Meet our 2021 Spring Sahavas Guests
Brian Narelle has brought humor to his work throughout his career, including stints as Supervising Animator with LucasFilms, creating puppet films for Apple and IBM and cartoons for Electronic Arts.
About this workshop, he says: To live more and more in the present” is the very nature of improv.
We’ll play some fun games and make up stories collectively and spontaneously. Improv is an act of faith in intuition. The results are often hilarious. If we screw up it will only make Baba laugh harder.
As an actor, improv has always been my first love. Compared to films and television, improv, free of scripts to memorize, is more like skiing. Just hang on and let gravity do the work.
Mark Trichka and Lisa Brande
Mark Trichka and Lisa Brande, have been full time professional performers for over 35 years, and lovers of Meher Baba for longer than that. Mark first journeyed to India in 1982, playing his mandolin for Mehera and the Mandali, where Mani dubbed him Mandolin Walla. Lisa journeyed to India in 1989, soon after marrying Mark, and has performed by his side on fiddle, guitar, mandolin and vocals ever since. They have released several Baba CDs and have played all over the world together including India, Avatars Abode, and at many Sahavas programs over the years. Mark and Lisa can also be heard on many Baba musician’s recordings including Jamie Newell, Buz Connor, Cindy Lowe, Bobbi Bernstein, Jim Meyer,and others. In addition to their 2016 release, “Anything is Possible”, their newest 2020 Baba release “True Love”, can be heard on disc, as well as most streaming platforms.
Debbie Nordeen is a community music facilitator who enjoys leading Baba choruses in Meherabad and at Baba Sahavas gatherings. Besides directing the "Nordeen Family Singers", Debbie works on special projects for the Meher Archive Collective and for the Avatar Meher Baba Trust as well. Years ago, Baba’s sister Mani wrote several songs that she asked Debbie to notate for sharing with the world-wide Baba Family. Debbie holds these times with Mani and her memories of Mehera and the other mandali as deep life treasures.
The title of Debbie’s workshop is LOOT HIS NAME - Baba says that repeating His name is the remedy for all our ills. We'll sing familiar Baba songs that repeat His name, including "Meher Dhun", "Baba Bhagwan", and "Seven Names of God". Singing along to tracks, we'll be muted, but we'll also have unmuted fun improvising with Baba's name.
Since his teen age years, James has been a vocalist, entertainer, and songwriter with interests in jazz, blues, folk, and world music. He’s played on stages with many renowned blues artists but we all know him from his performances on the Meher Baba world stage – serenading the Mandali in Meherazad or treating a Sahavas crowd to his countless Baba songs.
In 2007, Jamie earned his Ph.D. in History and Critical Theories of Religion from Vanderbilt University. He currently teaches online religious studies programs for a number of colleges and universities and continues to appear locally and internationally as a performing vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. In addition to his many CDs of Baba sons, his most recent effort, The Songs of Hafiz, has broken new artistic ground by setting to music the poetry of 14th century Persian Sufi poet Hafiz of Shiraz.
In 1966 Rick Chapman went to India on a Fulbright scholarship. Later that year, he became one of the last Westerners to meet Meher Baba in person. Under Baba’s direction, Rick worked extensively to spread Baba’s message about God and drugs and has been Director of Meher Baba Information since 1967, providing answers to any and all queries about the Avatar of the Age.
Rick has also worked as an international marketing consultant and continues to speak and write about Meher Baba.
His books include: Meher Baba: The Compassionate One, Meeting God in Human Form and You and I.
Ursula Reinhart had the profound good fortune of meeting Meher Baba on March 7, 1966. Her extraordinary story will be divided into two parts. In Part 1, you will hear of the events leading up to meeting Baba after two years on the road in Asia.
Ursula asks that you watch Part 1 as a prelude to Part 2, otherwise, the second half of her story will be confusing, misleading and hard to follow.
Born and raised in post-war Germany, she has been living in the US since 1968 and for the last 23 years has been working with the prison system.
In Part 2, Ursula expands on the story of her continuing journey with the Avatar of the Age.
Heather Nadel first heard of Meher Baba in 1969. After she and her husband Eric traveled to India in 1974, they became permanent residents at Meherabad, where Heather still resides. During her years of service, she assisted Meher Baba’s sister, Mani, at the Avatar Meher Baba Trust and later helped prepare two books, God-Brother and Dreaming of the Beloved. In 2015 Sheriar Press published Heather’s two volume biography of Mani S. Irani, The Joyous Path.
Meher Baba through Norina in the Meher Baba Journals.
The Meher Baba Journal was edited by Elizabeth and others living with Baba and his close disciples in India during the Blue Bus years (1938-41). During this period Norina Matchabelli contributed a variety of articles, among them 19 mystical articles on the inner significance of Meher Baba's work, the breaking of His Silence, and the coming 'New Life' (New Humanity). In these, Norina's own (written) voice alternated with Baba's own words received by her by 'spiritual thought transmission.' Baba told the editors to publish these as received from Norina, telling them their significance would be appreciated in future.
Scott Makeig is a long-time follower of Meher Baba and a research scientist. He is the Director of the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Institute of Neural Computation, University of California San Diego.
Have you ever seen Rabia dance? If so, you might have longed to duplicate those Bollywood moves she makes look so easy.
Bollywood dance is an aerobic, energetic, and colorful dance form based out of India. It’s seen in many Indian films, and is the fusion of traditional and classical Indian dances along with other popular dance forms from around the world such as hip hop, jazz, and bhangra. In this workshop you will learn some basic moves and a short choreographed number. No experience needed!
After receiving a Masters of Architecture degree from Yale University in 1969, Ted Judson became anxious to learn the truth behind existence and vowed to fast until he became enlightened or starved. He set off hitchhiking to Florida to begin this pursuit and the first car to stop for him had a picture of Meher Baba taped to the window. The driver was on his way to New York City for a Baba meeting where another Baba lover would be driving to Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. Ted hopped on board, knowing he was being guided. While at the Center, he had an experience that convinced him of Meher Baba’s godhood and that Baba had been guiding him all his life.
He soon learned that Meherabad was in need of an architect and the rest is history! With the approval and encouragement of the Mandali and in close relationship with Padri, Ted designed and supervised the building of the Meher Pilgrim Center in Lower Meherabad. In 1979, he and Janet were married at the Trust Office and Ted has continued his work as architect in Meherabad ever since, notably designing the Meher Pilgrim Retreat and the Memorial Tower along with countless other projects.
My first memory in life was about death. One of my elder brothers died at the age of eleven when I was three years old. During my childhood, I was curious but also afraid of death and always worried about my dear father’s health during my teenage years. I love my father who was a great man, but he was suffered from many health ailments for many years.
When I was 20 years old, I experienced great chaos in life as my father then passed away. I became restless and began searching for the meaning of life, wanting to know the secret behind death. I read many books about Buddhism, Taoism, and stories of Christian saints, including Osho. I still remember the story of Saint Francis of Assisi as it was very, very beautiful and impressive.
I also felt some fresh fragrance in Osho’s talks. Osho mentioned Meher Baba, but in some imprecise manner. Nevertheless, he did give great respect to Baba, and said something like this ,“Baba was one of the greatest masters in the world.” So I got the impression about Meher Baba through him.
Around 2006, I would sometimes surf the internet looking for information on spirituality. It so happened one day I saw information about the Discourses by Baba. It was translated by Tianxin in Chinese and was available, so I mailed Tian and got the book.
When I read the Discourses, the most impressive chapter to me at that time, was the stages of the Path. I thought it was maybe the most detailed and complete descriptions about the path in the whole world.
A few years later, I was watching one of Baba’s musical videos and there was one song sung by Krishna Das. The face of Baba emerged gradually from the universe and then dissolved gradually back into it. Then something happened and I suddenly broke into tears. I was crying and crying and crying. When it finished after few minutes, I felt like I was a baby in Baba’s divine arms, safe and warm. Something like a hard shell covering my ego had been peeled off or dissolved. My family members and I did not know what’s happening, but today I think it maybe was darshan given by Beloved Baba .
As years passed, we went to Meherabad again and again. The fragrance of Baba’s divine atmosphere was fresh forever. The connection is deeper and deeper. I became more and more aware of the greatness and compassion of Beloved Avatar Meher Baba.
I believe I, myself, is like a tiny drop who suffering from the circles of life and death in the past, now the drop is more and more ready to give up its separate existence, to embrace and join Beloved Baba, the Home, the divine Ocean, the eternal Love and Light.
Simon Reece and Carla de Sousa
Carla came to Baba through the famous Baba group in La Plata, Argentina, which is very active artistically, particularly in terms of music and drama. She used to work as a psychotherapist in Argentina, and now she now in the Trust Archives. She has been involved in Baba’s birthday plays and different concerts with Simon during the pilgrim season at Meherabad.
In 1989, having just graduated from University, Simon was travelling in Scandinavia as a busker (street musician), playing classical guitar, when he met Paul Williams in Sweden and, coincidentally, three weeks later again in Norway. Paul told him about Meher Baba. Simon worked as a musician, translator and teacher at different times before moving to Meherabad. His work in India involves some translation work for the Trust, but principally involves music and drama, such as Baba’s birthday play which he has written twice and directed once.
Carla and Simon met in Meherabad in 2007 following which Simon moved to Argentina and they moved to Meherabad in 2009. Most of their songs use Baba’s words, often translated into Spanish.
The group of La Plata, Argentina (“The Circle of The Barefoot Lovers: amigos del Amigo”), started as Meher Baba’s initiative by his ambassadors Jose Henriques and Quique Nuñez more than 30 years ago. Today, formed by more than 50 people, we work in a musical group named “Los Eclécticos and His Diagram” of light, in a circle of novels and poems (“The Circle of The Perfumed Rose”), translations, websites, podcasts, film cycles, activities related to health involving diverse therapies, dance, theatre, radio-theatre, art in multiple forms, readings, meditation, sports, and activities in a field (“Campo El Amigo”) where we make sahavas and different activities linked with Meher Baba.