I was lapsed from the Indian Meher Baba community from the early ’80’s until my return on pilgrimage in 2010, almost 30 years. When I came back, I was shocked by the cultural and ethical degeneration of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust, from the absolutely pure and squeaky-clean condition in which I had known it, and in which condition it had been maintained after Meher Baba’s death by His sister Manija S. Irani. On my return, my immediate perception was that AMBPPCT operations simply radiated a stink of corruption.
In real time, there is nobody on duty at Trust HQ in Ahmednagar to greet visitors. The people at the desks in the front office ignore you, while different pale functionaries drift aimlessly in and out in different directions, avoiding eye contact with each other and with the unfortunate visitor who wanders into this chaos of thoroughly dysfunctional behavior. When you see this in India, it means that the behind-the scenes action is senior personnel fishing for, or waiting for bribes, does it not? The courtyard in the center of the Trust Compound, besides its perpetual disrepair, hosts exactly the same activity; a constant parade of different pale functionaries drifting in different directions according to hidden agendas, while most of their attention goes towards avoiding each other and visitors in particular. The only time that greeters appear is when a big tour bus appears from somewhere else in India, and then the big, prosperous, brightly dressed and impeccably coiffed greeters appear with garlands in hand, and the joyous shouts of “Jai Meher Baba” fill the air. The equally big, prosperous, brightly dressed and impeccably coiffed bus-riders then pile out and are guided on tours of the premises, or are taken to welcoming occasions with such dignitaries as Trustees. The clear message in all of this is that the Trust is not motivated to even the most basic routine administrative procedure without ready money presented now, or at least the prospect of said gelt in the immediate future, and any possibility of spiritual presence in the Trust offices has long since been destroyed by this motivation. Under Mani, spiritual presence was the first and last thing you encountered in the Trust Offices in Ahmednagar.
But this is not yet about the truly disgusting stench of corruption to which I refer. This is just giving context to the shocking details that I am about to reveal, in the hope that you will thus be led to believe them. The vibratory stench to which I refer is the subtle vibration that comes off the walls of such things as prisons and administrative offices in which back-biting, back-stabbing and treachery have been a way of life for decades. This is what I perceived directly at AMBPPCT offices in both Ahmednagar and Meherabad, first order of business when I arrived. On my first two recent pilgrimages (03Sep10-03Oct10, 11Sep11-26Feb12) , I successfully avoided the implications of this by living at Hostel D at lower Meherbad. Hostel D is more like a slice of the Indian mainstream than something run by the Trust. Indians are well adapted to dealing with such miasma of corruption because their society is full of it, and they instinctively protect themselves and each other from it. If you manage to be accepted by them, which I was, they extend their umbrella of protective energy to you. So on those pilgrimages I stayed out of trouble. In succeeding pilgrimages, I acted progressively counter-intuitively about my lodgings, because I wanted to find out what was going on.
That led to a progressively fierce set of confrontations with people associated with the Trust and the “long-term residents of Meherabad” which I simply wouldn’t accept. I was not faced by any of this when I escaped from the Meher Baba Community in Ahmednagar and Meherabad into the surrounding Indian mainstream. The escalating reprisals against me included several failed attempts at vehicular manslaughter. I still really didn’t understand the dynamics behind this until several hidden prime movers in it tipped their hands in my eviction from MPR (Meher Pilgrim Retreat, outer Meherabad) in January of this year. MPR, a gated and guarded pilgrim residential facility, was by that time the only residence in Meherabad in which I could be safe. Cutting to the chase for the moment, the perpetrators of this highly orchestrated campaign of insults and reprisals was not Mehernath and his extended Kalchuri family as I then imagined, but a group of dedicated and clandestine back-stabbers in the community of western “long-term Meherabad residents,” all of whom have some formal involvement with Trust activities, but whose back-stabbing campaigns are carried out in secret, without Trust permission, knowledge, or oversight, or perhaps that permission, knowledge and oversight is there, but the Trust uses this vicious clandestine group of western back-stabbers to maintain deniability.
Knowing full well the dangers, I had gone on that pilgrimage because I was so summoned by Bhau Kalchuri, then Chairman of the Trust and a spiritual personality of titanic proportions, with whom I had developed a relationship. Bhau and I were both clear that by the time I reached him, he most probably would be on his deathbed, and so I was absolutely driven to reach him before he died. Little did I foresee that when I was actually able to be present to Bhau on his deathbed by a miraculous train of apparent coincidences, he gave me his last blessing, a full-bore lineage transmission, by which Bhau became the root Guru of a new Buddhist lineage from Meher Baba as Maitreya Buddha to me, Vishveshwar Bodhisattva, his successor as the second and current holder of the lineage. This kind of transmission cannot happen without physical contact, the Guru must physically mark the body of his successor by his touch. Such a transmission is contaigious, it destroys perceived boundaries between persons, and it actively seeks to be transmitted again, and again, and again. The lineage holder must contain this energy within himself, and then pour it into suitable forms. The first of these forms are not human beings. They are the lineage dharma protectors in the spirit world, and the new forms and configurations of Dharma by which that lineage will send its light out into the world. Only then do the people start coming. In my case, this will take decades.
Please forgive me, I have wandered from the obligatory subject of corruption. This is an example of what I mean by contaigious. Some subjects gain a life of their own, and routinely go where they were not invited. It was in the process of perpetrating such boundary violations on Meherchowk, the predecessor of this blog, that I was evicted from MPR by a star-studded crew of Trustees and other administrative personnel, supposedly because a police action already initiated by Mehernath would result in a police presence at MPR if I were still there, and that would have been bad for the pilgrim business. I seriously doubt that that representation was true, but before I get into my reasons for believing that, I really need to correct the way I have portrayed Mehernath Kalchuri, in a hisory of conflict that went all the way back to my second recent pilgrimage in (11Sep11-26Feb12).
Again, I was seriously shocked and deeply angered by the immediately obvious degeneration of the ethical, cultural, and aministrative climate at AMBPPCT during my almost 30-year absence. Due to some really unfortunate interactions between me, Mehernath, and people under his direction in 2011, and a number of thoroughly damning rumours that were being peddled about him at MPR, by that so, so precious corps of “long-time Meherabad residents,” I was convinced that Mehernath was the perpetrayer of the lowered standards. In sharing their normally secretive life-style of habitual back-stabbing with me, a new-comer, certain “long-term residents” were testing me to see if I myself were back-stabber material or not. I was not, because I simply refused to meet thier absolutely obligatory criterion of secrecy. Although I was thoroughly biased to agree with what they said about Mehernath, I simply wouldn’t keep secrets in general. In fact, I despise that whole way of life, and the whole cohort of western “long-term residents” who practice it. More worse than anything else for them was that I published a blog on which I was clearly capable of publishing anything at all, and that freaked them out completely.
On my part, I was a greenhorn, and I was led completely astray by experts. The rumours they passed to me, from the black depths of the long-term clandestine backstabbing community at Meherabad, along with some of my previous impressions, convinced me that Mehernath was the problem. He was the big black villain that had been personally responsible for the generation of the stink of corruption that I felt pervading the entire administrative structure of AMBPPCT. Wrong. It was exactly these people who were back-biting Mehernath to my face that, by their vicious omni-directional clandestine back-stabbing activity over decades, had obtained that outcome.
In general, I don’t want to go into the history of my disagreements with Mehernath, or an itemization of the black rumours in every direction that I’ve heard at MPR, but there’s one incident of systematic back-stabbing which I need to cite in rather thorough detail, because both its perpetrator and its victim were present at my eviction proceedings in lower Meherabad. I’ve heard Alan, the cook at MPR, referred to as “The Big Ayatolla.” by a then Iranian Shiite Muslim resident of Meherabad. I think that “Ayatollah” was not the world’s greatest honorific for him. When I lived continuously at MPR this last pilgrimage, which I had never done before, I noticed a whole series of people with whom I had just had friendly conversations be summoned to Alan’s kitchen, and when they came out, their whole attitude towards me was negative, and they refused, to a person, to ever talk to me again, during my entire 3.5 month stay. Oh, and hey, did I mention that certain activity called “back-stabbing” yet? I don’t know what was said, and frankly I don’t care what was said. I don’t go to Meherabad to make friends and influence people. I go there for God. “Yes,” you say, “but clearly Alan was doing this for your benefit, otherwise you would not even have known. So why didn’t you just go check in with the Big Ayatollah, like everyone else knew to do?
Hello? Alan has zero administrative experience, zero administrative responibility, and zero administrative authority. If he could abuse his position as a cook in that way, and get away with it for decades, he could do anything at all. If I went to his kitchen, that very fact would allow him to tell any lie at all about what transpired between the two of us, to any person or group of people in the entire community, and there would be no way to prevent him or verify what actually happened. He would have witnesses in the other cooks supervised by him, and they would have been required to back his lies for fear of their jobs. Alan undoubtedly conducted that campaign of deliberate character assassination for my benefit, and if I had played his game, I would have been evicted from MPR the day after I walked into his kitchen. “So why didn’t you complain to the Trust?” Because I have found that the farther I stay away from the Trust, the better off I am. I don’t go to Meherabad for the Trustees either. During the lives of Eruch and Mani, I didn’t go for them either. Bhau Kalchuri is the only human being that I have ever gone to Meherabad for, and what he liked about me is exactly what those precious “long-time residents” have hated me for with one long continuous back-stabbing campaign: I refuse to keep secrets. Bhau always knew exactly what I was feeling, and so did everyone else.
So much for backstory. Shall we now join the star-studded crew at lower Meherabad, as they enact their latest eviction, the case of one difficult, difficult Buddhist lineage elder named Vishveshwar? Perhaps you would like to take the pause that refreshes before you get involved in this. “Love is not a game for the weak and faint at heart.” There were no charges, and there was no assumed guilt. There was a simple narrative about what had “already transpired,” and a recitation of what the consequences could be for me if I did not instantly disappear from MPR, the District, and India: I would undoubtedly be impounded for an unforseeable amount of time, and simply because I was a foreigner and the plaintiff was an Indian, I could be arrested, deported, and forbidden to return to India ever again. I write “latest eviction” because it was clear that this was a well-rehearsed routine, the numerous players in it all had their roles already assigned, and although it was clear to me that numerous secrets were being held from me, I chose to go along with it because I was clearly outnumbered.
One of the star-studded crew present at the meeting was Alan the cook, who on the basis of zero administrative responsibity, competence, or authority, had clearly been invited to be a central player in a crucial administrative decision. Either that, or he was actually the one who initiated it. If this isn’t the systematic corruption of an administrative process, I don’t know what would be. That all the other bona fide administrators present tacitly accepted his presence is an indication that this kind of corruption is what has become normal throughout Meherabad and Ahmednagar. This condition is an outrage that stinks to high heaven. Not only that, but when this way too clear and facile narrative of the fact that I had no options had been recited, I said that I wanted a chance to confront my accuser. Alan alone answered, “I think that’s self-absorbed.” That the rest of them did not demur but let the least qualified person speak for the group, clearly points to Alan, not Mehernath, as both the actual accuser and the initiator of the entire action. Furthermore, Uschi later told me by email that she had it on unquestionable authority that there was in fact no such police action filed by Mehernath, and that Mehernath, in a secret conclave at the Ahmednagar police station, was embarrassed by being dragged there about an action wrongly attributed to him, to the point of finally blurting out, “All right then, arrest me!”
But I get ahead of my story. There was little discussion at the meeting because I had already accomplished everything I had gone to India to do, and there was no point in disagreeing with this group, which differed from every other meeting I have ever seen or heard of at the Trust in that goal orientation had become the first criterion. They not only really wanted to get me out of there, but they actually were ready to obtain that outcome, no matter what! So it arrived, SO by the numbers, don’t you know, that if I wrote an apology to Mehernath, and promised to take down my blogs, and never write anything bad about Mehernath or his family ever again, perhaps he would let me go, and I would not have to be incarcerated. I said, “OK then. You write it and I’ll sign it.” And so it came to pass. My secretary had to present several drafts of the official apology document before she finally got it right, and then I signed it. Frankly, I learned how to do that from Bhau. You make the decisions, but then you make your dedicated volunteers draft all the documents and do all the work. Otherwise they just get all confused, which cues the cook to start running the show, and before you know it all hell breaks out, again! So then I was packaged together with another Trustee to protect me from Mehernath, and off we all went by various autos to Ahmednagar.
On arrival at the ‘Nagar central police station, Mehernath and various other accomplices and accessories after the fact went into a meeting with the police staff that I was excluded from. I believe that Mehernath was being confronted by a police force that was simply getting tired of perpetual tamasha by him and his family. There is never going to be any possibility of filing anything in a police office anywhere on earth when 20 people who do not agree among each other what the action should be, or even if it has/is_now/will_be filed, have all presented together in one conflicted mass for reasons that they also cannot agree on, and when one of the complainants is an hysterical woman who dominated the proceedings with her loud incoherently screamed ravings. It was the opposite of what had just happened at lower Meherabad. It was the least goal-oriented behavior that I have ever encountered. I think the police, playing “good cop, bad cop” in alternating shifts with the hysterical woman, gradually but inevitably wore Mehernath down and finally got to him in the end.
Meanwhile, I was held in another area, and subjected to what I would characterize as “excessively mild interrogation” by a nice young rookie who was interested in stuff like where I came from, did I like India, where did I live, what sports did I like, and what books did I read. Apparently I passed muster, and was released from police custody to the supervision of a Trustee other than Mehernath, and we purely did beat righteous feet in a demonstration of that felicitous tactical maneuver known as Getting. Out. Of. Dodge. I was just in the very act of feeling that my getaway was way too easy when, lo and behold, the Mehernath party suddenly broke out of the police station, and bore down on our sta-b’d quarter, all guns at the ready and loaded with poisonous yogi-bait! But my Trustee (double entendre for “trusty”, get it? Har, Har!!!) bodyguard was ready for them. He recited a whole long diatribe of yogic mantras in the ancient sacred Marathi tongue, and the longer he chanted, the more confused they got, until the whole attack idea was dead in the water. When the whole Mehernath party came to a halt around us, two of its members started screaming and yelling at me. One was the duty hysterical woman, to my northwest. Another was a particularly slimy lawyer, to my southeast. In the midst of that outpouring of rage, Mehernath Kalchuri, also to the northwest of me, asked: “Did you come for Meher Baba?” Those were the six words by which Mehernath won my trust, because he was going to the root of my reasons for being there, and he was speaking both from his heart and from the center of a vortex of pure damned idiot noise. My answer, “Yes,” was true enough, but it didn’t do justice to the validity and far-reaching implications of that particular question out of Mehernath’s mouth in those circumstances, so I’d like to itemize here the very conscious reasons for which I went to Mehernagar in each of my five recent pilgrimages, for the record, please:
1. (03Sep10-03Oct10) In this case, I went for myself, but Meher Baba made it possible. As soon as I had money ahead for a trip to India, for the first time in almost 30 years, I made pilgrim reservations and booked a flight. The very day after I did that, an application for very nice and very inexpensive senior housing that had been hanging fire for months suddenly went through, assuring that I would have a nice home to come back to, and that I would be able to afford yearly pilgrimages for the forseeable future.
2. (11Sep11-26Feb12) The second pilgrimage was for Bhauji. He had gotten to me on the first pilgrimage, and I had promised him to come back as soon as possible. When Bhau found out on this pilgrimage that my visa was good for six months he instantly said, “You have to be here for six months.” So I just said “Yes, Bhau,” not even knowing whether I would have a home to come back to in Hawaii after six months, or if I could change my return ticket to a later date. But gradually through time, with Bhau constantly pushing me to sing, everything worked out. Bhau was like that, and India is like that. Sometimes you just know that this is a one-time opportunity, and that if you jump off the cliff of uncertain outcomes, you’ll be taken care of. Six months in India, which I would never have attempted on my own, would have been worth it to me even if I had lost both my home and my return ticket in the process.
3. (02Aug12-02Oct12), and 4. (07Feb13-12Mar13) These two pilgrimages were essentially for Andhra Pradesh. I believed that I had karma there because when I first came to Meher Baba’s Last Darhan in 1969, I first took Darshan with the Andhra group, because I was alone, and that was the group that was there. So when I was invited in these two successive years to go to celebrations in Andhra, I felt called to go. I love Andhra, but Tamil Nadu to the south of it even more. By this time, I was fed up by hundreds of provocations by Bhau about singing or not singing. It didn’t make any difference to him if I sang or didn’t sing, or what I sang. He simply would never be happy with me, no matter what. Sitting in a group with him, he would call on the persons sitting on either side of me, both of whom were always perfectly abominable singers, to sing for him, while he systematically refused to meet my eye. Then on getting his “Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh” blessing on departure he became the picture of profound woe, looking up at me like a hurt child, and complaining, “Why didn’t you sing?” Whatever my explanation was, he wasn’t happy about it. Then he would go through exactly the same infuriating and frustrating routine on fifteen successive occasions, on each day acting as if I were guilty of a whole vast new crime that he’d never seen before. It just went on and on and on, and the longer it went on, the more attractive became Andhra Pradesh, about which I knew absolutely nothing going in. No matter how bad it actually turned out to be, nothing could have been worse than being in Ahmednagar with Bhau. And then I returned from Andhra only to discover that “Why didn’t you come?” had been added to the already lengthy list of my unforgivable crimes against Bhau!
5. (05Oct13-23Jan14) This pilgrimage was totally for Bhau. I was terrified that if I did not go to him at this time, I would never see him again, and that turned out to have been true.
Of course, underneath all of this there was Meher Baba. On each of these pilgrimages, I normally went to morning and evening Aarti before Meher Baba’s Samadhi and took Darshan afterwards. In the last three pilgrimages, I spent as much time sitting in the Samadhi as I could manage.
There is at least one other basic thing that Mehernath and I have in common besides Meher Baba, but that is another story for another time.
FENG SHUI COMMENT ON MEHERNATH’S SIX WORDS: Feng shui is an alignment with the ground energy of the planet. The ground energy of India is particularly strong and also sacred. The northwest is the direction of the father or God. The southeast is the direction of the eldest daughter. The hysterical woman attacking me from the northwest was simply off the ground energy of Bharat Mata, because there is no way to find a correspondence between her and either the father or God. Similarly, the screaming slimy lawyer in the southeast was similarly off ground, because there is no way that you can interpret that kind of influence as that of the eldest daughter. But Mehernath in the northwest was dead on the ground energy, because while not being my father, his question was about God, and it was a real question. He was not being rhetorical or ironic. He had smelled out the fact that the conflict between us was the result of his listening to hearsay and pure blind back-stabbing about me, without verifing any of it with me, and so he didn’t understand my motives. Not understanding my motives, he couldn’t predict the outcome of anything I did, and he was finally getting freaked out by that.
If Mehernath had asked that question in the kind of calm situation that promotes good decisions, there is no doubt that we could have sorted it out, I could have given him the apology and the assurances he needed, end of story. Why evict someone on the basis of a pure damned lie, and then troop to the police station in force to try to fix the lie by asking for an action to arrest somebody already in custody in the matter, a person who showed nothing in common with the kind of person who was being ranted about, instead of sitting down and having a nice calm talk with him, about an issue that really had nothing to do with housing in the first place? This kind of idiotic decision is routinely made at AMBPPCT because of systematic and ongoing interference, by at least one of two types of people:
1. Dedicated and dug in back-stabbers who routinely create administrative chaos by deliberately hurting others, driving them from India, perhaps to spend the rest of their lives backbiting AMBPPCT, and having committed such evil then flee the scene into their hidden dens of corruption, so to plot their next abomination against pilgrims and qualified administrators alike, and
2. Dedicated and in-your-face screamers, who simply drain your energy until you can’t live, think or feel.
I’m sorry, all administrative personnel have to be protected from these two classes of spoilers, and all administrative authority must be systematically denied to these spoilers. Apart from that there can be no sane decisions. Now these spoilers have long since enjoyed unfettered dominance in administrative processes throughout AMBPPCT, and administrative chaos is now the norm there as I write.
So how do you correct this kind of dysfunction? It’s really simple once you make up your mind to do it. You simply punish the worst offenders to put the fear of God into the rest. Pull the Big Ayatolla’s Indian visa, and publish that fact and why it had to be done to every communications media in the greater Meher Baba Community. Next problem please.
Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai,