Meher Baba’s Silence
Allan Y. Cohen
Source: The Mastery of Consciousness: An Introduction and Guide to Practical Mysticism and Methods of Spiritual Development, as Given by Meher Baba, compiled and edited by Allan Y. Cohen (New York: Harper Colophon, 1977), pp. 82-83; with quote added by Allan on 25 May 2010. Reprinted by permission of Ira G. Dietrick.
Meher Baba’s mission of universal work was not limited by his silence. When Baba first began verbal silence in 1925, he told his disciples, Hear well my voice; you will not hear it for a long time [Family Letters, no. 70, p. 6]. Baba did not utter another physical word for the next forty-four years. When he was asked later why he kept silence, Baba explained that it was for several reasons: Firstly, I feel that through you all, I am talking eternally. Secondly, to relieve the boredom of talking incessantly through your forms, I keep silence in my personal physical form. And thirdly, 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 [Quoted in A.C.S. Chari, An Introductory Sketch on the Life and Work of Avatar Meher Baba (Calcutta, 1966), pp. 22-23].
But one reason for his silence seems to dominate all others in significance: When I first began Silence, I knew that when I broke Silence, the world would know Me, and so I began. [The Awakener magazine, vol. 4, no. 3 (1957), p. 17]. Meher Baba’s comments on the breaking of his silence are among the most mysterious of his present advent. He alluded to a tremendous release of spiritual energy that would occur when he broke his silence and spoke a divine sound or “Word”:
My present Avataric Form is the last Incarnation of this cycle of time, hence my Manifestation will be the greatest. 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 [in Charles Purdom, The God-Man, p. 344].
Of my own I shall not break my silence; Universal Crisis will make me do so. When the Crisis will reach its absolute culmination, it will make me utter the WORD at that moment [Purdom, The God-Man, p. 356].
When I break my Silence the world will be shaken into realization of Who I Am. When I break my Silence the impact will jolt the world out of its spiritual lethargy, and will push open the hearts of all who love Me and are connected with Me [Family Letters, no. 53, p. 3].
When I break My Silence it will not be to fill your ears with spiritual lectures. I shall speak only One Word, and this Word will penetrate the hearts of all men and make even the sinner feel that he is meant to be a saint, while the saint shall know that God is in the sinner as much as He is in himself [“Final Declaration,” in The Awakener magazine, vol. 2, no. 3 (1955), p. 81]. When I break my Silence my Presence will flood the world, and even an inanimate thing like a stone will feel my love [Family Letters, no. 52, p. 2].
As a result of the release of this Word and the Avatar’s spiritual work, Baba predicted a new era of universal brotherhood, peace, compassion, and love of God. [Certain other predictions and unresolved questions around Baba’s speaking are examined more fully in chapter 14 of The Mastery of Consciousness, not reproduced here.] Whatever interpretation Baba lovers prefer, the nature of Meher Baba’s method as a personal Master remains unchanged.
For this reprint of the above passage from his book, Allan has added the following quotation from Meher Baba that he wishes to draw our attention to:
I speak eternally. The voice that is heard deep within the soul is My voice, the voice of inspiration, of intuition, of guidance. To those who are receptive to this voice, I speak. My outward silence is not a spiritual exercise. It has been undertaken and maintained solely for the good of the world.
God has been everlastingly working in Silence, unobserved, unheard, except by those who experience His Infinite Silence.
[Source: Meher Baba, as filmed in 1967 at Meherazad by Louis van Gasteren in Beyond Words, Spectrum Films, Amsterdam. Excerpts from Baba’s statements (through His sign language), interpreted and spoken simultaneously by Eruch Jessawala. Italics added by Allan Y. Cohen.]