The Breaking of Meher Baba’s Silence
by David Carter
Meher Baba said:
When I break My Silence, the impact of My Love will be universal and all life in creation will know, feel and receive of it. It will help every individual to break himself free from his bondage in his own way. I am the Divine Beloved who loves you more than you can ever love yourself. The breaking of My Silence will help you to help yourself in knowing your real Self.
Over the years Meher Baba made many statements about His Silence and the breaking of it. It is obvious when we read these statements that Baba regarded His Silence and Its breaking as being of the greatest importance for creation and for His lovers. Yet there are so many statements of Baba’s about His Silence that, taken on the surface, are enigmatic, and so many statements in which He said He would break His Silence, sometimes on or by definite dates while never apparently doing so, that all of these statements taken together can be quite confusing and apparently contradictory.
Baba, in His compassion, knowing that with our limited human understanding we would be apt to misunderstand the many declarations He made concerning His Silence and that this would cause confusion for many who love Him, gave us indications that such declarations were not to be taken literally in the sense that He would speak on a specific date and in a certain place; nor, of course, is His breaking His Silence to be thought of as His making a mere physical sound (which is, after all, just a sound wave) which we would hear with our physical ears. “To ask whether My followers will be informed of the time and place of the breaking of My Silence would be ridiculous, and in itself would show that the significance of the breaking of My Silence has not been truly understood.” In reference to His canceled plans to break His Silence in the Hollywood Bowl in 1932, Baba said to Delia DeLeon, “Did you think I would speak on a definite date in a large hall before a crowd of people?” At another time, still in reference to Hollywood Bowl, He said to one of His close disciples, “Imagine your having fallen for that one!”
Baba was very consistent over the years in indicating that a literal approach to His Silence was not appropriate.
Charles Purdom relates the following story: “I was once told by Ramjoo that years ago Baba informed some of the mandali that He proposed to speak, and brought a number of them to a distant place, which they reached after days of strenuous walking. When they arrived He made each stand around Him at a distance of fifty feet or more with their backs to Him, He standing in the centre; at the clapping of His hands they were to turn to Him and He would speak. He clapped His hands, they turned, but heard nothing. He smiled and beckoned them to Him. Why had He not spoken? they asked. He said, ‘Do you not know I am always speaking?’” As Charles Haynes pointed out in his book Meher Baba, the Awakener, this shows that Baba did not intend that His breaking His Silence be taken literally. If Baba put Himself and the mandali through days of strenuous walking to make this one point, surely it behooves us to take it to heart. At other times Baba said, “It is not through words that I give what I have to give” and “I am never silent. I speak eternally. The voice that is heard deep within the soul is My voice.”
But why is it, we might ask, that the breaking of Baba’s Silence is not to be thought of as a mere word or words? Words, in and of themselves, are necessarily addressed to the mind to some extent and thus must fall within the limits of human intelligence and understanding. This is ordinarily their purpose, to communicate information. Something that can be “put into words” can also be put into print, into “cold type,” a kind of reduction almost to a formula of the “information” the words are meant to “convey.” Baba said, “To try to understand with the mind that which the mind can never understand is futile; and to try to express by sounds of language and in form of words the transcendental state of the soul, is even more futile” and “The WORD that I will speak will go to the world as from God, not as from a philosopher.”
Finally, we get a very powerful hint from Baba on the eve of the beginning of His Silence. Baba had indicated to the mandali that He was going to keep silence for a period of one year beginning on July 10, 1925. On July 9, 1925, one of Baba’s close ones, Pandoba (fittingly, a teacher) protested the idea of His keeping silence for so long. Feeling that the world would be deprived of Baba’s talks and discourses, He asked, “Baba, if You are silent how will You teach us?” Baba then answered, “I have come not to teach, but to awaken.” At another time Baba said in connection with the breaking of His Silence, “The God-man . . . does not convey thought, but Truth, which He . . . awakens . . . through deep, inner experience.”
Indeed, not only is Baba’s breaking of His Silence something beyond a verbal message, Baba seems to indicate that His Silence itself is the “message” He brings us: “The Silence which I have been observing is not intended to veil My Truth but to manifest it.” “For Ages I have been giving in Silence My Silent Message of Love. You ask Me for a message from My Silence — but silent are the words of My Silence. Silent is Love, and the lover loves My Silence, and silently adores Me in My Silence.” “One day Meher Baba asked the men mandali . . . ‘What happens when two people fall in love? . . . They speak softly. Why? Their hearts are close together. The distance between them is very small. When two people fall further in love, what happens? They don’t talk — they just whisper. And they come still closer in their love. Finally they don’t need even to whisper. They just gaze at each other. That’s all. That’s how close two people are when they love each other. How much closer I am to you! I am closer to you than your very breath. What need have I to speak?’” “I am never silent. I speak eternally. The voice that is heard deep within the soul is My voice . . . the voice of inspiration, of intuition, of guidance. Through those who are receptive to this voice, I speak.” “Things that are real are always given and received in silence.” “God has been everlastingly working in silence, unobserved, unheard, except by those who experience His infinite Silence. If My Silence cannot speak, of what avail would be speeches made by the tongue?”
Baba’s Silence and the breaking of it were, therefore, something that could not be described or conveyed in words that the mind could understand. Moreover, Baba indicated that it was precisely because of the inadequacy of such an appeal to the mind through words that He was keeping silence: “Because men have been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form I observe silence. You have asked for and been given enough words — it is now time to live them.” “I keep silence . . . because all talk in itself is idle talk. Lectures, messages, statements, discourses of any kind, spiritual or otherwise, imparted through utterances or writings, are just idle talk when not acted upon or lived up to.” “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.” “I lay down no precepts. When I release the tide of truth men’s daily lives will be the living precepts. The words that I have not spoken will come to life in them.”
If Baba’s breaking His Silence is not for the benefit of the intellect, then what kind of help will it be?
In a reference to breaking His Silence, Baba said, “That new book of discourses will give some satisfaction . . . but what is wanted is help through the heart. One has to find Me there.” “Unity in the midst of diversity can be made to be felt only by touching the very core of the heart. That is the work for which I have come . . . In order to bring this about, I am preparing to break My Silence.”
Rather than an event that is time- and space-bound in our gross world, Baba’s breaking His Silence will mean something much deeper: it will mean that we will feel His love in our hearts. Baba said that He would touch the very core of our hearts. When He does so, we will feel His love there. For the world in general, this will mean coming to know who Meher Baba is; for His lovers in particular, it will mean a tremendous “opening” of the heart.
I have come to sow the seed of love in your hearts so that . . . the feeling of oneness through love is brought about amongst all the nations, creeds, sects and castes of the world. In order to bring this about, I am preparing to break My Silence
. . . I shall speak only One Word, and this Word will penetrate the hearts of all men.
When the WORD of My love breaks out of its Silence and speaks in your hearts, telling you who I really am, you will know that that is the Real WORD you have been always longing to hear.
When I break My Silence the impact . . . will push open the hearts of all who love Me and who are connected with Me.
The heart of the world has to feel the impact of My Word.
I don’t speak with My tongue. I speak continuously with My heart. But when I open My lips to speak the Word . . . the hearts of the world will get the Word.
I am waiting for the moment when I can break My Silence . . . when at last the heart of the world can be touched.
In this hall all the cups of wine are empty . . . When I break My Silence with that Word of Words, all your cups will be filled full of love.
When I break My Silence, the hearts of all those who have come in contact with Me will be ignited with love.
When I break My Silence, I shall open My Heart completely and keep it open.
Baba said that when He breaks His Silence “everyone will feel it in his heart.” “When I break My Silence My Presence will flood the world, and even an inanimate thing like a stone will feel My love!”
Thus Baba made it clear that His Silence and Its breaking are aimed at our hearts and not at our minds. But what does this mean for us who love Him?
There are a number of things Baba said or that His close disciples have said that, taken together, suggest an interesting interpretation of the meaning of Baba speaking in our hearts. On one occasion, referring to the breaking of His Silence, Baba said that “many years have passed away, but the years to come are more important.” Meher Baba has also said that His advent this time would be different from other times for when He has come in the past, people came to know who the Avatar was; this time many will come to know who He is; that is, people will come to know Him while He is still here.
We all know that Baba said that for 100 years after He dropped His body His presence on earth would be as strong as it had been when He was in the body. When Bhau Kalchuri was upset with Baba for not seeing His lovers in the 1960’s as He went into ever deeper seclusion, Baba told him, making the sign for His universal work, that Bhau did not know what Baba was doing for His lovers: through His universal work He was giving them the “real thing,” not simply the pleasure of seeing His form, and that Bhau would see with his own eyes what Baba was giving them.
In a talk Charles Haynes gave in Madison, Wisconsin, some years ago, he spoke of Elizabeth Patterson, saying that she would not let people be content to simply retell Baba stories from the past. She had said (after Baba had dropped His body), “Meher Baba is more available now than He has ever been before.” Baba conveyed over and over again that the only miracle He would perform would be the breaking of His Silence. He also said that it would be the only occasion when He would make use of His infinite power. He said, “That which has never happened will happen when I break my silence.” On another occasion Baba said, “The time has come when I shall break My Silence. The whole world will get a spiritual push but the hearts of My intimate lovers shall be opened then. Such a time will not come again and has not come in the past.” Can it be that what Baba gives us through the breaking of His Silence is the possibility of knowing Him intimately as our own Beloved, that He lives in our hearts now because He broke His Silence, letting us feel His Love in our hearts, that this, in fact, is why those of us who have never met Him, love Him and know Him as our own Divine Beloved? Having never met Baba in His physical form, we have met Him now in our hearts.
Yet this release of His love came at the highest price to Baba. He indicated that all His suffering was borne so that He could break His silence: “The end of all suffering would be the giving of the Word; that would be the release for Me!” “When I break My silence, My suffering will come to an end and the world will know and feel that I am God. My suffering is physical, mental and spiritual.” “I have suffered much and will have to suffer much more till I break my silence.” “When I break my silence, it will be the end of suffering.” And lest we have any doubt in our minds, there is the amazing and deeply touching account related by Mani of how Baba, on His deathbed, remarked how the entire meaning of His life was wrapped up in His Silence’s breaking: “A day before dropping the body, even while the movement of His fingers brought on a renewed spasm, Baba told us, ‘All this, all that I have been through all along, has been a preparation for the Word — for just the One Word!’ And with a quizzical smile He added, ‘Just imagine!’”
Baba said that we should try to understand His suffering. As Baba’s above statement shows, His suffering was physical, mental and spiritual. However, not only were there these three aspects to His suffering, but each aspect was infinite: “I carry the universal burden, and I suffer physically, mentally and spiritually. My physical suffering is seen by those around me. My mental suffering is intense, infinite. As for my spiritual suffering, it is ad infinitum” (emphasis added). “I also have the Universal Body and the Universal Mind, and therefore your individual suffering is nothing compared to My eternal, universal suffering!” “There is a great difference between your mental and spiritual suffering and mine. My mental suffering is very intense and is because of the pseudo saints that abound in the world today. My spiritual suffering is because I know I am free in myself but bound in you.”
As impossible as it is for us to appreciate what Baba’s suffering was, being so much greater and so different in its nature from our suffering, perhaps we can begin to understand how great His love for us is when we contemplate the truth He declared, that although His suffering was infinite, He could have escaped that suffering at any time by use of His infinite bliss and infinite power but, for our sakes, did not: “. . . although I have Infinite Bliss and Infinite Power, I do not make use of them. If I were to make use of the Bliss that is at My beck and call, how could My suffering be ‘suffering’? And of what benefit would it be to mankind? I also do not use My Infinite Power. If I were to use it, how would I remain helpless? I remain infinitely helpless because while having Infinite Power at My command I do not use it!” So great is His love however that only for us will He use what He would not use for Himself: “I shall use it [Infinite Power] only when I break My Silence to give a Universal Spiritual Awakening.” In His own words, “What could be more glorious than My suffering for all humanity!”
Baba emphasized that He wanted us to be prepared for the breaking of His Silence: “The breaking of My Silence — the signal of My public Manifestation — is not far off. I bring the greatest treasure which includes all other treasures, which will endure forever, which increases when shared by others. Be ready to receive it.” “The Silence which I have been observing . . . is a call from the Silence of unfathomable Divinity. Invite that Divinity into your hearts.” “When I give out the Word let it touch your heart.”
How are we to be prepared for the further awakening of His Love within our hearts as His speaking continues or, indeed, if He has not yet spoken as He means it? Baba has given us hints:
When the tongue is silent, the mind speaks; When the mind is silent, the heart sings.
Shut the ears of your minds and open the ears of your hearts to hear My Word when I utter it.
External silence helps the inner silence and only in internal inner silence is Baba found, in profound inner silence.
To drown all sound in My Silence is to hearken to My Word of Words.
When the surface of the lake is still, it reflects the stars; so when the mind is tranquil, it reflects the nature of the Self.
Picking up the thread of these hints from Baba, a practice of Elizabeth Patterson’s contains a clue, I feel, of how we can begin to be receptive to what Baba wishes to give us: Charles Haynes relates how Elizabeth used to say that if one took time to be silent in the morning, to listen upon waking, the day would be the answer. When Kitty Davy spoke in Chicago some years ago, she urged that we should make it a practice to set aside five minutes a day to spend in silence with Baba. Baba said, “If those who love Me will just for one minute be silent in their minds just before they go to bed and think of Me and picture Me in the silence of their minds, and do that regularly, this veil of ignorance will disappear and this bliss that I speak of and which all long for will be experienced.” Could we not try to regularly set aside some time at the beginning or end of each day to spend in silence with Baba? After all, He said that “it is to live in your hearts and to share in your lives that I have come among you.” All that He suffered was for this, so that through His Word, we can share our lives with Him and at the same time share in His eternal, divine life. Let us thank Him that through His Silence we can hear Him in our hearts if we will but listen.
© by David Carter