Did He Utter the Word?
Did He Utter the Word?
“True to his promise, he has broken his Silence.”
—Eruch B. Jessawala, Meher Baba’s closest companion and disciple
Article by Tony Paterniti from the Glow International, May 1992, pp. 13-18
[Note from Kendra: The following article contains a startling description of Meher Baba, several days before dropping his body, uttering a sound like “M-m-m,” suggestive of the Oceanic “Word” that Baba said he would utter when he broke his silence. It is also reported that he clapped his hand over his mouth. What did that mean? That the sound escaped his lips against his will? Baba had once stated, “Of My own I shall not break My Silence; Universal Crisis will make Me do so.”
While it has long been acknowledged by the mandali that Meher Baba, throughout his silence, would occasionally make murmurs or small sounds in his throat, they were clearly not words or “the Word,” and no one took them to be the breaking of his silence. However, this sound was different, and it was witnessed by Eruch, Francis Brabazon, and (as Bhau told me personally in the mid-1990s) Bhau Kalchuri, yet no account was published until this article in 1992, in which Tony Paterniti provides a transcript of discussion in Mandali Hall when Eruch’s brother Merwan Jessawala asked Eruch to comment on this utterance, which Eruch had written about to Merwan as part of his regular correspondence tellling his family about day-to-day events at Meherazad. Eruch was at first reluctant to discuss it but then seemed to accept that Merwan’s question was inwardly prompted by Baba.
When one reads Meher Baba’s biography in countless places (books, web sites, etc.), it is usually asserted that his silence remained unbroken up to the time of his death. If the following account is true (and who can doubt the word of Eruch?), then that may not be literally. (See also Bhau’s “Awakening” on this site regarding the uttering of the Hindi phrase Yad rakh.)
The question still remains, was this utterance the actual breaking of Baba’s silence? Eruch is quoted here as affirming that. Strangely, the Glow chose to print this article not as “front-page news,” but rather noncommitally on page 13 of the magazine.
I would say the main objection to the idea that this was indeed the breaking of Baba’s silence is the fact that, contrary to many of Meher Baba’s statements, the world did not know and feel it in their hearts and realize that this is the sound they had always been longing to hear. Nor was it directly followed by obvious worldwide crisis, transformation, or universal awakening. It seems, as Baba once said, that the sufferings of humanity (and indeed all life) must rise yet higher before peace comes (“The wave of destruction must rise still higher, must spread still further”).
So the breaking of Meher Baba’s silence remains as mysterious and paradoxical as ever. Tony’s conclusion to his article provides as good a statement as any I have read to set the heart at ease in this regard. ]
Note from the Glow editor: This is a verbatim record of Eruch Jessawala’s revelations, marginally edited by Tony Paterniti, Undoubtedly, readers will have different interpretations of these revelations.
It was a few minutes shy of 1 p.m. on Thursday, February 6, 1992, at Meherazad. In answer to a question from a seeker from Yugoslavia, Eruch Jessawala, Meher Baba’s closest companion and disciple, had spent the morning describing Meher Baba’s last meeting, which was held on October 13, 1968, to plan for the Great Darshan of 1969. Then, in answer to another of her questions, he described the events leading up to Meher Baba’s dropping of the body on January 31,1969.
Eruch had just concluded the tale, and the lunch bell was already being rung, when his brother Merwan, seated near Baba’s chair, said, “Tell them about Baba clearing his throat.” I was sitting next to Eruch at the time, and he actually seemed startled. since Eruch is practically Mr. Equanimity itself, I think many of us sensed that something was afoot. Eruch responded to Merwan in Gujarati, and it seemed as if he was trying to talk him out of raising the matter. He then turned to someone else and might have succeeded in changing the subject had not another seeker from Kenya again asked him about it.
So Eruch began to describe how, a few days before Meher Baba dropped his body, Eruch had been sitting with him when he was startled to hear Meher Baba make a very dramatic sound. The following is a transcript of what Eruch said. The tape begins with Eruch imitating the sound he heard Baba make. In effect, Meher Baba had covered his mouth with his hand and shouted with great intensity:
Eruch: “Mmmmmmm!” And I said, ,”What’s the matter?” [At this point, Baba made a gesture which I read as Baba calming Eruch and assuring him that everything was all right.] “That’s all — finished! That’s the thing that I reported over to him [Merwan].”
K: When was it? When?
Eruch: I didn’t want to let this out, you see, because, well, TRUE TO HIS PROMISE, HE HAS BROKEN HIS SILENCE.
K: How many days before he dropped the body this happened?
Eruch [to Merwan]: When was that letter? [To all] It is there. About three days. Three days.
K: You heard that Baba cry?
K: You heard that?
Eruch: That sound.
K: Baba cried.
Eruch: Not cried. It was the sound “Mmmmmmm,” like that. The Original Word. “Mmmmmmm” is the Original Word. Om.
Q: You’d never heard him make any audible sound before?
Eruch: No. It’s just that day.
Q: Never a moment?
Eruch: And I was so stunned and surprised. But immediately it came, “God! Is that the Word that he was saying?” OK, so Baba must have prompted him [referring to Merwan’s asking Eruch to tell this story].
Eruch: No, never. I haven’t said this to anybody.
Q: But I’ve been told at some point Baba would clear his throat or make little noises.
Eruch: That was a different noise [Eruch demonstrates a throat-clearing sound], like that. Or sneeze, like that. But this was different, this was a different [sound].
Q: And this was with his lips sealed?
Eruch: Yeah. He put his hand. I remember that. He put his hand like that. [Eruch demonstrates.] He put his hand and then. . .
Q: What was he doing? I mean, was he lying on the bed at the time or was he sitting up . . . ?
Eruch: No, he was sitting.
Q: He had a spasm?
Eruch: He was sitting on the bed
Q: But was it connected with any, like, spasm, or nothing, just on its own?
Eruch: Nothing. On its own. I was stunned, you see. I turned my back, ‘What’s the matter?” I thought that something had happened to him, but he just [gestured], and then . . . I didn’t have the guts to ask what happened. I didn’t, he didn’t tell me anything. Nothing was there.
Q: He didn’t explain anything?
Eruch: That’s the worst part of us, you see, that we just take it for granted, when we lived with him. [Eruch laughs] Anything and everything is just natural, you see.
Q: So he had to cover his mouth? Or he covered his mouth and then did it?
Eruch: [Eruch demonstrates] This is what he did. What I saw was this. When I turned my back, his hand was on his mouth. And the noise was there. That’s all. I even wrote in that letter. [To Merwan] What was that? Do you remember? . . . that it seemed that he has broken his Silence.
Merwan: It was like he was clearing his throat as if to prepare to break his Silence. . . .
Eruch: Break his Silence. Break his Silence.
Merwan: You felt like that,
Q: You said the thought came to you at the time that this was that?
Eruch: It was that, yeah.
Q: There is one more time I think all of us wanna hear the sound.
Eruch: How can I produce that sound?
Q: Repeat that.
Eruch: All what I heard was just that . . . He did like that . . . [Eruch demonstrates, with his hand covering his mouth, a loud, startling shout.]
Q: Like “om.” It’s the same as like “om.”
Eruch: Mmm . . . that’s right . . . OK, now enough, now go! [All break for lunch.]
On the next “Meherazad Day,” Saturday, February 8, at around 2 p.m., I asked Eruch why he had kept this “news” quiet for so long.
Eruch: I had never wanted to mention [it]. But somehow or other my brother interjected. Because I had written to my family, because Baba always wanted me to report to them. And then M., who knew Gujarati, took that hint and said, “What was that? What did he say?” And then I said, “OK,” it seemed that Baba has brought about this time, so I let it out. That’s all.
Tony: But why did you wish not to?
Eruch: Just because of this. (You’re not the first one to ask about this.) As soon as she entered, she said, “You know, D. has said that she wants to have a tape record of how, what noise it made.” Then somebody else told me that. Somebody else said, ‘What did . . . how. . . did he break his Silence?” I said, “Forget about it” That’s the reason, you see.
Tony: Ah, ah, ah.
Eruch: Yeah. What have we to do with this sort of thing, you see. And why I reported [it to Merwan] was that when Baba called me to him, he said to them — my parents and my brother and sisters — that “Eruch will be sending reports, as if you were present over there.” So I had to give the details of what was happening, day-by day, day-by-day, to make them feel that they were not absent.
Because Baba had called all of us to leave the world and to be with him, and we were all together. And after a while, Baba put them at a different place, because of the education of my brother, education of my sisters, like that. That’s how it was. And he told my brother to look after the parents, because the eldest son, myself, was here. “He will look after me and you look after the parents, because he cannot look after them. He’ll look after me, you look after them.” That was the order given to my brother. That’s how it was.
[Tony continues] I subsequently learned that the subject had come up again in Mandali Hall after I returned home, at which time Eruch revealed that Francis Brabazon had also been present at the time of Baba’s dramatic sound. [Note from Kendra: When I asked Bhau about this article when I was in India, Bhau informed me that he, too, had been present.]
What was the meaning of it all? Even as Eruch spoke, my thoughts had turned immediately to the following brief discourse given by Meher Baba, which appears in Francis Brabazon’s epic poem, Stay with God. ln it, Meher Baba explains the meaning of his Silence-breaking:
God in the Beyond-Beyond state is likened to a soundless, shoreless Ocean.
The “Whim” of God for knowledge of Himself (“Who am I?”) manifested as Sound.
This Oceanic Sound is of God and is God and contains, and is, His experience of Power, Knowledge, Bliss.
The emergence of this Sound through what is called the “Om-Point” or Its Creative Utterance produced the worlds of Mind, Energy and Matter.
This Primal Oceanic Sound is the Root of all forms and creatures and men and they are continuously connected with It and derive their life from It.
When one closes one’s lips and expresses sound a “m-m-m” is produced.
This “m-m-m” is the foundation or ground of all spoken words and contains as all feelings as when it expresses pain and anguish or joy and happiness, or all thought when expressed during thought, and is capable of containing the whole of a question and its answer. This “m-m-m” is a “drop” of faint sound of the Oceanic Sound, the “M-m-m” or “Word” of God separated from the Ocean by seven shadows of separation.
If the whole physical universe was a huge bell, the sound of it in comparison with Sound of the Oceanic Sound would be as the furthermost point of audibility of an ordinary bell.
This sound-drop is not different from the Oceanic Sound — it is that Ocean and can never be anything but Ocean — but it experiences itself as a drop because of separation.
This separation is not a separation by division, but a separation through impression. (As words are expressions of this drop “m-m-m” separated from the Oceanic “M-m-m,” so are sense actions expressions and experiences removed from Oceanic Experience: seeing and seen from Oceanic Sight, hearing and heard from Oceanic Hearing smelling and scent, tasting and flavour, touching and touch from corresponding Oceanic Faculties.)
This Original Oceanic “M-m-m” is called Brahm-Nad (Sound or “Word” of God) or Unhud-Nad (Limitless Sound or “Word”).
It is continuous and is the eternal Root and continuous Cause of all causes and effects.
It experiences All-power, All-knowledge and All-bliss; but the drop “m-m-m,” although of the same “substance” and not in any way different from the Oceanic “M-m-m,” and although continuously connected with It, feels, because of its separation through seven shadows of separation, most weak, most ignorant and most unhappy — even though at times it asserts strength,
knowledge and happiness.
In this present age when words, through accumulation and accretion, have become meaningless and all My previous words in the form of Precepts are neglected and distorted, I maintain Silence.
WHEN I BREAK MY SILENCE AND SPEAK, IT WILL BE THIS PRIMAL OCEANIC “M-M-M” WHICH I WILL UTTER THROUGH MY HUMAN MOUTH. [emphasis added]
And because all forms and words are from this Primal Sound or Original Word and are continuously connected with It and have their life from It, when It is uttered by Me It will reverberate in all people and creatures and all will know that I have broken My silence and have uttered that Sound or Word.
The effective force of this Word in individuals and their reaction to It will be in accordance with the magnitude and receptivity of each individual mind.
And the reaction will be as instantaneous and as various as the reaction of people in a room through which a cobra suddenly and swiftly passes, when some would nervously laugh, some lose control of their bowels and some feel great courage or reasonless hope and joy.
It is likely that differences of opinion may continue for some time on this matter to which Meher Baba attached so much importance. Of course, Baba said that all were free to have their own interpretation of his words. Yet for those who would question whether Meher Baba has [broken], or shall, break his Silence, I would call attention to part of a message given by him on June 30, 1960, “to all of you who love Me and obey Me, as well as to all those who would do so”:
I want you to know that I will definitely break My Silence; and I want you to cling to My daaman till the very end, irrespective of whether I speak or not. [emphasis added] I am the Highest of the High, and want you to love Me not for any spiritual or material gain, nor for the impending breaking of MV Silence and My manifestation, but I want you to love Me for Myself, as being God in human form.