By Huma Alvarado & AnnaLena Phillips
The first Young Adult Sahavas (for ages 18-35) was held August 7-9, 1998 at Meher Mount, a hilltop property above Ojai, two hours northwest of Los Angeles, that Baba visited in 1956.
Organizers Mehera Makeig [Kleiner], Julanne Lodge and Merwan Scott pulled the Sahavas together in three weeks after [close Meher Baba disciple] Bhau [Kalchuri] told them in Los Angeles, “Enough talk, talk, talk – it is time to do, do, do!”
Meher Mount board member Gigi [Driessen] Stankus urged them on, and Meher Mount caretakers Jonathan and Kendra Crossen Burroughs were ideal hosts. Even when the Indian restaurant owners catering Saturday dinner got lost and arrived an hour late, few noticed.
THE SAHAVAS ATTENDEES SHARE THEIR IMPRESSIONS
Notes from some of the thirty or more Sahavasees give glimpses of what happened:
“The first night, when the full moon came up and the rest of the world was covered in fog, Meher Mount seemed like the highest, quietest, most beautiful and ancient place on earth.”
“A memorable moment for me was seeing the arti performed for the first time.”
“My first silent dip in the ocean at Baba’s Tree…”
“I took the job of wake-up-caller. It was wonderful, because I got to go around, saying ‘Good morning. Jai Baba!’ and smile at every person at the Sahavas. Most of them made a great sleepy effort and smiled back. What a wonderful thing that people could smile at someone waking them up at the 7 “o’clock in the morning!”
“The wake-up callers peering into my tent at sunrise ringing wind chimes and saying ‘Jai Baba….time for arti in thirty minutes…’ a very sweet wakeup call.”
BUILDING A ROCK WALL
Once again Baba is the Supreme Planner. We had thought to build a wall of the foundation stones of the house where He spoke during His visit to Meher Mount. The wall took form in two hours, organized and guided by He who dwells in each heart.
“I enjoyed the work project a lot. It was nice to be part of building something, and the wall came out so well. It will stand a long time and took so little time working as a group."
SILENT WALK TO BABA'S TREE
“I really enjoyed the silent walk to Baba’s Tree and the singing and storytelling under the bright moon.”
“The moon was rising over the mountains, full and round like a golden peach.”
“A wonderful memory for me was seeing the intense moonlight the night of our evening arti, coupled with several shooting stars racing across the heavens. It was wonderful to sing to Baba under the cosmic light of the night.”
“One thing that I will always remember is the night we all sat together in spontaneous silence, on the hill, looking over the city and hills. I really had no idea what was truly happening in that moment, but Baba’s quote, ‘Things that are real are given and received in silence’ sprung into my mind… What a gift we received. Thank you Baba.”
“Standing along the path to the tree while bathing in the moonlight listening to the group of young adults gathered at the point saying the prayers, the moon shone down upon their black silhouettes as the sleeping fog softened the mountains below. It felt timeless, as if it could have been when Jesus came, or Buddha… It felt so strongly as if Baba had planned this long ago, that it is His gift that we have come together.”
feeling the embrace of his presence
“After two cups of chai, I couldn’t sleep, so I walked to Baba’s Tree and sat behind it. I soon got worried about ants and others bugs and decided to climb up about ten feet into the tree. I sat there for about an hour. I could hear various animals and I felt at one with the tree. It felt like time stood still and yet it felt like I was experiencing the tree’s life. I felt Baba sitting below me, next to me, and in me. I didn’t want to leave but the chai was wearing off. I tried to sleep in the tree which was shaped almost perfect for me to sleep in except for my left leg. If I had fallen asleep I would have fallen down. It was a very meditational experience.”
“The last morning a few of us gathered for morning arti at seven under Baba’s Tree. We placed a framed photo of Beloved Baba in the meeting of two large branches, and placed a few fresh yellow flowers around it. Then we sat there in silence, feeling the embrace of His presence there.”
“All that plus creek swimming, art and poetry workshops, dancing and shared chores, good food and music. At the final meeting Sunday morning, there was enthusiastic talk about what we should do next year, and heartfelt hopes that the feeling of Sahavas all shared be kept alive in His remembrance until then.”
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.
“Young Adult Sahavas at Meher Mount,” by Huma Alvarado and AnnaLena Phillips, Love Street Lamp Post, October-December 1998 (4th Quarter 1998), page 18. ©Avatar Meher Baba Center of Southern California. Reprinted with permission.
- "Musings on the Young Adult Sahavas: 2000," by Ryan Brown.