SPIRITUAL AWAKENING - Pt. 1
This web page / chapter, the first of many, will follow Merwan Irani's spiritual
introduction with Perfect Master Babajan in 1913,including his important
meetings with the other 4 Perfect
Later, his 7 years stay and guidance with Perfect Master Upasni Maharaj is covered in the following webpage "Spiritual Awakening : Pt.2 "
There is a dedicated folder on this website which features each of the Perfect Masters individually, where more information is available.
Click on images and maps to enlarge them, also click on the under-scored names to visit their web-pages.
CONTENT : 1. PERFECT MASTERS INTRODUCTION
2. MERWAN MEETS BABAJAN
3. MERWAN MEETS NARAYAN MAHARAJ
4. MERWAN MEETS TAJUDDIN BABA
5. MERWAN MEETS SAI BABA
6. MERWAN MEETS UPASNI MAHARAJ
1. PERFECT MASTERS INTRODUCTION
The 5 Perfect Masters of the Early 1900s
All images colourized by Anthony Zois. Click on image to see their respective names.
Click below on the Perfect Master to visit their respective web-page.
SAI BABA ( Shirdi )
Meher Baba said that there are eternally 5 Sadgurus ( Perfect Masters ) - 4 males & 1 female.
Meher Baba also said in 1924-6 that the 5 Perfect Masters at the time of his birth and childhood had drawn a veil over him ( Merwan ) for 19 years to hide his divinity and to protect him until the time was right. Then Babajan lifted the veil.
Once Merwan had completed his spiritual awakening with Babajan & Upasni Maharaj, he realized himself as Avatar and became known as Meher Baba. Within a short time all the Perfect Masters handed their keys of authority to him and the Avatar took control of everything.
[ see chart above ]
Meher Baba stated :
Perfect Master means - one who has himself reached the goal to which he directs others, one who, pointing to God, has himself realized God.
( a soul that has journeyed through all the different states of creation including the involution of a human being through all the different Spheres of the Planes until he/she reaches the 7th Plane where-upon they become God Realized ) .
Perfect Masters are only found on Earth and nowhere else .
They are free of sanskaras, they have no mental impressions.
Both the Avatar ( God-Man ) & Perfect Masters leave this world when they die.
There are also 56 Realized Souls in the world in every age. ( 56 denotes perfection )
The whole spiritual hierarchy consists of 7,000 members - saints and advanced souls.
In all the millions & millions of universes there are 18,000 planets with human life forms and millions of evolutionary life forms which are in a state of cosmic evolution.
Only on Earth does the process of involution occur and only on Earth do human beings experience the planes of spiritual consciousness.
In 1927, Meher Baba referred to Sai Baba as the 'King of the Perfect Masters' ( LM p.767 )
On 10th February 1954, Meher Baba declared publicly that he was the Avatar or ( God-Man ) of this age. One who comes from God as the Awakener. Descent of God into human form.
This present Avartaric cycle is of 700 years after which he will return again.
The following charts were directed by Meher Baba and were included in his book
"God Speaks" first published in 1955. There have been many re-printings of the book since then. In this book, Meher Baba explains the structure of the spiritual realm and various
journeys the soul traverses to reach God Realization. Many other topics are also mentioned.
( see the following link for more details ).
'God Speaks' is now available as a PDF from the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India.
MAP OF INDIA - SHOWING THE STATES WITHIN
Meherwan Jessawala talks about the 5 Perfect Masters.
MAP OF POONA - 1910
The story of Merwan S. Irani spiritual journey continues from the previous webpage.
Click here to visit that page -
2. MERWAN meets BABAJAN
Life was now totally empty except for one person: Hazrat Babajan. From that day in May 1913 onward ( when she embraces Merwan ) , for the next seven months the only thing Merwan did regularly was to visit Babajan every evening.
He longed to be in her company. For hours he would sit by the old woman's side — sometimes late into the night. They hardly spoke.
Nevertheless, every evening without fail Merwan would go to Babajan. He did not care about the remarks of people who shook their heads, clucked their tongues, and wondered, "Merwan was such a good boy — the son of respectable, devout Zoroastrian parents. What has happened to him to make him sit by that old woman every night?" His good name and admirable character were routinely slandered. But it did not concern him, for with that one embrace from Babajan, Merwan's life in illusion had ended and the merging of his life in divinity had begun.
Lord Meher On-line page 152-3
One night during January 1914, as Merwan was about to leave Babajan's company, he reverentially kissed his Master's hand. Babajan held Merwan's face in her hands and looked deeply into his large brown eyes with an expression of the profoundest love. The time had come. With her divine authority, she kissed him on the forehead.
Turning to her followers nearby, Babajan pointed at Merwan and declared, "My beloved son will one day shake the world and all of humanity will be benefited by him."
Merwan just stood there, for as soon as Babajan had kissed him, he became insensible. Mechanically, he began to retrace his steps back home. His dazed mind had no conception of his surroundings; his body was moving, but he was unaware of what he was doing or where he was going. In this state of near oblivion, he reached home about eleven o'clock and went straight to his room and lay on his bed.
Lord Meher On-line page 153
Flooded with light, he felt as if millions of watts of electric current were speeding through his body, dissolving his flesh and bones. He had no body; his being now consisted of electricity. His body had transmuted into light!
The veil that the five Perfect Masters had drawn over Merwan had been torn away by Babajan's kiss. "Merwan" was gone; he found himself being drowned and absorbed by the Infinitude of God. He was given the infinite consciousness of being God but, in turn, he lost his awareness of time and space, of his body and mind, and of the world and the gross plane. He had only the conscious, continual experience of "I Am God ... I Am God ... I Am God." Nothing else existed for him.
**Merwan laid unconscious for 3 days after being kissed by Babajan.
In the following nine months, Merwan lived without sleep. His eyes became glassy, and a vacant stare remained the fixed expression on his once-animated face. If he sat, he would sit for hours without moving — seemingly staring into empty space. If he paced about the house, he would keep it up until someone could not stand it any longer and stopped him.
On one very hot day, Merwan slipped out of the house and started walking toward the river. He reached Bund Gardens, but, without stopping there, he turned around and hurried toward home again.
After going some distance, he again turned around and headed back toward Bund Gardens. When he reached the park, he quickly changed direction again and walked toward home. He did this three times, walking fifteen miles in the blazing afternoon sun. He had walked so fast that it would have exhausted an ordinary man, yet he did not seem affected by it.
During this period Merwan would often slip out of the house to visit Babajan for
very long periods.
At some time after July 1914, he and his larger family moved back again into
Bhopla House ( Pumpkin House ) at 816 Butler Mohalla
after almost 20 years.
Merwan's brother Adi was born on the 10th July.
Hazrat Babajan's Dargah & Char Bawdi area, Pune
Refer to larger previous maps to see the location within Poona.
1914 - 2nd Half
Merwan went to a village south of Poona called Kondwa ( now a suburb of Pune ) where there was a Parsi Tower of Silence, here he laid down under a tree for 3 days, he had no food or sleep.
Later Merwan's parents sent him to stay with his brother Jamshed who was renting a house opposite the Zoological Gardens, known as Victoria Gardens in the Parel district of Bombay for 2 months.
Whilst Jamshed went to work, Merwan would leave in the morning for Chowpatty District to the shoreline, watching the waves for hours then back to Victoria Gardens in the afternoon always sitting on the same bench until Jamshed returned home.
LM V1 p.203 & God-Man
BOMBAY ( MUMBAI ) MAPS
ZOOLOGICAL & VICTORIA GARDENS, BOMBAY 1900s
When Merwan returned to Poona in November
1914, he was looking more 'normal' and eating a little better, but giving most of his food to the dogs. Merwan had
moved back into Pumpkin House and his room was called "Chor Mal" - the "Thief's Den".
( see image below )
Merwan's family were starting to feel relieved that Merwan was acting normal again.
Late November - December 1914
Merwan would continue to visit his brother in Bombay going with his friend Baily most weekends.
They would board the afternoon train from Poona on Saturday and reach Bombay at 7:00 P.M. Jamshed would meet them at the Byculla railway station.
After the 3 of them enjoying the sights of Bombay, they caught the night train the same day we would reach home early the next morning.
LM V1 p.204 & Lord Meher On-line page 153
MERWAN & JAMSHED JAMSHED BAILY
BYCULLA RAILWAY STATION, BOMBAY ( MUMBAI )
December 1914 - early January 1915
One day, Merwan suddenly wanted to visit Udw(v)ada in Gujarat State with his brother Jamshed and 5 friends - Baily ( Behli Jehangir Irani ), Khodu ( Khodadad Shirzad Irani - later 'Sailor-mama' ), Behramji ( H. Faredoon Irani ), Faredoon (?) & Lattoos ( Kaikhushru Irani ). The group travelled by train from Poona which took about 6 hours to arrive.
BAILY KHODU BEHERAMJI LATTOOS
Udvada is north along the coast from Bombay / Mumbai ( 242 kms / 150 miles ) & 177 kms / 110 miles from Poona / Pune. It is also 24 kms / 15 miles south of Valsad city.
The place that Merwan wanted to visit in Udvada was the Parsi Fire Temple called " Atash Behram ".
This is where the flame from Persia / Iran first came probably in the late 14th century and was deemed by the local Parsi
communities as a pilgrimage site.
The group stayed for 3 days - going each morning for prayers, followed by walks along the beach in the afternoons. Merwan paid for everyone's expenses including food and drinks ( not strong alcohol ).
They then travelled by train to Navsari, Surat and Broach (
now called Bharuch )
- staying for 2 days in each town. ( see maps under Udvada )
BROACH ( BHARUCH ), GUJARAT
Because of Baily's insistence to drink whisky and other conflicts, Merwan decided all to return to Bombay. Once they arrived they stayed at Panday's Dharmashala ( rest house ).
( It's not known where exactly this place was located in Bombay )
Baily agreed to Merwan that he'll behave, so all the group went for a day's excursion to Gharapuri Caves on Elephanta Island some 3 miles / 5 kms across the bay from Bombay.
After this visit the Merwan and the other men returned to their homes in Poona.
Under duress from Merwan's mother - Shireen, Merwan agreed to tutor Beheramji in Persian daily in his room and within months Beheramji was quite literate reading Hafiz poetry.
The two became close, Merwan discussing spiritual matters and travelling days at a time together on pilgrimage in search of saints.
In April 1915, Merwan told Beheramji, "I am going away on a long and arduous journey. I may not be back for a long time. I have decided to lead a life of fakiri [renunciation and ascetic austerities]. You may not hear from me for a long time, but if I should write you to come to me, you should immediately join me wherever I am."
Beheramji was taken aback, because he wished to accompany Merwan wherever he was going. Disappointed, but influenced by what Merwan had revealed to him about spirituality, Beheramji promised.
Lord Meher on-line p.164 / Vol.1 p.209.
3. MERWAN meets NARAYAN MAHARAJ
That same night, Merwan boarded a train. He had bought a ticket to Raichur in the south of India, but the echo of the Song — the divine voice within — compelled him to get off the train at the remote village of Kedgaon, just 30 miles / 54 kms from Poona. There he inquired as to the whereabouts of Narayan Maharaj's ashram and walked the 7 miles / 11 kms from the railway station to the Sadguru's headquarters.
Merwan crossed a small stream and entered the grounds through a large gate, passing by the temple dedicated to Dattatrey.
He inquired, "Where is Narayan Maharaj?"
"He is at his palace," a caretaker replied. "Darshan is being held. Go! Narayan is giving his blessings."
A large crowd was in the palace and Narayan Maharaj, wearing a gold crown, was seated on his gaadi (lounge seat). Upon seeing Merwan, Narayan immediately stopped the darshan and had his devotees disperse. He came down from his seat and, taking Merwan by the hand, gently led him up a few steps and motioned for him to sit upon his gaadi. Narayan removed a flower garland from his own shoulders, placed it around Merwan's neck, and called for mango juice, which was given to Merwan to drink. Merwan and Narayan then talked together for a while (although what they conversed about is not known).
Narayan Maharaj then granted Merwan permission to leave. Merwan walked back to the station and, finding a train about to leave, boarded it and was back in Poona in less than 24 hours.
Upon seeing him, Behramji was surprised, for he had not expected to see his friend again for several months.
Lord Meher on-line p.165-6 / Vol.1 p.210
After a few days, Merwan wanted to visited other great saints, with Beheramji.
Lattoos and Baily accompanying him to Bombay first, there they met Tipu(oo)
Baba, a God-intoxicated mast of a high order (the sixth plane) and was the spiritual chargeman of Bombay. ( died 1944 ).
His master was a Perfect Master called Andul Rehman, before Merwan was born, also the spiritual chargeman of Bombay prior.
( There is no image of Andul Rehman & d. circa 27 December 1916.).
Umar Baba succeeded Tipu Baba, whom Meher Baba met. There is no image of Umar Baba.
More information on Tipu Baba & Andul Rehman can be found on the following link :
After taking Tipu Baba's darshan, Merwan and his companions left Bombay the same night for Aurangabad — famous for the Ellora Caves and the tombs of many saints. There they met a majzoob of the seventh plane named Bane Miyan Baba, who was considered a great saint by the local people and who had a close connection with Sai Baba of Shirdi. It was Sai Baba who had given God-realization to Bane Miyan Baba and stationed him in Aurangabad.
Lord Meher on-line p.165 / Vol.1 p.213
The present train route from Bombay [ Dadar ] (Mumbai) to Aurangabad is 225 miles / 362 kms. & takes 6-7 hours.
There is a bus & taxi service from Aurangabad to Ellora only.
SAINT BANNE MIYAN BABA
4. MERWAN meets TAJUDDIN BABA
Merwan sent Lattoos and Baily back to Poona and then took a train to Nagpur with Behramji (via a circuitous / roundabout route) to meet the third Perfect Master of the age — Tajuddin Baba. At Nagpur, they inquired of Tajuddin Baba's whereabouts and were informed that they should take a tonga to the town of (V)Waki Shariff, some 21 miles / 34 kms away, where they would find Tajuddin.
** The road distance between Nagpur R.S. & Patansaongi is
17miles / 27 kms. The distance from Patansaongi to Tajuddin's Waki Dargah is a further 4miles / 7 kms.
Merwan and Beheramji returned to the railway station by horse-drawn tonga the same day and returned to Poona.
From Nagpur railway station they took a horse-drawn tonga to meet Tajauddin at his residence and they soon learnt from others that he was in a very foul mood with his devotees.
Merwan looked at the person and then smiled knowingly. "He is waiting for me," Merwan stated. "Tajuddin has been waiting for me to arrive." Merwan and Behramji walked through the grounds to where Tajuddin Baba was seated. Tajuddin, a balding, grey-haired man, was dressed simply. Merwan took the lead as they approached the Qutub, who was seated with a few flowers in his lap.
To everyone's surprise, Tajuddin Baba became silent, stood up and started walking toward Merwan. Their eyes met and their gaze locked. Who knows what divine inner messages were exchanged? Tajuddin presented Merwan with the flowers and rubbed his head affectionately, as a father would his son. No words were spoken.
Tajuddin seemed overcome with happiness as he gazed upon Merwan. Silently, in the stillness of the crowd, Merwan and Behramji slipped away, went straight back to the train station, and boarded the first train back to Poona. None knew what had happened between Tajuddin and the young Irani from Poona. Merwan had received his crown!
Merwan and Beheramji returned to the railway station by horse-drawn tonga the same day and returned to Poona.
Lord Meher on-line p.166
5. MERWAN meets SAI BABA
After a few months, Babajan began repeating to Merwan, "My son, the treasure which you seek and the key to that treasure are not with me. I cannot give it to you. The treasure is yours — it is for you alone — there is no doubt about that! But, you must have the key!"
Merwan had resumed his friendship with Khodu R. Irani who also attended Poona Camp School, after his last trip to Tajuddin Baba. Khodu was married to Naja.
Babajan would always speak about this in a cryptic fashion. Then, late one night, she spoke in a very clear manner, "The treasure is yours to have now; the key is there. Go to Shirdi. There is a Sai [a holy one] there. Go see the Sai. See if he will give you the key."
One day Merwan told Khodu, "For the past several months, I have had a terrible pain in my stomach and it won't go away. I don't know what to do about it."
Khodu had heard of the miracles surrounding Sai Baba and, remembering what Babajan had recently told Merwan, said, "My friend, if you come with me to Sai Baba, perhaps your pain will disappear. I have heard that he has cured every type of affliction; miracles are an everyday occurrence at Shirdi. Let's go meet this holy man."
Lord Meher on-line p.168 / V.1 p.217
A few days later, Merwan and Khodu travelled by train mostly, to Shirdi from Poona.
The train route from Poona went west to Dhond, then northwards to Ahmednagar. They travelled further along to Kopargaon railway station which is the nearest to Shirdi near the rail junction at Manmad.
The total rail distance is 170 miles / 274 kms.
The distance between Kopargaon railway station and Sai Baba's temple in Shirdi is 11 miles / 18 kms.
When they reached the village of Shirdi, they encountered a roadblock of stick-wielding villagers, who informed them that Sai Baba was in a foul temper and had stopped giving darshan.
"We have come to see Sai Baba," said Khodu. "Let us pass."
"You cannot see Sai Baba," the villagers informed them. "No one can see him. He has given instructions that no one should come for his darshan today. Go back from where you came."
Khodu pleaded, "We have come all the way from Poona. We must meet Sai Baba. Please understand."
The villagers refused to listen to Khodu's pleads, saying, "We must obey our Master's instructions. We cannot allow anyone to pass."
Khodu turned to Merwan and said, "It looks like we will have to go back."
Lord Meher on-line p.168 / V.1 p.218
But Merwan preferred to wait and sat down under a tree. "You can go back, if you like," he told Khodu, "but I have come to see the Sai and I will." They spent the night under the tree in spite of the warnings of the villagers. It was wintertime and Khodu shivered in the bitter cold.
The next morning, they awakened and had hot tea at a nearby vendor, but there was no word from Sai Baba, and the villagers still refused to let them pass. In the afternoon, word came. "Sai Baba is calling you two to his mosque," the villagers said. "But he is still in a bad mood," they warned. "Be careful."
Sai Baba's Dwarkamai Masjid in Shirdi
Sai Baba was then 77 years old. Dressed in a white kafni, he had a white beard and a head of snow-white hair. He was seated in his mosque (Dwarkamai Masjid) and, pointing to Khodu, said, "I want to see that fellow only."
Khodu nervously walked up and bowed at Sai Baba's feet, and when he did, the old fakir slapped him on the back so hard that it knocked the breath out of him. Khodu was startled, and then Sai Baba inquired, "Who is your friend? What does he want?"
"His name is Merwan ... Merwan Sheriar Irani. He is very devout and eagerly desires your darshan, holy one. Hazrat Babajan of Poona has told us about you."
"No, I won't allow him to come!" Sai Baba said.
Looking at Khodu, he continued, "Give me all your money!" Khodu did and then Sai Baba told him to leave.
Khodu left and reported to Merwan, who shook his head and said, "Let us just wait. I must see him and I will."
Later, Sai Baba appeared to have a good mood, as he was about to walk pass them, Merwan prostrated himself on the ground in front of Sai Baba's feet.
Seeing Merwan lying before him on the ground, Sai Baba uttered the one word : "PARVARDIGAR ! "
After Merwan had risen, he and Khodu slowly walked away.
As the proclamation of "Parvardigar!" fell twice more from Sai Baba's lips.
Lord Meher on-line p.168-9 / V.1 p.217-8
6. MERWAN meets UPASNI MAHARAJ
Merwan felt drawn to visit an old Hindu temple on the outskirts of the village, where they were informed Sai Baba's chief disciple was staying. It was the Khandoba Temple where Upasni Maharaj lived some 3 miles / 5 kms away.
Upasni was seated on its steps, naked and virtually as thin as a skeleton. As Merwan approached, Upasni picked up a stone, stood up, and threw it with all his strength at Merwan, striking him on the forehead exactly on the spot where Babajan had kissed him. The force of that holy blow was so strong it drew blood and left a permanent scar on Merwan's forehead.
Lord Meher on-line p.170 / V1 p.218
Merwan regained gross consciousness for the first time in about 2 years.
Meher Baba later stated that the striking of the stone to his forehead made him know that he was the Ancient One.
Upasni Maharaj lived at Khandoba Temple for 4 years & when he met Merwan he was under the guidance of Sai Baba.
The reference books that were used on this webpage :
Lord Meher Vol.1 - Bhau Kalchuri
The Perfect Master - Charles B. Purdom
The God-Man - Charles B. Purdom
The Joyous Path - Heather Nadel
Lord Meher on-line - David Fenster
LINKS TO THE OTHER PAGES OF MEHER BABA'S LIFE
Click on the following buttons to visit those webpages.
Note : Only the first 2 webpages are completed.