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Avatar Meher Baba, The Endless!
(The Source of this Article is From Sri Sai Samaj 120-B, Rash Behari Avenue, Calcutta-29)
"SAI BABA made me what I am,
BABA JAN made me Feel what I am;
and UPASANI MAHARAJ made me
Know what I am".
"We can love God by surrendering to the PERFECT
MASTER who is God's personal Manifestation."
The Age of unquestioning belief in God and God-men is passing away. The days of rituals and ceremonials, priests and sooth-sayers are fast vanishing and even those who keep up ceremonials observe them in forms which have become largely modified to conform to the pattern of contemporary life. Prostrating before the elders or touching their feet is scoffed at as a medieval superstition and betraying servile mentality.
Dry intellectualism, scepticism of the scientist and incredulity threaten to replace implicit faith and juicy devotion. Prayer and Bhajan halls are taken up by libraries and discussion groups. If a Messiah or an Incarnation
of God were to appear in such an atmosphere, he has to avoid unnecessary paraphernalia, talk less, face criticism and win even the most unfriendly inquirer over to his side by sheer LOVE.
MEHER BABA, popularly known as AVATAAR MEHER BABA proves challenging and disturbing to the revolting youth by assuming the title "Avatar" for himself and claiming Christhood. Just as Lord Krishna claimed himself to be more ancient than Vivaswan, so Meher Baba calls himself The Ancient One. He says; "I am The Ancient one. I am The Highest of the High. I am The One Whom many seek and so few find". He disarms 'opposition by stating that those who vilify and criticize him also do his work in the same way as those who love him.
Merwan Sheriar Irani was born on 25th February, 1894, in a Zoroastrian family, in Poona. He was initiated in November, 1914, by Hazrat Baba Jan, Sufi saint in Poona, resulting in a trance for nine months. At the tail end of this phase, Merwan visited Shirdi and paid his respects to Sai Baba. Then he moved to meet Upasani Maharaj, himself undergoing novitiate under Sai Baba. Maharaj threw a stone at Merwan with great force wounding him in the forehead.
That brought him round to world-consciousness. Meher Baba says that it took him seven years of acute struggle under Upasani Maharaj’s active guidance to become established in normal consciousness while yet experiencing continuously his super conscious state. Meher Baba had visited Narayan Maharaj of Khedgaon And Hazrat Baba Tajuddin of Nagpur. Both Babajan and Maharaj directed their visitors to go to Meher Baba.
Once, in May, 1922, Upasani Maharaj while addressing a large gathering is said to have declared that he had ‘‘handed over his keys’’ now to Merwan and then added that all should stick to him as he instructed them. (‘‘LISTEN, HUMANITY,’’ page 250.) It may be recalled in this connection that Lord Sai Nath had similarly told his devotees that he had ‘‘handed over his keys’’ to Upasani Maharaj.
In 1923, Meher Baba had a large tract of land which was the site of military buildings constructed near Ahmednagar during World War 1, repaired with the help of his Mandali (devotees) and brought into existence ashrams for boys, men and women and shelters for the poor and the lepers. Hospitals were also opened for the benefit of the poor villagers in the vicinity. In November, 1926, he closed down all these institutions at Meherabad. These humanitarian activities are to be regarded as a symbol of the inexhaustible Love that he has for the universe.
According to him, all these are "only the external expression of the internal work I am doing"- Millions upon millions of trusts founded by many a Rockefeller or Full bright or Nuffield can at best mitigate, and, and, by no means, check the appalling poverty, illiteracy and sickness which are persisting and are rapidly spreading all over the world. The whole problem has to be tackled from an entirely different angle and from an
Altogether different plane; and that is what Baba and other Perfect Masters have been doing for "orphan humanity."
If Baba cared, he would have succeeded in building up an International organisation of stupendous magnitude. But these are not in his plan. He has not come to found a new order or religion or to teach, but simply to awaken slumbering humanity to realise the glories of its Self in which alone, bliss is to be found and which knows no separateness between the individual and the rest of the universe; and in this recognition of the Self in others lies the principle of LOVE of the highest order. Washing the feet of the poor, the lepers and even criminals and distributing clothes and cash among them, embracing the blind, etc., are all symbols of "Baba's boundless Love for one and all, however slowly and humble they may be.
An outstanding feature of Baba is, more than the teaching that he gives, the profound influence that he exercises on his devotees. The sphinx that he is, whatever one might say before meeting Meher Baba, when brought face to face with him, one cannot escape the influence of his magnetic personality which radiates powerful currents of the strong silent benefactor. His very presence, or the recollection of even a momentary association with him, or his picture—any one of these is sufficient to disintegrate the gloom and make men and women open a new chapter in their lives.
To give us opportunities for this, he had breadth of our vast sub-continent, but ten times around the world. He has in recent times also been holding camps called ‘‘Sahavas gatherings,’’ for instance, once in 1955, and again in 1958 at Meherabad (India) and in America to which batches of devotees numbering a few hundreds at a time were invited and attend seminars conducted by him. On 10th July, 1925, Meher Baba started the vow of silence which he is preserving even now. He neither writes nor employs the alphabet board, whose use was abandoned in October, 1954. Baba's silence which is absolutely unaffected by his gestures and discourses remains a mystery to everybody. The world is waiting to hear him "break his silence" by uttering, as promised, "THE ONE SACRED WORD."
Born in a Zoroastrian family, initiated by a Sufi, and later on trained by a Hindu saint, Baba presents a synthesis of various cultures. He reiterates the fundamental Theosophical principles relating to Universal Brotherhood, Law of Karma, Re-incarnation, Perfect Masters, etc. He also presents in himself a focal point of particular aspects of the five Perfect Masters of the Age and he frequently refers to them as being instrumental in bringing about his Avatar hood. His discussions of the Perfect Masters contain materials which have largely helped us in drafting this series.
A special work that he has been doing is what concerns God-intoxicated persons called "Masts" who have attained to varying planes of consciousness. Sometimes, he would send his workers to fetch these "masts" and on other occasions, he would himself travel with them in search of these strange persons and help the masts reach up to still higher planes, so that he may secure their active co-operation and assistance in his spiritual work. Details of his activities along this line can be had in a publication entitled "WAYFARERS" and its Supplements, by Dr. William Donkin.
Meher Baba has given us an entirely original interpretation of that greatest gift of God, namely, LOVE, and he has not only delivered the message of Love but he lives it and creates plenty of opportunities among his devotees to put it into practise. He has made it abundantly clear that anyone who claims to be a lover of Baba should strive one’s utmost to cultivate this virtue and the more intensely and deeply one fosters it, the brighter are one’s prospects to come near to Baba’s heart. He says: ‘‘True love is no game for the faint-hearted and the weak. It is born of strength and understanding.’’ Next, he wants everyone to understand the meaning and significance of life, of religion, of rituals, of ceremonials, and after grasping the principle behind all these give them up internally and rise above them to a state in which he is living.
Referring to the greatness of Lord Sainath, Meher Baba has declared: You will never be able to understand thoroughly how great SAI BABA was. He is the very personification of Perfection. If you knew him as I know him, you would call him the master of creation.’’ It might appear somewhat strange that the Master who is wedded to silence is credited with giving discourses of a size that has gone into volumes. He makes gestures which are interpreted in English by one or other of his devotees.
Meher Baba's discourses have been compiled in books entitled "God to Man and Man to God", "God Speaks", "Listen, Humanity", "Life at its Best," "Beams from the Spiritual Panorama," etc. and his messages, sayings and activities are appearing in a quarterly entitled "AWAKENER which is published from New York, U. S. A., a Telugu monthly published in Ellore (Andhra Pradesh) entitled "AVATAR MEHER," and a Hindi monthly published in Hamirpur (U. P.) entitled "MEHER PUKHAR"—all these exclusively dealing with Meher Baba.
Meher Baba is now living at Pimpalgaon, a village, about nine miles off Ahmednagar Railway station (on the Dhond-Manmad line, Central Railways) observing seclusion, silence and his lifelong celibacy. He occasionally grants interviews to aspirants at their request. He lives on plain fare consisting of rice, dhall and milk. He mixes freely and keeps one at ease in his presence and embraces one and all that go to him.
He does not encourage devotees prostrating before him or touching his feet. News about him and instructions are conveyed in what are called 'Life Circulars" by his Secretary, Mr.Adi K. Irani, to his devotees all over the world. Publications by and about Meher Baba can be had of Meher Publications, King's Road, Ahmednagar (Bombay State).