Meher Asramam Temple of Silence
NEW NO: 7, (OLD NO: 3), BRAHMIN STREET, SAIDAPET, CHENNAI - 600 015
The following two message were given by Avatar Meher Baba and have a bearing on his Meher Asramam which was inaugurated by Him on 1st March 1930 during the First Visit to Saidapet, Chennai (then Madras).
Message given on 29.01.1933
The ASHRAMS which I have opened in Devonshire, New York, Nasik, Ahmednagar and Madras (now Chennai) are open to all.
Message given on 9.5.1940
I want to open 12 CENTRES throughout India before I speak. Of this 6 have already been established at Meherabad, Nadik, Toka, MADRAS, Byramangala and Mandla. For the remaining 6, different place in India are still to be selected.
AVATAR MEHER BABA
(Brief Life sketch)
"When mankind becomes completely deaf to the Thunder of His Silence, God incarnates as Man".
"Age after age, when the wick of righteousness burns low, the Avatar comes yet once again to rekindle the Torch of Love and Truth".
Merwan Sheriar Irani, popularly known as Avatar Meher Baba (meaning Compassionate Father) was born in Poona on 25th February 1894 to Persian Parents of Zoroastrian faith. He was drawn to the Five Perfect Masters of the Age-Hazrat Babajan of Poona, Sadguru Narayan Maharaj of Kedgaon, Hazrat Tajuddin Baba of Nagpur, Hazrat Saibaba of Shirdi and Sadguru Upasani Maharaj of Sakori.
In 1913 - 14 Merwan met Hazrat Babajan of Poona who made Him aware of His "I am God State" by implanting Her Divine Kiss on His forehead and she declared that the whole of humanity will be benefited by Him.
In 1915 when Merwan met Sadguru Narayan Maharaj at Kedgaon, he garlanded Him and made Him sit on his throne. Later in the year Merwan met Hazrat Tajuddin Baba at Nagpur who caressed Him and remarked "My Heavenly Rose".
In December 1915 Merwan went to Shirdi to meet Hazrat Saibaba, who, on seeing Him, uttered loudly "O Parvardigar' (meaning God Almighty, The Sustainer) in a deep voice three times and inwardly directed Him to Sadguru Upasani Maharaj.
Thereafter Merwan met Sadguru Upasani Maharaj at nearby Khandoba Temple. Maharaj flung a stone, which hit Merwan at the same spot on the forehead where Babajan had kissed Him. Later he proclaimed Merwan as the Avatar of the Age.
Avatar Meher Baba began His Spiritual Mission in 1922 at Poona and disciples were readily drawn to Him. In January 1925, He decided to settle down in a place near Arangaon, a village six miles from Ahmednagar and people started calling the place Meherabad. His work in the initial period embraced running Free School, Free Hospital and Dispensary and Ashram for God - intoxicated souls.
From 10th July 1925 Avatar Meher Baba observed complete silence and maintained it for 44 years till He dropped His body on 31st January 1969. His Messages and all works published under His name and discourses were dictated by means of an English Alphabet Board and recorded by His close followers. After 7th October 1954 even the alphabet board was abandoned and He communicated only by gestures which were interpreted by His disciples.
Avatar Meher Baba made thirteen visits to the West (U.K., Europe, U.S.A. and Australia). The first visit was in 1931 and last was in 1958. He traveled extensively throughout India and gave His Personal Touch to the thousands who flocked to Him during Public Darshan Programmes and thus elevated their consciousness.
An important part of Avatar Meher Baba's work was to personally contact "Masts" - advanced pilgrims on the spiritual path who became God intoxicated from the direct awareness of God. He gave them a Spiritual Push in their journey to God. This Phase of His work was unique to this Avataric Advent.
His work during these journeys even to the remotest parts of India and covered by train, bus, car, bullock cart and on foot, included also the care of lepers, washing the feet of thousand of poor and giving them grain, cloth or money.
Avatar Meher Baba declared:
I have not come to establish any cult, society or organization: nor even to establish a new religion. The religion that I shall give teaches the knowledge of the one behind the many. The book that I shall make people read is the book of the heart that holds the key to the mystery of life. I shall bring about a happy blending of the head and the heart. I shall revitalize all religions and cults and bring them together like beads on one string".
His most frequent words to people were:
"Love God whole-heartedly. Don't worry. Be Happy".
And He demonstrated in Himself and encouraged in others this ever-present Selfless Love as the most natural theme of everyday life.
Avatar Meher Baba dropped His Body on 31st January 1969 and the Holy Tomb-Shrine of the Avatar is at Meherabad, 8kms from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, on Dhond-Manmad Railway line and is a Sacred Place of Pilgrimage of His followers all over the world.
MEHER ASRAMAM - TEMPLE OF SILENCE
3. BRAHIM, STREET, SAIDAPET, CHENNAI - 600 015.
Avatar Meher Baba Declared.
"Whenever I visit a place and stay there, for however short a time, its spiritual atmosphere is greatly elevated".
Meher Asramam is a Temple, which was inaugurated by Avatar Meher Baba when he visited Chennai (then Madras) in March 1930 and He gave Darshan at this place during His 3 days stay on March 1,2, &3. He also planted a Peepul Tree in Commemoration of His visit.
In February 1934, Avatar Meher Baba condescended to make a Second Visit to this place and gave Darshan on Feb 17, 18 & 19. Baba lovers at Madras had also the rare privilege and Blessings of celebrating His 40th Birthday in His presence on February 18th 1934. (?)
In April 1947, Avatar Meher Baba was pleased to visit this place again for the Third Time and gave Darshan on April 2,3,4 & 5 1947, sitting on a raised platform under the Peepul Tree He had planted in March 1930.
Part of His farewell Message provides the guidelines for the important of this place which He inaugurated in March 1930 and is sanctified by His Divine presence.
"I am always with you, still I have been very happy for these few days you have been with Me. You may fee that I am going away but you should never find I have gone away. It is for you to hold on to Me now and for ever.
"On My part I and My Love will never leave you here or hereafter."
"May you be aware of it deeper and deeper from day to day. My blessing to you all".
During Avatar Meher Baba's 3 visits to Saidapet, Madras in March 1930, February 1934 (?) and April 1947. He stayed for a total of 10 days at the residence of His disciple Mr. C.V. Sampath Iyengar (Madras Judicial Service), at Meher Bhavan, 26, Brahmin Street, Saidapet, Madras, lying just opposite to Meher Asramam and sanctified this place also by His Divine Presence and Grace.
Meher Asramam - Temple of Silence is a Unique place inaugurated by Avatar Meher Baba and dedicated to Him. The sacred place offers a rare opportunity to observe SILENCE as a mode of worship as Avatar Meher Baba's SILENCE is the keynote to this place. As per His exhortation the SPIRITUAL ATMOSPHERE OF MEHER ASRAMAM is greatly elevated due to His stay in the place for a total period of 10 days in 1930, 1934 & 1947.
From the authentic records, valuable information is available for Baba lovers about His 3 visits to Madras and activities of Meher Asramam and Meher League and Publication of Meher Gazette during the early periods (1930-38).
Even before the above 3 Public Darshan Programmes, Baba arrived at Madras on 3rd Auguest 1924 by Train and stayed at Sheik Siddique Choultry Rest House near Madras Central Station on 5th August. He left for Nilgiris and returned to Madras on 8th August and there after left by Train for Calcutta on the night of 9th August 1924.
Mr. C.V. Sampath Iyengar (Madras Judicial Service) who was one of the earliest disciples of Baba from Madras and other devotees were earnestly requesting Him to visit Madras and He condescended to Grace Saidapet, Madras, with His holy presence on 1st March 1930.
Mr. C.V. Sampath Iyengar had also bequeathed his property No: 3, Brahmin Street, Saidapet, Madras for Baba's cause and requested Meher Baba to open it as "Meher Asramam" during His visit so that it could be a center for propagating Baba's teachings of Love and Universal Brotherhood.
Avatar Meher Baba's First Visit to Saidapet Madras (1st to 3rd March 1930)
At the end of Febraury 1930, Baba left Nasik for South India by Private Bus with a party of 14 Mandali Members - (Buasaheb, Dadachanji Chhagan, Gusatadji, Vishnu, Kaka Shahane, Kalemama, Manek Shroff, Road Sahib, and Sadhashiv Patel) and he visited Poona, Kolhapur, Belgaum, Dharwar and Hubli en route.
Along the way Baba asked, "Where should we go? Should we go to Madras or not? If we don't go Sampath Iyengar and his family will be extremely disappointed". Iyengar was a close disciple from Madras and his whole family and was dedicated to Baba. Baba decided to proceed to Madras and a telegram was sent to Iyengar with instructions not to detain Him for more than one day,.
Baba then went to Saidapet with the objective of opening Meher Asramam and to give darshan to His devotees. Mr. Dastur, Baba's disciple, had arrived in advance and both he and Mr. Sampath Iyengar went to Conjeevaram (about 50 miles from Madras) where Baba was halting. Baba accompanied Iyengar in his car and Baba's party followed in their bus and they reached Saidapet at 9.p.m. There was Arti followed by Darshan Programme and a Cosmopolitan Dinner.
Baba stayed at Meher Bhavan the residence of Mr. C.V. Sampath Iyengar, from 1st March to 3rd March 1930.
On Sunday, 2nd March 1930, Meher Baba was pleased to open Meher Asramam at 8 A.M and planted a Peepul Tree Sapling in the premises. Later he visited a Baby Welfare Centre conducted by Mrs. V.T. Lakshmi, daughter of Mr. Sampath Iyengar and gave bath to a child and sweets to children. He then sanctified a slum for the so-called depressed class and tasted rice water of a poor inmate of a hut and returned at 12 noon. Thereafter He was pleased to initiate child Kasthuri (4 years), grand son of Iyengar and helped him write his first letters on a slate.
A group photo with Baba was also taken in Meher Asramam after its inauguration.
In the afternoon Baba visited the houses of His 3 dear Bakthas - Mr. K.S. Srinivasan (Chartered Ban) Mr. M. Vadivelu Mudaliar (Mechanical Engineer) and gave some flower to Mrs. Pankajam Ammal, who was very ill.
In the evening there was grand Public Meeting at Goschen Hall, near Napier Park, Chintadripet, Madras, followed by darshan and Arti at Saidapet in the night.
At 9 P.M. there was a Business Meeting in Baba's presence when He approved the formation of the "Meher League" with the following office bearers with the objective of promoting Universal Brotherhood. A decision to publish Meher Gazette as a Quarterly from Madras with Sister V.T. Lakshmi as editor was also approved by Baba.
Patron Shri Meher Baba
C.V. Sampath Iyengar
Vice President ||
M. Vadivelu Mudaliar
|| || |
It was also decided that a Free Reading Room and Library be opened for the public at Meher Asramam.
On the morning of 3rd March 1930, Baba and party left for Mysore in their bus.
Some of the activities conducted in Meher Asramam in Baba's cause have been elicited here from early records.
On 21st April 1930, The Meher League was officially formed and about 100 poor children were fed. In the evening the Meher Free Reading Room was formally opened by the local Municipal Chairman Khan Bahadur Abdul Razack MLC.
Swami Paramananda, disciple of Swami Sivananda Saraswathi of Rishikesh, held Yoga classes at Meher Asramam from 19th to 23rd June 1933 and also in July and August 1933.
In December 1933 (3rd to 6th) Bro. F.H. Dadachanji, Meher Baba's secretary, visited Meher Asramam and gave 2 interesting talks on the Tours of Beloved Master.
On 7th June 1934 Geetha Day and Lord Jesus Day were celebrated at Meher Asramam. There was prayer and meditation in the morning followed by distribution of rice and money to the poor by Mr. Ramanujacharlu. In the evening there was a public meeting.
The 37th Birthday of Shri. Meher Baba was celebrated at Meher Asramam, Saidapet, Madras on 17th February 1931 (?). The special birthday message of Baba published in the Meher Gazette is as follows:
"So long as people will continue attending to the empty shows of Customs and Ceremonials, they will fail to grasp the essence or substance of Religion. Though creeds and theologies are many, religion is strictly speaking only one and this one religion includes in its essence Sublime Character, Mental Purity, Love to God and Longing to realize the Truth. In order that this religion may be applicable to all, caste-class tyranny and priest-craft must be eradicated root and branch.
The day began with congregational meditation and puja in the morning. It was followed by children's treat when nearly 300 children belonging to depressed classes were given cakes, fruits and sweets. Then there was poor feeding on a grand scale when 500 persons of both sexes were sumptuously fed with many dishes. Later there were two musical performances by Mr. Devarajan and Lakshmi Ratnam.
In the evening, at 5.30 p.m., there was a public meeting presided by Rao Bahadur Dr. C. Natesan Mudaliar M.L.C. After prayer by Mr. Ramanujacharlu, Mr. Sampath Iyengar, read the special message sent by Shri. Meher Baba for the occasion. Mr. Vadivelu Mudaliar, Mr. Ratnasabapathy Mudaliar, Mr. Sampath Iyengar, Mrs. V.T. Lakshmi spoke about Beloved Baba.
After night fall Shri. Meher Baba's beautifully decorated Photo was taken in a grand procession with Music, fireworks and bhajan party and was followed by religious discourse in Tamil by well known Brahmasri Vengalathur Subramania Sastrigal.
The Meher Reading Room became very popular and had over 300 spiritual books and during the 3 months since its inception, about 2500 people used it and the Library attached to it.
Meher League also was growing in strength and had about 400 members who attended the Congregational Meetings at Meher Asramam.
Members assembled at 8 A.M. on the first Sunday of every month and Meditated and Practiced during the month the following Virtues.
Control of Speech|
Mr. C.V. Ramanujacharlu, Treasurer Meher League and cousin of Mr. Sampath Iyengar, was fully in charge of Meher Asramam and its activities. He distributed rice to the poor regularly. He also published a Booklet of 40 verses - at the feet of My Sadguru His Holiness Shri Meher Baba - priced at 2 annas and the sale proceeds went to Meher League.
Meher Gazette was published from June 1930 and the circulation was nearly 1000 by December 1930. It was sent free in the initial stages but from August 1933 to September 1938 it was published as a bi-monthly for an annual subscription of Re.1/- (with postage). It has on an average of 16 to 24 pages of matter and the contents included the following:-
Editorial, Sayings of the Master, The Master's Messages, News about the Master, Biography of Meher Baba, Master's visits to the West, Poems to Beloved Baba, Practical Lessons on Yoga, Upanishads, Vedas, Quotations from Religious Scriptures, Ladies Page, Harijan Page, Childrens Page, Article on Social problems and in Birthday supplements articles by Eastern and Western lovers (F.H. Dadachanji, C.D. Deshmukh, C.V. Sampath Iyengar, V.T. Lakshmi, Elizabeth Patterson, Nadia Tolstoy, Jean Schloss, Malcolm Schloss, Kitty Davy, C.B. Purdon, Swami Sivananada of Rishikesh etc.).
"OM Babaji", was the watchword of Meher League.
In December 1930, Bro. Raphael Hurst alias Paul Brunton, English Journalist and Bro. Bikku Prajananda, English Buddhist Monk, both Baba's disciples, stayed at Meher Asramam for more than a fortnight. They addressed a meeting on 7th December. Meditation classes were held regularly on Sundays.
The first Direct Message from Meher Baba on "Highest Consciousness" appeared in the April 1933 issue of Meher Gazette.
Avatar Meher Baba's Second visit to Saidapet.
Madras (17th to 19th February 1934)
For some time Mr. C.V. Sampath Iyengar had been especially requesting Baba to permit Madras devotees to celebrate His Birthday in His presence. Accepting the invitation Baba left Ahmednagar by Train on February 16th 1934, accompanied by 11 of His Mandali - Bros. Adi Sr. Dadachanji, Naval, Pendu, Sailor, Rustomjee, Ramjoo, Sidhu, Sayyed Sahib - and reached Madras at 5 P.M. on 17th February. Mr. Sampath Iyengar and other disciples received Baba at the station and after a traditional Ceremonial reception at "Meher Bahvan", Saidapet, Baba gave Darshan to hundred of persons who were waiting for His Blessings. There was Arati Ceremony thereafter.
Meher Baba stayed at Mr. Sampath Iyengar's residence, "Meher Bahavan", from 17th to 19th February as he had done during His earlier visit in 1930.
Under the auspices of Meher League founded by Baba in 1930, the 40th Birthday of Beloved Master was celebrated in His presence with much éclat on Sunday 18th February 1934 at 7 A.M. at Meher Asramam. After prayer, programmes of Bhajan and Arti singings were held. Sweets were distributed to children and about 100 persons were fed at the local Annadana Samajam.
Two Group photos were taken with Baba and other who had assembled at Meher Asramam. At the request of Mrs. V.T. Lakshmi and Mrs. K. Janaki, daughters of Mr. Sampath Iyenger, two more photos of Beloved Baba were taken dressed as Lord Shiva and Lord Krishna. There was Vocal Music by Veena Dhanam's daughter Mrs. Lakshmi Rathanam and granddaughter, which was very much appreciated by Baba.
At 6 P.M. there was a public meeting presided over by Dewan Bahadur J. Venkatnaraya Naidu C.I.E. After prayer by Mr.Ramanujacharlu, the President spoke about Baba followed by speeches by Mr. Sampath Iyengar and Sister Lakshmi.
After Dinner, Beloved Baba acceded to the request of His Gujarathi disciples and attended a function at George Town, Madras where Bro. Kesavan Gnani, Arya Samaj Missionary, spoke in Hindi and English about Baba.
On the morning of 19th February 1934, there was prayer and Arti at Meher Asramam in Baba's Divine presence and He left for Meherabad by the Bombay Express.
During His short stay at Saidapet, He gave two powerful Messages - 40th Birthday Message and Message of Maya. These are published at the end of this article. Meher Gazette which was published bi-monthly from April 1933 as per Baba's instructions provided news about Him and His movements and Tour programs in each issue, especially be reproduction of detailed extracts from the diary of Baba's Secretary, Bro.F.H.Dadachanji.
On the eve of His departure to the west on His 8th Tour on 15.11.34 by SS Tuscania, the following Message was published in November - December issue of Meher Gazette:
"Those who are united in Love know no separation. Wherever I am, wherever you are, I am always with you. My Love and Blessings to you all - M.S.Irani."
On His return to India via Colombo after 8th Tour to the West, Baba gave darshan to His devotees on 15th February 1935 at Madras Egmore and Central Stations, before boarding the Bombay Express for Dhond-Ahmednagar.
Baba's 41st Birthday was celebrated with love at Meher Asramam, Saidapet, on 16th Febraury 1935.
Baba's 42nd Birthday was not celebrated in 1936 as per His instructions but a wonderful incident took place at Mr.C.V.Sampath Iyengar's residence at Bangalore on that day and also at Ahmednagar.
Jai Meher Baba