Meher Baba’s Meeting with Mahatma Gandhi

This is an excerpt from an article, written by Stephen Sakellarios, relating many interesting stories concerning Meher Baba, particularly concerning his visits to the West. The entire article can be found at:  http://www.ial.goldthread.com/Meher_Baba.html

First trip to the West

In August of 1931, Meher Baba made his first of nine trips to the West. Baba often changed plans rapidly, and just before this trip, he inexplicably instructed the disciple making the arrangements to change the reservations from a ship that had already been booked, to the SS Rajputana. At that time, Mahatma Gandhi was considering attending a round table discussion in London regarding the independence of India (the decision hinging on the easing of conflicts between Hindus and Muslims), and at the last minute decided in favor of going and also happened to book passage on the Rajputana. Meher Baba had recently been the guest of the mayor of Karachi, Jamshed Mehta, who cabled Gandhi that Baba was on-board, recommending to contact him.

Gandhi sent word through his secretary, and the two met on September 8th in Baba’s cabin. Baba’s secretary recorded their conversation, and the transcript was later endorsed by both sides. Meher Baba related the narrative of his spiritual awakening, whereupon Gandhi remarked, “The divine truths that you have enunciated and your experiences are a regular feast which I would like to enjoy for hours.” They talked about matters of spiritual discipline like silence and fasting (Meher Baba having kept silence for six years at that point). Baba also allowed Gandhi to read some pages from a book he had written “explaining all the secrets of the (spiritual) Path”. Gandhi was the only person Baba ever showed this book to. Its whereabouts are not now known, except perhaps to whomever it was vouchsafed.(5)

The conversation then turned to Gandhi’s political work, which Baba advised him on at length.(6) The following exchange was recorded:

“India has suffered a great deal. Will she have to continue suffering?” asked Gandhi of Meher Baba.

Meher Baba replied, “The situation as I see it is that if the British refuse to give you what is wanted, full Dominion Status to India, you will have to return empty-handed and be forced to start civil disobedience in India again. Despite your insistence on a non-violent revolution, if the atmosphere does turn violent, it will be difficult to check the situation. You have in recent months evidenced incidents of violence all over India. If such violence continues the spiritual cause of India will suffer tremendously. As long as civil disobedience in India is non-violently carried out, matters will work out successfully, otherwise India will have to continue suffering. But India will gain by this suffering, not lose, because suffering will prepare India to be courageous. Remember all good results after suffering.

“India has always been a land of spirituality and if spiritual greatness is to be maintained, the energy of suffering must remain. In order for it to remain spiritually great, India must be prepared to suffer, but non-violently.”

These consultations continued for three consecutive nights. On the last night Gandhi expressed the desire to join Meher Baba, that he longed for God-Realization, and that “…if God ordained he should retire from politics, God would create such circumstance as to relieve him of all obligations and responsibilities for which he was committed.”(7)

During their talks, Gandhi mentioned that he had earlier met Upasni Maharaj, and had gotten a shocking reception–that master had told him, “So, you are a great man–what is that to me?” lifting the sackcloth he wore and showing Gandhi his private parts!(8) Gandhi, naturally, was taken aback and expressed to Baba that he could not accept Upasni Maharaj’s spiritual authority, even though he could feel Baba’s. Baba assured him that Upasni, as the master who helped Baba function again in the gross world after his Realization, was spiritually Perfect.

Mahatma Gandhi was not the only well-known religious figure who was aware of Baba and privately expressed respect for him. Mother Theresa was once interviewed by an Indian follower of Meher Baba. Having noticed that one of Baba’s messages was printed on the back of the interviewer’s card, she asked, “You are a lover of Meher Baba?” In Bengali, which Mother Theresa spoke fluently, the interviewer answered, “Yes, Avatar Meher Baba is the Living Christ.” After making sure she wasn’t being tape-recorded, Mother Theresa responded, “Meher Baba is a Christlike person.” The interviewer, feeling prompted inwardly, said “Mother, Baba is God.” Mother Theresa was silent for a few moments, and responded, “I am a Roman Catholic nun, governed by Vatican dictates, but I know this: Meher Baba started working on lepers, then we four became involved with lepers: myself, Baba Amte, Gandhiji (Mahatma Gandhi) and Albert Schweitzer. Following that work, the Government of India is now pursuing leprosy eradication, and the World Health Organization has a programme to wipe out the disease by the end of the century!” She then asked the interviewer not to divulge her comments while she was alive.(9)

5) Baba wrote this book under extremely austere conditions, and it appears to have either been something for posterity, to be released at a future date when mankind is ready for it, or (in my opinion) a part of what Baba called his “universal work” so that the writing of it had a direct impact on humanity, or perhaps both.

6) A spiritually perfect being can express perfection in any field, including an understanding of politics, whenever necessary. Don Stevens, a former vice-president of Standard Oil who worked professionally with many of the best business minds in the Western U.S., told me that he was surprised to find in discussions of business matters with Meher Baba, that Baba was equal or superior to the top people in this field as well.–SS

7) Glow International, Feb. 1991, pp. 11-12.

8) In effect, as I would interpret, helping him by dealing a blow to his “spiritual ego”, since Gandhi was popularly called “Mahatma”, and perhaps was developing creeping ideas of his own importance and how pure he was being, which is an ever-present danger to even advanced spiritual aspirants. One cannot put a genuine spiritual master in a “box” and expect only polite behavior from him, though this is not to be used as an excuse for the behavior of pretenders.

9) Glow International, November 1977, page 20.

From: A Tapestry of Meher Baba’s Connections with the West

by Steve S.

For more posts on Meher Baba see:   https://o-meditation.com/category/meher-baba/

To read more from Meher Baba see:   https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/meher-baba/


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