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.

The Great Dhuni Stick Harvest - A One-of-a-Kind Dhuni Day

Margaret Magnus

By Margaret Magnus

The forecast was for rain. Still, the volunteers came. It was the day of The Great Dhuni Stick Harvest. Saturday, January 12, 2019, turned out to be a glorious day with a very special dhuni at Meher Mount.

THE GREAT  DHUNI  STICK HARVEST volunteers at Meher Mount on January 12, 2019. (Left to right) Jim Whedon, David Trombley, Kyle Morrisson, Jim Whitson, David Springhorn, Sam Ervin, Cassandra Bramucci, Fred Stankus, Kristina Somma, Agnes Montano, and Juan Mendez. Margaret Magnus is taking the photo, and Robert Turnage is at the Visitor Center greeting guests. Lisa Morrison, Kristen Tarpey, and Mike Tarpey came later in the afternoon.

THE GREAT DHUNI STICK HARVEST volunteers at Meher Mount on January 12, 2019. (Left to right) Jim Whedon, David Trombley, Kyle Morrisson, Jim Whitson, David Springhorn, Sam Ervin, Cassandra Bramucci, Fred Stankus, Kristina Somma, Agnes Montano, and Juan Mendez. Margaret Magnus is taking the photo, and Robert Turnage is at the Visitor Center greeting guests. Lisa Morrison, Kristen Tarpey, and Mike Tarpey came later in the afternoon.

The rain stopped, and the sun came out around 10:30 a.m. The cloud-filled skies were deep blue, and the views were picture-perfect. It was time to harvest dhuni-sized sticks from the fallen branches of Baba’s Tree.

VOLUNTEERS WALKING ON BABA’S PATH to Baba’s Tree (inside the seclusion fence) to harvest  dhuni  sticks at Meher Mount. The sun has just come out, and the skies were spectacular following the rainstorm. (Photo: Juan Mendez, January 12, 2019)

VOLUNTEERS WALKING ON BABA’S PATH to Baba’s Tree (inside the seclusion fence) to harvest dhuni sticks at Meher Mount. The sun has just come out, and the skies were spectacular following the rainstorm. (Photo: Juan Mendez, January 12, 2019)

A BOX OF  DHUNI  STICKS ready to be shipped to another Meher Baba group for use in a  dhuni . (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 12, 2019)

A BOX OF DHUNI STICKS ready to be shipped to another Meher Baba group for use in a dhuni. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 12, 2019)

The 1,200 sticks from Baba’s Tree are destined for 30 other Meher Baba groups for their dhuni fires.

The dhuni “symbolizes the fire of Baba’s divine love,” explained Meher Baba’s close disciple, Eruch Jessawala. The piece of wood represents some attachment or desire that an individual wises to burn to ashes.

Meher Mount is sharing these small pieces of wood from this place of pilgrimage, sanctified by His Presence, with those whose hearts are aligned toward Him.

For those who cannot come to Meher Baba’s mountain, these dhuni sticks are a way to bring a bit of Meher Mount to them.

Baba’s Tree is the Coast Live Oak under which Meher Baba sat on August 2, 1956. Meher Mount co-founder Agnes Baron began calling it “Baba’s Tree” when she, Jean Adriel and the New Life Foundation board first came to the property in 1946. During His visit, Meher Baba sat alone under the tree, accepting it as His by His actions.

THE FALLEN LIMBS AND BRANCHES of Baba’s Tree at Meher Mount are being harvested and cut into 1,200  dhuni -sized sticks to send to other Meher Baba groups for their  dhuni . (Left to right): Agnes Montano, Sam Ervin, Kyle Morrison, Jim Whedon, Jim Whitson, David Trombley, Fred Stankus, David Springhorn, and Kristina Somma. (Photo: Juan Mendez, January 12, 2019)

THE FALLEN LIMBS AND BRANCHES of Baba’s Tree at Meher Mount are being harvested and cut into 1,200 dhuni-sized sticks to send to other Meher Baba groups for their dhuni. (Left to right): Agnes Montano, Sam Ervin, Kyle Morrison, Jim Whedon, Jim Whitson, David Trombley, Fred Stankus, David Springhorn, and Kristina Somma. (Photo: Juan Mendez, January 12, 2019)

Baba’s Tree has been burned by fire – twice. The first time was on October 14, 1985, in what Meher Mount calls the New Life Fire, and the second time on December 4, 2017 in the Thomas Fire. In the Thomas Fire, high winds toppled the canopy and fire burned the trunk and limbs of the tree. There is an ongoing program to nurture Baba’s Tree and its regeneration.

The dhuni sticks are part of that fallen canopy. It seems fitting that each of these sticks is a gift from Meher Baba and from His tree through His fire and returning to His fire.

After all the dhuni and walking sticks are harvested, the remaining twigs and branches will be be chipped and used for mulch around Baba’s Tree to hold in moisture and provide nutrients.

BAKED  DHUNI  STICKS cooling after coming out of the 200-degree oven for six hours. The baking process is to rid the wood of pests before sending the  dhuni  sticks to other Meher Baba groups. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 12, 2019)

BAKED DHUNI STICKS cooling after coming out of the 200-degree oven for six hours. The baking process is to rid the wood of pests before sending the dhuni sticks to other Meher Baba groups. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 12, 2019)

During the harvest, Ventura County Star reporter Claudia Boyd-Barrett came by to take photographs, learn more about the dhuni, and get an update on Baba’s Tree progress. Earlier, she had written several articles on Baba’s Tree (“Baba’s Tree, burned in Thomas Fire, fights for survival in Ojai” and “Damaged in Thomas Fire, Baba’s Tree Limbs Live on as Benches at Ojai’s Meher Mount”).

After the sticks were harvested, they were baked in the oven for six hours at 200 degrees to remove any pests as part of the conservation effort to prevent the transportation of insects.

When The Great Dhuni Stick Harvest was planned, little notice was taken of the actual date of the volunteer weekend. It was only later that the team realized that the harvest would take place on the 12th of month.

In December 1941, Meher Baba instructed that a dhuni should be lit on every 12th of the month in Meherabad, India. That tradition continues today. Other groups also light a dhuni on the 12th of the month or have a dhuni at special gatherings.

BABA’S FIREPLACE &  DARSHAN  COURTYARD are the site of the January 12, 2019  dhuni  at Meher Mount. The fire is contained in the metal charcoal BBQ pan, and the harvested  dhuni  sticks sit in the cart nearby so that each person can take a stick to throw into the fire. (Photo: Margaret Magnus)

BABA’S FIREPLACE & DARSHAN COURTYARD are the site of the January 12, 2019 dhuni at Meher Mount. The fire is contained in the metal charcoal BBQ pan, and the harvested dhuni sticks sit in the cart nearby so that each person can take a stick to throw into the fire. (Photo: Margaret Magnus)

Thus, it was only fitting that after the dhuni sticks were harvested, there should be a dhuni at Meher Mount. The rainy weather greatly reduced the risk of a wildfire, and cautions were taken to use the metal charcoal pan of a BBQ for the fire. Each person at Meher Mount that day had an opportunity to participate in a dhuni — many for the first time.

AROUND THE DHUNI at Meher Mount. (Left to right) David Trombley, Agnes Montano, Robert Turnage, Kristen Tarpey, Mike Tarpey, Kyle Morrison, Jim Whedon, David Springhorn, Jim Whitson and Fred Stankus. (Photo: Juan Mendez, January 12, 2019)

AROUND THE DHUNI at Meher Mount. (Left to right) David Trombley, Agnes Montano, Robert Turnage, Kristen Tarpey, Mike Tarpey, Kyle Morrison, Jim Whedon, David Springhorn, Jim Whitson and Fred Stankus. (Photo: Juan Mendez, January 12, 2019)

DHUNI ASHES from Baba’s Tree branches at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 12, 2019)

DHUNI ASHES from Baba’s Tree branches at Meher Mount. (Photo: Margaret Magnus, January 12, 2019)

Dhuni day January 12, 2019, was a special day, and many people were touched by the experience.

“I’m still drenched with His Love and bliss experienced at Meher Mount in the spontaneous outpouring of rain and brothers and sisters in harmony with the great fortune of piecing His sacred tree that contains His Presence!” wrote Fred Stankus several days later.

Jim Whedon noted, that it was “a very special day that I will always remember – thank you Baba!”

For several of the dhuni harvesters, this was their first visit to Meher Mount.

“Thank you for the warm welcome. I am looking forward to seeing you all again. It is humbling to see the way He is reflected from you folks,” said David Trombley. He felt that entire experience had opened his heart.

THE DHUNI at Meher Mount on January 12, 2019. (Front to left): David Springhorn, Kristina Somma, Jim Whitson, Kyle Morrison, Lisa Morrison, Kristen Tarpey, Mike Tarpey, Margaret Magnus, Fred Stankus, Jim Whedon, David Trombley, Robert Turnage, Agnes Montano and Juan Mendez. (Photo: Sam Ervin)

THE DHUNI at Meher Mount on January 12, 2019. (Front to left): David Springhorn, Kristina Somma, Jim Whitson, Kyle Morrison, Lisa Morrison, Kristen Tarpey, Mike Tarpey, Margaret Magnus, Fred Stankus, Jim Whedon, David Trombley, Robert Turnage, Agnes Montano and Juan Mendez. (Photo: Sam Ervin)

After the dhuni, the plan had been to go to a local restaurant after the harvest on Saturday. Fortunately, they were so busy the restaurant couldn’t take a group of 12. Instead, the group ordered take out, set up tables in the Visitor Center, and thoroughly reveled in the afterglow of a one-of-a-kind dhuni day at Meher Mount.  


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