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Dedication Ceremony

 

Bhau Kalchuri's 1999 Visit to Hawaii

In the month of September, in the year 1999, Bhau Kalchuri added the Island of Molokai, Hawaii to his ever increasing list of locations on his popular yearly tour to the West. Bhau, a resident mandali (disciple) of Meher Baba since 1953 and Chairman of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust, made the special visit to Molokai to honor the occasion of the opening of Meher Baba's Center in Hawaii. Bhau was Baba's night watchman for the last 15 years of Baba's life, and in accord with his direction, Bhau wrote a twenty volume biography of his Master's life entitled Lord Meher. Since that time, for more than 20 years, Bhau has indefatigably traveled to the United States and other parts of the world on behalf of all those who love Meher Baba and those who would come to love him.

Organized by Stan and the local Hawaii Baba community, before flying to Molokai, Bhau was hosted from September 17th, to September 21st, at the lovely Honolulu beach front home of Larry and Amada Traub and held forth at several small gatherings of Baba's lovers in the Traub's comfortable living room. During his stay on Oahu, Bhau filmed an interview at the Olelo television studio (The Corporation for Community Broadcasting) and gave talks at the University of Hawaii, the Center for Hawaiian Studies, the Unitarian Church and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel, where Baba stayed in 1932. He was honored at a special performance of traditional dance and a demonstration of the historical martial arts of the Lua warriors (at which Stan himself was adept), and at the end of the ceremony, Olehe Lua Master Ke'eaumoku Kapu presented Bhau with a Lua fighting stick, making him an honorary Lua warrior.

The Naming of Meherdham

Asked to give the new Baba Center a name, Bhau chose Meherdham, which means "Abode of Meher" or "Abode of Compassion." Although the Sanskrit "dham" can refer to any abode, it typically refers to a "House of God" or "temple." The first Meher Dham, so named by Baba himself, was dedicated on November 25, 1960 in Nauranga , India. Two of Meher Baba's disciples, Adi K. Irani and the Maharani of Baroda, served as his representatives on that occasion and brought treasures similar to those on display on Molokai. Meher Baba encouraged the use of these personal items in a "living" rather than 'ceremonial' way as a focus for receiving his darshan or blessing. Asked about choosing the name for the Center, Bhau told the story of how the original Meher Dham had been founded in a village where there was much initial opposition to Baba, and then overwhelming love for him.

The Dedication of Meherdham

On a perfect, crystal clear day, September 20th, Bhau and a few followers boarded a small local aircraft (DC 10) and enjoyed a smooth flight to Molokai where they were taken to a farm not far from the local airport. Here, on five acres of level agricultural land, Stan Alapa had donated his family's Hawaiian homestead to create a Center for his Beloved Baba. From 1997, Stan had built a small cottage on the land to house himself, his wife Shirley, and the Baba treasures. These he had been given at the Great Darshan to bring back to Hawaii expressively for the purpose of founding a Center.

To honor the founding of the Center, all of Baba's treasures, which Stan had so carefully and lovingly tended over the years, had been taken out of their special cases and laid out for display. Bhau led the group in bowing down to Baba's chair and asking his blessing for his new Center of Meherdham. Then Bhau bowed down to Baba's things, and all took turns paying their respects to the Beloved. Lastly, everyone followed Bhau down the steps of the front porch into the warm, sunny afternoon, folded their hands to Baba and then, followed by the sweet, gentle, trade winds, joined Bhau in making two full revolutions around the cottage.

The following Baba lovers were present with Bhau for this historic occasion: Stan and Shirley Alapa, daughter Kau'i, Flynt Mednic, Barbara (Mother B) Brustman, Wendell Brustman, Suzanne Gately, Meredith Moon, Caren St. John, Larry and Amanda Traub, Mark Query and long time friend, and Aron and Ave Goodwin. Represented were India, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Kauai, California and South Carolina, a blending of East and West. Several of the group also had roots to three other major Baba Centers: Meherabad, Myrtle Beach and Sufism Reoriented.

As the creator and founder of Hawaii's Meherdham, Bhau presented to Stan a copy of the enlargements he had been traveling with of Meher Baba's handwriting from the recently rediscovered pages of the "lost" book.

Stan then led everyone on a tour of the lands, pointing out the improvements that had been made, the guest room wing that had been started, and showing them his blueprints of how he wished the Center to grow in the future. At last he had fulfilled his promise to the Beloved and now the new center was ready to take it's first step into the Baba world.

Departures

After a wonderful time, filled with friendly visiting, good food and the special essence of Baba's overflowing love, all returned to the airport bound for Oahu, eagerly anticipating another round of Bhau's ambitious presentations.

On September 21st Bhau returned to the mainland with Flynt and the Brustmans, and having finished his whirlwind tour for the year, returned with Flynt from California to India shortly after.

 

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