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A Pirate on the Set-Up Crew

He is not really a pirate of course, but that is how he boldly addressed Papaji when they first met in 1992. At 83 years old Dharama Clothier is, we are fairly sure, both the longest standing, and one of the most steadfast member of the Bay Area set up crew.


He met Gangaji in 1990, soon after her return from India, and then again in Hawaii. Impressed by her and the fresh aura of Papaji that she was conveying, he soon set out for India himself. Dharama shared the spirited letter that he finally plucked up courage to write to Papaji.





According to Dharama, Papaji's answer to his question about reincarnation was, "They (the one's reincarnated) have not reached the water yet." It's clear more than 25 years later that Dharama has drunk deeply of those waters, and he is still here, joining the crew of faithful volunteers who are always there to help the Gangaji Foundation staff set up when Gangaji is in the Bay Area.


Other long term members of the team (pictured in 2011) include their fearless captain, Janet Jonte, who started volunteering in 1996 or 1997, Forest McKnown, who began about the same time, Eric Altshuler, Mark Northcross, and honorary members Dhruva Baumbach (now of Boulder), Coyote (now in Ashland), and Kat Miller (now living in Mexico). Also, recently returned after a few years is Margie Bartelt, and Eddie Graham and Scott Miller are newer editions.



Here are some sweet memories from Janet from the 90s:


"In those early days we had a storage unit in Sausalito where we kept the shoe racks and bins of supplies for the bookstore, donations team, meals team, info table, A/V, and Flowers. We had a fleet of borrowed vans and trucks carrying things to the venue. We even rented vehicles occasionally for the set up team. The bookstore was complex back then with cash registers.

The storage unit was a sweet place, holding satsang smells (Aveda candles!) and memories. We always held a set up team circle after putting everything away.

I remember working with Bhavo and Dhruva and maybe Forest out in the storage unit parking lot, covering our stage platform with carpeting. I think probably Coyote and/or Forest built the stage.
Every bit of “work” we did as volunteers was and is infused with love for Gangaji."


For More Photos of the Bay Area Set Up Crew click here