Our Constant Companion, Avatar Meher Baba, Compiled by Bal Natu, Meher Nazar Books, $1.50.
I was born and raised in New York City in a Jewish family. We were not at all religious or spiritually inclined. But when I was twelve I started reading philosophy, psychology and religion and was particularly drawn to Zen, Taoism and Vedanta. By the time I was fifteen I had been secretly initiated into Transcendental Meditation. This was in 1968 and my parents were afraid where it might lead me. And indeed, I did begin to identify with the hippie counter culture which was in full bloom at that time. I was also involved in politics as a means for a total change, for a future humanity based on love, harmony.
During the summer of 1970, while in college, I traveled across America with five friends, in a van laden with large quantities of rock music tapes and incense. But after a while I began to feel disenchanted with the whole experience. It was at this time that I began reading Saint Francis by Kazantzakis. I was moved by Francis's relationship with God, for this was the first time I had been struck by the idea of a personal God.
I slowly began to realize that I wanted to leave my friends. Before I did so, however, we went to a spiritual fair in Colorado where I remember walking past a Meher Baba booth with the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" picture. I didn't stop or ask any questions but in retrospect I remember seeing the photo, I think it was the first picture of Baba I saw.
In California I left my friends and traveled on my own, spending several days in a Zen monastery. Feeling much stronger inwardly I returned to New York to visit my parents for a week before starting my second year of college.
During this visit I saw a friend and overheard him talking to a friend of his who had recently had a vision of Meher Baba. As I heard him describe his vision, I was quite jealous and envious, not caring to know about this Meher Baba, but wanting to have an experience of God myself.
Once back in college, many small incidents occurred within a remarkably short period. I walked into a local bookstore and on the wall was the Ancient One poster. I could not help staring into Baba's eyes for a long time. I asked someone working there about Baba but he didn't know much. Nevertheless, I was held by the authority of Baba’s statement, "I was Rama, I was Krishna, I was This One, I was That One and now I am Meher Baba. I am the Ancient One." This reminded me of the vision my friend's friend had and I found that for several days I was unconsciously repeating Meher Baba's name internally for lengths of time.
One day I was in the Eastern religions section of the college library, browsing. Suddenly, I felt a force take my hand and guide it to a small book on a lower shelf some feet away. It was an old, worn book of no outstanding color that could have consciously or unconsciously attracted me. I opened it and read the title, Stay With God and was immediately repelled. It seemed trite or simplistic to me. I turned the page and read the dedication to Meher Baba, and then I realized that some force connected with Baba was compelling me to have these contacts with Him and, trembling, I took out the book and started reading it.
This was my first direct information about Baba, His life and His significance. It had a tremendous impact on me. I started confiding in a close friend about what was happening to me in connection with Baba, but he was the only one who knew.
One day, soon after, someone knocked on my dormitory door. It was a stranger and he said, "Are you Michael? I've come to talk about Meher Baba." I was astounded. How did he know? Who was he?
It turned out that he had just come into town for the weekend. It was his habit when coming to a new place to try to meet any Baba people who might be in the area. He had asked the first person he met on the street if there were any people involved with Baba in town. The person he met just happened to be my friend, the one person I had confided in! He told this stranger about me and directed him to my room.
We talked about Baba and he gave me a copy of Baba’s Universal Message. As I read it