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The Big Picture

 

A Consideration of Meher Baba’s Avataric Advent

Part 1: Baba’s Broader Goals

 

The Goals of This Advent

Now that we are fifty years into Meher Baba’s manifestation, it is possible to describe and place his life and work in the context of his central goals. Though he stated them fully, emphatically, candidly, and surprisingly often to his mandali, beginning as early as the 1920s, and also formally announced them to the world in messages such as the Final Declaration, they have not been viewed as a whole, in what might be called “The Big Picture”.

The central notion to bear in mind is that every single moment of Meher Baba’s life as the Avatar was related to the monumental task of concluding the work of a vast cosmic season of growth in Creation and gathering and focusing the forces necessary to inaugurate a momentous, vast new age. It was the central motivating principle of all that Baba did on Earth, and all he did on his six visits to America.

Consider this remarkable idea, that Baba said many times that we have now reached not merely a significant moment in human history – or the history of the Earth or this galaxy or even this universe – but a critical turning point in the life of Creation itself: the end of one great cosmic “Cycle of cycles” and the long-awaited beginning of a new one, equally vast, when, in his own words, “something great will happen that has never happened before”.[1]

 

Baba as the Seventh Avatar

Baba’s advent comes at the rare convergence of at least three major cycles of time.[2] The first of these is the “Avataric cycle”, the cycle of seven Avatars that began with Zoroaster, who, according to Baba, lived about 7,000 years ago, about 5,000 BC. Archeologically, that is the Neolithic period – the last phase of the Stone Age – typified by tribal, agrarian societies living in small groups. Metal tools and written records did not emerge until more than a thousand years later. Thus, this one Avataric cycle, from Zoroaster to Meher Baba, encompasses all of recorded human history.[3]

As the seventh and last Avatar of this Avataric cycle, Meher Baba works as an integrator. He completes the work of the entire cycle by bringing the blends of divine energy associated with the six previous Avataric advents in the cycle into full manifestation, amplifying them, focusing them, melding them together, and then revitalizing them with his own fresh new blend of energy that he draws down from higher realms.

This is not an abstraction; Baba’s work is very concrete, as he works directly with the matter, that is, the substance, of Creation. Let us take, as just one example of this concrete melding or integration, Baba’s work with the established religions – his work to energize and blend together the major religions that grew up in this cycle: Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Each of these religions flowed from the work of one of the previous Avatars and became established after his passing during the period called the Avataric manifestation. Each established religion I just mentioned could be said to represent the central spiritual principles expressed during the span of its associated Avataric age (within the broader cycle).

Regarding his own advent, the last, or seventh Avataric incarnation of the cycle, Baba said that he brought no new spiritual teachings, no new religion; instead, his work was to revitalize the Truth at the core of the previous religions and bring them together in a new integration for the coming age, “like beads on one string”. [4]

Baba’s Work with Religions

How did he accomplish this? Did he summon a new World Parliament of Religions? Hold audiences with the pope or the Dalai Lama? He did this in two ways, one outward and one inward, and both mostly silently. First, in the course of his advent, he lived archetypal patterns that would spread in the future. Meher Baba anchored his Avataric aspirations on Earth by ardently living them, sometimes through what he said and more especially through what he did, through actions carried out with his own body.

Right from the beginning, Baba often publicly invoked and honored the major religions by solemnly offering prayers to God from each tradition to inaugurate significant phases of his work, and sometimes also again after the work had been concluded. Sometimes he did this through the agency of his mandali or lovers. If you leaf through any volume of Lord Meher and note the occasions mentioned when Baba joined with his mandali to offer prayers or directed them to offer prayers on his behalf, you would be astonished to find how frequently he did this.

Baba also made a point of visiting important shrines of the major religions during his travels around the world, sometimes prostrating himself or cleaning them, as a sign of respect, always meticulous to honor the protocol of the faith. From time to time, he officiated at religious ceremonies for his devotees, sometimes explaining the deeper spiritual meaning behind them.[5] He incorporated the various names of God from the major traditions into his own Master’s Prayer (O Parvardigar), which he asked all his lovers to recite. He even enshrined the symbols of these religions as an important feature in the design of his tomb-shrine, and he made them central to his emblem. In these and other ways throughout the course of his advent, he actively associated these traditional religious streams with himself and with his own work.

 

Special Work with Prayer

Sometimes Baba himself would actively participate in a prayer or religious ceremony, honoring it with devotion and even fervor. Then, at those times, unlike the usual supplicant, he was not just summoning the spiritual force of that religion to aid his endeavor; he was also, so to speak, “recharging” the prayer or ceremony itself, boosting it with the fresh, high radiant energy of his advent so it will continue to hold positive force and thrive in the coming age.

There is a striking example of this kind of work from Baba’s later life that Eruch has described. On this occasion, Baba asked Eruch to recite the Master’s Prayer (O Parvardigar) when the mandali were gathered in Mandali Hall at Meherazad. Everyone stood during the recitation, but Eruch was mindful that it was difficult for Baba to stand for very long because of the injury to his hip joint after his second auto accident in India. Baba gestured to Eruch to speed up the recitation, then to go faster and still faster, until the prayer sounded to Eruch like an express train speeding through the station. This thought made Eruch laugh out loud. Afterward, Baba asked why he had laughed. Eruch explained and added that it seemed pointless to recite the prayer so fast. Then Baba said:

“Don’t you realize the impact of my participating in the prayers now? It will help posterity. When anyone recites the prayer, he will benefit from my participation in it now. Despite my helplessness, crippled the way I am and unable to stand up, I participate in the prayer, not for your sake, but for posterity. When I drop the body and am no longer in your midst, whoever recites this prayer will benefit.”

(Eruch Jessawala, The Ancient One, ed. Naosherwan Anzar [Englishtown, NJ: Beloved Books, 1985], 18)

Baba was working in this way to infuse this prayer with the radiant divine energy imparted by his participation. He did this with every prayer from every tradition that he invoked during the course of his long life. He renewed the prayers and practices of the major religions with his own Avataric force, the highest energy of divine love. At the same time, he was also “realigning” them with the new dispensation of the current advent, so that all these “rivers” of religion will continue to flow to the One Divine Ocean for centuries to come.

The physical actions of the Avatar, such as the simple recitation of a prayer, are not mere symbolic gestures. Everything the Avatar does, every action and every gesture, affects the design of Creation at many different levels. Baba explained this principle by saying: 

“The Avatar’s action on the gross plane is analogous to the operation of a main switch of an electric powerhouse. If well planned, the sole act of putting on the switch can immediately and simultaneously release immense forces through many channels, putting into action varied and numerous branches of service, with results relative to the capacity and need of each unit. For example, at one and the same time it can propel into action various factories and fans, trains, and trolleys, and supply illumination through a million bulbs spread out in several towns and villages

Like this seemingly insignificant exertion of pressing on the switch that can have such far-reaching significant results, the physical action of the Avatar causes, in its wake, repercussions on all planes, effortlessly evoking overtones in each sphere, bringing about multi-sided results on every plane. Thus an ordinary action on the part of the Avatar becomes a starting point for a chain of working and results on both the natural and supernatural levels, while the side effects of the complex interactions caused by release of the inner forces can include the entire universe in its range and effect.” [April 1959.] (Lord Meher, 5554–6)

 

Internal Work with Religions

During his lifetime, Meher Baba worked with the religions not only through his concrete actions on the material plane; he also worked a second way: he worked internally in the higher realms to cleanse and purify the structures in the subtle and mental worlds that lie behind or within each religion. Just as he worked outwardly and archetypally in the gross world by having prayers recited and visiting and honoring the many shrines, tombs, and sanctuaries of the religions and their masters, he also worked internally to purify them and infuse them with fresh divine energy.

Christianity served as a foundation for the rise of Europe and of American culture. The major religions, each derived from the work of an earlier Avatar in the cycle, were designed to be vessels or channels for specific blends of spiritual force that shaped the individual lives and consciousness of millions of people, even as they molded broad social values, mores, and the cultural nets that guide the development of entire nations. Christianity served as a foundation not only for the rise of Europe, but also for important civilizations in Africa and the Near East,[6] and it is now accompanying the advance of American culture.

Living religions exert a powerful influence on large groups. This is because they have their own existence in higher realms: Each religion has a subtle structure and energy that influences human feelings and emotions in specific ways, and a mental or ideational form that patterns the thoughts, beliefs, and value systems of individuals, cultural groups, and nations. These subtle and mental structures are quite real and, in their own way, powerfully alive.

Originally formed by the strenuous and humble work of the Avatar associated with that religion, their energy and influence persist over the centuries, giving purpose and direction to the minds and hearts of millions of worshippers. They in turn gather strength from their worshippers, further reinforcing and perpetuating these living belief systems until they are thousands of years old. 

In an informal conversation, Eruch told Murshida Duce that he had gathered from Baba that a central purpose of Baba’s frequent visits to tombs and shrines was “to wipe out the vast accumulation of sanskaras left at such ‘holy places’ . . . almost as if sanskaras were layers of verdigris and dust which he cleanses from people and places, like a good housekeeper dusts her possessions and polishes her silver to bring out the original shine.”[7] (That is how Murshida Duce described it.) We will bear in mind Murshida’s simile as we consider Baba’s inner work with the religions.

We might assume that what Baba was doing outwardly, described by Eruch, was more or less what he did internally and on a universal scale during special periods of concentration or seclusion set aside for internal work. During the New Life, he arranged to have carved alabaster models made for him of symbolic structures representing the five major religions. You may recall that he began to work intensively with these models in seclusion at the climax of the New Life during the phase he called Manonash, which he defined as “mental annihilation”. Baba kept these models of religious structures with him during the entire four months of his manonash work and spent many hours alone with them in various locations.[8] He never explained this work, but it is not hard to relate this strenuous concentration to Baba’s clearing away the “dust and verdigris” in higher realms in order to cleanse, purify, and strengthen the living structure itself, the core of truth at the very center of each religion.

In these ways, through outward actions of an archetypal nature on this plane undertaken throughout the course of his life, and through internal work on the higher planes undertaken during periods of seclusion and as part of his universal work, he created a fresh and vigorous new integration of these major pathways to God for coming times, joining them in shared purpose and direction – his purpose – “like beads on one string”.

I’ve gone into some detail about Baba’s work with religions to underline the way in which every action of his life, even a simple prayer, was part of his larger work and was designed to contribute to the goals of his advent. This example also demonstrates how concrete and specific the Avatar’s work is, and how it utilizes created forms from all levels and arenas of life.

 

Baba’s Larger Goals – The Work of the Avatar

In the Vedic system, the Avatar is understood to be the incarnation of Vishnu, the second in the Hindu trinity of Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver; and Mahesh, or Shiva, the Destroyer. Vishnu is God in the aspect of the Sustainer, the Preserver, and Protector of All. In this role, he comes to worship the world, and so he honors the sacredness of existing forms of all kinds in every realm. 

However, as the embodiment of Truth, his task is also to quicken the pace of evolution, ultimately to move all Creation closer to the Truth, its central goal. Thus he is always straining the boundaries of form, pushing for change and growth. He seeks to purify and evolve further the life of all created forms, and by this I mean not just biological forms, but also forms of thought and feeling, ideals of beauty and artistic creativity, systems of culture and law. He works to purify, to renew, to quicken, to realign and raise these forms so they can hold still more radiance and divine force, to create a new and higher integration of all life. When he comes as the Seventh Avatar, he does this through his divine human actions on Earth and also through his simultaneous universal work on the inner planes, and ultimately through the release of fresh divine energy from the realm of Silence, through his silence and its breaking.

 

The Seventh, or Silent, Avatar

Silence is said to be a characteristic of the last Avatar of the cycle, who is sometimes called “the Silent One”. In silence, he demonstrates the principles of the entire cycle, showing humanity how to live the precepts he has brought in past incarnations through his divine example of a life supremely lived. As he said in his Universal Message, “You have asked for and been given enough words – it is now time to live them.”

While himself demonstrating in his own outer actions the perfection possible in this age,[9] internally he breaks the boundaries of the Silence and floods Creation with fresh energy from the divine source of life itself, the realm of Silence, the realm of pure divinity beyond Illusion. As he anchors this fresh energy on Earth, it regenerates and revitalizes all life, building on what has been achieved during the entire cycle to establish the foundation for the work of the next cycle of seven Avatars, which begins when he comes again after seven hundred years.

 

Baba as the Kalki Avatar

In this singular incarnation, however, Meher Baba’s role is still broader than that of the seventh Avatar of the Avataric cycle. For he is also the Avatar concluding a long succession of Avataric cycles, spanning many ages. He is the mythic “Kalki Avatar”, the “Avatar of the White Horse”, whose advent at the end of what the Hindu system calls the Kali Yuga or “Iron Age” signals the end of an epoch of four very long spiritual ages, or yugas. In the Hindu system, the epoch of four yugas is called a Mahayuga or “Great Cycle”, lasting millions of years. The advent of the Kalki Avatar at the end of this long cycle is often associated with an apocalyptic conflict between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, a titanic “final battle” that completes the spiritual work of the entire long epoch.

The most visible representation of this during Meher Baba’s lifetime was the Second World War, the most destructive conflict in recorded human history. It was a war that Baba predicted long before it began, and a war whose direction and outcome he himself supervised, just as Sai Baba had controlled World War I.[10] While the First World War was primarily fought in Europe, World War II was a truly global conflict, fought on land, in the air, and on and under the sea, by tens of millions of soldiers from every continent, every race and social class.

Though it lasted only six years, from 1939 to 1945, some historians believe that more people fought and more people died in World War II than in all other wars known to history combined.[11] It was thus a kind of partial pralaya, which helped to level and clear many parts of the world of patterns and structures built up over centuries and millennia that had then outlived their usefulness to mankind and needed to be removed from the Earth to make room for fresh, new growth.

World War II swept the Earth not only of the physical structures of cities and towns, farms, and forests that had stood for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years, but also patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior, and time-honored social and political forms that, too, had stood for thousands of years and had shaped much of human history. The forms that were destroyed were those that could not support the goals of the spiritualized life of the coming age; the immense energy released by their destruction was used by Meher Baba, the Kalki Avatar, to help propel Creation toward the higher life, lived closer to the Truth, and clear the way for the next Mahayuga, or Great Cycle.

The mission of the Kalki Avatar is to end the long dark night of winter of the Kali Yuga and usher in the universal springtime, the Sat Yuga, that begins the next Cycle of cycles. He works to dissolve rigid, limited forms of life, which were deeply rooted in the ancient past at an earlier time when they were useful or at least necessary on Earth. Here we might reference long-held universal social practices that predate recorded history, such as human slavery and the caste system, as well as individual and personal patterns of primitive, violent, self-centered thought, feeling, and behavior that were once needed when the primary task of incarnating man was to establish himself and survive as a separate, viable entity in a world of physical matter.

To melt or dissolve these deep-rooted, powerful forms of ignorance, the Kalki Avatar must summon immense reservoirs of the most potent divine energy. This was one reason for Baba’s intense, focused work with masts, which paralleled and was associated with his work with the Second World War. Masts are continuous channels for the high radiance of God. With little or barely existent structure of personality (or ego) to impede the flow of divine love, they can be thought of as pure or nearly pure vessels of divinity. Meher Baba said that the spiritual energy that flows from and through them is more valuable to life on Earth than the energy of the sun. When Baba worked with masts, he was able to pour their high radiant energy directly into his broader work.

The mandali believed Baba’s mast work to be unique in spiritual history; they knew of no other Avatar who had done such work in the past.[12] Baba did not elaborate extensively on its purpose, but he did emphasize that his work with masts was the most important work of his incarnation. One can scarcely imagine the vast reservoir of divine force represented by all the masts and advanced souls Baba contacted; when that is paired with the enormous energy released in the world during the Second World War, one can perhaps begin to glimpse the magnitude of Baba’s task as the Kalki Avatar.

As the Kalki Avatar does, Baba used this tremendous force to liberate the divine energy locked within ancient and powerful structures of ignorance and falsehood. Then he redirects this freed energy toward higher spiritual centers, or chakras, to spark to life and rekindle the living golden bond of love for God within the human heart. The kindling of the heart center is the basis for the coming renewal of life in a new golden age, the springtime of the next Cycle of cycles.

 

The Cycle of Cycles and the Turning Point

In his present advent, however, Meher Baba must do still yet more. He must also act cosmically to bring about the end and beginning of two vast Cycles of cycles, whose immensity is truly beyond human comprehension, spanning millions, even billions of Avataric cycles, as Baba estimated in his Final Declaration. Such a Great Cycle comprehends innumerable cycles that have come and gone beyond the reach of the human imagination. To even approach a fragile and provisional understanding of it, we looked again at the Hindu system, which counts a thousand Mahayugas – a period spanning billions of years – as a single “Day of Brahma”. Current scientific theory estimates the age of our universe from the “Big Bang” as about fourteen billion years,[13] which equals in this Hindu system less than two days and nights in Brahma’s life! 

The Hindu system also defines a “Year of Brahma”, lasting trillions of our years and encompassing the birth and death of entire universes. But there is still more! One hundred of these Years of Brahma, an unimaginably long period, is said to comprise the “Lifetime of Brahma”, which corresponds to the entire life of Illusion itself. According to the Hindu system, we are now at the dawn of the first Day of the fifty-first Year of Brahma, the halfway point in the total life of Illusion.[14] Those mathematics match very well Baba’s statements indicating that we are now midway through our journey and have reached Creation’s turning point! 

 

The Divine Goal of Materialization

What does this mean? For endless ages, the direction of growth in Creation has been “outward” from the Source toward the expanding perimeter of Creation, toward increasing materialization and crystallization into separate material forms in the search for the answer to God’s original question, “Who am I?” That initial outward movement is now complete, its goals having been achieved. Creation is fully materialized; the evolution of discrete, separate forms has been fully accomplished, and their possibilities have now been fully explored. Divinity has finally imagined and experienced itself as every “thing” imaginable – everything, that is, but itself.

Consequently, consciousness is now farther than it has ever been or will be from its shining core, the origin from which life descended. And humanity, at the height of material mastery and power, with awareness focused outward, is, according to Baba, as far as it has ever been from knowledge of God.

That is why this last cycle of seven Avatars has been so difficult and intense; they are the last seven Avatars on the entire spiral of this outward curving Cycle of cycles. That is why this Kali Yuga has been characterized as “the worst and most destructive in the world’s history”;[15] it is the last moment of the darkest night of winter in the spirit’s long arc of descent into crystallized material form.

That is why consciousness now seems so beclouded and dark and why this age has been the most materialistic, separative, and divisive ever known. That is why, in our time, the lower nature and its desires have been so powerful, so relentless, so coarse and crude, why human behavior has been so often gruesome, why the past five thousand years have been marked by so much savagery and unconscious exploitation and cruelty, why historians often proclaim that the history of man is the record of warfare.

Of course, it is not all negative. In the divine quest for mastery of the material world, the culminating task of this first Cycle of cycles, humanity has reached dazzling heights of accomplishment, achieving medical and scientific discoveries of great and lasting benefit to all, unlocking even the secrets of the structure of organic life and of basic, inorganic matter itself. Baba said in the mid-1950s, “In the present atomic age material progress has nearly reached its zenith, and this is but the shadow of the internal progress in the realm of spirituality.”[16]

This is the age in which material mastery and progress is essentially achieved and now can serve as the necessary foundation and backdrop for the spiritual age that is trying to be born. And in addition, the “descent of liberty and equality” and their anchoring in America, replacing hereditary monarchy and empire, was achieved in the last-most moments of the passing age, providing the right outward political and social basis needed for the new age to begin to unfold.

And so now the time has come for the curtain to go up on the divine drama of Baba’s work in America.

 

 

 

[1] Birthday message 1968.  Bhau Kalchuri, Lord Meher (online edition, lordmeher.org), 6557. (All Lord Meher page numbers refer to the online edition of 2012.)

[2] Meher Baba limited his discussion and use of the terms “cycle” and “age” in God Speaks (2nd ed., third printing, 1997, 151f, 254–55) to the cycle of 700–1,400 years between individual Avataric advents. As he explains, this cycle is divided into eleven “ages” of sixty-five to 125 years each, culminating with the “Avataric period” in the eleventh age – thus the Avatar’s advent comes every 700–1400 years. However, when we speak of an “Avataric cycle” in the context of these classes, we mean the broader cycle of seven Avatars we defined in Class 3, a cycle of 5000–10,000 years that is not discussed in God Speaks.

[3] Baba refers to this cycle of seven Avatars in messages such as The Highest of the High (1953), The Final Declaration and Meher Baba’s Call (1954), and the Universal Message (1958).

[4] At the “Three Incredible Weeks” men’s meeting in 1954, Baba said, “I am going to destroy all the bindings of religion. Religion will remain, its farce will vanish.” Bhau Kalchuri, Lord Meher, 4521.

[5] One of many examples cited in Lord Meher: “On Monday, May 27th, [1963,] Baba performed the Zoroastrian navjote ceremony of Beheram and Banoo Dadachanji’s nine-year-old daughter, Armaity. He first asked the girl to pray (in Gujarati) out loud: ‘Ahuramazda, Holy Zarathustra, Avatar Meher Baba! May I always have good thoughts, speak good words, and do good deeds.’ As she recited the invocation, Baba explained the significance of the prayer and then kissed her. He made her repeat it three times, and Armaity got three kisses too. Then Baba gave her the traditional sadra (robe) and kusti (thread), and asked her to repeat the prayer once more. Her mother dressed her in the sadra and once again the prayer was repeated. Baba embraced her and she garlanded him with flowers, as did her parents, sister, and grandparents. Armaity then went inside to meet Mehera and was given sweets and gifts. Baba made her sit near him as he drank his coconut water, and gave some of it to her from his own glass. Although the ceremony took hardly five minutes, for those present there were no words to describe the sanctity they felt as Baba performed it. To those observing, the atmosphere was divinely beautiful, and Baba was radiant and smiling. No Dasturji (Zoroastrian priest) could have achieved for Armaity and those gathered what Meher Baba imparted to them that day.” Lord Meher, 6183.

[6] Christianity was influential for centuries in Africa, from ancient Alexandria to modern Ethiopia. See for example the discussion of the Christian kingdom of Aksum (c.100-940 AD) by Dr. Henry Louis Gates in his Africa’s Great Civilizations, episode 2, “The Cross and the Crescent” (2017: PBS) DVD.

[7] Ivy O. Duce, How a Master Works, (Walnut Creek, CA: Sufism Reoriented, 1975), 81.

[8] “Was Deo Kain of Delhi was asked to have models of five religious symbols made: a Buddhist temple; a Hindu temple; a Christian church; a Mohammedan mosque; and a Zoroastrian fire-urn (representing the fire temple). With the assistance of a Mr. Madan Mohan Agrawal of Agra and Kishan Singh’s friend Auri Shankar Verma, the models were carved out of alabaster at Agra and sent to Hyderabad.” Lord Meher, 3726. When he began the Manonash work on October 16, 1951, Baba had Eruch recite a special prayer five times, changing the prayer for each name of God and Avatar: Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian. “On this same day, October 16th, [1951] this prayer was being repeated at five of the holiest places in India. In accordance with Baba's orders, Meherjee was in a Parsi fire-temple in Udwada, Keki Desai was in Moinuddin Chishti’s tomb in Ajmer, Was Deo Kain was in Krishna’s temple in Mathura, Gaya Prasad Khare was in the Buddha’s temple in Sarnath, and Vishwanath Haldankar was in Francis Xavier’s cathedral in Goa. Each man had been ordered to fast and recite the same prayer. Likewise, at four separate locations in Hyderabad, Baba had given the same instructions for Nilu to be in a Buddhist temple, Vishnu in a Hindu temple, Kaikobad in a Parsi fire-temple, Donkin in a Catholic church, and the selected Muslim priest in an Islamic mosque. All this was occurring simultaneously as Baba began his [Manonash] seclusion. When it was time, Baba had the five alabaster models, representing the five religions, brought into the dargah, and he sat alone inside with them in seclusion . . . ”Lord Meher, 3730.

[9] The very word “human” expresses the understanding that man’s true nature is divine. Linguists believe this word derives from an ancient Indo-European root that has been preserved in Sanskrit as a compound of two words: hu and manas. Inayat Khan wrote that the sound hu is “the beginning and end of all sounds”, the true name of God that does not belong to any language but is hidden within all sounds “as the spirit in the body”. The word manas in Sanskrit means “mind”, which is associated with the human form. Inayat Khan continues, “Hu, God, is in all things and beings, but it is man by whom He is known. Human therefore may be said to mean God-conscious, God-realized, or God-man.”  A “hu-man” is a divine man.

[10] “Meher Baba once revealed, ‘It was Sai Baba who controlled the whole First World War.’” Lord Meher, 35.

[11] “The statistics of [World War II] are almost mind-numbing. Estimates differ, but up to seventy million people died as a direct consequence of the fighting between 1939 and 1945, about two-thirds of them non-combatants, making it in absolute terms the deadliest conflict ever. . . . On average, nearly 30,000 people were being killed every day.” “Counting the Cost”, The Economist, June 9, 2012.

[12] Baba did tell the mandali that other Avatars had worked with masts, notably Rama and Jesus (Lord Meher, 2243 and footnote.) But Baba’s work with masts, coming at the end of the cycle, was quite different from what had been done before, so much so that he arranged for Dr. Donkin to document it in his unique book, The Wayfarers. (William Donkin, The Wayfarers, [North Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Press, 1988], originally published by Adi K. Irani for Meher Publications, Ahmednagar, in 1948.)

[13] The estimates of the age of the universe are based on measuring the distance (from Earth) and velocity of galaxies and applying a mathematical ratio called the Hubble Constant. The estimates depend on the assumptions that such measurements are accurate and that the universe is expanding at a constant rate, so they are essentially provisional guesses.

[14] Traditional Hindu texts, such as the Vishnu Purana and the astronomical text, the Surya-Siddhanta, specifically identify our current epoch as being in an early stage of the “second half” or “fifty-first year” of Brahma’s 100-year lifespan, saying, for example: “…this kalpa is the first day of the fifty-first year of the life of our Brahma.”  (A. K. Coomeraswamy and Sister Nivedita, Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists, Dover Books 1967, 392–95); “The half of his [Brahma’s] life is past; of the remainder, this is the first Aeon.” (Surya Siddhanta, 1.21, quoted in Ebenezer Burgess,  Translation of the Surya-Siddhanta, a Textbook of Hindu Astronomy. New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1860). However, there are many variant interpretations of the duration of the various sub-cycles and which one we are currently in. Meher Baba did not address these details.

[15] Said by Lord Rama, according to Mehera J. Irani, quoted in How a Master Works, 359.

[16] May 19, 1957. Lord Meher, 5179.

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