This entry was posted on 2/21/2008 11:07 PM and is filed under India.
From Pune to Meherabad – coming to you from a Cyber Café...
Addi had spent the night in his car and was there waiting for us in the morning as we headed for Meherabad, about 6 hours away with the pit stops we made. It was another thrilling car ride with lots to see. Most captivating are all the motorcycles with multiple persons riding on them. Sometimes 3 passengers on a motorcycle or else a family of 3 or 4 with kids sitting between the parents, or a young man driving and his girlfriend or wife, or mother or grandmother in a beautiful sari, sitting side-saddle behind him. Any and all combinations possible.
We arrived at Meherabad in the late afternoon just after teatime, a ritual loved by the Indians – probably left over from the time the British were here. Irene Holt, the woman who checked us in was from Santa Barbara and was extremely welcoming and kind. The new wing of the ashram was just completed in June of 2007, so it is spacious and comfortable. It is full right now with about 200 pilgrims who have all come to celebrate Baba's 114th birthday on Monday, February 25th. For $6.70 a day, you get a room and 3 meals. Could be a great retirement option.
People here are known as "Baba Lovers". They have full hearts and are indeed very loving and kind. Baba's Samadhi shrine (tomb) is just a 10 minute walk from here and they have ritual prayers called Arati at 7am and 7pm everyday. Here was the gift of the full moon we were graced with on our first pre-dawn walk. It felt like the essence of India, and was very moving.
Arati is very simple where everyone chants and sings beautiful prayers to Meher Baba, some in Hindi and some in English. Then they have kind of an open mike where people sing love songs or do chants or say poetry, all based on their love for Baba. Outside the ashram in the main town is a school and medical clinic along with a large project that feeds the poor, all supported by this ashram. Here is a view of the new Pilgrim Center, as seen from the path walking back from morning Arati at the Samadhi Shrine.
We have a wonderful private room (lucky us!) which adjoins the communal bathroom. Women are housed on one side (to the right in the above photo) and men on the other (left wing above). There are a surprisingly large number of Muslims here from Iran. Meher Baba has a large following there because his parents came from Iran and he even visited there once, and had many devotees from there. We have also met people from Argentina, England, Australia and the U.S. And most surprising is that we met a visitor from New York named Steve Rosenblatt (same as Mindy's brother). He's from the New York lineage of the Rosenblatts and a very friendly guy. We asked if he had a sister named Mindy. He doesn't.
It's not too hot and lucky for us, there are hardly any mosquitos since they had a very unusual frost here a few weeks ago that killed most of them off (except for the two that already bit Mindy!)
Our first dinner meal was delicious. Typical Indian fare – rice, dal, 2 veggie dishes, salad, yogurt and various breads. Breakfast was fried eggs on bread, roasted Indian spicy potatoes, hot cereal and delicious chai. You are not expected to do any seva (volunteer service such as cleaning or kitchen help) or show up at Arati unless you want. There is a medical clinic every morning for an hour and they even have room cleaning services daily. They definitely seem determined to take good care of us while we are here.
And of course, knowing the Pods, we had to take a look into the kitchen too. And were delighted to find this lovely, modern facility...
The dining room has lovely high ceilings, and on both sides of the upper soffit are large oil paintings of Meher Baba, each about 9' long. We took photos of them, and made this montage for you to share our experience of them. Enjoy...
We are looking forward to having some great meditations while we are here. And on Saturday we're going on a field trip to Ellora – some sacred caves about 3 hours from here. That will be our next blog entry.
2/22/2008 4:45 PM
Loved reading your article...brought me right back to Meherabad -and the pictures were great. Don't forget to visit Arnavaz! See you soon, Candy Reply to this
2/23/2008 7:18 PM
So sorry to hear that Steven didn't have a sister named Mindy. Just think what he is missing. Loved the photo of the moon. We had a total lunar eclipse here, with Saturn in close proximity. The moon turned orange. Reply to this