Tuesday
Mar062012

The Meher Mount Logo

MEHER MOUNT - AN EXPERIENCE & A PLACE

Meher Mount's logo, introduced in 2008 and created by graphic designer Nancy Pinckert, is designed to represent both the experience of being at Meher Mount and the physical place of Meher Mount itself. 

The experience at Meher Mount is intangible and eternal.  It is a special feeling, not always easily put into words.  It is a connection to the Divine, manifested in ways as diverse as the people who visit Meher Mount. 

When God in Human form, Avatar Meher Baba, visited Meher Mount, He emphasized the opportunity for those present to be with Him.  He said, “You are so lucky to be with me so closely…”

Meher Mount is also a physical place that is tangible and temporal.  It is a landscape of grass-covered meadows, deeply forested valleys, and impassible cliffs with a variety of animal life. 

During His visit, Meher Baba gestured toward the outdoors and said, “Now, go out and see the view and try to love Baba through nature. This is all due to My love.  This whole creation, this nature, all the beauty you see, all came out of Me.”

BRINGING TOGETHER HEAVEN & EARTH, GOD & MAN

In Chumash lore, Sulphur Mountain is the bridge from the heavens to earth.  Avatar Meher Baba, God in human form, visited Meher Mount on August 2, 1956.  During His Advent, He came down to our level to help bridge the gap between God and man. 

The Meher Mount logo represents the bringing together of the temporal and the eternal – of the meeting of heaven and earth, of the land and sky, of God and man.

THE SYMBOLS OF THE HEART AND THE TREE      

The center of the logo is a tree, symbolic of Baba’s Tree – a source of inspiration for many who visit Meher Mount.  The tree also represents nature.  And it is the tree of life, starting small and growing strong – like our love for the Avatar as He sows the seed of love in our hearts.

The tree’s branches form a heart surrounding a smaller heart.  The heart represents the essence of Meher Baba’s message which is to love God.  And the heart represents Meher Mount, one of those places where Meher Baba reaches out to touch the hearts of those who visit.

In the logo, there is a separation between the trunk and the top of the tree representing the distance – now coming together – between land and sky, heaven and earth, God and man.

The deep blue represents the expanse of the sky and the ocean, and the deep brown represents the earth.  Proportionally, the blue sky is larger because heaven is infinite and the earth is finite.

A SOPHISTICATED, YET RUSTIC, TYPE FONT

The Meher Mount name is in the Pristina type font which has both a sophistication and a sense of the rustic – it appears almost as if the letters were formed by laying tree twigs together, but with an added flourish. 

The thin and thick lines are like the smaller branches of Baba’s Tree creating a natural, organic feel to the letters and being compatible with the logo image of a stylized oak tree with a heart in the center.  

´╗┐Source: The account of Avatar Meher Baba's August 2, 1956 visit to Meher Mount was originally published in The Awakener magazine by Filis Frederick and later included in Lord Meher by Bhau Kalchuri, copyright by the Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Trust.

Thursday
Sep162010

AgShed Replaces Garage/ Farmhouse Destroyed in the 1985 New Life Fire

THE ORIGINAL GARAGE/ FARMHOUSE on the property when it was purchased in 1946. (Archive photo.)

In 1946, the New Life Foundation - headed by Jean Adriel and Alexander Markey - purchased the property now known at Meher Mount.  At that time, it was a working farm.

The property included two residential buildings, a farmhouse for the caretaker built over a garage/tool room, and a number of farm outbuildings.  Those buildings remained in use for almost 40 yeas, until the 1985 New Life Fire.

1985 NEW LIFE FIRE DESTROYS ALL THE BUILDINGS

On October 16, 1985, a fire swept through the Upper Ojai Valley destroying all the buildings, equipment, and vehicles at Meher Mount.  The date of this fire - October 16 - coincided with the start date of Avatar Meher Baba's New Life in India in 1949.  Hence, it has come to be known as the "New Life Fire."

After the fire, the then-owner Agnes Baron asked a volunteer to build a garage/ agricultural shed to THE 1985 NEW LIFE FIRE destroyed everything on Meher Mount leaving only debris and foundations. This is a picture of the garage/ farmhouse after the fire. (Archive photo.)replace the garage/farmhouse that had burned to the ground.  Agnes requested that the volunteer use scrap lumber and other materials available on the property.  With the understanding that financial resources were nearly non-existent for Agnes, the carpenter agreed to her conditions and completed the project, expecting the building to last two to five years.

A "TEMPORARY" SHED IN USE 25 YEARS

The "temporary"shed was used for almost 25 years as the only workshop/ storage area for the 173-acre property.  The building housed Meher Mount's tools, supplies, tractor, and ride-on mower.  

In 2007, in response to the physically demanding and continuous need to maintain the property and to help with fire abatement, a generous supporter donated $20,000 for a tractor with implements and $20,000 for the building of a fire-proof garage.

The need for the fire-proof garage sparked a series of discussions which led directly to discussions of a long-range mTHE CURRENT GARAGE/SHED was built with scrap lumber and other materials as a "temporary" measure soon after the 1985 New Life Fire. It is still in use today and is to be replaced. (Margaret Magnus photo.)aster plan for Meher Mount.  The foundations of that Master Plan have been laid for land and building use, and building locations and materials.

THE MASTER PLAN CALLED FOR A NEW AGRICULTURAL BUILDING

During the AgShed discussions, it became very clear that $20,000 would not be sufficient to build a substantial, long-lasting, and fire-proof structure.  Donors have added to the AgShed fund over the years and with the addition of interest earned, there is a little more than $100,000 for the project.

At the beginning of 2010, plans were submitted to Ventura County for approval so that construction could begin on the AgShed. Construction of the building began in the winter of 2011. 

The plans called for a concrete building with a steel roof and doors.  There was no wood construction that would be susceptible to termites, and the concrete-steel construction would be fire resistant. 

This type of construction was not typical for the Ojai area, but Meher Mount found a firm, Coastal Constructors, who would take on the project.  There were some unforeseen delays, but Meher Mount finally received a Certificate of Occupancy on the building in April 2012.

And the carpenter who built the "temporary" structure was immensely relieved to know that the old interim structure was finally removed by workers, and not by accident!

DONATIONS WELCOME FOR THE AG/SHED

Those wishing to donate to the Ag/Shed Completion Fund can make a contribution:

Online: Click here to make your donation online.

By Check:  Send your donation to Mount/Master Plan, 9902 Sulphur Mountain Road, Ojai, CA 93023.

GIFT REGISTRY OF NEEDED TOOLS

To completely "finish" the AgShed, it needs to be "furnished" with tools, work benches, and storage cabinets.  You can donate a needed item by ordering a requested item online at Amazon and have it sent directly to Meher Mount.

Go to the AgShed Tool Registry and follow the prompts.

Friday
Aug132010

Meher Mount Implements Sophisticated Database Software

Salesforce.com Foundation made a software product donation to Meher Mount, valued at $15,000 per year, to support Meher Mount's communications and fund raising actiities. Infrastructure takes on many forms.  Typically we think of water, electricity, roads, and buildings.

But another infrastructure requirement is computer software — for finance, for communications, and for an array of other tasks necessary for successfully managing a non-profit organization.

At Meher Mount, communications is an important part of staying connected to those who have an ongoing interest in this place visited by Avatar Meher Baba. 

Thus, maintaining Meher Mount’s “contact database” is a crucial part of the communications infrastructure.  This task got easier with a product donation from the Salesforce.com Foundation.

SALESFORCE.COM SOFTWARE PRODUCTION DONATION

Salesforce.com is a for-profit organization that sells customer relationship management (CRM) software accessible via the Internet.  The Salesforce.com Foundation adapted the CRM software for use by non-profit organizations for database management, fund raising, and volunteer tracking.

The Foundation makes ongoing software product donations to qualified non-profits.  Meher Mount applied for and received a software product donation — valued at $15,000 per year — from the foundation on February 18, 2010.  After a three-day training course, donated by a supporter, the new software was quickly implemented.

BENEFITS OF THE DATABASE SOFTWARE

Some of the benefits of the new database software include: increased file security and protection of the database; increased functionality and flexibility; and the ability to interface with other online programs. 

In addition, the software provides Meher Mount with the ability to access password-protected data remotely, thus enabling more frequent database updates; greater confidentiality at the record and individual field levels; and extensive reporting options. 

Finally, the Foundation provides free software updates at no extra cost along with free help and support.

MEHER MOUNT DATABASE POLICIES

Meher Mount’s database policies are designed for confidentiality and Meher Mount use only.

All names and contact information are permission-based only, meaning only those who request or give permission to be on the list are included.  Conversely, “unsubscribe” requests are to be honored in a timely manner.

All information in the database is confidential and is not shared with any other group, including other Meher Baba organizations.

All communications from Meher Mount are about Meher Mount and its activities, policies, programs, and fundraising activities.  In addition, the Meher Mount database is not to be used for any communications on behalf of other organizations and individuals.  

Wednesday
Aug112010

Trailer Removal Opens up the Views

DEMOLITION BEGINS on the temporary trailer that founder and lifetime caretaker Agnes Baron lived in after the 1985 fire destroyed all the buildings on the property. (Ray Johnston photo.)When Meher Baba visited Meher Mount in 1956, He gestured toward the out-of-doors and said, “Now, go out and see the view and try to love Baba through nature.  This is all due to my love.  This whole creation, this nature, all the beauty you see, all came out of me.”

After the October 1985 fire at Meher Mount destroyed all the buildings, new living quarters were needed for Agnes Baron, the then owner and caretaker.  As an interim solution, a trailer was brought on the property for her residence.

When the trailer was situated on the property, it was placed so that Agnes could see the view out of her windows across the Ojai Valley to Topa Topa Mountain. 

After the current building/house was constructed in 1994 for her residence, that trailer was used for overnight guests, storage and as an office.  However, with time, pests and use, the trailer deteriorated. In September 2007, the trailer was removed before it became a safety hazard.  Now that the trailer is gone, all can easily see Agnes’ view of Topa Topa when they visit.  

Wednesday
Aug112010

An Answer to Meher Baba's Question

FORMER MANAGER/CARETAKER Ray Johnston (center) points out the corner boundary to Margaret Magnus (left) and Elizabeth Arnold (right) that Meher Baba had asked about. (Sam Ervin photo.)

When Avatar Meher Baba visited Meher Mount on August 2, 1956,  Agnes Baron, the then owner and caretaker, drove Meher Baba and the mandali (close disciples) in her station wagon from Los Angeles. 

Along the way, Meher Baba admired the rich agricultural land. 

MEHER BABA ACTS LIKE A REAL ESTATE AGENT

And He asked many questions, such as “What was being grown, how was the land irrigated, are there orchards?”   “Meher Baba was talking as if He were a real estate agent,” Agnes cracked.

Later on that visit, Agnes took Meher Baba on a tour of the land.  He was very particular to be shown all the boundary lines and fence posts, asking where the north-south and east-west lines were.  Agnes herself was not sure, and Meher Baba looked playfully put out with her.

Agnes Baron told that story many times and wondered about it.  As part of long-range planning, a boundary survey and aerial topographical map of Meher Mount was completed in 2008.

On March 31, 2008, Ventura County formally recorded Meher Mount’s boundary survey.  The surveyors then returned to Meher Mount to place markers at all the corners of the property.

MINOR LANDSLIDE MARKS THE SPOT

The area where Meher Baba pointed when He asked about the boundaries proved to be more challenging.  In trying to put the new marker in the rock, one of the surveyors started a small landslide.  The surveyor below him took shelter as boulders the size of soccer balls and several tons of debris flew over his head.

Manager/Caretaker Ray Johnston, who joined the surveyors on this project, said he was amazed to see the landslide funneling exactly to the point where they were trying to put in the marker.  He marveled at the amount of energy that was focused on that one point that Meher Baba had asked about. 

In the end, the surveying party succeeded and placed a monument pin exactly at the boundary corner and answered Meher Baba’s 52-year-old question.