Friday, June 1, 2012

Books with Baba's words

Most of the books that this blog relies upon are freely available for anyone to read for themselves. Not only are a great many still in print or reprint, but most can be freely accessed at the Avatar Meher Baba Trust Online Library in the form of searchable PDF files or as online material.

If one is new to Baba, there is a question of what to read first. There are many opinions about this, and of course it depends on the individual. The most often suggested introductory book on Baba's teaching and life is generally the book Discourses. Yet of Baba's discourses there are numerous slightly different compilations and arrangements of them (many using the same discourses, with slight variations in editing and inclusions and order) and so even this becomes complex. One of the most simple to access is here. Other books that are not called "Discourses" or "The Discourses" are in fact collections of large portions of the same material. There are too many of such discourse collections to name, but one mentioned by Baba as dear to him was Listen Humanity, edited and narrated by disciple Don Stevens under Baba's direction and referred to specifically in Baba's Will and Testament.

Others like to recommend The Beloved by Naosherwan Anzar, a short lovingly written overview with plenty of pictures, messages, prayers, etc. It is not downloadable free online but is available inexpensively here.

If one is interested in biographies, there are plenty of them to choose from. The most used, because it is the most exhaustive and most accessible, is Lord Meher by Bhau Kalchuri (1986), now entirely searchable online. It was originally published in hardback in twenty volumes, and is 6,742 pages. Other authoritative biographies include The God-Man by Charles Purdom written in Baba's lifetime in 1962, and Avatar by Jean Adriel also written in Baba's lifetime in 1947.

For those who would like to read about Meher Baba's amazing mast work (working with the God-intoxicated throughout the Indian sub-continent), the book is The Wayfarers, 1947, by Dr. William Donkin, an English medical doctor that accompanied Baba on these extraordinary tours. There is no book in the world like this. It also includes a fascinating introduction by Meher Baba about the God-intoxicated masts he was contacting.

For those who want to get into the meat and potatoes of Baba's description of the theme and purpose of creation, in all its metaphysical complexity, Baba said the most important books to read were God Speaks (1955), and Stay With God by Francis Brabazon (1959). God Speaks is available to download in two parts, Part I, and Part II. Stay With God is a poetic companion to God Speaks, written by Australian Sufi poet Francis Brabazon at Baba's request on the theme in God Speaks. Baba called Stay With God "food for the brain and a feast for the heart." I highly recommend it, and in fact think it is a perfect first book for that particular soul with a poet's heart and a ravenous insatiable mind. But these are not all the deep mystical books pertaining to Baba. Terrific short terse essays on extremely deep mystical points can be found in the two short books The Everything and the Nothing and Beams from Meher Baba on the Spiritual Panorama. For one with a mystical bent, but not ready to plunge into the depths of God Speaks or Stay With God, these two are probably the very best start, because the chapters are short and each serves as a meditation on its own. Most chapters in each one of these make a perfect final cap of thought before going to bed or just for some contemplation without getting too heady.

There are many, many others, and a rich library of memoirs by those who met or lived with Baba, at the Trust Website, on, and at Sheriar Books.

A final secret is that many of the best versions of books are out of print. Some are even valuable. One can find these at AbeBooks. Occasionally one can find rare old out of print, and even valuable, editions on such used book websites, but they get bought quickly.

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