|Doctrines|| ||The movement's founder, Meher Baba, asserted that he was the last avatar in the current cosmic cycle of time. The concept of the avatar originates from the Hindu tradition and is associated with Vishnu, who from time to time appears on earth in human or animal form to save it from destruction or peril. The concept allows for the immanence of God in the whole of creation, including humanity. Although we are all potential avatars, the task of the actual avatar is to help the rest of humanity towards the realisation of its potential. Meher Baba taught that suffering was a necessary part of his mission to bring about a new humanity. To him, God was within every living being and the goal of all life was to become one with God through love. There are no set practices or creeds associated with the movement and meetings focus on sharing experience through music, discussion and readings. Essentially, the movement offers a variety of ways
to gain spiritual salvation.|
|History|| ||This is a new religious movement which has only tenuous links to Zoroastrianism. The founder of this movement was Meher Baba (1894-1969), a spiritual teacher born Merwan Sheriar Irani, of Zoroastrian parents living in Poona, India. Whilst still a young man he met an old woman and had what he described as a self-realisation. According to Meher Baba she was one of the five Perfect Masters who are responsible for revealing the avatar when he comes. In 1922 he established a centre near Bombay and here he first began to use the name Meher Baba, which means 'compassionate father.' After years of training his followers, he established a permanent colony at Meherazad, northeast of Poona. In 1925 he began a period of silence which remained unbroken during his life. The recruitment of students began in 1927 and he first travelled to the West in 1931. Much of Meher Baba's life was spent in the service of others, especially the poor, lepers and the mentally ill.
This external work was considered part of the universal work of transforming consciousness by awakening humanity to the oneness of all life. Though there is no formal organisation or membership, many people have been inspired to follow him. |
|Symbols|| ||There is no specific symbol system but followers use photographs of Meher Baba to gain spiritual immediacy with the founder of the movement.|
|Adherents|| ||There is no formal membership, but worldwide numbers of adherents are thought to be in the hundreds of thousands. |
| ||Meherazad, India.|