How These Pages Came To Be
is Meher Baba at about 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
AUTHOR OF these pages first encountered the name
Meher Baba while walking to breakfast with an acquaintance,
at college 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, that said
"A man named Meher Baba, who lived in India, did not speak, and maintained
that he was God, and would break his silence before he died, died
yesterday, January 31, 1969."
My main response, upon
hearing those words, was a kind of whimsical delight that in our modern
world someone, somewhere, would either claim he was God, or
maintain silence, let alone both!
But before long, the
name faded from my consciousness.
years later, I was visiting Chicago, where I had first started college.
I had left home at 18 to attend at Northwestern University. I'd heard
that one of my former "radical" comrades had somehow become connected
with Meher Baba. One day, shortly before I intended to end my 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 disarming. In truth, though, I had been
avoiding this fellow, precisely because he was "into Meher Baba",
and was a former radical who was 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. It all just seemed like too much!
His voice having immediately
transformed my preconceptions, the next morning I took the El train
downtown to the Prudential Building, where my friend worked. I caught
the elevator to the 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 office, nothing else. One of the chairs was behind
the desk, the other in front it. I sat, of course, in the one in front.
As I faced my friend in the other chair, I noticed that behind the
desk on the wall was a large poster on yellow 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 and
wisp of a beard, and the loveliest soft, clear eyes.
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."
Immediately I realized
that sitting in front of me was someone who could tell me more about
this 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.
"He says everyone, and
everything is God, but there are a very few who are fully
conscious of their divinity, and who therefore are really
able to guide others."
"Why shouldn't I follow
Christ, or Ramakrishna?"
my next question spontaneously followed, mentioning the names of two
spiritual figures I had recently been 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 really here for.
In recorded history, he said he came as Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna,
Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed."
"He's naming the greatest
figures in History," I thought.
The questions, which had
been coming to me as naturally as though I'd thought them outwhich
I hadn'tnow 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?"
I began to contemplate that
thought, It contained some ambiguity I needed to clarify.
"Where is he now?"
I blurted out, looking at the 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.
And then, suddenly, I
felt it, too. ThatLove! This was Love! Not romantic,
or platonic love with a small "l". This was God! This was Divine
The room overflowed with
it! This Love was invisible, yet it felt more real by far than anything
I had ever known. It seemed "pink" somehow, though my eye could discern
We were in the presence
of a Being who was Infinite and BenignInfinitely Benign. This
Being had a distinct "personality", yet also, somehow, included
my friend and I, and everything else, in Himself. I felt myself as
simply a part of this greater Being Whose nature was Love.
So my nature
was Love! 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?
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."
I left that
room 33 and a half years ago. As I wrote the words above, I felt
the Presence of Meher Baba no different than when I had first lived
through the experience I was describing. It was as though Time and
Space again bowed at His Feet. My life for the last 33 years has
been a quest to keep them there permanently, so those veils do not
come between me and this Love.
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 afte 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, His Whim alights.
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