No. 7         Meherabode Gazette       November  2015

Autumn Issue:   "I Will Turn the Key"

Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California

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

In This Issue
1. Meher Baba's Words
2. Venice Bookstore (Allan Saviskas)
3. Meherazad, February 1967 (Bill Le Page)
4. What's Happening
5. Music Corner: Your Eyes (Julie Rust)
6. Baba's Universal Work (Charles Haynes)
7. Manzil-of-Mirth
8. God Speaks (Ward Parks)
9. Archives Update
10. Tim Garvin's Baba Story
11. Turning the Key (David R. Israel)
12. Poetry Corner (Brian Darnell)
13. Meher Baba Books
14. Video Corner (Baba at Guruprasad)
Contact Information
Jai Meher Baba!
and  Welcome back to
Meherabode Gazette 
Autumnal Thanksgiving Issue No. 7
in which we reflect on some of the
lanes and byways of loving & serving Meher Baba
globally & locally
As the seasons continue to turn, that beautiful messenger, Autumn, delivers its annual news (a message of change inscribed on ten thousand falling rusty leaves), while we continue following the little trail of our lives in the Beloved's remembrance. In the current issue of this quarterly journal, we have dipped into a page out of Meher Baba history with Bill Le Page's recollection (drawn from his memoir, The Turning of the Key) of his final visit with Beloved Baba, the God-Man, at Meherazad in 1967. Bill recalls his conversation with the Silent One that lent his book its title; and we, in turn, turn attention to this idea of key-turning, a phrase and image which form a recurring theme amid the weave of Baba's work with His disciples, His devotees, and the turning world at large. David Raphael Israel weighs in on this turnkey topic with a sequence of reflections, drawing on the generous record in Lord Meher. This Meherabode Gazette issue also features an excerpt from Meher Baba the Awakener, Charles Haynes' volume (currently out of print), exploring aspects of Meher Baba's "Universal Work." Charles was our guest speaker at the  annual Urban Sahavas in LA this past July, a wonderful event.

Other items to note: our further exploration of Southern California Baba-world history, this time with the bookstore story narrated by Allan Saviskas, who as a young man gamely opened the Venice Beach Meher Baba Bookstore back in 1968. We also feature Tim Garvin's captivating account of his coming-to-Baba tale (hinging on a worrisome spiritual riddle Tim feels Baba eventually unraveled for him via Eruch); and we offer part 2 of Ward Parks' erudite analysis, outlining core structural dimensions of Meher Baba's key book,  God Speaks.

Regular readers of this journal will recognize recurrent features: the Video, Music, and Poetry "Corners" (slots respectively filled this time around by contributions from Mischa Rutenberg, Julie Rust, and Brian Darnell). The LA Corner column has been semi-retired (it may return occasionally in future). With Issue No. 7, we unveil a new regular feature. If you stroll on down to Item 7, you'll discover the Manzil-of-Mirth, where we traffic in tidbits of  Baba Humor.

This virtual publication is being finalized on the eve of the Thanksgiving Day holiday celebrated in the United States -- arguably one of the profoundest holidays in concept, since it focuses the heart on the source of gratitude at the center of our beings. May the happiness of gratitude wash over all friends world-wide! May we together bathe our minds and hearts in the peace of Beloved Baba's ample love.

We hope you find a feast here for the soul, and fodder for your ongoing contemplation of the matchless Beloved. 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 (circa 1957) at Ganeshkhind in Poona, image courtesy of Meher Nagar Publications (original photography by Meelan Studos)
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)

The Illusion that Sustains Reality

more to come!
1. Meher Baba's Words:
from a private conversation (1934)
On 27 September [1934], Nadirsha Dastur came to Meherabad. In the course of a private conversation, he complained that he had lost money in business due to Baba's advice and his friends were now ridiculing his continued faith in the Master.

Baba explained to Nadirsha at length:

The meaning of faith is that one is not shaken by anything. Faith is the means whereby anything can be courageously accomplished.

digital artist: Frank Bloise
(original photo courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications) 
Worldly people naturally worry about their families, but, in reality, everything is one big zero. How long will your connection with your family last? What do you know about your forefathers and, likewise, how long will your family members remember you after you pass away? They will forget everything. No one is going to remember anything or have any connection with you. All these present connections are only temporary; they are not permanent or everlasting.

You are now worrying about your family because of some monetary problems. Suppose that everything is all right and you have millions tomorrow. You will all live in comfort then. You will collect jewels and other things. But what about in the hereafter? Nothing is left! When the body drops, everything ends! Everything becomes useless -- meaningless! So, we [Masters] see far ahead [to the Goal], because only that is permanent and lasting. We do not pay attention to all these superficial difficulties.

You are mine. You have faith in me. I gave you advice and you lost money by carrying it out. If people say that I have used up your money, it is true. But why? How can people be blamed? You are definitely mine, because you have faith in me, and you have held out and stuck fast to my feet despite your own hardships. But how are people to believe this? How could they have such faith? Therefore, if they speak against me behind my back, just listen quietly. What truth is in it?

Meher Baba at Upper Meherabad (1935)
(photo courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications) 
Christ was nailed to the cross; but did it change his state? The truth is, he who is Perfect is not moved by any disaster. He remains Perfect even if the whole world speaks against him. How would the sun be affected if men were to shoot arrows at it? The arrows will rebound and come raining down on the persons who shot them. The Avatar, or the Sadgurus, are thus like the sun.

They are not going to be impressed or influenced in any way by the arrows of slander. But why am I affected by this? I feel for you, because you are being harassed.

Remember this: Those whom I love suffer somehow in any event. But this is the moral: No sooner than you have money, pay off your debtors. You got involved in a business in which you suffered a loss, because I asked you to get involved. Now I will  turn the key in such a way that everything will be all right and you will have happy times. But always be honest in your dealings. It is better to be honest and suffer than to be dishonest and enjoy life.

Nadirsha departed feeling reconciled -- comforted by Baba's words.

Lord Meher online, pp. 1640-1641
[emphasis added & typography tweaked]
2. AMBCSC History:  The Bookstore Years
    The Venice Beach Meher Baba Bookstore (1968-72)

The Venice Beach Meher Baba Bookstore

In the 1960s Meher Baba sent a dynamic wave of transformational energy into the world. This ancient call struck the hearts of many young people and they recognized that their Beloved was once again on this Earth and they could join Him. This wave was perhaps strongest in America and Western Europe. Young men and women walked in off the street into Baba groups in every city. Los Angeles was no exception. Filis Frederick was a magnet for many of these young Baba-lovers. At that time Filis worked for Mattel Toys in the games department. You may not know this but Filis invented Paint By Numbers. A small group of Mattel employees were Baba-lovers, including Jurgis Sapkus who was head of doll design. Yes, Jurgis had a hand in the creation of Barbie.

By the late 60's Filis' modest home was filled every week with blissed-out old souls in young bodies. In 1968 Filis wondered if meetings could be held someplace larger.
L eft to right: John Page, Judy (Stevens) Page, Mehera Page (baby), Ginger Hughes, Mani Saviskas     (baby), Allan Saviskas, Lynn Owens, Brigitte Saviskas, Merwan Scott (boy), Cris Fretto, Tim Owens, Terri     Scott (not yet Adams), Raina Scott (baby)

At that time I was living in a store front in Venice, California, that used to be a barber shop. It seemed like the perfect place to hold meetings and have a Baba bookstore. So a small but dedicated and creative team was brought together to transform Angelo's Barber Shop into the Meher Baba Bookstore, Venice.

The team included Judy and Louis (Lefty) Stevens, Hank and Terri Scott, Terri's sister Lynn, Audry Janpul, Jay Foulk, Larry Fretto and others. Book shelves went up, walls and windows were decorated and cushions were provided for sitting. Lefty and I hoisted a 4'x8' Meher Baba Bookstore sign, painted by the girls, up to the top of the building and secured it to the wall. The place was unique, beautiful and had enough space for events. Aside from Baba-lovers, almost the first visitors we had were the Venice police. They thought that we were opening another hippie shop. Much to their surprise and relief they found out that Meher Baba's message on drugs was a ray of hope for youth. Later with the help of Allan Cohen, we took Baba's message on drugs and launched a "Consciousness Beyond Drugs" group. We spoke at high schools, colleges, youth groups and churches for the next three years.
The interest in Meher Baba surged over the next several years. By 1971 we had a mailing list of over 500. We had to use space at UCLA when we had a guest speaker. We were invited by different spiritual groups to give Baba talks. The bookstore was on Pacific Avenue. Being just a block from the beach, it seemed that anyone and everyone stopped by. Some of the notable guests were: Rano Gayley, Lud Dimpfl, Adelle Wolkin, Margueritte Poley, Dana Field, Adi and Meherjee, W.D. Kane, Sam Kerawalla, Hilda Fuchs, Ravi Shankar, and the FBI.

 left to right: Louis (Lefty) Stevens, Allan Saviskas, Terri Scott, Marla Rightman, Merwan Scott, Marco Fuentes,  Brigitte Saviskas, Mani Saviskas (baby), Judy Page
This cascade of fiery young Baba lovers in the late 60's and early 70's was laying a blueprint for Baba-lovers in the future. They were the vanguard of Meher Baba lovers for the next 700 years. They are linked to the Avatar at their very core, creating a deep and abiding love for the Beloved. So when the invitation to have Baba's Darshan came [in 1968], the core Venice group joined together and shared expenses and living space. We worked several jobs to secure the funds to go to India. The father of one of the Baba girls was a doctor and he gave travel shots at the bookstore, free of charge.

Then on February 1st 1969 we received the news that Baba had finished His work and dropped His body the day before. Without anything being said, Baba-lovers began to spontaneously arrive that evening at the Venice bookstore. That evening we came together in joy and deep gratitude for having known Him while on this Earth. There was no sorrow or disappointment. Instead we made plans to complete our trip to the Beloved.

Left to right:  Susan Herr, Jurgis Sapkus, Lefty Stevens,
Cris Frtetto with Baba doll make by Terri Scott, John Conner
Baba always stressed that an internal connection with Him was the desired goal.
Even if He was far away or even out of the body, the internal link was always sustained. So, even though most of these young Baba-lovers who gravitated around the bookstore had not met Baba in the body, they had as deep an internal link with Him as those who knew His physical form. Those of us who went to the Great Darshan [in spring 1969] strengthened that internal bond. This batch of lovers who connected with the Divine Beloved, not having known His form, naturally demonstrated the majesty of the Avatar.
At the Darshan program Francis Brabazon gave a moving address. 
I am amazed and filled with joy to discover that the Beloved that I have been serving for many years is truly a mighty Beloved... Who but the Beloved of Beloveds could speak His Word silently in your hearts and make you come from across the world to take His darshan, to bow down to Him in your hearts... to come tens of thousands of miles to bow down to Him in one's own heart, that is an entirely different order of devotion. Why has beloved Baba given you this extraordinary privilege? Because He requires a few to do what the many... must eventually do: journey across the world of illusion to take darshan of Him in one's own heart. 

You know that from 1966 on, Baba was in strict seclusion. No direct communication with Baba was to be attempted, no letters, no telegrams, no visits. That doesn't mean that we did not plot some way to reach Him in this incarnation. God loves a scoundrel, and being one sometimes pays off. On a late summer afternoon at the Venice bookstore, John Conner and I hatched a crazy plan. Without any expectations but with a little hope, John and I had our picture taken in front of the Baba bookstore. We then enclosed the photo in a Christmas card and sent it to Adi K. Irani. A month or so later Filis Frederick came to the Venice bookstore with a letter in her hand and fire in her eyes. She asked John and me how could we have done such a thing. She said that we should have known better then to try to communicate with Baba and disturb Him. We did not know what she was referring to. Then she opened a letter she had received from Aid K. At the end of the letter Adi wrote to tell Allan and John that he had shown the card and picture to Baba and Baba said that He was happy to see a picture of His young lovers. The next week Filis gathered the whole Baba group and took a picture in front of the Venice bookstore and sent it to Adi K.

  Silence Day 1969, Rat House, Palos Verdes
  Front Row - Carol Scott, Virginia Patino, Jay Faulk, Laurel, Larry Fretto
  Row 2 - Brigitte Saviskas, ?, Marge Thorne, Terri Scott, Baby Merwan, ?, Jack Small, Jim Irons, ?, Duncan ...
  Top Row- Allan Saviskas, Clive Adams, Eddie Brooks (with the Ancient One), Ami Zwicker

In the summer of 1972 we closed the Venice Bookstore. The energy that had drawn us together was now spinning us out in new directions. As we moved into the next phases of our life with Baba, we carried in our core the loving energy that Baba had infused into our very cells. This radiant love affects everyone we come in contact with in His creation.

Allan Saviskas

Editor's Note:

Allan Saviskas  has been a Meher Baba's devotee for almost 50 years.  In the mid-60s Baba revealed Himself as the One Allan had been  searching for in this life.  He opened the Venice Meher Baba Bookstore in 1968 in response to an  influx of young and old souls who heard Baba's Call.  He traveled to Baba's Samadhi for the Great Darshan in 1969, and again  to Baba's Samadhi in 1987. He attended the East-West Gathering  Reunion in 2012.  He has lived in Europe and the Caribbean.  Currently he lives in Northern California and teaches at a local college.
3.  Meherazad, February 1967

Shortly after my return to Australia, I wrote a general account of my stay at Meherazad. It is in the present tense, just as I experienced it, and I give it here unchanged.

A Journey to the Beloved

Philosophers, historians and spiritual masters have all noted time and again the recurring patterns of God's creation, recurring patterns that are never exactly the same, but vary in colour, name, and form. The rise and fall of races and civilisations, of empires, kings, and fashions: the more one scans the history of man broadly, the more one senses the unrolling film of God's dream of creation, ever repeating the main themes and ever varying in colour, name, and form. One appreciates more and more that it is a film we watch, ourselves the shadows projected on a screen, and in which we become involved and lost. Such a view of life has long been recognised and accepted by countless thinkers. Yet most of us are denied this insight into the true nature of the endless shadow-play by our narrow involvement with the immediate issues and scenes which have ourselves as participants. We do not see broadly, see what lies below the surface, detect the recurring patterns; perceive the underlying realities behind the shifting colour, name, and form.

Meher Baba at Meherazad (Sept. 1967) -- filmed by Louis Van Gasteren (Spectrum Films)

This is the case with the Ancient One, the God-Man, the Christ. In God's dream of creation He also, naturally, placed Himself, the supreme Reality, fully conscious of creation as dream and Himself as Truth, to remind the creatures of His creation that what they think is reality is not so. He comes as Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, whenever the spiritual law has been lost sight of and materiality is rampant. He is the recurring pattern with varied colour, name, and form. But involved as we are in some limited area or aspect of the dream, we fail to see the recurring pattern, the Reality behind the varying surface.

How then do we recognise Him on His periodic visits? How do we overcome our narrow vision and see that He is the same One who has always come? God does provide the means. Our heart is a true mirror: the response of our heart to His message a true reflection. Heart can tell us if we give it the opportunity. Heart can make everything possible if we allow it. Why? Because God is in the heart, but He sleeps and is to be awakened....

Bill takes Baba's Darshan (1954)
God-Man is wherever His lovers are. Love calls forth His presence, and He never fails the call of love. He who is infinite and everywhere lives in His physical form in India, nine months in Meherazad and three months in Poona. Yet I associate Him essentially with Meherazad....

Here in quietness and whitewashed simplicity lives the friend of the universe, God-Man, He Who loves us more than we can ever love Him. How much He is friend, unfortunately we only seem to realise after He has dropped His physical cloak and retired to rest. This casual home of His, Meherazad, has an atmosphere that cannot be denied -- it is there as much as Baba is there -- as intangible and as definite. It is very difficult to describe the atmosphere, just as it is to describe God-Man, but it is certainly not a dead or sleeping quietness. One feels very much alive in every part of oneself, mental alertness without agitation, joyfulness and sufficiency without excitement and expectancy. It is very beautiful, but the beauty, over and above the normal beauty of His creation, is that of the incomparable Being who adorns it.

Meherazad now is very quiet. The routine rarely alters, and time is simply day and night, punctuated by the ringing of Baba's bell, and the two daily visits to the men mandali's hall. If a calendar is not marked, the date would not be known. And in this quiet, this silence that speaks volumes, the bell and the occasional soft distant call of a neighbouring farmhand to his cattle seem to emphasise the view that the world is a passing caravan, and the only real thing the call of the Shepherd to return from straying.

Meher Baba sits, His heart an open treasurehouse of compassion for mankind, but His body in strict seclusion. Here He sits, a few old disciples and companions with Him, physically tortured and helpless with the aftermath of two severe [automobile] accidents and a lifetime of fasting, sleeplessness and service to creation. He never spared Himself in His daily life -- nor does He now, but not in the same ways as previously.

When He laid down that the spiritual path is love and service, He lived this to the hilt, without consideration of the cost to His body. He was the master-whip who set a cracking pace for all with Him. Now He is broken in health, the lightning hidden behind veils of pain. Now He is Master and helpless man at one and the same time. How frail, infinitely weary, infinitely sad, racked by physical infirmities and injuries, stomach ruined by a lifetime of fasts and neglect and yet how infinitely God in human form, Lord of the universe contained (in illusion) in a deteriorating cage. Soon He will be free, stretch out His mighty spirit with a roar and be gone to His home for seven hundred years.

Baba with Mandali, 1967
There was a time when Meherazad was a beehive of activity, housing many disciples. Now there are but fourteen: eight men, seven women, and the average age more than sixty years. Their lifetime of service to Meher Baba has left its mark, has given them many physical ailments, but, except where it would be of help to others, they never tell of the hardships of their service, nor do they complain in word or deed of their physical distress. Meher Baba stated many years ago, "My true greatness will be seen in the transformation I effect in My disciples." This is the main thought one has in associating with them over a period of time. Certainly they are human, individuals, they have their differing individual traits, likes and dislikes; they voice their opinions, are above everything natural and spontaneous. But they all have one thing in common, difficult to pinpoint, but which could be described as lightness of spirit. They affect one as does a clear dawn after a night of deep sleep. This lightness comes from a common source -- an absolute unswerving devotion and obedience to their Beloved Baba. They have only Him and such is their single-minded devotion that they become true reflection of His divine qualities. They adopted as their motto "Mastery in Servitude": so they know nothing except that of being His slaves, yet in that surrender is their emergence as true men and women. Their strength is His strength, but that can only arise in the freedom of their choice to be His slaves. As they have expressed, "We exercised our freedom to become His slaves," and in turn He has made them rocks for the foundation of the house He builds for our shelter until He comes again.

Meher Baba Himself does little outward work now, in distinct contrast to earlier years. He sits and listens with infinite patience and kindness and sometimes enjoyment to the little songs, queries, complaints, tales of woe, pleadings, from His lovers. He is attentive (to an outsider at times strangely so, the matter so trivial or inartistic) to these messages and letters; yet one has a distinct and unshakeable impression that such is not His real work, that inwardly He is working in a way and on what we do not know, but whatever it is, it is His real work. And again one has an impression that, whatever His work is, it has reached a culmination point and that He is now biding His time for the results to manifest. For each one He is friend and beloved, an infinite divine ocean of compassion even to our little individual human problems; for mankind, creation in general, He is God taken form to bring about the unfoldment of a further reel of His dream-film. He alone knows whom and what He awaits. Meanwhile He gives attention to the growing multitude of lovers. To each He says, "Love Me more and more, turn to Me, remember Me whole-heartedly and I am with you, inwardly helping you."

Baba with Pegu
It is very difficult to write of Beloved Baba as I saw Him over those fourteen days [in February 1967]. To picture Him now is to remember the slow, uneven walk in the hall, the neck brace, and the movement in the chair as He obviously sought to ease the pain in His body. He so often spoke of not resting well at night, and on one day Dr. Goher said that His temperature during the night had been 104 degrees. Looking back, it seems that I recognise and feel His pain now more than I did then; I feel more now than then His distress with the news that Pegu, the Siamese cat that was always with Him at Guruprasad, had been killed on the road  outside the bungalow; and I regret so much now my lack of adequate words when He asked how His movements seemed to me as He walked in the hall. And the intensity with which He stressed the importance of His place, Avatar's Abode, gathered, if that was possible, additional weight from His physical pain....

When I was not with Baba, I was given massive files to read of the work being done in America by Rick Chapman and Allan Cohen and others. There was time spent talking with Francis, and again with Francis and Eruch when we prepared completed texts of the discussions with Baba on Avatar's Abode, His work in Australia, and on some of his family of lovers in Australia. Thus my days were filled and work-oriented, and the only relaxing time was an evening walk with Eruch, Meherwan always, plus Francis sometimes.

During these walks Eruch would tell stories of incidents with Baba or from spiritual tradition. Some of the stories lasted over two nights, and they were all told with a freshness and depth that makes them memorable for me to this day. Perhaps it was the setting of those walks, the atmosphere of Meherazad that we carried with us, and especially it could have been seeing the yellow light of the single hurricane lamp outside the window of Baba's room in the growing darkness as we returned, but I shall ever carry with me the impression of those walks and those stories....
Francis, Baba, Eruch; photo courtesy of MN Collection

To myself, Beloved Baba expressed these wishes:

Francis will transfer Avatar's Abode to Bill, who will, when the time is ripe, form a Trust of which he will be Chairman and turn the Place over to it.

Bill's objective will be to make Avatar's Abode universally known, for it is to become one of the great Places of Pilgrimage in the world. This is a great burden Baba is putting on Bill's shoulders, and it will be the responsibility of all who love Baba to co-operate fully with him as one heart with many hands.

In a few years' time Bill will move with Joan and the children and his mother to Avatar's Abode.... Meher House will be let to suitable tenants. It is not ever to be sold, for it is also Baba's Place.

This general theme of Baba's wishes was repeated over many days, and with great forcefulness and pressure by Baba. I remained as willing as always to do whatever He asked of me, but the question of my capability of measuring up to what He wished me to achieve weighed more and more heavily on me. Finally, when I spoke to Eruch about my doubts, he encouraged me to speak up to Baba the next morning. This I did, and Baba looked at me steadily and then said, "I will turn the key." Thus I was assured that however inadequately I might perform in the role He had given me, the result was absolutely in His hand and according to His wish.

Meher House (Sydney, Australia), with the black & white photo described by Bill above; this photo-of-the-photo was taken by Michael Le Page at Meher House (used with permission)
On one occasion, after I had walked alongside Baba as He was carried in His chair back from Mandali Hall to the house, I was alone with Him on the porch of the house. He looked at me seriously and a number of times, opened His arms wide, saying clearly to me that I was to try my best to be big-hearted, brave, and courageous in my life and the work He had given me.

On the fourteenth day I left Mandali Hall, with Beloved Baba physically present, for the last time. Earlier on this day Baba had handed me a piece of cloth as a present from Him and a large photo of Himself, 16 x 20 inches, for Meher House. This photo he held in His hands for a moment looking at it, then kissed it, saying, "How beautiful He is!"

On the fifteenth day, on Baba's instructions, I was taken for the day to the Ellora Caves by Don and Francis. Why, I do not know, and I have often wondered. But perhaps Beloved Baba was saying to me that the development of Avatar's Abode as a great Place of Pilgrimage would take many generations, as, for example, had Kailas temple at Ellora.
Bill Le Page

[From:  Bill Le Page,  The Turning of the Key: Meher Baba in Australia (1993); reprinted with kind permission of the author.]
Editor's Note:

Bill Le Page, born in Melbourne Australia in 1924, had the good fortune to attend the "Three Incredible Weeks" with Meher Baba in India in 1954, and was present when Baba gave His Final Declaration. Bill also spent time with Baba in 1956, 1958, 1962, and 1967. Bill writes in his book, The Turning of the Key: "The only truly significant event in my life was my coming consciously into the orbit of Beloved Meher Baba's love at the age of twenty-two, the beginning and end of my life." Bill has been a psychologist, a businessman, and a writer, with Meher Baba the chief subject of his writings. An inspired speaker, Bill and his artist-wife Diana in recent years have been dividing their time between Avatar's Abode (Australia) and the Meher Spiritual Center (Myrtle Beach, SC).
4. What's Happening at His Home in LA -- Meherabode


"You are all keen on spreading My message of Love and Truth and many of you in the East and West have labored hard in this work; publishing magazines and other literature, organizing meetings, sacrificing your vacations in travelling, building halls and having statues made of Me. But I wonder how much of My love and truth has been in your work of spreading My Message of Love and Truth!

"Unless there is brotherly feelings in your hearts all the words that you speak or print in My name are hollow; all the miles that you travel in My cause are zero; all organizations for My work are but an appearance of activity; all buildings that contain Me are empty places and all statues that you make to embody Me are of someone else."
-- Meher Baba
[from a message given at the East-West Gathering; Lord Meher online, p. 4871]

Greetings from Los Angeles, California, in this nice autumn season. With the arrival of Fall, b ehold the changing leaves, and enjoy the crisp breeze. Let your eyes take in the bursts of color and feel the love and transformation in the air. 

We are happy and busy in His LA home here in California. Although Baba does all of His work, yet for us being bound to illusory domains of time and space, we feel occupied and engaged in His work for His home, Meherabode. 

2015 Sahavas Participants (early July)

Meherabode is felt by many to be among the loveliest of Centers devoted to Meher Baba in the United States.  It is a secluded one-acre historical property in a residential area a bit south of Hollywood, nestled among mansions from the 1920s with the elegance and style of that period. There is a serene atmosphere and Baba's sweetness amid the lovely gardens, along the walking paths, and within the cozy meditation chapel called "the Dome". We are  fortunate  to have such a beautiful Center while aiming to serve Him and new comers .  

The Sahavas begins with raising Baba's flag (representing 7 planes of consciousness)
This year, guest speaker Charles Haynes was joined by his spouse Christopher Wilson

This summer, at the annual Urban Sahavas in July, we enjoyed the companionship and stories of Guest Speaker Charles Haynes and the company and wonderful music of Guest Musician Jamie Newell. Charles first met Baba during the Sahavas held at Meher Spiritual Center in 1958. In 1962, he attended the East-West Gathering in Pune, India; and in April 1969, he participated in the Great Darshan. Charles delighted us with a few superb talks sharing Baba, and said he was happy to be with us since it's such a privilege and a joy "to talk about Meher Baba in the presence of Meher Baba." He shared: "When Baba gathers people together in Sahavas, in a gathering, there's something special that He does, and a special presence that He brings."

Charles shared remarkable stories from his first meeting of Meher Baba as an 8-year-old boy in 1958; and Charles and Christopher later shared rare tales of Jayne Haynes, Elizabeth Patterson and Kitty Davy in Myrtle Beach

Charles also shared tales of growing up in the close company of Elizabeth Patterson and Kitty Davy. Charles and Christopher Wilson offered an excellent multi-media presentation illustrating their stories about the life of Jane Haynes and intimate incidents from Charles' childhood with Jane, Elizabeth ("Aunty Bu") and Kitty.

Jamie Newell as himself (left) and as Elvis (right)!

Jamie Newell (singer/songwriter/guitarist with  a long musical history) learned of Meher Baba in the early 1970s while touring with a blues band. His music at the Sahavas was exquisite. As a soloist, Jamie offered inspirational songs including a subtle setting of Hafiz' poetry. He also performed a few new songs that warmed our hearts, in fresh praise of Beloved Baba. Two old items from the Elvis Presley songbook were quite entertaining. This Sahavas was a rich medley of words and music in celebration of the Ancient One, Meher Baba.

Julie Rust singing of Meher Baba in July; Jimmy Khan speaking of Meher Baba in August

In August, Jimmy Khan visited us from India and shared stories of his meetings with Meher Baba, followed by a convivial lunch  (including organic dal & brown rice). The treasured experiences of Jimmy's life are of being in Baba's presence more than 150 times throughout Baba's days spent at the Guruprasad summer palace in Pune, including during the East-West Gathering in 1962 and the 1965 Darshan. He shared those satisfying glimpses. 

Dr. Ajang with The Wayfarers; Sahavas guests with festivity

A presentation by Dr. Mahmoud Ajang, exploring Baba's work with masts, proved delightful. A psychiatrist and longtime devotee of Meher Baba, Dr. Ajang reviewed the distinction Baba draws between ordinary madness and the state of God-intoxication. From a worldly viewpoint they might appear to be similar, but from Baba's perspective, they differ in crucial ways.
Songs for the Beloved

Songs for the Beloved -- A Summer's-End Concert performed by local artists:  The Still Yet More Chamber Players (Pris and Chris Haffenden) and Elaine Munson, was a lovely event sharing songs Baba and Mehera loved plus new compositions; and we heard Chris' renovated oboe at its best!

Rosie Choi reads God Speaks aloud; and many of the readers after reaching the book's Conclusion

Again in early autumn, we enjoyed an annual group reading marathon of Meher Baba's magnum opus God Speaks. The reading started at 9:00 am and ended at 5:00 pm (spanning from " All souls ( atmas ) were, are and will be in the Over-Soul ( Paramatma) " 190 pages to the Conclusion), with team-spirited participants taking turns reading in 30-minute installments. 

Members of a younger generation gather to read and discuss Baba's Discourses together;
Ward Parks (in right-hand photo) visited the group recently

Youth Discourses (every Monday evening), an ongoing series for younger-generation Baba-lovers, is very inspiring. The group has been  chronologically reading and discussing a new selection from Meher Baba's Discourses each week. All younger-generation spiritual aspirants are invited to come join these meetings. It is really such joy to observe this group delve into the divinity of Baba's words and flourish with them -- as they do. The group is now well into Volume III (of the three-volume set). When they reach the end, they plan to begin again at the beginning!

Dr. Ward Parks visited us from his home at Meherabad in Maharashtra, India, where he has lived for many years. This year, Ward designed a two-weekend seminar with seven sessions on the theme of "Truth in Values in Meher Baba's Discourses." In this seminar, the speaker delved with us into this great work,  guiding us through a reading of Baba's Discourses approached from many angles and with much insight. 


On the final day of the four-day (two weekend) Seminar, there was an afternoon performance of This New Life, in a two-and-a-half hour (short) version! This musical dramatization of Meher Baba's remarkable New Life phase (1949-1952) was recently premiered (in a much fuller, longer version) at  Meherana, in Mariposa, California. Written by Ralph Brown, Greg Dunn, and Michalene Seiler, a musical score and song lyrics by Ward Parks, and projected slides by Joseph Choi, the play's cast at Meherabode included Baba-lovers from Mariposa, Los Angeles and beyond. The musical was ably directed by Deborah Ash. It was an ambitious undertaking, considering the logistical difficulties of organizing rehearsals in a short time frame, but by all accounts came off beautifully, thanks to the dedicated efforts of many and grace from The One! We will include a more detailed report on the musical in our next issue of this Gazette. The LA Baba group has been energized by this groundbreaking experience, and plans are now afoot for more Meher Baba dramas.

It has been a year with lovely events at Meherabode. We always welcome visitors from near and far. Come see us sometime!

Mahoo Ghorbani
AMBCSC President 
5. Music Corner:
    "Your Eyes" (Julie Rust)

Julie Rust is an inspirational musician based in Nashville, Tennessee. A wife and mother to two daughters, Julie has dedicated her life to making music to inspire, uplift, heal and enlighten. 

At the Urban Sahavas  in Los Angeles this past July, Julie shared a few of her compositions, including this beautiful song "Your Eyes." (We carry her CD Effortless  at Meher Baba Books.)

[click on link to hear the music]

Your Eyes

I can never be lost
I can never be tossed aside
I can never be cross
When I look, when I look
Into Your eyes

I will never be sad
I will never be bad
I will never be mad
When I look, when I look
Into Your eyes

Oh, oh Your eyes
Deep love resides
Oh, oh Your eyes
I love Your eyes

I don't think about fate
I don't think about states of mind
I don't think about hate
When I look, when I look
Into Your eyes

Oh, oh Your eyes
Deep love resides
Oh, oh Your eyes
I love Your eyes
I love 
I love
I feel love
When I look
Into Your eyes

©Julie Rust/SESAC  
6. Pages from Meher Baba's Universal Work

Meher Baba described his life as the universal work of the Avatar, the unfolding of the divine plan for this age. In all that he did, Baba pointed to a transformation of consciousness that would be brought about through the awakening of divine love in the world. . . .

Mastery in Servitude                                               

Meher Baba's life of love and service was symbolic of the inner work of awakening he came to accomplish. Baba has explained that every action of the Avatar, who is one with all, has a profound impact on all life.

As a rule each action of an ordinary person is motivated by a solitary aim serving a solitary purpose; it can hit only one target at a time and bring about one specific result. But with the Avatar, He being the Centre of each one, any single action of His on the gross plane brings about a network of diverse results for people and objects everywhere. ( 1 )Charlesback1

According to Baba, God periodically brings about a forward movement of consciousness by personal participation in the world as the Avatar. His every action has a universal impact. When, for example, Baba cared for the untouchable boys and cleaned their latrines, he indicated that he was working in human consciousness to break down the caste system. For Baba, his many hours bowing down to the feet of the poor and lepers, distributing cloth and grain, were not
The author with Baba (Myrtle Beach, 1958)
simply acts of charity benefiting a few; they were acts initiating inner changes that will eventually benefit the poor and helpless everywhere. Similarly, gathering disciples from many races and religions, and travels throughout the world, symbolize the inner transformations that characterize the Avatar's universal work.

From this perspective, Baba's simplest action could be interpreted to be of great import for the world. This can be illustrated by citing an incident that occurred during Baba's 1952 visit to Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On the day Baba opened the Center to the public, a large number of people came from the town to meet him, entering the room individually or in family groups and then leaving by another door. The mandali present noticed that whenever a black person or family entered the room, Baba, in an unusual gesture, stood and walked across the room to greet them. Baba did not explain this or similar gestures, but many around him felt that this action was an outer sign of Baba's inner work on behalf of American blacks, work that has been manifested in the American civil rights movement.

Baba indicated that by working with a few representative people, he was working for large segments of the world's population. For this reason, it was crucial for him to have around him people of diverse personality types, nationalities, races and religions. He brought together, for example, Eastern and Western women to live in his ashram. As one observer has expressed it, he appeared to be working through these women to reshape the role of women for the future: He was sowing the seeds of a unity between East and West.

He was stressing the importance of woman for the coming age; and he was helping to develop a pattern of what kind of woman she would be -- one in whom the talent, the energy and practical capacity of the Westerners would be blended with the devotion and spirituality of the women mandali. ( 2) Charlesback2

In whatever he did, whether in the midst of intense activity or in deep seclusion, Meher Baba appeared to have a specific timetable and a definite plan for his work.... [H]e frequently arranged to be taken incognito to places where large numbers of people congregated in order to move silently through the crowds. Often he went out of his way, at times traveling great distances, to visit a specific spot or contact a particular individual unknown to all save Baba.

On the beach with Meher Baba, at Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, So. Carolina, 1956  
(photo: Meher Baba Travels website)   

There are countless stories about Meher Baba illustrating how his apparently random actions or sudden changes in plans turn out to be a part of some inner purpose. Typical of these accounts is an incident that occurred in Hamirpur during Baba's first visit to that remote district in India. After Baba agreed to visit Hamirpur, the people prepared for his coming by building roads and bridges so that his car could reach the rural villages. While walking through one such village along the route carefully prepared for him by his hosts, Baba suddenly halted and asked to be taken another way. At first his hosts objected, pointing out the many preparations along the planned route. Baba insisted, however, and began to lead the crowd to a remote area of the village. There he found and embraced an old couple who had faithfully readied their hut for days in order to make it worthy to receive the Avatar. Although mocked by their neighbors and told that Baba would come nowhere near their hut, they had steadfastly maintained that he would find them. Overjoyed, they had Baba as a guest in their simple hut that had been so lovingly prepared for him.

Seclusion Work

Throughout his life, Meher Baba alternated periods of intense activity with times of deep seclusion. These seclusions would vary in length from a matter of days to months, and even years at the end of his life. As with silence and fasting, Baba did
Meher Baba at "Seclusion Hill" adjacent Meherazad
courtesy of artist: Charles Mills
not go into seclusion as a personal exercise or discipline. He explained that his seclusions were a necessary part of the universal work of awakening:

I am really the only one who is not in seclusion. It is the rest of humanity that is in seclusion; I have come to enable it [humanity] to emerge into Eternal Freedom. (3)Charlesback3

Baba's seclusions usually took place in a small space and were often accompanied by a fast. The atmosphere around the seclusion area was invariably highly charged. At times, for reasons known only to Baba, a mast was needed for seclusion work.... [An] incident involving Chatti Baba reveals something of the intensity of Baba's times in seclusion:

Baba has never, as far as I know, explained why, when he sits with a mast, he insists upon the rigid exclusion of anyone else. It is, however, possible, from an experience related by Eruch during this period of Chatti Baba's stay at Bangalore, that there is a tangible, physical danger in interrupting him at such a time...

The two were closeted in silence in Baba's room for about two hours, and at the end of that period, Eruch, hearing Baba's movements to open the door, got up and released the clasp from the outside. Chatti Baba then emerged, and brushed past him on his way to his own room. As he went past, Eruch tells how he felt a palpable and excruciating shock pass through his body, similar, he says, to an electric shock.  (4)Charlesback4

Every seclusion was planned with care as to timing, location and scope. The mandali had to be on constant guard to prevent intrusion and to maintain silence near the seclusion site. During some of his seclusions, Baba asked his lovers to share in the work by spending a period of time in silence, prayer, meditation or fasting.

The exact nature of seclusion work, like the universal work itself, cannot be known beyond Baba's own indication that he worked during these periods on all levels of consciousness. He suggested that the results of his seclusions would unfold in the future. In 1932, for example, Baba made one
At the cave of St. Francis
(montage by digital artist: Cherie Plumlee)
of his few comments about the nature of a seclusion. After spending twenty-four hours in a cave associated with St. Francis of Assisi in Italy, Baba stated:

A meeting was held... when all the Saints and Masters from the sixth and seventh planes of consciousness saw me and we mapped out the spiritual destiny of the world for the next two thousand years.  (5)Charlesback5

During some of his seclusions Baba continued to direct other aspects of his work, sometimes "speaking" [via alphabet board] through a small window in his room. As previously noted, seclusions were frequently accompanied by prolonged fasts:

At the time of his Meher Ashram activities in 1927-28, Baba lived on a little milk and a few cups of milkless weak tea for 5 1/2 months. In the midst of this prolonged fast, Baba remained for 69 days in the crypt-like double room, built one upon the other on the Meherabad Hill which now is known as his future tomb. He used to retire in the six feet deep, four feet wide and six feet long underground crypt during the nights and supervised the Meher Ashram activities throughout the day time from a window of the room built above and all round the crypt. During the seclusion of 69 days, he also lived on plain water for 28 days.  (6)Charlesback6

Momentous changes in Baba's life were often marked by a seclusion period. The New Life, for example, was preceded by a forty-day seclusion in 1949 and during his last years in the late 1960s, Baba entered a prolonged seclusion declaring that he had to finish his universal work. This final seclusion took a great toll on his health:

The strain of that 18 months' Work in seclusion was tremendous. I used to sit alone in my room for some hours each day while complete silence was imposed on the mandali and no one of them was permitted to enter the room, during those hours every day. The strain was not in the work itself although I was working on all planes of consciousness, but in keeping my link with the gross plane. To keep this link I had to continuously hammer my right thigh with my fist.  (7)Charlesback7

At the end of these days in seclusion, the mandali would find Baba drained and wet with perspiration. When he ended this seclusion, he announced that his work was complete. Soon thereafter he left his physical body.

The true scope and significance of the universal work Meher Baba accomplished in seclusion is known only to him.  

Charles Haynes

[Excerpted from Charles Haynes, Meher Baba the Awakener (1989, 2nd edition 1993), published by The Avatar Foundation, Inc.; reprinted with permission of the author. The above text is drawn from Chapter 3:  "The Universal Work".]
Charles22. Tom and Dorothy Hopkinson, Much Silence (1975, 1982), p. 67 [ back]
Charles33. Meher Baba, quoted in Charles Purdom, The God-Man (1964, 2010), p. 379 [ back]
Charles44. William Donkin, The Wayfarers (1948, 1988), p. 62 [ back]
Charles55. Meher Baba, quoted in Ramjoo Abdulla and C.D. Deshmukh, Meher Baba in the Great Seclusion (1949), p. 3 [ back]
Charles66.  Ibid. , p. 6 [back]
Charles77. Meher Baba, quoted in Mani S. Irani, 82 Family Letters (1979), p. 328 [ back]

Editor's Note :

Charles Haynes  first met Meher Baba during the Sahavas held at Meher Spiritual Center in 1958. In 1962, he attended the East-West Gathering in Poona, India. And in April, 1969, he participated in the Great Darshan. Charles is the author of Meher Baba The Awakener (1993), and co-author, with Christopher Wilson, of Norina's Gift (1997). With a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Emory University, in his professional life Charles serves as Director of the Religious Freedom Education Program at the Newseum and as a senior scholar at Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in Washington, DC, where he addresses issues involving religious freedom in American public life.
7. Manzil-of-Mirth:  
    One-Hundred Percent!

Meher Baba remained in prolonged seclusion for most of the 1960s. He emerged from seclusion on rare occasion, including for the East-West Gathering in Pune (November 1962), and again in 1965 to attend a darshan program with approximately six thousand Eastern devotees. This program was likewise held at Guruprasad palace in Pune, running from May 1 through May 6. Besides daily darshan gatherings, Beloved Baba met and conversed intimately with smaller groups of His visiting lovers.

One day, amid such conversations, Baba said He wanted to hear a joke. An unnamed gentleman obliged with this.

Once a man visited a boys' school. He asked the boys a riddle: If a train 300 yards long crosses a railway platform in three minutes, what is my age? All the boys were dumbfounded.

One boy suddenly raised his hand and when asked the answer to the question he replied, "Forty-six years, sir." The man was quite perplexed at the answer for that was his correct age. He asked the boy how he had calculated his age. The boy replied, "My uncle who is 23 years old is only half mad, sir!"

[ Lord Meher  online, p. 5140]
8. The Organization of God Speaks (Part 2)      

[ Editor's Note: This is a continuation of an essay by Ward Parks, the first part of which appeared in  Issue No. 5 of the Meherabode Gazette ., in which the author introduced the subject of " The Divine Theme " as elucidated by Meher Baba in several writings, particularly in Baba's magnum opus God Speaks . In the first installment of his essay, Ward explained:

God Speaks  reviews the Divine Theme three times; these three "passes" organize the overall argument... While the Divine Theme provides the core content in each of these three passes, Baba's orientation changes and evolves considerably. When one comes to grasp this pattern and the way that it is playing itself out, I feel that  God Speaks  as a whole becomes much easier to understand.

We now continue with the concluding portion of Ward's essay.] 

From the Table of Contents of God Speaks
Reproduced by kind permission of Sufism Reoriented

While the Divine Theme in its broad outlines is doubtless familiar to most of Baba's lovers, in  God Speaks  Baba develops this core pattern in creative and unexpected ways. The first narrative pass  (in Parts 2 through 7, pp. 8-74), though complicated through certain repetitions and developments, attends in the main part to the basics of the metaphysical story line. The second pass  (in Part 8, pp. 75-155) draws into the weave other essentially non-narrative cosmological motifs that turn out to occupy a major place in Baba's larger metaphysical scheme of things. Distilling and systematizing, the third pass (Part 9 , "The Ten States of God," pp. 157-89) provides perhaps the most useful and significant single synopsis of Meher Baba's philosophy and metaphysics. Parts 1 and 10  serve as book ends, a ring structure around the three main central repetitions that make up the body of the text. Part 1 ("States of Consciousness") defines terms and lays foundations. Part 10 ("Conclusion") constitutes the God-Man's version of what in classical and medieval rhetoric used to be called a "retraction," in which the author's disclaimer qualifies and calls into question the value of all that he has said before.

The First Pass. The playing out of the basic narrative of the Divine Theme through  what I am calling the first pass (Parts 2 through 7 of God Speaks) may to a certain extent become obscured by small-scale repetitions, cycles within cycles. Nonetheless, from a bird's eye view, the greater movement stands forth clearly. Parts 2 and discuss evolution, Part 4 reviews reincarnation, and Parts 5 through 7 treat involution; and thus the larger cycle is brought to completion.


To focus in more closely: after a significant discussion of the First Urge (which is  the name that Baba calls the Whim by at this stage of the book), Part 2 patiently details that laborious process by which the soul gathers consciousness in evolution through the accumulation of  sanskaras . Part 3 , a very brief chapter, recapitulates and summarizes Part  2 largely by extracting and repeating key phrases. Baba progresses from evolution to  reincarnation in Part 4, completing His treatment of that phase of the soul's journey there.


Parts 5 through 7 trace the soul's story through the process of involution three times, each from a different standpoint. Part 5 gives a straightforward account of the path through the seven planes -- the fullest exposition on this topic in any of Baba's major writings.(1)parkback1 Despite what one might have inferred from its title, Part 6, "Summary of States of Divine Consciousness," offers as "summary" considerable amplification on points that were only mentioned in passing before, and the "states" under consideration are exclusively those  experienced after one has transcended the gross (that is, during involution or after Realization). Part 7 explores and amplifies on the Sufi poetic figure of the "veil," particularly in its relation to the structure of desire. Obviously I am God Speaks cover painting these chapters in broad strokes, and much more could be said. Parts 6 and 7 in particular depart from the more mainline and workmanly style of narrative development and analysis in the earlier chapters, introducing new themes and metaphors and intimating depths that one might not have guessed at previously. Yet the central point I want to make is that, through it all, despite the epicycles and digressions, what organizes the first third of God Speaks in Parts 2 through 7 is Baba's continuing movement and progress through the narrative of the Divine Theme.


Incidentally, this first "pass" contains the preponderance, indeed, almost all, of Baba's discussion in this book on the subject of sanskaras . From the beginning of Part 8 onward, sanskaras recede into the background and for long stretches disappear altogether.


The Second Pass. Part 8 comprises two-fifths of the primary text in God Speaks ; and if one allows for certain significant interpolations and digressions, once again, its global organization unmistakably derives from the Divine Theme narrative. 
Having told the story once before in Parts 2 through 7, why does Baba
Courtesy Avatar Meher Baba Trust site
immediately tell the story again, and at such length, in this bulky late 
As I see it, the narrative of the soul -- the "soul's biography" -- brings with it an unavoidable narrowness in point of view. The ignorant and limited self sees only what is relevant to its interests. Since its story line lays the tracks for Baba's account in the "first pass," that account too suffers from a certain limitation and circumscription, though of course Baba illuminates the soul's story and sets it within contexts that the soul itself, caught up in the broils and entanglements of its journey, could not be aware of. Yet quite beyond the soul's narrative and its immediate environment, God has natural roles and  attributes and consciousness and anatomy that need to be brought into the exposition. Part 8 undertakes to do this.


This present article affords space for nothing more that a bare listing of a few of these major topics that Baba's great chapter devotes much of its expanse to. The opening section of Part 8 elaborates on the " Everything and the Nothing" -- an important subject explored further in other messages and books composed during the following decade.( 2)parkback2  Next, three major triads receive  extensive treatment: the three consciousness-related states of sound sleep, dream, and wakefulness; God's three roles of Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer; and His three natures as Knowledge, Power, and Bliss. Later in the chapter Baba brings  fana and  baqa , "annihilation" and "abiding," into the weave; and the chapter winds to a close with explanations of the spiritual hierarchy and major types of spiritually advanced souls. (Several of these topics, by the way, had served as primary  focuses of discussion three decades earlier in  Infinite Intelligence , a work that, in my opinion, is analytic rather than narrative in its organization; and at many points the analyses in  Infinite Intelligence  cast illuminating search rays into God Speaks' more  cursory and abbreviated treatments.)

The Ten States of God, designed by Meher Baba, Chart VIII from God Speaks (1955, 1973)
Reproduced by kind permission of Sufism Reoriented


The Third Pass. Though its named author was Baba's disciple Eruch B. Jessawala, Part 9, "The Ten States of God," interprets and elaborates on a chart that Baba gave (Chart VIII, facing p.158), and the chapter seems to me to condense and epitomize God Speaks as a whole. Its progress through the ten states, once again, follows the narrative of the Divine Theme. But I feel a special significance attaches to the fact that the major stages and halting points in this exposition are characterized as states. The Divine Theme is, in the last analysis, the story of consciousness. In the ultimately indifferentiable oneness of God, seeming differences manifest as states, not natures or essences or existences. This orientation marks and characterizes the final "pass" in God Speaks.


In summary, then, Baba's great metaphysical masterpiece God Speaks, despite its profundity and intricacies of elaboration, has a simple plan of organization. Its repetition proves, on close inspection, to be purposeful and motivated. The root pattern that Baba builds His book on exhibits great elasticity, making it possible for Baba to encompass far-reaching concerns and multiple perspectives. So powerful is the vision that Baba unfolds through His use of the Divine Theme narrative that, until quite recently, it never fully occurred to me that the theme of creation could be explained in any other way. Yet  as Infinite Intelligence and other early works have made evident, Baba had many arrows  in His quiver. And in the end, as He underscores in God Speaks' famous conclusion (p. 190), where God is concerned, no understanding can suffice. The Divine Theme, like any other such construct, is ultimately a heuristic device, and the Goal of life is finally to be achieved not through mental means but through God's being lived and "realized by conscious experience."


Ward Parks

NOTES (by Ward):

parknote11. Baba does return to this subject in Part 8, however, especially pp. 114-125. This later account follows the earlier version in Part 5 (pp. 41-54) closely, with certain sentences and even passages repeated word for word. [ back]
parknote22. Prior to this, during the 1920s, it seems to me that " Light" and " Darkness" served as metaphysically parallel or even synonymous terms in Infinite Intelligence and In God's Hand. [ back]

Editor's Note

Ward Parks , Ph.D., was caught in the Avatar's net in November 1970 while a freshman at Harvard. He made a first pilgrimage to Baba's home in India in 1972 and has lived there since 1993. Formerly a professor of medieval literature, Ward works in the Avatar Meher Baba Trust's publication program and was among the editors for In God's Hand (2000), Infinite Intelligence (2005), the revised sixth edition of Baba's Discourses (2009), Meher Baba's Early Messages to the West (2009), and republication of  Divine Theme (2003-2011). Ward edits the Trust newsletter, In His Service, and has also edited Meher Baba's Tiffin Lectures (from the mid-1920s) for publication next year.
9. Archives Update: 
New Custom Benches in the Mehera Room

Front Entrance to The Dome at Meherabode

Baba's Sadra, in Mehera's Room
For some time now, there has been talk among members and friends of Archives about how best to protect, preserve and display Baba's precious items in the Dome. This unique architectural gem that houses Meher Baba's sadra and chair seems to bring together so many of the beauty and challenges of life. Giant windows on three sides and a dome skylight take in light and the beauty of the outdoors as well as the full range of Southern California temperature and moisture extremes. These are the conditions that can damage delicate archival materials, and exactly what archivists strive to avoid.
Newly installed in Mehera's Room,
Sonya unveils the custom benches 
Still, the tranquility, peace and presence of Baba in the Dome, are undeniable. Finding a balance between protecting these materials and making them available to His lovers has been the challenge. Eventually, with adequate funds and the support of our Baba community, the ultimate goal is for the installation of a museum-quality HVAC system (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), which would help stabilize and safeguard the Dome environment and allow additional archival Baba treasures to be displayed and shared within the Dome.

Until that day, and to make the best of our current conditions, members and friends of Archives, Fixed Assets, and the AMBCSC Board have taken a number of steps to address environmental needs and to protect the Dome and its Baba treasures. Some of the protective measures have included the installation of special film on the windows to protect against UV light and heat, the purchase and set-up of a free standing de-humidifier, and the use of new locks for the sadra case and main door to the Dome.
After installing a platform for Baba's chair in the main Baba Room of the Dome ( reported on in Issue No. 6 of this Gazette), and a refurbished sadra case in Mehera's Room, the next step has been the installation of a pair of curved benches in Mehera's Room. How did the project to design and build a new bench seating area for the Dome come to be? The vision for the interior came about through the Archive Committee, when Charlie McReynolds and Ken Pellman saw the needs of refurbishing the Dome as part of a larger archival responsibility to protect Baba treasures housed there. Baba's sister Mani has expressed the importance of preservation: "The responsibility for providing for the care of Baba treasures rests with all those who are entrusted with the privilege of caring for something of His, wherever it may be. So now it is our desire to impress upon all Baba lovers who have Baba items the enormity of the responsibility you bear for safeguarding His things." Matters became urgent when it was discovered that atmospheric moisture was entering the sadra case compartment and placing Baba's sadra garment at risk. A pamphlet was written and presented to the Board that explained the archival importance of preserving and protecting these Baba treasures, a history of the Dome was shared, and a proposed interior design for the Dome was laid out.
 Left: AMBCSC  Board members visited the Dome with Ken Pellman, discussing new archival measures;
Right: A Platform for Baba's Chair

As Center funds were scarce at the time, and to get the ball rolling, Ken Pellman with the full support of the Archive Committee and the AMBCSC Board, donated funds to have Baba's sadra case completely refurbished by Harold Greene , a renowned local artist and furniture craftsman recognized by the city of Los Angeles and many galleries, and with whom he had shared a 20-plusa year friendship and working relationship, building over 50 pieces together. In a si  milar manner, and in order to protect and preserve Baba's chair in the Dome, Ken also, earlier, donated funds and Harold designed and built an exquisite platform of similar wood and design as used for the sadra case.

Due to the unique architecture of the Dome, which has rounded walls, Ken had proposed ideas for curved seating areas, rather than typical living-room-style furniture. It was felt that using a design, type of wood, artistic style, etc, similar to the first two pieces that were built, would create a natural flow and sense of harmony between the various rooms in the Dome. As current chairperson of Archives, I was fortunate to help coordinate this process. Inspired by the beauty of the sadra case and platform for Baba's chair, and wanting to contribute further towards this vision, I donated funds towards the bench project and Ken contributed the remainder of funds needed. Harold, Ken and I met in the Dome to discuss design options for a rounded seating area for the back wall in "Mehera's Room" which houses Baba's sadra. It was agreed that a two-piece curved bench would be crafted from a single piece of Honduran mahogany wood, designed to fit and be supported against the wall, with through tenons and tapered legs. The bench has been completed and was installed on October 2, 2015. The quality of workmanship is exquisite and has been designed to last far into the future for many generations of Baba lovers to come and enjoy Baba's presence in the Dome.


Ken, Harold and I are grateful to have worked together on these three most recent archival projects, but it is important to remember that many others came before us and/or participate behind the scenes. Jack Small received Baba's sadra from Mehera and brought it to the Center, which was still on Union Street in Pasadena. John Page accepted the sadra on behalf of our Center and commissioned artist Michael Childs to construct the original custom sadra case, back in the early 1970s. Charlie McReynolds has worked continuously for the past 10-plus years, with vital help from the archive team. Adele Wolkin, Lynne Berry, Linda Zavala and many others laid the groundwork and contributed to archival efforts over the past many years. And of course, Avatar Meher Baba, the Original Archivist, works eternally to protect and preserve the Real Treasure within each of His lovers. Come enjoy Baba's presence in the Dome!

Sonya Valentine
Archives Director  
10. How I Met My Master, Meher Baba:
Tim Garvin's Baba Story
[ Editors' Note : We are pleased to continue a regular series (introduced in Issue No. 5) featuring narratives from Baba-lovers relating the story of the writer's personal experiences prompting his or her inward recognition of and dedication to Meher Baba.]

I first heard Meher Baba's name in 1967 on "The Joe Pyne Show." Joe Pyne was a television personality, and he was the insult host of the day. His guests were Rick Chapman and Allan Cohen, two young Americans who had been in communication with Baba (Rick had been in India with Baba, and Baba and Allan had been corresponding). Their message to the world from Baba was "Don't take drugs," and Joe was interviewing them.

Every time "The Joe Pyne Show" came on, you'd stop to see if he was going to say something obnoxious. At the time -- I was nineteen -- I was not searching for God. I wasn't sure there was a God. I was reading philosophy, but I wasn't sure about God. But I was definitely interested in the inner being and what the truth of life was, so when I heard these guys had just come from a guy who may know what the truth is, I stopped and listened. They showed a picture of Meher Baba and gave his message about the harm that drugs can do. What was so interesting about that show was that it was the only Joe Pyne show I ever saw that Joe didn't insult the guests. He was very respectful, and here you'd think that these guys from India with a guru, someone other than Jesus, he's really going to hammer them. But he was very respectful. (Not long after, Joe Pyne had a heart attack and died.)
Robert Dryfuss, Allan Cohen, Rick Chapman (1969), photo: Meher Baba Travels website

That was the single biggest impression I took away from that show -- he did not insult them. I met Rick Chapman later in India, and he said, "Yes, that was extraordinary." Anyway, I heard Baba's name before he dropped the body, and I have always been grateful for that.(1)Garvinback1

Three years later, in 1969, I was in college at Louisiana State University, restless, taking philosophy classes. I was trying to understand my own life, grappling with philosophy to increase my understanding of myself and what it was to be in the moment and be a human being. It was difficult because philosophy is a historical conversation written by people who view life through a highly intellectual lens, and you have be a real scholar to get anywhere, and even then, where are you? -- lost in a forest of thought. And it was so tedious, since all I really wanted was to understand myself and life and know the truth, to get to the bottom of what life is, to know why are we here.

I had the experience many times of being involved in some philosophical tussle like, for instance, the dilemma of determinism and free will, and I would browse bookstores, looking at titles, and reading at random almost. Then somehow I'd pick up a book and land exactly on somebody's explication of just the problem I had been deliberating. And I'd say, wow, this guy's saying just what I concluded myself, or near enough, and then suddenly I would experience an overwhelming ennui, almost despair. So that problem is solved and neatly dispatched, and still my heart aches, and the loneliness doesn't go away. I have to say, that was grippingly poignant for me as a young man without any guidance, without any mentor. None of us get that, really, when we're young unless you accept some religion. You just have to hack something out of the chaos. There's no teepee down by the river where you can go talk to the chief. Because nobody really knows anything.

But those days, the days of my youth, were full of egotism and girls and also some dabbling in drugs. Of course this was in the 60's, a wild time. I was not taking hard drugs, but I was taking grass and LSD occasionally. But then through LSD I became aware that there was a reality far beyond the reality of my surface world. So I really became interested in God and spirituality, and I began to read the testimonies of saints. And I stumbled onto the work Aurobindo Ghose. In
Aurobindo Ghose
(photo: Wikipedia)
fact Aurobindo Ghose is still a great part of my thinking. Though he is still mostly ignored I think he was the preeminent spiritual scholar-poet-critic of the 20th century. I don't know of anyone in the world of letters that I have a higher regard for than Aurobindo Ghose. I have his complete works. He's mentally brilliant and well-educated, but also a sixth plane saint, according to Baba, and his writing gives a structure to the world much the same as Baba's but with more analytic detail and excursions into politics, sociology, philosophy, literary criticism. It is said that Baba gave him realization after Aurobindo dropped the body. In any case, he helped purify my intellect and gave me a better ability to think about the human psyche. Also during that time, I read the Gita, M's biography of Ramakrishna [The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna] -- I just poured through that section of the LSU library.

At this point I had dropped out of college for a bit and was living on a farm in Gross Tet, Louisiana near Baton Rouge with a friend of mine, who later died of AIDS from shooting drugs. His wife died too. I was completely frustrated with my search for God. I was looking for a guru, dedicated to finding a guru. This relates to my disgust with philosophy, and to a lot of what follows-because I thought I needed a personal master nearby who could say, "Here's how you dress and behave, and here's the chant. And here's how to meditate." Whatever masters did. I didn't know what they did, but I knew they did something because all the books talked about masters. So I thought, "Well, that's what I need." I went down to New Orleans once to look for this supposed master who was actually a complete fraud. It was funny really-I went to see her, and she was gone, but her chief disciple allowed me to come into the French Quarter ashram they had there. We were sitting at a table, and I think he was nervous and didn't have a lot to say, and suddenly he burst out with a long, extremely loud "Om." Right in my face. Funny now, but unnerving then.

Anyway, I was frustrated and full of restlessness that I couldn't find a master. It was like there was this big knot in my mind, and I couldn't find the end of the rope. That's all we need, the end of the rope-and that's what Baba gives us. But I couldn't find the end of that rope. I was maddened by this inability to do anything. I meditated and had various experiences of a psychic nature, but in the end they were outside the knot and not useful, just as Baba tells us. So one morning I had an inspiration-and I went outside and picked up a log and carried it through the woods. An aspiration had welled up within me and was directed toward the Almighty whom I didn't know anything about, and whom I couldn't reach and get a grip on. So I carried the log and said, "This is all I can give you. I can't the find the end to unravel this knot. Now you have to help me. I'm like an ox. I'm a beast of burden. I have nothing else. I'm out of ideas." The next day I'd get up and go get the log and carry it back.

Then a friend of mine got a job as a camp counselor in Massachusetts, so I called the camp and also got a job there. On my way north, I stopped in Pittsburgh to visit my old friend, Carl Berreckman, my philosophy professor at LSU, who was now teaching at Duquesne. Carl had a buddy who was a psychology professor named Rolf, and we went over to Rolf's house to visit. And Rolf had a friend and protégé named Lawrence Reiter. He was living with Rolf. Lawrence and I talked, and he told me he was devoted to Meher Baba, a master who had just dropped his body in India. So we talked and talked, and he gave me a book called The Everything and the Nothing. But at the time it was just one of the many books I had. I had The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Gita, Krishnamurti, The Autobiography of a Yogi -- all those books that come your way. Besides, Meher Baba was dead, or so I thought. I didn't know it then, but the cry my heart had uttered when I was carrying the log had been answered.

So I left Pittsburgh and went to be a camp counselor for the summer-the summer of the moon landing [1969]. I read the book, and in my ignorance wondered what spiritual plane I was on. Maybe the third, maybe the second, except I couldn't do miracles. In any case, it was all in my head and not useful. And Baba was dead.

Lawrence Reiter ( circa early '70s)
(photo: Remembrances website)
Skip ahead to the next winter, in December of 1970. I went back to Pittsburgh to visit, and again we went over to Rolf's house. And there was Lawrence again. Again we talked and talked, and Lawrence, who was a great fan of Poe's, read some poems. As I recall it, there was some ego involved on both sides, he and I, young men competing in ideas and attitudes. But he had just come from the Meher Center, and I think he was feeling rapturous, and at the end of that evening, something amazing happened, and this is on the dot the moment I became a Baba lover. We were standing in the hallway saying goodbye. Lawrence, with whom I had been intellectually arm-wrestling a moment before, embraced me and said very feelingly, "You should think about Meher Baba." And somehow the barriers were gone, and a pulse of love passed between us. Actually, it awakened me. It was a spiritual-psychic thing. I felt, "Oh! That's right!" I felt love enter my heart center. That's what I had been wanting all my life. Baba says about love that those who don't have it catch it from those who do, and in my case that's how it happened.

The next day I got on a bus to the Meher Center. Then I was on my honeymoon. I read the books, the Discourses, and everything you do when you first come. Bob Brown was there, and we became friends. He told me what sanskaras were. 

I was broke, so I'd make a big pot of lentil stew, and leave it in the refrigerator for days and eat on it. Of course, I wasn't the only one who ate it. Lots of kitchen scavengers in those days! I stayed there for a couple of weeks, and then I was thrown off because I had drugs with me. I had told someone, and he told Jane Haynes, who was in charge of the Center while Kitty and Elizabeth were in India. Jane called me and said, "Do you have drugs?" and I said "Yes." I had hidden them in the woods. I had this tiny stash of drugs, either LSD or STP, which I had gotten in San Francisco months earlier. I was not taking drugs then, but I still had this little stash and had taken them to Pittsburgh in hopes of finding someone to sell them to. So Jane said I had to leave. And I'm in love with Meher Baba! It was as if life had opened my throat and was just pouring this information, this nectar of Divinity into me and slam, throat closed! I was actually hugging trees. I would experience a tree. I'd go off into the woods, and I would just feel.

So I left the Center, went back to Baton Rouge, and sold those drugs to somebody. I took the money I got, not much, but enough for a bus ticket, and a week later I was on a bus going back to the Center. I got to Atlanta and called Jane from a phone booth. I said, "This is Tim Garvin. Remember me? I'm the guy who had the drugs." She said "Yes, yes." I said, "Well, I'm on my way
Jane Haynes with Elizabeth Patterson
(photo: Meher Baba Travels website) 
back." She said, "Elizabeth and Kitty are not here yet, and I have to consult them before I can permit you to return." I said, "Jane, I'm begging you. Meher Baba is everything to me now." And so she consented. I have always been grateful to her for the faith and courage she showed in permitting this unknown drug addict to return.

I went back to the Center, and I stayed a long time, a month or two. Various other people were there, but it was early days, and the Center was mostly empty. I had some interesting experiences, and as Baba says, these experiences served to confirm my faith and understanding, but are not something important in themselves. I was out in the boathouse one night, and I saw this little image of Baba's face out in the distance, maybe 100 yards away. Everywhere I'd look, that picture would be there. Later on, I read Listen, Humanity, and found that during the East-West Sahavas Baba told a gathering of men, "Some of you will see Me tonight. You will see a small image of me in the distance." That's what I had seen.

This was in 1971, and Kitty and Elizabeth returned from India where they had been visiting. We were introduced by Jane, and of course they inquired about the drugs and were satisfied that I was free of them. Shortly afterwards, Adi K. Irani came to the States and stayed at the Center. I had long discussions with him. I was still a student of Aurobindo, and I asked Adi, "Why do I need Meher Baba? Why not just God? How can Meher Baba help me?" And Adi said, "Oh brother, you don't need Baba. Don't believe in Baba if you don't want to." I said "No! no! I love Baba! I want to know how he can help." I remember John Bass, one of the old New York Baba lovers, finally said impatiently, "Tell him to read God Speaks. Has he read God Speaks?" But Adi defended me. It so
Adi K. Irani with Meher Baba
happened that Adi too was interested in Aurobindo's writings. In fact he told me he once had a book of Aurobindo's and was carrying it around Meherazad one day, and Baba called him and took the book and said, "You don't need Aurobindo. You have Me." But the next day he gave it back to him. I had lots of questions for Adi, and he patiently tried to answer them.

But the interesting part of my story at that time is that though I loved Baba and everything he said, he had dropped his body. He was gone. So how can he be my master? But Adi said, "Baba is the eternal master and available everywhere for all time." I said, "Baba said that? Where does He say that? Show me where it is in the books." He couldn't, and Kitty couldn't either. She said, "I read it," and I said, "But where?" Somehow she couldn't say. Adi said, "He's always awake to the world. He drops the physical body, but His universal body never drops." I said, "Where does it say that?" I drove him crazy. I would say, "What's the use of Baba? What leverage can He provide to pry this ego away?" Finally, he said, "He can provide this. He comes and becomes the focal point of the universe. His name, His photograph. It all condenses into a focal point, and is a source of divine yogayoga sanskaras which you can then imbibe. That's the use of Meher Baba in the world." I liked that explanation, and it has become a commanding concept for me in explaining to myself and others why Baba is useful, why he's not just a body of thought or a religious figurehead. He's a living force of divine sanskaras within each of us. But still, in my restless youth, I was not completely at ease. Afterall, where in the writing did it say precisely that? Adi did his best, but there was still something in me which longed for more clarification.

So then I heard about Murshida Ivy Duce out in San Francisco. She had a group out 
there -- Sufism Reoriented. And she was a living master! So I thought I would go  out there and talk to her. Shortly after I got married in '71, my wife and I drove a  Vespa motor scooter, packed with a tent, two sleeping bags, a duffle, and a guitar, 2000 miles to San Francisco. 

At first  I spoke to the preceptors, Aneece Hasseen and Lud Dimpfl, and then finally got to see the Murshida. She invited me up to her apartment one evening. She opened the door, and since I didn't know what she looked like, I walked right past her, thinking she was the maid answering the door. Then I looked around and realized, "That's her!" So we sat down and talked. Among other things, she told me to get my astrology chart done by Sylvia DeLong. Murshida had written a book called What Am I Doing Here? and in it she had written a sentence, "Those who so blithely think they can follow the inner guide are deluding themselves." So I said, "What's this about a personal master? Is it really necessary?" And she said, "Yes, you have to have a personal master." 

I said, "But I spoke to Adi about that, and he said you didn't. He  said that Baba was the eternal  master for all." She said, "You must have misunderstood him." Crash! Here I am, with Baba for only about a year, and now I find the experts disagree . It was maddening. It was heartbreaking.

I went back to the Center and talked to Kitty. I asked her again, "Do you have to have a personal  master?" She said, "No. Baba is the Avatar, and the Avatar is the Eternal Master." Again I asked, "Where does it say that, Kitty? Can you find it in the writing?" Again she said, "I don't know," but she thought she had definitely read it. I said, "I went to see Murshida Duce, and she said a personal master in the flesh was definitely needed." Kitty was a bit dismayed by this announcement but continued to assert that a personal master was unnecessary once a soul had come into contact with the Avatar.

Jump forward to 1980 and my first trip to India. It was the year of the upheaval between Eruch and the Sufis. I was in Mandali Hall when Eruch first read out hisgeneral letter to the Baba community in which he deplored the current focus on spiritualism and occultism, particularly in Sufisim Reoriented and the Vedanta movement.

First trip to India: the author in Ahmednagar
He emphasized that we should remember Baba as the sole focus of our devotion and not get lost in or attracted to occultism. It created a lot of havoc and hurt feelings, and the Sufis came in a delegation to defend themselves. But Eruch was firm and clear. And Eruch is our Peter, the rock on which our "church" will be founded. Those who knew him and those who have seen him in video will remember his loving but manly selflessness. He was like the touchstone of all that it is to be a true man, a human being. He was a saint no doubt. The scent of his body was saintly.

And of course, now that I had Baba's great spokesman before me, I asked about the need for a personal master. And that, in essence, was what the whole blowup with the Sufis was about. If Baba is dead and out of touch, then we need these secondary people to advise and guide us, and they, being finite, naturally tend to get involved in inner details, and so arises spiritualism.  So Eruch had someone go to get a certain article, and Eruch asked me and another man next to me read it out loud in the hall. It was written by a Baba lover whose aunt had gone to Bombay to see the chargeman of Bombay, a high saint. When she walked up to him, he said, "Get out of here, you whore!" So she rushed away, and when she saw Baba, she said, "The chargeman of Bombay harangued me and called me a whore." Baba said, "Go back to him. He's a great soul." So she went back, and as she drew near, she was of course full of fear. But the saint said, "Mother, come sit here." And he stroked her hair and was kind to her. He said, "Now you have permission."
The author with Eruch Jessawala (Meherazad)
She went back to Baba, and Baba said, "You see?" And the young man writing the article went on to say, "When you come to Baba He is your master. We only need Baba." And Eruch had me read that out in Mandali Hall to solidify my belief, to give me one more dose of the truth. But I still had doubt, because the article didn't say what to do after Baba dies. But that was golden time with Eruch. We used to go on little walks with him. Beautiful. I am so grateful for that.

The next time I came to India was in '83. On my first day in Mandali Hall, after the greetings, Eruch began the session with us by remarking to Davana, "Did you find that article?" She said, "Yes, I found it," and handed him some papers. Eruch handed them to me and said, "Tim, you have a big strong voice. You read it." I began to read it, and after a few sentences found it was the same article I had heard read out some years earlier. The discussion in the hall the previous day had led Eruch to think of the article for the first time in years. After finishing the article, I told Eruch the whole story of my search, my doubt, and the first reading of the article. He said, "Brother, we have no idea how He works." The last vestige of doubt about whether I needed a personal master, about Baba's use to us after he drops his physical body, was gone. Baba has dropped His physical body but the body that counts He never drops. Looking back, I can see that this concept was in the writings and in Baba's many messages all along: "I never come, I never go." "I am not this body you see." And most fully in Meher Baba Manifesting written by Bhau from notes Baba gave him. But to get it into my hard head, it seems, he had to trouble Eruch.

Tim Garvin

Garvin11. Baba made mention of the broadcast interview described above by Tim Garvin. We read:

On Sunday, 12 November 1967, many close Ahmednagar lovers were invited to Meherazad in the morning. . . Baba then told the Ahmednagar group:

My work is being actively carried on in Andhra, Hamirpur and other Centers throughout the world. In America, many, many new lovers are coming to me, and they too are active in my cause. Highly educated youths like Allan Cohen, Rick Chapman and Robert Dreyfuss are always busy with my work there. Rick and Allan appeared on a nationally syndicated radio and television show [The Joe Pyne Show] in August [23], and spoke about me to millions of listeners and viewers. Bill Le Page has done the same thing in Australia and writes that the response has been tremendous.

And here you are -- you don't do anything, though you are only nine miles away from me! You get the chance of my darshan, which outsiders don't have. Even from my seclusion", I am meeting with you today so that you should know how to do work for me.

Baba concluded, "My time is near and very soon I will break my silence." [ back]

[ Lord Meher online, p. 5297]

Editor's Note
Tim Garvin was raised in Arizona, lived in the beautiful Alaskan wilderness after that, then finished high school in New Orleans. He got a degree in philosophy at LSU, then went to the University of Arkansas for his MFA in creative writing. He has two boys with his first wife, added two stepchildren when he married Cynthia Drake, and has an entire flock of grandchildren. Tim and Cynthia live on three and a half wooded acres near Durham, NC, where they operate a ceramic jewelry business, Blue Bus Studio. Tim is currently writing novels and recently published Killer Whale Rock, set in the wilderness near Juneau, Alaska, and Bhajan (the name of a Bengal tiger in a zoo, raised by a mast), which incorporates the advent of Meher Baba in a natural way. He is now at work on Pass the Salt, a literary mystery set in North Carolina.  Tim writes: "Six years ago, Ted Judson, the architect who designed many buildings at Meherabad, asked me to create the ceramic symbols on the soon-to-be-completed monument that Meher Baba stated would be built across from the old Mandali Hall. I created seven symbols, each 18 inches across, in the millefiori technique I use in my ceramic work and will install them sometime in 2016 when the monument is completed."
11. Reflections on " Turning the Key"

1. Suppose you are destined to enter an unseen room, but a locked door bars your way? You -- or someone with you -- must hold the key, place the key in the lock, and turn the key.  Once the key is turned, the door can open on its hinges,
(skeleton key via Etsy)
and you may walk into the room. Whatever phase of life awaits you will begin to unfold before your eyes

This, anyway, is one imaginable version of an implied scenario conjured by a phrase used time and again by Meher Baba over the five decades of his spiritual work. As one late example, in a story excerpted in this Gazette issue from his memoir, Bill Le Page describes his visit with Baba in 1967. Bill's account culminates in Baba's response to the author's growing anxiety. Near the end of his stay, the Silent Master assured him "I will turn the key" (using His "turning-the-key" gesture). What soon ensued illustrated Baba's meaning. Bill had been tasked with spreading Baba's message in Australia and establishing Avatar's Abode (visited by Baba in 1958) on sound footing as a place of pilgrimage for future generations. Returning to his native land, the author discovered immediate interest in Baba among some new persons. Before long he was invited to give a sequence of public addresses, sharing fresh awareness of Baba with a new generation of seekers.( 1)Keyback1 Baba's silent message persuaded him the results of his efforts rested in Baba's own hands. From the title of his memoir, The Turing of the Key: Meher Baba in Australia (1993), we may infer how "key" the author felt this "turning of the key" to be. In the book's final chapter, Bill muses:

" I will turn the key" . . . The turning of the key . . . What an enigmatic phrase, yet without understanding intellectually, how profoundly moving it is, a door opening to the furthest reaches of the imagination. [p. 312]( 2) Keyback2

2. "To turn the key" is a special idiom in Baba's mystic lexicon. The encyclopedic Lord Meher allows us to trace some of His uses of this expression over the years.
Meher Baba -- December 5, 1926
(courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications)
The phrase's first appearance therein dates from 1926, when Baba was still writing with chalk on small slates.

Based at Meherabad, Baba undertook a series of fasts beginning in October. In the period that followed, He unexpectedly dismantled the Hazrat Babajan School and the hospital, dispensary [pharmacy], leper asylum, dharmashala [hostel], and other institutions He had established. He announced He would depart for Persia, then shifted plans and remained at lower Meherabad. Celebration of the traditional Diwali holiday was observed November 5 and 6. We read:

Although the taking of Baba's darshan had been stopped for some time, visitors continued to flock to Meherabad. On 9 November, a crowd formed and Baba permitted them to take darshan. Noticing Pandoba whispering in Kaka Shahane's ear, Baba asked him what he had said. Pandoba replied, "I was saying that I wonder why the touching of your feet by outsiders is allowed, but it is forbidden to us."

Baba replied, "You want to touch my feet? All right, let's flip a coin. Heads you win; tails you lose." Pandoba hesitated, but Dhake, Mohan Shahane, and his father urged him to take the chance. The coin was tossed and it was heads. Shouting Baba's Jai and without waiting to confirm Baba's permission, each of the mandali rushed forward, bowed, and kissed Baba's feet.

That day a farmer came to Baba and complained of the poor monsoon. He prayed to him to bring rain, and Baba stated, "Don't worry; there will be plenty of rain. What is needed is to turn the key. It will happen as you wish." No sooner had Baba finished writing this down than it started raining heavily. The iron sheet roof of the Makan had been taken down and sold, replaced by bamboo matting, and now rain poured into the building. [Lord Meher online, p. 738, emphasis added.]

3. In January 1927, Baba again made plans to open school, hospital, dispensary:
Meher Baba at Meherabad, 1927
(courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications) 

On the morning of Tuesday, 25 January 1927, while discussing plans about the new school, the news of Indian troops being sent to China by the British government was mentioned. Baba disapproved of the action and predicted:

Sending the Indian army to fight in a foreign war is a bad policy on the part of the British government. If it continues to do such things it will lose its prestige all over the world. If these frictions and hostilities in China do not cease soon and a reconciliation [is not] arrived at, the British will be the greatest sufferers, losing everything -- their name, fame, and empire throughout the world. Their underhanded dealings and diplomatic policies have made almost the whole world their enemy. They will suffer for the injustices they have done to innumerable people and many countries with their policies. . . .

A few days later, Baba added, "If Britain does not modify her policies soon, she is doomed!"

On the 25th, when someone pointed out the possibility of the Meherabad property being appropriated by the British in the event of war [since the property had in earlier years been used as a British military encampment], Baba replied in a good mood, "Don't worry about it. Raise the new school building as soon as you can and leave the rest to me. I won't leave this place. I guarantee to undertake the responsibility that no one [from the British military] comes [and settles] here. I'll tell the British I won't go. Let us see what they do.

"The key to the world and its affairs is in my hand. When I turn the key internally, there will be an enormous conflagration in the world, and yet it will appear as if I am sitting here quietly."

Baba added, "Sai Baba was the King of Perfect Masters, but I am the Master of Masters! When Sai Baba was smoking a chillum [pipe] while sitting in Shirdi, as if knowing nothing, he was in fact conducting and controlling the First World War. No one knows this. Similarly, I am here talking with you, but while sitting here, I control the whole universe and everything existing in it." [ Lord Meher online, p. 766, emphasis & bracketed words added.]

Was Baba referring to subsequent developments with the outbreak of the Second World War a decade after this conversation? Was He alluding to the eventual establishment of the Republic of India an additional decade later? His prediction seems to suggest both eventualities in "the world and its affairs." As Sai Baba, sitting on a stone in Shirdi, was inwardly "conducting" the First World War, similarly Meher Baba in the late '30s, engaged in inner work with masts in various locations throughout India, was (by His description) in inward touch with the unfoldment of WWII.

4. Let's summarize so far.

In the first anecdote (from 1967), " I will turn the key" (said to an Australian visitor) suggests how Baba could facilitate success in the assignment of spreading Baba's message in Australia (as began to happen soon thereafter). In the second tale (from 1926), Baba's scrawling of a message -- " Don't worry; there will be plenty of rain. What is needed is to turn the key. It will happen as you wish" -- in chalk on his slate (addressing a local farmer anxious for rain) was instantly followed by a precipitous downpour. In the third story (from 1927), Baba broadly observes, " The key to the world and its affairs is in my hand. When I turn the key internally, there will be an enormous conflagration in the world" -- sketching out ensuing events involving international warfare, global mayhem, and the redesign of nations. The same phrase, the same image, is applied by Baba to events of varying character, scope, and timing -- from a simple pitter-patter of rainfall, to thunderous international conflagrations, to a silent turning in the hearts of God-seekers in a distant land. One action -- turning the key -- can open many sorts of doors!

"Meher Baba Silence Keychain"
(made by Zazzle
Indeed, what is the key? What is the scope of Baba's key? Is the Master's key a master-key that can unlock any and every door? can solve any and every dilemma faced by the devotee? Is Baba's key like the thousand-armed Avalokiteśvara: reaching everywhere, with a thousand different actions of grace and salvation? ( 3) Keyback333

In a mystical utterance, Baba once used the image of the key with respect to the five Perfect Masters (who together comprise the pinnacle of the spiritual hierarchy), saying:

There is one Key to the treasure-box of the world, but it is in the hands of five Masters. One is the actual Key-holder without which the box cannot be opened; the second is the guard over the box whose permission is required before touching the box; the third alone can open the box; the fourth has the authority to distribute the treasure, and the fifth has the power of authorizing the distribution. In this way the Five equally hold and use the one Key.

[quoted in Francis Brabazon, The Silent Word (1978, 2013), p. 263.]( 4) Keyback444

5. We get a different angle on Baba's "key" from a page out of the New Life.

When He set out on His New Life in October 1949, Baba imposed strict conditions on the select band of Companions who joined Him in this phase of archetypal work. The gist of the conditions included cheerfulness amid every hardship, in a life without possessions premised on total reliance upon God. In the New Life (which continued a couple years), Baba took the stance of a pilgrim, ostensibly abdicating the role of Master. The New Life conditions are mentioned in this playful exchange a few months into the sojourn:
During the New Life (Dec. 27, 1950)
(courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications)

After breakfast on Sunday, 12 February 1950, Baba asked how each had slept. "Did you sleep well last night?" he asked Nilu.

"No, I did not," Nilu said. "It's cold, cold, cold!"

In response, Baba rhymed:

We are neither young nor old,
Our everything is sold,
Neither we have silver nor gold,
There is the New Life all told!

Don interjected,
"From 1st March it will unfold."

And Baba responded:
For those who are real bold
Conditions hundred percent to hold!

[Lord Meher online, page 2880; typography tweaked.]

We read further,

After breakfast on Monday, 20 February 1950, Baba called the companions, and again explained in detail the implications and importance of the conditions. The entire day was spent in discussing and repeating the conditions of the various plans.

(At this point, the New Life was being divided into several "plans".) A list of 10 principal conditions was spelled out, the second of which reads like this:

You should not expect that Baba will have his nazar on you or that he will perform any miracles or use his spiritual key to protect or save you from illness, danger, imprisonment, death, or difficulties and disasters of any kind.

[ Lord Meher online, page 2882, emphasis added.]( 5) Keyback555

Note the implied qualities of the spiritual key -- even though invoked here through a negation. Those joining this facet of the New Life were not to expect Baba to "use his spiritual key" for various modes of protection from danger or salvation from distress. Paradoxically, the terms of this New Life stricture might parenthetically key us in to certain qualities of Baba's spiritual key, some of its many modes of operation. An inference might be drawn that, under ordinary conditions (outside the New Life), Baba's key operates in all those manners of grace amid circumstances of duress. The New Life was distinctive; yet throughout most of His work, Baba assured His devotees time and again that His nazar was on them, protecting them. Where the nazar is present, the key might not be far to seek.


I wrote "Eight Reflections" on this topic.  The first five are seen above.
This essay will continue (with the final three if not more such reflections) in our next issue.

Jai Baba!

David Raphael Israel

During Bill Le Page's stay, Baba instructed him to move to Avatar's Abode from Sydney with his family, as soon as conveniently possible. Baba said: "I wish you to put yourself 100 percent into the work I am giving you. You must become even more serious in your efforts to spread my name and message, and put your heart into the development of Avatar's Abode. People who wish to stay there should seek your permission first. Do everything you can to establish good relations with the general community."

Bill had tried his best to spread Baba's name in Australia since the mid-1950s, but without much tangible success.

After Baba had repeated these instructions over a number of days, toward the end of his stay Bill burst out, pleading, "Baba, I have tried to spread your message but to no avail! I don't feel myself to be the man required for such a job."

Baba looked at him steadily and simply said, "I will turn the key," and gestured with his hand as if turning a key.

Little did Bill suspect that Baba's help was already beginning to take effect! While he was in India, a young man came to Meher House in Sydney, wanting to meet him and learn more about Meher Baba. As soon as Le Page returned to Australia, the youth came back with several friends. Others too became eager to know more about Baba, and during the following months, Bill was called upon to deliver talks over the radio, on television and at public meetings. Baba had fulfilled his promise and given a sudden boost to the work.

[ Lord Meher online, pp. 5264-5265.] Discussing this anecdote with the author a month ago (after his talk at Meher Mount), Bill noted how Baba looked at him and made the key-turn gesture; no interpretation by Eruch was necessary, the meaning was perfectly clear.  [ back ]

Keynote22. In the present essay, we consider the meaning of the turning key, but of course this image relates to the idea of the opening door. Chris Ott has blogged two ruminations on the latter topic, Are doors mystical symbols? (Aug. 1, 2009) and Doos as symbols of the path (April 17, 2013). In the first of those, he quotes Bhau Kalchuri: " The infinite abode of the Avatar has seven doors, and each door remains closed to those bound in illusion. The aim of human consciousness undergoing involution is to open these seven doors, one after another, and finally to experience the Infinity." This purely mystical reading of the opening door elevates the implications of the turning key, no doubt. Of course Bhau's description flows from Meher Baba's words (in God Speaks and elsewhere). [back]

Keynote3333. See Thousand Armed Avalokitesvara (Wikipedia) [back]

Keynote4444. Elsewhere in The Silent Word  (among other places), we note how Upasni Maharaj likewise invokes the image of the key to a custodial treasury. For instance, in 1922, Baba took several young disciples to Sakori to celebrate Upasni's birthday:

Maharaj gave lengthy interviews and explained divine things in loving and fascinating terms. During one of these talks he said to them,  'Listen most carefully to what I am going to tell you: I have given Merwan the key to what I had, and you all should stick to him and do whatever he tells you. By God's grace you will soon reach the Goal.'

[page 50; see also Lord Meher online, p. 289.] [ back]

Keynote5555.  On the very first day of the New Life, Baba brought up this "key-turning business" in remarks to His Companions, noting that its absence was among special characteristics of the New Life! He said:

We are all on an equal footing from now on. For us all, henceforth, there is no spirituality, no Master, no disciple, no miracles, no key-turning business, no hopes, no thoughts of benefits or of privations. Look upon me as a friend who will help and advise you until the end of December.

[ Lord Meher online, page 2987; emphasis added.] [ back]
12. Poetry Corner:
Two Poems

Loose Change

The taste of love is bitter in my mouth.
I can't swallow it; I can't spit it out.

Give me the definition of love --
but don't use any words.
I've been given enough words.

All day long I beg for it
but, at night, when I empty my pouch

there's nothing but loose change.
How will this beggarly life ever make me rich?
Show me where to dig to strike the secret vein.
How do I split myself open just right

so that key of Yours might be
inserted into the padlock?

O child of God, in your quest for wealth, ask yourself,
"Who is the one so impatient and dissatisfied?"

To begin to love, o pilgrim ... stop caring --
what happens, what doesn't happen.
Stop caring what people think;
what you have and have not.
Stop caring who you are,
who you are not.
Stop weighing and measuring,
adding up and sorting out.
Without a scrap of guarantee, the mandali
signed their lives away to enter the New Life,
(the one living eternally ...
even if there is no one to live it.)
At some future station along the road
will the Elder Brother turn and find ...
not another soul upon it?  O pilgrim!
Your name is being read out in Mandali Hall!
Will you sit among the Yeswallas?
Or, strike out on a different path ... cross-country,
unmindful and alone?
O child of God, seek the Beloved's pleasure.
As for anything else -- stop caring.

Brian Darnell
Editor's Note:
Brian Darnell is a poet, novelist, songwriter and musical performer. Based in Athens, Georgia, he has published three collections of poetry, all of them devoted to Meher Baba: The Garden of Surrender (2004), A Jewel in the Dust (2012) and Spoken For (2014). He is also the author of two novels, Aubrey's Vigil (2013) and Rare Birds of Coastal Alabama (2015). Brian is writing his third novel, and will soon publish his fourth collection of poems. Many of his poems use the phrase "O child of God" as a form of signature. Regarding the poems seen above, "Loose Change" appeared in A Jewel in the Dust, and "Yeswallas" appeared in Spoken For. The poems are reprinted with the author's permission.
13. From Meher Baba Books

Meher Baba Books

Welcome to Meher Baba Books in Los Angeles, California. Come and visit us, when you can. As one of the significant activities and public outreach avenues of the Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California (Meherabode), Meher Baba Books offers a wide array of books by and about Meher Baba for Baba-lovers and the general public, including Meher Baba's primary works. There are books about Meher Baba and offer materials in other media -- CDs, DVDs, photographs, cards, buttons, lockets, and other specialized objects.

Founded in 1988 (and successor to earlier Meher Baba bookstores in Southern California, as noted by Alan Saviskas in his article above),
 Meher Baba Books carries the largest selection of Meher Baba-related Books, DVDs, CDs and photographs as well as rare and unique out of print titles on the West Coast (and is among the largest in the world). It is also an important online source for recorded talks about Meher Baba, captured and made available on CD by the Archive Division of AMBCSC.

The purpose of Meher Baba Books is to provide the world with a broad media selection of the teachings and words of Meher Baba, the Avatar of the Age. Working in concert with our Archive Committee, we also make available precious items in our custody. 
The Joyous Path
The Life of Avatar Meher Baba's Sister, Mani
By Heather Nadel
2-Volume, Hardcover Set, 1170 pp.

NEW - Manija S. Irani (1918-1996), Meher Baba's younger sister, and one of His closest disciples, was a vivacious personality, a gifted writer, a sensitive musician, and an integral participant in all phases of Meher Baba's spiritual work. Long awaited, Heather Nadel's detailed, two-volume biography of Mani has at last been published.

Heather Nadel, who worked with Mani as her personal assistant, has created an intimate portrait of Mani's life-long devotion to her "God-brother," her experiences in His company, and her role among His close woman mandali.

By Bob Mossman
Paperback, 386 pp.

NEW -- Charles Purdom (1883-1965), a British author, drama critic, town planner, and economist, was Meher Baba's early biographer, having written The Perfect Master (1936), the first detailed biography of the Master published in English, followed by The God-Man: The Life, Journeys, and Work of Meher Baba (1964, 1971, 2010), which remains a valuable biography. Purdom also edited God to Man and Man to God (1955), an edition of Meher Baba's Discourses. 

Bob Mossman is also the author of Slave of Love (2012), a biography of Meher Baba's close English disciple Dr. William Donkin.

Size: 11 x 9" folded, 11 x 18" open.

P erfect Holiday Gift for your Loved Ones!!

Be greeted every day by finely-reproduced photographs of the Avatar -- along with well-chosen messages, and indications of events from Meher Baba's life. 

This beautifully designed 2016 monthly calendar, brimming with images of the Beloved, is now available. Now with 14 months.

By Tim Garvin
Paperback Novel, 400 pp.

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 CD By Jim Meyer

For nearly 50 years, Jim Meyer has been involved in singing and recording music dedicated to Meher Baba: he has performed at numerous Baba functions world-wide. In December, 1968, Meher Baba designated Jim as one of His "chief young lover workers" in the USA and England.

His voice and music are superb, nourishing one's heart and soul.

Music CD
By Ken Richstad

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.

Ken had a lot of expert studio help in the music and recording of this new CD.

4 DVD Set (talks)
By Dr. Ward Parks

In July 2015 Beloved Archives hosted a two-day intensive in Hamilton, New Jersey, on Avatar Meher Baba's teachings on Suffering and the Conditions of Happiness. The Intensive, titled Why Do We Suffer?, was conducted by Dr. Ward Parks. The 4-DVD set is approximately 9 hours long.


The Weekly Reflections online circular that was born a year ago -- in November 2014 -- has found a life of its own and gotten quite popular. This weekly circular is particularly geared to serve seekers of God and Baba Lovers who might not be affiliated with any organized Baba centers or who live in smaller cities by choice. Baba has made it possible for us to serve Him through this medium, and I could not be happier and more grateful to Baba for such a delightful task of spreading His message of Love and Truth.  

In case you have not yet seen it, or if you would like to dive in and review various topics, you can browse at leisure through the full sequence of past blasts of Weekly Reflections from Meher Baba Books:

  #1 Debut! [11/14/14]   #2 Four Solutions   #3 Pearls   #4 Surrender   #5 Grace   #6 Mehera    #7 Divine Love    #8 The New Humanity [1/2/15] ♦  #9 Baba's Divinity  ♦  #10 Sufferin  ♦  #11 Forgiveness ♦  #12 Amartithi ♦  #13 Remembrance ♦  #14 Pearls of His Remembrance  ♦  #15 Baba's 121st Birthday!  ♦  #16 Baba's Birthday (cont'd)  [2/26/15]  ♦  #17 The Ways of the Avatar ♦  #18 Lover & Beloved ♦  #19 Prayers of the Heart ♦  #20 Obedience  ♦  #21 Obedience (Part 2) ♦  #22 Work  ♦  #23 Work (Part 2)  [4/17/15]   ♦  #24  Happiness!! ♦  #25 Remembering Don Stevens & Happiness (Part 2) ♦ #26 Baba Visits Myrtle Beach  ♦ #27 Mehera Reunites with God ♦ #28 Baba's First Accident (1952) ♦ #29 Baba's Visit to Avatar's Abode (1958) ♦ #30 Baba's Third Visit to Persia (June 1931) [6/5/15] #31 Manzil-e-Meem ♦ #32 Meher Ashram ♦ #33 Prem Ashram ♦ #34 Dr. Goher ♦ #35 Baba's Silence [7/10/15] ♦ #36 Silence (Part 2) ♦ #37 Prem Ashram (Part 2) ♦ #38 Meher Baba's Divinity ♦  #39 Divinity (Part 2) ♦  #40 Mani ("I am God's Sister") ♦ #41  Don't Worry Be Happy!  ♦  #42  Eruch #43  Baba's New Life [10/16/15]   ♦  #44  Celebration of Bhau ♦ #45 This New Life ♦ #46 East-West Gathering ♦ #47 East-West Gathering (Part 2) ♦ #48 Importance of Understanding Maya

In His Love and Service,
Mahoo Ghorbani, Bookstore-walli 
14. Video Corner:
      Meher Baba at Guruprasad
A new music-video featuring song-chants of Mischa Rutenberg  

Meher Baba at Guruprasad
Meher Baba at Guruprasad

Published on YouTube (September 10, 2015)

This film footage happens to includes glimpses of Baba with His pet cat Paru (who is briefly mentioned in Bill Le Page's story above)

YouTube credits read:
Film of Meher Baba at Guruprasad taken by Mani and Behram in 1965-67. All film and photos copyright Sheriar Foundation used by permission. The two songs are composed and performed by Mischa Rutenberg: "Jai Jai Meher Baba" & "Kindness Babas"; copyright Sufism Reoriented .

Divine Parallel
(Ellora Buddhist Cave #10 Vishwakarma)

with thanks to the digital artist:  Cherie Plumlee  
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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