By Margaret Magnus
It was a delightful surprise to discover a review of Meher Mount on Yelp. Brandon C. of Orange County started Meher Mount's Yelp page by writing the following review in August 2012.
I LOVE THIS PLACE!
"I love this place! I was here for a weekend and got to hang out with the groundskeepers (who are British) [Samantha & Leslie Bridger]. They were SUPER hospitable and even helped me find local eateries to try for dinner!
This place is a mecca for followers for Meher Baba, who invented the saying "Don't worry, be happy" made famous by Bob Marley. I don't really believe any of that but I still love [the] surrounding nature and wildlife. There is a tree that was struck by lightning that looks REALLY COOL! It has this mini cave inside it as well as a huge bed of flowers dedicated to Meher Baba himself.
Lots of people from all around the world come here and treat this like a place of worship. A couple from India came all the way just to visit the site!
If you are a Meher Baba fan, this is a must!" - Brandon C. of Orange County. See Meher Mount's Yelp page.
EDITOR'S NOTE ON BABA'S TREE
The tree Brandon C. is talking about is Baba's Tree which burned during Meher Mount calls "The New Life Fire." The fire on October 14, 1985 was part of the larger Ferndale Fire which burned 46,809 acres in the Ojai area, including all the buildings and vehicles at Meher Mount.
The tree burned for days, and it wasn't clear whether or not it would survive. Fortunately, Baba's Tree is a Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) which is adapted to areas prone to fire. Within a year or two, Baba's Tree was green and full again in spite of some hollow areas in the trunk that were permanently burned.
Photo: Wayne Myers, 2010