“The Book”: Meher Baba’s Missing Bible
by Kendra Crossen
Meher Baba spent some time in the 1920s writing a secret book, which he said would be future humanity’s Scripture:
“The big book I have written will be the future Bible, Koran, Avesta and Veda, as it will be universally accepted by all castes and creeds. I have stopped writing anything after finishing this great work and hence it has force.”
—Meher Baba [Lord Meher 3:954]
The book was hidden and Baba said it would come out when the time was right. However, by 1958 it seemed that no one knew exactly where the book was. Although there has been much speculation about it, as far as is known the Book remains unpublished and its whereabouts unknown. Its identity is a controversy of sorts.
Like a spy transporting top-secret documents, Baba carried the book around on his travels, sealed in a black box. “Meher Baba carried it with him to the West in 1931 and allowed Mahatma Gandhi to read several pages aboard the S.S. Rajputana. The book was also taken to the United States. It was then brought back to India and given into the care of disciples Ramjoo Abdulla, Sarosh Irani, and Kaka Baria with instructions that it be kept locked in a safe deposit box under their names in a bank in Bombay. The Book remained there for the next twenty-one years before it was brought back to Baba by Ramjoo Abdulla on Baba’s instruction and then disappeared in 1958. On January 25, 1969, just six days before Baba’s death, Eruch Jessawala asked Baba, ‘What about your book?’ Baba assured him, ‘It is in good hands.’ But he did not convey with whom.’ [“Meher Baba’s missing book,” Wikipedia, accessed July 20, 2012]
“Ramjoo Abdulla was in Bombay at this time preparing drafts for the creation of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust, which was shortly to be registered as a charitable trust. It is believed that during his stay, according to Baba’s instructions, Ramjoo removed the handwritten papers of the secret book (which had been written in 1925-26) from the Bombay bank where it was kept. Although he supposedly turned it over to Baba, what Baba did with it or what happened to it afterwards is not in fact known. Eruch was the last person to observe the transaction between Baba and Ramjoo.”* [Lord Meher 16: 5544]
*Note to p. 5544 in online edition]: “Kaka Baria and Sarosh K. Irani also held duplicate keys to that bank safety deposit box in Bombay, where the manuscript was locked up until 1959. . . . In 1999, about forty handwritten pages of the ‘missing book’ were found among Ramjoo Abdulla’s papers at Meherazad, but the overall significance of the material has not been determined when compared to the pre-existing material contained in God Speaks (which symbolically or in actuality represents 90% of the Book of Secrets) and [The Nothing and the Everything] (which represents symbolically or in actuality 10% of that Book). Most revealing and significant is Meher Baba’s words about how in actuality man is spirit and, in essence, to be spiritual means to be conscious of being spirit or a spirit.”
Identity of the Book
Various publications or manuscripts have been considered as being the Book.
Bhau Kalchuri said that Baba had given him 10 percent of the Book for The Nothing and the Everything; the remaining 90 percent was supposedly in God Speaks.
The manuscripts published under the titles In God’s Hands and Infinite Intelligence were also candidates, but these have been disputed (see, for example, Dan Tyler’s essay on Infinite Intelligence).
The following is a collection of quotes about the Book (some of them published at the“Mehera Meher School of Awakening—Bangalore” Google group; many thanks to Hariprasad).
Writing of the Book
“On the 13th of July , three days after his silence began, Meher Baba commenced the mysterious work of writing a book in the Jhopdi. After his morning bath, he would write from five o’clock until eight-thirty when he would leave the hut for his other duties. He wrote in different languages and was to write the book at various places in Meherabad, completing it several months later. At times Baba suffered with high fever, but he was quite regular with his special writing as he was in all his activities.”
[Lord Meher 3:741]
“During this period, Baba did not reveal what he was writing in his book or allow anyone to read its contents. The book was his secret work which he had begun writing in the Jhopdi on July 13th. Although he wrote in the mornings, after his supervisory duties were over he would sometimes retire to the Jhopdi and continue his writing during the day. On October 11th, Baba left the Jhopdi and moved into the table-shaped cabin. From that day on his continual writing was confined inside that strange cabin.”*
[Lord Meher 3:758-59]
“At the start of the silence Baba used to write for hours daily the special ‘book’ which is believed to be his message to the world. This writing was done diligently for about one year and has been kept completely secret. At times during this period Baba was observed sitting writing in the school at night when all the rest were sleeping. The change of different seats at secluded spots, particularly in the ‘rank’ over the hill, and Baba’s remaining aloof for days together, were largely due to this work. His general method was to take a bath early, and then to write from six o’clock in the morning behind closed doors. This and other work used to produce distinct marks of exhaustion. Once he had a severe attack of fever for nearly a week. At times he was massaged with oil, to continue the work immediately after.”
[C. B. Purdom, The God-Man, p. 39]
*From A Walking Tour of Lower and Upper Meherabad: “A few weeks after Baba began His silence in the Jhopdi, He directed Ajoba to build the Table-House near the Post Office, according to His specifications. The small room inside is 5½ feet wide, 7½ feet long, and just over 3 feet high. On October 11th, 1925, Baba began to sleep in the Table-House, which was placed east of the neem tree near the road outside the Jhopdi gate. Baba also continued to write the Book inside the Table-House, usually during the mornings. From November 17th, the shade of the Table-House verandah also became Baba’s “seat” for greeting crowds. But to maintain peace and quiet for His writing work from that time, He ordered that no one was to come near the neem tree from 8 a.m. until 12 noon.”
Who Had It?
“Unknown to most present, before coming to Europe, Baba had cabled the person entrusted with keeping his mysterious, secret book in America, to bring it to London. This was done in absolute privacy and the book, along with some charts and other material illustrating the creation and progress of consciousness through evolution and involution, was handed back over to Baba.”*
[Lord Meher 6:2044]
*Note to p. 2044: “. . . One person, suspected by Frank Eaton to have been Elizabeth Patterson or Malcolm Schloss, had been chosen by Baba to be responsible for the safekeeping of the book while it had been in the bank safety deposit box in America.”
Baba Shows Part of the Book to Gandhi
On the night of September 8th , at nine o’clock, Mahatma Gandhi came to Meher Baba’s cabin with his secretary Mahadev Desai. After Gandhi was introduced to Baba, he looked at Baba and then said, “I have read much about you and wanted to see you one day when God willed it; but I never expected it to be so soon.”
Baba expressed how happy he was meeting Gandhi and dictated from his alphabet board: “Do you have the time to stay?”
“Yes, I have come to sit and listen,” Gandhi replied. . . .
Meher Baba narrated a summary of his own life and experiences to Gandhi – his attraction to Hazrat Babajan, Sai Baba’s pronouncement, his encounter with [Upasni] Maharaj at the Khandoba Temple, his many visits to Maharaj in Sakori, his intolerable suffering during his coming down, his mandali and life at Meherabad, his many fasts and seclusions, his silence for the last seven years, and of his writing a special book.
Their conversation then proceeded, combining English and Gujarati:
Gandhi asked, “Where is that book?”
Pointing to one trunk, Baba replied, “In there.” (Although he would not let anyone read it, Baba would often travel with his book. The manuscript pages had also been brought on this trip to the West according to Baba’s specific wish.)
“Can I read it?” Gandhi asked.
“Have you the time?” Baba dictated.
“Yes, I can find time to read it. I will definitely read it. Give it to me.”
Baba spelled out, “There is bliss everywhere and nothing else exists, but people do not know it. It is no use listening to lectures and learning does not come from books. Direct experience of God is needed. The Experience is spontaneous; it is not to be forcibly obtained.”
Concerning his activities, Gandhi remarked, “Whatever I do, I take upon myself the responsibility for it. Though in the end, internally I leave everything to God. I cannot shirk my responsibility. Except for God, it is my conviction that I cannot disavow my responsibility.”
“But that thought should not be there,” Baba explained to him. “‘I do . . . I think . . . I renounce . . . I suffer . . . I do everything for others.’ These thoughts should not be there. If, to the detriment of others, one tries to know and understand God, it creates terrible sanskaras.”
Gandhi said, “Please, give me any advice you have.”
“After you are free from the Round Table Conference discussions, retire to a secluded spot and take rest, and think only of God. For the attainment of the Goal, this is the best for you; it is the easiest and the shortest path for you. After that period, come and stay with me for some days.”
Gandhi replied, “God Himself will bring that about; He will grant me understanding and create the circumstances. In all earnestness, I look forward to that day.” Then he said, “Meher Baba, I wish to see you speaking.”
Baba only nodded.
Concerning reading that book, Gandhi pointed to the trunk. Baba replied, “Unfortunately, the key has been left behind in India.”
“I will have it opened.”
Handing the metal box to Gandhi, Baba explained, “After opening it, bring the case back to me and I will give you some of the book to read with my own hands.”
“Certainly,” he answered. “It will be my pleasure to read it.”
Baba warned him, “Be careful. Up to now I have not allowed anyone to see it – not even my mandali. As the first person to read it, I am giving it to you alone. You may go through it, but allow no one else to read it.”
“Assuredly. I will go through it with great joy.”
[Lord Meher 4:1389, 1391-92]
“During the voyage Gandhi read a chapter on ‘Creation’ from Baba’s hitherto unpublished book.” —“Visit to the West,” Beloved Archives online
10 percent . . . 90 percent
“. . . during this seclusion , Baba would repeat some things over and over again. For instance, while he was dictating points to Bhau, he would daily repeat that he had given ninety percent of the book he had written in 1925-26 in God Speaks, and the other ten percent he was giving to Bhau for The Nothing and the Everything. Eruch would have to repeat this in the hall before the other men several times.”
[Lord Meher 20:6535; see also Bhau Kalchuri, The Nothing and the Everything, pp. viii and x, regarding the ten percent.]
Famous Last Words
“At one point , Eruch asked Baba, ‘What about your book?’ Baba assured him, ‘It is in good hands. . . .’ But he did not convey with whom.”
[Lord Meher 20:6704]
A Crazy Theory
In Tibetan Buddhism there is a literary tradition known as terma, or “treasure-texts,” which posits that the Buddha, as well as the “Second Buddha,” Padmasambhava (the Indian master who brought the Dharma to Tibet in the 8th century), concealed teachings for the benefit of future humanity. An example of a terma of Padmasambhava is the well-known Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Such spiritual treasures might be manuscripts or sacred ritual objects literally hidden (sometimes in unusual places like the middle of a rock), or they might be hidden in the ether, as it were, to be discovered by a future “treasure-revealer” (terton), who would write the revealed teaching down. The term “channeling” is not used by Tibetans, but it seems very similar to that new age concept, except here the channeled entities are living enlightened masters, not extraterrestrials or dead people. The only difference is that here, there is a delay between the time the “channeled” text is delivered and the time it is retrieved. Perhaps at the time it is given, humanity is not yet ready to receive those teachings; hence the delay.
What if Meher Baba’s Secret Book were actually a concealed treasure along these lines (even though Baba never spelled out any such possibility)? What if the act of physically writing the book “in God’s own hand” were the powerful action that somehow placed the teaching in the “ether,” so that the actual paper manuscript would not have to be extant in order for the Book to be revealed by some future Perfect Master—or even the next advent of the Avatar himself, in 700 years?
The idea of “channeling” is not unheard of in Avataric circles. After all, Prophet Muhammad had the Holy Qur’an dictated to him by the angel Gabriel.
The manuscript of the Book has been described as handwritten pages of short “points” (for example, King of the Angels = Zeus = Jupiter = Indra; angels = devas = hooris or fairies) in several different languages. (See Frank Davis’s Glossary.) The future “terton” who receives Meher Baba’s Book in this fantasied scenario may have to flesh it out.
Just a thought.
The Book that I shall make people read is the Book of the Heart
which holds the key to the mystery of life.
Message to Reporters and Press Representatives Given
on Board the S. S. Bremen in New York on May 19, 1932