This is a video about the recently published book by Meher Baba entitled "Infinite Intelligence" and some interesting images of Meher Baba's early period.
This is something I was fascinated to see-- footage of the shrine of Hazrat Babajan, the Afghan murshida (Chisti tariqa, it appears) was was Meher Baba's first master. I've always been interested in Baba's Sufi connections.
I really love Meher Baba, even though I see him in a rather different light than most of his followers do. Most view him as a kind of God incarnate, and this is based on a series of statements he made. However, I tend to think many inflect a kind of post-Christian mentality into these statement-- I see him speaking within both a Hindu tradition that accepts such manifestations as normal (seeing God constantly manifesting in the world, since God is the ultimate reality) and also within a Sufi tradition in which certain advanced souls reach a point where they simply cease to have an identity of their own and express only a reflection of the identity of Allah. References to this in Sufi tradition tend to point to people like Mansur al-Hallaj and Beyazid Bistami. Astaghfirullah if I have misinterpreted on this point, but in any case, he was the one who first taught me to love Allah by introducing me to a different way of religion. Secondly, he's the one from whom I first encountered Hafiz Shirazi and Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, so even if 90% of his community believe some clearly non-Islamic things about him, he was perhaps the most crucial link to Islam for me. As one friend of mine expressed it, "I don't know who he was, but he was definitely SOMEBODY!" and another said "I don't know what to make of some of these statements, but I love him anyway". His effect in my life has always been to remind me to love Allah, to recognize Allah's many revelations to different communities, to serve others, and to remember that none of our concepts and organizations-- even the names of religions-- can ever be bigger than Allah. All religions belong to Him, rather than Allah being the property of those who call themselves Christians or Muslims or whatever. Though Meher Baba (not to be confused with Sherif Baba, about whom I have often posted) was a Zoroastrian by birth and had disciples of all religions (including many Muslims) he has always been a guidepost to Islam in my life, even though he was not himself a Muslim in the usual sense. Baba expressed, from what I have been told, a particular love for Sufism as the path with which he felt closest., and if you read certain passages of him, he writes within a throroughly Sui point of view. So in any case, he was certainly one whoh knew a great deal about Sufism and his clearly brought many to read Sufi writers like Rumi. In particular, he had a special love for Hafiz Shirazi, whose tomb in Iran he had restored (in the 30's, I believe). Because of this particular connection with Hafiz (even to the point that on his deathbed, he asked for a board to be painted with a passage from the saint-- making Meher Baba's final message essential a quotation from a Sufi poet) the two most outstanding translations of Hafiz into English in recent times have both come from followers of Meher Baba. So, however one should correctly view Meher in the light of Islam, there is no question that he had a beautiful impact on the continuation of the message of one of the most beloved Sufi mystics, preserving his memory in Iran and making his words available to seekers in the West. Allah alone knows what to make of one like this-- but I wouldn't be saying that without Meher Baba.
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