ambpc8Pune (or Poona as it was formally known), is the birth place of Avatar Meher Baba – the Avatar of the age. For all His followers, Pune holds a special significance as it was here that Meher Baba was born, grew up and in His later years held Darshan programs. Pune was also the summer abode for Meher Baba when He would come and stay along with some of His resident Mandali members at Guruprasad – the palace owned by Maharani Shantadevi of Baroada who most loving used to offer it to Baba for His exclusive use. The Avatar Meher Baba Poona Center was inaugurated by Him on May 1, 1964, the only Centre in India to have gained this distinction and fortune. The Centre continues to function actively, carrying out various programs and meetings to welcome new seekers into His fold and to continue to fan the flame of love in the hearts of His former followers.

Meher Baba was born as Merwan Sheriar Irani on February 25, 1894, in Poona, India. His parents were Zoroastrians, Sheriar and Shireen Irani. Sheriar was a Dervish or true seeker of God. Merwan led a normal childhood attending St. Vincent’s School and later Deccan College at Poona. As a boy Merwan formed "The Cosmopolitan Club" dedicated to remaining informed of world affairs and giving money to charity. He was a multi-instrumentalist, poet and fluent in several languages. He enjoyed the poetry of Hafiz,Shakespeare and Shelley.

At the age of 19, during His second year at Deccan College in Pune, Merwan encountered Hazrat Babajan, a centenarian Muslim saint who was one of the five Sadgurus or Perfect Masters of that age. With a kiss on the forehead, Babajan initiated Merwan into the state of God-Realization or unveiling of his true status. The event affected Him profoundly and He experienced visions and mystical feelings so powerful that He could not lead His normal activities.He was then inwardly prompted to contact the other four Perfect Masters of that age — Sai Baba of Shirdi, Upasni Maharaj of Sakori, Narayan Maharaj of Kedgaon, and Tajuddin Baba of Nagpur, each of whom played a significant role in the process of His unveiling.

Upasni Maharaj helped Merwan to integrate His divine experiences with normal consciousness, thus enabling Him to function in the world without diminishing His experience of God-realization.In late 1921, at the age of 27, after living for seven years with Upasni Maharaj, Merwan started to attract a following of His own. His early followers gave Him the name "Meher Baba", meaning "Compassionate Father".

 

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