WHO IS MEHER BABA?
Thousands of years ago, in rural India, a former cowherd boy declared, "Whenever the spiritual law has been lost sight of and materiality has become rampant, I come."
Today millions of people, even sophisticated city dwellers, still try to lead their lives in accordance with the message Krishna gave in the Bhagvad Gita.
Two thousand years ago, in what was considered a tiny backward outpost of the Roman Empire, a simple carpenter announced, "Before Abraham was, I am," and "I and my Father are one." The Roman Empire has long since crumbled into dust, but Jesus' teachings remain and are devoutly followed.
Again, fourteen hundred years, in an even more isolated desert region, an illiterate merchant said, "Come in under the shade of this tree for the Way is beset with dangers," and Mohammed set in motion a remarkable outpouring of spirituality which has touched every corner of the world.
So it has always been and so it always will be. All the world's great religions have this in common: They all were inspired by the life of a man who demonstrated such purity, wisdom and love that his words were recognized as being those of God. What is more, in each case, this man either promised that he would come again, or the tradition arose that he would. Thus Jews await the Messiah, Buddhists the Maitreya, Christians the second coming, Hindus the Kalki Avatar and Muslims the Imam Mehdi.
And now once again, during this century, one named Meher Baba, who lived in India in relative obscurity, stated, "Do not doubt, I am the Ancient One, the Avatar, the God-Man. I am not this body that you see. It is only a cloak I put on when I visit you. I am infinite Consciousness. I sit with you, laugh and play with you; but simultaneously I am working on all planes of existence."
Many find this hard to believe. Somehow it seems easier to accept that God manifested as man in the distant past, but to imagine Him coming today, in this age of computers and jet planes and television, seems beyond the grasp of some.
On the other hand, this seems very natural to others because all religions teach that when people have given way to hatred, greed, and violence, when they become completely alienated from themselves, their fellow beings and their environment, when it becomes obvious that our world's problems will not be solved by politicians, national or even international conferences, social welfare groups, or religious organizations or evangelists, God will send a Savior.
Clearly our world is at such a point today, and so once more the God-Man has come. Yet when he comes, contrary to some people's expectations, he does not solve all of the world's ills. He does not banish evil or establish a "perfect society" or destroy illusion. Rather, he comes to show those who have eyes to see and hearts that can recognize the truth, the path that each individual can take to escape the darkness and realize the light.
The Avatar may come as a king or as a carpenter, a prince or a shepherd, but whatever outward role he adopts, few recognize him as the Avatar while he is amongst us. It is only after he is gone that humanity at large realizes the opportunity it has missed and, in an attempt to atone, makes a rigid dogma from the living truth he led. As Meher Baba has said, "I am that Ancient One whose past is worshipped and remembered, whose present is ignored and forgotten and whose future is anticipated with great fervour and longing."
Although each religion claims exclusive status for its own founder, Meher Baba assures us that the "Avatar is always one and the same, because God is always one and the same." He comes "in different cycles, adopting different names and different human forms, in different places, to reveal Truth in different garbs and different languages." The God-Man is the sole spiritual authority of the age, "the only one infinitely capable of leading others to Self-realization" and of bringing to the whole creation "a new release of power, a new awakening of consciousness, a new experience of life." The God-Man is like a gauge against which we can measure what we are and what we may become. He "trues" the standard of human values by interpreting them in terms of divinely human life.
Because we cannot follow the spirit of the Avatar's teachings, we make a rigid cannon of his words. Because we do not have his love that was always spontaneous and flexible in each situation, we develop dogmas and rituals. Yet the essence of his teaching each time is the same - our ills stem from our own misguided attempts at self-aggrandizement. Thus the Avatar teaches us that: "the cause of suffering is desire . . . to abolish suffering one must annihilate desire"; that "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul . . . and thy neighbor as thyself"; that "true believers are those only who believe in God . . . and contend with their substance and their person on the path of God." Or, as Meher Baba has put it, "To get nearer and nearer to God you have to get further and further from 'I,' 'my,' 'me,' and 'mine.'"
And the easiest way to slough off the shackles of self-interest is through love. That is why the God-Man comes time and time again - not to give a new message, since the message is essentially the same each time - but to establish a loving relationship with every individual who is willing to open their heart to his all-embracing love.
As Meher Baba said, "I have descended to your level for the one purpose of bestowing my love on you so that you may love God and become God."
"I bring the greatest treasure it is possible . . . to receive. Be ready to receive it."
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All words of Meher Baba are the copyright of Avatar Meher Baba Trust