By Billy Goodrum
I have taken my two children to the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach pretty much since they were born. They both made their first trips around the age of three months so that we could lay them on Baba’s bed. It’s one of the perks of being an infant. You get to lie on Baba’s bed. I don’t know what the cut-off age is for that, but every baby I’ve seen on Baba’s bed seems very happy about that particular exception to the rules. I have known adults that laid down under Baba’s bed. For the spiritual benefits. And to nap. But I haven’t seen anyone over the age of 18 months blatantly shatter the protocol and stretch out on Baba’s bed.
After graduating from Baba’s bed my kids began to bow down to it and other furniture at the Center. Due to Elizabeth Patterson’s good taste and resources, the chairs at the Center are dignified and seem to have an appropriate measure of gravitas. Especially in the Barn. There is a chair there that is so spectacular that one would almost consider bowing down to it for the craftsmanship alone. Almost. The chair in the Lagoon Cabin is elegant, simple and complex all at the same time. Kind of like my relationship with Baba. . . . minus the elegant part.
Being a male, I can’t stay in the Guest House where Baba spent time and I am told even used the bathtub. That being the case, one of my favorite pieces of furniture at the Center is the day bed in Baba’s House that He sat on and is open for public use. I’m thankful that this piece of furniture is so readily available to one and all. It’s blissful to sit on it in that wonderful room with Baba treasures. I’ve always loved sitting there and love that its size accommodates my family of four. Talk about quality family time. . . .
Most kids go through a “why” phase at some point in their young lives. Usually in the three to five year old range. They ask “why” about anything and everything: why is the sky blue, the world round but looks flat, salt salty etc. When they were younger my kids asked “why” about a good many things but never once asked why we bow down to Baba’s Chairs at the Center. It seems like a topic ripe for a “why” line of questioning but it never came up. Totally natural. I notice it is the same with other Baba kids.
However I have heard adults ask, more or less, the why question. After Meherana and the Los Angeles Center installed chairs that Baba had sat in and people started bowing down to them, I heard a friend use the phrase “the church of the chair.” He was concerned it was becoming a ritual and that it was a slippery slope towards the creation of a Baba centered religion.
Baba said He came to do away with rites, rituals and ceremonies. I know someone who once thought that bowing down in Baba’s Tomb had become a ritual and so refrained from doing it. He asked Eruch about it and Eruch replied: “yes, bowing down is a ritual. . . . but not bowing down is also a ritual.” That’s a good answer. Eruch Jessawala was adept at many, many things and good answers was one of them. Eruch, I’m guessing anyone reading this knows, was one of Meher Baba’s Mandali. Baba once remarked to His Mandali that: “You are all nothing but broken down furniture!” The Mandali were the most extraordinary people I have ever met and it’s hard to think of them as broken down in any way, shape or form.
Although many people from all walks of life have vacation houses on the South Carolina Coast, as far as I know, Baba is the first Avatar to have a second home in Myrtle Beach. Aside from His Universal work, of which I am clueless, He has it to share, in all its beauty, with us. His Lovers. A gift from Baba to all of us who long to make deeper contact with Him, long to strengthen our connection with Him, and having tasted the sweetness of doing it, long to bow down to Him in the chair in the Lagoon Cabin.