In every age figures appear who are the embodiment of spiritual perfection: living a life of perfect attunement with God and rendering selfless service to all. Among such luminous figures there is one who has a special role – to pattern in his life and through his teachings the next stage of the unfolding of humanity. He is the exemplar of an age.
Abraham, Jesus of Nazareth, and Muhammad served in this role for Western cultures; Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, and Gautama Buddha did so for the East. They all demonstrated, 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.”
For Sufism Reoriented, Meher Baba is the contemporary embodiment of this luminous figure, the one who will come to be widely recognized over time as the World Teacher, the Christ, the Prophet, the Avatar of the Age. We celebrate his extraordinary life, study his profound teachings, and strive to quietly mirror his all-embracing love for each and all in Creation through our own attitudes, thoughts, and actions in daily life.
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, a group drawn to him by his remarkable quality of love that 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, refuges 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.
Meher Baba Reorients Universal Sufism
Murshida Ivy Duce and Meher Baba in New York, 1956.
In 1948, despite being in seclusion, Meher Baba invited Ivy Oneita Duce to visit his home in Meherazad, India. Ivy Duce had recently been appointed the murshida (spiritual guide) of the Sufi Order in America. Meher Baba confirmed her role as murshida and affirmed his spiritual responsibility for the American Sufi Order.
Four years later, on a visit to the United States, Meher Baba renamed his order “Sufism Reoriented” and prepared a charter defining the required state of illumination of its murshid, the qualifications of those wishing to participate, and the responsibilities of participation.
The detailed story of Meher Baba’s charter for Sufism Reoriented is told in a three-part series reprinted from Glow International magazine. It draws from all available archival documents, letters, journals, and records. It is available in pdf format for print or download. Open The Story of the Sufi Charter.pdf
(Note: it is a 58 page file with many photos and may take a minute or two to download fully.)
“The Avatar is always one and the same, because God is always One and the Same, the Eternal, Indivisible, Infinite One, Who manifests Himself in the form of man as the Avatar, as the Messiah, as the Prophet, as the Ancient One – the Highest of the High.”
— Meher Baba
The Chorus of Sufism Reoriented
celebrates the Avatar as
Lord of the Universe
The Music of Meher Baba’s Name
In his charter for Sufism Reoriented, Meher Baba asked his Sufis to repeat a name of God – any name of God – for 30 minutes daily. As an aid to this practice, individual composers have created melodies to accompany Meher Baba’s name.
Of the many prayers Meher Baba dictated during his life, there are three that he invoked on special occasions and asked his devotees to repeat daily during important phases of his work.
The Chorus of Sufism Reoriented has set these prayers to music.
“Avataric periods are like the springtide of Creation.
“They bring a new release of power, a new awakening of consciousness, a new experience of life – not merely for a few, but for all.”