About Meher Baba Hawai Center
Welcome to Meherdham Hawaii, Avatar Meher Baba’s Retreat Center on the Island of Molokai. E Komo Mai. Welcome to Meherdham Hawaii, Avatar Meher Baba’s retreat center on the island of Moloka’i. During the Great Darshan of 1969, Stan Alapa was given a number of precious relics of Meher Baba by both his men and women mandali and devoted disciples. These included Baba’s chair, his sadra (traditional full length garment) sandals, hair and other personal items. From that time, Stan labored to found a Center in Hawaii where people could come to learn about Meher Baba and experience His presence through these treasures and the beauty of the Islands. Whatever Baba may have in mind for the future of the present Meherdham, His Center in Hawaii will always be where His treasures are …
. . . Currently, Meherdham, which means “abode of compassion”, offers the opportunity for refreshment of the spirit to followers of Meher Baba and other interested spiritual seekers in an atmosphere of natural beauty and Aloha. The Center is available for retreats, activities and service projects to both individuals and groups attracted to Avatar Meher Baba’s principles of love and service. Meher Baba, the embodiment of Aloha, has said that the appreciation of beauty and a love of nature could inspire that awakening.
Meherdham is situated on five acres of Hawaiian homestead land located on the beautiful, unspoiled island of Moloka’i located just three miles from the Ho’olehua Airport on the mid upland side of the island. Meherdham offers day and overnight visitors an opportunity to celebrate Meher Baba and his creation in one of the most unique spots on earth.
The present Meherdham is the result of the vision and work of Stan Alapa and his helpmeets in life, wife Shirley, and daughters, Ohelo, Luana and Kau’i. A lifelong spiritual seeker, Stan learned of Meher Baba shortly after Baba dropped his body, and attended the Great Darshan in India in 1969 where he was given the above mentioned Baba treasures.
Stan returned to Hawaii with a strong desire that the Hawaiian peoples would come to know of Meher Baba. The treasures he was given formed a major impetus for his desire to establish a lasting center for Meher Baba in Hawai’i. Murshida Ivy Duce (appointed by Meher Baba as the first teacher of his Sufism Reoriented) whom Stan had also come to know, emphasized that he must carefully preserve these items, not only for the spiritual growth of local Baba lovers, but for the well-being of the Hawaiian islands.
After searching for a suitable location for nearly 30 years, toward the end of his life, Stan finally settled on his own back yard. In 1998, he dedicated the family’s combined homestead lands to the cause of his beloved Meher Baba and began the process of development. In September of 1999, Meherdham was officially named and dedicated by one of Meher Baba’s still living close disciples Bhau Kalchuri. Articles about Stan, the treasures and the dedication are featured in the November 2002 edition of Glow International – a journal devoted to Meher Baba.
Meherdham today is still very much a work in process and owes its existence entirely due to the labor and devotion of the Alapa family. Because it is being developed on Hawaiian Homestead land it was not possible to achieve a 501-C3 tax exempt status. Thus Meherdham’s future permanency in its present location is in doubt. But perhaps, some day, the land may be available for purchase and then we will see what Baba has in mind!
Meher Baba in Hawaii
Meher Baba visited the Hawaiian Islands on four occasions: 1932, 1935, 1956 and 1958. Each time, Hawaii was a stopover on the four around-the-world trips he took in his lifetime. The 1932 trip was the most extensive, when Meher Baba in his typical fast-paced manner spent two and a half very busy days on Oah’u. After that first trip, Meher Baba happily told his women disciples in India how “picturesque” Hawaii was and “how lovely” the palm trees were. In the midst of Meher Baba’s work for creation, he had a moment to relax and enjoy the beauty of Oah’u.
Here we have provided details on each of Meher Baba’s Hawaiian visits. We also have provided some helpful information for Meherdham visitors who may wish to see “the Baba places” on Honolulu.
Besides his four stops in Hawai’i, Meher Baba proposed an additional trip for 1941, and although he did not come, in retrospect his focus on Hawai’i at this time seems to have historical significance.
The first visit, June 9 to June 11, 1932
To those of us who live, or have lived in the Islands, it has always been very happy news to know that Meher Baba has graced these shores. We knew that he had stayed at the Moana Hotel in Waikiki and thought that he had visited the aquarium and perhaps the zoo, but had few other details. Since the Moana Hotel is still in business, Baba lover, Stan Alapa, had even gone to great extents to learn what room Baba had stayed in. But no records have ever been found.
It wasn’t until Volume 5 of Lord Meher was published that we Baba lovers in Hawai’i gained a solid list of details. In this issue, on pages 1668 and 1669, glorious facts about dates, times and itinerary are given.
We learned that Meher Baba arrived in Honolulu on Thursday, June 9th, 1932 at eight in the morning aboard the Monterey, four days out of Los Angeles on its maiden voyage. With Baba were Quentin Todd, Chanji, Kaka, brothers Adi Jr. and Beheram, and a boy named Carl Phillips
Carl Phillips had been selected as the prospective “suitable” boy to take on the trip to China and shared the ship cabin with Baba. He is described as “disobedient and self-indulgent”, however, and as he “proved a veritable nuisance,” it was decided to send him back at the first opportunity.
Baba had also called Rustom Irani from China to meet him in Honolulu, so Rustom was waiting at the dock. Baba met with him privately and sent him on to Australia that same day aboard the Monterey (thereby forging links with Australia for the future.)
During their stay in Honolulu, Baba and the group stayed at the Moana Hotel located on the most famous stretch of beach in Waikiki. Following their arrival, after resting for two hours, they walked to a “coconut grove in the gardens of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel which was next to the Moana and saw a splendid performance by native Hawaiian dancers and singers.” Afterward, they drove across the middle of the island through the pineapple groves and stopped to drink “copious amounts of pineapple juice.” That evening, following dinner, they attended a movie at the Empire cinema.
The next day, on Friday, Baba “went for another drive in the afternoon through Honolulu to the Nuimalu Hotel and later to view a large fish aquarium.” That evening then went to see a play.
On Saturday, their last day, Baba, Chanji and Todd went to have breakfast at “Mrs. Walter Dillingham’s villa, La Pietra, on a hill near the area called Diamond Head.” They arrived at 7:45 am. and left at 9:00 am. to take Carl and Quentin Todd, who were returning to Los Angeles, to their ship.
Baba, Chanji, Kaka, Adi Jr., and Beheram left for China on Saturday, June 11th at noon, traveling on the Empress of Japan.
The Second Visit, January, 1935
On October 18, 1934, Meher Baba departed for the west for the eighth time in three years. He said that a primary purpose of his visit was to help disciples he had entrusted with producing a commercial feature film based on spiritual principles. After intensive working on this film project and conducting interviews in Hollywood, Meher Baba suddenly announced his work necessitated his returning to India. Although his western devotees in California were heartbroken at the news of an unexpected separation, on January 7, Baba departed by rail for Vancouver, Canada, stopping briefly in San Francisco and passing though Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Accompanied by his disciples Chanji, Kaka, Adi Senior, bother Jal, and a cocker spaniel named “chummy”, Baba embarked for Hawaii from Vancouver on January 12 at 10 a.m., aboard the Empress of Canada. On January 17, Baba mailed letters to his “Lovers left in America” from Honolulu before continuing on to Asia. *
The Proposed Visit, December, 1941
In the fall of 1941, prior to the U.S. entry into World War II, Meher Baba indicated that his work required him to cross the seas and visit America again. After sending communiqués to his American disciples regarding the proposed trip, he cabled to them:
MYSELF AND UPASNI (his master) MET AFTER 23 YEARS AND MOMENTOUS SPIRITUAL DECISIONS NECESSITATE CROSSING OCEAN MIDDLE OF DECEMBER LATEST, FUNDS INSUFFICIENT MUST CANCEL AMERICA. THEREFORE DEFINITELY PREFER HONOLULU , PHILIPPINES , OR ANY THE PACIFIC INCURRING LESS EXPENSIVE FARE.
Margaret Craske, an English disciple living with Baba in India and serving as secretary for these dictations, shortly thereafter realized the possible significance of the correspondence: “On December 7, 1941 , the eyes of a horrified world were drawn to Honolulu and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor .” **
The Third Visit, August 7, 1956:
In the summer of 1956, Meher Baba took a one-month world tour of the west. Flying from San Francisco to Australia on Pan Am Flight 841, he and four disciples arrived in Honolulu at 5:15 p.m. Since the layover was to last three-and-a-half hours, one of the disciples asked if they might walk along the path outside the airport and close to the beach. Baba, however, insisted that the disciples “stay put” and watch the crowds in the international airport. After some time, a well-dressed couple approached Baba and asked if he might come to their house for food and rest. Though pleased with their invitation, Baba replied that they lacked sufficient time before re-boarding the plane. Feeling that Baba had initially refused the notion of a walk because of anticipating this contact, the disciples again requested going outside. The wisdom of Baba’s further insistence to remain in the terminal soon became apparent when the couple returned with large brown bags with food for Baba and his companions. After Baba responded with fond affection, the couple left with no further words. Then Baba gestured, “Now let’s go for a walk.”
Eruch Jessawala, one of Baba’s close mandali, faithful companion and interpreter, who was present at the time, tells this colorful tale in his book, That’s How It Was: Stories of Life with Meher Baba. In later years, whenever anyone from Hawaii would arrive at Baba’s home in India, Eruch would tell this story and ask, “Have you ever heard anything about this couple? Does anyone know who this couple was?” But the couple was never heard from again, and nobody has ever learned who they were. ***
The Final Stopover, May 31, 1958
In May 1958, Meher Baba made his sixth and final visit to America in this advent. Since 1931, he had spent a total of 200 days there, more time than in any other country outside of India . On May 31, Meher Baba and his disciples left from San Francisco for Australia on QANTAS Flight 743. At 6:15 p.m., they arrived in Honolulu where they had a four-hour layover. When they departed the Honolulu airport late that evening it marked the last time that Avatar Meher Baba was on American soil. A little over a year later, on August, 1959, Hawai’i became the 50th state in the United States…and of special current interest, Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States was born in Honolulu in 1961.
(Excerpts from the website)