Symbols of the world's religions



Bal Natu

Baba returned to the Travellers' Bungalow and the mandali to the school building. After our previous night's vigil, most of us decided that first we wanted to bathe. There was no question of having any rest, for at 7:30 there was to be a procession through the streets of the town, escorting Baba to the darshan pandal. And sure enough, soon we saw a crowd arriving, some singing, some dancing.

Baba was requested to sit in a decorated car and the rest of us walked behind. Some Baba lovers continued to dance, some sang Telugu songs in praise of Baba, while a group of devotees cried out heartily, and often, "Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!" Women carrying their children in their arms struggled through the crowd to get close to Baba so He would bless their children with His touch.

It took approximately an hour to return to Dhanapathi's house. The darshan program began with Ramjoo reading out an editorial Filis Frederick had written for "The Awakener," a part of which is given below:

This February, on the twenty-fifth, according to the Western calendar, Meher Baba will be sixty years old.

But the real BABA can never grow old; the real BABA is eternal. Who is this "real BABA," whom he says we have never seen?

This "real BABA" is our Real Self. . . .

"There have been Buddhas before me and there will be Buddhas after," said Gautama, predicting the greatest one would bear a name meaning Mercy. Meher Baba means Father of Mercy. "Whenever there is a decline of virtue and a resurgence of evil and injustice in the world, I, the Avatar, take human form," said Krishna.

Our namaskar to Him Who Has Come Again ... The Awakener Divine!*

In response to the various recitations, Baba conveyed:

The more you try to understand God, the less you understand Him. How can He, who is beyond all explanation, be explained? His being infinitely simple had rendered Him infinitely difficult. The secret is that you have to become what you already are.

You can know Me as the One in you only when the veil of separateness is lifted. This can be done only if you love Me honestly and wholeheartedly....

There can be no compromise in love. It has either to be full or not at all. I say with divine authority today that I am the Ancient One and the slave of those who really love Me. Lose yourself in Baba and you will find that you eternally are Baba.

Baba then had His special birthday message, which He had dictated before leaving Mahabaleshwar, read out and it was later translated into Telugu for the two thousand people assembled there. The message is:

I am never born, I never die. Yet every moment I take birth and undergo death. The countless illusory births and deaths are necessary landmarks in the progression of man's consciousness to Truth — a prelude to the Real Death and the Real Birth. The Real Death is when one dies to self and the Real Birth is when, dying to self, one is born in God to live forever His eternal Life consciously.

Although I am present everywhere eternally in my formless Infinite State, from time to time I take Form. This taking of Form and the leaving of it is termed My physical birth and death. In this sense, I was born sixty years ago and will die when My Universal Work is finished.

Your celebrating My shastipurti birthday today with all your love, enthusiasm and zeal has deeply touched Me and makes Me give you My blessings for the ultimate understanding that we are all One; that God alone is Real and that all else is false.

As the Telugu translation of this message was being read out, for a while Baba sat on the ground. When He returned to the dais. He conveyed that He had sat on the ground to make all feel that He, honestly, was one of them. These words thrilled the hearts of the spellbound audience. But even more than His words, Baba's presence, a subtle sense of bliss and love, seemed to sweep over the crowd. What a supreme birthday present — for each it was different yet the same, a portion of His pure love.

Still, some may wonder how the Birthless One can take birth and how the Deathless One can drop His body. How can Infinity descend into a finite human form and yet simultaneously experience the Infinity of God? Jean Adriel in her book on Meher Baba's life, Avatar, writes:

Perhaps it is because our own human nature is still so unredeemed that some of us deny a God who dares to be human. Yet, logically, a Perfect One, whose work is the redemption of mankind, must be perfect in his humanity. He should function with all the powers of the human being raised to the nth degree.

Whatever the human mind may conceive as comprising the fulfilled personality, he should have: that inner beauty which expresses itself as grace, charm and compassion; that inner poise which gives detachment and a sense of humor; that inner joy which expresses itself in work and in play. He should be human as well as God-like; and he should at all times express the ecstasy and peace of God. Otherwise the "Word made flesh" is a contradiction in terms. God, to be God, the incarnate Avatar, should be Master of all masters and masteries.

Such a Master, Baba is.**

At about 10:30, all stood up and one of the mandali began to recite Baba's arti. To the amazement of all, Baba straightaway took the arti tray with the burning camphor on it and waved the tray Himself to the assembled masses while arti continued, as if Baba were performing arti to His own Self in all.

At Meherastana, on February 10, which happened to be Baba's sixtieth birthday according to the Zoroastrian calendar. Baba declared His Avatarhood. In Andhra, on February 25, Baba's birthday according to the Western calendar, Baba authoritatively declared that He is the Ancient One. And more than that, that He is the slave of His lovers. On His sixtieth birthday, Baba brought God to the world and declared, "I have come."

The Avatar's love is always present on earth and He eternally exists in His formless state. But His physical incarnation, as the Avatar, has a special role to play in awakening humanity. The significance, for humanity, of Baba's sixtieth birthday was His open revelation that the Avatar once more was on earth and waiting to receive all who come to Him. No one else in the world is able to give such a gift of pure love which, once received, can never be taken away.

Some of this is expressed in a poem written by one of my dear friends and co-worker:

  Marvelous is the mystery of the Avatar's incarnation.
  Everywhere on earth, in everything, in all creation
  He is born. And at every moment we have the chance to
  Experience consciously His eternal life simply through
  Renouncing ourselves — this "death" is His birth celebration!

  Because God exists, we exist. He is our only True life
  And yet, enslaved to form we "live," knowing only strife,
  Bondage and despair, until His love illuminates our morn
  And our heart's radiance proclaims once more — "He is born!"

*The Awakener Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 3
**Avatar, pp. 94-95


1987 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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