Baba's boyhood was not unusual, though from His youth His alert and gentle nature made Him popular; as He grew into manhood other boys often turned to Him for advice or to mediate disputes. The only supernal experience occurred when He was reading the words of the Buddha. Suddenly the thought— "This is who I am "—charged through Him, only to as quickly vanish: the time had not yet come.
His education was typical of a middle-class Indian family. He began His schooling at five and, in 1911, at the age of 17, graduated from St. Vincent 's High School. In the same year He entered Deccan College where He became deeply interested in the English Romantic poets, particularly Wordsworth and Shelley, as well as in the poetry of the great Persian mystic, Hafiz.
One May day, in 1913, while bicycling from college to his home, He saw the great Sufi Perfect Master, Hazrat Babajan. She beckoned to Him. Leaving His bicycle, Baba walked to her; she arose and embraced Him. From that moment on He was nightly drawn to her. Eight months later, January 1914, she gave Him God-Realization. Of this period Baba said:
|When the five Perfect Masters bring me down they draw a veil over me. Although Babajan was in the form of a woman, she was one of them (the five Perfect Masters) and she unveiled me in my present form. With just a kiss on the forehead, between the eyebrows, Babajan made me experience (May, 1913) thrills of indescribable bliss which continued for about nine months. Then one night (January, 1914) she made me realize in a flash the infinite bliss of self-realization (God-realization). At the time Babajan gave me the Nirvikalpa (in-conceptual) experience of my own Reality, the illusory physical, subtle and mental bodies—mind, worlds, and one and all created things—ceased to exist for me even as illusion. Then I began to see that only I, and nothing else existed.|
Babajan once said "You will shake the world to its foundation. "
For nine months after becoming God-Realized, Baba remained unaware of the physical world and whatever He did was done unconsciously. It is an incredible fact that during those nine months Baba ate no food. Of this period He said that no one but a Perfect Master "is capable of knowing the state in which I had to remain.
In the following year Baba was inwardly drawn to make contact with the four other Perfect Masters of the age: Narayan Maharaj, Tajuddin Baba, Sai Baba and Upasni Maharaj. Seeing Sai Baba in a procession, Baba prostrated Himself before him. As He arose Sai Baba exclaimed, looking directly at Him, "Parvardigar "(God, the Preserver). Shortly afterwards Baba approached Upasni Maharaj:
|When I came near enough to him, Maharaj greeted me, so to speak, with a stone which he threw at me with great force. It struck me on my forehead exactly where Babajan had kissed me, hitting with such force that it drew blood.... With that stroke, Maharaj had begun to help me return to ordinary consciousness of the realm of illusion.|
For the next seven years Baba maintained close contact with Maharaj who made Him "know " fully what He was, just as Babajan had made Him "feel" what He was. At the end of this period Baba was told by Maharaj: "Merwan, you are the Avatar and I salute you. "
In 1922, Meher Baba, fully established in His Christ-hood, began His Avataric Mission, the first years being spent in training a close circle of disciples which included Adi K. Irani, His secretary for many years.
In 1925 Baba began His silence. On July 4 of that year He announced that as of July 10 He would keep silent for a year a year that grew into a lifetime. Initially He communicated by writing. On January 1, 1927, this was given up in favor of an alphabet board and occasional hand gestures; in 1954 even the use of the alphabet board was discontinued.
About His silence much has been said and written. One truth clearly shines forth: His silence was never an obstacle in His work. What He wished to be communicated was communicated and so