Meher BabaMeher Baba was born Merwan Sheriar Irani, February 25, 1894 in Poona, Maharashtra, India, and died January 31st, 1969, in Pimplegaon, Maharashtra, India, a small town not far from Ahmednagar, where his samadhi (tomb-shrine) has become a place of pilgrimage.
His father Sheriar was born in Persia, and became a wandering Sufi dervish before settling in Poona and marrying a young woman named Shireen. Though Meherwan had mystical inclinations and experiences, he was more interested in sports. At the age of 19, he met a very old Muslim woman, a spiritual master named Hazrat Babajan, who kissed him on the forehead on a street in Poona. Meher Baba later explained that this kiss unveiled him spiritually and established him in a state of consciousness he termed God-Realization. He also had spiritual connection with four other masters, (Tajudin Baba, Narayan Maharaj, Sai Baba of Shirdi, and Upasni Maharaj of Sakori).
His cosmology, which has echoes of both Sufism and Vedanta, is summarized in the 1954 book, GOD SPEAKS, much of which Baba dictated using an English language alphabet board. He personally recommended the book to a number of his followers, but also dismissed intellectual learning about God as "Trying to see with your ears," and emphasized simply the importance of the remembrance of God and loving one's fellow beings.
He did extensive work with a category of people he termed "masts." These were individuals who were dazed by spiritual contacts which they were not capable of assimilating, and though outwardly they appeared irrational or even insane, he claimed that their spiritual status was actually quite elevated. The best-known of these masts, known as Mohammed the Mast, survived Baba by 34 years, living at Baba's permanent encampment at Meherabad (near Ahmednagar) until his passing in 2003.
Meher Baba traveled several times around the world and continues, many years after his "dropping of the body", to have followers on all continents. He observed silence from July 10, 1925 until his death in 1969, communicating first by means of gestures, and later using the alphabet board; "Silence Day", July 10, is widely observed by his followers with the keeping of silence for 24 hours.
Many people around the world believe Meher Baba to have been the Avatar, a special soul who is literally the active aspect of God (that is, the aspect which has relationship with the gross world, also known as Maya or "The Cosmic Illusion"). They believe, further, that this same soul previously took birth as Zoroaster, Mohammed, Gautama the Buddha, Jesus of Nazareth, and other personalities revered as having the very highest spiritual status possible.
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