By Eruch Jessawala
We would often question Meher Baba about His long silence, asking Him when He intended to break it and one day in 1954 in answer, He just dropped His alphabet board and said, "From now on I will not use the board."
We thought this was a hint that He might be about to break His silence but the days passed without incident except that He then started to communicate by using finger gestures. All He would say, referring to His silence, was, "What a binding it is" but it was a binding with a purpose — for our sake.
However, one lasting benefit which developed out of this, came one day when He asked us this question: "Why do people shout at one another when they are angry?"
We said, "They shout because they are angry and they want to express their anger," and Baba responded, "Yes, they can express their anger that way, but even if someone is seated at their side they will shout at that person. Could they not speak softly?" We volunteered different explanations, saying different things which came to mind at the time, but our answers did not satisfy Baba. So He gave us the answer.
"When a person is angry with another person," He said, "that person is far removed from his heart and distance is created between them. That's why the physical reaction is to shout, and the greater the distance, the greater is the shouting. Love disappears and one goes on shouting at the other who in turn barks back at him. Then he barks and so it goes on and on."
But Baba did not stop there as He doubtlessly wanted us to see the same thing from a different angle. So He continued, "Now take the other case of two people in love. When two individuals are in love with each other, how do they speak?"
"They speak softly," we answered.
"Yes," Baba agreed, "they do speak softly and the greater the love between them, the softer is their tone of speech. And when they are still further in love, no words are needed and they just look at each other, and eventually there is not even the need to look — no need at all."
Well, that is the reason why Meher Baba observed silence. There was no need for an exchange of words. It was very good to hear that, to be reminded that He was so very close to us; as He has said, "I am closer to you than your very breath."
Whether the world accepted His closeness or not was immaterial to Him for whom there was no need to speak, and it was so true that whenever people came in contact with Him, although there was an exchange of signs or words through interpretations, Meher Baba always spoke directly to the hearts of people. There is no doubt at all about that, He simply reached deep into their hearts.
Anzar, Naosherwan, The Ancient One: A Disciple’s Memoirs of Meher Baba (Hamilton, New Jersey: Beloved Books, 1985), pp. 101-102. (c)Naosherwan Anzar. Used with permission.
Eruch Jessawala was a primary interpreter of Meher Baba’s alphabet board and then His signs and gestures. He was well known for his deep understanding of Meher Baba’s Life and work.