How Baba Wrote His Arti

The Bujaawe Naar Arti, often referred to as the Gujarati Arti, is sung every day at both Meherabad and Meherazad. We cannot begin to know the importance of this most beautiful Arti, but we do know that it was written by Beloved Meher Baba Himself.

5 am: Singing the Arti on Baba’s birthday at the Samadhi. (Recent photo by Paul Liboiron)

Baba loved to sing and compose music and He was also an accomplished dolak (Indian drum) player. Here is one account, drawn from Mehera-Meher (p. 156) of how and when He wrote the Bujaawe Naar Arti.

Baba playing the drum in 1950. (Photo courtesy of MN Publications)

In late 1924 or early 1925, shortly before beginning His silence and while staying in Bombay, Mehera recalled that Baba had stayed awake one night listening to singing in the street outside His window. She further recalled that during that same night He composed the Bujaawe Naar. In the morning He sang it for the women and also wrote the words on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, the fate of that paper is unknown today.

Baba composed the melody for the Arti based on a traditional Indian Bhairavi raga,a very old and classical form associated with the dawn. Since the Bhairaviis a devotional “morning raga,” it is fitting that the Bujaawe Arti is now sung every morning at Baba’s Samadhi.

Mehera said that, before His silence began, she sometimes heard Baba singing when the women were living in the bathing rooms at Lower Meherabad in the early 1920s. She loved to describe His beautiful voice and felt that keeping silence was Baba’s greatest suffering.

There is a different account of the origin of this Arti given in Lord Meher (online edition, p. 634). In this version Baba composed the Bujaawe Naar Arti later, in January of 1926—well after He’d begun His Silence.

However, Mehera had a remarkable memory and vividly recalled Baba writing the Bujaawe Naar in Bombay. And the early residents who were close to her maintain that her version of the story is far more likely. Still, the exact story behind this Arti remains a mystery.

Meheru, Mani and Mehera singing the Bujaawe Arti at Meherabad. (Photo courtesy of MN Publications)

[To hear an audio recording of the women mandali singing the Bujaawe Arti, introduced by Eruch click here. (The origin of this recording is unknown.)]

—Cindy Lowe for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 29 October 2015

The English translation of the Bujaawe Naar (given in Lord Meher, online edition, p. 634):

Oh God, command that the fire of ignorance be extinguished!

Bestow upon Your lovers the light of faith for which they long.

O Master Meher Baba! We lay our heads at Your feet.

O Meher Baba! You are the One who knows the original state of God.

You are the Lord of Truth! You are the lover and Beloved in one.

You are the torrent of Infinite Knowledge and the Ocean of Oneness.

O Beloved, bestow upon us seekers the knowledge of Ezad.

For You, Paramatma, are omniscient, Divine Knowledge Itself!

Intoxicate us by making us drink from the cup of love divine.

O Saki, promise us a cup of wine! We offer our lives in sacrifice to you.

Our ship founders in mid-ocean; only if you steer can we remain afloat.

O Meher Baba! You are our captain and protector!