Karl Gallagher

Karl & Colin from Guyana, Meherabad 2009
Karl & Colin from Guyana, Meherabad 2009

There are contributions from Karl in the art section of the index in both the Arts ( Paintings ) & Poets sections.





At age thirteen I was suicidal, though I never actually thought of killing myself. Years later I understood that what I had been going through was despair and depression. I felt miserable and longed to be free of my pain. One day in desperation I began to pray. I would get up early in the still dark Melbourne winter mornings and walk to the Catholic Church at the end of our street and pray at the foot of a large sculpture of the crucified Christ asking for deliverance from my life. That was in 1956 – and unknown to me it was the same time Meher Baba was in Australia. In answer to my prayer I was given relief; this was to be the first time that I asked the Avatar for help.

          A few years later with friends who had wheels I met guys from different parts of town. I had the energy of a seventeen year old, the belief that I was immortal, and the juvenile brains that went with it, and the wheels to get around town and leave a trail of destruction in our own lives and that of others. My consciousness was very primitive.

          I was facing a couple of court trials and, if things went bad, time in prison. A catholic priest, Kevin Toomey came to my aid, which was totally out of my hands – it was in the hands of Fate.  Beginning in 1962 and over a period of two years I spent an hour and a half each week with Father Toomey. Mostly I talked while he listened and at the end of each session he would indicate some point that I had talked about and asked me to reflect on that in the week ahead because he wanted us to go deeper into it the following week. It was only much later that I realised that this was a form of psychotherapy and self analysis and was the beginning of my path back from a profound disbelief in life and in God.

          From that time on the desire to know more of God began to grow. Previously I had been immersed in the violent underworld culture of Melbourne. I was eighteen and I was utterly desperate for a way out - which I believed in my heart of hearts was impossible. But those weekly interactions of psychotherapy, combined with the rite of confession (absolutely confidential) we cleared the wreckage of my past.

          I trusted Toomey, he showed me that God is real and active and how to tap into Him for help, and several things happened that could only have come about by divine intervention.  I had little contact with anyone from the old days except for Neil C. my closest friend from those days. I began to read widely and a book called ‘The Holy Barbarians’ came into my hands which introduced me to Alan Watts and Buddhism, Jack Kerouac, Erich Fromm, Freud and Jung et al. I was also reading Christian mysticism – Theresa of Avila and a book called The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis a fifteenth century author, and the New Testament. One morning in autumn 1966 I walked out the front door and onto Lygon St and with my physical eyes I saw that EVERYTHING was suffused with a golden light. I saw a golden hued energy flowing through everything (no drugs were involved). For several days this experience was with me. All my fears were removed and I was given the absolute certainty that God was a living dynamic presence. I believe that in that experience the Universal Spirit was revealed to me.

          Soon after, I met Paul Smith – from whom I first heard the name Meher Baba and that he was in India. I wanted to sit on that for a while. But as the months passed, through Paul I gradually began to meet the older Melbourne Baba people, the original Baba lovers from the late 1940s, first Ozzie and Peter Rowan then the others. In January 1967 I bought the book ‘Listen Humanity’ and when I started reading it the words rang a powerful resonance within me! With Paul I started visiting Ozzie and Bet Hall at their house, a place that Baba had visited. Ozzie took me over to meet Stan and Clarice Adams who we visited a number of times. Gradually I met most of the old ones who had been connected to Baba since the late 1940s - Gladys, Beryl, Meryl, Ena and Dennis O’Brien, and later Francis (in ‘75) Lee and Ethel. But over the years it was Ozzie and Betty and Stan and Clarice that I saw the most of. I am grateful to them for their knowledge and support. And also, for their much needed support as the 1970s and first half of the 80’s unfolded and my path became extremely difficult. I am especially grateful to Clarice for the information she passed on to me, in the mid 1986, regarding an interview with Don Stevens who recounted how Baba gave him, in detail, the mechanism for bringing Baba’s (or God’s) help directly into one’s life situations. It was that which gave me real access to Baba’s NEVER FAILING help whenever I asked for it, and I did at my then most desperate period, and still do when the need arises.           

In 1978 Paul had come back from a trip to Meherabad, he phoned me and told me that at the invitation of Eruch, he had told my story in Mandali Hall. Paul also conveyed a message from Eruch . . . that what was happening with me and the environment in which I had had to move, indicated that I was a real Baba lover and that he Eruch considered me as a brother. It’s hard to describe how that lifted me. He also told Paul to tell me that there was a place at Meherazad reserved for one of my paintings of Baba.

          In 1982 I made my first ever pilgrimage to Meherabad in the company of my first connection to Baba, Paul Smith. Since then I have made several pilgrimages to Meherabad.  I also got to meet most of the Mandali. I am especially grateful to have had the active help, support and encouragement  of Mehera, Mani, and Eruch.