Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Seeking Baba In Your Heart

In early 1987 I made a film that lost a lot of money for our family and friends, and by the end of 1987 this was obvious, leaving both my parents (Lyn and Phyllis Ott) feeling a bit down.

Lyn Ott, about 1988
In 1988 my father, who had grown increasingly forlorn due to having no clear direction in his life since his painting career came to an abrupt end due to blindness in 1976, and more so due to his disappointment over my own fiasco in which our family had invested much hope and resources, was looking for something to take his mind off of his troubles. He increasingly asked himself, “Where is Baba now?” Coincidental with this downturn in my father’s life it just so happened that he received an invitation to come to New York where a group was claiming that one of its members was receiving new “messages” from Meher Baba via channeling. It was said that the woman receiving the messages reported that she was told by this voice that Lyn Ott of Myrtle Beach should be asked to come to New York to hear the messages at one of their meetings.

Lyn was understandably excited, and immediately went to New York at his own expense to sit in on a meeting in which the messages were transmitted as the group sat. The voice had messages particularly for Lyn. At once Lyn got out of his depression and became reinvigorated, believing it to be Baba at last making contact with him personally. Lyn began to rush back and forth from Myrtle Beach to New York to attend these meetings, and return refreshed and enthusiastic about what he had heard.

Lyn told me at the time, on his returns, what some of these messages were, and I told him at once I thought they sounded absurd, nothing like Baba, and in fact that the whole thing sounded absurd and felt he ought to stop. Worried for my father’s sanity and common sense, not that any of us are perfect, I did not know what to do. So I told many people about this in private, hoping to learn of any clue what I could say to my father to get him to let this go, and continue on with his life and deep inner connection with Baba, which incidentally prior to this and afterward was always very strong.

During this time I happened to visit Irwin Luck (a long-standing Baba lover, still alive today in Myrtle Beach, who met Baba in the 1960s), concerning some other issue, but brought up my concern for my father. When I told Irwin my concern he instantly showed an expression of understanding, and in his inimitably humorous way, in stages meant to heighten the drama of what he was leading up to, he informed me that this was all very interesting to him. Because, Irwin began to dramatically unravel, as if he were building to a punch line worth waiting for, this had happened once before. It turned out that once long ago, when he and his brother had been members of the Miami Beach Florida Baba group, one of their own members had also made this claim to be receiving channeled messages from Baba. And the group had gotten very excited about it. He and his brother were, like me, interested but concerned. But luckily, Irwin allowing my expectation of what he was going to say to increase, enjoying my anticipation, Baba was still in the body. For this event happened to be in 1962.

All of these events I recently confirmed and went over with a telephone call to Irwin, and the letter I am about to describe and quote he still has in Myrtle Beach for anyone to examine.

His brother and he wrote a letter to Baba asking him about the channeled messages, and what to make of them. And they got a reply. Irwin then proceeded to bring down from his files this very letter that he still has, and here I quote the relevant passage:

The reply from Baba came on August 24, 1962. It was written by Eruch Jessawala from dictation directly from Baba.
"Baba has only one message to you, and this is love God. So do not seek various messages through various mediums or channels, nor be deceived into thinking that Baba is sending his messages through any of you. This seeking of so-called messages leads a sincere aspirant astray, and grossly endangers his spiritual progress. Baba is telling you all this because he loves you both and because you and the group are dear to him. Baba wants you to read this out to the group, or send copies of this letter to those that are away." (Meher Baba, letter to Ed and Irwin Luck in Miami, 1962).
Irwin made a copy for me there and then to read to Lyn and I was very excited to receive it and take it to him, feeling I at last had proof from Baba himself that this was not what Lyn thought it was.

When I read the letter to my father, he was not moved. He sought ways to work around the wording, seeking nearly any rationalization that this could not apply to his connection via this channeling medium. And he proceeded to ignore the letter and continue to make these trips to New York to hear further messages.

Now on one of these trips to New York, during one of these channeling messages, Lyn got a message “from Baba” (through the channel) that he must go to India to talk to Bhau and tell him about the group, for Bhau too (according to the channel) had been seen moving about in the room.

Lyn of course obeyed and flew at his own expense to India to talk with Bhau as instructed by the message. When Lyn approached Bhau in India, Bhau told him the following, and I quote very precisely for my father was very irritated by what Bhau told him:

“Baba doesn’t work that way”

and that this vision was not of Bhau.

Eruch Jessawala
Feeling disappointed by Bhau’s definitively negative reaction, Lyn turned to Eruch Jessawala, Baba’s closest male disciple, and asked to have a word with him privately. They met privately and Lyn divulged to Eruch all I have told here. While I cannot recall all that Eruch said, which was fiercely negative about the whole affair, I can report verbatim what my father said in general, for it stung my father very deeply and caused him to let it go. He said to me, upon his return, “Eruch talked to me like I was a teenager on drugs.” I swear these are the exact words my father said to me in regard to Eruch’s response, for it left quite an impression on both of us.

This pained Lyn greatly, for he had grown very attached in his heart to this group and these messages, and after thinking for some time, confided in me that he would listen to Eruch and let the group go, though he said he could not let them go in his heart, but only in practice.

There is one other part of this story that is of importance, confided in me by my mother (Phyllis Ott) long ago but told here for the first time with her permission. During the time that Lyn was engaged in this channeling group, Phyllis went to India herself, bringing with her a cassette tape recording of one of these channeled messages during one of these secret meetings, which she had never attended, but had somehow attained. She too was very upset by the whole affair. She brought this tape to Eruch and asked him to listen to it, wanting him to know too what was going on. When she showed Eruch the tape he told her to throw it away, and refused to listen to it.

Phyllis also told me that before Eruch died, she asked him where Baba was, and Eruch said, “I ate him,” by which she said he went on to explain Baba was in all of us. He is not in some “Divine Palace” as some Theosophists like to declare their ascended masters reside after they "ascend alive," from which they go on “working" on the affairs of illusion.

I conclude this post with the telegram prepared by Adi Sr., Eruch Jessawala and Francis Brabazon upon Baba's dropping his body on January 31, 1969:


That is where Meher Baba always was and eternally IS! In the hearts of His lovers. Look for Him there, and in the hearts of others.

Elizabeth Patterson
I need to add one aside. In late 1969, when I was just ten years old, a Baba lover passing through Myrtle Beach gave me an ink-stamp that when you pressed with ink on paper read, “Meher Baba is alive in the hearts of his lovers.” I was so intrigued by this gift (I enjoyed stamping all kinds of things with it) that I designed with it a Baba card, simply by putting a picture of Baba on the back of an index card and then pressing my stamp beneath it as carefully as I could to be its slogan. I then asked my parents if they could have it printed up for me to hand out, yet, to my utter irritation, they thought it might be a good idea if Elizabeth Patterson approved of it first. To my chagrin, we loaded into the station wagon and headed over to Elizabeth’s house (Dilruba on the Meher Spiritual Center) and showed it to her. She said that it seemed fine to her, but that it needed one correction. She said that it should be changed to read, “Meher Baba is alive eternally in the hearts of his lovers.” I was so irritated, since I did not know how to make a new stamp, that I gave the whole project up, thinking Elizabeth quite daft.

But now I finally think I do understand what she meant. She said to me, “If you say Baba is alive, some people will not read further (something I thought irrational of her at the time, but now get), but they will simply think that Baba is alive somewhere." But if I added “eternally,” she said, they will know what I mean.

Today, people are starting to want to put Baba everywhere but in their heart. They put him in Heaven, in Shangri-La with the ascended masters, in the “Divine Palace,” not grasping at all that Baba is “in” the state of nirvakalpa samadhi, which is the state where Self is experienced and illusion (shadow, Maya, the Nothing, the universe, duality) is not. In this state (which is by the way the true meaning of Shambala according to Baba, not an astral place - see below) God experiences his infinite power, knowledge, and bliss, but does not use them. (For this fact see nirvakalpa samadhi, GS p. 166, online version)

Garrett Fort: Is there really the place known as Shambala, the Astral centre where the Masters dwell in disembodied form?

Baba: It is presumed that you already know that planes are not places. The state and stage connoting Shambala exists. There is difference of terminology only. This is also known as Vidnyan. (The Answer, ed. Naosherwan Anzar, pp. 26-28, also Treasures from the Meher Baba Journals, ed. Patterson/Haynes pp. 195-197)
“This State VIII of God is of the highest divine consciousness, which is the ahadiyat (halat-e-Muhammadi) or the vidnyan. All God-realized beings—the Majzoob-e-Kamil (Brahmi Bhoot), Majzoob-Salik (Paramhansa), Azad-e-Mutlaq (Jivanmukta), Qutub (Sadguru), and Rasool (Avatar)—retire to this state B of God in the Beyond after disembodiment.” (GS 184, online version, which is the same as the 1997 current printed version)
Vidnyan is the “resting place of the Masters.” (GS p. 226, online version, which is the same as the 1997 current printed version)

My father never again spoke of ascended masters or chased after voices. Before he went into a coma on April 18, 1998, he wrapped himself in the shawl Meher Baba gave him in 1965, and lay down on his couch. He did not awaken and passed away a few days later, my sister Leslie and his wife Judy Gregory at either side of him in the hospital, and went to his Beloved as Baba long ago told him that he would.


  1. Thanks Chris, Loved your writing and your perspective which is, of course, spot on. Timely message in this odd time. Jai Baba

  2. Hi Chris, Thank you for posting this. I've read of other cases of "channeling" of sorts in Europe that became associated with Baba only to have Baba declare the same thing: That He is found in the hearts of His lovers etc. and not through the voice of others. Each one of us has a direct connection, the inner self "God", and that to Love God is all there is. Depending on communication with Him through the voice of others is a huge mistake. Each of us must find His "voice" within ourselves --the voice of unselfish Love... Love God. Avatar Meher Baba ki jai!

  3. I appreciate you being willing to share these private and difficult family experiences with those of us who find their way to your website(s). It is VERY helpful to me personally and I think there is an ongoing need to refresh the importance of learning to discern the differences in what Baba encourages and discourages.

  4. Thanks a lot Chris for your posts. A sharing that makes a difference. Being reminded of how Meher Baba works is refreshing and guiding.
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  5. Absolutely brilliant