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April 2014 E-News

"I belong to no religion. Every religion belongs to me. My personal religion is my being the Ancient, Infinite One, and the religion I impart to all is Love for God, which is the Truth of all religions."
  ~ Meher Baba, The Awakener Magazine, Fall 1954, Vol. 2, No. 2, pg 13

, 2014                                                                 Vol. 7, Issue 2   

In This Issue
Caring for Baba's Treasures
Jack Mormon Letter
Spiritual Practices Pt.2
Urban Sahavas
Howard Schwartz Remembrance
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Dear Reader
In this issue:
Information on seeing to the care and future of your Baba items, part 2 on spiritual practices by Brian Drygas, a remembrance of Howard Schwartz, and the upcoming urban sahavas with Deborah Ash.

Elaine & Sean decorate for Baba's Birthday 2014

Matt & Steven with daughters at Baba's Birthday 
All previous issues of the newsletter are available to read at

Jai Baba!
~Lisa Greenstein

Caring for Baba's Treasures           by Lisa Greenstein

Of course, the Real Treasure is Meher Baba's ever active presence in our lives. But, if one has been entrusted with special items in relation to Baba, there is a need for seeing to their care and preservation beyond our lifetime. At our recent workshop on this subject, we were reminded that one hair from Muhammed's head has an entire Mosque built around it. 
This is a brief synopsis of the workshop that Matthew Talbot conducted at the Meher Baba Center of No. Ca. Matthew is an attorney in the state of California, with a specialization in elder law, therefore, these suggestions apply to California residents. If you are not in California, please check with a local lawyer to see what is needed in your case.
There are four legal documents relevant to this issue:
1. Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney
2. Financial Power of Attorney
3. Will
4. Trust
It is important to designate a Power of Attorney during one's lifetime because if you ever develop dementia or undergo a health decline which disables you from making your own decisions, you will want someone who knows and respects you to take charge and make sure that your wishes are carried out both during and after your lifetime.
Matt stressed SPECIFICITY. What do you want done with each of the Baba items in your possession? He said that it is important to attach a separate document to your will or trust that lists each item individually and specifies what your wishes are. For example: give to a specific person; give to a specific Baba Center; do not sell, etc. You can make your wishes in this document an enforceable specific gift and mandatory by incorporating it as an attachment to your will or trust. This lessens the chance of any disputes arising from multiple documents with differing instructions.
Matt suggested using specific language, for example:
I distribute the Lyn Ott painting to.............
I distribute Baba's hair to.............
It is also a good idea to take photographs of each specific item, then number and list them with a description and provenance (ie: given to me by Mansari). Also, be sure to say where each item is located in your home.
If this is not spelled out in a Will or Trust, your Baba treasures will be lumped into "household furnishings". Will the person removing things from your place know that your costume jewelry belonged to Mehera and not just toss it? Or worse ...not know the little envelope of hair in your drawer is from the head of the Avatar?
"You have no idea what just one scrap of My sadra will mean to the world in the future."
-Meher Baba
A Letter from Jack Mormon         
Meher Baba's Treasures
Is it time to return your Meher Baba Treasures to India?
Many of us were fortunate to be able to be in India in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Many of us were fortunate to be able to be given some wonderful Treasures. Many of the items should remain with you and be given to someone who will understand that these Treasures should be shared and given only to those who will both respect them, love them and pass them on to future generations.
The Trust in India has built a beautiful, safe and secure Archives Building at Meherabad, and they are both preserving and sharing these Treasures with our Meher Baba Community worldwide.
Please check out the Archives on the Meher Baba website:
If you are unsure of where to leave your Treasures, please contact me, Jack Mormon. I'm in the process of helping Meher Baba followers preserve these wonderful items and decide what to do with them.
I can direct you as to what to do and how to disburse and distribute your Treasures. I'd even be happy to take your items back to India for you. Not every item needs to go to India and I can help with that.
Please contact me, Jack Mormon at:
510 232-1894
for further information
In Him
Jack Mormon
Exploring Spiritual Practice, Part two                           by Brian Drygas
This is part two from the series based on a participatory presentation, "Exploring Spiritual Practice" given at the Center.
There are different ways to categorize when spiritual practice is performed.  These can be thought of as: 
  1.      All of the time
  2.      When opportunity arises
  3.      At planned times (scheduled and/or periodic)
We will discuss three ways of having spiritual practice all of the time.
  • 1.     Keep Meher Baba as a constant companion:
In a letter sent to the devotees in Kovvur, Andhra, Meher Baba wrote:
"Make me your constant companion. Think of me more than you think of your own self. The more you think of me, the more you will realize my love for you.  Your duty is to keep me constantly with you throughout your thoughts, speech and actions. They do their duty who, sincere in their faith and love, surrender to me - guided by the implicit belief in my divinity as Baba."
  • 2.     Knowing the presence of God.   Meher Baba had this to say to a group of celebrities from different Bombay film companies, "So my message to the film world is: Do not play to the gallery or the salary, but play to the Infinite within. Live in the presence of God, even while acting your part, so that you can be true to yourself, to your partners and employers, and to the larger and One Indivisible Life of which you are each an inseparable part. If the world is a stage, God is the only producer, and you can never be anything but a trivial actor if you are not in unison with Him."
  • 3.     Living in the eternal Now.  In the Discourses Meher Baba says, " Sadhanain the spiritual field ... aims at bringing about a radical change in the quality of life so that it permanently becomes an expression of the Truth in the eternal NOW. Only through such living can the spiritual infinity of the Truth be realized in life."
In part three we will discuss ways of having spiritual practice when the opportunity arises.
-Brian Drygas
Upcoming Urban Sahavas with Deborah Ash & Company
Meher Baba Center of Northern California will hold an Urban Sahavas on Saturday, May 3, 2014 and Sunday, May 14, 2014.
Our guest, Deborah Ash, is from the Meher Baba Center of So.Ca.(L.A.).
Deborah is a long time Baba Lover and the Queen of the Baba Blues.  She is a professional musician and singer.  She is also the Program Chair of the L.A. group.  Most of all, she is a real delight. 
The program will also include six speakers - three on Saturday and three on Sunday.  They will tell their stories of how they came to Baba.  Sean Touhey, Ed Munnich, Cynthia Blohm, Adrienne Shamszad, Jess Maron, and Jamie Keehan.
Where: El Cerrito Meher Baba Center- 6923 Stockton Street, El Cerrito, 94530.
When:  Saturday, May 3, 2014.
3:00 - 3:30 p.m. - Meet and greet the guests
3:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Deborah Ash concert (with Brian Dolan on guitar)
5:00 - 6:30 p.m. - Pot Luck dinner - Bring a dish to share
6:30 - 8:00 p.m. - Jess Maron, Sean Touhey, and Jamie Keehan share their tales of coming to Baba.
Where:  Home of Alan and Karen Talbot - 721 Crossbrook Drive, Moraga, Ca 94556 - 925-286-2864; 925-376-4325
When:  Sunday, May 4, 2014
12 - 1:00 p.m. - Pot Luck lunch - Bring a dish to share
1 - 2:30 p.m. - Ed Munnich, Adrienne Shamszad, and Cynthia Blohm share their tales of coming to Baba.
2:30 - 3:00 p.m. - Chai Break
3:00 - 4:30 p.m. - Deborah Ash concert (with Brian Dolan on guitar; David Miotke on piano)
Hope you can join us.
Suggested voluntary donation for the Urban Sahavas
                  Single Day:
                        30 year old and up......$15
                        18 - 29 year olds ...........$5
                        Family max ................$30
                 Both Days:
                        30 year old and up......$25
                        18 to 29 year olds.......$10
                        Family max ................$50
                        18 and under - no cost
Remembering Howard Schwartz                                              
Howard Bert Schwartz (May 6, 1943- Feb. 26, 2014)

        Howard passed away in his long-time Oakland apartment while a friend read him mystic poetry, ending a long confrontation with liver cancer, heart disease, and chronic digestive problems.  He was a long-time member of the folk club who frequently attended the Friday night sessions at Faith's.  He was well known for his ability to play accompaniment in the singing room, regardless of song or key.  He also attended various other folk gathering in the Bay Area, and he played for numerous Sufi dance events.

        Most of the local folkies are unaware of Howard's many other accomplishments.   Howard was a professor of sociology for many years, beginning with a position at Harvard and moving on to other positions that seemed right to him.  He was uninterested in prestige or a high salary, preferring work that spoke to his sense of authenticity.  He described his specialty area, ethnomethodology, as the study of everyday and common-sense thinking.  Recently a journal in England republished Howard's scholarly papers because they liked his work and felt it reflected the early foundation of that branch of sociology.  With a friend Howard co-authored a sociology text book, a text notable for the sprinklings of humor Howard insisted upon.  It continues in use and is translated into multiple languages.

        Subsequently he successfully transitioned into computer programming jobs.  Long after he retired from that work, he continued to help friends with his techy skills.

        Howard had many other sides to himself.  His playful side delighted in entertaining people with his stock of magic tricks.  With children he could interact at their level, without pretense and with mutual enjoyment.  In earlier years he was an avid folk dancer and skilled tap dancer -- the latter dating back to his days as a child actor.  (He had significant parts in an episode of the TV series, Dragnet, and in the film, Marjorie Morningstar.)  For many years he was active in the community of followers of Avatar Meher Baba, and he traveled to India several times to go to the Meher Baba center.

        Encouragement of loving attitudes and community feeling motivated Howard throughout his life.  Many of his friends were glad to share these qualities at a "Living Farewell" recognition event for Howard in April 2013.  A memorial gathering will take place in May.               

        Howard created a website where he posted photos, some academic papers and other essays he wrote, and links to him playing guitar and/or singing (very very home made).   You can easily access this site!  Do so by by going to the site, and entering this username and password:
  Password:         enter

You can hear a remarkable mini-concert of Howard's playing and singing at

Memorial for Howard Schwartz
Time -- Sunday, May 18, 2-4 pm
Place -- 6320 San Pablo Ave., near Alcatraz and 63rd St., Oakland/Emeryville

Jenny's Song

Don't worry, be happy
Meher Baba loves us all
Illusions are many,
but underneath them all
there's one reality
that you and I are one
and God is love
and love is God 
and God and man are one..


Don't worry, be happy...



Center Library Note:
Would you like to be a "patron"? We have a library for your reading pleasure and convenience. Our library is housed upstairs in a bookcase at the MBCNC Center on Stockton Street. We have had 14 borrowers over the past year. You may access a list of the holdings at the web page; look for library, and open the book or video pdf files.
When you visit the Center, remember to check out the library books. We would also like donations. For a list of books we need, see the section at the end of the library holdings.
Contact the Newsletter about donations.

The Trust 

All who wish to share in the commitment laid down by Meher Baba through
the Trust should contact Jack Mormon,

Meher Baba Information
  For introductory information about Avatar Meher Baba, e-mail:
or write to P.O. Box 1101, Berkeley, CA 94701.

Meher Baba Center of Northern California
6923 Stockton Avenue
El Cerrito, California 94530
(510) 525-4779

The meeting schedule is now included in our online calendar (web link above), and can be printed directly from the calendar.

Directions to our Center:
From Highway 80, Interstate 5, going north or south, in El Cerrito,
take the Central Avenue exit exiting east, toward the hills. Cross San Pablo Avenue.
Go under the BART train tracks and less than a block after the tracks,
turn left on Richmond Avenue. Head north on Richmond Avenue until Stockton Avenue (the first stop light), turn right on Stockton. About two blocks onward, the Center is located on the left side of the street. Address and phone are listed above.
More Local Meetings: 

Sonoma County
- Arti happens once a month, usually the first Sunday.
 Locations vary.  Call Ellen Van Allen at 707-528-0357 for specific information. 

Los Gatos - Sunday Evenings
At the home of Clint Snyder
Call (408) 395-6865

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