Spiritual Omerta At The AMBPPCT In India

Avatar Meher Baba’s place of burial at Meherabad, India supports a community of Indian and foreign devotees who have implicitly or explicitly taken an oath of omerta (code of silence with respect to public oversight) with regard to the Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Charitable Trust that administers Meherabad and Meher Baba’s residence, Meherazad.

The foreigners, largely Americans, whose visas have been sponsored (until recently because of changes in Indian government policy) by the AMBPPCT take an oath of spiritual service and commitment to the Trust based on the premise of “spiritual training”. This “spiritual training” prohibits public disagreement with Trust policy.

Never mind that Avatar Meher Baba passed away in 1969 and left no spiritual successor to guarantee the integrity of any such project; As long as Baba’s closest mandali (disciples) were guiding the Trust, everything pretty much went well. But for the past decade or more the linkage of visa sponsorship to “spiritual training” has increasingly taken on the hubris of institutional presumption: the Trust can do no wrong and its servants had better grok this.

It’s like Meherabad and Meherazad are now administered by well trained Jesuits who are infallibly inspired. There is a curious resemblance to a similar presumption in Sufism Reoriented which believes that Meher Baba has guaranteed that this religious organization   will be infallibly guided for the next 700 years.

The Trust is a typical Indian organization with near total control of the Trust residing in the chairman. The trustees basically rubber stamp the chairman’s edicts. Not only is public dissent among the “spiritual trainees” who staff the various Trust projects not allowed, but the trustees themselves habitually defer to the chairman and never publicly counter him.

In short, those who work for the Trust, especially those whose visas have been historically sponsored by the Trust, must never publicly question and criticize the Trust. This is the omertà to which I refer.





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6 Responses to Spiritual Omerta At The AMBPPCT In India

  1. Steve Goodman says:

    O , Darvish Khan
    Keep scribing your blog
    Reminding of this world in fog

    More importantly to look within
    Remove the darkness
    Men call sin

  2. A. Friend says:

    had ’em

    ps thanks for your commitment. Question Darvish. Would you / do you travel to Meherabad in light of/ despite your observances?

  3. Clive Adams says:

    In order to give a bit of clarity and context to Bill’s post above I will share a story which few have heard. It was shared with me, by none other than Eruch Jessawala, sometime in Jan-Feb-March of 1971.

    Note: The reason Eruch shared this story with me is because he knew I was staying at Viloo Villa for 4 months, off and on, starting in November of 1970, where I was witnessing the AMBPP Trust and it’s early Trustees, being hauled before a magistrate in Ahmednagar to answer questions and deal with allegations from a lawsuit involving the first Trust Chairman, a man named Khutum Shastri. (Forgive the spelling). Here is the story as related to me by Eruch: “In 1959, Baba held a Baba Worker meeting at Lower Meherabad where He focused primarily on the new, recently incorporated, or about to be incorporated AMBPP Trust. During a break in the meeting, Eruch was sitting with Baba on the veranda of the main building at lower Meherabad. Baba brought up the subject of who should be appointed as the first Chairman of the Trust, which appeared to be an open question at that moment. Baba then told Eruch that He would like Eruch to assume the position. Eruch tried to change the subject and let Baba know he didn’t feel up to the task due to fatigue from the New Life and all the other taxing challenges he had gone through during Baba’s travels and etc. As this exchange was taking place, suddenly Khutum Shastri walked in front of where Eruch and Baba were eating their lunch and talking and Eruch spontaneously said to Baba, why not make him the first Chairman? Baba then looked at Eruch and looking quite displeased gestured that he was holding a rope and Baba made a further gesture with a ywirling motion, showing Eruch that someday his (Eruch’s) cavalier attitude would come round his neck! Eruch told me that he blamed himself for the Khutum Shastri debacle and had he taken Baba seriously, not only he but all the Mandali would have avoided the mess the Mandali found themselves in. Ultimately the court case was dismissed against the Mandali, but only because Khutum Shastri died just prior to a legal outcome in the case. Eruch wanted me to hear this story because of what I was witnessing at the time, and to show that even the Mandali were entirely fallible.

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