Talk:God Speaks/Archive 1

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Terms taken from E/N/G, or E/N/G's terms already derivative?[edit]

...Meher Baba appears to adopt words from various western sources, including several western mystic poets, e.g. Emerson ("Over-soul"), Novalis ("God-intoxicated"), and Goethe ("God-man")...

I was just wondering: is there actual evidence anywhere for this claim? It seems much more likely to me for some reason that E/N/G's use of such terms was based on or derived from previous translations from other sources, right? Especially re: "God-man," which is standard in Christian theology for I-don't-know-how-long, but definitely way before Goethe (!).

Also, I obviously agree about the non-dualist thrust of the metaphysics, but M.B. also heavily stressed the difference between people just cavalierly making non-dualist truth claims abstractly, vs. non-dualism in actual practice/experience, which it may be worth stressing? That is, it's one thing for the Avatar of the Age to say "I am God," and quite another thing for someone else to say "I am God" (George Bush or whomever else might be tempted to...) while we're all really still just here in this gross world/sphere, regardless of the ultimate underlying metaphysical abstract truth of everything. In that sense, too, M.B. is also metaphysically compatible with theism, if one thinks of the conscious Beyond state as containing but separate from the gross/subtle/mental worlds.

(I'm new to this wiki stuff or else I'd try editing this a little myself, but maybe I'll come back to it...)

Very interesting. And everything you say is totally true. I hope you will include these points in the article. About the terminology derivations, if you think they are wrong, please by all means correct what I say here. The word "God-man" has roots back to the early 3rd Century Christianity at least. And the word "God-intoxicated" appears original, even in its Sufi form of "Mast-Allah" (which is nearly literally the same) yet I could not find "Mast-Allah" in any other source. Baba did read the romantic western poets when he was young, and he uses the name "mystic" to describe these terms. He does not appear to mean simply Christian Mystic, thus we might suppose he was making reference to the poets -- especially Emerson's use of the word "Over-soul."

About what you say about Baba being compatible with theism, this is very true and should be pointed out in the article as it is vitally important. However, I have read the writing of Nisargadatta who was definitely a pure advaita-vedantist, pure non-dualist, and he speaks about God too. Baba does not agree with Buddhism, the idea that there is no soul and no God. He makes a clean break from this view in "God Speaks," saying how Buddha emphasized Nirvana but did not explain further and this was interpreted as his meaning there was no God -- only consciousness. Baba definitely takes a strong stand for theism. But it ought not be imagined that he means an external God as imagined in Abrahamic monotheism. I have coined the term "theistic monism" that I think better describes Baba's view. But Wikipedia does not allow original research and so I can't really use that term. But to me it captures better what he means by God. He is quite unequivocable about the Unity of Being -- and that all is God and that God is the only protagonist in the drama -- no matter how different it appears.

Yet, and seemingly contradicting this in the next moment, he emphasizes strengthening the sense of longing, separation, and love for God (as if external) as a means to attain unity. So this is very paradoxical and worth pointing out somewhere if one of us ever gets the chance. Chris 21:32, 1 June 2006 (UTC)


Hdtnkrwll, Congrats on the excellent clarification of the syncretism portion. Nicely written.

"Sharnak" seems to have deleted that whole ¶ you're referring to, on 1/18/08. I have no objections to it getting rewritten or clarified & simplified, but not sure why it was deleted, so I put it back. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hdtnkrwll (talkcontribs) 05:33, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I had taken it out because I thought it sounded like original research and someone had added a 'citation needed' template, and I couldn't think of where I could find a citation to back it up. But I think it is a true statement, so I just cleaned it up a bit this time. If I could think of a better word than "syncretize" the subject would be moot. What I meant was that he equates a set of terms from three lexicons, not that he tries to blend them as 'syncretism" implies. I think it's a problem of semantics. Perhaps I should just change the word "syncretizes" with "equates." Because Baba is not actually a syncretic writer. What do you think of that idea? I think it would be more accurate and then the clarification you added would not be necessary. As it stands I see what you are driving at. He definitely is not syncretic. The dictionary defines 'syncretize' as = To combine differing elements or beliefs, especially with partial success or a heterogeneous result. That's definitely not what Meher Baba was trying to do. He was simply giving the terms that mean the same thing in 3 cultures. Sharnak (talk) 12:38, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

On Baba's Cosmology[edit]

Hi Chris,

As a log-in user I'm quite new in Wikipedia. I first started appreciating it when I found the entries on Meher Baba, the Bahai Faith and other spiritual paths. I've never felt as a follower of any particular religion or spiritual teacher. Yet, my reading the Discourses, when I was 19, was like the cleaning away of a huge mystical cloud of terms and concepts which I had mentally collected and the revelation of what I had been trying to come to during my quest. It was rather like finding an inherent knowledge buried under layers of never ending questions, than learning something new from a book outside of me. I still appreciate many writers for the influence they had in my life, like Krisnamurti or John Lilly, but my inner connection with Baba's Discourses is a completely different chapter. Lately I decided to log-in to the German section, for a minor addition to an Austian artist's entry and then I decided to log-in to the English side, mostly to learn more on editing, since german terminology is quite hard for me to cope with.

All this would be material for a personal email, but I state it here only as a self-introduction to my following request for advice. In the discussion of the Meher Baba entry, I suggested some mentioning of Baba's "cosmology" structure of the apparent creation's levels, since I find it very helpful for people pondering on the nature of the Universe. I was adviced to look under God Speaks for a more appropriate place for it. I surely wouldn't like to try any editing before I am confident I understand POV and original research sufficiently and I definitely wouldn't like to give a bad time to anyone with premature efforts. The thing is, I don't find in which way it would be possible to make such an addition in this entry. I've looked a bit in your discussions and contributions and feel quite glad to be addressing you this. Can you help me, please, with any suggestions?

Hoverfish 14:53, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Hi Hoverfish,
I checked all this out and it seems like you want to do something pretty expansive on the Discourses. I like the suggestion that a Discourses section be created, that is if you feel like it doesn't fit in the God Speaks page. Wikipedia is fairly open to articles on important well-read books. The Discourses defintiely qualifies. If you'd like I could see about starting one and linking you to it. Remember that no matter what you write, the Wikiway is that others will likely at some point challenge or change it unless you're very lucky. One of the cool thing though is that whatever you write stays in the page's history, so it can at some point be considered or recovered. Chris 16:11, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Try going here: Discourses (Meher Baba) Chris 16:33, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

About POV and original research, it's sort of like this: If I say "Meher Baba is surely God" or "Clearly Meher Baba is a fraud and possibly the devil himself," these are POV (point of view statements) and will get struck down pretty quick, or even be considered vandalism. But if I say "So and so scholar says in such and such source that Meher Baba is clearly the devil" well if I can site my source and it is a published serious book, then it is a "fact" about what so and so scholar has said (even if he is wrong) and no one can quarrel with it. Someone might put another quote near it by someone else, but removing it would be vandalism without giving a pretty good reason. Original research means, at least in the context of something like Baba's cosmology, giving your own original interpretation of what Baba "means" by what he says. To a certain extent you can do this, especially when it is clearly derivable from the material or some other source material. It helps even better if you can give that source material. But for clarifying things to cold readers, a small amount of fudging the lines is sometimes in order or even necessary, especially when a writer is particularly obtuse. But if you are giving a truly original spin on the content, really interpreting it in a new and not previously published way, well that is original research in the sense that Wikipedia really frowns. But keep in mind you can give a pretty outrageous interpretation if you can site a reliable published source from a reputable publisher. Chris 17:07, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Chris, thanks a lot for your flash creation of the stub on the Discourses and your advice. Actually I wasn't prepared on doing anything extensive, but intentions can change quite unexpectedly, especially given such a push. I might even find the stub already developed into a fully expanded article by the time I'm ready. I'll take it as it comes, form inside and from outside. I was looking for something to do in the Wikipedia and it looks like this something turns out to be quite the something for me. Thanks again. Hoverfish 17:27, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't worry about anyone getting to it first. My experience is that a very tiny fraction of users actually contribute, and mostly to spelling and style. It is a rare bird that decides to spend the time and mind to write something. And most contributions are improvements, but occassionally some crazy has decided they are the world's expert and have come to save the day. It is both comical and irritating. So you will probably find yourself working unhindered if you do decide to take the plunge, especially on a side-article such as on Discourses. But I think it would be a valuable contribution. Chris 17:33, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Excellent link[edit]

The link to the divine dream is a most helpful addition. As you see I started mentioning a bit of it, but was reluctant to interrupt here and there for further mentions along the way. This sums it all up in the best possible way. Hoverfish 21:27, 5 October 2006 (UTC)


...Meher Baba's explanations do not come to disprove any scientific discoveries of biological evolution, but rather examine a different side of the process.

Thank you, this is exactly right. It's depressing to have run into some Baba-lovers who have fallen for the "intelligent design" faux-metaphysics, especially given how clearly Baba himself explained everything in terms of the Whim and latent forces. There's a related statement re: science as just its own delimited method in the Discourses: “The so-called conflict between religion and science arises only when there is no appreciation of the relative importance of these two types of knowledge.”

Yes, I agree there is a mistaken view that the so-called science/religion divide can be bridged by blending the two. It is two entirely different arenas. It is unfortunate that even Baba's words are often seen through the lens of old cliches, though he probably wouldn't have minded if their hearts were on straight. But I agree that Hoverfish did a great job on this section. Chris 00:57, 10 October 2006 (UTC)


I reduced a bit the size of the first image. I moved the board image to the left and added double break before Editions, so that in wider screens, Editions doesn't jump to the right of the image. If this makes too much space, I could think of something else. Hoverfish 19:15, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

There is no 3rd Edition[edit]

Inside the latest printing of God Speaks is stated that the 1997 printing is the "Third Printing 1997". That is, there is no 3rd edition of God Speaks. The 2nd edition was the last revision of the 1st edition, and all following years of its printing are just that, printings, not new editions.

BeyondBeyond 07:33, 10 May 2007 (UTC)BeyondBeyond

BB: the edition from the '90s is effectively a "third edition" because it was completely re-typeset, if compared to the "second edition" from the '70s (which was re-typeset from the 1st ed. from the '50s, reprinted in the '60s). So regardless of terminology each edition ('50s, '70s, '90s) has different page numbers, different typeface (Berkeley Oldstyle vs. Times vs. New Caledonia), etc. It's not just a reprint of the plates for the 2nd ed. You can compare them and see for yourself. Hdtnkrwll 02:00, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

For those people that find the evolution of a book interesting and useful, and in this case it definitely is so, there should be mention of the editions this book has gone thru. Namely, Dr. Ghani's notes and first attempt, all or most of it lost, then rewritten and typed up by Eruch from notes (1st edition), then Lud Dimpfl's pull-out chart and glossary additions (2nd edition), and finally the reformatting of the book's appearance (not a new edition as Hdtnkrwll believes). In other words, the book itself should be part of the topic on this page, that is, its history, not just its content. I'd write it, but I don't believe I know the details as readily as it may appear, nor do I write well. However, if you tell me that you won't do it, but would rather I do, then I'll give it a shot. BeyondBeyond (talk) 19:42, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I suggest you go ahead and add a section and write what you know. Give whatever citations you possibly can, even if they are just in-line ones in paranetheses. Then I think others will gradually get involved in fixing any writing. Wikipedia is always a work in progress. I suggest you put the section before REVIEWS Pipaaz (talk) 22:20, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Also, see this link for some history with page numbers: Pipaaz (talk) 22:32, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

BB: In the book publishing world, "edition" refers to the plates and typesetting used for printing, not just the word content. So even though the printing from the 1990s is technically not labeled a "third edition," it is effectively a third edition of the book (albeit using words from the second edition), because it's been completely re-typeset and re-formatted. Check any online book term glossary for yourself. I'm not going to change the wiki article over this, but this is the technical meaning of the term "edition" in the book world. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hdtnkrwll (talkcontribs) 04:21, 30 July 2008 (UTC) For example: "EDITION - All copies of a work published in one typographical format, printed from the same type or plates..." For whatever it's worth, the "Third Printing 1997" listing in Sheriar's version is misleading, because the 1997 Sheriar version is not just an additional reprinting of the 1973 second edition; the 1997 edition is completely re-typeset, printed from new plates, etc.

This is true. Even though the wording is said to identical, the new typeset causes all text to show up on a different page number. So if you are referencing "the 2nd edition" for a citation, if the person has the 1997 2nd edition and you are using the 1973 2nd edition, you will not find the quote there. This makes it confusing to cite the book as 2nd edition. This forces anyone who is quoting the book and citing it to give the year and edition number. You have to give both year and edition for a person to find your quote in the book. This would have been unnecessary had the 1997 retypeset been called a "3rd edition." What the Sufis apparently were trying to do was avoid controversy by changing the semantics. They traded clarity however. Aliphanta (talk) 13:35, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Right, regardless of how it's labeled within the 1997 edition/printing, it's effectively a new edition, at least according to the common use of the term in the book world (since the typesetting difference between 1973 and 1997 is not just a minor variation). Of course, one is always free to define or use words differently (as Humpty Dumpty knows: "when I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean"), but pragmatically speaking a spade is still a spade. The Baba-world might call the 1997 edition a third "printing," but a historian or book dealer will recognize it as a third "edition" (assuming it'll be possible to compare the 1950s/1960s' printings with the 1970s' printings and the 1990s' printings, etc). It goes without saying that the terminology per se is only important if one wants to stick to the accepted sense of the words... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hdtnkrwll (talkcontribs) 04:07, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

If that's the case, it should be noted in the article, for the sake of clarity. I'll try to write a blurb on it when I get a chance. I considered the definition of edition per the link above and find myself sure that, whatever the intentions of the Sufis to call it, their distinction of a printing vs an edition seems to add a dimension I appreciate, namely, that were I to consider the difference between various editions of a book, I might assume the latest to be the only one worth getting, assuming improvement with newer editions, but clearly, if only the typeface is different, I may not want to be deterred by a prior edition. So, from this perspective, edition subsumes too much in its definition, typeface and changes in the text itself, whereas the word printing (clearly not meaning a literal 3rd copy of a book printed into existence,) suggests that less than text content changes have been made, such as typeface, page correspondence, etc. BeyondBeyond (talk) 07:01, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

See section "Editions" I added below. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:58, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
Sufism faced a bit of a dilemma. Dodd, Mead and Company (which printed the book from 1955 to 1973), went out of business in 1990. Sufisim Reoriented no longer had the original plates to print from, so it had to be retypeset and printed through a new book printing company. So the typesetting was more a child of necessity than a design choice. Baba had worked very hard on the 1973 2nd edition. It had been his own desire to do it, and it was anticipated and authorized with several changes and additions directly supervised by Baba when he was alive. Sufism Reoriented did not want to give the false impression that they were changing a single word of the text by naming the 1997 printing a 3rd edition. It is exactly the same text, with a few spelling corrections. The page count is different because Dodd Mead no longer had the plates as they had gone defunct. So no one is to blame here. But for clarity of page count, of course something should probably be noted in the article. A page in the 1997 printing does not conform to a page number in the prntings in 1973, even though they are both the authorized 2nd edition. So people ought to know that. Pipaaz (talk) 11:08, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Third party sources and NPOV[edit]

  • Per WP:NPOV: the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source
  • Per Wikipedia:Notability (books): The book has been the subject of multiple, non-trivial published works whose sources are independent of the book itself, with at least some of these works serving a general audience.
  • Per WP:PSTS: Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources

Taking these into consideration, this article as it stands does not meet established criteria: without multiple third party sources (for example a review of the book) the article cannot achieve NPOV. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:42, 12 June 2008 (UTC)


Apparently some secondary sources (beyond the primary source) have been added as well as significant review by a well known Eastern studies scholar. (talk) 20:06, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Working on it[edit]

I have read about this book in at least two sources and will try to find these and include. Pipaaz (talk) 12:54, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Interesting! Stealing this note from another page: "...note on a Wiki how-to page that viewing statistics are available for web pages." Here's the one for God Speaks for June. Did better than any other Meher Baba sub-article I checked, which is surprising. Pipaaz (talk) 12:55, 16 July 2008 (UTC)


The following is resurrected from the omitted history of the article. It is pretty accurate. It was omitted because it called the 1997 printing a 3rd edition.

God speaks has been released in three major editions, with several printings.

  1. The first edition was published by Dodd, Mead and Company in 1955. It was originally 255 pages. Of this edition there were three printings, 1955, 1968, and 1971. In the first printing 100 were printed in white cloth and were signed by Meher Baba. Other copies were printed in blue cloth. All dust jackets were blue with a silhouette of Meher Baba on the cover.
  2. In 1973, four years after Meher Baba's death, God Speaks was released in a second revised and expanded edition, 313 pages, also blue and published by Dodd Mead. In addition to earlier charts included, the second edition had a fold out insert of syncretic terminology. After several printings of the second edition Dodd, Mead and Company went out of business in 1990.
  3. In 1997, a third edition was published by Sufism Reoriented and is 334 pages. This edition, still in print, has a white cloth cover. However, it has the original blue dust jacket design. It is printed in a semi-glossy acid-free clay based paper for posterity.

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:God Speaks/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

This article is very thorough and well written and has even received complements from the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India. David Plum (talk) 22:06, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 22:06, 1 May 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 14:52, 1 May 2016 (UTC)