Yad Rakh Never Happened?
Yad Rakh Never Happened?
by Kendra Crossen
20 May 2012 (see also update of Dec. 2012, below)
In the Glow International magazine (Spring 2012, p. 3), an item has been published under these headings:
Meher Baba Never Broke His Silence
The words “Yaad Rakh” were expressed in gestures.
In a Glow International Exclusive, Bhau Kalchuri, Chairman, Avatar Meher Baba Trust,
clarifies his earlier remarks about Meher Baba’s Silence.
I won’t reprint the complete item here at this time, since the Glow has only just come out, but in summary it consists of an exchange of letters between Bhauji and an Indian Baba-lover who wrote to Bhau requesting clarification of the Yad Rakh account. Startlingly, in these letters of January 2012, Bhau states: “Please note it down and know well that He [Baba] did not speak, either in English or in Hindi. Only gestures.” (Bhau claims in the letters that Baba was able to silently gesture in different languages, though he does not explain how Baba distinguished languages in silence; possibly it means that Baba used hand signs involving letters of the alphabet in English or Hindi, etc.)
It was in 2001 that Bhau initially revealed the Yad Rakh account as a true event that occurred while he was alone with Meher Baba on 30th January 1969, the eve of the dropping of His body. At this time Bhau was actively touring around the States, Australia, and the UK and giving talks. He broke the story at Meherana (in Mariposa, CA) at its Spring Sahavas, and it was also discussed at the Los Angeles Sahavas that year. In written form it appeared in his “Awakenings,” which were sent out in e-mails, posted at JaiBaba.com, and subsequently published in a book titled Awakenings (see Yad Rakh: Meher Baba’s Last Words?).
When Bhau first “revealed” that Baba had spoken aloud before dropping His body, by saying the Hindi words Yad rakh (“Remember this”), he had to admit that he had inexplicably withheld this information all these years, since the event supposedly occurred in 1969. But now (2012) Bhau suddenly confesses that the story is not true. Why would he have told us about the spoken Yad Rakh to begin with if it wasn’t true? Is it credible that a “random” inquiry from a Baba-lover would conveniently provide the occasion for Bhauji to come clean about something that had been weighing on his conscience? Bhau not only permitted the publication of his letters in the Glow but expressed that he was quite happy to see them in print.
In a childlike manner Bhau suggests in one of the letters that he was lonely after Baba dropped his body and wished that Baba would speak to him. Now, Bhau tells his correspondent, “the matter has come up to my throat. I must tell you the truth.” He cryptically adds that “anyone may interpret [this] in his own way” — a seeming acknowledgment that his explanations of why he did not tell the truth in 2001 don’t make much sense.
In these letters Bhau emphasizes: “But this is the truth, I am telling you: Baba did not break His silence at that time.” In 2001 also, Bhau asserted that the allegedly spoken Yad Rakh was not truly the breaking of Baba’s silence; it was simply a sign that He could still speak and was not incapacitated by His 44 years of silence.
The phrase “break His silence” can have two meanings: (1) it can mean that Baba made some vocalization — that he uttered either a sound (such as Omm or Mmm) or a word or words (such as Yad Rakh), thus literally “speaking” aloud, which is the breaking of His “man silence”; or (2) it can mean that Baba broke His silence” in the sense of manifesting himself as the Avatar as defined by Him in many published statements: uttering the primal creative “Word of words” in order to awaken the world — in other words, breaking His “God Silence.”
In the case of the Omm sound witnessed on 28th January 1969 by Eruch and Francis Brabazon, Eruch also did not consider this to be the breaking of Baba’s silence in sense #2. (Although the 1992 Glow article makes it seem as if Eruch did believe that Baba had broken His silence in sense #2 with that Omm — quoting him as saying, “True to His promise, He has broken His silence” — this is contradicted in Eruch’s letter to a Baba-lover). Instead, Eruch appeared to believe that Baba’s silence was already being continually broken in the hearts of His lovers (“The moment I started observing Silence, I started simultaneously breaking My Silence in the hearts of those who are ready to receive my love.”).
In the 1992 Glow article, the sound was described by Eruch as “‘Mmmmmmm,’ like that. The Original Word. ‘Mmmmmmm’ is the Original Word. Om.” Merwan Jessawala (who had not witnessed the utterance) interpreted it more ambiguously as a clearing of Baba’s throat in preparation for breaking the silence. However, Eruch said it was not a clearing of the throat. Baba was known to have made small noises like that in his throat over the years, which were clearly different from making an actual sound or uttering a word.
Moreover, the article describes how Baba had his lips closed yet supposedly “covered his mouth with his hand and shouted with great intensity.” How can you “shout” with your lips closed? Obviously words are not always adequate to describe an event accurately, and different people experience an event differently: “you had to be there,” as the saying goes. One man’s Omm is another man’s haa-humph. It is thus difficult to interpret the Omm narrative. Few people seem to have paid any attention to it, perhaps because it is so ambiguous and embarrassingly resistant to explanation.
When I was in India in 1994, I asked Bhau what he thought of the Omm story in the 1992 Glow, in which Eruch claimed that he and Francis Brabazon had heard Baba make that sound. Bhau’s only comment to me was that Eruch did not remember that he, Bhau, had been there too. “We all heard it,” Bhau told me, referring also to Francis. To my knowledge Bhau has never made any interpretive comment about this Omm, which to me is odd. If Yad Rakh had indeed happened, the publication of the Glow story in 1992 might have been a good opportunity to reveal it; yet Bhau did not speak of Yad Rakh until 2001. Is it conceivable that Bhau gave no importance to the Omm story because he was planning to come out with his own Yad Rakh story in order to put himself in the limelight? I think it would be unreasonable to conclude that (but I had to mention it as a possibility that might occur to some). From knowing Bhauji, I cannot see him behaving in so calculatingly self-serving a manner.
As far as is known, Francis Brabazon never commented on the Omm sound either. If he had felt it to have any significance, one would have expected him to speak about it after returning to Australia in 1969; but there is no record that he did. It is well known that Francis did not believe that Baba had broken his silence (in sense #2) prior to dropping His body.
A friend has pointed out that Bhau was very public in his discussions of Yad Rakh back in 2001, which is not the case with the 2012 letters printed in the Glow — thus she gives more credence to the original Yad Rakh account than to the current retraction. In contrast to that opinion, several people have told me that they never believed Bhau’s initial Yad Rakh story to begin with. It is impossible to verify what happened when Bhau and Baba were alone together or to interpret the possible motivations for Bhau’s first withholding such information in 1969, then revealing it in 2001, then withdrawing it in 2012. Some Baba-lovers have solved the dilemma by deciding that none of this is important and that it is pointless to place one’s focus on Bhau’s behavior — whether one attributes his actions to the superior intuition of a member of the mandali or to the confusion of a man who has been suffering tremendously in recent years from illnesses and other troubles. Instead, they believe, we should put our attention on Meher Baba, love Him, and leave the rest to Him. (Some have even suggested that Bhauji may have been suffering from a bout of dementia, and I have been told that evidence of such mental diminishment has been observed in Bhauji; yet other sources I consider reliable assure me that Bhauji has been perfectly lucid, warm, and loving in recent direct communications with them.)
I agree that we should put Meher Baba first in our minds and hearts, and that — as Bhau quoted Baba in his “Awakening” — “‘Yad Rakh’ means that if people want to hear My Word-of-Words, they should continue my ‘Yad’ (which means ‘Remembrance’).”
And I also agree with Francis Brabazon when he said about the breaking of Baba’s silence (quoting to the best of my memory): “Until I hear it, I ain’t gonna believe it’s happened.”
UPDATE, December 2012:
It seems the retraction has been forgotten. From Bhau’s Internet Chat, December 16, 2012:
[Begin Skype with Danny G in Bryn Mawr, PA]
BHAU KALCHURI: How do you see me?
DANGLX: You’re looking better than you did last few weeks, but I’m sorry you’re suffering on the inside, does not show on the outside.
BHAU KALCHURI: I will be looking better.
DANGLX: That’s wonderful, but I hope that internally you will be better.
BHAU KALCHURI: Internally I will not be better.
DANGLX: I’m sorry to hear, reminds me of Baba, so many times when He was radiant, like last day, doctors examined …
BHAU KALCHURI: Yes, He said “Yad rakh.” At night I was keeping night watch, and He said to me, “Yad rakh.” I am telling you, though I am looking like this, do you know My suffering, do you realize? “No, you can’t I am just suffering and suffering, infinitely.” And you are suffering outwardly. “I also look very well,” and then, He just dropped the body because of the suffering infinitely. Just took the suffering of all His lovers. And He has given me that suffering. I look very well, but what I am passing through, nobody knows. … Jai Ho!
DANGLX: Jai Ho! Jai HO! Bhauji, does that mean that Baba began the breaking of His silence at that time?
BHAU KALCHURI: No. That is still time, still time.
DANGLX: So He only spoke to show that His vocal cords would work.
BHAU KALCHURI: yes.
DANGLX-: Okay, thank you.