Silence Day is the name the followers of Indian spiritual master Meher Baba give to their practice of commemorating July 10 of each year by maintaining verbal silence for twenty-four hours.
From July 10, 1925 until his death in 1969, Meher Baba was silent. He communicated first by using an alphabet board (hey, we text, but he did this first), and later by hand gestures which were interpreted and spoken out by one of his mandali (devoted disciples), usually by his disciple Eruch Jessawala. For many years, Baba asked his followers to undertake various austerities on this date. In addition to keeping silence, Baba sometimes asked his followers to fast, to pray, to repeat the names of God, and similar practices. In his last request to his followers on the subject, in 1968, he asked only that they observe silence. Silence Day commemorates Avatar Meher Baba’s 44 years of silence.
While Meher Baba did not establish any ongoing requirement, even after his death the majority of his followers voluntarily keep silent on July 10.
Things that are Real are given and received in Silence. — Meher Baba
The Universal Message
I have come not to teach but to awaken. Understand, therefore, that I lay down no precepts.
Throughout eternity I have laid down principles and precepts, but mankind has ignored them. Man’s inability to live God’s words makes the Avatar’s teaching a mockery. Instead of practicing the compassion He taught, man has waged crusades in His name. Instead of living the humility, purity and truth of his words, man has given way to hatred, greed and violence.
Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form I observe Silence. You have asked for and been given enough words—it is now time to live them. To get nearer and nearer to God you have to get further and further away from “I”, “my”, “me”, and “mine”. You have not to renounce anything but your own self. It is as simple as that, though found to be almost impossible. It is possible for you to renounce your limited self by my Grace. I have come to release that Grace.
I repeat, I lay down no precepts. When I release the tide of Truth which I have come to give, men’s daily lives will be the living precept. The words I have not spoken will come to life in them.
I veil myself from man by his own curtain of ignorance, and manifest my Glory to a few. My present Avataric Form is the last Incarnation of this cycle of time, hence my Manifestation will be the greatest. When I break my Silence, the impact of my Love will be universal and all life in creation will know, feel and receive of it. It will help every individual to break himself free from his own bondage in his own way. I am the Divine Beloved who loves you more than you can ever love yourself. The breaking of my Silence will help you to help yourself in knowing your real Self.
All this world confusion and chaos was inevitable and no one is to blame. What had to happen has happened; and what has to happen will happen. There was and is no way out except through my coming in your midst. I had to come, and I have come. I am the Ancient One.
— Meher Baba
Meher Baba Inspired Mahatma Gandhi to keep silent every Monday when they met in 1931 aboard a ship to London. GSN Moorty, who knew Gandhi and Meher Baba, explains.