THE TRUST’S INTERNATIONAL YOUNG ADULT SAHAVAS was held again this year at Meherabad, between 26th June and 3rd July. 83 young people between the ages of 19 and 30, along with 12 volunteers and 9 workers from the Meherabad resident staff, came together for a week of singing, talking, working, serving and sharing in the remembrance of Beloved Avatar Meher Baba.
Though the Sahavas draws on the participation of Baba lovers from all over the world, this year world events threw a monkey wrench into the works, effectively nullifying the international dimension of the gathering. In May, the threat of hostilities between India and Pakistan had heightened, and foreigners in India were advised to leave the country. In light of these warnings, in early June the Trust issued a notice requesting Baba lovers from abroad not to come to Meherabad at that time.
Within two weeks, with the easing of the international situation, this request was withdrawn; but by that time all but two foreign Sahavas registrants had cancelled their trips.
New to the 2002 Sahavas was the involvement of 12 volunteers, who arrived 2 days before the beginning of the Sahavas for a programme of volunteer training. Another new feature in 2002 was the media room, where people could watch videos of Baba and the mandali, listen to audio tapes of Baba music and talks or view scanned images of Baba on a computer.
Activities were varied, some involving the entire group of sahavasees, others taking place within smaller groups. On the second day, participants enjoyed a walk to the Meher Health Centre at the edge of Arangaon village and spent the morning there planting hedges with brick borders, building a fence for the rose garden, planting flowers, and generally sprucing up the yard area. Later in the week sahavasees took part in workshops on God Speaks, song-writing, drama, Indian folk dance, creating mosaics, painting, cooking, and embroidering Samadhi covers. Late afternoons featured sports and games.
After supper provided an occasion for special programmes, such a bhajan concert by Madhusudan and his wife Subhadra, a group dance, watching Baba movies, and a discussion on relationships in the context of Baba’s family of lovers.
Special treats in the course of the gathering were visits by Meherazad mandali. Meheru shared memories of Mehera and her matchless love for the Beloved; Katie told funny stories about ashram life; Meherwan, Manu, Sam, and Roshan remembered times with Baba and Eruch; Bal Natu shared anecdotes and reflections on Baba. On the second to last day of the gathering, the sahavasees visited Meherazad, enjoying the company of Baba’s dear ones there as well as a brisk walk up Seclusion Hill.
On the fifth evening of the gathering, sahavasees shared artistic expressions of their love for Baba through song and dance with the greater Meherabad community in the Meherabad theatre. The evening came to a joyous head when sahavasees, holding hands, wound their way up the aisles singing “Om Meher Baba,” a song they had composed in a workshop earlier that week. The last night’s Sahavas session took place in old Mandali Hall in lower Meherabad. There, sahavasees watched a film of Baba, then took darshan at His chair, one by one. They left for home the next morning after a sharing of Sahavas impressions and an ice cream treat. Though Bhau was travelling in the West at the time of the Sahavas, he sent special messages for the opening and closing of the programme. In his closing address, Bhau explained the significance of sahavas thus:
Why have we started the Young Adult Sahavas at Meherabad? It was started so that we remain in company with the Beloved. Not only during the Sahavas period here, but all the time. He is with us, thousands of times closer than our breath. He is One with us. Therefore, the opening of this Sahavas Program is that each one should make a room in his or her heart for the Beloved, for all time. It will be then the beginning of having His Sahavas.