9902 Sulphur Mountain Road
Ojai, CA 93023
Sam L. Ervin ( President of Meher Mount )
Long Beach, CA
Check-out the page for Agnes Baron in the "Close Ones"
Huge Show Place Purchased for Cultural Center
Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Dec 10, 1944;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times (1881-1988)
NOTE : The consesus was that the total acrage was actually 500 acres, not 1500 as
mentioned in the LA Times article.
June 19, 1947
First of all the good news: I saw Devorss the other day and arranged with him for the distribution of Avatar in all English-speaking countries. He is enthusiastic about the book and will be putting on a fine advertising campaign for it, for which I will pay him an extra ten percent. But I feel it is well worth it. Walcolm had given me a rather prejudiced impression of him, but I found him to be very direct, sympathetic to the book and a first-rate business-man. So I am glad
we have him act as distributor for our book. He spoke very highly of you and your work.
The not-so-good news is that I must hold up the second printing of Avatar because of terrific complications which have arisen in connection with the sale of this property at La Crescenta. Because of a law-suit which was brought against the prospective buyer, our title has been clouded, and though the original buyer has now withdrawn, our title remains clouded until we sue for its clearance which may be months! In the meantime, on the first day of July we have to make another payment on the La Crescenta property, and we are lacking 5,000 of it! If we do not meet it, the former owner who holds the mortgage will forclose quick as a wink. He is just waiting to get the property back into his possession. If this happens it not only means the loss of other people's money to the tune of about `t.75,000. but it would also mean the loss of our lovely "Weber Yount". So you see hands and heart are pretty full these days, trying to raise i Imit the necessary $5000.
Once we get over this July first deadline, the terrific pressure will be eased, and we can then negotiate with other buyers who are eager for the property. To sell it is not our difficulty. So, will you and dear Suzanne. please add your prayers to mine?
The motion-picture angle of the book is going well. We are now working on the re-writting, incorporating Baba's changes
and additions. Everything looks most promising in that quarter.
In the meantime, pending the clearing-up of this mess down here, I must remain in La Crescenta. Only on week-ends do I go up to Ojai. Loving greetings to you, and my little friend there,
In spiritual fellowship,
Courtesy of Sam Ervin - Meher Mount President
The La Crescenta property was not sold until some time after June 1947, as noted in
Jean Adriel's letter ( above )
Agnes is on left of Meher Baba, Eruch Jessawala holding the umbrella and Adi K. Irani is right of Baba.
New Life Center Officially Opens
Public Programs Scheduled Soon
“New Life Center” is the name officially given to the tract of land recently acquired by the New Life Foundation from C. L. Powell, the former Bissell Estate. It is to be used as a cultural and humanitarian center and a rehabilitation resort for gifted underprivileged children and war veterans.
The old barn and stable, which housed famous thoroughbred horses in the old days, will be reconverted into a theatre with a seating capacity of about 500. Adjoining the building will be an outdoor Greek theatre which will allow for seating about 1200. It is planned that under the guidance of professional writers, producers and directors, the two model theatres will give a year-round opportunity for expression of devotional and humanitarian programs.
For those not familiar with the property, it has been aptly described as a bit of “heaven on earth.” There are many trees, a crystal pure spring assures more than ample water supplies, and the property has been planted with many species of ornamental plants and flowers. It has a large and interesting population of wild life.
Associated with Alexander Markey will be Dr. Fritz Kunkel, world famous psychologist and author, Jean Adriel, writer-analyst, Dr. Hugh Teetzel, educator and Helen Freeman, Beulah Bondi, Dorothea Ramsay of the stage, screen and radio.
The Foundation plans to eventually erect rehabilitation dwellings, art and crafts workshops and studios, alsosmall health farms, and a frequency modulation radio station.
Entrance qualifications into this “paradise” being planned will be based entirely upon each individual’s qualifications. The Center is to be strictly nonsectarian, has no class distinction and will admit those of all nationalities, races and religions.
Mr. Markey, a member of the Explorers Club, has lived for many years among the Maori and other island peoples of the South Seas. He is an ardent advocate of the “natural way oflife.” In speaking of the future of the New Life Center, he made it plain that only people with ideals of unselfish service to man will be invited to live at the Center.
Programs and activities are already under way at the Center. On January 14th, Dr. Kunkel will inaugurate a public round table discussion on “Character Problems and their Solution” the first of a series to be given at 4:30 Sunday afternoons. Other public lectures are scheduled during the winter and spring.
The cultural and humanitarian program scheduled by the New Life Center has attracted nationwide interest. Information as to this program will come direct from the La Crescenta headquarters.
Courtesy of Sam Ervin - Meher Mount
The following sequence of images is from the video "Meher Baba, The Awakener"
Marion Florsheim & Agnes Baron are in the foreground
JEAN ADRIEL had finished writing her book Avatar, and it was sent for publication in November 1946. Jean and Alexander Markey had established a center called the New Life Foundation for Meher Baba's work at La Crescenta, California. One day Jean received word from Baba that he wished them to relocate to a place one or two hours distant from a big city. They decided to take a drive in the afternoon and look for property. They invited a woman who had come to stay at the Center to come along. Her name was Agnes Baron. Agnes was not interested in Meher Baba because she had been disillusioned by another spiritual teacher. She had been directed to the New Life Center as a quiet place where she could do some writing, and had subsequently rented a cottage there. Jean had given her the manuscript of Avatar, and though she was put off by Jean's writing style, she was drawn to the descriptions of Baba and asked Jean, "Is he for real?"
Having nothing else in particular to do, Agnes went with them. Another lady who was also staying on the property had a little girl whom she wanted to put in a private school at Ojai, so they drove there. While returning, they noticed a property on top of a mountain with a lot of trees and greenery on it. "Let's go up and see it," they said. "Maybe it's a Baba-place."
They drove up the mountain and came to a big wooden gate. "Baba's going to send six of the mandali to live with us," said Jean. "We'll need a lot of buildings if we move." Agnes was sure there were more buildings on the property, so she jumped over the gate to investigate. There were several other buildings and a brand new house with beautifully landscaped grounds, an orchard, vineyards and rose garden. The property was being looked after by a local farmer who was not there. They located his wife, who told them that the property belonged to a Mrs. McCoonaty, the wealthy heiress of a chain of grocery stores called Ralph's. She was thinking of selling the land, but would surely ask a high price for it.
Jean, Markey and Agnes returned to Hollywood, where Jean said, "There's no point in calling; we won't be able to afford it." But at Agnes' insistence they phoned. The woman said that though she had planned to retire there, she and her husband were now divorcing and the property was to be sold. "Go and talk with my business manager," she told them.
So the next day Jean and Markey went. They reasoned that if they sold the New Life Center's five hundred acres, they would be able to afford this property, which was only one hundred and sixty acres. This is what they did. The property was bought for Meher Baba's cause and christened "Meher Mount."
Soon afterwards, however, Markey and Jean had some disagreement and he moved back to New York.Jean asked Agnes to move to Ojai with her, and though still not committed to Meher Baba, Agnes agreed.
Swami Yogananda,who lived in the area, visited the property in November 1946, and spent a couple of hours there. Yogananda remarked: "This place is a dream Oriental Paradise. One does not even have to focus to hear the Om sound here."
Meher Baba first planned to first visit Meher Mount in June 1952 for a 10-day stay. But during the cross-country drive from Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Meher Mount in Ojai, California, Meher Baba was in an automobile accident near Prague, Oklahoma. After the accident, he recuperated in Prague and then returned to Myrtle Beach, not visiting Meher Mount until 1956.
In 1956, Avatar Meher Baba visited Southern California for three days from July 31 through August 2. The first two days were spent in Hollywood, and on the third day Meher Baba went to Meher Mount in Ojai.
“I LOVE MEHER MOUNT VERY MUCH”
At 4:00 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, August 2, Agnes Baron (a co-founder and caretaker of Meher Mount) drove Meher Baba and the mandali (His close disciples) from the Roosevelt Hotel on Sunset Boulevard about 85 miles to Meher Mount.
When Agnes and Meher Baba arrived on the mountain, a fog had settled in over the Ojai Valley, and Meher Baba said, “I love Meher Mount very much and feel happy here.”
When all had arrived, Meher Baba called everyone into the guesthouse on the property (since burned down in the 1985 fire). Meher Baba asked the group how they liked Meher Mount. One said, “It has a spiritual atmosphere.” Another said, “It compares to Meherabad Hill [in India where Meher Baba’s Tomb Shrine is located].”
A third commented on the lovely fragrance. Filis Frederick [who wrote the account of Meher Baba’s trip in her publication The Awakener] said, “It reminds me of the hills of Assisi [in Italy where St. Francis lived].” Jeanne Shaw [a follower of Meher Baba] agreed, “It has instant appeal.” Meher Baba nodded and added, “This land is very old, I have been here before.”
He never explained what He meant by that statement. Later Meher Baba remarked, “I will come here again.”
“I AM THE HIGHEST OF THE HIGH”
Meher Baba spent the day relaxed and was described by Filis as being in a playful and jolly mood. He said to the group,
“This afternoon, you all have a chance to laugh and feel relaxed. Baba also has a chance to relax here for five minutes. You had no chance at New York; in Myrtle Beach, little chance; in Los Angeles, none. But here today, we feel relaxed, happy. I come down to your level so that we can laugh and be free together; but do not forget at the same time that I am the Highest of the High.”
At one point, Meher Baba gestured to the group that was in the guesthouse,
“Now, go out and see the view and try to love Baba through nature. This is all due to my love. This whole creation, this nature, all the beauty you see, all came out of me.”
Agnes took Meher Baba and the group on a tour of the property. At the point on the property overlooking the Pacific Ocean, there is a Coast Live Oak which Agnes called “Baba’s Tree.” Meher Baba sat under it on a bed of dry leaves.
According to Filis’ account, “He signaled that no one else should sit down. His eyes shown, and he said he was happy. Then he rose swiftly and led the group back down the dusty trail.”
“I WANTED TO HAVE A FREE DAY HERE”
At one point, Meher Baba told the group not to expect any discourse from him that day. “In Los Angeles,” said Meher Baba, “there was no time for you all to sit near me as you are doing today, for so many people came there and I was so busy. Therefore, I wanted to have a free day here.”
Just as the sun was setting, Meher Baba got ready to leave. He asked Agnes to drive him back the longer coast route. On the way, Meher Baba mentioned that he thoroughly enjoyed the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean.
When Meher Baba arrived back at the Roosevelt Hotel, he waved to his lovers before stepping into the elevator and retiring for the night. The next morning, he flew to San Francisco.
Courtesy of Meher
Mount web site.
26 April 1952 Agnes Baron meets Baba for the first time at Meher Spiritual Center.
Fire Destroys Meher Mount - 16th October 1985
Baba's Tree - Coastal live oak
In Meherazad, meetings were held about the legal formation of Meher Publications, and Elizabeth was also busy planning the establishment of the Universal Spiritual League of America to help protect the copyrights of Baba's writings. Delia opined, "In England, too, such a league should be formed." Baba gave permission and Charles Purdom was made the president, Delia vice-president and Will Backett secretary. Jean Adriel was instructed to set up a similar organization in California, but not to go back to or have anything further to do with Meher Mount.
On October 8th, Baba sent Delia and Jean back to their homes. Jean went to California, and Delia went to London to set up the League and then on to Panama. Baba had instructed her to look for a suitable villa in Panama for himself and the women and to await their arrival, as he wished to visit the republic on his next visit to the United States. But inevitably his plans changed and the trip was canceled. As Delia and Jean were departing, Baba assured them, "Do not shed even a single tear, for you will be seeing me again – whatever happens."
Lord Meher ; Bhau Kalchuri - Vol. p3304
Malcolm Schloss (poet – co–founder with Jean Adriel of Meher Mount in Ojai, California in 1948)
SINCE Jean Adriel had left California to visit Baba in India in 1948, care of the Ojai, California, mountain center, called Meher Mount, had fallen to Agnes Baron, age forty-five. Margaret Craske visited her during the summers and told her more about Baba. In the six years that Agnes had been living at Meher Mount, she had faced one difficulty after another in managing and holding onto the estate. Before leaving, Jean had formed a new board, introducing a man onto it who offered to pay off the mortgage. Later Agnes discovered that he had plans to build a hotel there and turn it into a psychic center.
Agnes fought hard to keep the property for Baba, and wrote to Baba describing the troublesome situation, stating, "If you want Meher Mount, I will keep it for you through hell, fire and damnation!" Baba replied that she should keep it by all means, and he sent her his love.
Meanwhile, a young wealthy Britisher named John Cooke intervened. He had met Baba years before in Europe and loved him. With his help, Agnes was able to overcome the horrible financial problems she faced and win control of the property from the unscrupulous developer.
Baba had agreed to visit Meher Mount after staying at Myrtle Beach. He wished to see "Agni" – his Sanskrit nickname for Agnes, meaning "fire" – to discuss plans for his visit. Margaret had informed her of Baba's arrival date. When Baba arrived, he instructed Margaret to cable Agnes to see him in Myrtle Beach on the April 26th. Meanwhile, Agnes had already left her home and missed the telegram, but by a strange set of circumstances she found herself much delayed, and she thought she would be arriving late in Myrtle Beach on the 25th. Once there, no one seemed to know anything about a Meher Baba Center. It was only by sheer chance that at the place where she was arranging to spend the night the woman on duty said her husband was Mrs. Patterson's architect. Agnes got the telephone number for the Center and called. Elizabeth answered and told Agnes she would pick her up the following morning.
The next day, April 26th, Agnes was taken to the Center, where she learned from Margaret that despite not receiving Baba's cable, she was not late but "right on time!" After breakfast she was shown to the Lagoon Cabin (the interview cabin), where Baba was already waiting. None of the men mandali were inside. Agnes recounts her first moments with Baba:
There are no words to describe it. It was so fantastic. All my doubts just flew out the window. The first thing Baba did was to open his arms and put my head on his shoulders. Something out of this world happens to you when Baba puts his arms around you. It's indescribable. What I saw sitting on the couch and what I felt was sitting on the couch were two different things. Without any more rationalizing, I accepted him one hundred percent. Afterwards, I was consciously watching him to see if he was going to make any mistakes, but deep down I had already accepted him.
I realized later on, watching him over the years, that Baba practiced what all the great teachers preached: you must be one-pointed. Forget the past and the future and be concentrated in the present. I realized that Baba practiced that to the hundredth degree. No matter what he was doing – whether he was patting a dog or giving spiritual advice or saving the universe – whatever he did, he did with the same concentration. It was absolutely fantastic! When he was talking to you, you felt that same concentration. That to me was proof of his greatness, regardless of anything.
Margaret was called in to act as interpreter. Baba stated, "First of all, I want Agni to know that only Agni, God and Baba know what she has gone through in these six years to hold Meher Mount for me."
Agnes looked at him in surprise and said, "It was no trouble, Baba, no trouble at all." She had completely forgotten all her problems simply by being in his presence. She added, "Baba, do you know I almost got killed coming here?"
Baba clapped his hands and gestured, "Wonderful, wonderful!"
Expecting commiseration, Agnes looked puzzled and then described the close brush with death she had experienced while driving with another woman to Myrtle Beach in a bad rainstorm. Baba remarked, "When Maya does her worst, God has to do His best to work harder."
The planned ten-day stay at Meher Mount was discussed in detail. Baba repeatedly told her, "Now do not go to any trouble."
"Trouble!" she said. "I've just been waiting all these years for you to come. Everything has been painted and scrubbed."
"No, no," Baba continued, "I can sleep under the trees or on the floor. Do not go to any trouble."
Agnes later recounted: "Baba's bigness is in his little humble gestures. That is what impressed me more than anything else. Time after time after time I would see that. It just wins you over completely. He is so big that he dares to be small, and comes down to our level."
"But Baba, it is all ready. Everything has already been done," she said.
Nevertheless, Baba had his own reasons and stated that the mandali were to drive straight there from Myrtle Beach, not stopping along the way, and await his arrival. He ordered Agnes to leave the following day and return to Meher Mount, which she did.
Malcolm Schloss saw Baba at 8 A.M., on Sunday, May 11th. Baba asked him to versify some of his messages, and Malcolm immediately set about the task. He flew back to California the same day, where he was to complete arrangements for Baba's visit at Meher Mount. Baba had also told him he wanted seven young men or women around seventeen years old, to do exactly as he tells them for his work in the West. "Do not bring me lots of people; bring me lovers of God, and I will bow before them," Baba stated. "Otherwise, I will bow down to myself."
On May 19th 1956, as planned, Baba sent Dr. Donkin, Nilu, Meherjee, Gustadji and Adi to drive across America in Elizabeth's Plymouth station wagon to Meher Mount in Ojai, California, to see that proper arrangements were made there with Agnes Baron before he and the women mandali arrived.
After staying on the Center for a month, Meher Baba and the women left in two cars at 2:30 P.M. on Tuesday, May 20th. Baba's itinerary was to spend nine days driving across America, and reach Meher Mount in Ojai, California, on May 29th 1956. He was to see Gabriel Pascal there on the 30th, Malcolm Schloss on June 1st, and go to Hollywood on June 2nd and 4th. The group would leave Meher Mount for San Francisco on the 6th, stay until the 9th in San Francisco, where Don Stevens was arranging a hotel, and start his return to Myrtle Beach on June 10th.
Donkin, Meherjee, Gustadji, Nilu and Adi had reached Meher Mount in California, and on receiving the news by telegram in care of Malcolm Schloss, the four Eastern mandali drove straight to Prague, arriving on the evening of May 28th. Although it was difficult to obtain a plane ticket, Donkin immediately flew to Oklahoma.
Ivy and Charmian Duce and Margaret Craske also came immediately, arriving on the 25th. When Ivy and Charmian came into Baba's room, Baba held Ivy's hand and then spelled on the board, "You must understand that this was God's will, and it will result in benefit to the whole world."
Agnes Baron had come from Ojai, California, and was called to discuss the situation at Meher Mount. John Cooke, the young Britisher who had helped her overcome certain financial problems in holding on to the property, was to have come but did not show up. Baba now informed Agnes that he did not want John Cooke associated with Meher Mount or any of his work. John had contracted polio, and it had affected his mind.
Baba gave Agnes certain instructions and then asked, "Now, do you know what you have to do?"
"No, Baba, I am more confused than ever," Agnes said, as she left the Lagoon Cabin. This was an excuse so that Baba would call her back the next day to go over things again. Thus, she saw Baba privately several times during his stay.
I was trapped inside Baba's cabin at one point and had to watch him say good-bye to people in the doorway for fifteen minutes. My knees were weak and my inners unstrung for an hour afterwards. I hope I need not do this soon again.
Monday early, we left for Washington, a brief layover, more interviews, more press. Baba was not happy at a misquotation made by the press in New York, so the ground rules for handling the press were strengthened, and results began to turn out better. Bernard Carvalho brought his wife to greet Baba, and I have never seen anything more touching than the manner in which this woman melted into Baba, and the support he gave to her. One day, sometime, a long time from now, I want to write the story ... and their first cyclonic, peaceful, cataclysmic week with Baba.
And here we are in Los Angeles, two days gone by, Baba up to his neck in interviews, kisses, hugs, people walking around in a daze. The press has been excellent here. Tomorrow, we go to Meher Mount, then San Francisco.
We send our love . . . etc., etc. – Don
At four o'clock in the morning on Thursday, August 2nd, preparations were being made to drive eighty-five miles to Ojai, California, where Agnes Baron had established a lovely hilltop center for Baba called Meher Mount. Filis Frederick came to the hotel early and saw Baba. The following is her account:
At 4:00 in the morning we finished ironing Baba's sadra and trousers and a few handkerchiefs. Luckily we got a lift to the hotel [there was a taxi strike in Los Angeles at this time]. Baba called for me at once and straightened out the knot of separation in my heart for having missed him the day before. I am sure every one on the trip had a similar experience of Baba's unfailing knowledge of our innermost moods and needs. At the end, he crossed his two forefingers in the characteristic gesture, meaning "I am the Christ." I hope someone paints Baba thus someday.
Agnes drove Baba and the mandali ahead in her station wagon, and the rest of the group followed by bus. Baba was to have visited Meher Mount in June 1952, but because of the automobile accident at Prague, Oklahoma, his trip had been canceled. Along the way, Baba admired the rich agricultural land and asked many questions about it, such as "What was being grown, how was the land irrigated, are there orchards?"
"Baba was talking as if he were a real estate agent," Agnes cracked.
When they arrived on the mountain, a fog had settled in over the Ojai valley. Baba told Agnes, "I love Meher Mount very much and feel happy here."
As Agnes drove in, she said, "Baba, here is the spirit of Meher Mount," and indicated her beautiful and intelligent, short-haired, golden, part-collie and part-greyhound dog named Kali, who eased up next to Baba's leg.
When the bus arrived, Baba called all into the "Baba-room" of the guest house and said, "Next to Myrtle Beach, I love this place best." Baba asked several how they liked it. One said, "It has a spiritual atmosphere." Another said, "It compares to Meherabad Hill." A third commented on the lovely fragrance. Filis said, "It reminds me of the hills of Assisi." Jeanne Shaw agreed, "It has instant appeal." Baba nodded and added, "This land is very old, I have been here before.I would like to have spent the night here, but there is no time."
Dana had been taking notes during the tour for his "chronicle," and Baba called him and told him it ought to go in the chronicle that there will be no grapes after seven hundred years. "On second thought," he said, "let them guess why there aren't grapes!"
When the laughter had subsided, Dana said, "What will they say Baba, that I said that there won't be any grapes because they gave the Avatar a tummy ache?"
AGNES BARON then took Baba on a tour of the land of Meher Mount. Everyone followed – panting to keep pace. One man was given the chance to hold Baba's umbrella, but Baba would change directions so swiftly, it was hard for him to keep up. As Baba passed the sulphur swimming pool with its leafy arbor, he pointed to the vines and gestured, "Grapes again!" Baba was very particular to be shown all the boundary lines and fence posts, asking where the north-south and east-west lines were. Agnes herself was not sure, and Baba looked playfully put out with her.
On the top point of Meher Mount is a huge red oak tree which will always be called "Baba's tree." Baba sat under it on the bed of dry leaves. He signaled that no one else should sit down. His eyes shone, and he said he was happy. Then he rose swiftly and led the group back down the dusty trail. Kali, Agnes' dog, followed close behind Baba.
Baba gathered everyone again and commented: "Do not expect any discourse from me today. Yesterday, I told you all that you would play and feel relaxed here. One thing I want you all to know. You do not realize how very fortunate you are when I embrace you all. In India, when I go out to give my darshan, in southern India, Andhra State, travelling about from east to west, there are thousands who come for my darshan, and they all love me very much; a number of them are ready to lay down their lives for me at my signal. Yet they have no chance for my embrace or my close company because the rush is so great. When they approach me, the person behind is pushing them on, and the one behind him is pushing too; so, just for a second, they can have my contact and then it is finished. They do not have any chance of sitting near me or embracing me, although they love me very much.
"In Los Angeles, there was no time for you all to sit near me as you are doing today, for so many people came there and I was so busy. Therefore, I wanted particularly to have a free day here.
Just as the sun was setting over the scenic hills of Ojai, California, Baba patted Kali's head and got into the station wagon, saying the dog would incarnate as a human being for having met him. He asked Agnes to drive him back the longer coast route and often mentioned on the way that he thoroughly enjoyed the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean.
Baba had spoken of "sparks flying," and one incident occurred during the visit to Meher Mount. Agnes was about to leave her guests and go to Baba, when Ivy Duce asked for something. Agnes was in such a hurry to leave she did not fulfill Ivy Duce's request, causing her to make some disparaging comment about Agnes. Fuming, Agnes came to Baba and said, "I don't love everybody – what am I going to do about it?"
Baba looked at her, and Adi interjected, "Agnes you love everybody you just don't like everyone!"
In the car while returning to Los Angeles, Baba sat next to Agnes in the front seat. She said, "Baba, you know what Ivy Duce said about me ... I don't believe it, but if it is true what am I going to do about it?"
Baba slapped her on the shoulder and chuckled, "I like you the way you are. I like your spirit!"
Agnes was so happy to have Baba come to Meher Mount after all these years, she felt silly and joked, "What kind of spirit do you like – the hard kind or just the mild?"
Baba would call Agnes the "Beloved's Watchdog." Years later, she concluded that the reason she was surrounded by so many hypocrites was that Baba wanted her to bark – but not bite – and snap at their heels!
The bus arrived back at the hotel before them, and Baba waved to his lovers before stepping into the elevator and retiring for the night.
Baba always seemed to have a devilish way of diving and then zeroing in on Don Stevens' instinctive convictions of what the Christ of our times would certainly do and what he would obviously avoid. The first time Baba did this to him two years before, Stevens was completely unprepared. Back in 1960, during that visit to Meherazad, Baba had Eruch describe the proposed centre in Hamirpur, Meher Dham, which was to be dedicated to Baba's work. Stevens was listening to Eruch's detailed description, just waiting for Baba to end it all with the clearly necessary punch line often emphasized by Baba that, "he had not come to establish a new church or religion." Therefore, with the exception of the Meher Center in Myrtle Beach and a few other establishments, such as Meher Mount in Ojai, and the Sufi Center in San Francisco, California, which he had encouraged for special reasons, such "Church-like centers" were not needed and Baba would have to correct this misguided effort.
|Motto||Our mission is to Preserve and Enhance Meher Mount as a universal center open to all for inspiration, education, recreation, ecology, and humanitarian service.|
It consists of 170 acres (69 ha) of dense woodland and open fields on Sulphur Mountain in Ojai, California, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Los Angeles. At 2,600 feet (790 m) above the Pacific Ocean, it enjoys a 360-degree view, including the nearby peak of Topatopa Bluff, the Channel Islands, Los Padres National Forest, and the Ojai Valley.
Meher Mount is a center left in trust to the Meher Mount Corporation by Agnes Baron, who was one of the original people to find the property in 1946 at the request of Meher Baba. He visited Meher Mount on August 2, 1956. Today, it is a universal center open to all for inspiration, education, and work programs in agriculture, ecology, and humanitarian service. There are opportunities for day visits, group events, and individual retreats as well as resident work programs.
Meher Mount provides opportunities for viewing birds and wildlife. Deer, bobcat and fox can be seen
regularly, roaming freely in their natural habitat. On occasion, coyote, mule
deer, mountain lion and bear have also been sighted. When Avatar Meher Baba visited Meher Mount, he remarked, "Go out and see the
view and try to love God through nature."
See further on Cath Gardner