Meher Baba and Me, a Story of Awakening:
How These Pages Came to Be
(Note: This is my "personal" Meher Baba story. For additional, "objective" information about
Meher Baba, you might try MEHER BABA INFORMATION . And there is a vast trove of
Meher Baba links at www.avatarmeherbaba.org)
is Meher Baba at about age 70.
This card, which became popular among Westerners drawn to Baba especially
in the '60s and early '70s, much later became the creative
inspiration of Bobby McFerrin's popular song.
AUTHOR OF these pages first encountered the name Meher Baba
while walking to breakfast with an acquaintance at college in Sarasota,
Florida, in 1969. The friend was carrying a newspaper, glancing at
it as we quietly walked.
Half way to the cafeteria, he
suddenly said, "Here's an interesting article!" and proceeded
to read a brief story on the Obituary Page. The piece said something
like, "There was a man named Meher Baba, who lived in India and
did not speak. He maintained for many years that he was God, and would
break his silence before he died. He died yesterday, January 31, 1969."
My emotional response
to those words was a kind of whimsical delight that in our modern
world someone, somewhere, would either claim he was God, or
maintain silencelet alone both!
Before long, though,
the name Meher Baba faded from my consciousness.
years later, I was visiting Chicago, where I had first started
college. I had left home at 18 to attend Northwestern University,
then transferred to the Sarasota school for my Junior year. Recently
I'd heard that one of my former "radical" comrades from Northwestern
had somehow become connected with Meher Baba. One day, shortly before
I intended to end my Chicago visit, he phoned and asked if I wanted
to stop by the advertising agency where he worked, to say hello.
"Sure," I said,
finding my old friend's voice utterly disarming. In truth, I'd been
avoiding this fellow till now, precisely because he was "into Meher
Baba" and was a former radical working as an ad-man only two
years later! A girl I knew had told me she'd seen him on TV selling
laundry detergent! Such a total transformation, so quickly, just seemed
The next morning I took
the El train downtown to the Prudential Building where my friend worked.
I caught the elevator to his ad agency, on the upper floors of the
building. My friend came out to the reception area and embraced me.
Then he led me down a corridor and opened a doorway into what was
the tiniest private office I'd ever seen.
There were a desk and
two chairs in the officeno room for anything else. One
of the chairs was behind the desk, the other in front. I sat, of course,
in the latter. As I faced my friend in the other chair, I noticed
that behind him on the wall was a large poster on yellow newwsprint
paper. A man's face, in a black and white photo, looked out of the
poster. The man looked to be in his twenties. He had long hair, a
feathery moustache, a wisp of a beard, and the loveliest soft, clear
Under the photo, in large capital
letters, were the words,
I AM THE ANCIENT ONE .
Below those words, in
smaller letters, the poster read,
"I was Rama,
I was Krishna,
I was this one,
I was that one,
And now I am Meher Baba."
Suddenly I realized that
sitting in front of me was someone who could tell me more about this
unusual man whose obituary had been read to me for no understandable
reason on a misty Saturday morning two years before.
"Did Meher Baba say he
was God?" I asked.
"Meher Baba says everyone
and everything is God, but there are a very few who are fully
conscious of that Divinity, and who therefore are really
able to guide others."
"Why shouldn't I follow
Christ, or Ramakrishna?",
the next question erupted out of my mouth. It included the names of
two spiritual figures I had recently begun reading about.
"Baba said he's the Avatar,"
replied my friend. "He said he returns to earth approximately every
700 to 1400 years, whenever people forget what we're all really here
for. In recorded history, he said he came as Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus
"He's naming the greatest
figures in History," I thought.
I was experiencing a curious
phenomenon. Questions had been coming to my mind as naturally as though
I was following some kind of script. And yet my words were totally
spontaneous. Furthermore, each time my friend answered
a question, or more accurately, told me Meher Baba's answer,
I felt lighter. White birds seemed to be flying upward from my head,
bearing away mental burdens, with every round of our conversation.
This process now stopped. . My mind
and the room were silent. "Maybe this Meher Baba was
a really great man," the voice of my thoughts went on. "But
if he died two years ago, what's the difference?"
As that thought emerged, a
very subtle presentiment, came with it: "Something might
happen now!" it said. That was odd. My experience that
"nothing can happen through mere conversation" had led a
couple years back to more dangerous, pharmacologically-based efforts
at consciousness transformation.
"Where is he now?"
I blurted out, looking at Meher Baba's picture.
I waited for my friend
to answer. Silence. In a little while, I looked back toward him. He
was smiling. What about? He in fact had practically the widest grin
I'd ever seen. I had seen him grinning that way once back in our college
days, scruffily dressed, high on LSD, unthinkably giving a $5 bill
to a beggar.
And then, suddenly, I
felt it, too, theLove! This was Love! Not Romantic Love, not
Platonic love with a small "l".This was Divine Love! I'd read
of it in the Bible, in Thomas Merton,
and His Disciples,
without the slightest idea what the author was saying. This was God!
The room overflowed with
God, with Love! The two were Identical! The Force, the Being, was
invisible, yet far more real by far than anything I'd ever known.
It felt "pink", somehow, though visually I discerned no color. "I
am Meher Baba," the "pinkness" was saying, silently.
It a distinct Personality and yet also included my friend and
me and everything else! Words like Past and Future had no meaning,
only this timeless, all-embracing Love, had ever existed.
How had I never before felt what
was clearly the only essential fact of all existence? How had I failed
to notice Meher Baba, who was and had always been, the Being of my
own being, the Self of all?
How long my friend and
I sat there, embraced by that Divine Smile, I don't know. But when
I left that room, as it says in one of the poems that follow,
"I searched a different search and sang a different tune."
that room 34 years ago. As I wrote the words above, I felt
the Presence of Meher Baba no differently than when I first lived
through the experience. It was as though Time and Space again
bowed at His Feet. Since that day, has been a quest to keep them
there permanently, so those veils do not come between me and this
The poems on the following
pages will give you a taste of this soul's Journey with Meher
Baba. He said His Presence will remain at a constant level for
a hundred years after He dropped His body in 1969. Meher Baba
is not dead, He is here and available to those who seek Him with
love, and to those fortunate ones on whom, like myself, the Whim
of His Grace alights.
To Journey One Back
To Six Journeys Page Home
Remains Is the Essence,"
the home pages of Max Reif
children's stories, "The
Hall of Famous Jokes", whimsical
prose, paintings, and
DAYS AND PRESCHOOL DAYS, TOO
a book about working and playing with children
send an e-mail