However, the shock of the first World War threw a shadow over my young life, and after my father's sudden death, I began to turn my attention to the deeper truths, hitherto outside my ken.
One day in 1934 the first signs of an awakening in consciousness took place. I was walking along the road in a quiet suburb of London, when suddenly a voice spoke in my ear. It was loud and clear and the words were "This is not Reality!" Startled, I looked around but there was nobody there. Though momentarily disconcerted, I soon dismissed this incident as an hallucination. Not being versed in Eastern metaphysics, I knew nothing of Maya or the cosmic Illusion, i.e., the essential unreality of the universe, so the purport of the message was lost.
Also at that time I knew nothing about the Indian Master, Meher Baba, but some years later I discovered that he was staying in a house where I had passed in hearing the mysterious voice. Apparently at that time he was paying a brief visit to London, collecting his first Western disciples.
Some weeks later I was resting in my room, thinking of nothing in particular, when I became aware of a Presence . . . it was Divinity in essence. Divine rays of Love, a Love we know not on earth, were pouring down, enveloping and caressing. Caught up in the rapture of a Substance unknown, I wondered—had a corner of heaven been lifted? Was my father perhaps with me, and had he brought some angels with him? For this was a glimpse of a divine Love, so sorely needed by our poor troubled earth.
My attention had now turned to mystical experiences, because I had been reading some mystical books, one of which had particularly impressed me. I was now staying in a Swiss Alpine village high up in the mountains. In a certain chapter of this book, "Man’s Highest Purpose," it said that we must meditate on the nature of the Divinity. I had gone for a long walk up the mountain side, a winding path through tall pine trees, and was now at a height of some 10,000 feet. Perhaps for the first time in my life I was absorbed in deep meditation. What was the nature of the Divinity? I had never decided what the Divinity was, so how could I know? What was God? They say He is all around us, that He is man's highest state of consciousness. For only in that state can we contact Him . . .
Here I had reached an open glade; the little village far below looked like a collection of dolls' houses. For the first time in my life I was thinking about God. Before I had always felt that God was something altogether too remote and outside of me even to think about. As I asked myself, What