Meher Baba was in influential spiritual master of the 20th century, who called himself the Avatar, the incarnation of God. Despite the fact that he kept silence throughout his whole life as a teacher, he lived an active life, travelled extensively and was enthusiastically received in the West as well as in India. Among all the spiritual teachers of the century, he was the one who gave the most detailed and profound explanation of the purpose of creation, the ways of spiritual evolution and the growth of the soul towards the ultimate consciousness. Meher Baba was born in zoroastrian family in India, his parents were coming from Iran. Till the age of 19 he had no spiritual inclinations, he was interested in many other things like poetry, music and sports, and lived an active social life. During his second year in college he met an old muslim saint, she kissed him in the forehead, and suddenly he felt dazed and lost interest in all the normal activities. After that he met a few other spiritual teachers, who guided him further on the journey, one of them named Upasni Maharaj became his master. When he was 27 his master told him he is ready to go and start teaching, saying “I made him perfect.” The name Meher Baba, meaning “Compassionate Father”, was given to him by his early followers. With a group of disciples he soon settled and opened an ashram in a place he called Meherabad, that became the center of his work. In 1925 he went into silence, which continued till the end of his life. First he communicated using chalk and slate, then by pointing letters on an alphabet board and later by unique system of hand gestures. Many times he said he will start speaking, even announcing the date, but this day never came. Meher Baba said, that his silence is an integral part of his spiritual work. “Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form, I observe silence.” In the 1930s Meher Baba began a period of extensive world travel. On arrival to US he caught attention of the press and the public, met a number of artists and celebrities and delivered a message to Hollywood. For many years in India he continued working with “masts”, or spiritual madmen. Masts appeared to be insane from outside, but according to Meher Baba they were just intoxicated by the experiences of a higher spiritual planes, which made them mentally incapable in the ordinary sense. He met thousands of these people helping them to integrate and continue their spiritual journey. In 1949 Meher Baba with a group of close disciples began a mysterious experiment called the “New Life”. For more than 2 years they were walking around India with no possessions, begging for their food, and readily facing any hardships. Meher Baba wanted his disciples to experience absolute “helplessness and hopelessness”, and rely completely on God. He himself described the meaning of New Life as “absolute and perfect renunciation”. Out of 20 people that started the journey with him, only 5 completed the process.
In the 1950 he had two serious car accidents, and by the end of his life he could only move in a wheelchair. In 1953 he dictated his major work, a book called “God speaks”. In spite of his deteriorating health, Meher Baba continued meeting disciples, conducting meditation camps and spending long periods in fasting and seclusion, which was a usual practice for him throughout his whole life. By the end of his life he stated that his work was “completed 100 % to his satisfaction”.
The teachings of Meher Baba are vast and complex. Basically they can be divided into two parts – the practical instructions for the seekers, and the metaphysical explanation of the nature of existence. Though Baba said his mission is not to teach, but to awaken people, the language he is using is very complicated, and his explanation turns into a whole structured scientific system. The whole material and spiritual evolution of the universe is essentially a desire of God to know himself. The consciousness is passing endless material forms, becoming more and more concentrated and self-conscious, until it reaches again the oneness with the Whole, realizing is has never been separate from it. Shortly Meher Baba put it this way: “The fish in the sea is not aware of the water.” He used to speak on numerous subjects such as maya (illusion), karma, reincarnation, the nature of the ego and love as the perfect way to attain to God. He used to give many practical instructions to his disciples, with whom he was demanding and strict. Meher Baba emphasized the role of a master in spiritual growth, stating that only the true master can help one to reach to ultimate spiritual heights.
Meher Baba was continuously insisting that he is an Avatar of this age, this mission was fulfilled before by Rama, Krishna, Jesus and Muhammad. He was preparing his disciples continuously for his coming message, that will make a huge impact on the world. Yet the message was never spoken. Although he had quite a big following in India and in the West, he didn’t manage to create a real spiritual movement, and his real disciples were just a small group of people. None of them claimed any spiritual achievement. Was it the message that was wrong or the way he chose to do his work, but the impact of it seems to be almost gone by now.