Meher Baba (February 25, 1894, Merwan Sheriar Irani – January 31, 1969), was an Indian mystic and spiritual master who publicly declared in 1954 that he was the Avatar of the age. He led a normal childhood, showing no particular inclination toward spiritual matters, until the age of 19, when a short contact with the Muslim holy woman Hazrat Babajan triggered a seven-year process of spiritual transformation. Over the next months he contacted four additional spiritual figures whom, along with Babajan, he called “the five perfect masters.” He spent seven years in spiritual training with one of them, Upasni Maharaj, before beginning his public work. The name Meher Baba means “Compassionate Father” and was given to him by his first followers …
. . . From 1925 to the end of his life, Meher Baba maintained silence, and communicated by means of an alphabet board or by unique hand gestures. With his mandali (‘circle’ of disciples), he spent long periods in seclusion, often fasting, but he would intersperse these periods with wide-ranging travels, public gatherings, and works of charity, including working with lepers, the poor, and the mad.
In 1931 he made the first of many visits to the West, gathering many followers. Throughout most of the 1940s he worked with an enigmatic type of people that he said were advanced souls and which he termed masts. Starting in 1949, along with selected mandali, he traveled incognito about India in what he called “The New Life.” On February 10, 1954, Meher Baba declared that he was the Avatar (an incarnation of God).
After suffering as a passenger in two automobile accidents, one in the United States in 1952 and one in India in 1956, his capacity to walk became seriously limited. In 1962 he invited his western followers to India for a mass darshan called The East-West Gathering. Concerned by an increasing use of LSD and other psychedelic drugs, in 1966 Meher Baba addressed their use and discredited any alleged spiritual benefits. Despite deteriorating health, he continued his “universal work,” which included fasting, seclusion, and meditation, until he died on January 31, 1969. His samadhi (tomb-shrine) in Meherabad, India has become a place of international pilgrimage.
(For more information please visit Wikipedia webpage on Meher Baba)