Meher Baba

“Unity in the midst of diversity can be made to be felt only by touching the very core of the heart. That is the work for which I have come.”
– Meher Baba

In every age and in nearly every spiritual tradition, there are individuals who are recognized as unique exemplars of the life of spiritual perfection: perfect attunement with God and selfless service to all. Such luminous figures as Jesus of Nazareth, Abraham, and Muhammad have been most influential in the Western hemisphere, while in the East, Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, and Gautama Buddha have all demonstrated for humanity the possibility of a divine life on earth. They exemplify, in Meher Baba’s words,

“the nobility of a life supremely lived,
of a love unmixed with desire,
of a power unused except for others,
of a peace untroubled by ambition,
of a knowledge undimmed by illusion.”
[1]
For members of Sufism Reoriented, Meher Baba is the contemporary embodiment of these qualities of the World Teacher. We celebrate his sublime life and teachings and his all-embracing love expressed by the figure “1” at the center of the heart-and-wings symbol, denoting the unity of all Creation in God.
Meher baba’s life
Born in India of Persian parents in 1894, Merwan Sheriar Irani was given the name Meher Baba (“Compassionate Father”) by his first circle of companions, who were drawn to him by a remarkable quality of love they recognized as divine.
Models of Service
Beginning his spiritual mission in the 1920s, Meher Baba created an array of service projects in rural India, including a free hospital and dispensary, shelters for the poor, asylums for lepers and the mentally ill, and free schools for boys and girls where spiritual training was integrated with practical education. Defying entrenched cultural patterns, Meher Baba worked to dissolve all distinctions of caste and creed, while demonstrating the principles of selfless service by actively participating in every aspect of the work; he washed the clothes of the children and the lepers, and he cheerfully cleaned the latrines. No job was more – or less – important than any other.
World Travel
Beginning in the 1930s, Meher Baba made thirteen trips to the West, visiting followers in Europe, America, and Australia. Between 1931 and 1958 he traveled around the world four times. He paid homage at holy sites on four continents, including those of Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Baba encouraged people of all faith streams to follow their chosen paths with all their hearts, emphasizing that they are all paths to the same One.
Silence
Remarkably, Meher Baba carried out the activities of his extraordinary life while observing complete silence. He communicated with those around him by means of an alphabet board and later through distinctive hand gestures. He continued his silence for nearly forty-four years, from 1925 until his passing in 1969. He emphasized that his silence was not a vow or an exercise, but an aspect of his spiritual work, saying, “You have asked for and been given enough words; it is now time to live them.”
Nonetheless, he dictated a wide range of significant messages to his followers and the world, outlining the details of the unfoldment and perfection of consciousness and the path to God in clear, concise modern English. His books, such as God Speaks and the Discourses, are perhaps the most comprehensive modern statement of spiritual principles. Even so, Meher Baba insisted that he was not a teacher. His message is the awakened heart; his legacy, the divine example of “a life supremely lived”.
“I have come not to teach, but to awaken.”
– Meher Baba
The Story of Meher Baba’s Charter for Sufism Reoriented
This three-part essay, originally published in Glow International in 2009, summarizes a forthcoming book that presents a full account of Meher Baba’s creation of Sufism Reoriented in 1952, drawing from all available archival documents, letters, journals, and records.

All photos of Meher Baba above courtesy of Meher Nazar Publications.

1. Meher Baba, “The Avatar,” Discourses, Vol. 3 (San Francisco: Sufism Reoriented, 1967), 11–16