Friday, March 11, 2016

French Revolution Everywhere

Meher Baba with Irene Billo (seen in back
with donkeys) in Meherabad, October 1938.
I closed this blog over a year ago. However, from time to time some issues seem important enough to make an exception.

There is a rumor about something Baba is said to have said. The rumor goes as follows: Baba supposedly said that a time is coming when 'it will be like the French Revolution everywhere in the world at once.' There are a couple of versions of this story. In one particularly ghastly version, more details are added, such as that Baba held his hand to his neck and explained that the blood would come up to that point. Meher Baba never spoke like this, and it is childish. However, I had heard the phrase "French Revolution everywhere" from my father, as something he had heard that Baba had said, even when I was very young.

So, I decided to check into this story and find where it came from. Here, as it turns out, is the actual source of the rumor.

In The God-Man, Online PDF version, p. 143, it gives this quote as it is in the stories, but in its true context. It was June 1939, just before the outbreak of WWII. Baba was speaking to Swiss disciple Irene Billo in India. He had been speaking to the women about the coming war.
Better would it be to have war. If not, everywhere there will be civil revolution. Do you know what happened in the French revolution? It will be like that everywhere.
Notice the word "if" in the conditional phrase, "If not, everywhere there will be civil revolution." Baba is saying what would happen at that time were WWII not to break out. It is a hypothetical remark, not a prophesy of what would be, though the wording (the way it was taken down from Baba's dictation) is ambiguous enough that a person reading hastily could misinterpret the statement, taking it out of context. The war he was referring to did happen, and thus what would have logically happened had it not, did not and will not take place. He was talking of the brewing events of 1939, not about some future time.

Three months after Baba made this remark to Irene Billo, WWII broke out, when Adolf Hitler unexpectedly invaded Poland — and civil unrest did not happen, i.e. the French Revolution everywhere did not occur.

See also Quotes and Rumors of Quotes.

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