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44

 

and closest of the English group of disciples. He wrote other fine articles on Him and later a biography, "The Perfect Master. " He was also in India last year and is co-author of "Three Incredible Weeks."* He thus has been able to bring indispensable qualifications to a rather vulnerable task—the re-editing of the original 5 volumes of Meher Baba 's spiritual discourses. In this work he has had not only the full permission of the Master, but His active help in correcting some of the misinterpretations in the original text. Mr. Purdom 's edition, which he has re-christened "God to Man and Man to God, " and for which he has written a very fine Introduction, answers a long-felt need for a convenient, inexpensive one-volume edition in which the text has been freed of typographical errors, awkward phrases, and unnecessary repetitions. In his Introduction he says, "In preparing the Discourses for Western publication, they have not been rewritten, but what seemed to be redundant words or phrases have been eliminated to reduce their length and to make them clearer."

 

A word about the way the original discourses came into being might be of interest here. When the Meher Baba Journal was being started in India, the editors very wisely got Baba to agree to dictate one discourse each month for the magazine. They were dictated to an Indian disciple, Dr. Deshmukh, on Baba 's alphabet board. Dr. Deshmukh, M.A., Ph.D., and formerly professor of philosophy at Morris College, Nagpur, was an adept instrument for the required transcription, and has commented: "It is surprising how everyone feels perfectly at home in His communications. He talks to the Soul directly. " Baba 's method in dictating the Discourses was to state a theme and to indicate a general outline, Occasionally he would go over every word. Essentially they were His teach­ings in response to the constant questions about the spiritual Path by His dis­ciples, East and West. A total of 69 Discourses were eventually collected in 5 thin volumes.

 

Mr. Purdom has grouped about 60 of these under 33 general headings or subjects in his new edition. His style of English is excellent—smooth-flowing, clear and to the point. The long-winded and inverted phraseology of the old edition is gone. However, I don 't doubt but that there will be, inevitably, partisans of the "old " discourses and of the "new. " I think this is as it should be—after all, this is a new Bible for mankind, destined for innumerable editions. To many,. the literary form of the old Discourses was a very real stumbling-block to their appreciation. This new edition, a painstaking labor of love by Mr. Pur­dom, for which we all can be truly grateful, should remove this objection and win a wider readership in the West for these incomparable essays on the spiritual meaning of life. They deal, as Purdom says, "With the most profound things in the simplest language . . . What Baba aims at is to bring the reader to a state of being in which there is no separation between knower and known or between being and knowing. " They can be recommended both to the beginner and the advanced student; and are especially valuable as a background study for the more difficult book, "God Speaks. " They have been re-christened most aptly: coming from God in His human form to man, they will help win man, in his human form, back to the God which he really is.

 

*Special Issue, 1955, The Awakener

THE EDITORS

 

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