MEHER MOUNT

9902 Sulphur Mountain Road
Ojai, CA 93023-9375

Phone: 805-640-0000
Email: info@mehermount.org

HOURS

Wednesday-Sunday: Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Monday & Tuesday: Closed

MANAGER/CARETAKERS

Buzz & Ginger Glasky

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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

OFFICERS

Margaret Magnus, Secretary

9902 Sulphur Mountain Rd
Ojai, CA, 93023
United States

(805) 640-0000

Founding Meher Mount

Meher Mount was founded in response to instructions from Avatar Meher Baba requesting that a retreat center be established one-to-two hours outside a major city. 

A DRIVE IN RESPONSE TO MEHER BABA'S INSTRUCTIONS

THE ORIGINAL GUEST HOUSE at Meher Mount in the 1940s. This was the building where Avatar Meher Baba greeted visitors during His visit on August 2, 1956. This house and all the other buildings on the property were destroyed in the 1985 New Life Fire. (Archive photo.)

Meher Mount was founded in response to instructions from Avatar Meher Baba requesting that a retreat center be established one-to-two hours outside a major city. 

Before Meher Baba issued these instructions, His followers Jean Adriel, author of Avatar, and Alexander Markey had founded the 500-acre New Life Center in La Crescenta, California.

In response to Meher Baba's instructions, they took a drive one afternoon to look at property outside the Los Angeles, California, area. They invited Agnes Baron, who had worked with Jean on the book Avatar, to come along.

THE PULL OF DESTINY

A serendipitous pull of destiny led them to the heights of Sulphur Mountain. 

As they motored through the Upper Ojai Valley driving along Highway 150, a curious stand of oak trees atop the mountain ridge caught the eye of Agnes Baron. She insisted they find their way up there.

When they stopped at the driveway of 9902 Sulphur Mountain Road, the wooden gate was closed. It appeared as if no one were home. Agnes insisted they investigate further.

A CLOSER LOOK

THE ORIGINAL FARMHOUSE and garage (upper left-hand corner) were part of the complex of buildings when the property was purchased in 1946. The greenhouse (lower right) was built later in the 1970s. (Archive photo.)

"Baba's going to send six of the mandali [close men disciples] to live with us," Jean said. "We'll need a lot of buildings if we move here."

Agnes was sure there were more buildings on the property, so she jumped over the fence to investigate and called the others to join her. They liked what they saw.

The 173-acre property contained a main house, a guest house, a garage with caretaker quarters on top, five or six outbuildings, a greenhouse, an orchard, a rose garden, and a swimming pool.

The property was being looked after by a local farmer who was not present. They located his wife, who told them the property belonged to Mrs. McCoonaty, the wealthy heiress of a supermarket chain called Ralph's.

AGNES BARON pointing to the "white house", an old carpenter's shed, that was brought onto the property for Meher Baba's mandali (close men disciples) to stay in during Meher Baba's proposed 1952 visit. (Archive photo.)

"WE WON'T BE ABLE TO AFFORD IT"

"There's no point in calling; we won't be able to afford it," remarked Jean. But at Agnes' insistence, they phoned.

Mrs. McCoonaty said that although she had planned to retire there, she and her husband were now divorcing, and the property was to be sold.

"Go and talk with my business manager," she instructed.

So the next day Jean Adriel and Alexander Markey went. They reasoned that if they sold the 500-acre New Life Center, they would be able to afford this property which was only 173 acres.

Escrow closed on August 9, 1946, and they christened it "Meher Mount."

AGNES BARON STAYS ON

AGNES BARON (foreground) in a rare moment of relaxation. Unidentified woman in the background. They are in front of the farmhouse and garage. (Archive photo.)

The group lived there for several years, conducting retreats and other spiritual activities, and receiving many visitors. However, Markey and Jean had some disagreement, and he moved back to New York.

Jean had asked Agnes to move to Ojai with her, and although still not committed to Meher Baba, Agnes had agreed. 

Later, Jean also left Meher Mount. Agnes Baron stayed on and remained as caretaker of Meher Mount until her death in 1994.

"I WILL KEEP IT FOR YOU THROUGH HELL, FIRE AND DAMNATION"

MEHER MOUNT RELIES ON VOLUNTEERS to help with weed abatement and general maintenance. Agnes Baron (left) is using a scythe and visitor Margaret Craske, a close disciple of Meher Baba (right), helps by raking circa 1949. (Archive photo.)

At Meher Mount, Agnes faced one difficulty after another in managing and holding onto the property.

At one point she wrote to Meher Baba describing a troublesome situation and stating, “If you want me to take care of Meher Mount, I will keep it for you through hell, fire and damnation!” 

Meher Baba replied that she should keep it by all means, and He sent His love.

"IT WAS NO TROUBLE, NO TROUBLE AT ALL"

When Agnes Baron visited Meher Baba at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1952, He said, “…I want Agni to know that only Agni, God and Baba know what she has gone through in these six years to hold Meher Mount for me.”

Agnes looked at Him in surprise and said, “It was no trouble, Baba, no trouble at all.” 

She had completely forgotten all the problems she had encountered simply by being in His presence.

A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION IS CREATED

Early on, Meher Baba told Agnes to put the property in her name which she did through considerable effort and overcoming a number of obstacles. 

Before her death in 1994, Agnes gave the property to the non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, Meher Mount Corporation. 

Today, Meher Mount is governed by a Board of Directors and is a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Avatar Meher Baba.


SOURCE

Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba, by Bhau Kalchuri, "Manifestation, Inc.", 1986.