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"Suppose we are just sitting on the veranda with Baba and talking to him, and Baba sees a man passing on the road, and he says "Padri, go and call that man. Just see who is that man."... The contact is established. And he may call him, ask him the questions, "Who are you, where are you from, where are you going, what are you doing," and what-not. And if he is down-and-out, he might give him something, some rupees or some clothes or food or something, and in like manner the contact is established. That's the start...he is on his way. Now, he has met God in person, he doesn't know it! The soul doesn't know it. What more does he want? ... We had hundreds of such experiences in our travels with Baba, our stay with Baba. We never questioned it, mind you, but we could understand it, definitely." --Padri (Faredoon Driver)
I have been a follower of Meher Baba for just about 30 years, since, as a hippie in Coconut Grove, Miami in the early 1970s, I chanced upon a book called Listen, Humanity, in the "Oak Feed Store," a natural-foods store. In 30 years of studying Baba's history and hearing first-hand accounts, it's struck me how much Baba worked by making contacts. The full significance of these contacts may never be understood, but in hindsight one can get a sense of them. In this introduction to Meher Baba I'll be hitting some of the highlights of his dealings with the West, specifically as regards people and events that will be familiar to the reader. I'll intersperse these accounts with brief vignettes of my own personal history (set off in italics), to show how the same process seems to have been going on with obscure people like myself who never met Baba personally. As the story unfolds, a bit of the tapestry of Meher Baba's method of contacting people may be revealed.
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