Meher Baba (born Merwan Sheriar Irani) was born on February 25, 1849. An Indian spiritual leader, he taught that the physical world is an illusion and that each soul is really God passing through the imagination to realize, individually, His own divinity. I could find no exact number of his followers, but they seem to number in the thousands.
During the 1920s, Meher Baba opened a school, hospital and dispensary at Meherabad. All three were free and open to all castes and faiths. And from 1925 at age 31 until his death at 75, he maintained complete silence, communicating only with an alphabet board and hand gestures.
In the 1930s, Meher Baba traveled extensively using a Persian passport. He had given up writing as well as speaking and would not sign the forms required by the British government of India.
On 31 January 1969, Meher Baba died at his home in Meherazad. His last words, conveyed by gestures were, “Do not forget that I am God.”
I confess I had not heard of Meher Baba until I started researching this post. He seems a fairly benign mystic. This photo reminds me of a pizza maker in the Bronx.