The questions surrounding Meher Baba’s Manifestation are always good for some intense conversation. Did he? If he did, when did he manifest? If he didn’t, when will he? The conversation gets even more interesting when the idea is raised that the Manifestation has already taken place and does so every time Meher Baba touches another heart.
Maybe it’s a question of semantics and we’ve all got different definitions for “manifestation.” The dictionary definition is fairly simple: “to make evident or certain by showing or displaying.”
Meher Baba’s statements over the years, on the other hand, are considerably more complicated. Basically, he said his manifestation would include his violent end, his humiliation, his glorification and the breaking of his silence, and he gave various dates for that Manifestation. He modified each event by saying whether it was said in his language, our language or simultaneously in both. (See The God-Man by Charles Purdom for a good discussion.)
Speaking of the breaking of Baba’s silence, Purdom says Baba did not state what form the Manifestation would take, but “it will be of the highest importance.” He adds that “all will be able to hear the word, but not everyone will know that he hears it, for some will remain deaf, some will be asleep and hear it in a dream, and some … may mistake it.”
Over the years, there have even been disagreements among his mandali over the part of Baba’s manifestation statements referring to the breaking of his silence. In 1969, right after Baba dropped his body, Adi K. Irani told a group near the Samadhi that “Meher Baba has broken his silence.” Francis Brabazon stood up and said, “Well, I didn’t hear it and I won’t believe it until I do.” Margaret Craske told the story of Baba announcing he would break his silence in the Hollywood Bowl in 1932. The Western women traveling with Baba prepared for the occasion by having “God-Realization gowns” made. Except for Margaret. She saw Baba’s plan as one of the “carrots” he occasionally used to encourage his disciples. So I guess if we need a “carrot,” we get a carrot. Personally, I find it a bit embarrassing to think Meher Baba might feel he has to hold out a carrot to me to hold my attention.
In a way, waiting for what we think will be his Manifestation seems to me to be like focusing on a stage waiting for the big show to begin, when the real show is already going on all around us. So I’m inclined to go with the theory that he does indeed manifest each time he touches another heart. It sure felt like that to me many years ago, and still does.