Meher Baba (1894–1969)
Indian spiritual teacher and mystic, born Merwin S. Irani on
February 25, 1894 in Poona, India. His parents were Parsees,
but he was strongly influenced by both Hinduism and Sufi mysticism
and was educated at a Christian high school. At the age
of 19, he contacted Hazrat Babajan, an elderly Moslem female
saint, who kissed his forehead and, as he later related, induced
divine consciousness and a state of ecstatic bliss. After that, he
devoted his life to religious teaching, usually expressed in a
rather erratic fashion, involving journeys with disciples that apparently
led nowhere, or in searching out the eccentric and
sometimes deranged wandering monks of India. In 1921 he established
an ashram devoted largely to philanthropic work. He
had contact with Sai Baba, of whom Satya Sai Baba is claimed
to be a reincarnation.
In 1925 Meher Baba entered upon a period of silence, conversing
or giving lectures with an alphabet board. He often
prophesied in this way that he would one day speak the One
Word that would bring spiritualization and love to the world,
but he died January 31, 1969, without utterance. Many believe
that his prophecy may have been symbolic, like his mysterious
life itself, and devotees continue to share the intense affection,
of a Sufi kind, that characterized his mission during his lifetime.
He came to be regarded by many disciples as an avatar,
or descent of divine power.
One early American disciple of Meher Baba was Rabia Martin.
She led a Sufi group originally established by Pir Inayat
Khan (1881–1927). She had a falling out with Pir Khan’s successors
and looked for a new teacher, began to correspond with
Meher Baba, and eventually accepted him as the Qutb, a Sufi
term for hub of the universe. Martin’s successor, Ivy Duce, visited
Meher Baba in India, and in 1952 he visited her in Myrtle
Beach, South Carolina, and gave her and the Sufis a plan of organization
known as Sufism Reoriented.
Since then, however, the followers of Meher Baba have
grown quite apart from Sufism Reoriented. They have a very
loose, decentralized organization built around independent
centers where meetings are held and literature distributed. Because
Meher Baba’s primary message was one of Divine Love,
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Meher Baba
his followers are generally termed ‘‘Lovers of Meher Baba.’’ To
make contact with the followers of Meher Baba, write the
Meher Spiritual Center, 10200 Hwy. 17 N., Myrtle Beach, SC
Baba, Meher. Discourses. Myrtle Beach, S.C. Sheriar Press,
———. God Speaks. New York Dodd, Mead, 1973.
Davy, Kitty. Love Alone Prevails. Myrtle Beach, S.C. Sheriar
Press, 1981.
Duce, Ivy Oneida. How a Master Works. Walnut Creek, Calif.
Sufism Reoriented, 1971.
Hopkinson, Tom, and Dorothy Hopkinson. Much Silence.
New York Dodd, Mead, 1975.