I really do love it when the arguments start over what Baba wrote and what he meant by what he wrote, assuming of course that he wrote it in the first place.
These days, it seems hardly anyone believes Baba wrote anything that is attributed to him. Of course, that attitude can be great fun for those who love a good argument, and one could see in this whole thing a setup for people who will eventually claim only they know what Meher Baba really wrote and only they have possession of it.
What is this ferocious argument over which version of the Discourses had Baba’s “imprimatur?” I am very intrigued by the claim that only the three-volume, 1967 version was approved by Baba as “correct.” If that’s true, then where did he stand on the original five-volume set, reprinted directly from four years of the Meher Baba Journals plus one year’s worth dictated by Baba after the Journals stopped. Baba wrote one discourse for each issue of the Journals, reportedly dictated to Dr. Deshmukh. Did he make it known that Dr. Deshmukh got it all wrong? Not that I know of. Those five-volumes were very much sought after and very hard to come by when I first heard about Baba in the 1950s. They weren’t criticized as being “wrong.” For that matter, Charles Purdom’s version God To Man and Man To God, revised for Western readers with Baba’s approval, wasn’t labeled “wrong” either, although we were bright enough to realize it was different due to the editing. Guess what? Most of us didn’t mind. They were still completely recognizable as Baba’s words. I don’t remember anyone being confused as to Baba’s meaning. And as Elizabeth Patterson once said, “If the love comes through, then it’s the right version.”
So what is all this haranguing? Perhaps we’re seeing the rise of a strain of fundamentalism. If so, “Oh, oh. pity us.” Because we’re splitting ourselves into Sunnis and Shiites, so to speak, and we don’t even realize it. Of course it’s understandable that people will have their favorite versions of Discourses and other of Baba’s writings. Take a look at God Speaks. Do we realize that the first and second editions are very different? Is one more “correct” than the other?
I think the bottom line here is that it is imperative that we leave each other alone. Let each one of us love Meher Baba’s words as we wish. He knows that many generations from now they’re going to be changed anyway. It’s happened in every Avataric age, hasn’t it? Could we really be so naive to think it wouldn’t happen in this one?