9902 Sulphur Mountain Road
Ojai, CA 93023-9375

Phone: 805-640-0000


Wednesday-Sunday: Noon to 5:00 p.m.
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Buzz & Ginger Glasky


Sam Ervin, Preident
Ron Holsey, Vice President
Ursula Reinhart, Treasurer
Jim Whitson, Director
Richard Mannis, Director


Margaret Magnus, Secretary

9902 Sulphur Mountain Rd
Ojai, CA, 93023
United States

(805) 640-0000


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Why Do We Suffer? - Insights from the Teachings of Avatar Meher Baba

  • Ojai Library 111 E Ojai Ave Ojai, CA, 93023 United States (map)

Why Do We Suffer?

AVATAR MEHER BABA at Arthur's Seat in Mahabaleshwar, India. Painting by Charles Mills.

AVATAR MEHER BABA at Arthur's Seat in Mahabaleshwar, India. Painting by Charles Mills.

Suffering is one of the realities of human life. It occurs not only during major catastrophes, such as wars, famine and plagues, but also in the ordinary dissatisfactions and heartbreaks that afflict us all.

What, in fact, are the real causes of suffering? Avatar Meher Baba has said that suffering results from selfishness and desire.

However, He has indicated that through discrimination and the practice of love, one can discover an abiding happiness that remains constant despite the vicissitudes of life.

The discussion led by scholar Dr. Ward Parks will examine the problem of suffering from the standpoint of Meher Baba's teachings and also drawing on illuminations from other spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, Vedanta, Sufism, and mystical Christianity.


  • 6:00 p.m. Welcome & Introductions
  • 6:10 p.m.  Talk on "Why We Suffer" by Dr. Ward Parks
  • 7:30 p.m.  Questions & Answers
  • 8:00 p.m:  Close

The event is free and is open to the public.


Dr. Ward Parks.jpg

Dr. Ward Parks is an author and one of the foremost scholars on the writings of Avatar Meher Baba, an Indian spiritual master (1894-1969) who declared himself to be God in human form.

For the past several years, Dr. Parks has been traveling around the world giving multi-day, intensive seminars on the book Infinite Intelligence by Meher Baba and on reincarnation.

He was the editor or co-editor of the following Meher Baba books: In God's Hand (Beloved Archives, New Jersey, 2000); Infinite Intelligence (Sheriar Foundation, 2005); the Revised Sixth Edition of Discourses by Meher Baba (Sheriar Foundation, 2007); Early Messages to the West (Sheriar Foundation, 2009); and Divine Theme, second edition (Hyderabad: Meher Mownvani, 2010). He is currently working on Meher Baba's discourses known as the "Tiffin Lectures." 

Before going to India in 1993 for spiritual training, Dr. Parks was a tenured associate professor of medieval studies for 10 years, specializing in Old English at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.

He earned his BA in English Literature from Harvard University (1974) and a MA in English from Emory University (1977). His PhD in English Literature is from the University of Missouri. His most important academic book is Verbal Dueling in Heroic Narrative: The Homeric and Old English Traditions, published by Princeton University Press in 1990.  He has also published around 35 scholarly articles.

Dr. Parks first heard of Meher Baba in 1970 when he was a freshman at Harvard.  He made his first pilgrimage to Meher Baba's home in India in 1972.

In 1993, Dr. Parks left the academic world to become a spiritual trainee in India at the Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust. Since 1997, his principal work at the Trust has been editing Meher Baba's words. Dr. Parks is also a prolific composer of music, writing more than 400 songs and ghazals (a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain, each line sharing the same meter). 

Dr. Parks spoke at the Ojai Library in 2014 on reincarnation and the meaning of life. He looks forward to returning to discuss Meher Baba's words on suffering.

Earlier Event: August 8
Tea & Talk with Jimmy Khan
Later Event: November 26
Thanksgiving Day Dinner & Celebration