The Chairman’s preliminary announcement about Amartithi 2016 can be found here:Amartithi Circular 2016
I do not recommend Amartithi for westerners because of the dirt, noise, and disease that prevails during that time. Many of the western “Long-time Residents” of Meherabad flee to vacation places like Goa and Nepal for Amartithi. Diseases are brought together from around India, and they conjugate together and this creates new strains of flu and dysentery which infect the community every year. Many of the disadvantaged Indians, who are exactly those most prone to disease, sleep in close contact in huge tents in lower Meherabad and near Meher Colony and under the open pandal on Meherabad Hill, and this guarantees the transmission of disease. The huge crowds at Amartithi churn up clouds of dust full of disease organisms, and flu is just the beginning of the damage. Westerners should not go to Amartithi to catch new and dangerous strains of flu, and then vector them back to their communities in the West. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that something far more lethal won’t one day get into this long-established and particularly robust pattern of disease transmission.
If you really feel called by God, that trumps everything including disease, but personally I just don’t believe the ideology that there is some overwhelming advantage to being on Meherabad Hill at the exact anniversary, to the minute, of when Meher Baba dropped his body. Meher Baba certainly never said anything vaguely resembling this, and this notion didn’t arise until after the death of Manija. Because of the tremendous social status that now accrues to being seen in the front row and the roped-off dignitaries’ section before Meher Baba’s Samadhi at that moment, the queue token system has been corrupted by whole groups who bribe the attendants.
Furthermore, a “Carnival Atmosphere,” prevails at Amartithi, because of the raucous commercial activity that goes on, both in lower Meherabad and on the Hill, and the constant and severely over-amplified bhajans that blare on the Hill.
It takes four days or more after Amartithi to clear the knee-high piles of filthy trash that accumulate in the Indian tents. I am sorry, but I do not believe that you can create that kind or amount of trash in the process of doing anything that Meher Baba wanted on His sacred sites, or anywhere else, for that matter.
I don’t see how the following excerpt from one of Meher Baba’s major declarations sanctions one single thing that happens at Amartithi:
From “The Highest of the High”
Source: Lord Meher, p. 3395
… I am not to be attained by those who, loving me, stand reverentially by, in rapt admiration. I am not for those who ridicule me and point at me with contempt. To have a crowd of tens of millions flocking around me is not what I am for. I am for the selected few who, scattered among the crowd, silently and unostentatiously surrender their all — body, mind and possessions — to me. I am still more for those who, after surrendering their all, never give another thought to their surrender. They are all mine who are prepared to renounce even the very thought of their renunciation and who, keeping constant vigil in the midst of intense activity, await their turn to lay down their lives for the cause of Truth at a glance or sign from me. Those who have indomitable courage to face willingly and cheerfully the worst calamities, who have unshakable faith in me, eager to fulfill my slightest wish at the cost of their happiness and comfort, they indeed, truly love me.
From my point of view, far more blessed is the atheist who confidently discharges his worldly responsibilities, accepting them as his honorable duty, than the man who presumes he is a devout believer in God, yet shirks the responsibilities apportioned to him through Divine Law and runs after sadhus, saints and yogis, seeking relief from the suffering which ultimately would have pronounced his Eternal Liberation. To have one eye glued on the enchanting pleasures of the flesh and with the other expect to see a spark of Eternal Bliss is not only impossible but the height of hypocrisy. …
Amartithi as it exists caters to exactly those low-life Indians, those professional wanderers from one place of pilgrimage to another, who are really only looking for a hand-out and a party, which Meher Baba is describing here as major examples of those whom He did not want.
Meher Baba had huge Darshan programs during His life, and none of them ever degenerated to the kind of circus Amartithi has become, and that was not just because of His personal presence. It was also because He controlled who came, and it was either by personal invitation or by membership in an established Meher Baba group. If the Trust changed the criteria back to that, I believe the undesirables would go, and the money, which I believe is the true rationale for the current degeneracy, would come. The whole idea was idiotic to start with. You can’t make money from vagabonds who have no money, but who can be counted on to degrade Meherabad’s sacred atmosphere simply by being who they are.
To make money, the Trust has to depend on donations from people who actually love Meher Baba, and also have money, and they are exactly the ones that have been outraged by the circus at Amartithi, among several other huge and unresolved issues.
How do I know that? Because some of them have talked to me. In the case of Amartithi, I am literally one of many outraged donors. Trustees, you cannot kill the messenger, and you cannot bury the evidence. All you can do anymore is to grow up and start actually solving these problems, or resign and make room for others who are ready, willing, and able to ” Do. What. Has. To. Be. Done.” (Although I do not suggest Garrison Keeler’s Powdered Milk riff for Indians, it’s a real inspirational piece, and I think the Trustees need all the inspiration they can get at the moment.) In fact, gang, why don’t we trot that one out before Meher Baba’s Samadhi? I’m sure it will go over big. Maybe even old Garrison will get the message from afar and slide on down to Meherabad town, on one of the days when it is being civilized. He’s ripe for sure. And Garrison also likes to give away money to worthy causes.
Avatar Meher Baba ki Jai,