Spring Sahavas 2017 at Avatar's Abode

Saturday 30th September – Monday 2nd October

We are all in for a treat with the acceptance by Jeff Wolverton and Nan Wicker to be our guests at this year’s Spring Sahavas. Many of us have met Jeff and Nan at Meherabad in India, the site of Meher Baba’s Tomb-Shrine, or at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where individually or as a duo they regularly entertain pilgrims with their beautiful songs and music.

jeff wolverton and nan wicker

Jeff Wolverton

Growing up in a non-religious, although fun-loving family, Jeff was unexpectedly smitten with Baba during a Baba meeting in New York City in January, 1968. This happened during a three minute silence at the end of the meeting when Baba appeared to him and quickly rearranged the itinerary of his life. This was during his college days, and needless to say, only then did his higher education begin.

In the following years Jeff was fortunate to live near Dr. Harry Kenmore and later Darwin and Jeanne Shaw, three close followers of Meher Baba, absorbing as much of their experiences as possible. Of particular influence on Jeff was Darwin and Jeanne’s intimate companionship with Baba and their invaluable approaches to cultivating the inner life.

Further enriching Jeff’s deep connection to Baba was his more than forty years of annual pilgrimages to Meherabad where he heard many first-hand accounts from Baba’s disciples of what it was like to live with the Godman.

In 1972, Kitty Davy arranged for Jeff to move to Myrtle Beach, and in the mid-70s he became a caretaker at the Meher Center where he has worked for the last 40 years.

The Sahavas will provide a valuable opportunity for interactive discussions with Jeff on a range of topics including: cultivating the inner life with Baba, forgiveness, self-acceptance ... Baba’s work with His Western women disciples etc.

Nan Wicker

Nan Wicker grew up on the east coast of the United States in a politically active, kind, non-religious, musical Unitarian family. From a young age, she was drawn to Buddhism and intentional communities, and the Far East.

Nan was a seeker, reading and visiting intentional communities, taking part in encounter groups, helping to start alternative schools, and attending a Buddhist University. She lived and worked in a wonderful Vipassana meditation community in England for several years and spent time in monasteries in Asia in 1972 and 1979-80.

Amongst other things, Nan has worked as a housepainter, baker, health food store clerk, and a psychologist with disturbed teenagers and mentally ill patients.

She heard a wee bit of Meher Baba in 1970 and 1975, and then in 1991 she finally made it to the Meher Spiritual Center where she had a deep inner experience of Meher Baba. Nan had come “home”!

From 1993 to 2005, she lived in Myrtle Beach for half the year and then in Meherabad the other half, volunteering in both places. In India Nan helped with editing, library work, and the reorganizing and typing of song books.

Nan began singing with guitar as a teen but it wasn’t till finding the kind of spiritual songs she had always looked for that she got really serious about music. She found them at a Course in Miracle Church, a Sufi center, and more than anywhere, at the Meher Baba Center. She continues to explore and find songs about the psychological and spiritual life that have special meaning.

Nan and Jeff began to perform bi-monthly at the Meher Spiritual Center in 1995 and have since performed together and separately at Baba gatherings in Colorado, Minnesota, DC, New York, California, Georgia, Oregon, Chicago, Illinois and India.

After 20 years of requests for a CD, Nan decided not to wait any longer for Jeff to be willing and has made 2 solo CDs in the last 2 years. Jeff accompanied her on the choruses of some of the songs on the 2nd CD. Nan is now working on a third solo CD and a duet CD. In the process she discovered a new art of bringing together a variety of instruments and musicians and rhythms to bring to life the words that mean so much to her.

This year’s Sahavas will be refreshing in its informality and inclusiveness, and amidst the bonhomie and laughter (*Jeff’s fantastic sense of humour) and the music, there will be plenty of meaty discussions on tap!

A formal invitation and program will be uploaded to this website closer to the Sahavas.

Following the Spring Sahavas Jeff and Nan will be visiting Meher House in Sydney.

 


Spring Sahavas 2016

Saturday 1st Monday 3rd October 2016

At this year’s Spring Sahavas we examined the changing relationship between Meher Baba and His Australian lovers, through the personal stories of those who met Meher Baba and through the messages and directives received through the Family Letters. We also examined this period through the eyes and hearts of some of the young ones who, during the 1960s, came to accept Meher Baba as their spiritual Master.


Spring Sahavas 2015

Pratap Ahir, Spring Sahavas Avatar's Abode 2015 special guest

Saturday 3rd – Monday 5th October 2015

(Labor day long weekend)

Our guests for the 2015 Spring Sahavas at Avatar’s Abode were Pratap and Swaroop Ahir

Download » 2015 Spring Sahavas Program [PDF 57KB]

Pratap first heard Meher Baba’s name when he was a 14-year old student staying in a Government run hostel in Pune, India for economically disadvantaged students.

The Hostel-in-Charge, Mr. L. B. Thade, was a follower of Meher Baba who was eager to tell more and more people about Baba. In the hostel students he found a captive audience and a series of Baba-doses were administered to the students by him and this seed germinated in the hearts of some students including Pratap.

At this time Baba had entered the New Life and although the significance of Baba’s New Life was far beyond the reach of these newly inculcated minds one thing was clear to them and that was that they would have to curb their desire of meeting Baba, as Baba had cut all ties with His Old Life.

They did not have long to wait however as Baba decided that on 16th October 1950, at Mahabaleshwar, he would step back into his Old Life for just four hours and he invited some of his old-time disciples and devotees to this meeting. This was the first anniversary of the beginning of Baba’s New Life and Pratap had the good fortune to be amongst the group of disciples and followers who travelled from Pune to spend this precious time with Baba.

Soon after this first meeting another unexpected surprise awaited Pratap. During these times, a group of young performers was becoming popular with the local Pune Baba family. Madhusudan, the lead singer of this group, was composing bhajans dedicated to Baba and Pratap would accompany Madhusudan on the harmonium. The news about this group reached Baba and he decided to invite them to Mahabaleshwar to perform in celebration of Mehera’s birthday in December 1950.

For Pratap this was a very significant visit for during the rehearsal of the program Pratap was introduced to Baba and Baba asked if he would like to come and stay with him. Pratap immediately agreed and just one week later Pratap got the rare opportunity to be alone with Baba for over an hour and this hour proved to be a life-changing one for Pratap.

Since then Pratap had many opportunities to be with Baba, to play marbles and card games with him, and to sing before him at all the sahavas programs that followed, and during the gatherings for Baba’s close ones at Guruprasad during the summer months in the late 50s and 1960s.

When Pratap had to move to Mumbai for his career, he sought Baba’s permission and Baba allowed him on the condition that he should remain connected with the Baba centre at Mumbai. Pratap took this as Baba’s order and rarely missed any weekly meeting day, both at Mumbai and thereafter, at Pune. Pratap is now retired and resides at Pune with his wife Tara who is also from a Baba family. He has four children and three grand-children.

With his son Swaroop who accompanies him on tabla, Pratap has travelled to the U.S. twice, sharing his precious memories of Baba along with his music.

Besides being our guests at this year’s Spring Sahavas, Pratap and Swaroop will also visit the Baba families in Melbourne, Sydney and Christchurch.


Avatar's Abode Spring Sahavas 2014

Saturday 4th – Monday 6th October 2014

Download » The Program here. [PDF 74KB]

Our guest speaker in 2014 was Dr Allan Cohen whose presentations featured perspectives on the psychological and experiential challenges of Meher Baba’s path and the practical implications of the New Humanity, all with a touch of humour, classic stories, the encouragement of controversial questions and lots of interactive discussion.

Allan has had two parallel “careers,” both sparked directly by Meher Baba. As a new Baba-lover in the mid-1960s, Allan was just finishing his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Harvard when Baba asked him, Robert Dreyfuss, Rick Chapman and other young Baba-lovers to let America know that drug use was not an authentic path to spirituality.

On the “surface track,” Allan began a four decade career in drug abuse prevention and intervention. As a researcher-evaluator, clinical psychologist, university professor, media spokesman, administrator, editor, and theoretician, he has applied innovative principles and techniques to the field of prevention.

On the deeper track, Allan learned of Meher Baba in 1964 as a member of an LSD exploration group led by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (now Baba Ram Dass). He was in direct communication with Baba from 1965 through 1968. Encouraged to spread Baba’s message of love and truth, Allan delivered over 1,000 lectures and media appearances across America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Allan began to compile and edit a book for persons new to Meher Baba, approved by Baba in 1966 and finally published in 1977 as The Mastery of Consciousness. He was able to attend the first Amartithi in India in early February of 1969, the only Westerner in attendance who never met Meher Baba in person. Now living in Washington DC, Allan has continued his work with Baba groups and individuals.

We enjoyed welcoming Allan and learning aspects of successfully serving Baba in day to day living.

Allan also visited the followers of Meher Baba in Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand.


The first Spring Sahavas was held in October 2005 when those Australians who attended the 1958 Sahavas with Meher Baba at Avatar's Abode gathered to recall their memories of that very special time. Since then the Spring Sahavas has become an annual event. A theme relating to Meher Baba’s life and work is chosen each year and we also sometimes invite special guests who have had close contact with Meher Baba.