Meher Baba Bhakti
Meher Baba's Lovers
and the Path of Devotion

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Devotional Art by Lyn Ott

Bill Gannett
Laurie Blum

Lyn Ott was born in 1926 with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary degenerative eye disease that leads almost inevitably to blindness. In spite of this, Lyn's father encouraged him to pursue his interest in painting. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1947. In 1958, he settled in Woodstock, New York and joined the Art Students League of New York. There he began a long-term partnership with fellow painter and spiritual seeker Phyllis Vita Silverman. They had two children, Chris and Leslie, and raised two others, Mimi and Betsy, from Phyllis' previous marriage.

Phyllis went to India to meet Meher Baba during Christmas 1964. Among other, Baba asked her about Lyn whose sight was gradually diminishing: "How are his eyes?" Phyllis explained that Lyn's eyes were very bad. Baba asked if Lyn would be able to see his face, which she doubted very much. The room was very dark. Baba then said, "Tell Lyn to come to see me. I will show him my face as it really is. This I give to very few."

Lyn went to India with Phyllis in October 1965 to meet Baba. He was very nervous, and as he later explained, he did not know if he was to see "a great white light" or just a man. As soon as he entered the room, Baba had him sit on the floor. Baba then cupped Lyn's face in his hands, and using a tap of index finger on the side of the face, interpreted by Eruch, Baba signaled: "Can you see my face?" Lyn could see nothing at all. The face was too close and the room far too dark, just as Phillis had explained to Baba it would be. Baba paused there like that, Lyn seeing a dark blur, his heart breaking, not because he wanted to see something, but because he felt that he had come all that way, only to disappoint a great man like Meher Baba

Then Baba let go and Lyn heard Eruch say, "Baba wants you to bow down to his feet." Lyn threw his face upon the ground and bowed to Baba's feet. He was so relieved to be able to do what he was told. Then Baba had him seat to his right. After a while, Mani came in with a flood lamp to do an 8mm film of Lyn's meeting. And when the flood light came on, without saying a word, Lyn could suddenly see Baba in perfect clarity. In the above photo, which is from the film, we see him staring intently at Baba's face.

The account of Lyn Ott's meeting with Meher Baba is based on an account by his son, Chris Ott.