In 1979, just 10 years after Avatar Meher Baba dropped His physical form, The Glow magazine published this account by Eruch Jessawala regarding the observance of Silence Day. Eruch was a close disciple of Meher Baba's and often interpreted Meher Baba's hand gestures.
From 1969 until Eruch's passing in 2001, Eruch would sit in Mandali Hall in Meherazad, India, and answer pilgrims' questions about life with Meher Baba and share his insights regarding the meaning of Meher Baba's words and actions. In the excerpt below, Eruch is answsering questions about Silence Day which is observed every July 10th.
BY ERUCH JESSAWALA
The tenth of July is Silence Day. We all know that Baba observed silence for 44 years, and we talk about his Silence and about the breaking of his Silence.
A number of Baba-lovers are asking us [his close disciples] whether we should continue to observe silence on Silence Day or not. Well, it is left to each individual whether one wants to observe silence or not.
But there will come a time, I feel, when the world will observe Silence Day, just as we observe Christmas and New Year's Day. There will come a time when the observance of Meher Baba's Silence Day will spread all over the world.
In order to commemorate the day Meher Baba began his Silence, it is natural that all those who love him observe silence on July 10th. Those who are close to him would obviously want to commemorate this day. To our wanting or not wanting to observe the day, there is a guideline from Meher Baba himself. In the beginning, we never made it a special day.
There came a time, after several years when somebody drew Baba's attention to the fact that July 10 was the day when he began his silence.
Baba casually instructed that it should be remembered by observing a fast. Adi [Adi K. Irani, Meher Baba’s secretary] would send out circulars in advance with a reminder to Baba-lovers that July 10 is the day of Silence, and that they should observe fast on that day. “Fast” meant 24 hours of fast, only tea was permitted.
Then there came an option. Either one observed fast for 24 hours or silence for 24 hours. Baba-lovers were happy; they said, "Let us try observing silence."
Many people who were close to Baba began to observe silence on that day. Still there remained the option of fast or silence. Then there were a few who could neither observe fast nor silence. Some said they could not observe silence because they were in the military or were holding a responsible position which necessitated the use of speech.
Reports of difficulties encountered would come to Baba. They would write letters saying how it was not possible for them to observe the fast or the silence. Baba would lovingly say, "It doesn't matter, it's all right."
Then there came a time when Baba said. "I want you all to observe fast or to observe silence." It was not an optional decision left to the discretion of his close ones; but it was his wanting them to do it. So people in the world who followed Baba either observed fast or observed silence.
But then in the late sixties he would mention how important the Day of Silence was as he had been keeping silence for so many years. He conveyed, "It's not anybody's silence, but it's My Silence; so it's best you also observe silence for a day."
Thus he started giving us a gift – his sanction to participate in the day of his Silence. Even in his physical presence we (the mandali) observed silence. We had to observe silence. There was no option whatsoever. We had no option about fast or anything in between.
For a number of years the mandali were observing silence on the Day, but his lovers around the world were given the option to observe silence or to observe fast. In later years Baba expressed his wish that it was better if all observed silence instead of observing fast.
The Glow, August 1979, edited by Naosherwan Anzar. Used with permission.