The Youth Sahavas was launched at Meher Center in 1991 to give teenagers a unique opportunity to gather in the atmosphere of Baba’s loving presence at His home in the West.
In Meher Baba’s words, a sahavas is meant to be a gathering for “companionship with God,” the “give and take of love between the Beloved and His lovers.” This event was created and designed to offer young people an opportunity to explore, on their own terms and each in their own way, avenues to enrich their inner relationship with Meher Baba.
Each summer for nearly a week, Meher Center is closed to overnight guests and given over entirely to the Youth Sahavas. Throughout the months leading up to the event, the Youth Sahavas committee, along with a seasoned group of young adults, meet often to plan the programs and schedule. A wide variety of activities are planned, including discussion groups, workshops, beach time, sports, music, and special events. In a supportive, loving environment, teens are invited to participate in any activity they wish.
The Youth Sahavas, based on Meher Baba’s message of love and truth, was created with the following precepts in mind:
♥ High expectations of participants, workers and the environment;
♥ Clear and positive values;
♥ Creating a space where young people are free to discover their own inner lives, through each other and through the opportunities available to them;
♥ Creating purposeful and meaningful opportunities in which to participate;
♥ Constructing an environment that is fun and uplifting;
♥ Allowing for the creative input of the participants so that the sahavas can change and grow appropriately over time; and
♥ The presence of informed and caring adults: those who understand the spirit of the event.
The following is an excerpt from the 2002 diary of Buz and Wendy Connor, (two of many organizers of the Youth Sahavas), recounting a conversation between Buz and Wendy and Eruch Jessawala, chief male disciple of Meher Baba, that speaks to the deeper significance of the Youth Sahavas.
“We recall a conversation we once had with Eruch one morning while walking at Meherazad. We were talking about working for Baba, and what a blessing it is to be in His orbit. Then Eruch said, “Who are we to think that we can do Baba’s work? After all, He has said that He alone does His work.” And then he added, “Except for one thing: never let the generation to come say that you did not tell them about Him.” After a while, as we spoke about the Youth Sahavas and of how different this generation is from the one that came to Him in the late 60’s and early 70’s—how each generation is different from the one that came before (not to mention the cultural differences between concurrent generations)—it became clear to us that it was important to tell succeeding generations about Him in ways that would appeal to them, that speak to them. And then to give them opportunities that encourage them to express their love for Him in ways that mean something to them, that is unique to them.
One obvious way to talk about Meher Baba that appeals to young people of this generation is to have gatherings of this nature. These are times when young people can come together and talk to each other about the struggles in their lives and share their common bond of love for the Avatar. There is a touching recognition that they belong to the same tribe—His tribe.”
See this event in our Annual Calendar