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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2521

15-minute silence marks Meher Baba's Amartithi at his tomb shrine

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

Meherabad (Ahmednagar), India, 01 February ( The contrast is difficult to miss, more than 30 thousand followers of Meher Baba have assembled at the His tomb shrine on a low lying hillock here. They have come from all over the globe, from Argentina to New Zealand, United States to Britain and Russia and from Iran and Pakistan to China and Japan. For them, January 31 is an important day. It marks the 40th anniversary of the day Meher Baba dropped his body and the body was interned in the crypt at the tomb. And exactly at 12 noon, almost all of them without an exception stopped talking, singing and bhajans. Wherever they were at the appointed hour, they quietly slipped into silence. For full 15-minutes as a mark of their respect to their Master, who had observed silence and spoke through silence for years!Meher Baba, 'I am not this body, I am beyond it. For the good of the world I have suffered infinitely and sacrificed my body… I have worshipped the world and especially My lovers and in worship I have left this body'.Meher Baba, 'I am not this body, I am beyond it. For the good of the world I have suffered infinitely and sacrificed my body… I have worshipped the world and especially My lovers and in worship I have left this body'.

Post-Mumbai attacks, India has become paranoid of security. Yet here at Meherabad security is virtually invisible if there is any. There are no handheld metal detectors and metal detector door frames at the entrance to the tomb or anywhere on the hill.

"With divine love overflowing, police have a minimal role", remarked a long time visitor to the place. A small police picket is seen in a corner of the hill but going by the 'mood' their task is basic policing namely preventing thefts since pilgrims leave their tents to roam freely on the Meherabad hill till their turn comes for entering the 'tomb'.

Volunteers are everywhere. They don't appear to know even the rudiments of crowd management. Their given task is regulation of pilgrims progress through a serpentine line that passes through two isolation chambers and some six –seven long rows segregated by bamboo polls tied together with nylon nets.

At a distance from the tomb shrine, music and bhajans sessions are in progress since Friday, January 30. But at the tomb and inside the tomb, there is absolute silence befitting the 'Silent' Avatar, who observed silence for 44 –years - 10th July 1925 to 31st January 1969 – the day He dropped His body.

Said Meher Baba, 'I am not this body, I am beyond it. For the good of the world I have suffered infinitely and sacrificed my body… I have worshipped the world and especially My lovers and in worship I have left this body'.

I asked many 'people' in Meherabad 'If Meher Baba is God and Avatar, why the place is not on a big draw with spiritual seekers'.

Everyone I put the question gave me an identical reply. Every one quoted what Meher Baba had reportedly said in 1958. Taking round the Meherabad hill a group of his devotees, who had come to spend some time with Him, Meher Baba said, 'Meherabad would become an important place of great privilege and pilgrimage after 70 years'.

His devotees appear absolutely convinced that the 'appointed day' is not too far away.

'You see, the period (of 70-years) is not yet over. Today only 50-years have passed. So we will have to wait for a while more. Anyhow already we can see a surge in pilgrim arrivals year after year', said a long time devotee, who said, he has seen firsthand how the crowds have increased in strength since 1969.

Another thing strikes a visitor to the Amartithi celebrations is absence of discourses by 'senior' devotees. In fact the managers of the Meherabad and organisers of the celebrations enjoy no special privileges in matters of visiting the tomb shrine. 'Even on normal days and on these special days', said Jal Dastoor, a trustee himself. The arrangements for the Amartithi are his show, in a manner of speaking. I have seen him a day before the celebrations began standing in the line waiting for his turn.

The only speech heard on the occasion was of Bhau Kalchuri, who lived with Meher Baba and wrote a 20-volume biography, 'Lord Meher'. In his capacity as the Chairman of Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, he only gave a welcome address. And spoke briefly what the Trust has been doing.

Bhau began saying "Amartithi is also a very sacred time for those who say, 'We just follow our Jesus Christ', and others who say, 'We are Muslims, who follow Hazrat Mohammed', or 'We are Buddhist,' and for all those who follow different religions and different sects'.

And said 'My salutation is to you all, for everyone, because I find God Alone exists and no-one else exists beside God. And He is One and the same and there is no difference. He is the one who has no beginning and no end and will remain there for all time. And therefore, those who have come and those who have not come, for them also our salutations are there, without any distinction.

Touching upon the theme of Oneness with the Creator, Bhau observed, 'Unless and until the mind is annihilated, we cannot experience Oneness. So it goes on and on and different sects, different religions, we find in the world. But the Ancient One does not find any difference. He is always One. He is that first One who realized Himself, and He found that "I am that One who always Is and everyone and everything is existing in non-existence." It will go on and on, because everyone has to find the way to become One'.

He went on to add: 'The duty of everyone is to become One, through annihilation of the mind. And the way, Beloved Avatar Meher Baba has presented to everyone. Not in words, but after annihilation of mind, after achieving Nirvana, immediately, whether you want or don't want it, you get that state of "I am God, I alone exist." The journey is complete'.

Observing that those who have come in contact of 'the Highest of the High, Meher Baba' are fortunate, Bhau Kalchuri said 'when you have bowed down to Him, know well that you have achieved one step of many steps to reach the final stage of annihilation of mind, or you can say "Nirvana." When Nirvana is achieved, mind is annihilated. In the next moment, "Nirvikalp," and you know that I am God'.

Elaborating further, Bhau said 'let us go to Him who is lying in His Samadhi. He is asking something from everyone, and what is that something? That something is the dirt of duality. So whatever dirt we have collected, He wants that dirt! And then if you give that dirt, what He will give you? He will not give you anything, but He will show the way to go to Him: by putting some dirt in His hand. He has come and He always comes, but what does He collect? All of our dirt, and makes us on the way towards Him. And if you succeed in doing this, you will find, "Zoroaster, Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and Meher Baba, they are just One!" Let us try and try and become the dust of His feet. That dust becomes very, very valuable. It contains all the dirt of duality. So how great our Beloved is! We give Him dust and He gives us purity and feels happy to collect it. So we should say, wholeheartedly, Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!'

-Asian Tribune -

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