16 August 2007

Harbingers of Change

This reference to Meher Baba appears in the book Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution (St. Martin’s Press, 2004) by David Carter, a New York Baba-lover who worked on the book for some ten years. Its release came on the 35th anniversary of the riots outside a Greenwich Village gay bar called the Stonewall Inn that are said to have sparked the gay liberation movement. This passage appears on page 12:

“On the south side of Christopher Park, directly across from the buildings that became the Stonewall Inn, was the home of [Graham Phelps] Stokes. Stokes had a great interest in Eastern mysticism, and so, in 1932, he invited the Indian spiritual master Meher Baba to stay in his home. It was there that Meher Baba first met the American public. He had been observing silence since 1925, communicating by means of a small board he carried on which the letters of the alphabet were painted. At the gathering at the Stokes home, Meher Baba pointed to the letters on the board to spell out his message, saying that he was observing silence only so that he could one day break it, which he said would bring about a spiritual upheaval: ‘America has tremendous energy, but most of this energy is misdirected. I intend to divert it into spiritual and creative channels.’ Asked how his speaking would help such current social problems as those of politics, economics, and sex, he answered that when he spoke the results would he gradual and would affect all aspects of life. ‘New values and significance will be at­tached to matters which appear to baffle solution at the present moment,’ he asserted. He later explained that constructive and creative forces were being released that, although working silently, would ‘bring about the transformation of man.’ Harbingers of radical change—artistic, political, and spiritual—surrounded the diminutive triangular park."

For an article on gay spirituality and Meher Baba first published in 1980 and written by Kendra Crossen and Bruce Hoffman, see the MyOutspirit gay spirituality blog here. Writer/blogger Joe Perez, author of Soulfully Gay, calls this article "not only a piece of historical interest, but also a compelling vision for spirituality that is still valid today."

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All quotes of Meher Baba © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust unless otherwise indicated. Writings by Kendra are © Kendra Crossen Burroughs unless otherwise noted.