This is a new column that will bring to the readers some facet of Meher Baba, who has laid down no precepts and declared ‘My present Avataric form is the last incarnation of this cycle of time’.
Initially, I intended to feature under this column, excerpts from the books written by Meher Baba and from His discourses. Copyright complications stared at me since the early works of and about Meher Baba were published in the United States. Bhau Kalchuri, biographer of Meher Baba and Chairman, Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Trust, also cautioned me about the copyright. So I zeroed in on the format of talking about His life and His message.
Then a new problem surfaced: how to overcome my own limitations? I have not read much about Meher Baba though I consider myself a Meher Baba lover – (His followers are called Meher Baba lovers. Because He has declared: ‘I am the Ocean of Love’).
I first heard about Meher Baba when I entered the college in 1964. I donot know even today what drew me towards Him. My father could have influenced me. He used to attend the gatherings of Meher Baba lovers, and organise at our home meetings of Meher Baba lovers. The occasions were marked by ‘song sessions’ and lectures.
The beauty of Meher Baba is His statement: ‘I have no new message’. And His declaration: ‘I have come not to teach but to awaken’.
He observed silence for 44 years- from July 10, 1925 till He dropped His body on Jan 31, 1969. Did He break His silence? About this enigma some other time.
I saw Meher Baba when He was resting in the crypt of the tomb atop Meherabad Hill. It was the ‘Maha Darshan’, He had promised to His lovers years earlier.
There is an interesting story on how the tomb was built. It was a cabin-like crypt to begin with, according to Bhau Kalchuri. And His Mandali (close followers who lived with Him) used to call it the ‘Pit –Room’. Well, it was a six feet long pit dug in 1927 on the orders of Baba, and it was inside a cabin.
Says Bhau, ‘In June 1927 Baba had a cabin built for himself on Meherabad Hill out of bamboo matting and tin sheets with one door and a window on the east side. In the last week of July Baba ordered a pit to be dug on the floor of this small cabin, six feet long, four feet wide and six feet deep but at that time he did not disclose its purpose. The pit was made permanent with stone and masonry work. Small steps were built leading down into the pit, which was then covered with wooden planks. Later the tin walls were replaced by mud-mortared rough stones and more windows were added. In front of the window on the eastern side a platform was built for visitors and others to sit on while Baba discoursed….’
Today, the eastside platform has given way to the Samadhi of His sister Mani and a couple of others. On the right side of the tomb are the Samadhi of Mehera, who, Baba said, loved Him as He should be loved, and some others.
In 1969, when I visited Meherabad Hill (six miles from Ahmandnagar, Maharashtra) for his ‘Maha darshan’, it was my first journey outside my home state. When I had set out on the journey, I had no more than a couple of rupees in my pocket.
What happened subsequently and how I landed and stayed on Meherabad Hill for a couple of days was an interesting experience. Was the experience a miracle?
Normally I would have said, ‘Yes’.
But Meher Baba doesn’t allow you to think of miracles. He doesn’t do miracles. And what is more, He frankly tells you: ‘If you are after miracles, better don’t come to me’.
Says Baba while on the subject of miracles: ‘Occult powers will suffice to fulfil material wishes like materialising a gold necklace. There is no need for an Avatar. The miracles Avatar performs are the outcome of extremely high and unselfish motives. He performs a miracle when He intends to give general push to the world towards spirituality’.
Elaborating further, Baba described His miracle as releasing the mind from ignorance and maya’s grip.
As if to convince sceptics like me, He gave an example. ‘Suppose a man has put on spectacles of white glass which makes him see everything white…A Sadguru knows that everything has no colour, not even white. He also knows that everything is nothing. So he works towards removing the spectacle thereby enabling the person to see things as they are. (But) a Yogi’s powers consist in putting red or green spectacles before the man’s eyes, and to man’s amazement everything appears red or green. (Thus) the yogi only adds to the illusion which a person sees by putting yet another pair of glasses before his eyes’.
Over the years, Meherabad has seen tremendous change. Forty years ago, I could go and sit inside the tomb even as His body lay in the crypt. Today, I have to wait in a queue patiently, some times for an hour. During ‘Amartithi’ observed on the 31st day of every New Year, the waiting stretches into hours and hours.
Old timers quote Baba as saying (in the fifties), ‘Meherabad would one-day attract people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Most of you (those present at the time of the discourse) would have a difficulty in negotiating the milling crowds and have my darshan’.
My experience bears this out.