Having attained spiritual perfection, in 1921 he drew together his first close disciples and began his spiritual mission. These disciples gave him the name “Meher Baba” (“Compassionate Father”).
Merwan Sheriar Irani, known as Meher Baba, was born in Poona, India, on February 25, 1894, of Persian parents. In 1913, while still in college, he met Hazrat Babajan, an old Muslim woman and one of the five “perfect masters” of the age. Babajan gave him God-realization and made him aware of his high spiritual destiny. Later Merwan met Upasni Maharaj, Hindu perfect master, who for seven years shared gnosis, or divine knowledge, with Merwan. Having attained spiritual perfection, in 1921 he drew together his first close disciples and began his spiritual mission. These disciples gave him the name “Meher Baba” (“Compassionate Father”), and without regard for differences of castes and creeds, he gave them training in moral discipline, love for God, spiritual understanding, and selfless service. His disciples, called “lovers,” viewed him as the avatar, or manifestation of God, for this age. Meher Baba traveled to the West six times, first in 1931, when he contacted his early Western disciples, among whom were Princess Norina Matchabelli and Elizabeth Chapin Patterson. His last visit to America was in 1958, when he stayed at a spiritual center in Myrtle Beach that he had opened in 1952 and called “My home in the West.” Land for the center was donated by Elizabeth Patterson, daughter of Simeon Chapin, a prominent businessman and developer of Myrtle Beach. The center remained vital and was directed by Kitty Davy, Baba’s oldest Western disciple, until her death in December 1991 at one hundred years old.
Baba, Meher. Discourses. 7th ed. Myrtle Beach, S.C.: Sheriar Press, 1987. Davy, Kitty. Love Alone Prevails. Myrtle Beach, S.C.: Sheriar Press, 1981.