Meher Legacy (meherlegacy.org) is a new website that “was created to archive and preserve the words, images, and treasures of Avatar Meher Baba and his closest followers, and to clarify how they were created, edited, or otherwise changed and interpreted throughout history.”
This is an ambitious project and clearly a work in progress. It has just taken its first baby steps out into the world, but promises an athletic future. It is an important project. The Meher Baba community has recently entered the post mandali (apostolic) phase of its development and is becoming aware of the need to accurately preserve the Avatar’s story in its astonishingly rich detail, and to account for how this story is itself the result of an editing process.
The importance of this archival work comes to a particularly poignant focus in the material collected on the subjects of the organization Sufism Reoriented and the official English language biography of Meher Baba, Lord Meher.
Both of these subjects have generated controversy with regard to the veracity of their narratives, and Meher Legacy is to be commended for its brave efforts to provide documentation that helps to attain a better understanding of the wrinkles and warts that adorn the telling of the Avatar’s story.
Sufism Reoriented is one of the most unique, enigmatic and startling of Baba’s many projects and works. It is an organization that is the result of reorienting Inayat Khan’s Sufi Movement as represented by Rabia Martin and her successor, Ivy Duce. He assisted in the writing of a charter for this organization that divested it of its Islamic aspect and universalized its nature and role to be appropriate for this cycle of time. The great irony behind this work is that Baba’s motto is “I have come not to teach but to awaken”, yet he has left behind an organization empowered to teach in his name. How this organization is empowered to fulfill the promise of its charter is the crux of this controversy. This is where the official narrative provided by Sufism Reoriented turns to mud.
The story of Lord Meher, Baba’s biography, is a story that will be read and celebrated for all time. Yet the story of this official biography already has a contested history. The work necessary to establish a narrative of Meher Baba’s life that is both accurate and properly documented will take dedicated effort by many people. It’s important that a consensus as how to best proceed with this project be reached as soon as possible.
Meher Legacy is confidently taking the baby steps to present in a comprehensive and coherent manner the documentation necessary to help tell a sublime story well.
We should all support it.