Avatar Meher Baba Samadhi superstructure proposal


                                           Avatar Meher Baba Samadhi

In his Trust Deed, Meher Baba outlines plans for a "bigger tomb" to be built over the "Tomb" and specifies not less than 100 ft wide area around the Samadhi to be kept perpetually clear and unchanged. While this has always been referred to as "the superstructure", the term is misleading of Baba’s intention to build a larger Samadhi, not just some new structure or protective roof covering over the Samadhi. A more accurate description of this project is "SuperSamadhi".

Trust Deed, pg 31:

"(A) The existing Tomb must always be available exclusively for the Settlor's physical remains to be buried therein as and when the Settlor drops his body.

(B) An area of not less than fifty feet on all the four sides of the Tomb to be similarly available for its expansion and for the burial of the physical bodies after death of some of the Settlor's women disciples.

(C) The existing Tomb proper and the said specified area for its expansion and for the graves which may be or will be there shall always be left completely unaltered and unchanged for all times even when a bigger tomb is built as a super-structure over them i. e. the Tomb proper and the specified area to be included under the super structure as one collective whole."

                                                  SUPER-SAMADHI DESIGN PROPOSAL

 view from New Site path

view from south

site plan

cross section showing Samadhi, 7 levels, up/down ramps, dome

ground floor interior view of Samadhi and lower levels

The Samadhi was designed and built by Baba and is the universally recognized architectural icon of Avatar Meher Baba. It is appropriate the design of a larger Samadhi be based on Baba’s design rather than create something new and unrelated to what Baba has given. The five religious symbols represent the tombs of the respective Avatars and are necessary to identify Baba as being all the Avatars in One and His Tomb as the Tomb of all Avatars. "Mastery in Servitude" is essential to be seen on the larger Samadhi. Baba once told Savak Kotwal that millions of pilgrims would have to take darshan at the railway tracks. This is possible with a larger tomb that looks like the Samadhi and is visible from the tracks.

This super-Samadhi design proposal is an adaptation to a much larger size and function of Baba’s original simple design and use of native materials. For many miles around Meherabad as far as Poona road it will be a clear symbol to focus on Baba, provide a large shrine for devotion and darshan of a very large number of pilgrims, protect Baba’s Samadhi from physical deterioration, and form a managable security perimeter. Externally it is an unpretentious, unambiguous, and direct manifestation of God’s existence, power, love, and presence on earth as Avatar Meher Baba and His work for the Universe. The interior plan and artwork recreates an experience of Creation and the Path to God Realization, provide a comfortable space for large numbers of pilgrims and darshan, and would be recognized and function effectively as a significant place of world pilgrimage.

The minimum size of the super-Samadhi is determined by the 50 foot radius of clear space around the Tomb that Baba required to be preserved and left undisturbed. The interior space is a 100 ft diameter x 160 ft high open atrium around and above the Samadhi. Within this space on the ground level are the Samadhi, the tombs of the woman Mandali, Baba’s cabin, and the existing trees and flowers. Preservation of the peaceful and familiar atmosphere around the Samadhi as it is and free of crowding is accomplished by providing space for the pilgrims and darshan queue on the seven mezzanine levels around the open atrium space.

The seven levels represent evolution and involution and maximize the space available for the darshan queue, arti, and seating areas while minimizing the building’s footprint and impact on the precious land, historic areas, buildings, trees, landscaping, and atmosphere around the Samadhi. The east main doorway is outside of the compound gate and the west doorway covers the graves of Nonny, Shireen, and Sheriar. The original hospital and cage room building is outside the north wall but does not block the north main doorway.

As presented here, the 150’x150’ main floor (22,500 sq.ft.) is the minimum size needed to preserve the 100 ft diameter open space around the Tomb, but if needed to be larger, it could extend over the compound wall. There is a total usable floor area of 125,000 sq. ft. on all levels which could theoretically hold approximately 30,000 pilgrims. Surrounding the atrium is almost one mile of darshan queue for as many as 10,000 pilgrims ascending and descending the seven revolutions in a continuous flow to the Samadhi. Garlands may be hung on the seven balcony railings surrounding the atrium to fill the space around Baba’s Samadhi with an embrace of color and the scent of the fresh flowers. The structure and space is a framework for the union of Baba’s Love and the love of His lovers

The number of levels utilized for the queue could be adjusted depending on the number of pilgrims and there are lifts for handicap and senior access. The ground level has conventional doors or motorized overhead panels and operable screens for controlling access, light, and air circulation. Above the ground level, the first, second, and third mezzanine levels have open balconies with planters for flowers and shade, and operable shutters and screens for light, temperature, and pest control. The next three levels are open only to the interior space and are ventilated by the building’s strong convection and, if necessary, mechanical vents or ac. The seventh level opens to the outside with doors to the large roof terrace surrounding the dome.

Artwork on interior surfaces and the 100 ft. diameter dome would reproduce the Samadhi murals which otherwise would not be seen if it is no longer possible to go inside and also depict the stages of evolution and planes of involution. In addition to the separate up and down ramps for the queue, there are stairways in each corner for access to seating areas for pilgrims not in the queue and several elevators housed within the main columns. Toilets, service areas, air ducts, etc., are also within the 8 main column structures on each level.

The floor and wall structure is relatively economical conventional concrete construction faced with the native basalt stone to match the Samadhi and can be engineered with sufficient reinforcement to survive an earthquake. The dome is a steel frame truss structure with an external membrane of cement plaster or synthetic material to match the Samadhi dome, an interior acoustic membrane with a reproduction of the Samadhi dome mural. There is a 10 ft.wide space inside for maintenance access, ventilation, acoustic and temperature insulation. The cupola reproduces the cupola of the Samadhi but is tinted glass as a skylight for illuminating the interior and with ventilation and access openings. There is an empty circle at the top of the original mural that allows for this skylight.

While it will be needed to accommodate millions of pilgrims in the future, the super-Samadhi would provide a proper, clean, and safe space for Amartithi, protect and secure the Samadhi, and solve many existing problems if built sooner rather than later and not waiting for the millions to come. It is an appropriate medium to present and manifest Meher Baba in a tangible and effective way as the Avatar of the Age and help serve to bring the world to Him.

view from Dhond Road

lake view

view from bottom of Path

view from top of Path

ground level

lower levels with ramps and garlands

upper levels, ramps, and dome

view of Samadhi and ground level from upper levels

aerial view of Meherabad Master Plan
with trees and paths


view from south with q

floor plan

                             1996 DESIGN PROPOSAL FOR MEMORIAL TOWER

                                                                       cross section

Memorial Tower design from Baba and Rano's Ten Circles painting

Ten Circles painting


You are today witnessing a solemn occasion of supreme importance. While the world is feverishly occupied with the vanishing things of the moment, there always are those who gain a true perspective of life, through the grace of the Master. These lucky few are ever willing to make their whole life an ever-renewed and ceaseless dedication to the universal and ageless truth of the imperishable and undivided life divine. The spiritual grandeur of those who set aside all thoughts of the self and make their life an offering to the divine and imperative cause of the Master, is in itself ineffable. But while it surpasses all description, it is something much more than an ornament of crowning glory for those souls themselves. A visible memorial such as a tower, which symbolizes their life of unfailing loyalty and love, can itself become a medium for inspiring the generations to come.
The Memorial Tower of my departed devotees, which is being erected on this spot, will be a reservoir of inspiration and power for posterity. Their memory is not being perpetuated for their sake; they had absolutely no desire for fame or name. But their memory is being perpetuated because it will be an example for those who are living, as well as for those who are to come. A life of sacrifice based on love is never lost. It is not only beautiful and fruitful in itself, but also in the creative inspiration which it leaves behind itself.
The foundation of this Tower is being laid on the tomb of my loved Masaji with the bedding of one of my loved disciples – F. H. Dadachanji, whose selfless service to my cause was wholehearted in its devotion and singular in its attainments. There are also others, such as Buasaheb, Munshiji, Sampath Aiyangar, and so forth, who served my cause with unimpeachable integrity of character before dropping their physical body. For each one of them, a separate flower is placed in the foundation of the Tower; and the names of all of them will be inscribed on the Tower of Glory, which will be erected on this foundation.
The symbolic representation of these departed souls through flowers dispenses with the separative burial or cremation ceremonies, which are prevalent in different societies. The placing of all these flowers in the same foundation is intended to emphasize the truth that, though the bodies of these devotees were different, they were all parts of one eternal and indivisible soul. The Memorial Tower has completely dispensed with the physical bodies of departed souls; for the physical body is only the illusory shadow of the soul. Those devotees whose names are
likely to be inscribed on this Tower, after their demise, will have free choice in respect of disposal of their bodies after their demise. Their bodies may be buried or cremated or disposed of at the Tower of Silence according to the rites of their respective religions or according to any desire expressed by them during their lifetime; and they shall be represented on this Memorial Tower only by their names.
The Tower will be in memory of men belonging to different religions and will, in fact, represent the fundamental unity of all the great world religions. All the great world religions have, in their own way, revealed the same one Truth, which I bring anew. This unity of all religions will be clearly emphasized by placing on the Tower the emblems of all the important religions of the world. The Tower shall thus be a silent proclamation of the unity of all religions. The unshakable peace of the life in eternity and the unfading glory of conscious divinity shall crown the souls which are represented by this Memorial Tower.They are all eternally mine. I bless them all.

approved Memorial Tower design by Ted Judson, under construction

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