Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Perfect Man Shrine

If you ever happen to be passing along the desert outskirts of the little town of Columbus, New Mexico, population 1765, located about three miles from the border crossing at Palomas Mexico, you may want to visit The Perfect Man Shrine, a replica of Meher Baba's samadhi in Meherabad, India.

Used here with permission by Mobile Kodgers blog
The shrine was built by Baba lover Earl Starcher, now deceased. Today the property is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ken Emery who are not Baba followers but I understand are lovingly open to people wishing to politely pay the shrine a visit.

It is now in a great deal of disrepair.

Earl and Me

I met Earl Starcher when our family first moved to the Meher Spiritual Center in 1966. I was six years old. He was staying on the Center in the days before anyone was, before we got there. He had been there a long time. The Center did not then have the two week maximum stay they have today, and people who had met Baba in the 50s would stay in cabins for months at a time, and Earl was at that time one of the few of these. He took me for my first boat ride on Long Lake and as he rowed he told me he was a sailor, with a big grin. I forget whether I believed him or not about being a sailor, but I remember thinking he was a really fun old guy and a great rower. When I was fourteen years old he sold me my first motor cycle (a Honda CB 100 he outgrew) and taught me how to maintain it. Those are the main vignettes I remember about Earl Sarcher. He was a friend. Years later he moved to New Mexico and I heard about his shrine. After his death his plentiful Baba books and photos were donated to the lending library of the Meher Baba Center of the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

All I can say is that Earl Starcher was a wonderful guy who left behind a wonderful legacy. Look up "Earl Starcher" in Google and you will find no images of him, but plenty of the Perfect Man Shrine he built in the New Mexico desert.

Perfect Man Shrine from a distance at dusk

A little note on the difference in appearance between Earl's replica and the actual samadhi in India.

Those who check out Baba's real tomb shrine will see that it is covered in beautiful dark stones that Earl's replica in New Mexico does not have.

In defense of Earl, the original tomb when Baba was interred in 1969 did not show these stones. Though built of stones taken from an old military encampment, these stones were originally plastered over with white stucco. Later, some time after Baba was interred and the 1969 Darshan was over, this plaster was removed, giving us its current lovely look. Here are a couple images of the tomb as it used to appear, not so different at all from Earl's replica, which seems to have captured something closer to its original stark look.

Baba's tomb as it appeared at the 1969 Darshan
Photo by David Bradley
Baba leading a group into his future tomb
about 1954
It has also been pointed out that the physical terrain of New Mexico is similar in many respects to that of the area of Maharastra, India that surrounds Meherabad.

See also The four tombs of Meher Baba.


  1. Some stray thoughts, Baba's agent for America was in New Mexico. The arid landscape somewhat reflective of (early) Meherabad.
    The Perfect man Shrine is close to being opposite side (in Longitude) of the earth from Meherabad.
    (I calculate that 180* from PMS would be Mumbai.)
    PMS 107.6W + Meherabad 74.8 E = 182*.

  2. Enjoyed the story and photos very much. How wonderful to see someone so in love with Baba take on a project so broad in scope. At least to me it seems that way. Lucky Columbus NM to have it in their town!