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This description appears in the 2010 edition realization the individual must traverse an from his life's work, and that he would inward spiritual path, eliminating all false bring about an unprecedented release of impressions of individuality and eventuat- divine love in the world. n Indian religious leader also called ing in the knowledge of the "real self" as Between 1931 and 1958 he made many The Awakener, original name Mer- God. visits to the United States and Europe, on wan Sheriar Irani born Feb. 25, 1894, Meher Baba saw his work as awaken- one such trip in 1952 establishing the Me Poona, India died Jan. 31, 1969, Ahmed- ing the world through love to a new con- her Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C. nagar sciousness of the oneness of all life. To A similar centre, Avatar's Abode, was ereMeher Baba was a spiritual master in that end he lived a life of love and ser- ated at Woombye, Qpeensland, Australia, western India with a sizable following vice which included extensive work with in 1958. both in that country and abroad. Begin- the poor, the physically and mentally ill, From the mid-1960s Meher Baba was ning on July 10, 1925, he observed silence and many others, including such tasks as in seclusion, and during that period sevfor the last 44 years of his life, comeral U.S. drug experimenters were municating with his disciples at first drawn to him in a quest for spiritual through an alphabet board but intruth. Through them his admonicreasingly with gestures. He observed tions against the non-medical use of that he had come "not to teach but to psychedelic and other drugs came to awaken," adding that "things that are the attention of the news media in the real are given and received in silence." U.S. and the West. He warned young He was born into a Zoroastrian people explicitlythat "drugs are harmfamily of Persian descent. He was ful mentally, physically, and spiritueducated in Poona and attended Decally," trying to draw them away from can College there, where at the age of drugs and toward a spiritual life. 19 he met an aged Muslim woman, Meher Baba never sought to form a Hazrat Babajan, the first of five "persect or proclaim a dogma; he attracted feet masters" (spiritually enlightened, and welcomed followersofmany faiths or "God-realized," persons) who over and every social class with a message the next seven years helped him find emphasizing love and compassion, his own spiritual identity.That identithe elimination of the selfish ego, and ty, Meher Baba said, was as the avatar the potential of realizing God within of this age, interpreting that Vedanthemselves. Although his equation tic term to mean the periodic incarof the several manifestations of God nation of God in human form. He was syncretic, he won many followers placed himself among such universal from sects and denominations that rereligious figures as Zoroaster, Rama, pudiated syncretism, and encouraged Krishna, Gautama Buddha,Jesus, and those followers to be strong in their Muhammad. "I am the same Ancient original faiths. After his death his folOne come again into your midst," he lowers heeded his wish that they not told his disciples, declaring that all . ." form an organization, but continued major religions are revelations of "the : to gather informally and often to disOne Reality which is God." Meber Baba - 1956 Phoro ro Laurence Reiter cuss and read his works and express Meher Baba's cosmology may be sum- feeding the poor, cleaning the latrines of through music, poetry, dance, or drama marized as follows: the goal of all life is to untouchables, and bathing lepers. He saw their reflections on his life. His tomb at realize the absolute oneness of God, from a responsibility to give spiritual help to Meherabad, near Ahmednagar, has bewhom the universe emanated as a result of "advanced souls," and travelled through- come a place of pilgrimage for his folthe whim of unconscious divinity to know out the Indian subcontinent to find such lowers throughout the world. His books itself as conscious divinity. In pursuit of persons. include Discourses (5 vol., 1938-43; the consciousness, evolution of forms occurs These outward activities Meher Baba earliest dictated on an alphabet board, the in seven stages: stone or metal, vegetable, saw as indications of the inner transfor- others by gesture), God Speaks: The Theme worm, fish, bird, animal, and human . Ev- mation of consciousness that he came to of Creation and its Purpose (1955), and The ery individualized soul must experience all give the world. He established and later Everything and the Nothing (1963). of these forms in order to gain full con- dismantled many institutions of service, sciousness.Once consciousness is attained, which he compared to scaffolding tempothe burden of impressions accumulated in rarily erected to construct a building that these forms prevents the soul from real- really was within the human heart . He izing its identity with God . To gain this said that a "new humanity" would emerge

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