Forest near Chantry Flats. My home was an old miner's cabin.


I had known about Meher Baba for a couple of years and had become devoted to him but was unaware of any other Baba lovers living in Southern California. One night I was listening to a radio program and there were a couple of people speaking about Meher Baba! I had never heard anyone on the radio speak about Baba before and a bookstore in Venice devoted to Meher Baba was mentioned. It held meetings on Sundays. I went to the bookstore the next Sunday and was very happy to meet a room full of enthusiastic Baba lovers including Filis Frederick. After the meeting was over I asked if there were there any places closer to the Pasadena area where one could buy books about Baba. 


The fellow behind the counter, Allan Saviskas, said that there were none in that area. I said, "Maybe there should be!" So I immediately began plans to find a place in the Pasadena area, in the hip Old Town area. After a month or so I was able to open the center, the Meher Baba Bookstore, at 31 West Union Street, which evolved into what is now known as the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California.

Meherjee Karkaria at the Meher Baba Bookstore in Santa Barbara in 1970

For a couple of years we were on West Union Street. We hosted many wonderful speakers at that old center, including Adi K Irani, Meherjee Karkaria, Darwin and Jeanne Shaw, Sarosh Irani, Lud Dimpfl and many others. Then in 1972 we moved our center to 393 East Green Street. The center on Green Street was much larger than the previous one. The old center on Union Street was a long rectangular storefront about 15 feet wide and 60 feet deep. To give an idea of the tenor of the area, the storefront on our East side was a clubhouse of a local motorcycle gang called the Chosen Few. On the other side was a storehouse of a model train collector. The man who owned the shop only used it to store his collection and to come and have fun. He always wore a train engineer's outfit, an unusual fellow to say the least. The landlord gradually became very frightened of the motorcycle gang members and he was too scared to even go to their clubhouse to ask them for their rent money. By the way our rent was $107.50 per month.

Our center on Green Street was a much larger facility with separate rooms. It used to be an old real estate office. It had nice display cases in the windows, a separate library room, a separate children's room, an office, a large bookstore display/sales area and a meeting room. 


Legally the bookstore was a business owned by me -- John Franklin Page doing business as the Meher Baba Bookstore. And it continued that way until 1974 when it became incorporated into the Avatar Meher Baba center of Southern California. Even though legally it had been a "business" it always operated as a loss and had to reported on my tax returns as such! I was 20 years old when I founded the Bookstore and didn't know anything about business -- just that there had to be a Center devoted to the Avatar in the Pasadena area.


From the management point of view the center was run by various groups of people in the form of committees. There were different people who figured out the content of our weekly meetings on Friday nights and there were others who figured out the volunteer staffing for various days of the week. Plus some months after the Bookstore opened I married Judy Stephens (currently a resident of Meherabad) and we lived in the back of the Bookstore. We did so for a couple of years. There was only a half bathroom (sink and toilet) on the premises and no hot water!


Adi K. Irani at Los Angeles Sahavas, July 1977


Our Center on Green Street served us well until 1977 when the city of Pasadena decided to redevelop the area around our Center and turn it into a large mall. Our last meeting was with Adi K. Irani who closed out the Center with us when he was in Los Angeles for our 3rd Annual Sahavas in July.


The Center had had a committee of people for a couple of years who, with extensive input from the community at large, developed the criteria for what we wanted in a new center with the idea that we would buy it and have what we called a "permanent site."The finding and purchasing of a new site would not take place for a few years but in the meantime we found a Center which served us well in west Los Angeles at 10808 Santa Monica Blvd and stayed there for quite some time.


John F. Page

Editor's Notes:


John11. This record appears in Lord Meher, relating to events in 1954. Malcolm Schloss passed away shortly after returning to the US from the "Men's Meeting" with Baba in India. October 7, 1954 was coincidentally the date on which Meher Baba ceremoniously renounced any further communication using an alphabet board. We read:


John Bass cabled Baba that Malcolm Schloss had died in New York on the 7th of October. Baba had told his Western lovers to go straight home after leaving India, but Malcolm had stayed in Paris for a few days and again in New York, instead of returning directly to Hollywood, California.


Baba instructed Meherjee to send these two telegrams in reply:


Inform all concerned that most fortunate Malcolm passed away from you all on most important day of seventh in unique circumstances after embracing Baba and completing Baba's work.


Baba stopped using board from the 7th, but conveyed by gestures specially send this message for Malcolm's group that Malcolm very fortunate passing away on the 7th and has come to Baba. Baba wishes you send autographed pictures to Malcolm's group, according to his list, and Baba's robe [sadra] to person taking charge of his group. Baba wishes you let Baba lovers in America, Europe, Australia know both my cables. 


Lord Meher online, p. 3650So in October of 1954, Baba asked John Bass in New York (who, like Malcolm, had just returned from three weeks with Baba in India) to send autographed photos of Baba to "Malcolm's group, according to his [Malcolm's] list." We further note that even after giving up use of an alphabet board, Baba (communicating with hand gestures) specially sent a telegram "for Malcolm's group" in the LA area. Furthermore, Baba directed that a sadra [garment] of Baba's (that Baba had worn) should be sent to the "person taking charge of his [Malcolm's] group" in the LA area. Who was that person? Where's the sadra? This calls for Sherlock Holmes! The case of the missing sadraPerhaps more details about this group will come to light after some time. Or perhaps it will all recede into the realm of unknowable mystery. -Editors   [back]


John F. Pagewho has been devoted to Baba for almost five decades, has played a role in the evolving LA-area Meher Baba Center since 1969 when he founded the Meher Baba Bookstore in Pasadena prior to the Great Darshan. John also founded, taught in and helped administer the Meher Montessori School, a primary and elementary school he ran in Altadena and Monterey Park until his retirement last year.

5. The Music Corner:
    "Begin the Beguine"


Meher Baba's Favorite Song     


Begin the Beguine
by Cole Porter,
sung by Leslie ("Hutch") Hutchinson 

"It was in August 1961 when Baba sent word to England for a search to be made of the original recording of the Beguine. It was the only one of its kind in existence of this particular version -- it was almost impossible to come by, like searching for the Holy Grail. Eventually it was found and Mani wrote, 'It's the end of our united search. It's the perfect one, and it made our Perfect One happy.'"
[Fred Marks, " Thoughts on Begin the Beguine ," from The Awakener Magazine, vol. 21, no. 2, (1985), p. 40; with kind permission of The Awakener Magazine online; as more recently quoted by Margaret Magnus, "Meher Baba Asked for Begin the Beguine to be Played when He Dropped His Body" (on the Meher Mount website).]
Composer and lyricist Cole Porter's song "Begin the Beguine" (1934) was part of the musical Jubilee, which opened in New York City on October 12, 1935. The musical is said to have been written by Moss Hart and Cole Porter while on a voyage around the world.

6. Our Family Connections:  Kerawallas & Jessawalas
    at Bindra House and Meher Baba
I have been asked many times about how exactly our family is connected to   Eruch  [Jessawala]  and Baba . Our family is not related to Baba in any way, except that He adopted it for His own and became the sixth or seventh brother -- however many brothers there were in the  Satha family. But Eruch and Meherwan  [Jessawala], who for all intents and purposes are my uncles -- because that's how we grew up thinking of them -- are not actually my uncles. What is important to know is that Baba arranged my parents' marriage and that my parents are first cousins to each other and to Eruch, Manu and Meherwan Jessawala. My mother's father Homi and my father's mother Banu and [their sister] Gaimai Jessawala were brother and sisters. So Gai, Homi and Banu were siblings, and the children -- Eruch, Meherwan, Manu, Meheru, and  my parents, Roshan and Sam [Kerawalla] , were first cousins.


Eruch comforting Dhun in India. Photo: Meher Baba Travels website

My mother's family had a history of muscular dystrophy. There is actually a nice picture on the wall at Meherabode just outside the door [of the meeting hall] of my mother's sister Dhun [in a wheel-chair], with all the women Mandali. It was a great concern for the family, when Baba said "These two [Roshan and Sam] should get married," about what will happen with the children? Would the children be affected by this disease? So my grandfather and grandmother -- the respective parents of my Mom and Dad -- went to Baba and said, "Baba what should we do? You know we have this history of muscular dystrophy on Roshan's side. And if they have children, it could be that they get muscular dystrophy too, later on in life. And Baba said, "I am arranging the marriage! If I arrange the marriage, then I can tell you this, that not just their children, but seven generations after that" don't have to worry about having any kind of, you know, problem with genetics. And I think Minoo [Madon, in LA] asked me, he said, "So Baba was a geneticist?" I said, "No! He was the Avatar! So with His divine authority as the Avatar, He could say, "Seven generations will not have any problem." And I was just saying, maybe there will not be seven generations. He was just playing it safe by saying "seven generations." Because I only have one son. And unless he goes into production pretty quickly, we are not going to have any generations to follow!


But Eruch and Meherwan are my second or third cousins, I'm not quite sure. But somebody said to Eurch, "You know, you keep saying she's your niece. And she's not. She's your second cousin!" And he said, "Brother! She's my niece! I tell you, she's my niece! You keep your knowledge to yourself!"


Entrance to Bindra House, the residency for the Jessawala and Kerawalla Families   
Photo: Meher Baba Travels website

So that's how we are related. I hope it makes it clearer to some of you, because you are all wondering how the family was connected to the Jessawalas. We stayed in the Jessawala home, Bindra House, in Pune, for a long, long time, because my father [Sam Kerawalla] was at sea, and my grandmother, Banumasi, who had lost her husband very early on, she didn't have very much money, so Beheramsa-Papa [father of Eruch and Meherwan] said, "Why don't you go stay there?" And when I was born, Beheramsa-Papa thought I was his daughter Meheru [reborn]. Somebody asked me whether I knew more about my last life than I would say. Was it you, David [Israel]? Right. So when I was born, Papa would go to Baba and say, "Baba, she's my Meheru come back isn't she?" And Baba would say, "No, she's not your Meheru come back." And he persisted. No matter how many times Baba said "No, she's not your Meheru," he would go and say to him -- you know hoping he'd change his mind, "Baba, she's my Meheru come back, isn't she?" And Baba would say "No."


So Baba's Mehera said to Baba, "Baba, he's an old man. Why don't you just say 'Yes she's your Meheru come back' and have done with it!" And he looks and Mehera and says, "I am the Avatar. Should I lie to him? Should I tell him a lie just to make him feel better? She's not his Meheru!" So then Mehera got some bee in her bonnet, and she pestered Baba, she said, "No -- if she's not his Meheru, then who is she? You tell me who she is! Because you said she was close to you in her last life, you brought her back very quickly. So you tell me who she is!" And Baba would say, "Don't ask me this question!" She persisted, just like Papa persisted in saying, "She's my Meheru come back, isn't she?" Mehera persisted in saying, "You tell me who she is!" So finally, to please Mehera -- because Baba never did anything to displease Mehera -- he did tell her who I was [in my prior lifetime].


Meher Baba with Mehera Arjani as a young child
(photo courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications)


But Baba did say, apparently, that He worked [that person] so hard in his life with Baba that He brought me back to play with Him, [as an infant & child]. Which He did -- he played with me. He played with my toys. He would play with them before I could play with them. Yes! It was difficult getting my toys back from Baba. There was a little doll that my father had brought from somewhere, she was called Mary Doll. And she had a hole in her mouth and a hole down below. And Baba loved to sit with a dropper and put water in her mouth and hold a basin underneath and make her pee! Now Mehera [Irani] was extremely fastidious about all things to do with hair, nails, excreta -- she didn't like it. But he would call her and say, "Mehera, come come! Let's play with this doll!" And she would say, "No Baba! Thank you!" He would say, "No, come, sit. Bring the gindi" (gindi's a little bowl). "Bring the gindi. I'll put the water, and you hold the gindi below her." She had to do it because Baba said so. Baba really, really liked playing with Mary Doll.


And there's another toy I had, that my dad brought back from one of his voyages, it was a little dog which pulled a cart. It was an airport porter. And it had a cart full of bags, you put the batteries in, and the dog would walk, and then it would lean back against the cart and pant, and then it would walk again. And Baba loved letting that dog go backwards and forwards. Until -- until he would stop suddenly and say [gesturing showing Baba wiping sweat from his brow], "The poor thing is so tired. Turn it off!" And then after half an hour or so, he would say, "Put it back on." So -- this is the side that he showed us in this lifetime.


Now Meherwan, Eruch's brother, was extremely protected by Baba all through his life. For many, many years Baba would not let him go near women. Though he was the only child who lived in the women's ashram until he was 12 years old, he was not allowed to touch any woman, not even his mother, for many, many years. Baba had given him an order. But when I was born, Baba took me from my mother's arms and put me in his arms and said, "You can touch her, you can play with her, and you can now also touch your mother." So for many years we were the only two women he could touch. And that's why Meherwan and I have such a strong bond. Because he's been the father that -- I knew. He was there when I was growing up; my father was away at sea, and came back once for six months, every three years. So for three years we didn't see him, then he'd come back for six months, and it was like having a visitor who brought you lots of presents; he wasn't really my father. He was not involved in doing my homework with me, or telling me I shouldn't do this or shouldn't do that, or introducing me to reading books that he would bring for me. You know, the first books I ever read as a child were Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, the Greek epics, in an abridged form. Because Meherwan thought, "That's good! She will enjoy that." And I did enjoy it, I enjoyed it very much; and my love of reading stayed with me ever since. So that was why, and that is why, Meherwan and I are so close.


Bill Le Page, Mehera [Arjani] Kerawalla and Dolly Kerawalla
 Photo:  Anne Elizabeth Giles  
After my sister Dolly was born, Baba told my father that there should be no more children. And this upset my grandmother, because she wanted [a son who could be] an heir to the   Kerawalla   name. She said, "Baba, only two girls? What about   a boy-child?" He said, "No, only two girls. These are the only two children I want them to have." He   told my dad, he said, "Before you go to the ship, go and have a vasectomy." Because he wanted to make sure no more children were born, and Baba was very practical, as I said. So when Banu and Gaimai thought, "Well you know, maybe they should have a third child," Baba said, "No. These two girls [ Mehera   and Dolly] will do more work for me than any man ever will."


Now that was the first of what I think is, like, a minor white lie on Baba's part. [audience laughter] Because, while he has given my sister very hard-working genes, extremely hard-working genes, she works all the time and she still does other things. You know, I mean, she's been told, "Come work in the Trust [office]," and she said, "No no no no no." And I -- who don't have a hard-working bone in my body! -- was thrown into doing all of this cooking and stuff. But cooking is not really Baba's work, unless you think, "Oh if I'm feeding His lovers," then that is [real] cooking. I was feeding His Mandali, which I suppose counts as Baba's work. But you know, I'm still waiting for Him to show me what is this very important work that I am supposed to do for Him! When am I supposed to do it? There was [also] another small fib that he told many later, and I will tell you about that.

GaI Mai, Heather Nadel, Dolly Kerawalla., in the Cabin. Meherabad, India. 1975/77. 
Adrienne   [Shamszad]   sang a song yesterday, and before she sang it, she talked about it being   "Lonely at the top," because you go through, you know, the spiritual path, and you keep trying to improve yourself, and it becomes harder and harder as you go higher and higher, because things are always trying to pull you down! Now what I have experienced is that Baba doesn't really want perfection. If He wanted perfection, He would have made us all perfect! However, he would use any means at His disposal. He would use   bribery,   he would use threats -- anything to get you to do what he wanted. When I was about two and a half years old, we were sitting in Guruprasad around Him, and He called me, He said, "Come here! Can you say my prayers to me?" And at that point I could say some of the prayers, but not all of it. And I mixed up the Repentance and the   Parvardigar   prayer. [laughter] And I said, "Baba, I know some things but not everything." He said, "Don't worry. Say what you know." I said, "No   no   no."
        Gai-Mama, Mehera A. and her sister Dolly   Photo:  Anne Elizabeth Giles 
He said, "See these sweets on the side?" And he had like this whole pile of mango sweets, with a juicy soft mango center in them. He said, "If you say the prayers, I will give you not one or two, I will give you all these sweets. All of them." And they were such a favorite of mine, I said, "Okay." So I muddled my way through the prayers. He said, "Don't worry, I'll help you to learn the prayers also, don't worry. Just say the prayers as you know them, I'll give you the sweets." So he bribed me to say the prayers! Right. But, he is not so straightforward as to say, "Alright, I've given you the sweets,   you   enjoy them." He said, "Don't eat them now, take them   home, and eat them there." So he told Mani, "Bring a brown paper bag, put the sweets inside, and she can take them back with her."


And so I take them back to Bindra House, where we were staying. And Gai-Mama says, "No Mehera, you've got so many sweets. Give one to everybody!" Now if you remember, I was born like that [making two tight fists], so I said, "No! They are my sweets! I'm not sharing them with anyone." She said, "So many sweets! You'll eat them by yourself?" I said, Yes!" So she said, "Alright." So I take the sweets, and I put them by Baba's photograph [gesturing upward], you know, thinking I'll eat them tomorrow morning. And I went to sleep. Now in the night, our servant Kesar, who had a habit of stealing things, she took those sweets, and she ate every single one of them. She did! Literally, in the morning all that was a brown paper bag and the wrappers from my sweets. There was nothing left.


But, you know very shortly after that I could say the prayers fluently. And after that, every time, Baba would say "Say the prayers in front of me." So I would say the prayers in front of him. And then in the Poona Center, the old Poona Center, which was in I think Patil's house, I used to do that every Monday there as well.


Recent photo of Mehera Arjani in Meherazad

But -- that was all I could do in front of Baba. I wasn't actually a performer. I didn't sing, I didn't dance. And you remember I said there were the two   couples to whom Baba said   "The rule for abstinence does not apply to you"? They were Mr. and Mrs.  Laxman Thade and my parents. Now they too had a daughter called   Alka. She was born approximately the same time as I was. And she danced. You know, they would dress her up in this nice fancy costume, and she would come and dance in front of Baba. And I absolutely hated   Alka. [laughter] I absolutely hated her! Because -- you know she was doing this glamorous thing, she was dancing in front of Baba, and all I did was say the prayers. That's so boring, you know, saying the prayers in front of Baba -- she's dancing in front of him. And Baba knew that I was extremely jealous of her. So he would ask me to come and sit by his side here [i.e., beside his feet], while she was dancing, he'd say, "You come sit over here." So that (A) I could see her, but (B), while she was dancing, all the time, he was going like that with his hand [petting the top of   Mehera's   head], so that I didn't have an [angry] outburst, which he also knew I would do.
So -- you know He didn't mind jealousy. He didn't mind greed. Because if I hadn't been greedy I wouldn't have learned how to say the prayers. It was sheer greed that got  me into that one! And, he didn't mind telling a fib or two.

Jai Baba!

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!
The above portion of a lengthy talk was transcribed and edited by David Raphael Israel in collaboration with Mehera Arjani. (David similarly transcribed and edited another segment from Mehera's July 2014 LA Urban Sahavas talks, seen in our Issue No. 5: The Transformative Power of Taking Baba's Name.) Readers might also like to review Mehera's article in our Issue No. 3To Give and to Receive.
7. How I Met My Master, Meher Baba:
" The Chairman of the Board"
[ Editors' Note: We are pleased to continue a regular series ( introduced in Issue No. 5) featuring narratives from Baba-lovers 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.]

"The Chairman of the Board" (mid-1950s, India)
At a turning point, the author won this photo (life-size) in a raffle
Photo courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications 
It is amazing how patterns repeat themselves. I was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, near Rutgers University. I visited the Bronx Zoo a few times with my father, when I was three years old in the summer of 1952; and I loved the penguin exhibit. I loved a large penguin that seemed to be engaging with visitors. I remarked  to myself, " That is the King of Penguins. " I also heard another man near me say something like " That must be the Chairman of the Board. " The comment gave me a deep appreciation that someone near me knew me and understood me.


Years later I found out from a conversation with Darwin Shaw that he visited the Bronx Zoo with Baba, where he (Darwin) had stated that the largest penguin must be "the Chairman of the Board"! So Baba most likely was at the Penguin exhibit in the Bronx Zoo when I was there. I ran to the Penguin exhibit every time I visited the Bronx Zoo, to see if the "Chairman of the Board" was there. This visit developed a deep longing to find the "Chairman of the Board" again: The Man who knew me. Darwin later wrote up an account of that visit:


When we wheeled Baba into the room where the penguins were kept, Baba had us stop in front of the big closed-in case where the arctic birds were provided with an environment simulating their native habitat. There was ice and flowing water where the birds could dive in and swim. Some of them were just standing on a ledge, but one large one was strutting along as through he were quite important. Baba smiled and looking up at me, pointed at this big penguin. I smiled too and said, "He's the chairman of the board." Baba smiled in agreement.


Darwin C. Shaw, As Only God Can Love (2003), pp. 133-135 [emphasis added]


My mother was a heart of hearts, soul of souls, with a deep love of Christ. A year later we moved to Florida and my mother attended a seminar at the University of Florida. Hand in hand we walked up the steps to the seminar, and a beautiful sunset displayed in the sky. I remembered another time when my mother held my hand and we were at the hill, famous for the Sermon on the Mount, near the Sea of Galilee, and I remembered seeing Christ at the top of the hill. I remembered that same longing to see Him again.


The feelings of longing and presence of the Christ interweaved my life like a weaving -- warp and weft.  Bible stories were my life, as if I was also living in other times with the followers of Him.


My mother passed away when I was 12, in 1961 and my father took over raising my sister and me. There was a deep pain of separation from the protective love my mother offered. My father was an atheist, and opened a door to exploration of science, art and music for my sister and me. My father was a rocket propulsion scientist and inventor. He became one of the first cryogenic scientists, freezing people for Space Flight experiments, with specialists in the field, at UCLA. He invented water purification systems, experimented with new alloys that accelerated electrical properties in electric car batteries, and continued chemical experiments for space flight. Our family was comprised of free thinkers: musicians, linguists, early activists and liberated women.


As a teenager I visited the Pasadena Meher Baba Bookstore around 1969 (Filis Frederick and Dana Fields were there), but did not accept Baba as my Master until 1976. I was initiated by Kirpal Singh, a Sikh Master (one of Baba's "favorite saints") in early 1973, and he helped me clear habits for eventually surrendering to Baba. I followed Kirpal Singh until his death in 1974.


My son was 3 years old when we moved back to Southern, CA from Oregon. He was placed in a local preschool; and his best friend was a Baba lover. Morgan asked me to go to God Speaks class with his friend, Che's mother, and I attended where Lois Jones was the facilitator for a short time.


I was still in the process of surrendering to Baba when Joyce Stermer told me the story of Kirpal Singh recognizing Baba as the Avatar. Narshowan also was supported by Kirpal Singh in giving a speech about Baba at the one of the International Conferences Kirpal Singh presided over, after great opposition from some Jains, Naosherwan was allowed to speak.


That night I had a dream that I won a life-size picture of the Avatar. The next night at a Baba birthday celebration, I purchased my raffle ticket, and I won the life size picture of Meher Baba; and I have been with Baba ever since. The picture has been recycled for other raffles in Southern California. I traveled to Myrtle Beach in 1976 with my good friend Wendy Ward and our sons. As soon as we started our journey, there were difficult energies to traverse, which went on throughout our stay at the Center.


Elaine with Pendu (Meherazad)

My expectations of Love and Harmony diminished the longer we were visiting, although we were able to meet Kitty Davy. These energies persisted, until our return trip to Southern California.


We pulled up to a rest area near Georgia around 2:00 in the morning and both Wendy and I surrendered. We stepped out of the car and Baba spelled "Love" in the stars and began to break his silence to both of us. Wendy later wrote about the experience in The Awakener. Baba connected both of us with His Love, Knowledge, Power and Bliss. My experience was, that I was like a small cell or grain of sand compared with "His" Universal Consciousness. I believe the breaking of His silence is this: "That we are all one in Him, and by following Him and surrendering more and more, we can know ourselves as His Love, Truth, Power and Bliss" -- tangible proof that He is God.


Wendy and I got back in the car and drove to Florida. As the dawn was breaking, Angels wrote "Meher Baba" in the sky with the early morning fog, and then pulled the fog together to form a Persian sign for Meher Baba. Just recently I read Filis Frederick's "How I Came to Baba" story in The Awakener, and she too had a similar experience. Later in life my father, with dementia, had not spoken for several weeks; then he woke up and in clarity said "Meher Baba is very big, and he is a gentleman."


Baba has touched my son and my life in all ways. He led me to spend 32 years in Sufism Reoriented, where I was given the opportunity to Love Him in music. He gave me the grace and blessings to meet those that loved Him in India and the West. He gave me the grace to meet His beloved and His oh so humorous sister "Mani". He gave me many visits with Bhau.


Elaine at the first annual LA Sahavas (1970s)

I am now in the Southern California LA Baba Group again, full circle, helping where I can. Life has not been a honeymoon for many years; and work seems unending, with no horizon in sight, but I found the "Chairman of the Board"; and no matter what hardships I have had to face, I know I have been graced with the presence of "The One Who Knows Me".


Jai Baba,


Elaine Farrell Munson

Editor's Note:


Elaine Munson rejoined our LA Baba Group about a year ago, having moved south from Northern California.  She began her path to Baba in our LA group with Filis Frederick in the mid 1970s. Just like Filis, she has traversed the path of the "Kick and the Kiss" for many years, and unlike the early years of bliss and special attention, she now just does the work in front of her. She has been blessed and graced because her Master Meher Baba knows her.


8. Poetry Corner:
                                   "I Descend in You"

I Descend in You

Be calm and serene.
Let your heart overflow with kindness and mercy.
In you, the desires to be useful come from me.
I descend in you to awaken in you the will to be God.
Man will inherit life spiritual.
Through good and evil, the self-realizing function is ever advancing.
Whether you know it or not, you are all slowly coming to me.
Learn to love me more than your very selves.
Believe and you will be taken onward.
In the ripeness of experience, all shall know me.

Meher Baba, via Norina Matchabelli
Christopher Wilson and Charles Haynes, Norina's Gift    (1997), p. 144 
9. "So Called Illusion Is Also Reality"
     Meher Baba
India; Francis Brabazon, Baba & Eruch Jessawala - Courtesy of MN Collection

The next day, 11th August [1956], was for the general public to meet Meher Baba. Approximately one hundred and ten people attended. One who attended was a radio reporter from Australian Broadcasting Commission, Donald Ingram-Smith, who had personal interest in Sufism. Meher Baba gave Ingram-Smith the opportunity to interview him personally in the morning.
During this session various questions were asked to which Meher Baba responded. This interchange is useful in showing how Meher Baba evaluated and expressed his own spiritual position and activities. When asked, for instance, "What is your work in the world?" he responded:

To give My Love to awaken mankind, to make them know that everything is illusion. God is the only Reality. One who can love God can attain that Reality. All are one, but no one knows that oneness. God is within you, but there is a veil: and you yourself are that veil between you and God. God is within Me. I have taken this form to unveil all human beings to know that there is only one Reality and all else is illusion.

When the reporter followed the response with the query "The Reality is within and without simultaneously?" Meher Baba responded:


There is no within and no without. Reality pervades. There is nothing beyond Reality, no within or without, no up or down. Reality is all over, all-pervading. So-called illusion is also Reality. Illusion is the shadow of Reality. When you walk, your shadow follows you. You do not attach any importance to the shadow, because it has come out of you, it is nothing but shadow. It is your own shadow that follows you; you do not follow the shadow. Exactly at midday, twelve noon, the shadow disappears. It is only you who are there, and the shadow has no existence at all.


Ross Ke ating,  Francis Brabazon:  Poet of the Silent Word (2002), pp. 107-109 

10.  Museum  of Precious Treasures:
A Platform for Baba's Chair
The Dome at Meherabode 


The Dome at Meherabode is a quiet place to contemplate our life with Meher Baba and the love He continues to bestow on us. The Dome has a central meditation / prayer room, where His chair sits. There are also two adjacent side rooms, respectively dedicated to His beloved Mehera and His sister Mani.


Hilda Fuchs in her Hollywood residence standing beside the chair in which Baba sat during  His visit in  1956 [Lord Meher online, p. 4056]
Photo: AMBCSC Archives in concert with Meher Baba Library  
The chair was secured for the Avatar Meher Baba Center from the estate of the late Hilda Fuchs, thanks to the timely effort of Clive Adams, who helped preserve and transition the chair to the Center . As alluded to in LA Corner (in our Issue No. 5), early on July 31, 1956, Baba arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport and 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" [quoting from Lord Meher ]. Hilda had in fact first learned of Baba in Vienna in 1935. Forced to emigrate (Hilda's husband being Jewish), she somehow ran into Norina in New York and thereby came into Baba's contact.  Hilda settled in West Hollywood, living on N. Crescent Heights Blvd. just north of Sunset. Meher Baba visited Hilda's home later on the day of his arrival in LA (there's film footage of Baba striding toward the front door with Hilda, if I recall it aright). In the house, Baba sat in this chair. When leaving, He instructed Hilda to sit in it; it thus became "Baba's Chair" -- sanctified by His visit and physical touch. When (with Shireen Davenport) I paid respects to Hilda at her home in 1970 or '71, naturally Hilda pointed out the chair to us. Indeed, I believe she invited us to sit in it.

Three decades later, when passing through LA, I visited Meherabode and was shown the Dome with this same Baba's Chair. This precious Chair in the Dome is intimate. It invites prayer, obeisance, and meditation on the Beloved.

Recently, a mahogany platform, specially designed and constructed, was installed supporting Baba's Chair in the Dome. This custom-built platform elevates Baba's Chair several inches above the level of the marble floor. The platform's aim is to better protect Baba's Chair and provide a safe and secure location for it. The platform may also augment for devotees the feeling of a special place of honor and worship.


Baba's chair without the new platform

Ken Pellman, of AMBCSC's Archives Committee, initiated and spearheaded this platform project. Ken writes:  


From an archival perspective, the chair has been sitting on marble and concrete, with little protection. These elements, combined with heat from the sun, through windows and unstable humidity control, leaves the chair vulnerable to atmospheric elements. This platform is the first step in the Board of Directors and Archives Committee action plan, to remodel and preserve the dome and all Baba and Mandali objects that may be displayed there in the future.


The shape of the platform (as you can see in the picture of the front and back, with a curve that mimics the wall behind the platform) represents a lotus flower -- the seat of our Avatar. The whole platform is made of Honduras mahogany, similar to our sadhra case. The chair will sit in brackets, specially made, so the chair will not move on the platform. The brackets, however; will not be attached to the chair, so lifting the chair out of brackets can easily be accomplished. The platform will be approximately 6" in height. The platform will only be large enough to hold the chair.


In the near future, the Board of Directors of AMBCSC has plans to resolve the atmospheric condition problems both the Archives Committee and the Fixed Assets Committee brought to the attention of AMBCSC Board of Directors. The platform was a joint effort of the craftsman: Harold Greene who used methods made popular 200 years ago and, Sonya Valentine and Ken Pellman. The platform was a donation by Ken Pellman. The Board of Directors approved the project with the participation of the Archive Committee, in ongoing efforts to preserve and protect articles of Meher Baba and his Mandali at Meherabode.



The Meherabode Dome provides an opportunity for new visitors and existing members to enjoy Baba's presence and remember Him in ever-closer harmony, with the provision of new archival methods for a long term protection of these objects.


(6th Cent., Korea)

When Ken shared the proposed platform design with us a few months ago, I was struck by the stylized suggestion of a "lotus seat" -- that ubiquitous element in Buddhist iconography. As now achieved, this hinted design is modernized & abbreviated, yet it invokes long millennia of adoration of the Enlightened One. Thinking of this now, I recall how Maitreya Buddha (the "Buddha of Loving Kindness" anticipated in future) was often depicted not sitting at floor level (like most Buddhas of the past), but rather seated upright (almost as if on a comfy living-room chair). Tangentially, all this platform talk also evokes The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (an 8th Century AD Chan [Chinese Zen] scripture). With this platform abiding in the Dome, perhaps it's all the more suitable that a Zen stone garden is now being installed on the other side of the Dome door. Jai Baba!


David Raphael Israel with Ken Pellman 


11. What's Happening at Meherabode

Meher Baba said:
. . . [F]or me, there is no need for centers for different places, nor different groups, with different heads or names. My center is the heart of every lover. Every lover with a heart that loves Baba is a center. The second point I would like to emphasize is that whoever wants to work spreading my Message of Love and Truth, absolutely needs a central office and groups of workers who can function from a central office. There is always a need for a group to have a center. You can have many such centers.... I would like you all to belong to certain groups because you can cooperate and tell others about me and share your thoughts. You learn much more than when you remain by yourself. When you listen, exchange thoughts and prayers, my presence is there. Where there are five collected together, Parameshwar (Almighty God) is there, I am there. If you are talking of me, have love for me, then I am there. . . .
I would like you all to belong to certain groups. Why? Because you can cooperate and tell others about me and share your thoughts. You learn much more than when you remain by yourself. When you listen, exchange thoughts, prayers, my presence is there. Where there are five collected together, there is Parameshwar (Lord of the Beyond); I am there. If you are talking of me, having love for me, then there I am. Is it all clear?.   
Meher Baba (in 1956), from Lord Meher, 1st edition, Vols. 13 & 14,
circa pp. 5035-5038; also  compare: Lord Meher online , p. 4047 


In the spirit of mid-summer, I send warm greetings and thoughts of gratitude to you all, wishing you well in Baba's Love. As 2015 moves through its third quarter, following the Summer Solstice, the days are longest and the nights shortest. It is a fun season, as summertime bring on more outdoor activity. The beauty of God is so evident in all of Creation in the summer season once again.

One area of the large Meeting Hall at Meherabode
It's been a busy and productive seven months of 2015 at Meherabode in Los Angeles, California. The Avatar is infinitely active, and we do our best to dance to His tune. This one-acre sanctuary rests secluded amidst residential properties due south of the Hollywood foothills. There is a serene atmosphere and palpable presence of Baba's sweetness here at Meherabode. I would like to invite to visit our Center in a virtual tour:
Meherabode Tour 
Meherabode Tour
Meherabode provides a spiritual thread amid one's daily life, an oasis where Baba-lovers can connect to Baba within. Life's distractions fall away. Weekly programs bring all together as a family in remembrance of the Beloved.


As Meherabode is flourishing in His Love, He has compassionately blessed us with excellent financial shape at present. The regular fundraising and center's rental activities are in process, yet the basic financial foundation is on most solid ground.

The site rental activity (renting out the center grounds) has gained some momentum in the past couple years, particularly this year. How Baba sends these renters our way, is beyond me. Beside appreciable income, we have found that those drawn to our Center often include truth seekers ready to hear the sweet name and see the beloved form of Meher Baba!  


There was a notable site rental for an Indian classical concert featuring Rajeev Taranath (sarod maestro, a senior student of the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan). Over the past two years, this was the 15th such Indian classical music concert produced at Meherabode; it turned out to attract the best concert attendance so far (approximately 80 people). Besides musical programs, and a group of community nonprofit activists who share Zen meditation practice renting the Center for their 2-day workshop, this year we've found film or television production companies approaching us increasingly to rent the Center.

Hand of God (Dana Delany and Ron Perlman) 
Marc Forster (Director) and Ron Perlman sharing a meal
The production group for  Hand of God  (an American drama series created by Ben Watkins for Amazon Studios) has been filming their pilot series in the Victorian-style mansion next door, and has been renting our grounds to park their movie trucks, serve food, and use our reception rooms to hold meetings. This upcoming drama series did most of their shooting next door, and maintained their base camp at our Center while  shooting around Los Angeles. In fact, a Los Angeles Times  entertainment reporter interviewed the main actor, Ron Perlman, in our reception room while both sat on the couch under Baba's photos in Hollywood.   


The interviewer and interviewee together take note of Meher Baba's Hollywood (1932) photos in our reception room at Meherabode

Perlman plays the role of a morally corrupt judge who, suffering a breakdown, believes that God is speaking directly to him, compelling him onto a path of vigilante justice. See the photo. Isn't this amazing? It looks like He sowed all of these seeds when He visited Hollywood studios several times.

One of the actresses with nice hairdo
Food court set up on the Meherabode grounds







Also CBS Television broadcasting company has been one of our clients using the Center for

movie producing work. They sure enjoyed the serene atmosphere of the Baba Center.


Meherabode provides a spiritual thread amid one's daily life, an oasis where Baba-lovers can connect to Baba within. Life's distractions fall away. Weekly programs bring all together as a family in remembrance of the Beloved.

  • Dr. Mahmoud Ajang a noted psychiatrist, who is also a longtime devotee of Meher Baba, discussed in an intimate group how Meher Baba differentiate between madness and God-Intoxication. He particularly covered phases of Baba's spiritual work in the 1940s, when Baba contacted and worked extensively with so many God-intoxicated souls (called Masts in India).
  • Prolific author and vivid Baba-story raconteur Bill Le Page, along with his gifted artist-wife Diana Le Page, returned to the LA Center for a relaxing spring visit that started with an outdoor barbecue dinner, followed by Bill's talk sharing his memories from his first meeting with Meher Baba. Diana shared from her latest artworks for her 2015 exhibit at the Meher Spiritual Center (Myrtle Beach).



  • Shridhar G. Kelkar, new Chairman of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India, visited our Center for the first time. In an evening talk at Meherabode after a group dinner together, he shared about his life with Meher Baba, he having first learned of Baba in 1962 through his future wife, Perviz Talati. Shridhar first took Meher Baba's darshan (blessing) during the East-West Gathering in Pune, India, in November of 1962. He also attended Baba's last public appearance in December 1968. Shridhar's sharing was personal, frank, and straightforward, toned with hints of self-irony and conveying a gentle, loving perspective.
The new Chairman of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India, Shridhar Kelkar, visits "Mehera's Room" in the Dome at Meherabode in Los Angeles

Lois Jones, Shridhar Kelkar, Mahoo Ghorbani (with the Dome in background)
  • The day after Shridhar's talk, we enjoyed a concert of devotional songs presented by Elaine Munson and Ron Greenstein, a power-packed Baba bhakti combo.
Elaine Munson and Ron Greenstein giving a musical concert 
  • In the spring season, we also had Dr. Ajit B. Soni, (son of Sri Bachubhai Soni) as a musical guest. He is a medical doctor by profession and a singer by devotional avocation. Dr. Soni played harmonium and sang Indian devotional songs.  His late father, Bachubhai, was a well-known Indian "light classical" singer on All-India Radio who first come in contact with Meher Baba in 1937, when, at about age 10, Bachubhai sang bhajans (Hindu devotional songs) for Beloved Baba. This was a love feast gathering with sublime devotional music. 
Ajit B. Soni singing  bhajans and  ghazals , accompanied by Javad Butah (tabla) 
  • Convivial Group Readings & Discussions on Lord Meher were conducted by Fred Stankus. This series is popular and attracts many interested people. 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, laden with rich details if Meher Baba's life and utterances.
  • A 100th Birthday Celebration honoring Filis Frederick (1915-1987) offered a group recollection of Meher Baba's great devotee, who was one of the founders of the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California (and who played a crucial role in establishing AMBCSC as a non-profit organization).
    John Page, Lois Jones, and Elaine Munson recollect Filis Frederick
    Filis' life as a deep-thinking, independent artistic American woman drawn to Meher Baba in the first half of the 20th Century was variously celebrated by sharing memories and reading from Filis' poetry, and a great multi-media presentation.
  • Our annual "Silence Day" Urban Sahavas at Meherabode, with the theme of "Beads on one String," was a three days memorable event, featuring special guest speaker Charles Haynes and special guest musician Jamie Newell. We enjoyed the companionship and stories of Charles as well as the company and wonderful music of Jamie. We will have a detailed report in next Gazette issue.

Our landscape and beautification team in the Meherabode Garden is working hard to make the grounds even more lush and beautiful. The addition of a new Zen Garden (an open-space, understated stone garden) at Meherabode is one noted new idea now under development. Soon this garden, adjacent the Dome, will be another place to hang out and meditate on His radiant image and form. Here is a photo of a Zen-style garden, similar to what our Landscape Committee is now working to achieve. (Photos of the results of this effort will be shared in a future issue.) I am excited.


Another good item of news to share is that our wonderful Membership Director, Raymond Lee, is in the midst of redesigning our Meherabode website. Ray just completed the extraordinary redesign of the Mandali Hall Talks website. His delicate and artistic approach to this work earns our praise.

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 sanskaric burden. May He always be pleased with our words, deeds and thoughts! 


In His Love and Service,


Mahoo S. Ghorbani
AMBCSC President 
12. From Meher Baba Books:
This Just In!
Meher Baba Books

As an essential activity of the Avatar Meher Baba Center of So. 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.


Meher Baba Books is the current successor to the various LA-area Meher Baba Bookstores described by John Page in his history-review, above. 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, which caters to customers throughout the United States and globally.


In this report, we would like to bring to your attention several new and recent arrivals at our bookstore.





  • One Fine Thread, by Kitty Davy (2014, 290 pages, paperback). This is a collection of talks written by Kitty Davy between 1968 and 1990. It will come as no surprise that they are dedicated to the one subject that comprised the entire focus of her life, namely, Avatar Meher Baba, her spiritual Master whom she loved and followed since their first meeting in London in 1931. These talks were given mainly at Meher Spiritual Center, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where Kitty lived from 1952 until her death in 1991 at age 100.
  • Baba Does the Impossible & other stories, by Winnie Barrett (2014, 153 pp, paperback). Winnie first heard Meher Baba's name in 1966 while part of the underground scene in Chapel Hill, NC, a counterculture of artists, writers, political activists and drug users. She longed for a higher reality and this search led her to Meher Baba in 1967. She felt great love for him from the beginning, and the love she felt from him was life saving and life changing in profound ways. The short stories, dreams and poems in this little book are examples of how Meher Baba has been an active force in Winnie's life for almost 50 years.
  • The Architecture of the Universe: A New Framework of Existence, Time, and Space, by Richard Blum (2014, 109 pages, paperback). In this fascinating and unique book, Richard Blum attempts to bridge the divide between science and spirituality. He does so by extending Meher Baba's cosmology as presented in God Speaks and unites it with modern-day physics. Starting with the process of creation as described by Meher Baba, Blum develops a new theory of physics which not only unites God with the physical universe, but also offers explanations of aspects of Einstein's theory of relativity and quantum mechanics which hitherto have remained a mystery. It appears that the apparent conflict or convergence between science and spirituality is in the air, and some of the best minds in both camps are weighing in including Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama and Stephen Hawking. In response, The Architecture of the Universe offers an approach that seeks not only to find a way for science and spirituality to coexist but seeks a vision that unites them. Blum states, "If science is true and God is true, then a unifying theory must exist."
  • Bhajan, by Tim Garvin (2015, 400 pages, paperback). A novel in which, for the first time as far as I know, the characters discover the advent of Meher Baba. The crew of a traveling zoo encounter a tiger, Bhajan, that was raised by a mast, and the tiger's purr elevates their consciousness. They then discover The Wayfarers, by William Donkin, which introduces them to the life and work of Meher Baba. The novel is entitled BhajanBhajan is a letter to the twenty year old kid as Tim Garvin and when he first noticed the inner world and became a seeker. When Bluey Macintosh adds a Bengal tiger named Bhajan to his mobile zoo, he is merely trying to change a few minds-maybe even a few hearts. But Bhajan, raised by an Indian mast, one of the so-called god-intoxicated, has a different plan. He intends to change the world. And does. Bhajan purrs-a phenomenon unknown in tigers-for six hours each night, and his purr has a mesmerizing effect on the inner being of all who hear it, including the other animals. Bluey and his crew of four embark on a journey which leads them to deepening consciousness, widening courage, and love. And they will need all the love and courage they can find to confront JJ, a nearly mad Iraq war vet, whose arrival at the compound changes everything.
  • New Issue of Glow Magazine International, a Quarterly Journal Devoted to Meher Baba's Message of Love, edited by Naosherwan Anzar, published by Beloved Archives. Summer 2015 (28 pages) -- this issue includes: Spiritual Lessons: Meher Baba's words from the notes of Dr. C. D. Deshmukh, collected by Anna Khandale; The Biographer's Biography: Meeting Meher Baba at the Devonshire Retreat-- Excerpts from a biography of Meher Baba's biographer, Charles B. Purdom by Bob Mossman; and The Emergence of Meher Baba: Ray Kerkhove writes about the origins of Meher Baba and his spiritual authority.

Compact Discs & DVDs:



  • You're All There Is (CD) by Buz Connor. The very popular "Nothing Less Than Everything" is one of the 15 songs on the CD. It is a very uplifting CD to listen to, with every song wholly focused on Meher Baba.
  • Suite for Darwin Shaw (CD) by Ken Richstad. Just released! The 12 songs on this CD touch on the life of Darwin Shaw with Meher Baba, from the very earliest years onward. Characterized by songs in various musical styles, this high-quality production draws the listener into the discipleship of Darwin Shaw over many decades. A complete lyric book with some biographical notes is included.
  • Way Up High (CD) -- Baba Songs for Baba Kids by Ken Richstad. Features 14 songs for Baba kids from the very young to the not quite so young. Brisk tunes and engaging lyrics will have young and old singing along and dancing in no time.
  • In the House of Their Father (DVD) by Robert Fredericks. Avatar Meher Baba's 1962 East West Gathering. A 2-DVD Set (2 hrs. 20 mins.) -- Produced by Robert Fredericks and Gokaran Shivastava for the 50th Anniversary of the East-West Gathering, held on Meherabad Hill in 2012.

Our online Bookstore is designed to showcase Baba's works and treasurers, featuring books, DVD, CDs, photos, jewelry, apparel, trinkets. Working in concert with our Archive Committee, we have also made many rare and unique DVDs available, considered to be precious items.


It is joy to serve all of the people of this new humanity, knowing how the thirst of their search for truth has brought them to this entry to the ocean of Meher Baba, Avatar of the present age.


In His Love and Service,


Mahoo S. Ghorbani


13. Video Corner:
The Nitrate Movies of Elizabeth C. Patterson (India & Italy, 1933)


A wonderful discovery, painstakingly restored! 


(Gratitude to Meher Baba Film Archive International)


[Herbert Davy reading Meher Baba's alphabet board texting]




(5 min. 50 sec.) Onscreen text reads:


The Nitrate Movies of Elizabeth C. Patterson


In 1933, Elizabeth filmed her Spiritual Master, Meher Baba, in India and Italy using a hand cranked 35mm movie camera. Although a novice, these short clips are the only film record of that time. At first, in India, Elizabeth held the camera on its side recording in an unusual 'portrait' aspect. Both movies deteriorated over the decades and were attacked by two different fungus infections. Meher Baba Film Archive International restored the many thousands of frames of film using a range of optical, photochemical, analog and digital restoration procedures which recovered and enhanced the original movies.


This YouTube presentation of the restored film project appears as a music-video, the silent footage accompanied by an audio track: the song "Dynamite" (2015), lyrics and music by Gareth Emery; vocalist: Christina Novelli.


For differing effects, some viewers might variously enjoy the musical version and/or the silent version of this film (with the latter obtainable by lowering the volume).  

14. LA Corner (#2):
Not Yet Off the Boat

In the first installment of this column, I'll admit it! I took the easy way out -- relying on so-called serendipity: lazily performing a Lord Meher search ("Meher Baba Los Angeles") and reporting a small handful of anecdotes fetched up.  That strategy won't do for the sequel. Fine for an ice-breaker, but now I'll have to hunker down, pore over the record, and think this thing through.
Meher Baba being feted at Pickfair (Hollywood) in May-June 1932
"Pickfair" was the celebrated mansion residence of Mary Pickford and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks (both glamorous Hollywood film stars)

You might ask, why LA Corner?  Why have I set out to muse out loud, review the biographies, and rehash some tales of Baba's time spent in LA in particular?  Why not Baba in Milan or Venice, Baba in London or Paris, Baba in Bangalore or Benares? The answer's simple. I myself have returned to La Gran Ciudad de Los Angeles [the grand City of the Angels], where I grew up in the '60s and early '70s, after long years elsewhere. Residing in this metropolis, one wants to ponder Baba's visits here, to think, and imagine, and remember. The same can be done elsewhere. Since Meherabode itself is located in Los Angeles, the Meherabode Gazette might usefully devote some regular column inches to this topic. (It beats a gossip column, anyway.)
So: if we take Baba's visits to LA as our topic of consideration, how should we approach it? Why not start at the beginning and sketch an overview? Meher Baba visited America six times: first in 1931, 1932, and 1934-35, then in 1952, 1956, and 1958. On each of those tours, except 1931 and 1952, Baba paid a visit to California and LA. (In '31, He only went to the East Coast. In '52, he started to drive to Los Angeles from Myrtle Beach, but the trip was cut short by his auto accident in Prague, Oklahoma.) In short, Baba spent time in LA twice in the 1930s and twice in the 1950s. I n the '30s, he journeyed by ship; in the '50s, by airplane. Passage at sea is a long, slow process. How remarkable that on Baba's first global sea-voyage, he caught the same vessel as Mohandas Gandhi (who was heading to the "round table conference" in London) and the two were able to meet repeatedly.
Until 1931, Meher Baba traveled only in India and a bit in Persia. Once He boarded the steamship Rajaputana at Bombay port bound for England in '31, his era of international travel had begun. While Baba's periodic global travels would continue for the next 27 years, He visited the West only in the 1930s and 1950s. From the late '30s through the early ''50s , His work included extensive travel throughout the Indian subcontinent, notably with His Blue Bus tours (1938 onward, when Baba sought out and contacted masts); and in His New Life wanderings in the late '40s, sometimes He covered long distances on foot with his New Life Companions. When Meher Baba finally returned to America in 1952 (after a hiatus of some 17 years), He spent extensive time at and near the Meher Spiritual Center established for Him in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and connected with a second generation of devotees. The "Shri Meher Baba" seen in the 1930s was a more youthful, and ostensibly more flamboyant-seeming figure, hob-nobbing with popular film-stars at Mary Pickford's mansion in Hollywood, and himself filmed at the Stokes' house in New York City's Greenwich Village area (see also the 1933 footage of Baba in our Video Corner). The Meher Baba who suffered HIs first automobile accident (during His "Complicated Free Life" phase) in Oklahoma in 1952 had already passed through the rigors of the New Life (culminating in Baba's mysterious, unfathomable Manonash work), planted ever deeper in His inner spiritual global-transformation process while a bit less a publicly-noted figure.


I don't feel it would be far-fetched to suggest Meher Baba's penchant for world travel (which served to help make Him known to spiritual seekers in the Western hemisphere and to connect Him with His own circle of Western disciples, and which on less obvious levels must have laid groundwork for future worldwide spiritual changes) was cryptically suggested early on, with Hazrat Babajan's words of benediction in the immediate wake of her pivotal, consciousness-transforming kiss on the forehead of the young Parsi college student, Merwan S. Irani:


One night during January 1914, as Merwan was about to leave Babajan's company, he reverentially kissed his Master's hand. Babajan held Merwan's face in her hands and looked deeply into his large brown eyes with an expression of the profoundest love. The time had come. With her divine authority, she kissed him on the forehead.
Turning to her followers nearby, Babajan pointed at Merwan and declared, " My beloved son will one day shake the world and all of humanity will be benefited by him. "(1)DRIback1

Allowing Baba could benefit all humanity without setting foot outside of the city of Pune, we may nonetheless recognize in Babajan's terse words the seeds of Meher Baba's world travels and international influence. The wizened Qutub under her shady Neem in a Maharashtra backwater augured the scope of Merwan's future work. What wonder that many passport-stampings eventually followed?


Hence: on September 1, 1931, Meher Baba set sail from Karachi on the  Rajaputana for England: His first trip across oceans. October 2, Baba left England for Constantinople, staying nine days, then on to Italy (Milan and Genoa), whence He boarded the
Alhambra train station (courtesy of the City of Alhambra website)
Roma  bound  for  New York. Meher Baba remained in America one month on this first visit, restricting Himself to the East Coast (three weeks at Harmon on the Hudson, one week in New York City, one day in Boston). With His next tour, in the spring of 1932, Baba reached New York (May 19) from London aboard the S.S. Bremen. Six days later, He set out for California by train, meandering (Chicago, Kansas, El Paso, Tuscon) for four days before reaching the Alhambra train station [Alhambra being a small city northeast of downtown Los Angeles, adjacent South Pasadena] on May 29. Baba now hit LA big time, spending a power-packed week in Hollywood and its surround before heading off to China via Hawaii and Japan.
" My beloved son will one day shake the world"
Shri Meher Baba & company at the Eiffel Tower (Paris), December 13, 1931.
Feramoz H. Dadachanji (who told the story to C.B. Purdom recalled below) is standing at the left
Also standing: Kitty Davy, Agha Ali [from Prem Ashram days], Meredith Starr, Margaret Craske, Kim Tolhurst, Delia De Leon.  Seated: Zillah Cluse, Meher Baba, Margaret Starr, John Cousins.
(Baba's brief stop in Paris in December of 1931 was on his return route after visiting America.)
Photo courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications.


Supposedly this column is to focus on Baba in LA. But something happened while still aboard ship before Baba set foot on American soil in New York State for the first time, in 1931 -- an occurrence so interesting we must pause and review it in detail. Purdom tells the tale nicely in his book, so let me turn you over to him:


A strange incident occurred on the Roma before landing. The immigration officer, being dissatisfied with the replies given by the English disciple [Meredith Star] who was acting for the party, detained Baba and the rest for further scrutiny for about two hours. He seemed to suspect that there was something suspicious about the 'silence' and the alphabet board. He even tried to read the alphabet board himself, until he got tired. He then remarked: 'You', pointing to Baba, 'come to America to teach our people with this board ... How foolish! ... Who gave you the idea?'

And he insisted that someone in New York should stand surety. As this was a private visit, nobody knew of Baba's arrival, except two or three people who had come to the docks to receive him, and were held up at the gangway not being allowed to go aboard. It was a peculiar situation; but Baba was serenely calm, and meekly submitted to all he was made to go through.
Then an officer apparently belonging to the ship appeared and asked the immigration officer why the party was detained when everyone else had landed. The immigration officer explained that he was not satisfied with their papers and replies. 'What's wrong with them?' asked the ship's officer. 'These people seem to be quite respectable. What's the idea in detaining them?' 'I am not satisfied and want a guarantee on their behalf', said the immigration officer, who was offended at the interference. 'I don't see any reason for your behaviour', said the ship's officer. 'I want you to permit them to land immediately.'


Irritated at his tone, the immigration officer retorted, 'But there is no one to guarantee who they are'.


'Well, they must have some references.'


The members of the party explained that they had very good references.


'There you are. They have references!' And then he said, 'If you still want a guarantee, I stand guarantee'. The officer continued, 'I am just going, and I want you to finish the permits for them to land by then'. His commanding tone led the party to believe that he was someone of importance; anyhow, his words had immediate effect. The immigration officer sat down at his table, murmuring all the while, made out the landing cards, and they were permitted to go. Chanji, who told me the story, went in search of the officer who had helped them to thank him, but he says that he could not be found, and who he was remains a mystery. (2)DRIback2

Purdom limns this sketch so well (in his laconic style that reminds me of many curious and miraculous tales in ancient Chinese literature). Was the "ship's officer" who suddenly appeared and cleared the way for Meher Baba's landing really a "ship's officer"? When Chanji could not find this mysterious gentleman, was that simply because he had walked elsewhere? Or did he possibly vanish into the mist? Was he indeed one of Meher Baba's agents -- possibly appearing literally out of "nowhere" (from perhaps hundreds of miles away), assuming the dress, manner, and language of a "ship's officer" and clearing the difficulty? Or yet, was he indeed a real ship's officer, but one with some inner connection to Baba? Yet again, was he an officer of the ship who, having observed Baba and His party during the voyage, had intuitively absorbed something of Baba's special qualities, and, as a man of honor, was simply doing the needful? It can be read as ordinary, but I agree with the writer: there's something peculiar in the whole exchange. I will admit I somewhat favor the "Baba's Agent" theory. Such figures, who can appear at the crucial moment, are not unknown in spiritual literature.( 3) DRIback3

Think about it, friends. This was the first time the feet of the Avatar of the Age were to step down onto American soil (the first time any Avatar had walked this land in many, many centuries). Look at how unseen forces and mysterious persons collaborate in His work! Charles Purdom shows some biographical genius in zeroing in on this uncanny anecdote he heard from Dadachanji. The same story (with different emphasis and details) is told in Bhau Kalchuri's Lord Meher (perhaps based on a separate account given by Chanji). An additional facet is noted:

On Friday, 6 November 1931, the Roma passed the Statue of Liberty and sailed into New York City harbor at two in the afternoon, docking at the W. 57th Street pier. But two hours passed before Baba and the men were allowed to disembark. An insolent immigration officer kicked up a row on board ship, unnecessarily delaying their disembarkation. . . He asked Baba directly, "You have come to teach people in America without speaking? With this board? How foolish! Who gave you this silly idea?"

Baba spelled out in reply, "I have come not to teach, but to awaken." In reply, the man laughed loudly, and Baba remarked to Chanji, "He laughs at this now, but I will show him. Poor, ignorant soul. I pity him!" ( 4) DRIback4
Astonishing: "I have come not to teach but to awaken." Was this the first time this resonant sentence was formulated by Meher Baba? (There's a question for you, O scholarly Reader!) The same nine words were adopted by Meher Baba several decades later as the opening sentence of his Universal Message.(5)DRIback5 Here they emerged in response to a supercilious petty official seeking to run interference with the God-Man, a suspicious man who couldn't fathom the point of an alphabet board nor grasp the idea that the silent visitor employing that board could have anything significant to impart. The first "tablet prototype" had arrived in America, but the significance of the suspicious Divine Texter went indeed unsuspected.
And perhaps that will suffice for the opening of our slow tale. God-willing, we'll manage actually to get Avatar Meher Baba all the way to Hollywood and adjacent locales in our autumnal Issue No. 7.  Jai Baba! 

David Raphael Israel
DRInote11. Bhau Kalchuri,  Lord Meher online, p. 153. [ back]
DRInote22. C.B. Purdom, The God Man (1964), pp. 96-97. [ back]
DRInote33.  The sudden bodily appearance and then disappearance of Khizr, as recounted in Middle Eastern tales, is just one example of this sort of story. Another instance is found in God Speaks, where Meher Baba writes: "We might take the following as an example of good use of the powers of the fourth plane: Suppose a spiritual pilgrim is going through a desert and is on the point of death due to unquenchable thirst. The soul of the fourth plane can appear to him in the gross body and give him relief by giving him a jug of water and then disappear. Such use can be termed good use." [God Speaks, 2nd ed. (1955, 1973), pp. 45-56.]  My fanciful theory is that the sudden appearance of this "ship's officer" shows telltale traces of the qualities of such a phenomenon. Interestingly, directly after recounting this uncanny tale, Purdom goes on to note: ". . . While at Harmon [on the Hudson], he [Baba] went to the prison of Sing Sing; it was in the evening, and the car stopped outside the main entrance. Baba said to those with him, 'I will show you how I work', and after a pause added, 'In this prison there is a man who is my agent; he does good work for me; I shall free him when I speak.'" [Purdom, op. cit., p. 97.] My extended fanciful theory is: Baba was at this point paying a return visit to the "ship's officer"! But God alone knows best!
As recorded in Lord Meher, Baba did make a later reference to his agent in Sing Sing (the maximum-security prison on the east bank of the Hudson River). To get to that reference, will you permit me to take a more leisurely detour through this obscure subject matter, gentle Reader? Here goes:
The account in Lord Meher of Meher Baba's travels in the West in the early 1930s includes a smattering of brief anecdotal references to contacts with certain of the Avatar's spiritual agents, located in various places along the route of His travels. One such anecdote involves a silent encounter aboard a boat on a lake in the Swiss Alps in 1932 (a boat trip arranged by Kitty Davy for Baba's relaxation). We read: "On the boat, an elderly Swiss laborer sat opposite Baba for almost an hour and left the boat when it stopped at a small harbo r. As he stepped off the boat, he turned and smiled at Baba. Baba later asked if they had noticed anything unusual about the man, but since they had not, he explained: ' He was my agent. I have come here for complete rest, and in order to do that, I must temporarily hand over the work to someone else. This morning, I have done that with this man. I had to raise him from [between] the second and third plane to [between] the fourth and fifth, so that he could take on the work I am giving him.'... There's a bit more to the story (as you can see on page 1394 ).
In a later account of Baba's visit to Rome the following year, we read: "Baba sat among the fountains and gardens of the crowded Plaza de Cataluna until it was time to leave for the train. It was then that a policeman in the plaza kept glancing at Baba in a marked, significant way, and Baba confirmed that this was the agent whom he had to contact." There follows in Lord Meher a short discourse Baba gave at some point on the subject of his agents (whom he distinguishes as "direct," "indirect", or "borrowed," explaining the sense of each term; see page 1573). There then follows (on the next page) a stringing-together of the whole sequence: "Baba ... indicated that the various agents he had contacted who were stationed in Sing Sing Prison, Lugano, Santa Margherita and Barcelona were all borrowed agents. The one in Warsaw, whom Herbert [Davy] contacted, was an indirect agent. The Italian, named Christiano, whom Baba contacted in Rome, was a [rare] direct agent." [page 1574Only Baba knows what He was doing in all this. Our lengthy detour finally leads us back to the marvel of Meher Baba.  [ back ]
DRInote44. Bhau Kalchuri, Lord Meher online, p. 1300. [back]
DRInote55. Meher Baba, The Universal Message (1958). [back]

From Meher Baba Library (from Ubiquitous Two: "Living Room Ubiquitous")     
copyright AMBCSC  

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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