Merwan Sheriar Irani, known as Meher Baba, was born in Poona, India, on February 25, 1894, of Persian parents. His father, Sheriar Irani, was of Zoroastrian faith and a true seeker of God. Merwan went to a Christian high school in Poona and later attended Deccan College. In 1913 while still in college, Merwan experienced a momentous event . . . a meeting with Hazrat Babajan, an ancient Mohammedan woman and one of the five Perfect Masters of the Age. Babajan gave him God-Realization and made him aware of his high spiritual destiny.
Eventually, he was drawn to seek out another perfect master, Upasni Maharaj, a Hindu who lived in Sakori. During the next seven years, Maharaj gave Merwan “gnosis” or divine knowledge. Thus, Merwan attained spiritual perfection. His spiritual mission began in 1921 when he drew together his first close disciples. It was these early disciples who gave him the name Meher Baba, which means “Compassionate Father.”
After years of intensive training of his disciples, Meher Baba established a colony near Ahmednagar that is called Meherabad. Here, the Master’s work embraced a free school where spiritual training was stressed, a free hospital and dispensary, and shelters for the poor. No distinction was made between the high castes and the untouchables; all mingled in common fellowship through the inspiration of the Master. To his disciples at Meherabad, who were of different castes and creeds, he gave a training of moral discipline, love for God, spiritual understanding and selfless service.
Meher Baba told his disciples that from July 10, 1925 he would observe Silence. He maintained this Silence until the end of his life, January 31, 1969. His many spiritual discourses and messages were dictated by means of an alphabet board. Much later the Master discontinued the use of the board and reduced all communication to hand gestures unique in expressiveness and understandable to many.
Meher Baba traveled to America six times, first in 1931, when he contacted his early Western disciples. His last visit to America was in 1958 when he and his disciples stayed at the Center established for his work at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In India as many as one hundred thousand people have come in one day to seek his Darshan, or blessing; from all over the world there are those who journeyed to spend a few days, even a single day, in his presence.
An important part of Meher Baba’s work through the years was to contact and personally serve hundreds of those known in India as “masts.” These are advanced pilgrims on the spiritual path who have become spiritually intoxicated from direct awareness of God. For this work he traveled many thousands of miles to remote places throughout India and Ceylon. Other vital work was the washing of the lepers, the washing of the feet of thousands of poor, and the distribution of grain and cloth to the destitute.
Meher Baba asserts that he is the same Ancient One, come again to redeem humanity from the bondage of ignorance and to guide individuals to realize their true Self which is God. Meher Baba is acknowledged by his many followers all over the world as the Avatar of the Age.
This biography is posted on: http://www.sheriarbooks.org
In addition the same site is a great resource for Meher Baba material.
“Love has to spring spontaneously from within; it is in no way amenable to any form of inner or outer force. Love and coercion can never go together; but while love cannot be forced upon anyone, it can be awakened through love itself. Love is essentially self-communicative; those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. Those who receive love from others cannot be its recipients without giving a response that, in itself, is the nature of love. True love is unconquerable and irresistble. It goes on gathering power and spreading itself until eventually it transforms everyone it touches. Humanity will attain a new mode of being and life through the free and unhampered interplay of pure love from heart to heart.”
Excerpted form Discourses, ” The New Humanity.” The entire article can be seen here: http://pgoodnight.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/the-new-humanity-meher-baba/
The story of the meeting between Meher Baba and Mahatma Gandhi can be found at: http://www.ial.goldthread.com/Meher_Baba.html