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

Story Blog

Anecdotes, activities and stories about Meher Mount - past, present and future.

Meher Baba Sheds His Blood in America

Wayne Myers

…the personal disaster, for some years foretold by me, took place in the form of an automobile accident while crossing the American continent… It was necessary that it should happen in America. God willed it so. [1]
— Avatar Meher Baba

By Wayne Myers

In 1952, the hearts of Avatar Meher Baba’s Western devotees soared upon receiving this message from Meher Baba: “’So now, you beloved lovers of Baba, be happy that at last you have made it possible for Me to come to the West.’” [2] 

Fifteen years had passed since Meher Baba’s last visit to the West in 1937. Under Meher Baba’s direction, the preparation and longing for that day had been ongoing for some years.

A HOME IN THE WEST

In 1941, Meher Baba gave his Western disciples Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchabelli the daunting task of scouting America for suitable property for His Western center. [3]  

Meher Baba told them He wanted a home in the West where, after He had lived and worked there, others would visit from the East and West. [4] Elizabeth and Norina “scoured the country for almost two years.” [5] They would particularly look in California, both northern and southern.

THE MEHER SPIRITUAL CENTER in Myrtle Beach, SC, is considered Avatar Meher Baba's "Home in the West." It was founded by Western disciples Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchabelli. (Photo: Meher Spiritual Center)

THE MEHER SPIRITUAL CENTER in Myrtle Beach, SC, is considered Avatar Meher Baba's "Home in the West." It was founded by Western disciples Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchabelli. (Photo: Meher Spiritual Center)

Elizabeth wrote to Meher Baba, “When we went to Los Angeles, we saw a number of properties with Jean [Adriel], Malcolm [Schloss] and [Alexander] Markey driving around in a car, but there seems to be a certain lack of water in this district.” [6] Baba had stipulated that the property have “ample water” [7] so they continued their search.

In February 1944, a visit to Elizabeth’s parents in Myrtle Beach, SC, reminded her of a property that her father and his business partners owned. It contained “…freshwater lakes in the wilderness north of town. She and Norina went exploring and knew as soon as they gazed at Long Lake that this was the place they’d been seeking.” [8]

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, disciples Jean Adriel and Alexander Markey had purchased property for a center dedicated to Meher Baba in La Crescenta, CA, north of Los Angeles. In 1946, Baba instructed them to sell the property and look for another location one or two hours further away from the city.

The destined role of Agnes Baron (1907-1994), who was Meher Mount’s caretaker from 1947 to her death in 1994, led to the discovery of the rural estate atop Sulphur Mountain in Ojai that would become Meher Mount. 

MEHER BABA’S ARRIVAL IN AMERICA

AVATAR MEHER BABA and His closest woman disciple, Mehera J. Irani, at the Meher Spiritual Center in 1952.

AVATAR MEHER BABA and His closest woman disciple, Mehera J. Irani, at the Meher Spiritual Center in 1952.

Finally, early on the morning of April 20, 1952, the airplane carrying Meher Baba and six women disciples – Mehera J. Irani, Mani S. Irani, Meheru Irani, Dr. Goher Irani, Kitty Davy, and Rano Gayley – landed in New York. Elizabeth met them and they proceeded by train to South Carolina.

Six of Meher Baba’s men disciples traveled separately – Adi K. Irani, Dr. William Donkin, Gustadji Hansotia, Meherjee Kakaria, Vinayak Nilkantha 'Nilu" Godse, and Sarosh K. Irani.

Darwin Shaw, a follower who had worked on the Myrtle Beach center, wrote, “Meher Baba’s arrival in America in April 1952 occurred without fanfare or publicity of any kind. That was the way Baba wanted it. Nevertheless, this was an event of tremendous significance and historic importance. It is hard to believe that the Christ and a group of his close disciples could and did quietly slip into America without public recognition and acclaim.” [9]

MEHER BABA CALLS AGNES BARON TO MEET HIM

While at the Myrtle Beach center, Meher Baba indicated His wish to see “Agni” – his Sanskrit nickname for Agnes Baron, meaning “fire” – to discuss plans for His visit to Meher Mount. [10]

Agnes recounted her first moments with Meher Baba, “The love just poured out of him. His vibrations were like a hummingbird. You couldn't see the vibrations, but you knew the vibrating. You felt that in Baba.” [11]

AGNES BARON, the caretaker of Meher Mount, pointing to the carpenter's shed, known as "the white house," which was brought on the property to house the men mandali traveling with Avatar Meher Baba's for His planned 10-day stay in 1952. He did not arrive at Meher Mount in 1952 due to the automobile accident on May 24 near Prague, OK. 

AGNES BARON, the caretaker of Meher Mount, pointing to the carpenter's shed, known as "the white house," which was brought on the property to house the men mandali traveling with Avatar Meher Baba's for His planned 10-day stay in 1952. He did not arrive at Meher Mount in 1952 due to the automobile accident on May 24 near Prague, OK. 

The planned 10-day stay at Meher Mount was discussed in detail. Meher Baba repeatedly told her, “’Now do not go to any trouble.’” [12]

‘Trouble!’ Agnes said, ‘I've just been waiting all these years for you to come. Everything has been painted and scrubbed.’” [13]

Meher Baba continued, “’I can sleep under the trees or on the floor. Do not go to any trouble.’" [14]

“And here I had been dying of anxiety and when Baba said ‘trouble’ I thought ‘well, how silly, I didn’t have any trouble.’ It just completely vanished. It’s a fact. So the whole time in His presence, all my problems meant nothing. Everything [was] just wiped out,” Agnes recalled. [15]

Donkin and Adi were called in, and Meher Baba instructed them, “’I want you to drive out ahead to California with Nilu, Gustadji and Meherjee to help Agnes prepare for my visit.’” [16]

Agnes reiterated again, “’But Baba, it is all ready. Everything has already been done.’" [17]

Nevertheless, Meher Baba had His own reasons and stated that the men mandali [close disciples] were to drive straight there from Myrtle Beach and await His arrival. He ordered Agnes to leave the following day and return to Meher Mount, which she did. [18]

FINAL DAYS AT THE CENTER

AVATAR MEHER BABA standing outside the "Guest House" at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, SC, in 1952. (Photo: Glow International)

AVATAR MEHER BABA standing outside the "Guest House" at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, SC, in 1952. (Photo: Glow International)

On Saturday, May 17, an all-day, open-house darshan [19] program was held with Meher Baba in the Barn at Meher Spiritual Center. The Barn, once a stable for mules, had been adapted to host group gatherings with Meher Baba. Almost 700 people came that day, “many from the small town of Myrtle Beach and many from distant places.” [20]

“The day after the open day, rains descended in earnest. It was stormy and wild,” observed Filis Frederick. “Baba's mood completely changed. His eyes looked flashing, strange. I was standing near Elizabeth's cabin when He signaled me to get her to come to the door. He ‘said’ on His board [to her], ‘Do you have your insurance papers?’

[Elizabeth replied], ‘They are in my trunk in Youpon Dunes.’ [Baba responded], ‘I want you to get them and carry them with you.’ Elizabeth had been an insurance saleswoman and had several policies. Because she had them with her, after the accident, everything was much easier.” [21]

MEHER BABA AND THE MANDALI LEAVE MYRTLE BEACH

As planned, five men mandali – Adi, Gustadji, Meherjee, Nilu, and Dr. Donkin – left Myrtle Beach on May 19, one day prior to Meher Baba’s departure on May 20. They were driving across America to Meher Mount in Ojai, CA, to see that proper arrangements were made there with Agnes Baron before He and the women mandali arrived. [22] 

AVATAR MEHER BABA with many of His women followers at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, SC, in 1952. (Left to right): Adele Wolkin, Filis Frederick, Mani S. Irani (Meher Baba's sister), Rita "Sparkie" Lukes, Charmian Duce Knowles, Meher Baba, Mehera J. Irani, Delia DeLeon, and Meheru Irani. (Photo: Sufism Reoriented)

AVATAR MEHER BABA with many of His women followers at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, SC, in 1952. (Left to right): Adele Wolkin, Filis Frederick, Mani S. Irani (Meher Baba's sister), Rita "Sparkie" Lukes, Charmian Duce Knowles, Meher Baba, Mehera J. Irani, Delia DeLeon, and Meheru Irani. (Photo: Sufism Reoriented)

When Meher Baba left Myrtle Beach the following day on May 20, nine people traveled with Him in two cars. [23] Elizabeth drove her car with Meher Baba, Mehera, Mani and Meheru as passengers.

Sarosh was driving Elizabeths’s station wagon with Kitty, Dr. Goher, Delia DeLeon, and Rano. [24] The itinerary was to spend nine days driving across America to reach Meher Mount on May 29, 1952. [25]

Years later, Mehera shared her recollection of a final day at the Center just as they were preparing to leave for California. “Baba told the Eastern women they would go for a walk. He gestured this by touching his leg, which meant ‘walk.’” [26]

Mehera said that they walked through the forest and that Meher Baba wanted them to feel relaxed and enjoy the quietude. “‘It was a very lovely, thick, and beautiful forest… Baba’s beautiful atmosphere of love was felt there.’” [27] 

As she reflected on it later, she felt that Meher Baba’s gesture of touching his leg held an added significance that day. It would be one of the last times he ever walked so freely. [28]

FLOWERS at the site of Avatar Meher Baba's 1952 automobile accident near Prague, OK. 

FLOWERS at the site of Avatar Meher Baba's 1952 automobile accident near Prague, OK. 

THE ACCIDENT NEAR PRAGUE

On the morning of May 24, 1952, Anthony Joseph Palmieri was driving east on Oklahoma's Highway 62 with Billie Hanson, who would soon be his wife, and her mother, Jane Hanson.

Anthony had lost both legs in the Korean War. That day he was driving for the first time a new, specially equipped Mercury sedan.

The two-lane highway was slick from rain the night before. About 10:00 a.m., at a spot that is nearly the geographical center of the United States, their car was climbing a rise where, according to Anthony, a mail truck was blocking the right lane. He pulled around the truck and into the path of an oncoming blue Nash with South Carolina plates.

As the Mercury flew towards the Nash, a collision unavoidable, Jane cried out, "Please , God, don't let us die!" She had no idea that at that moment God, in the human form of Meher Baba, was stretching out his hand to point at her car.

As Anthony applied the brakes, the Mercury spun across the road and the Nash smashed head on into its side. Anthony, Billie, and Jane were unhurt.

In Meher Baba’s car, Elizabeth, who was driving, had a broken arm and 11 broken ribs. Mehera, Meher Baba’s closest woman disciple, suffered a skull fracture. Meheru's wrists were both broken, and Mani, who had been sleeping at the time of the accident, sustained only minor injuries. Only Meher Baba had lasting effects of the accident. [29]

THE NEWS REACHES MEHER MOUNT

The five men mandali whom Baba had sent ahead reached Meher Mount on May 23, exhausted, as they had been told to drive as fast as possible. [30]

After they had rested, showered, and were having tea the following morning, a woman from a neighboring house arrived, saying that Malcolm Schloss had telephoned to inform them that something serious had happened. [31]

Agnes recalled that morning. We didn’t have a phone at that time and a message came up the hill from Malcolm Schloss. The mandali jumped up from the table. I had given the message to Donkin and he said, ‘Don’t tell them Agni, they’ll get too excited. We’ll go down and telephone.’” [32]

“But they knew something was wrong. They jumped up and said ‘We’re going with you.’ So we went down to the neighbors, three miles down, and telephoned, and they wanted to leave immediately.” [33]

DR. WILLIAM DONKIN (1911-1969) was an Englishman who became was one of Meher Baba's close disciples. (Photo: Wikipedia)

DR. WILLIAM DONKIN (1911-1969) was an Englishman who became was one of Meher Baba's close disciples. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Dr. Donkin said, “’I've got to get to Baba. He's in great danger.’” [34]

Donkin decided to fly back immediately. The rest would drive. On the way to California, Donkin and Adi shared the driving, since no one else could drive. Now it would be Adi alone. [35]

Agnes pleaded with Adi to stay a second night for more rest before starting the long drive. “Adi refused. He wanted to leave at once,” she said. [36] 

“He told Donkin to draw him a map of the route back to Oklahoma.” [37] Donkin declared, “’My God! They’ll never get there. They’ll end up in Alaska!’” [38]

Agnes led them to the highway in her car, as Adi followed.  Agnes then drove Donkin into Los Angeles to get him on a flight to Oklahoma. 

AGNES BARON GETS A FLIGHT WHEN THERE ARE NO FLIGHTS AVAILABLE

So, I took Donkin into Los Angeles and there was a [oil] strike. No gasoline and [few] planes were flying, only ‘top priority.’  So I told Donkin: ‘You go to bed and I’ll sit on the phone, and I’ll call all the airlines.’” [39]

AN ESTIMATED 90,000 oil workers from 22 unions were on strike around the time of Meher Baba's automobile accident, thus limiting the availability of gasoline for all transportation. (Photo: Front Page of the Chicago Daily Tribune, May 7, 1952) 

AN ESTIMATED 90,000 oil workers from 22 unions were on strike around the time of Meher Baba's automobile accident, thus limiting the availability of gasoline for all transportation. (Photo: Front Page of the Chicago Daily Tribune, May 7, 1952) 

“So I called all the [air]lines and I said, ‘This is a very important person. He requires top priority.’” [40]

“He's going to take care of a man who's internationally known, [a] very famous person who's been in an accident.’” [41]

‘“He’s waiting for his doctor. Someone has been seriously hurt and he must have his doctor immediately!” [42] “No matter what priority, you've got to give him a ticket!’” [43]

“[They all said] ‘Yes, ma'am, yes ma'am.' They hung up. So all I could do was sit by the phone all night long and finally about two or three in the morning the phone rang.” [44]

“It was a woman at one of the airlines, and this cute little voice said, ‘“Honey, I believed you. I knew that you really meant it as a top priority, very important, so there was a cancellation and you can have it.’” [45], [46], [47]

“So, I let Donkin sleep and in the morning I got him up in time and he got off to [Oklahoma] and [he] got there very shortly after the accident,” Agnes explained. [48]

NOT TO SHED A SINGLE TEAR

Adi and the rest of the mandali reached Prague four days after the accident. Adi described the journey back: “’Because Don had flown from California, I had to do all the driving myself.” [49]

ADI K. IRANI (1903-1980) served as Meher Baba's secretary. (Photo: Jack Small)

ADI K. IRANI (1903-1980) served as Meher Baba's secretary. (Photo: Jack Small)

Adi continued, “It was raining half the way back from California. At one point we stopped at a motel at 3:00 A.M., and continued on after a few hours of sleep. We drove 1500 miles in three days. When we arrived in Prague, I wasn’t allowed in [to see Meher Baba] straight away. The message came out that I could come in, but I should not shed a single tear. [50]

“Inside I didn’t weep, but I wept so much once I stepped out. We stayed in the hospital, keeping watch...” [51]

To those in India, Adi wrote: “’There was nothing but tears in our eyes and bleeding in our heart.’” [52]

Rano Gayley shared this memory from the accident: “None of us ever imagined an accident that would involve such injuries to Baba. But as Baba had said many times, it was meant to happen. Yet Baba had to be hurt like that and the others had to share in it, even Mehera.” [53]

“At the scene of the accident I didn’t have time to react emotionally… But that night with Baba in a hospital bed, his leg in a cast, his arm in a sling, his nose and mouth badly injured, the immensity of it hit me. I cried and cried, but tried not to let Baba hear me. In the morning, Baba looked at me and laughed, “‘Why are you going through all this? Everything will be all right.'" [54]

FOUR YEARS LATER MEHER BABA REACHES MEHER MOUNT

AVATAR MEHER BABA at Meher Mount on August 2, 1956. Close disciple Eruch Jessawalla is holding the umbrella and Meher Mount caretaker Agnes Baron is pointing out something to Meher Baba. 

AVATAR MEHER BABA at Meher Mount on August 2, 1956. Close disciple Eruch Jessawalla is holding the umbrella and Meher Mount caretaker Agnes Baron is pointing out something to Meher Baba. 

Four years later in 1956, Meher Baba returned to America. With this visit, Meher Baba fulfilled His intention of coming to Meher Mount. 

With His Presence, He connected the Meher Spiritual Center, Prague (now the Heartland Center), and Meher Mount with a coast-to-coast line across America. 

At Meher Mount on August 2, 1956, Meher Baba told those present that the land was very old and He had been here before. [55]

Meher Baba also told them that next to Myrtle Beach, He liked this place best. [56]                                                    


REFERENCES                                 

[1] Bhau Kalchuri, Lord Meher: The Biography of the Avatar of the Age Meher Baba, Online Edition, pg. 3191, accessed May 22, 2017. ©Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust.
[2] Kitty Davy, Love Alone Prevails: A Story of Life with Meher Baba (North Myrtle Beach, SC: Sherair Press), pg. 381. ©1981 by Meher Spiritual Center, Inc.
[3] Charmian Knowles, Spread My Love (Walnut Creek, CA: Sufism Reoriented), pg. 39. ©2004 by Sufism Reoriented.
[4] Davy, op. cit., pg. 365.
[5] Knowles, op.cit., pg. 39.
[6] Kalchuri, op.cit., pg. 2411, accessed online May 22, 2017. 
[7] Knowles, op.cit., pg. 39.
[8] Knowles, op.cit., pg.39.
[9] Darwin C. Shaw, As Only God Can Love: A Lifetime of Companionship with Meher Baba (North Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Foundation), pg. 87. (c)2003 by Darwin C. Shaw.
[10] Kalchuri, op. cit., pg. 3047, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[11] “The Beloved’s Watchdog: Agnes Baron Remembers Her Life with Meher Baba.” Video.  Walnut Creek: Gateway Mediaworks, 1998.
[12] Kalchuri, op.cit., pg. 3049, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[13] Kalchuri, ibid., pg. 3049, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[14] Kalchuri, ibid., pg. 3049, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[15] Mandali Hall Talks: “Meeting Baba in 1952: Talks by Agnes Baron.” Audio.  Accessed March 10, 2012.  http://mandalihall.org/
[16] Kalchuri, ibid., pg. 3049, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[17] Kalchuri, ibid., pg. 3049, accessed May 22, 2017.
[18] Kalchuri, op.cit., pg. 3049, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[19] Darshan: To receive the grace of seeing the Divine.
[20] Kalchuri, op. cit., pg. 3082, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[21] Filis Frederick, “Memories of ’52,” The Awakener Magazine Online, Vol. 14, No. 2 (1972), pg. 15, accessed May 22, 2017.
[22] Kalchuri, ibid., pg. 3089, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[23] David Fenster, Mehera-Meher: A Divine Romance, Vol. III. (Ahmednagar, MS, India: Meher Nazar Publications) pg. 35. ©2003 by David Fenster. 
[24] Rano Gayley, Because of Love: My Life and Art with Meher Baba. (North Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Press), pg. 54. ©1983 by Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust.
[25] Kalchuri, op.cit., pg. 3089, accessed online May 22, 2017.
[26] Fenster, op.cit., pg. 32.
[27] Fenster, ibid., pg. 32.
[28] Fenster, ibid., pg. 32.
[29] Jeff Maguire, The Heartland Center website, accessed May 22, 2017.
[30] Fenster, ibid., pg. 49. 
[31] Fenster, ibid., pg. 49.
[32] Mandali Hall Talks, op.cit., accessed March 20, 2012.
[33] Mandali Hall Talks, ibid., accessed March 20, 2012.
[34] “Beloved’s Watchdog,”op.cit.
[35] Fenster, op.cit., pp. 49-50.
[36] Fenster, ibid., pg. 50.
[37] Fenster, ibid., pg. 50.
[38] Fenster, ibid., pg. 50.
[39] Mandali Hall Talks, op.cit., accessed March 20, 2012.
[40] Mandali Hall Talks, ibid., accessed March 20, 2012.
[43] “Beloved’s Watchdog,”op.cit.
[44] “Beloved’s Watchdog,”op.cit.
[45] Mandali Hall Talks, op.cit., accessed March 20, 2012.
[46] “Beloved’s Watchdog,”ibid.
[47] Mandali Hall Talks, op.cit., accessed March 20, 2012.
[48] Mandali Hall Talks, ibid., accessed March 20, 2012.
[49] Fenster, op.cit., pp. 50-51.
[50] Fenster, ibid., pg. 51.
[51] Fenster, ibid., pg. 51.
[52] Fenster, ibid., pg. 51.
[53] Gayley, op.cit., pg. 55-56.
[54] Gayley, op.cit., pg. 55. 
[55] Filis Frederick, “Journey of the Heart” The Awakener Magazine Online, Vol. 5, No. 2. (1958), pg. 16, accessed online May 22, 2016.  
[56] Frederick, ibid., pg. 16



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