Merwan Sheriar Irani, who became known around the world as Meher Baba, was born to Persian parents of Zoroastrian faith on February 25, 1894, in Poona, India. Before Merwan’s birth, His father Sheriar had wandered throughout the East, especially India, seeking God, until he was told in a vision that he would finally find God in his son.

Merwan Irani had a normal and active childhood. He attended a Jesuit Catholic high school in Poona and later attended Deccan College. While He was in college He was drawn to Hazrat Babajan, an ancient Mohammedan woman, one of the five Perfect Masters whose responsibility was to precipitate the descent of God in human form at the beginning of each Avataric Age. At the destined moment in 1913, She gave Him God-realization and awakened Him to His divine purpose as the Avatar of the Age.

While His mother worried about Merwan’s completing college and getting a job, Merwan remained absorbed in God-consciousness, and was drawn to the other four Perfect Masters, who helped Him to regain “normal” consciousness while remaining one with God.

In 1921, at the age of 25, Merwan Irani began His spiritual work and public life as He drew together His first disciples. It was one of these early mandali, (members of His circle) who gave Him the name Meher Baba, meaning “Compassionate Father.”

The early disciples were from all religions and all walks of life. To the caste-conscious society of India at the time, this mixing was innovative and challenging. Yet it became one of the milestones in Meher Baba’s training, where the focus was on the love for God, moral discipline, spiritual understanding, selfless service, and, at the same time, natural and honest behaviour. He explained. Life with Meher Baba was thus not one of rules and rituals, but of sincerity and dedication. Along with much hard work and much discipline, there was also time for games, relaxation, and great joy in the company of the Master.

In 1923, Meher Baba established a colony near the city of Ahmednagar and named it Meherabad. His work during this period included a free school, a free hospital, and shelters for the poor. From time to time He would initiate new programs or close down others, did not apparently seem rational. He would explain to His close disciples that it was impossible for them to fathom the magnitude of His work; but at the same time He often demonstrated to them how He would utilize some of the works going on in their community or in their travels as small working models that would greatly impact His universal work for the world.

On July 10, 1925, Meher Baba began observing silence, and did so for the remaining 44 years of His life. Many of His many discourses and messages were initially dictated by the use of an alphabet board, but eventually He communicated through a set of unique hand gestures that the mandali translated for Him, but which many reported as understandable even if they had never seen Him before. It was not uncommon for people to report being touched by Him in some very profound and personal way while in His presence or even from a distance.

Meher Baba travelled to the West thirteen times, and six times to the United States. In Love Personified, the photographic account of Meher Baba’s life, one can see a profound record of how He made everyone who hosted Him feel at home in His presence as He travelled, sowing seeds of love in hearts throughout the world. In 1952, 1956, and again during His last visit to the United States, in 1958, He and His mandali stayed at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. He called this His home in the West, and said, “I never leave.” It was during His visit to USA in 1952 that He had the first severe automobile accident and another in India after four years in 1956. He explained that these two accidents, one shattering the left side of His body, the other the right side, were a modern-day equivalent of Christ’s crucifixion, and that this gross exchange in His own body would result in the East and West finally being united and bring  "benefit to the whole world."

Meher Baba also travelled throughout India. In the early years He moved about incognito; in later years He gave many public darshan as He travelled. At these darshan programs, many thousands of people would come to see Him. Films taken at those programs attest to the deep, personal experience that people had even though they might be in His immediate presence for only a moment or two. Meher Baba’s work also included washing lepers, distributing food and clothing, and washing the feet of the poor.

One of the most important aspects of Meher Baba’s work through the years was His contact and work with thousands of spiritually advanced, “God-intoxicated” individuals known in India as masts. For the mandali who travelled with Him, it was a constant confirmation of Meher Baba’s divinity that the masts often recognized Him as God.

Meher Baba’s last years were primarily spent in seclusion in Meherazad as He gradually withdrew from physical contact and expanded His work within the heart of His lovers around the world. He has said that He is the “Ancient One,” the Avatar of the Age and He has come “Not to give, but to take away” the bindings of humankind’s “conditioned mind,” and to help humanity realize its true self which is God.

Before Meher Baba dropped His physical body on January 31 1969, He explained that this was not the end, but the beginning of the major part of His work.


Meher Baba said that Avatar descends on the earth after a cycle of 700 to 1400 years and brought down by five living Perfect Masters of that time to redeem the spirituality and lessen the suffering of the humanity as a whole. Avatar’s personality is one and the same who appears at different times in different names and acts and teaches according to the prevailing circumstance and level of understanding at that time. Avatar at did not advocate any religion or set to be formed in His name except general code of practice for spiritual benefit of the humanity. But it was on part of followers who formed a group and separated it as religion in the name of the Avatar. The essence of teachings of Avatars, at different time in different name though appears different but if interpreted in real sense are one and the same as explained by Avatar Meher Baba, the Avatar of present cycle. Meher Baba claimed to be one and the same in spiritual hierarchy of Avatar as named below.

  1. Zoroaster – (Parsee religion)
  2. Abhram- (Judaism religion)
  3. Ram- (Hindu religion)
  4. Krishna- (Hindu religion)
  5. Gautama Buddha- (Buddh religion)
  6. Jesus Christ- (Christian religion)
  7. Mohammad- (Mohammdan religion
  8. Meher Baba-  (No religion)

Meher Baba said, “I Belong to No religion, all religion belongs to Me” I will bring beads of all religions in one string”


Following is the spiritual hierchcy of Sadgurus and Meher Baba

Meher Baba


I-------------- I-------------- I---------------I-----------------I

Hazrat      Upasni        Sai           Tajuddin,       Narayan

Babajan   Maharaj      Baba         Baba             Maharaj


Jajari Zar Baksh


Nizamuddin Aulia of Delhi


Baba Faridi Gangesakkar


Kutubuddin Bhaktiyar Kaki (Afghanistan)


Mouddin Khwaja Sahib Christi (Ajmer)


Usman Harmani


One day, during 1915, an exceptional looking individual in his early twenties, accompanied by a friend, came to see Tajuddin Baba who was holding darshan at Vaki Sharif. As that handsome youth entered the room, Tajuddin stood up and their eyes met. No one in the crowd knew the hidden message or inner communication their glances conveyed. Tajuddin then approached the youth, and taking some roses in his hand, waved them like a wand mysteriously over the stranger’s head and face. After this, the stranger and his companion bowed to the Qutub and then left.

This young man was no stranger to Tajuddin Baba, however. He was the same youth kissed by Babajan and whom Narayan Maharaj had royally greeted. The young man indeed brought good news to Tajuddin that day — news that he was preparing to accept the spiritual charge from the Taj, assuming the crown of creation! Later this man was always referred to by Tajuddin as “the Heavenly Rose.” In return, that young man would always later refer to him as “Taj” — the Crown.


A little boy who was an orphan in the eyes of the world became a king of the universe. This boy was not Narayan — God — in name only, but truly became Narayan — Conscious God.

One afternoon, Merwan boarded a train. He had bought a ticket to Raichur in the south of India, but the sound of the Song — the divine voice within — compelled him to get off the train at the remote village of Kedgaon, just fifty kilometers from Poona. There he inquired as to the whereabouts of Narayan Maharaj’s ashram and walked seven miles from the railway station to the Sadguru’s headquarters. During his walk he became dazed.

Merwan crossed a small stream and entered the grounds through a large gate, passing by the temple dedicated to Dattatrey. He then inquired, “Where is Narayan Maharaj?”

“He is at his palace. Darshan is being held. Go, now, Narayan is giving his blessings,” a caretaker replied.

A large crowd was in the palace and Narayan Maharaj, wearing a gold crown, was seated on the silver throne of Dattatrey. Upon seeing Merwan, Narayan stopped the darshan and had all the people disperse. He came down from his throne and, taking Merwan by the hand, gently led him up a few steps to allow him to sit upon the throne. From his own shoulders Narayan removed a flower garland, 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, though what they conversed about is not known.

This was a time when our Age had the opportunity to observe one of the five Perfect Masters’ profound love for Merwan. If our Age knew how deep was the love of each Perfect Master for Merwan, its heart could not contain the joy — the bliss. Narayan Maharaj’s love for Merwan was truly something great and holy.


Only Sai Baba knew who he really was: “There was no one else like him. His value only God knew. His merit was such that if the whole world was put on one side and He on the other, He would be greater!”

Although his birth was normal, his life was not. The boy was born in a Hindu-Brahmin family of priests in the village of Satna, India, in the district of Nasik on May 15th, 1870. The boy hated school and barely managed to reach the third grade. He was a problem to his parents, but his grandfather liked him very much and taught him the Shastras (Brahmanic scriptures), which he learned with keen interest, although he despised his school lessons, as well as lessons from the temple priests.

Sadguru Narayan Maharaj was visiting Nagpur and Kashinath was very drawn to have his darshan. The program had not yet begun and many people were waiting in line. Kashinath joined them, but when darshan was about to begin Narayan Maharaj beckoned one of his disciples to bring Kashinath to him.

Kashinath fell at Narayan Maharaj’s feet. After he rose Narayan removed a garland from his neck and put it around Kashinath before the waiting congregation of thousands. Kashinath accepted the garland as a gift of Narayan’s grace, and then quietly slipped away from the crowd.

Had the Singer been found? Kashinath, however, had not seen His face. Kashinath had felt the Singer’s touch, but the echo of the Song became louder. It was years later that Sai Baba and Narayan Maharaj gave Upasni Maharaj the key and he became a Perfect Master.

It was during December, 1915, that the young Zoroastrian to whom Sai Baba had uttered “PARVARDIGAR,” wandered in a dazed state to the Khandoba temple. Upasni Maharaj had again been fasting and was reduced to a skeleton. He was naked sitting outside on the steps of the temple as the young man slowly walked forward with folded hands, Looking directly at him, Upasni picked up a stone, stood up and threw it at the young man, striking him on the forehead with such force that the wound bled.

Was Upasni Maharaj angry with this young man? No! His face had a sweet victorious smile and the young man’s bloody face did too? Smiles of victory were on both their faces.

Upasni revealed to the young man his own divine identity of being the Ancient One!


Sai Baba of Shirdi

“Allah is the protector of the poor. There is nothing besides Him. The name of Allah is All-in-all!”

Over the years thousands flocked to Sai Baba — many with material gain on their minds. Sometimes Sai Baba would ask people for all of their money and by the end of the day distribute it to the poor. Sai Baba once remarked about those who sought his blessing: “It is I who seek them out and bring them to me; they do not come by their own volition. Even though some may be hundreds of miles away, I draw them to me like sparrows with strings tied to their feet.”

Babajan often repeated to Merwan, “My son, the treasure which you seek and the key to that treasure are not with me! I am not the one to give it to you. The treasure is yours — it is for you alone — there is no doubt about that, the treasure is yours! But my son, you must have the key … You must take the key!”

Babajan would always speak about this in a cryptic fashion — it seemed unclear what she meant. Then one night she spoke in a very clear manner, “the treasure is yours to have now! The key is there; go to Shirdi, My son. There is a Sai — a holy one there. Go and see the Sai. See if he will give you the key now. Take the key from Sai!”

After a difficult journey to Shirdi, the villagers there refused to allow Merwan to see Sai Baba. Merwan spent the night under a tree and the following day Sai Baba sent for Merwan.

Sai Baba was then seventy-seven years old, white-bearded with a head of snow-white hair, dressed in a white kafni gown. Khodu who was with Merwan, 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 devotional and eagerly desires your darshan, holy one. Babajan, in Poona, has told us about you, Sai.”

The old fakir’s eyes were aflamed. “Oh, No!” Sai Baba suddenly cried. “No, I won’t … I won’t allow him to see me! I won’t let him come!” The old fakir’s eyes then gazed upon Khodu and he said, “Give me all your money, all of it!” Khodu did and then Sai Baba said, “Now go and tell your friend I won’t see Him, He cannot come to Me!”

Khodu left and reported to Merwan, who shook his head and said, “No!” Let us just wait. I must see him and I will.”

Later, Sai Baba was on his way after performing his lendi in a field with a large procession following, a band playing and the atmosphere very joyful though at the same time solemn with reverence. Contrary to what Khodu had said, Sai Baba now appeared to be in very good mood. As Sai Baba was about to pass him, Merwan stretched himself full length on the ground in front of his feet. Seeing him in the shashtang namaskar — bowing at full length to the Master’s feet — in a deep, deep voice as if rising from the very depths of the ocean, Sai Baba uttered one majestic word, the Mohammedan name for Lord Vishnu, “PARVARDIGAR!” — meaning GOD-THE-ALMIGHTY-SUSTAINER! Sai Baba’s eyes were lustrous with universes shining out of them as he conveyed this holy word! The old fakir’s lustrous eyes were sending a message to Merwan but to the ignorant, his word was inexplicable. For at the instant when Sai Baba had spoken, Merwan had become all powerful — Sai Baba had given him infinite power!AA


Meher Baba explained that the five greatest thieves of the world are the five living Perfect Masters of their time. They often steal the hearts of people, and periodically they also steal me and bring me down amongst you. Again and again I must become what I am, and each time is due to the five Perfect Masters. Wherever I may incarnate, (Persia, India, Israel or Arabia) at whatever time, it will always be due to those five.

I never come of My own wish. It is always the five Perfect Masters who bring Me down (into human form) in each Avataric period. Those five hold the key to all of creation which contains an infinite number of universes.

Man can become God and men who become God can become Perfect Masters. It is because of the five Perfect Masters that I appear on earth as a man. They fetch Me down, and I experience Myself as everything and so I tell you that I am God. I am everything

The state of God-Realization, Infinite Knowledge, Power and Bliss cannot be described. It can only be known to those who achieve that supreme experience of the conscious state of God. God-Realization is beyond the domain of the mind. The five Perfect Masters are the five Persons of their age who not only become God but, after achieving God-Realization, also come down to the ordinary normal consciousness of man. Thus they possess simultaneously God-Consciousness plus mental, subtle and gross consciousness. The world is never without the five Persons who are God-Conscious, who are Perfect Masters.

In spite of appearing as five different Persons, they are and always remain one God, as each one has exactly the same supreme experience of God-Consciousness. Nevertheless, in external relations with the world, each shows a different personality, with his or her own characteristic traits, nature, habits and ways of dealing with people.

All the five Perfect Masters, Babajan, Narayan Maharaj, Tajuddin Baba, Sai Baba and Upasani Maharaj put together mean Me — The Avatar.

All five of these Perfect Masters have brought me down, and all that I have become is due to these five. I am made of all the attributes of all five of these Masters, and my Avataric state comprises the five states of these five Perfect Masters. Therefore, the qualities of all five are in me. — Meher Baba

Meher Baba seldom mentioned the current five Perfect Masters on Earth (in the 1960s, he noted three were Hindu and two were Muslim), and later made it clear to the mandali that the five living Perfect Masters would not be in the limelight for at least one hundred years after He, the Avatar, dropped His body. It may be wise to conclude, therefore, that if anyone claims to be a Perfect Master within this span of time (1969 through 2069) he should be looked upon with considerable suspicion. In 1954, Meher Baba stated that as many as seventy-seven false Avatars or Messiahs would arise during His advent, which may imply that many will arise after He dropped the body in 1969, which has been observed to be the tragic case in both the East and West.

This statement may also refer to Meher Baba’s five Masters, who perfected Him. For example, Sai Baba of Shirdi has become world famous and now has a temple erected in His name in Florida. Sai Baba has become the most widely known Perfect Master on Earth, having several books written about Him not only in India and Pakistan, but also in Europe and North and South America. An Urdu biography of Tajuddin Baba is published in Pakistan. The Sadgurus Upasni Maharaj and Narayan Maharaj are also known to various Vedantic sects in Europe and America.