Istanbul — standing on a street corner in the rain, dealing hash. What am I doing here? There, at the crossroads of East and West, I reached an impasse, a place at which I knew a choice was necessary. In the Katha Upanishad, it speaks of man being at the crossroads of joy and pleasure, the wise man taking the path of joy and the fool the path of pleasure. And so it was; which way to turn? I knew that there must be a way out of my self-created maze, a way to still the ever-babbling voice of ego-delusion, a way to light upon which no darkness intrudes. All the methods I had tried to that point — of books, in which I found only words; of travel, in which everywhere I went invariably I brought myself; of my bloodstream, in which all the various herbs, potions, and elixirs served in the end to bring me down. The insights, the brief glimpses viewed through the looking-glass of hallucinogens were the most tempting, but repeated and increased doses did not keep me high. Always, I came down. And from that, I began earnestly to seek a way to stay high always.
It was made clear to me that I was asleep in a dream — I began to seek to know the Dreamer, to wake up, to reside in the Light. Through many disciplines and teachings I wandered, spiritually window-shopping. And in some of these teachers, I found indications of the Way — in Ramdas, in Ramana Maharshi, and in Ramakrishna. And these served to bring me to Meher Baba, the Perfect Master, the Avatar.
In the spring of 1965, during my last year of college, I heard of a show being produced at Brandeis University (about 12 miles from Boston; by a mixed-media group called USCO. The title of their show was "We Are All One", a most engaging title. I had heard it was very "far out", so getting suitably stoned, some friends and I went to see it. On entering the auditorium we were confronted with multi-colored strobe lights, signs blinking "here-now, here-now" etc., a large screen upon which several slide-projectors flashed simultaneously, plus loud sound ranging from sitar to motorcycles. The idea behind all this was sensory over-stimulation, a blowing of the circuits of the mind. (It worked — I fell asleep for a minute or two in the middle of the performance.) And also on the stage was a large day-glow poster of Baba's face, beaming out at the audience.
After the show was over, I went up to a girl selling posters, and innocently asked "Who's the face on the stage?" I was told he was a holy man in India, named Meher Baba. My response was "Oh, he looks like a cross between Gurdjieff and Tennessee Ernie Ford," a remark which Baba later enjoyed.
About two weeks later, I visited a friend at Harvard who was teaching psychology. On the door to his office was a card with a quote from Baba, which read;
“To penetrate into the essence of all being and significance, and to release
that fragrance of that inner attainment for the guidance and benefit of others,
by expressing, in the world of forms, truth, love, purity and beauty — this is the
sole game which has any intrinsic and absolute worth. All other happenings,
incidents, and attainments can, in themselves, have no lasting importance”