Avatar's Abode

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Meher Baba's House Avatar's Abode
Baba's House Avatars Abode.jpg
Founded 1958
Headquarters
Motto a stopping place on the road to the Beloved
Website avatarsabode.com.au

Avatar's Abode is a 99-acre (40 ha) spiritual retreat about 115 km north of Brisbane, Australia dedicated to Meher Baba. The site has a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean to the east and over valleys, farmlands to the north and south and looks toward rolling blue hills to the west. By Meher Baba's wish, Avatar's Abode can never be sold, but must be kept as a place of pilgrimage.[1]

Founding[edit]

The idea to establish a place dedicated to Meher Baba in Queensland grew out of a letter from Meher Baba’s sister and disciple, Mani Irani. [2] On the 11th of January 1958, she wrote to Bill Le Page and the Australian group of followers, indicating that Meher Baba wished to give his Sahavas, company, in Australia at one place only, and that Baba would "like Queensland if the climate is good during June, and if the place is practical."[3] Over the years Bill Le Page and Francis Brabazon had discussed setting up a permanent centre north of Sydney and had explored New South Wales by car several times, the longest trip was 350 miles north, during which they slept under the stars by night.[4] After Meher Baba's second automobile accident and Mani's letter the decision was made to go north of Brisbane to a warmer climate that would suit Baba.[5] In 1958 using money willed for the purpose by the Australian Sufi leader Baron Von Frankenburg Brabazon purchased an eighty-two-acre pineapple farm on Kiels Mountain, Woombye, Queensland. Brabazon had telegramed Meher Baba to approve of the purchase of the property. Meher Baba approved the site, writing back by telegram on the 2nd of February 1958 'Place secured by you excellently suitable'.[6][7] During 1958, with three paid workers from Queensland and with the help of several lovers from Sydney and Melbourne, Francis and Bill Le Page had worked feverishly (often in the rain) to have the Avatar's Abode site ready in time to welcome Baba.[8] While he was there in 1958 Meher Baba named the area Avatar's Abode and said it would become a place of world pilgrimage.[9] Avatars Abode is one of three main centres set up worldwide, the other being Meher Spiritual Center and the samadhi (tomb-shrine) in Meherabad, India.

Transition[edit]

Meher Baba's bedroom at Avatars Abode

Francis Brabazon lived in India for ten years with Meher Baba from 1959 to 1969 as a result he was released from the work associated with Australia.[10] So it came as no surprise when in 1967 Meher Baba instructed Francis Brabazon 'to transfer Avatar’s Abode to Bill Le Page who will, Baba said, when the time is ripe, form a trust of which he will be chairman and turn the place over to it'.[11]

Francis Brabazon being greeted by Meher Baba. Bill Le Page behind

Development[edit]

Meher Baba gave Le Page a clear cut objective for Avatars Abode's development, saying 'Bill’s objective will be to make Avatar’s Abode universally known, for it is to become one of the great places of pilgrimage in the world'. [12] [13] Baba also informed Le Page, 'If ever you should need money, come to me and I will see to it.' As it turned out Le Page became a successful businessman in the 1970s and 1980s based on imported items from India, and was thus able to fund Avatars Abodes development during the 1970s and early to mid-1980's. [14]

The development of Avatar's Abode into a place of world pilgrimage from a farm was never going to be easy. Perhaps anticipating later problems Meher Baba had said publicly, 'There should be no personalities in Baba’s work. Baba alone does his work. Now a new phase in the development of Avatar’s Abode begins, and it falls to Bill to direct it. And Baba wants certain ones to wholeheartedly cooperate with Bill and work under his direction in the development of the place. In so doing, they will be cooperating directly with Baba in his work in Australia.' [15] Much community work was achieved over the following years.

Concurrent with establishing a funding base for Avatars Abode Bill Le Page had sought legal advice over the years from 1967 to 1969 on the formation of a trust to protect the property. The legal advice at that time was a trust was not possible but the formation of a proprietary limited company was the best method. This was because Queensland's trust legislation was still formative at that time. Meher Baba was consulted, he approved the legal arrangements and chose the name Meher Holdings, he also approved the directors, Francis Brabazon and Bill Le Page,.[16]

In 1979 a local group from the Baba community started a public petition concerning various legal and personal matters despite the legal arrangements being approved by Baba. The petition divided the Australian Meher Baba community and became an acrimonious debate which spread to India.[17] After several years of stalemate in 1984 the Avatar's Abode Trust deed was created as a compromise [18] However the legal entity Meher Baba Foundation Australia, a private charitable Trust established by Bill Le Page, still functioned concurrently with the new trust arrangements after discussions with the mandali in India. [19] In effect a schism developed. The timing was inauspicious for Avatars Abode as the worlds economy lurched toward the Early 1990s recession. To widen its support base Avatars Abode Trust numbers increased over the years from the five Meher Baba suggested to a high of fifteen, currently there are ten. [20][21]

Status today[edit]

Avatar's Abode is a modest yet functioning undertaking that relies on donations for upkeep. Donations have lately been below the running costs of the site.[22] The site has bushland areas, forest walks and gardens, buildings used by Meher Baba, structures used for performances, dining and reception, and extensive archives. [23] In the Pilgrim Quarters there is basic accommodation for about a dozen pilgrims with share facilities. [24]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "By Meher Baba's wish, Avatar's Abode can never be sold, but must be kept as a place of pilgrimage, a priceless treasure for generations to come." Avatar's Abode Main Information Page
  2. ^ Kerkhove, 2008
  3. ^ "Mani S Irani, letter to Bill Le Page et al, 11 January 1958" Kerkhove, 2008 pp. 8-9
  4. ^ Le Page (1993) p. 104
  5. ^ Le Page (1993) p. 104
  6. ^ Le Page (1993) p. 104
  7. ^ Brabazon (1990) p. 3
  8. ^ Kalchuri, (1886), p. 5458
  9. ^ Grant (1986) p. 26
  10. ^ Brabazon (1990) p. 4
  11. ^ Kalchuri, (1886), p. 6497
  12. ^ Kalchuri, (1886), p. 6499
  13. ^ Kalchuri, (1886), p. 5460
  14. ^ Le Page (1993) pp. 258 - 264
  15. ^ Kalchuri, (1886), p. 6499
  16. ^ Le Page (1993) p. 258
  17. ^ Le Page (1993) p. 260
  18. ^ "The present Avatar's Abode Trust was formed by a deed dated 29th April 1984. The significant aims of the deed are as follows:" http://www.avatarsabode.com.au/TrustDeed.htm
  19. ^ Le Page (1993) p. 260
  20. ^ Kalchuri, (1886), p 5460
  21. ^ 2010 Report, page 2, paragraph 1, http://www.avatarsabode.com.au/Reports.htm
  22. ^ "Regular general donations generally approach $16,000 a year. Gratefully, in many years, there have been very significant one off donations and bequests. The necessary fixed and operating expenses associated with the Abode are approximately $25,000 a year, and it would be very difficult to reduce this cost." http://www.avatarsabode.com.au/FinancialSupport.htm.
  23. ^ Kerkhove 2005 p.
  24. ^ "In the Pilgrim Quarters there is limited basic accommodation with share facilities. The bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen are shared and visitors provide and cook their own food." http://www.avatarsabode.com.au/visiting.htm

References[edit]

  • Brabazon Francis (1990). Stay With God. Australia: New Humanity Books. 
  • Grant John (1986). Practical spirituality with Meher Baba. Australia: Merwan Publications. ISBN 978-0-9590202-0-5. 
  • Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba. Manifestation. 
  • Kerkhove Ray (2003). Soul Havens – The Story of Spiritual Centres on the Sunshine Coast. Australia: Kerkhove Ray. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-9802935-0-0. 
  • Kerkhove Ray (2003). Avatar’s Abode 1958 - 2008. Australia: Interactive Community Planning. 
  • Le Page, Bill (1993). The Turning of the Key: Meher Baba in Australia. Australia: Meher Baba Foundation. ISBN 0-913078-70-0. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°39′32″S 153°00′19″E / 26.65889°S 153.00528°E / -26.65889; 153.00528