THE FIVE PERFECT MASTERS
1. HAZRAT BABAJAN
A beautiful picture of Hazrat Babajan – the Emperor – the Messiah whose grace and love – is still experienced by many devotees who visit her Dargah (shrine). It is not only the men who have attained the peak of enlightenment but also several women — who have revolutionized the world with their divine message. One of them is Hazrat Babajan. She was born in Baluchistan. Her birth name was “GULRUKH” (which means “Face like a Rose”). She was born to a Royal Muslim Family of Baluchistan. Following the conventions of Afghan nobility, Babajan was reared under the strict purdah tradition, in which women were secluded from the outside world, and also subject to a custom of arranged marriages. She opposed an unwelcome marriage planned for her, and ran away from home on her wedding day at the age of eighteen. Disguised in her burqa, she journeyed to Peshawar, the frontier city at the foot of the Khyber Pass. It was in or near Peshawar that she eventually came into contact with a Hindu sadguru. Following instruction from the guru, “she went into seclusion in a nearby mountain outside Rawalpindi and underwent very severe [riyazat] (spiritual austerities) for nearly seventeen months.Thereafter she came down to [the] Punjab and stayed a few months in Multan. It was in Multan, while [Babajan] was 37 years of age, she contacted a Muslim saint … who put end to her spiritual struggle by giving her God-realization.”
After that experience she returned to Rawalpindi to reconnect with the Hindu guru who, after several years, helped her return to normal consciousness. After a second stay in Rawalpindi with her earlier Hindu master, Babajan embarked on several long journeys through the Middle Eastern countries Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. “It is said that she traveled to Mecca disguised as a man [apparently to avoid detection] by way of Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and doubling back into Arabia.” At the Kaaba, she offered salat (prayers) five times a day, always sitting at one selected spot. While in Mecca, Babajan often gathered food for the poor and personally nursed pilgrims who had fallen ill. From Mecca, Babajan made pilgrimage to the tomb of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in Medina, where she adopted the same routine of offering prayers and caring for fellow pilgrims. Leaving Arabia, she passed through Baghdad, Iraq and back to the Punjab. She then traveled south to Nasik and established herself in Panchavati. From Nasik, Babajan travelled to Bombay, where she stayed for some time and her fame grew. In April 1903, she made a second pilgrimage to Mecca, this time sailing from Bombay on the SS Haidari. About 1904, Babajan returned to Bombay and soon afterward proceeded to Ajmer in northern India to pay homage at the tomb of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti who established the Chishti Order of Islam in India. From Ajmer she again returned to Bombay and then soon after traveled east to Pune. By 1905 Babajan arrived in Pune, where she established her final residence. Now an old woman, her back slightly bent, shoulders rounded, with white matted hair, and shabbily dressed, she “was seen sitting or resting at odd places, in different parts of the City.” Babajan finally located to a slum area called Char Bawdi (Four Wells) on Malcolm Tank Road, part of a British Army cantonment. The Char Bawdi area at that time has been described as “a picture of dirt, desolation and ugliness, a breeding spot of plague and pestilence and a regular haunt of dangerous riff-raffs by night.” After several months’ exposure to the natural elements, Babajan grudgingly allowed her devotees to build a basic shelter of gunny sacks above her. Children were in the habit of throwing stones at her. She was a homeless faqir; she knew how they lived. The gifts from her devotees were shared among the poor and destitute, and in some instances stolen from her by thieves. She remained indifferent to the material offerings or the loss. Gradually, out of devotion, or mere curiosity, increasing numbers of people from Pune and elsewhere sought her out. Several alleged miracles have been attributed to Babajan. According to one observer, within a decade of Babajan taking residence “the Char Bawdi locality underwent a metamorphosis surpassing all expectations. What with the featural changes in the buildings all around, electrified tea-shops ringing with the clatter of cups and saucers, a concourse of peoples consisting of all ranks and creeds waiting for Babajan’s darshan, a street bard entertaining the crowd with his music, the beggars clamoring for alms, easy-going idlers standing indiscriminately hampering vehicular traffic and the whole atmosphere heavily laden with sweet burning incense perpetually kept burning near Babajan, presented a scene typically Eastern, leaving an indelible impression on one’s memory.” That is how the presence of a great master can transform an utterly deserted area into the most beautiful area of the town. And that is how a true master can transform a sinner into a saint – a mad man into an enlightened being. On 21st September 1931, one of the greatest saint – Her Holiness and the perfect Master Hazarat Babajan left her mortal body. She died. And when she died, Babajan said, “It is time … time for me to leave now. The work is over … I must close the shop.” One of the devotees pleaded, “Do not say such things Babajan, we need you with us.”
But she cryptically replied, “Nobody, nobody wants my wares. Nobody can afford the price. I have turned my goods over to the Proprietor.”
Today – Hazarat Babajan’s Dargah (shrine) is located at the same place where she spend most of her days – in Camp locality – the very heart of Pune city. However before leaving her body – she has transferred her great powers and blessings to one young man and His name was Merwan Sheriar Irani, a Parsi young boy who must have been 19 years old at that time when he met Babajan for the first time. It happened so that was riding his bicycle on the way to class at Deccan College, when he looked up and saw an old woman sitting under a neem tree surrounded by a crowd. He had past from the same road on previous occasions but had never paid much attention to her, though he was aware that she was regarded by some as a Muslim saint. Soon he started visiting her. they would sit together yet seldom spoke. One night during January 1914, he was about to leave, and before doing so kissed Babajan’s hands, and she in turn held his face in her hands. She then kissed him on the forehead, during which he received her spiritual grace (barakah).The event subsequently left Merwan Irani in a state of coma in which he remained abstracted from his normal surroundings for nearly nine months.This young man Merwan Sheriar Irani later became known as Avtar Meher Baba. For one year continuously the kiss remained on him and he was in a coma. It may happen suddenly like this. This was a great transfer, and Hazrat Babajan died afterward because she had just been waiting for this moment to give someone the whole energy. This was her last life, and there was not enough time even to explain what she was giving. And also, she was not the type to have explained. She was a silent mystic. She had not touched anybody for years. She was only waiting for this moment when she was to kiss someone and the whole energy was to be transferred in a single transfer. Before this, she had not even touched anyone, so this touch was to be total. When the divine touch – when the realization – when the enlightenment happens – all actions stop. Because desires no more exist. Many desires will drop and many actions also. Those actions which were just caused by desires will drop. If I was running for a particular desire, how can I run if the desire has dropped? My running will stop. At least the same running on the same route will stop. So when a person becomes desireless, at least for an interim period, for an interval – and how long it will be will depend on the individual – he will become inactive. The desires will have dropped – and all the actions that he had been doing were concerned with desires, so how can he continue? They will drop. One may also go into a coma. That is how Meher Baba – with that divine touch of Hazrat Babajan – went into a coma – because all desires vanished with that one divine kiss – and when there is absolutely NO DESIRE – there is NO ACTION – you almost go into a deep sleep to which the world may address as Coma! After one year of coma, Meher Baba opens his eyes – his eyes are the same but now his perspective towards life has changed – everything around him is the same – but he is no more the same – great spiritual energy – a great light has come to his heart – the transferring has happened – spontaneously – with just one divine kiss – the Hazarat has passed on her ‘self’ to Meher Baba – how deep must be the love between them – how deep must be the connection of many past lives between them! Hazarat Babajan left but before leaving she gave the greatest gift to humanity in the form of Avatar Meher Baba. Meher Baba – the man who revolutionized the whole world – traveled around the world – and transformed many mad men into enlightened beings.
2. Upasani Maharaj
A beautiful real picture of Sri Upasani Maharaj. It is said that it is Upasani Maharaj who greeted Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi by addressing him as Mahatma and from that day onwards – Mohandas Gandhi came to be known as Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi himself revealed this fact to Avtar Meher Baba when he had met Baba. In fact Mahatma Gandhi was so deeply touched by the divine presence of Avatar Meher Baba that at one point he expressed his wish to renounce from Politics.
Upasani Maharaj was born on 15 May 1870 in a small town called Sakori. And he was the only DIRECT DISCIPLE of SAI BABA of SHIRDI. Sakori is just 5 km away from Shirdi. The story of Upasani Maharaj’s life is very interesting and highly inspiring. He was born in into a family of Sanskrit scholars. He became an Ayurvedic Doctor. And he married three times but all his wive died. Soon he started to hear a singing voice that he could not explain. This troubling sound, along with various other problems, led him on a difficult quest that finally culminated in him meeting Sai Baba of Shirdi who is said to have given him God-realization at the age of 42. Sai Baba then claimed to be the one who was calling him inwardly.
The primary teachings of Upasani Maharaj were:
The principal teaching of Upasni Maharaj was that there are three rules that if observed sincerely lead to a life worth living:
- Not to trouble anybody in the least.
- To suffer for and be useful to others.
- To remain contented in a state of Be as it may.
Upasni Maharaj was the principal teacher of Meher Baba. Meher Baba first met Upasni Maharaj in 1915 when Upasni was staying in Shirdi with Sai Baba. Upasni moved to Sakori in July 1917 and Meher Baba frequently stayed there as late as October 1922. According to Meher Baba, Upasni Maharaj gave him divine knowledge after he received God-realization in January 1914 at the age of 19 from Hazrat Babajan. Charles Purdom recounts that, at the end of December, 1921, Upasni made several comments relating to Meher Baba. He said to his disciples: “I have given my charge to Meherwanji. He is the holder of my key.” Some time later he said “This boy will move the world. Humanity at large will be benefited at his hands.” A few days later he sent for Gustadji Hansotia, one of his leading disciples, and told him “I have made Meherwanji perfect. He is the Sadguru of this Age. Now you have to leave me and stick to him.” To Behramji he said, “Your friend is God-realized; carry out every command and every desire of his.” Finally, one night he folded his hands and said, “Meherwanji, you are adi-shakti: you are Avatar.”
Imagine a direct disciple of SAI BABA saying to Avatar Meher Baba that – YOU ARE AVATAR.
Moves my heart. So deep so deep.
It is said that just two months before Upasani Maharaj died – Meher Baba met him – it was a meeting that happened after a gap of twenty years. A beautiful picture of Avtar Meher Baba walking with the Perfect Master and direct disciple of Sai Baba – Sri Upasani Maharaj.
3. Tajuddin Baba
Tajuddin Baba – is the third Perfect Master as mentioned by Avatar Meher Baba. Tajuddin Baba was born as Syed Mohammad Baba Tajuddin. He was born on January 27, 1861. Baba’s forefathers had migrated from Mecca and settled down in Madras, India. His father was an employee in military. His ancestors were descendants of the eleventh Imam. Baba Tajuddin became an orphan at a young age and so he was raised by his maternal grandmother and uncle Abdul Rahman. Soon he met Abdulla Shah Naushahi who initiated him into the spiritual path. It is said that one day Abdulla Shah Naushahi one day said to his school teacher that “There is no need of teaching this boy, he is already a learned person.” He also gave young Tajuddin Baba some dried fruits and nuts as his blessings for Baba, which is said to put the young boy into an ongoing spiritual trance-like state. Baba completed his education and studied Urdu, English, Arabic and Persian. Baba was highly educated person and at the same time he was one of the greatest master that the world had ever known.
However it is an irony that this Perfect Master was declared a lunatic and kept in confinement in the Nagpur Lunatic Asylum for more than sixteen years. However, Baba Tajuddin started his divine play from this place and virtually converted the asylum to a place of worship. This is one of the biggest illusions of Nature (Maya) the mad people of the mad world declaring the Knowledge- Incarnate, who had come to redeem them of their worldly madness, as mad. But how could the authorities, confine a soul that is in a state of pure consciousness within the four walls of a lunatic asylum. As was the practice, the inhabitants of the asylum used to be locked up in barracks and cells at night. Similarly, Baba was also put in confinement under strict vigil.
Soon after he was locked up in the asylum that a strange incident took place that spread Baba’s name far and wide. Baba was admitted in the lunatic asylum on the 26th August 1892. On the same day many people saw him moving freely in the streets of Kamthi, even after he was locked up. On the next day i.e. 27th an army sepoy, who, under the orders of the magistrate had brought Baba to the lunatic asylum the previous day, saw Baba roaming in the street. The shocked sepoy ran back and informed the British officer of the regiment, about it. The officer immediately rode his horse and searched for Baba. He ultimately found him sitting under a tree smiling at him. British officer was so enraged at seeing him moving freely that he straight away rode to the lunatic asylum at Nagpur situated at half an hour distance from Kamthi. He asked the doctor on duty “Where is that insane whom I sent here yesterday?” The doctor informed that he was in a locked room and also showed the officer where Baba was locked, and behold, the officer found the Baba Tajuddin was sitting inside the room in the same posture in which he had seen sitting under the tree only half on hour back smiling at him. On seeing the officer, Baba said. ” Brother, you are doing your work and I am doing my work”. The officer was so influenced by the divine personality of Baba that he instantly became his disciple and started visiting Baba on every Sunday with his family members. Thereafter, the asylum authorities were reconciled with Baba moving at various places inside the asylum compound and outside. Gradually, Baba’s name became so famous that thousands of people from near and far started lining up before the lunatic asylum everyday to have Baba’s darshan, blessing and help.
During his 16 years stay in the asylum, Baba cured thousands of people of diseases , granted children to the childless and took on his shoulders the responsibilities (both temporal and spiritual) of lakhs of his devotees. Baba’s fame and love for people had been drawing thousands of people daily to the lunatic asylum. Even the staffs of the asylum including the doctors were his devotees.
The doctor gave report that Baba was not mad but a person of unusual qualities which medical science cannot explain. In the meantime, Maharaja Bahadur Shrimant Raghoji Rao Bhonsle, the Maharaja of Nagpur had become an ardent devotee of Baba and started visiting him regularly. One day, in the evening, he thought of getting Baba released from the lunatic asylum and bring him to his palace at Shakardara. The same night, he saw a vision in the dream in which Baba appeared and pointing towards Red Palace said “Oh, elder brother, let me stay here.” It was early morning- (3.00 AM) of 9th July 1908, a Thursday. The Maharaja immediately called his officials and discussed about the steps to be taken to get Baba released. The Council decided that the Maharaja should immediately make an application for release to the Governor, Central Provinces. Ultimately after depositing a security money of rupees two thousands, the Maharaja secured the release of Baba on the 21st of September 1908 and brought him to his palace. From his palace Baba started his divine work.
Once Baba was lying down on the sands of the river Kanhan when two ladies by the name of Shantabai and Subhadrabai from Amaravati, approached him. While touching the feet of Baba they mentally prayed to him for children, as they were childless. The omniscient (Pragyan Ritambhara) Baba heard their inner prayers and gave a ladoo (a type of sweetmeat) to each after testing them. He blessed them to have sons. While they were returning, Shantabai ate the ladoo as a blessed prasad, but Subhadrabai did not because Baba had tasted the ladoo and was Muslim by birth. She quietly got the ladoo buried in the sand. As the Divine Will could have it, Shantabai got a son nine months later. When the child was about two-month-old, she came to Baba with the child for his blessings. Subhadra, who had not conceived even by that time, accompanied her. When Shantabai put her child at the feet of Baba, Subhadra could not control herself. She fell at the feet of Baba and cried -“Baba where is my child?” Baba told her to search the child from beneath the sand (indicating that he knew where the ladoo was) Subhadra immediately realised her mistake and repented profusely before Baba. The Perfect masters are incarnation of kindness. Her repentance and plight moved Baba. He blessed her to have a son, which she got after a year. The perfect master is a wish- fulfilling tree Kalpvriksha who even shower unconditional grace (Ahetuk Kripa). Tajjudin Baba lifted his hand as blessing to all, looking at them lovingly and quietly laid his body on the bed.
4. Sai Baba
The Fourth PERFECT MASTER as stated by AVATAR MEHER BABA is SAI BABA of SHIRDI.One of the most beautiful persons of this past century was Sai Baba of Shirdi. He had a friend and a follower. Sai Baba was a Mohammedan. Or no one knows whether he was a Mohammedan or a Hindu, but he lived in a mosque, so it was believed he was a Mohammedan. And a Hindu follower was there, who loved, respected, has much faith in Sai Baba. Every day he will come for his darshan, and without seeing him he will not go. Sometimes it will happen that for the whole day he will have to wait, but without seeing he will not go, and he will not take food unless he has seen Sai Baba.
Once it happened the whole day passed, there was much gathering and much crowd — he couldn’t enter. When everybody has gone, just in the night he touched the feet.
Sai Baba said to him, “Why you unnecessarily wait? There is no need to see me here, I can come there. And drop this from tomorrow. Now I will do. Before you take your food you will see me every day.”
The disciple was very happy. So next day he was waiting and waiting; nothing happened. Many things happened really, but nothing happened according to his conception. By the evening he was very angry. He has not taken the food, and Sai Baba has not appeared so he went again. He said, “You promise and you don’t fulfill?”
Sai Baba said, “But I appeared thrice, not even once. First time I came, I was a beggar and you said to me, ‘Move away! Don’t come here!’ Second time I came I was an old woman, and you just won’t look at me; you closed your eyes-because the disciple had the habit of not seeing women; he was practicing not seeing women, so he closed the eyes.
Sai Baba said, “I had come, but what do you expect? Should I enter your eyes, closed eyes? I was standing there, but you closed the eyes. The moment you saw me, you closed the eyes. Then third time I reached as a dog, and you won’t allow me in. With a stick you were standing in the door.”
And these three things had happened. And these things have been happening to whole humanity. The divine comes in many forms, but you have a prejudice; you have a pre-formulated conception; you cannot see. He must appear according to you, and he never appears according to you. And he will never appear according to you. You cannot be the rule for him and you cannot put any conditions.
When all imagination falls, only then truth appears. Otherwise, imagination goes on making conditions and truth cannot appear. Only in a naked mind, in a nude, empty mind, truth appears, because you cannot distort it.
My father was deeply devoted to Sai Baba. Incidently – he never had been to Shirdi but one night Sai Baba came in his dream and said “Come to Shirdi, and visit Lendi Baug.” This happened in the year 1989. Those times life was not as fast as it is now. My father wondered if there is any place called Lendi Baug in Shirdi as he had never been to Shirdi. And by the GRACE of Sai Baba – he soon was able to visit Shirdi and he was touched to find out that there is a place called Lendi Baug in Shirdi! My father served by working as Editor in Chief for the Sai Leela Magazine that was published by the Sai Baba Trustee. Before dying at the age of 47 – he had visited Shirdi. I still remember that day – it was 5th March 1995. I was with him – and then on 6th March 1995 when we returned back to Pune – he died of massive heart attack. In a way it was a message of Sai – that your time is over – it is time to come back home.
5. Narayan Maharaj
The fifth perfect master as stated by Avatar Meher Baba is Narayan Maharaj. Narayan was born in a Deshastha Brahmin family in Nargund in the Indian state of Karnataka. His father died when he was just 14 months old and his mother when he was four. He was then cared for by his grandmother. He soon left home due to family quarrels, eventually seeking solitude in a Shiva temple. Later, on the advice of a saint, he went to Gangapur for about 10 months, and achieved enlightenment.
As a sadguru he traveled to many religious places including Varanasi, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Nepal, Omkareshwar, Mahakaleshwar, Rameshwar, Madurai, Chidambaram, Kanchipuram, Tirupathi, Ramakrishna Ashram, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mysore, Dwarka, Somnath and Mahabaleshwar.
Narayan often dressed lavishly and lived in a palace; he even had a silver throne. However, it is said that he was unselfish and that his compound gave continually to the poor. His motto was “Treat every one as God.”
Meher Baba contacted Narayan Maharaj in 1915 in his youth and later said that Narayan was one of the Five Perfect Masters of his time.
Narayan’s samadhi (tomb shrine) is in Bangalore, India. From 1942 onward, he was seen having frequent health problems and he decided to move to Ottacmond Ooty of Tamil Nadu. Finally, he came to Bangalore where he desired to perform an Ati Rudra Swahakar to Lord Mallikarjuna. Lavish arrangements were made by the State of Mysore for this occasion, and it was attended by nearly 100,000 people. After the Maha Pooja, he gave a mantra to the devotees present, and retired to his chamber and sat in Padmasana and left his physical body, on 3 September 1945. When Maharaj dropped his body the State of Mysore provided an aircraft for his body to be taken to Bet, but later it was decided to provide nearly two acres of beautiful land near Kempambudi Lake at Bangalore where his mortal remains are kept at a Samadhi. Sri Bet Narayan Maharaj ashram and Brindavan are located in Gavi Gangadhareshwara circle.
Perfect Master is the English term Meher Baba began to use in his writing as early as 1925 to denote the Eastern idea of a sadguru (Vedanta) or a qutub (Sufism). A Perfect Master, according to Baba, is a God-realized person (one whose limited individualized consciousness has merged with God) who can use his Divine attributes of Infinite Power, Knowledge and Bliss for the spiritual upliftment of others.Meher Baba is unique among Indian teachers in that he said that the number of Perfect Masters on the Earth is exactly five at all times. He said further that at the time of his own God-realization the five Perfect Masters were Sai Baba of Shirdi, Upasni Maharaj, Hazrat Babajan, Hazrat Tajuddin Baba and Narayan Maharaj and that these five brought him down to human consciousness as the Avatar on Earth in this cycle of time. “During the Avataric period, the five Perfect Masters make God incarnate as man.” He also said, “What I am, what I was, and what I will be as the Ancient One is always due to the five Perfect Masters of the Age. Sai Baba, Upasni Maharaj, Babajan, Tajuddin Baba and Narayan Maharaj – these are the five Perfect Masters of this age for me.” Once it happened – when Meher Baba was on his visit to the US – just near his room – there was a woman standing and she was not willing to step ahead. ne of Baba’s disciples traveling with him, told her, “Come and shake hands with Baba, child.” Another disciple of Meher Baba said, “Why are you afraid, dear? Come nearer and meet Baba.”
The woman hesitated and said “How can I touch him?”
“Why not?” she replied. “All can meet Baba!”
This brought tears to her eyes, and she pitiably asked, “But I am a sinner! How can I touch a holy being like him?”
Baba then went to her, and passed his hand over her head and shoulders. She started weeping, and Baba gestured to her, “I am the purest of the pure. I can purify the worst sinner. You have understood your mistakes and acknowledged them faithfully in the presence of others, and so you are forgiven. This penance from the depths of your heart is adequate, and you are now cleansed. Now, don’t fear in the least and don’t repeat your past mistakes. I give you my blessings!” The girl burst into tears, and Baba lovingly embraced her. The tears which Baba had drawn from her heart wiped out all her sins.
Those who witnessed this were deeply moved; their hearts overflowed and their eyes also teared. Before departing, Baba again embraced all the guests and putting his hand on the girl’s head, consoled her, “You have received forgiveness for everything! Forget the past and don’t worry at all.” The girl pressed her eyes to Baba’s hand and kissed it. As Baba left, all eyes followed him.
Avtar Meher Baba was indeed one of the greatest spiritual master whose greatness cannot be expressed in words. I would go a step further and say that all the 5 perfect masters that he experienced in his stage of enlightenment are indeed found in his omnipresence. There is no need to visit all the 5 perfect masters – just by worshipping him – just by remembering His Holy Name one can receive the blessings of all 5 perfect masters.
The last word of Avatar Meher Baba was – Dont’ Worry. Be Happy.
I humbly prostrate before the most beautiful man who once walked on this planet – Avatar Meher Baba. May HIS blessings shower on Me and all my followers and readers.
Jai Shri Ganesha. Jai Guru.