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Silence Day

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Silence Day
Baba dictating.jpg
Meher Baba dictating a letter on his alphabet board, 1936
Observed byMeher Baba followers
TypeTraditional
SignificanceCommemoration of the start of Meher Baba's silence
CelebrationsMeher Baba's Tomb pilgrimage, local events including prayer and fasting
ObservancesFollowers keep verbal silence for 24 hours
Date10 July
FrequencyAnnual
Related toMeher Baba

Silence Day is the name given by the Indian spiritual master Meher Baba to the anniversary commemorations of the start of his lifelong silence.[1] Each year from 1952 until his death in 1969, Meher Baba laid out specific austerities for his followers to observe on 10 July: these included fasting, prayers, and keeping verbal silence.[2][3] Because his final order to his followers was to observe that date with silence, his close disciples encouraged his followers to continue this practice.[4][5][6]

History[edit | edit source]

From 10 July 1925 until his death in 1969, Meher Baba was silent.[7][8] Initially, Baba treated the anniversary casually, occasionally telling his closest disciples to fast.[9]

Starting in 1951 and subsequently Baba began to ask all his followers to observe certain austerities on that anniversary. Initially, these were instructions to keep silent and fast for 12 hours.[10] For the next few years, these instructions varied: sometimes for silence only, sometimes for fasting and silence, and on some occasions, requests for specific prayers or mantras.Additionally, the time for these austerities began to set for the 24 hours of 10 July.[11] In later years, the requests became more consistent, giving followers the option of fasting or remaining silent for 24 hours.

An exception to the annual request occurred in 1959, when Baba gave no instructions, and instead celebrated the date with a ceremony, including giving money to the poor.[12] In years following, however, the importance of the observation of this date grew, including orders for public celebrations.[13] Meher Baba continued to give his followers the option of 24 hours of fasting or praying on Silence Day until 1968, when his final instruction was that they should keep silent only. [14]

Following Baba's death in 1969, his close disciples made it clear that Baba's followers were to observe silence on subsequent Silence Days. His sister Mani stated

I think there should be no question in the minds of anyone, should we observe silence or not. It is an opportunity that we should not let pass by. Every lover of Baba, to my mind, must observe silence on 10th of July — the Silence Day. You salute your Beloved by giving Him a rose, you would not call that a routine or a ritual. It is an expression of your love, a piece of your heart..

— Mani Irani, "Silence Day", Letters From the Mandali of Avatar Meher Baba, Volume 1 (1981)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Irani, Mani (1976). Family Letters. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Sheriar Press Inc. p. 241.
  2. Irani, Adi K (1968). The Life Circulars of Avatar Meher Baba: (A compilation of the 67 Life Circulars) (PDF). Hyderabad, India: Meher Vihar Trust. pp. 12, 39, 51, 70, 87, 98, 110, 119, 127, 135, 137, 143, 144, 147. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  3. Irani, Mani (1976). Family Letters. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Sheriar Press Inc. pp. 35, 54, 69, 91, 146, 181, 214.
  4. Anzar, Naosherwan (August 1979). "Eruch Jessawala: Silence Day Is a Special Day". Glow International. Hamilton,NJ (August 1979): 34.
  5. Irani, Mani (1976). Family Letters. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Sheriar Press Inc. p. 347. As beloved Baba had wished His lovers to observe silence (without the option of a fast) for twenty-four hours on 10th July last year, 1968, so we feel that all His lovers must observe silence from night of July 9 to midnight of July 10 of this year, 1969 — and for all years to come.
  6. Toksvig, Sandi. "Sssh-It's Silence Day". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2019. Silence Day is held each year in tribute to a spiritual master called Meher Baba
  7. Shri Meher Baba: Questions and Answers. 50 Charing CrossLondon, S.W.1: The Circle Editorial Committee. 1933. p. 3. Since July 10, 1925, he has observed complete silence.
  8. Irani, Mani (1976). Family Letters. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Sheriar Press Inc. p. 381. Meher Baba told his disciples that from July 10, 1925 he would observe Silence. Since that day he has maintained this Silence throughout the years.
  9. Anzar, Naosherwan (August 1979). "Eruch Jessawala: Silence Day Is a Special Day". Glow International. Hamilton,NJ (August 1979): 34. Baba casually instructed that it should be remembered by observing a fast.
  10. Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba. Myrtle Beach SC: Manifestation. p. 3002. He instructed his lovers all over the world, as well as his companions and the women with him, to observe silence on Tuesday, 10 July 1951, from 6:00 A.M. that day to 6:00 A.M. of the 11th.
  11. For specific austerity requests and times, see Irani, Adi K (1968). The Life Circulars of Avatar Meher Baba: (A compilation of the 67 Life Circulars) (PDF). Hyderabad, India: Meher Vihar Trust. pp. 12, 39, 51, 70, 87, 98, 110. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  12. Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba. Myrtle Beach SC: Manifestation. p. 4558. But on that day, 10 July, Baba went to the old Poona Center, where 100 poor children were gathered, and Baba washed their feet and gave them each ten rupees as a love-gift.
  13. Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba. Myrtle Beach SC: Manifestation. p. 5235. Baba instructed him [disciple Harry Kenmore] to hold two public celebrations in New York City annually — one in honor of Baba's Birthday and the other for Silence Day.
  14. Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba. Myrtle Beach SC: Manifestation. p. 6633. want all my lovers to observe complete silence for twenty-four hours, from midnight of July 9th to midnight of July 10th, 1968.


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