The Young Adult Sahavas at Meher Mount from June 23-27, 2000, was a time of fellowship, service and remembrance of Avatar Meher Baba.
By Ryan Brown
Where to begin? You see, the Young Adult Sahavas is such a unique experience filled with laughter, tears, deep connections, silly conversations, play, dance, working together, eating, supporting each other, snuggling, letting our guards down, opening, intimate discussions about life, God, and how the heck we’re to combine them, and so much more that I’m stumped as to how to do it justice in this article.
Another aspect of the Young Adult Sahavas that makes it unique is its location at Meher Mount.
Meher Mount is a place where the Avatar has walked, but it is different from other Baba centers in that not much has been developed on the property. This is one of the reasons that I feel Meher Mount quite aptly matches the young adult “energy.” It is beautiful and magically vibrant, yet has a wild and undeveloped feel.
TENTS, OUTDOOR SHOWERS & COMPOST TOILETS
Meher Mount is perched atop a mountain with a grand view of the gorgeous Ojai Valley. Only one permanent dwelling exits, along with a couple of trailers. That meant most of us slept in tents or out under the stars.
Showers were created out of plastic PVC piping and blue plastic tarps creating square cubicles that we could bring a “Solar Shower” bag of water into and hang up within the cubicle.
Compost toilets made out of big rubber tubs with toilet seats attached to the tops of them and wood chips inside were the brainchild of Merwan Scott and had a similar tarp, piping, cubicle construction.
COMMUNAL MEALS, DISCUSSION GROUPS & SWIMMING
Meals were eaten outside on long tables that were all put together to create a “thanksgiving” meal atmosphere.
Arti was under an old tree Baba sat under when He visited in 1956. Baba’s Tree, as it is called, has big branches that arch to the ground creating a cozy womb-like effect inside.
Discussion groups were held at various locations around the property, and swimming was available in an old cement pool/reservoir with green sulfur smelling water.
ACCOMMODATIONS FIT THE GROUP
In short, the accommodations were perfect for the youthful adventure seeking spirit, typical in our generation, and the inconveniences were actually quite convenient in adding to the unique flavor that is Meher Mount’s Young Adult Sahavas.
The rustic accommodations also seemed to aid in taking us a bit out of our comfort zones and bring us closer together in community.
But best of all we had the opportunity to sleep upon the ground that the Avatar has walked, in ways that He too sometimes slept when on the New Life or out traveling with His mandali.
WORK PROJECTS PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK
The aspect of the Young Adult Sahavas that attendees seem to appreciate the most, and has started to characterize the YAS in general, are the work projects.
The discussion groups were great and meaningful, arti was magical, and the evening programs rocked, but the most excitement and fulfillment seemed to revolve around the work projects.
Every morning at 10:00 a.m., after breakfast and our morning meeting, we would divide up into work teams and experience the community of working and serving together.
The aim was to “give a little back” so that others could enjoy the magic and mystery of the land as much as we do, not to mention helping out the caretakers Pam, Billy and Annabel Goodrum with the monstrous task of Meher Mount’s upkeep. Quite a fun time it would always turn out to be.
THE GARDEN PROJECT
One of the projects was the garden. A fully landscaped flower garden was put in with an entrance way leading to the veggie garden, wherein the walkways were upgraded with wood chips and carpets to help with weed abatement.
The fence around the garden was heightened to help with protection from deer. General weeding and planting were also done around the main building. Another very important addition to the garden, which was led by Freni Waidelich, was a self composting worm farm.
BLAZING THE PRASAD ORCHARD TRAIL
Others would choose “trail blazing” as a work project option. With a lot of hard work and swinging of pick axes were able to finish the Prasad Orchard Trail, which was started during the YAS [Young Adult Sahavas] in 1998.
It winds down through the orchard Baba blessed, along the side of a picturesque hillside, zigzags up a steep incline and comes out at Baba’s Tree. This is the first such trail built at Meher Mount and was created to make the beautiful Meher Mount property more accessible to visitors.
LIVE A LIFE BEFITTING THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE GIFT OF KNOWING ABOUT MEHER BABA
All this and so much more is the Young Adult Sahavas. The cherry on top of it all was [close disciple] Bhau [Kalchuri’s] visit and talk with us on the closing day. He led a discussion that was down-to-earth and quite relevant to us in the 20- and 30-something generations.
It also continued a theme that seemed to characterize the 2000 Young Adult Sahavas. This then took shape, in part, by a letter from [close disciple] Eruch J. [Jessawalla] that we all read together at the beginning of the Sahavas.
The tone of his letter seemed more serious and urgent than in past years. In it, Baba’s right-hand man Eruch J. summoned us to rise to Baba’s call and to live a life befitting those who have been given the amazing gift of knowing about Baba.
Furthermore he beckons us not to shrink form our worldly responsibilities, but to embrace them while living a life exemplifying the peace, love, purity and beauty that Baba is showing us through His life and our living relationship with Him.
Though it was a bit heavy feeling, it was liberating, for in asking us to heed Baba’s call, Eruch was thereby acknowledging that we are special ones of the Beloved. As the gravity of Eruch’s message hit home, tears were the recognition of this precious opportunity.
NOTE: THE MEANING OF SAHAVAS
Sahavas (Hindi) means close companionship. When Meher Baba was physically present, Sahavas was an opportunity given by the Avatar to spend time with Him and to intimately feel His presence.
Today, Sahavas generally refers to a gathering in His honor where His lovers and followers meet to remember Him. Meher Baba said, "Sahavas is the give and take of love."
From: The Turning of the Key, Meher Baba in Australia, by Bill Le Page. Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Press. (c)1993 Bill Le Page.
For more on Sahavas, see "Baba's Words: The Master's Glossary, Edition One," compiled by Frank Davis.
“Musings on the Young Adult Sahavas,” by Ryan Brown, Love Steet Lamp Post, October-January, 2001 (1st Quarter 2001), pp.4-5. ©Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. Excerpted with permission.
- "Young Adult Sahavas at Meher Mount: 1998," by Huma Alvarado and AnnaLena Phillips