Avatar Meher Baba Trust
|Founded||April 6, 1959|
|Key people||Shridhar Kelkar (Chairman)|
History and charter
Meher Baba signed the Trust Deed on April 6, 1959 on Meherabad Hill, near Ahmednagar, India. The Trust was inactive for the remaining ten years of his life, but he encouraged the trustees, who were his close disciples, to meet intermittently on trust matters. In the 1960s, he gave certain instructions to them for the future about spiritual training and educating the public about his life and message. These were later incorporated into the Trust Deed.
One of the purposes of the Meher Baba Trust was to provide for his disciples who were dependent on him, and to care for his future Tomb and his property at Meherabad, located near Ahmednagar, India. Meher Baba also specified in the Trust Deed that after he had died the Trust should maintain and care for his Tomb at Meherabad, create facilities for pilgrims there, foster spiritual and cultural activities relating to the spreading of his message, and carry out certain charitable activities for the benefit of humanity irrespective of caste, creed, religion, sex or nationality.
In the years since, Meherabad and Baba’s nearby home Meherazad have become places of pilgrimage. Meherazad was incorporated into the Trust in 1999. Free clinics, a hospital, a school, a library, museum and study hall, a veterinary clinic, and a variety of accommodations for visitors have been established at Meherabad in accordance with the Trust's directives.
Mani Irani, Baba’s sister and close disciple, was the Trust’s chairman for over 20 years. After Mani's death in 1996, Bhau Kalchuri, another of Baba’ s close disciples, was chairman. In 2014, following Bhau's death, Shirdhar Kelkar was appointed Chairman and acts presently.
The Avatar Meher Baba Trust sponsors two free health clinics (The Meher Health Centre and The Meher Pilgrim Retreat Dispensary), a free hospital (The Meher Hospital), free school (The Meher English School), a physical education centre, and a veterinary clinic. The Meher English School is an English-medium primary and secondary school facility encompassing a full pre-college curriculum with a full-time faculty of about 25 teachers. The school currently enrolls about 400 students, most of them from surrounding rural villages. The fifteen-room school building includes classrooms, two auditoriums, laboratories, and a central playground for sports and other activities. The Meher Hospital does not yet function as a full-time hospital, but offers bimonthly cataract “camps” at which an ophthalmic surgeon performs ocular implants for about 60 patients a year, a biweekly dental clinic, and numerous medical programs. The Veterinary Aid Centre gives veterinary treatment to 4000-5000 animals annually.
Encouraging the arts
As per Meher Baba's directives, the Trust encourages and facilitates expressions of love for God through music, dance, plays, story-telling, poetry, painting, sculpture, videos, and films. A focal point for expression in the creative arts is the Music and Arts Demonstration Centre, which houses a full-scale professional theater and encompasses various satellite facilities. In addition, the Centre sponsors a concert approximately every two weeks in which visiting musicians, dancers, or other performing artists give their own personalized expression to Meher Baba’s message. On an occasional basis the theater hosts lectures and other programs.
Books and research
Meher Baba never wanted or encouraged propaganda. Therefore, the Meher Baba Trust does not promote creeds or dogmas, nor does it seek “converts”. Rather it is devoted to the celebration of the love of God through charitable works and through the arts. The Trust also archives the written works by Meher Baba and facilitates publications of Meher Baba's works and supplies facilities for research.