Don Stevens on Meher Baba’s Manifestation (February 2005)
Source: Excerpted from “An Interview with Don Stevens about Baba’s Words” (pdf) by Dan Tyler and Deborah (Sweeta) Tyler, pp. 19-20
DAN: What is his manifestation? I’ve been reading Bhau’s books and hearing things for years and years, and I don’t know what it is. A sort of vague sense of Baba becoming available to humanity or something. But what does Baba’s manifestation mean, anyway, in specific terms?
DON: Well, certainly one thing he said that has always stuck in my mind very clearly, and that would be that at that time he would give a push to all of creation which would be felt by the simplest ants or whatever not, you know. It wasn’t just a manifestation a push, on the spiritual path just to humanity, but something that pushed the whole universe ahead, right down to the stone and gas stages. And so I began looking in my own bag of tricks. And the first that I did was to look through my recollection of the many years in my adolescence and twenties, before I knew anything about Sufis or Baba or anything of the sort. And I had all sorts of kid friends whose parents belonged to this group and that group and that meditation group, and so on, and when I looked over the amount of progress those people had made in all the time I had been around those families, it just seemed to me if they had made any progress, they were just barely inching along.
And then I thought that, then, as I looked back, starting in the early fifties, all of a sudden something started happening, particularly to young people. And I saw young people changing with a speed and with a sincerity and inner push that was certainly not true of their parents. And it seemed almost, this was when all of the flower children and the hippies and the experiments with drugs and so on and wandering and trying to find gurus around the world were all happening, you know. I was right in the middle of it there in San Francisco in the Haight-Ashbury district. So I had concrete observations to make. So that was one thing. I said, I am sure — and that started happening probably somewhere around the middle of the 1950s — so I put a dateline to it.
Then the other thing was, I remembered Baba said this push will go to everywhere in creation. The lowliest ants and whatnot. So I began thinking, well I’ve always loved dogs. And my old Scotch collie dog I was born with, I got him when I was one year old for my birthday present. I can remember to this day my father coming through the kitchen door and thinking, what’s he doing with his hands behind his back? He never comes through the kitchen door that way. He’s usually holding his arms out or something like that. Then all of a sudden, he took his arms from behind his back and in one hand was something that looked like a wool mitten, or something like that. And the wool mitten jumped out of his hand, ran across the floor, jumped up on me and pushed me back. And I screamed because I didn’t know what it was. And that was my dog. And so I remembered my dog. He was a wonderful animal. But then in the forties and fifties and sixties, I had a succession. And the change in the, what shall I say, the mentality, the awareness of these dogs that I’ve got, even as marvelous as my old Scotch collie dog was, they almost became human beings. They could understand so many things.
And then I inherited a canary when I moved to London in the sixties. And that, once we were having a — this was even before I moved from San Francisco — I carried Fred, the canary. But Fred, I was talking to a young Baba devotee in one of the hippie groups, and suddenly he stopped and said, “Don, do you hear what I hear?” And I stopped and said, “No. Fred’s warbling but that all I hear.” He said, “But do you hear what your canary is singing?” And I listened, and he was singing the theme from a Sanson violin concerto that I love. Can you imagine? Fred, my canary! He was hipped on it. He sang it for the rest of his life. And I inherited a couple of cats from the old Sufi school when they closed it, and my gracious, one of those cats was like a human being. He did incredible things. So I said, well I’ve seen Baba’s manifestation. I’ve been around animals all of my life. And there, the years to the fifties to the sixties something tremendously important did happen. The only thing I could say is, that had to be the Avataric push as part of his manifestation.
And certainly it was during that part of the fifties that Baba’s name ran around through young people like wildfire. So, to me, manifestation made sense. And it was open. But you can’t tell that to one of the mandali. And I got really in Dutch for telling that story to two or three of my friends, that Baba has already manifested. Don, it can’t be. I don’t hear people running around saying Baba’s name all the time as he said they would. I said, well maybe it’s a little bit different, but I’ve seen the real, real markers that are important to me. So for me, he’s manifested. And so all of this business, well he manifests a hundred years after he drops the body, or sixty years, or God knows the figures I’ve seen — ridiculous! This crap, excuse me for putting that term, but I get fed up with that sort of crap all of the time. People pretending to know things that they obviously don’t have a tinker’s damn notion about.