AVATAR MEHER BABA
" There Is A Heartache Following Me..."
Message from Holger, Gnostic Liberation Front:
discovered Meher Baba, or He discovered me, when I read His
in "Time" Magazine in 1969 and became interested in Him and
I have read everything about Him and also His own works, and
has been a "Love Affair" ever since. I also went to the "Meher
Baba House" in New York's
Greenwich Village and through that met some people from the
cast of the movie
'Godspell,' many of whom were "Baba Lovers."
I was even invited to visit Jeffrey Mylett in Ridgefield,
where he just recently had purchased a house.
Although I have, overt the years lost touch with him
and the people
from the "Meher Baba House," I shall
always remember their kindness and generosity. Then I also
heard how Pete Townsend
had written his rock-opera "Tommy" in honor of Meher Baba.
This is how he got the
idea of the "deaf, dumb and blind boy" becoming something of
an "avatar" and later
rejected Master. It is in a round-about way the story of
Meher Baba translated into
the scene of contemporary "rock-culture" and degenerate
Tommy, after becoming self-realized, draws plenty of
"disciples" with his easy-going
demeanor and "simple" message...But these "disciples," after
realizing that Tommy's
instructions require intense work, self-sacrifice and
complete surrender to God, turn on him
with a vengeance, ready to kill him, because by somewhat
"opening" their mind and souls,
they couldn't face themselves and their failures "in the
mirror." In order to "go through
the mirror" they would have to abandon all preconceived
notions about life, God, and Self
through intense "meditation" and dedication to the goal of
finding "enlightenment." This,
of course, they were neither willing nor capable of doing.
Thus they turned on him
and his teachings because he was the one who held the
"mirror" up to them symbolically.
Nothing fazed Tommy though, as he was just as happy and
self-fulfilled without them...
The late 1960's and early 1970's were a wonderful time with
young and not so young
people searching and open for new concepts and ideas. There
was a spiritual intensity
in the air which manifested itself in the early "Jesus
People," Guru Mahara Ji the sixteen
year old "Perfect Master," the "Process Church," and so many
more. That was also the
time when "Godspell," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Tommy" and
"Jonathan Livingston Seagull"
came out and turned even more people on to the spiritual
path. I still feel that these
movies taught people more about true spirituality and Jesus
than all the preaching and
teaching in Churches or through theological speculations.
People craved "real" spirituality
and direct experiences, be it through the "Holy Spirit" in
the Jesus movement, or through
unstructured togetherness in "satsang" and meditation in the
All were "alive in the spirit," and made it possible to find
a new and much more
meaningful life. We were "blissed-out" and felt such a love
and togetherness that we
thought that the world would really change with us and that
this would last forever.
We thought that we could pass our values and experiences on
to our children, but
despite our influence and openness they became "yuppies" and
then any other generation before. And we became gradually
more and more disillusioned.
Meher Baba's smiling, loving face resembles to me all that
was so good and special
about that time. He was our "Avatar," the "awakener" of our
generation, even if some
of us had never heard of Him and followed an entirely
Meher Baba was my "awakener" in the spirit, even though I
had already read and
explored many different spiritual disciplines and groups. It
was His "awakening" of me,
which brought to life and reality that which I had read in
the letters as dead words.
Perhaps I can not even make anybody else understand what I
really mean, but it was
He, in some miraculous way, who "opened my third eye" and
gave me a new vision
and living experience of all the spiritual and even
political "material" I had read and ever
would read. This is not to say that all my interpretations
of things are right and that
it comes all from "Baba," it would be ludicrous to make such
a claim. We all must travel
our own road and experience different things in accordance
with our "background" and
conditioning. Previous lives and retributions dedicated by
"karma" are also part and
parcel of our baggage. But it is "Baba" who travels with us,
if we allow Him to, and who
makes it all bearable and meaningful.
Does this sound "unreasonable" or even crazy?
Aren't all lover's crazy?
And I Love Meher Baba, I am a "Baba Lover," and I crave my
and that is why I say with a quote from one of his favorite
Jim Reeves' songs:
is a heartache following me...."
Pure Love is matchless in
It has no parallel in power and there is no Darkness it cannot dispel.
New Humanity will come into existence through a release of love in measureless
abundance and this release of love can come through spiritual awakening brought
about by the masters.
will attain a new mode of life through the free and unhampered interplay of pure
love from heart to heart. The coming civilization of the New Humanity shall be
ensouled not by dry intellectual doctrines but by living spiritual experience.
Humanity will be freed from a life of limitations, allowing unhampered scope for
the creative life of the spirit; and it will break the attachment to external
forms and learn to subordinate them to the claims of the spirit.
is recognized that there are no claims greater than the claims of the universal
divine life which, without exception, includes everyone and everything, love
will not only establish peace, harmony and happiness in social, national and
international spheres, but it will shine in its own purity and beauty.
love is unassailable to the onslaughts of duality and it is an expression of
divinity itself. It is through divine love that the New Humanity will tune in
with the divine plan. Divine love will not only introduce imperishable sweetness
and infinite bliss into personal life; but it will also make possible an era of
New Humanity .
divine love the New Humanity will learn the art of cooperative and harmonious
life; it will free itself from the tyranny of dead forms and release the
creative life of spiritual wisdom; it will shed all illusions and get
established in truth; it will enjoy peace and abiding happiness; it will be
initiated in the life of Eternity."
Avatar Meher Baba
Sheriar Irani was born of Zoroastrian parents on February 25, 1894 in Pune,
India. One day in 1913, while on his way to college, Merwan was beckoned by a
very old woman sitting under a neem tree. This was Hazrat Babajan, one of the
Perfect Masters of that time.
After this first meeting, Merwan used to sit with her regularly and some time
in January 1914, she blessed him with the experience of the infinitude of
God-realization. Another Perfect Master, Upasni Maharaj, in 1921 established
Merwan in His role and status as the Avatar of the Age.
now endearingly called Meher Baba by His followers, began a life of intense
activity. As part of His Avataric work, on July 10, 1925, He began observing
silence. A few days earlier one of His disciples asked, "But if you keep
silent, how will you teach us?" and Meher Baba answered, " I have
come not to teach, but to awaken."
spite of His silence, Meher Baba continued to serve the needs of humanity on a
material as well as a spiritual level. He established schools, hospitals and
personally cared for lepers, the mad, and the masts - whose minds have
become overpowered by their love for God.
Baba traveled extensively throughout India and Pakistan; made thirteen trips
to the West, and gave His personal touch to the hundreds of thousands who
flocked to Him during public darshan (meeting) programs.
Meher Baba observed silence, through the medium of an alphabet board (which He
discarded in 1954) and through gestures, He dictated several books and many
messages concerning each one's journey to God, God's Advent as Man, and His
eternal relationship with humanity.
Baba's silence was still unbroken when He laid aside His physical body at
(in Ahemadnagar, India) on January 31, 1969. He is now speaking in the
hearts of those who are responsive to His inner call. Everyday, hundreds of
stories, relating to Meher Baba's inner contact with His lovers, are being
told by men and women coming as pilgrims to Meherabad from all parts of the
world. Meher Baba had said: (in Ahemadnagar, India) on January 31, 1969. He is now speaking in the
hearts of those who are responsive to His inner call. Everyday, hundreds of
stories, relating to Meher Baba's inner contact with His lovers, are being
told by men and women coming as pilgrims to Meherabad from all parts of the
world. Meher Baba had said:
"Avataric periods are
like the spring-tide of creation. They bring a new release of power, a new
awakening of consciousness, a new experience of life - not merely for a few,
but for all. Qualities of energy and awareness, which had been used and
enjoyed by only a few advanced souls, are made available for all humanity.
Life, as a whole is stepped up to a higher level of consciousness, is geared
to a new rate of energy. The transition from sensation to reason was one such
step; the transition from reason to intuition will be another."
Baba's body, which is entombed on Meherabad Hill, remains a focal point for
those who love and follow Him. It is always possible here to feel the presence
of the Avatar on a personal level and establish or reconfirm an intimate
relationship with Him, which will clarify the guidance He eternally gives as
the inner voice of one's heart.
Baba's Samadhi or the tomb-shrine is at Meherabad,
Ahmednagar, Maharashtra State, India.
Five Perfect Masters and The Avatar
the periodic descent of the Supreme Divine Being - the Ancient one and the
Highest of the High , - Meher Baba disclosed:
"In each cycle of time,
which ranges from 700 to 1400 years, there are eleven ages of 65 to 125 years
each. From the beginning to the end of each cycle, there are altogether 55
Perfect Masters and that means each age has only five (5) Perfect Masters. In
the last, the eleventh age of each cycle, the Avatar (Saheb-e-Zaman) is also
five Perfect Masters through a mystic process of Veiling and Unveiling always
materialize the descent of the Ancient One as the Avatar of the Age and the
Hazrat Babajan of
Poona, Narayan Maharaj of Kedgaon, Tajuddin Baba of Nagpur, Sai Baba of Shirdi
and Upasani Maharaj of Sakori were the five Perfect Masters who had materialized
the descent of the Ancient One as Avatar Meher Baba. Meher Baba's spiritual
status as the Avatar or the Christ or the Buddha was proclaimed and hailed by
these five Perfect Masters. About this Jean Adriel writes in her book - Avatar,
The Life Story of Meher Baba: " At rare intervals - in times of acute world
crisis - mankind passes through Avataric cycles. Such was the time of Jesus, of
Buddha, and many believe that humanity has entered another.
Avataric periods, the Supreme Master of the Council becomes known to the world
as the Saviour or Avatar… except for this highest function, the ranks of
Perfect Mastership are open to women as well as men. The Avatar incarnates
always in a male body. He is the `Ancient One' who was the first human to become
fully conscious of his Godhood.."
For more information on the Five perfect masters see
The place that the Avatar chose to live
Ashram, a small township of Meher Baba's close disciples and resident Baba
lovers, came into existence in the year 1923. Meherabad is located at Arangaon ,
about 10 kilometers from Ahmednagar town in the state of Maharashtra in India .
It is said that at this place , a Hindu saint, Buaji Bua, buried himself alive.
When Meher Baba choose this site to live , he named it Meherabad .
witnessed some of the most important activities in the life and times of Meher
Baba. It was at Meherabad, Meher Baba commenced His Mystic Silence on the 10th
of July 1925. Meher Baba's Silence remained unbroken for 44 years right until he
dropped His physical body on 31st of January 1969. From 13th
of July 1925, Meher Baba commenced writing a book in a cottage, which he called
the Jhopdi (Hindi word for cottage). It took him almost two years to write this
book and it is the only book written by him. After completion, Baba did not
allow this book to be published and instead, kept it in safekeeping with
different people. The book manuscript changed many hands on Baba's instructions
before it disappeared and is untracable till today . However before dropping his
body in 1969 , Meher Baba assured his disciples that the book was in safe hands
and would be published at the right time . About the book , Baba said, "The
Big Book I have written will be the future Bible, Quran, Avesta and Veda, as it
will be universally accepted by all castes and creeds."
was at Meherabad that Meher Baba started two schools - Meher Ashram and Prem
Ashram. These schools became important instruments of Baba's Universal Work as
the Avatar of the Age and were later disbanded on Baba's instructions. Meherabad
assumed greater global importance on 7th of February 1969, the day
when the mortal remains of Avatar Meher Baba were buried in his Tomb-Shrine.
About Meherabad, Meher Baba had disclosed: " In the future Meherabad will
be like Jerusalem. For my spiritual work, it is the best place. It will always
be the center of My work."
is now regarded by millions of Meher Baba lovers as the most sacred place on
earth, where in His
or the Tomb-Shrine, a direct inner living contact with the
Avatar is always possible. Everyday hundreds of Meher lovers coming from all
parts of the world, visit Meherabad and carry back with them great experiences
of inner awakening in Love, Truth and Universal brotherhood.
This Spiritual Power House of
the New Humanity has an amazing history. In April of 1927 Baba, who was 33 at
that time was strolling on the Meherabad Hill. He paused and designated a spot
where he wanted a large pit to be dug. This was to be his Samadhi or
Tomb-Shrine. The construction of the crypt was completed by mid-August 1927.
After that, Baba would visit the crypt quite often and would on certain
occasions, retire in it.
On December 20th 1927, he
entered the crypt for an unbroken stay that lasted until February 26, 1928.
Later Baba had expressed the wish that a dome be constructed above it. This dome
was built on a circular platform. At the corners of the roof squaring the dome,
were placed models of a temple, a mosque, a cross, and a sacred fire urn - the
symbols of four of the worlds great religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity,
and Zorastrianism. Above the door a stone plaque with the words "Mastery
in Servitude" was mounted on Baba's instructions.
In 1938 Helen Dahm, a famous
Swiss artist and a devotee-lover of Baba, painted murals on the uneven stone
surface of the inner walls and the interior of the dome. In 1954, Baba led a
large group of his lovers up the Hill to his future tomb-shrine and instructed
them to bow down at the threshold. In 1955 Sahwas he allowed his lovers to come
inside the samadhi and circumambulate. The north window of the tomb shrine holds
a breathtakingly beautiful painting of Meher Baba done by Charlie Morton, an
artist from America.
Baba dropped his body on 31st
January 1969 and his body was finally interred in the tomb.
The Samadhi is open every day
from six in the morning to eight at night. In the morning and evening, prayers
given by Baba are recited and those who gather over there sing songs glorifying
His divine love. A visit to Samadhi is the beginning of the hearts journey
through the manifold phases of life continuously sustained by the Avatar's grace
Baba's Visit to Wall Street in 1931
Meher Baba visited New York in
1931. I have compiled a brief account of this visit which has been published in
Lord Meher, Volume 4. All excerpts in quotes in the following account are from Lord Meher, Volume 4.
Invites Baba to America
The invitation to Visit America
was given to Baba by an elderly man named Thomas Augustus Watson who with his
wife, met Baba on September the 13th , 1931 at Combe Martin in England . Baba
was on a tour to England and I pick up the thread from the point when Baba
reached Combe Martin after a ten-hour car ride from London.
"After a ten-hour ride Baba
reached Combe Martin at Five o'clock. Among the persons gathered to receive
Meher Baba was an elderly man named Thomas Augustus Watson, who had come with
his wife from America to stay at the retreat (Devonshire Retreat) two
days. Mr. Watson was a scientist who had worked with Alexander Graham Bell in
inventing the telephone, and since retired, was searching for spiritual
knowledge. Upon entering the retreat and climbing the staircase to his room,
Baba stopped for a moment and gently placed his hand on Watson's head. Baba's
divine touch had such a deep effect on him that the old man wept like a child.
From Baba's gentle touch, his heart burst and overflowed with love.
Having observed similar incidents
while on tour with Baba, Chanji took Mr. Watson into the library and made him
sit down. Watson continued to weep for about fifteen minutes and then became
quiet. His eyes filled with tears and he asked softly, 'How long have you been
'For seven years' replied Chanji.
Hearing this, Watson placed his
hand in a fatherly way on Chanji's back and said, 'My son, do you realize how
fortunate you are to have been living in such close contact with such a great
personality ? '
'Yes Sir I do consider myself
fortunate,' Chanji answered. 'It is his grace that I am near him'
After a few moments of silence,
Watson revealed 'in my seventy-eight years of life, today is the first time I
have experienced what divine love is. I have come to realize this with just a
touch from Meher Baba.'
Chanji said ' Such a privilege is
bestowed on very few.' Without Watson's asking, Baba had
rocked the grounds of his being. Watson's heart blossomed and he saw new light -
the light which dispels the darkness of ages.
It was wonderful how the Master's
work was manifesting. He was forging a link with Watson for a plan, which, up to
now, he had not revealed. Baba was planning on going to America from England and
Watson was to be his medium for setting it up. This is why Watson felt compelled
to travel all the way to England just to meet Meher Baba."
The next day Watson met Baba again
and Baba explained to Watson about different stages of the development of the
mind and described how the mind experiences the universe. Baba said :
"When our sight turns within
then the search for God begins. To attain Godhood, two things are required:
First, pure conduct, and second, ideal service rendered selflessly.'
Watson asked, 'What can I do? I am
too old and feeble to render much service; but I can help in other way you
Baba gestured, 'Don't worry I will
On September 15 , Thomas Watson
said to Baba, "America is the country for a great spiritual worker like
you. You must go there If you permit me, I shall make all the necessary
arrangements for you and your group to visit us in New York. On behalf of the
American people, I extend my heartiest invitation to you to come to the United
Baba expressed his pleasure at
Watson's love, but declined the invitation. Watson felt sad about it and tried
to persuade Baba to change his mind. Finally at his constant plea, Baba agreed
to go to America.
After Baba accepted his
invitation, Watson and His wife prepared to leave for the United Sates to see to
all the arrangements for the Master's visit.
Baba arrives in New
York to a strange Welcome
Time passed in between . Baba
continued his tour of Europe finally reaching America on 6th November 1931 to a
most bizarre welcome. Following is the account of Baba's arrival in New York:
"On Friday, November 6th,
1931, passing the Statue of Liberty, the S.S. Roma sailed into New York city
harbor at two in the afternoon. However this time, Meher Baba's welcome was not
exactly warm or inviting. Two hours passed before Baba and the group were
allowed to disembark. An insolent immigration officer kicked up a row on board
ship, unnecessarily delaying their disembarkation. He was dissatisfied with the
answers given by Meredith Starr to his questions and suspected something
suspicious about Baba's silence and alphabet board. He kept detaining Baba and
the group with questions and even tried to read the board himself, but could
not. He asked Baba directly, 'You have come to teach people in America? But you
do not speak. How can you teach with this board? How foolish! Who gave you this
Baba spelled out in reply, 'I
have come not to teach, but to awaken.' In reply, the man laughed loudly,
mocking Baba. Baba's eyes flashed, gesturing to the group 'fool that he is, he
laughs at this now, but I will show him. Poor, ignorant soul. I pity him !'
The Officer then warned them, ' I
cannot let you pass unless someone in New York stands surety for you'. However
this trip to America was not widely publicized and not many knew about Baba's
coming. Except for three persons waiting for Baba at the dock, and they were
prevented from boarding the ship, there was no one present to intervene on
Baba's behalf.. It was quite an awkward situation, but it was the Master's game.
Baba remained serene and calm as he meekly submitted to the interrogation by the
insulting immigration agent.
Suddenly an officer of the ship
dressed in white appeared on the scene, and asked the immigration agent, 'Why do
you detain these men when all the other passengers have left the ship?' He
explained that he was not satisfied with their travel documents and wanted
surety. The Ship's officer looked through the papers and asked, 'What is wrong
with them? Let them go.'
'But there is no one here to stand
guarantee for them,' the agent protested.
Chanji explained that they had
very good references, and the officer said to the agent, 'Quite frankly, I do
not see any sense in your behaviour. They even have references to show. If you
still need a guarantor, I will stand guarantee. I am coming back shortly and
want you to prepare permits for them to land'.
This reprimand upset the
immigration agent; however, he issued the landing cards. When Chanji went to
thank the Ship's officer, he could not find him. No one knew who he really was.
Baba Drives around
Baba after his arrival, drove to a
small town Croton-Harmon along with his group. Baba stayed there and met many
people and gave discourses. Many interesting events happened during this stay.
During this stay, Baba had predicted that another world war would breakout : 'The
war is a necessary prelude to my manifestation and the subsequent birth of a new
and better world'. Baba met many famous people during this period who became
his life long lovers. He also traveled to Boston and then returned back to
Harmon and after staying there for five days, drove to New York on December 4th
to the Stokes residence in Greenwich village.
Before leaving New York on
December 5th 1931, Baba wished to be driven around Wall street. New York's
financial district. It was a Saturday and the streets were virtually deserted.
In the car, Jean Adriel was thinking to herself : 'How ephemeral and unreal is
this money madness!'
The next moment, pointing to the
skyscrapers, Baba smiled at her and gestured
"It's all a bubble, so easy
to prick" . The year was 1931.
Eventually after a short period,
Baba's tour to the west concluded and Baba returned to India. I was keen to know
more about Mr. Watson's association with Baba after Baba's return to India but
could not find any references in Lord Meher on this.
If you want to know more about
Meher Baba's most charismatic life , his teachings of love and compassion and
universal brotherhood , and books on his life and teachings, you can visit the
Sheriar Books Publisher Of Meher
Baba Related Books In The USA
Baba Bhopal , India Site
Meher Baba Links around the world
Baba said about the emergence of a New Humanity in the World
The operation of
Karma through successive lives
In successive incarnations there
is not only a thread of continuity and identity (as manifested in the personal
memory revived in advanced souls), but there is uninterrupted reign of the law
of cause and effect, through the persistence and operation of Karma. The
successive, incarnations, with all their particulars, are closely and
unfailingly determined by a rational law, so that it becomes possible for the
individual soul to mould its future through intelligent action. The actions of
past lives determine the conditions and circumstances of the present life; and
the actions of the present life have their share in determining the conditions
and circumstances of future lives. the successive incarnations yield their full
significance, only in the light of the operation of the law of Karma.
Karma through the mental body
Incarnations in the physical world
are only apparently disconnected. Karma persists as a connecting link and
the determining factor through the mental body, which remains a permanent and
constant factor through the lives of the soul. The law of Karma and its
manner of operation cannot be fully intelligible as long as the physical body
and the physical world are considered to be the only facts of existence. Karmic
determination is made possible by the existence of subtle and mental bodies and
The planes on which one possesses
physical consciousness is the physical world. The planes on which one possesses
consciousness of desires are the subtle world. And the planes on which one has
mental consciousness are the mental world. The source of desire is in the mind,
which is on the mental planes. Here, the seed of desire is attached to the mind;
the desire exists here in an involved form in the same way as the tree is latent
in the seed. The mental body, which is the seat of the mind, is often called Karana
Sharira or the causal body because it stores within itself the seeds of the
causes of all desires. The mind retains all impressions dispositions in a latent
form. The limited "I" or the ego is composed of these sanskaras. However,
the actual manifestation of sanskaras in consciousness, as expressed
through different mental processes, takes place in the subtle body.
The self which is one and
undifferentiated, gets apparently individualized through the limitations of the
mental body, which is the seat of the ego-mind. The ego-mind is formed by the
accumulated impressions of the past experiences and actions; and it is the
ego-mind that constitutes the kernel of the existence of the reincarnating
individual. The ego-mind as a reservoir of latent impressions in the state of
the mental body; the ego-mind experiencing activated and manifested impressions
is the state of the subtle body; and the ego-mind as descended in the gross
sphere for creative action in the state of a physical incarnation. Thus, the
ego-mind, which is seated in the mental body, is the entity that has all the
phases of continued existence as a separate individual.
The ego-mind takes lower bodies
according to the impressions stored in it. These impressions determine whether a
person will die young or old, whether he will experience health, illness or
both, whether he will be beautiful or ugly, whether he will suffer from physical
handicaps such as blindness, or will have bodily efficiency, whether he will
have sharp or dull intellect, whether he will be pure or impure of heart, fickle
or steadfast in will, and whether he will be immersed in pursuit material gains
or will seek inner light of the spirit.
excerpted from GOD To MAN and MAN
TO GOD , the discourses of MEHER BABA edited by C.B. Purdom,
Ltd, London 1955
God and the Individual
is on being, the Universal Being. The existence of the finite is apparent or
imaginary. You are infinite. You are everywhere. But you think you are the body,
and consider yourself limited. If you think you are the body, you do not know
your true nature. If you would look within and experience your own self in its
true nature, you would realize that you were infinite and beyond all creation.
But you identify yourself with the body, due to ignorance made effective through
the medium of mind. Man thinks himself to be the physical body; when spiritually
advanced he thinks himself to be the psychic body; the saint thinks he is the
mind; but in these thoughts, man does not experience self-knowledge. As spirit,
man is infinite, but under the sway of the mind he becomes a "thinker"
or a "saint", sometimes identifying himself with the body, sometimes
with the mind. From the point of view of one of who has not gone beyond Maya,
it seems that there are as many individuals as there are minds and bodies.
In Truth there is one Universal Being behind the minds of seemingly different
individuals, who through them has the experiences of duality.
The cause of false
Thinking becomes false owing to
the interference of the sanskaras accumulated during the process of the
evolution of consciousness, which manifest themselves as desires. Through many
lives consciousness is burdened by the after-effects of experience, and the
perception of the soul is limited. The soul cannot break through the hedge
created by sanskaras, and consciousness becomes a helpless captive of
illusions projected by its own false thinking. And this falsification of thought
is present not only where consciousness is partly developed, buts also in men
who consider themselves to be fully developed.
The progressive evolution of
consciousness beginning with the stone culminates in man. The history of
evolution is the history of a gradual development of consciousness, and the
fruit of evolution is full consciousness, which is the particular characteristic
of man. But even full consciousness is like a mirror covered by dust, for owing
to the operation of sanskaras it does not yield clear and true knowledge
of the nature of the self. Though fully developed it yields not truth but an
imaginary picture because its functioning is hindered by the weight of the sanskaras.
Moreover it cannot extend beyond its desires, and therefore is limited in its
The boundaries of consciousness
are prescribed by the sanskaras and its functioning determined by the
desires; as desires aim at self satisfaction, consciousness is self-centered.
The individuation of consciousness may be said to be the effect of the vortex of
desires. The soul gets enmeshed in desires, and cannot rise out of the
individuality constituted by them. It imagines barriers and becomes
self-hypnotized. It looks upon itself as separate from other individuals. It
gets entangled in individual existence, and a world of separateness, with many
individuals and their minds and bodies.
When the rays of the sun pass
through a prism, they are dispersed and separate through refraction. If each ray
had consciousness, it would consider itself to be separate from the other rays,
forgetting the other side of the prism. In the same way the One Being descends
in the domain of Maya and assumes multiplicity. The separateness of
individuals exits only in imagination. The One Being imagines separateness, and
out of this division there rises "I" and "mine" opposed to
"you" and "yours". Although the self is undivided unity, it
appears to be divided owing to the working of imagination. Imagination is
anything but the truth. The experience that the soul gathers in terms of the
individualized ego is all imagination, Maya or ignorance.
With the birth of separate and
limited individuality, there comes into existence the objective universe. As the
limited individuality has separate existence only in imagination, the objective
universe also has no separate reality. It is the One Being appearing in the
second role of manifestation through the attributes. When the One Being descends
in the domain of Maya, it takes upon itself the limitations of manifold
existence. This self-limitation on the One Being might be looked upon as its
self-sacrifice on the altar of consciousness. Although it eternally remains the
One Being it suffers timeless contraction through its descent into the world of
time and evolution. What, however, evolves is not the One Being, only the
consciousness, which, because of its limitations, gives rise to the limited
The history of the limited
individuality is a history of the development of the triple entanglement with
the mind, energy and matter. Duality prevails in these domains, and the
individual gets entangled in this duality, although the self is beyond duality.
Duality implies the existence of opposites, limiting and balancing each other
through mutual tension. Good and evil, virtue and vice are examples of such
opposites. The ignorant soul enmeshed in duality is in the clutches of both good
and evil. During the evolution of the triple entanglement with matter, energy
and mind, the ignorant soul is under the influence of wanting : it wants the
good and the evil of the physical world, the good and the evil of the subtle
world, and the good and the evil of the mental world; and owing to the
distinction of good and evil, wanting itself becomes good and evil. Wanting is
to be limited by the tension of the opposites. This tension causes oscillation
from one state to another, without arriving at the unlimited state. The infinite
is to be sought for beyond the domain of duality, which is reached only when
consciousness rises out of the limited individuality by breaking through the
barriers of sanskaras.
The chasm between
consciousness and unconsciousness
We have said that the field of
consciousness is limited by the sanskaras. This limitation creates a
division of the human psyche into two parts, one within the range of
consciousness, the other beyond it. The unconscious part in its full extent is
identical with the power that is also behind matter. This is referred to as God
in orthodox religions. The One Being, which is symbolically represented through
such concepts, can be known only by bringing the unconscious into consciousness.
An extension of consciousness consists in being conscious of that which was
formerly unconscious. The progressive conquest of the unconscious by the
conscious culminates in the consummate consciousness, which is unlimited.
Between this highest state of consciousness and the limited consciousness of the
average humanity, there are forty-nine degrees of the illumined consciousness.
They mark the important stages of illumination.
The gulf between the clouded
consciousness of average humanity and the fully illumined consciousness of a
Master is created by sanskaras. These can be removed through the perfect
character, devotion and the selfless service, and through the help of a Master.
Spiritual advancement consists not so much in the further development of
consciousness (for it is already developed in man), as in the emancipation of
consciousness from the bondage of the sanskaras. Although in essence
consciousness is the same in all the different states of existence, it can never
be consummate until it reflects the knowledge of Infinity without the shadow of
ignorance, and covers the whole extent of the universe illumining the different
spheres of existence.
Every time you sleep you are
unconsciously united with the One Being. This unification thus bridges over the
chasm between the unconscious and the conscious, but being unconscious of this
union, you do not consciously derive benefit from it. This is the reason why
when you wake from deep sleep you become aware of the individual you suppose
yourself to be, and begin to act and experience exactly as you acted and
experienced before going to sleep. If your union with the One Being had been a
conscious union, you would have awakened into a new life.
A Master is consciously united
with the One Being. In him the chasm between consciousness and unconsciousness
is bridged, not by extension of the unconscious over the conscious as in the man
who enjoys deep sleep, but by the extension of the consciousness over
unconsciousness. The waxing and waning of consciousness exits in the limited
individual, but in the Master the conquest of the unconscious by the conscious
is final and permanent, his state of self knowledge is continuous and unbroken,
and remains the same at all times without diminution. From this you can see that
the Master never sleeps in the ordinary sense of the word. When he rests his
body experiences no gap in consciousness.
In the state of perfection full
consciousness becomes consummate by the disappearance of obstacles to
illumination. The conquest of the unconscious by the conscious is complete,
dwelling in the full blaze of illumination. This alone is illumination. As long
as a person remains under the sway of duality and looks upon the manifoldness of
experience as true, he has not passed through the domain of ignorance. In the
state of final understanding there is realization that the Infinite is the only
reality, pervading and including all existence. A person who has such
realization has attained the highest state of consciousness, in which the fruit
of evolution is retained, but the limitations of sanskaras are
transcended. The limited individuality, the creation of ignorance, is
transformed into Divine individuality, which is understanding. The illimitable
consciousness of the Universal Being becomes individualized in this focus
without illusion. One thus becomes the medium of the spontaneous flow of the
supreme and universal Will, unimpaired by the separateness of Maya, the
state of liberation, in which there is objectless awareness, pure being and
unclouded joy. Such a one has no longer the illusions that perplex and bewilder
man. In one sense he is dead. The personal ego which is the source of the sense
of separateness has been for ever annihilated. But in another sense he is alive
for-ever-more in love and eternal bliss. He has infinite power and wisdom, and
the creation is a field for the work of perfecting mankind.
excerpted from GOD To MAN and MAN
TO GOD , the discourses of MEHER BABA edited by C.B. Purdom,
Ltd, London 1955
Non-violence means love infinite.
It is the goal of life. When pure and infinite love is reached the aspirant is
at one with god. To reach this goal there must be intense longing and the
aspirant who has this longing has to begin by practicing the "non-violence
of the brave". This applied to those who, though not at one with all
through realization, consider none to be their enemy and try to win over even
the aggressor through love; they give up their lives through love not through
"Non-violence of the
brave" is practicable for those who have the intense longing to attain the
supreme state. This longing is not to be found in the majority, If, therefore,
it is intended to lead the majority to "non-violence", it is necessary
first to prepare them for the "non-violence of the brave". To achieve
this in a practical way it is necessary to make them follow, in the beginning,
the principle of "non-violent violence" , that is, violence done
solely for defending the weak without any selfish motive. In times of war, when
the masses are in the mood to listen to advice about having intense longing to
attain the supreme goal of life, the only practical way to lead them towards the
goal is to begin inculcating in them the principle of "non-violent
violence" and then gradually introducing the "non-violence of the
brave". Otherwise non-violence would not only fail but there would be
serious danger of the fatal "non-violence of the coward", i.e.,
non-resistance to aggression because of fear.
The masses may also be led to the
"non-violence of the brave" by following the principles of
"selfless violence" instead of those of "non-violent
violence". The selfless violence is violence done in self defense when
attacked treacherously. No other motive should be allowed to justify the
violence. Thus for example, were a woman threatened with violation and one
defends her by resorting to violence, he is said to have followed the principles
of "selfless violence". Similarly when the motherland is being
attacked by enemies, the nation's effort in defending the motherland is
"selfless violence". An element of selfishness being there, the love
expressed is limited human love.
"Non-violence of the
coward" is fatal; so also is "selfish violence", i.e. violence
for selfish motives by individuals or a national to gain power or for other
It will be therefore seen that
non-violence is the goal of life, this goal is to be attained by individual
seekers of God by following "non-violence of the brave". The majority
who have not the intense longing for being one with God have to be led towards
this goal on the principles of non-violent violence" or "selfless
violence" according to the circumstances. It must be very clearly
understood that "non-violent violence" and "selfless
violence" are merely the means of attaining the goal of life, name the pure
and simple "Non-violence" or the "Love infinite". These
means must not be confused with the goal itself.
The motive and the result are
determined by the acceptance of their being good or bad; for example,
"non-violence of the brave" and "non-violence of the coward"
are both non-violence, but, form the viewpoint of the motive force behind it,
"non-violence of the brave" is born of love and "non violence of
the coward" is born out of fear, which is the opposite of love. Although as
non-violence they are not opposites, their motives are opposed. The motive
behind "non violence of the brave" is losing one's life to gain
infinite love, and the motive behind "non-violence of the coward" is
to save one's own life. So "non-violence (of the coward) we describe as
"non-love", as we describe "non-violence (of the brave)" as
is justified not as love, but as duty - duty done selflessly for others
according to Krama Yoga" which is linked with unlimited love- but
The difference between these two
opposite forces cannot be obliterated; but the transformation of one force to
another can happen when expressed through right channels. Food given wrongly
becomes poison but poison given in small quantities as a tonic may become food
for the nerves. Indeed, all food is poison; it is only in the power of
transformation that it becomes converted into good.
War is a necessary evil; it is in
God's plan to awaken humanity to higher values. If humanity fails to profit by
the lessons of war, it suffers in vain. War teaches that even the man in the
street can rise to the greatest heights of sacrifice for the sake of a selfless
cause; it also teaches that wealth, possessions, power, fame, family and even
life on earth-are devoid of lasting value. The incidents of war can through the
lessons they bring win man for God, and initiate him into a new life inspired by
In war, people make unlimited
sacrifices and endure untold sufferings for the sake of their country or in the
interest of political aims; they are capable of the same sacrifices and
endurance for God. All religions have unequivocally claimed man for life in
Truth; and it is sheer folly to fight in the name of any religion. It is time
for a fresh vision of the Truth that all life is one, that only God is real, and
that God is all that matters. God is worth dying for. He is also worth living
for. All else is vain and empty, the pursuit of illusory values.
excerpted from GOD To MAN and MAN
TO GOD , the discourses of MEHER BABA edited by C.B. Purdom, Victor Gollancz
Ltd, London 1955
of Avatar Meher Baba are copyright of the Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public
Charitable Trust, Kings Road, Ahmednagar Maharashtra India. Excerpts quoted on
this website from various sources are purely for the dissemination of Avatar
Meher Baba's teachings.
To be Etched
on Stone or Etched on Hearts?
Professor J.S. Rathore
- I really don't know how
many Baba lovers got to read an article written by Don Stevens, Wayne Smith
, David Lee, Rob Ryder and Bruce Milburn which was published in the October
2001 issue of Neti Neti. This article was also circulated on the
Internet and was followed by another article by Don entitled 'Preserving
Baba's Words' which has been published on
Both these articles deal with a specific issue, the details of which I would
like to avoid mentioning here to conserve space. The authors have commented
upon this issue at great length and with academic freedom expressing their
point of view.
I read these articles with cautious interest and found myself having
divergent views from those taken by the authors. I struggled with myself for
a few days resisting bringing pen to paper. The hesitation was primarily not
to get involved and let the matter take its own course. But being a
Professor and quite tuned to 'speaking out' as an occupational hazard, I
found silence to be equally troublesome. Battling this dilemma, I came
across some interesting words from Thomas J. Watson, which I would like to
- "Follow the path
of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of
controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than
the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand
up and be counted at any cost."
- I thought that this issue
was important to me and that I needed to stand up and be counted.
- My article thus emanates
from the above background. I have the highest regard for our dearest Don
Stevens and my observations on his views are just impersonal reflections on
the subject matter at hand. I write as an individual Baba lover expressing
my very personal opinion, hoping to provide some fresh perspectives.
- Without cataloguing
specific detail, I would like to believe that there are essentially three
questions that we need to deal with here. The first two questions are
simpler than the third but answers given by different people to these
questions may not satisfy everybody at once. The third question probably
needs greater introspection and maybe careful meditation on Baba's words,
which again could be open to personal experiences. It would be worthwhile to
point out that the answers to the first two questions have an important
bearing on the perspective framework, which is needed to answer the third
question. However all things considered, it is my belief that fairly
acceptable answers can be arrived referring to existing Baba literature on
all these issues.
- These three questions
printed literature sources can be considered as key repositories of Meher
The above list has some
important omissions and commissions. Some interesting facets related to the
publication history also need to be gone into to get things in their proper
perspective. But before I list what is missing, we need to evolve a logical
framework for categorizing numerous books published on Beloved Baba. This
framework is necessary because Meher Baba abandoned the use of spoken word from
10 July 1925, written word from 1 January 1927 and alphabet board from 7 October
1954. One somewhat unambiguous and logical framework for categorizing books on
Baba emanates from the following:
directly written by Baba and which did not go through any subsequent
directly dictated by Baba and which did not go through any subsequent
on spiritual themes Baba ordered a select few to write as per his
complied by others based on Baba's discourses and subsequently edited.
written by others on life of Baba or events as recorded in diaries or first
written by individuals on Baba, on varied facets of His life and work and
their experiences or reminiscences.
When we talk of classic
literature sources that directly came from Baba, clearly books falling in
the first two categories i.e. books that were either written by Baba himself (in
his own hand) or dictated by him and were then not edited by any one else, need
to be included. What can also perhaps be included in this category is one
special book falling in category three above because Baba dictated two chapters
of that book.
In this referral framework,
let us now see the omissions from the neti list. In 1998, 39 pages written by
Meher Baba Himself sometime in 1925 were accidentally discovered. These 39 pages
constitute a matchless document on Self-knowledge and were published in the year
2000 in book form entitled In God's Hand: Explanations of Spirituality in
Meher Baba's Own Hand. Where does one place In God's Hand which is in
Meher Baba's own handwriting and which Baba himself wrote! Is In God's Hand not
a fundamental and classic source of Baba's words?
Next is the
omission of The Nothing and The Everything written by Bhau Kalchuri,
which as Baba himself mentioned, presents 10% of "The Book" which Baba
wrote. In May 1967, at Guru Prasad Pune, Baba instructed Bhau: "You have to
write one book titled The Nothing and The Everything. The Everything
and The Nothing is already written and you made the translation interesting
and expanded it with songs and a commentary. Now you will write The Nothing
and The Everything. This is an important book. I will give you ten percent
of the Book I wrote in 1925 and 1926." Baba returned to Meherazad in May
and entered strict seclusion. One night He gestured to Bhau: "Get some
paper and your pen. I want you to write down some things ... and do not
interrupt. I am going to give you points from the Book I wrote." The
dictation of points continued for about five months until November 1967. Baba
instructed Bhau to write down the points as a whole, fit them together and
finish the description by the following morning. Everyday Bhau would read back
to Baba the whole section based on the points dictated the previous day.
Chronologically Baba first gave the story "The Mischievous Chicken,"
followed by "The Two Kings" which Baba Himself supplemented by drawing
the diagram about Rajas Sarvagna and Sarvasva and Maharani Vaikunth. In 1968
Baba started giving the points for the part titled by Him in Hindi, "Apar
Vidya" meaning Infinite Intelligence. Once Bhau wondered whether Baba was
actually giving him ten percent of His own Book or He was merely passing the
time to ease the strain of His inner work. Reading Bhau's thought Baba scolded,
"What is the matter with you? You have been with me for so many years -
have no doubt about what you are doing. Remember that I am giving you ten
percent of my own Book. This work is not just writing! It is not a pastime. My
Book is the most important Book in the world." It should interest many that
though the chapter "The Mischievous Chicken" was dictated in 1967,
Baba had drawn a line sketch of Himself as a chicken on 30 July 1953. The
Nothing and The Everything was published in 1981 by Manifestation, Inc. In 1998,
a large manuscript Infinite Intelligence was also accidentally discovered
along with 39 pages, mentioned above. There are strong reasons to believe that Infinite
Intelligence is the Book that Baba wrote in 1925 and 1926. Infinite
Intelligence includes the text of In God's Hand, sometimes verbatim
and sometimes in paraphrases. It also includes explanations given in The
Nothing and The Everything. The Nothing and The Everything
gives detailed descriptions of spiritual cosmology. Quite a good number of
terms, including sanskara, used by Baba come from ancient Hindu thought
and Beloved Baba has explained them in His own way. The Nothing and The
Everything is the only source of their detailed explanations. The Nothing
and The Everything is therefore a classic source, and although
falling probably in category three above, is unique because Baba ordered it to
be written and himself participated in its writing by giving sketches and points
There is one other little
book entitled The Everything and The Nothing bearing Meher Baba's
name as the author missing from the list. This little book presents a
compilation which was essentially derived from the discourses which Baba gave in
response to some of the questions raised by one Prof. Niranjan Singh and noted
by Francis Brabazon, one of Baba's mandali. Because of its size, The
Everything and The Nothing has an extremely useful place of its own.
A list of classic sources
therefore would not be complete without including In God's Hand, The
Everything and The Nothing and The Nothing and the
Now lets have a factual look
at the background and publication history of books mentioned in the Neti list. God
Speaks by Meher Baba was published in 1955. Out of the ten chapters of this
book, chapters 1-8 were given by Meher Baba through an alphabet board. Chapters
9-10 were written by Eruch, one of mandali, on the basis of notes given by Baba
in the same manner. God Speaks in the referral framework (Category 2)
mentioned above comes directly from Baba and is most definitely a classic source
of Baba's words. About God Speaks, to devotees gathered in 1962, Baba
said: " If you read through the entire book carefully, you will come to
know what true spirituality is." God Speaks did not pass through any
subsequent editorial encounter.
However another great Baba
book Discourses, passed through many editorial hands. When the Meher
Baba Journal first appeared in November 1938, it was arranged that a
discourse or a message by Baba would be included in each issue. Dr. C. D.
Deshmukh, a member of the Meher Editorial Committee, was given the primary
responsibility of editing and preparing the dictated material for inclusion in
the Journal. At the end of each year, the monthly articles by Baba were
compiled into one volume. In this way the first four volumes of the Discourses
appeared in book form. After the Meher Baba Journal ceased production in
October 1942, a subsequent volume of additional discourses was brought out, thus
completing the first five-volume edition of the Discourses between
1939-1943. In 1948 Beloved Baba authorized Charles B. Purdom to edit and
condense the Discourses in one volume for publication in the West. The title
chosen was God to Man and Man to God: the Discourses of Meher Baba and it
was first published in England in 1955 by Victor Gollancz Ltd. In the Introduction
of this book Purdom wrote: " The discourses contained in this volume were
not, usually, dictated word by word. Baba's method was to state a theme and to
indicate a general outline, which was completed by an Indian disciple, though
sometimes he would go over every word. The language and methods of illustrating
what was said were for Indian hearers and readers; in preparing the discourses
for Western publication they have not been re-written, but what seemed to be
redundant words or phrases have been eliminated to reduce their length and to
make them clearer without, however, any other change."
In 1950s in a letter that
appeared in The Awakener (vol.3, no.1, 1955), Mani, Meher Baba's sister had
observed: "Now we find there are places in the original Discourses
where Deshmukh obviously misinterpreted the point, with the result that there
are several important errors..." In the seventh edition of Discourses
it is stated that "at first it was planned to simply reprint the text as it
appeared in the sixth edition; But it soon became clear that some textual
changes would have to be made." Even a casual graze through Purdom's God
to Man and Man to God and the seventh edition of Discourses
reveals substantial and significant alterations. For example, if someone wanted
to hold an indepth academic discussion on Natural and Non-Natural Sanskaras,
this is what he would read in C.B. Purdom's God to Man and Man to God
(pp.76-77) ; "The sanskaras are of two main types - natural and the
so-called non-natural - according to the manner in which they come into
existence" . But if he or she happened to lift the seventh edition of
Discourses (pp.32-33) what he would get to read is - " The sanskaras are
of two types - natural and nonnatural -according to the manner in which they
come into existence". The omission of "the so-called" is
quite significant and opens a new thought dimension! In summary, Discourses
covers a wide spectrum of spiritual themes that relate to our real life
problems. It is indeed a great book and is definitely a classic source of Baba's
words that is extremely useful to understand spiritual themes in a general way.
However, any pedantic discussion based on this book (i.e. in its various
editions) can at times, create some confusion due to reasons cited above.
Nevertheless Discourses is a classic source of Baba's words.
which bears Meher Baba's name as the author, is a book of a different kind when
compared to God Speaks and Discourses. It has three parts. Part I is a
narration of Meher Baba sahvas programmes; Part II & III deal with the
various spiritual themes. Narration and editing is done by Don Stevens. Part II
is an edited compilation of the original essays given by Meher Baba while Part
III presents Don's interpretive observations. Acknowledging the sources for the
original essays incorporated in Part II, Don writes: " It is difficult
to know just who should be gratefully acknowledged for their part in the
collecting and editing of the original essays which were combined to form the
body of Part II of this volume. Certainly, Professor C. D. Deshmukh, best known
for his editing of the Discourses, and Adi K. Irani, Meher Baba's tireless
secretary and manager of Meher Publications, played an extremely important role.
In connection with certain other material included in Part II, grateful
recognition is also given to Meher Publications, to Circle Publications and to
the Awakener for the use of portions previously printed by them. About the
entire book Don writes: "Finally, the entire contents of the volume have
been approved by Meher Baba. It cannot be pretended that therefore everything is
as Meher Baba would have described it himself, nor that Meher Baba necessarily
agrees completely with certain expressions of opinion which have inevitably been
the narrator's." Listen Humanity is indeed a wonderful
book but in my view, it cannot be bracketed with God Speaks and Discourses.
In summary, when trying to
argue on what is and what is not in conformity with Baba's words as they appear
in classic sources, there is a need to accurately define classic
sources. It is perfectly possible that some difficult spiritual matter that
may be evasive to our understanding referring to One classic source like God
Speaks may become clearer using insights offered by another classic source
like In God's Hand. The Neti list in my opinion therefore needs to be
revised in this context and background.
If I had the liberty of
drawing a list, I would probably come up with the following. Those who are keen
to take a deep plunge into the fundamental spiritual knowledge as given by the
Avatar, In God's Hand, God Speaks and The Nothing and The
Everything constitute a complete kit. For those who are interested in
reflecting life problems in the light of Beloved Baba's spiritual world-view,
the Discourses is an immensely useful book. And for those, who are
interested in a sort of a rapid reader of fundamental spiritual concepts, The
Everything and The Nothing is an interesting book to read.
Among Baba's biographies,
which abound with explanations given by Him of different themes, Bhau's historic
work Meher Prabhu -Lord Meher: The Biography of the Avatar of the Age
Meher Baba running into 20 volumes published by Manifestation, Inc., U.S.A.
is an all time classic. Never before has the life of the Avatar been presented
in such details supported by massive photographic evidence. Jean Adriel's Avatar,
Francis Brabazon's Silent Word, Charles B. Purdom's The God-Man
and Much Silence: Meher Baba, His Life and Work by Tom &
Dorothy Hopkinson are other biographical classics.
- Are words, messages and
spiritual explanations given by Baba's Mandali special and different in
some way as compared to interpretations given by other Baba lovers?
Although this question can
be viewed generally, it is important to mention here that in the context of this
article, the need to ponder on this question emanated from a very direct
observation in the Neti articles on Bhau's Awakening Messages. The authors
(Smith , Lee and others) in these articles try hard to categorize Bhau's
Awakening messages as his 'Personal Intuition' and ask whether such messages can
become 'public property'?
to fit all that is happening with Bhau in an intellectual space of our choice
takes us no where. When intellect fails to understand something, it seeks
gratification in giving it a name. However, words quite often work as blind
alleys. Intuition is one such word and quite a dangerous one at that. Words such
as instinct, sixth sense, divination, pre-sentiment, clairvoyance, second sight,
extra-sensory perception etc., that can describe or replace 'intuition' also do
not convey much. In the end, the word 'intuition' remains as unintelligible as
it was at the beginning. Even in our daily lives, it is so hard to separate
'wishful thinking' from 'intution'. Quite often, what we accept as 'intuition'
in reality turns out to be just a delayed conclusion of an initially
inconclusive rational thought process. This is not to negate true intuition,
which at some stage in our life plays an important role in strengthening our
faith in the transcendental.
In short, I wish to point out how difficult it is to differentiate within us,
between true intuition and wishful thinking. How difficult it should then be to
identify it in others! It would therefore be quite erroneous to suggest that all
transcendental experiences come within the realm of intuition. In this light,
adopting a judgemental posture on Bhau's experiences, categorizing them as
'intuition' and rejecting them alleging that they are tainted and in
contradiction to Baba's words, would indeed be most unfair.
This brings us to an
important question: Who is Bhau? Bhau is Meher Baba's close mandali - a member
of Avatar's inner Circle. About Avatar's Circle Baba has revealed:
the Perfect Masters, the Avatar also has His Circle (of ten concentric Circles).
When the Avatar takes an incarnation, He has before Him a clear-cut mission that
proceeds according to a plan; and this plan is always carefully adjusted to the
flow of time. The process of the incarnation of the Avatar is unique. Before
taking on a physical body and descending into the world of duality, He gives to
Himself and members of His Circles special types of sanskaras, which are known
as vidnyani sanskaras. The Circles of the Avatar always consist of a total of
122 members, and all of them have to take an incarnation when the Avatar takes
an incarnation (Discourses, p.291)"
the Avatar's Circle are not only innately programmed to play their specific
roles but the levels of their consciousness are qualitatively different from
those of others. Meher Baba stopped Eruch to study further while Bhau was asked
to complete his post-graduation. Dr. William Donkin, a medical doctor, was
chosen to write 'The Wayfarers'. Each one of the Avatar's Circle was groomed to
play a pre-ordained role. Bhau was virtually forced by Baba to write poems,
plays etc. on spiritual themes and instructed to write Baba's biography. He was
also chosen to receive 10% of 'the Book' that Meher Baba wrote. This 10% has
appeared in 'The Nothing and The Everything' bearing Bhau's name as the
author. Some portions of this book were given by Baba to Bhau as specific
'connecting points' to be enlarged later. At times Bhau would not be able to fit
all the points together or fully understand their relationship and meaning. Baba
would then assure," Just take down what I am giving you now. Don't
interrupt Me, and everything will be crystal clear to you later." This
appropriate time came after Baba dropped His body in 1969. In his Monday and
Friday talks at Meher Pilgrim Centre, Bhau quite often narrates the amusing
story of his head being repeatedly spanked by Kaka Baria, one of mandali, on
encouragement by Baba. Mani, Baba's sister, connected Bhau's head thrashing with
the gift of clarity that Bhau got from Baba on the points given by Him earlier.
To many, this may appear
naive and funny but the spiritual process does not follow the linear logic of
the intellect. Bhau's consciousness is innately tuned with Baba by none other
than Baba Himself in a mystic way that probably we cannot understand. So,
nothing new is happening with Bhau. Only for reasons best known to him, Bhau has
started sharing Baba's revelations with all of us much more freely. In his
Awakening circulars, Bhau is neither developing an intellectual argument nor he
is re-interpreting any thing. He is just sharing his mystic experiences. There
is, therefore, no point in coming with a bag full of books and asking him to
come with his own.
Avatar Meher Baba has said
that He has come not to establish any new religion. He belongs to no religion.
Every religion belongs to Him. When His Universal religion of Love is on the
verge of fading into insignificance, He comes to breathe life into it, and to do
away with the farce of dogmas that defile it in the name of religion and stifle
it with ceremonies and rituals. Intellectual alertness, on the part of Baba
lovers is therefore imperative in holding them from falling prey to attempts to
create a central referral authority at the individual level and at the organized
group level. The world is overflowing with Avatar's Grace and access to Him is
direct and without any intermediary.
essential pre-requisite to the success of any call for intellectual alertness is
making a statement in such a manner so that it dissipates freely and sinks down
in the hearts of Baba lovers without any bias, conditioning and external
pressure of individuals claiming seniority or closeness to Baba. A good number
of Baba lovers are averse to intellectual polemics as they sincerely believe
that spirituality goes much beyond the realms of intellect. Intellect is of help
only up to a point, beyond which it is an impediment and need be discarded. Mind
is not Buddha. Learning is not the path. Posers such as "What is the
responsibility of the Baba community in relation to such revelations?" or
"We therefore become very concerned and feel the need, as mentioned above,
to step back and reassess what is taking place" only show that the
intellect is laying its most attractive trap through self-assigned roles. India
has suffered immensely when indulgent intellectualism has divided Self-Knowledge
of Upanishads into six darshana or schools of philosophy namely nyaya,
vaisheshika, samkhya, yoga, mimansa and vedanta.
Three decades have passed
since Beloved Baba dropped His physical body and none of the mandali has ever
taken the position of authority or the sole interpreter of Baba's life and
thought. The simplicity and humility of men and women mandali of Meher Baba is
simply amazing and deeply inspiring. Therefore, one time-tested approach to such
a situation as reading Bhau's messages is to absorb with humility and
gratefulness whatever one can understand and to keep meditating on the rest.
What can be understood by
'Natural and Unnatural Sanskaras' and did Baba at any stage imply or not-imply
the existence of such 'Sanskaras'?
The Neti articles, referring
to Bhau's awakening messages pose specific questions relating to sanskaras,
trying to question their validity with reference to Baba's words as available in
the Neti list of classic sources. The questions raised are as follows:
(1) Use of terminology -
Natural and Unnatural Sanskaras.
(2) One set
of impressions takes one towards the Reality of God and the other set of
impressions leads us away. Does this correspond to Baba's explanations?
(3) A promise to reincarnate
with only 'Natural' impressions. (Along with Utopia). Does this flow from Baba's
(4) Does Baba ever remove a
In short, the above issues
raised about sanskaras basically relate to the use of correct terminology and
correct interpretation of sanskaras and sanskaric processes in the light of the
words given by Meher Baba.
In their Neti article
entitled "Baba's Words", Rob Ryder and Bruce Milburn contend that
Bhau's use of the word "unnatural" for sanskaras does not find support
in the "classic sources" of God Speaks, Listen Humanity
and the Discourses and that the terms which Baba used are
"Natural" and "Non-Natural". Interpreting Bhau's expression
"Unnatural impressions create evil forces" as equating these
impressions with evil or bad and "Natural" with good, Ryder and
Milburn observe: "The above statement equates natural with good and
unnatural with bad, thus one set of impressions is spiritually beneficial and
the other is spiritually disastrous. This is very misleading, because Baba
clarifies that all impressions, however evaluated, bind us to duality. In
determining what is spiritually beneficial or non beneficial we should not
distinguish between the types of impressions involved, but rather their relation
to actions and experiences and their birth through desire." The
argumentative thrust is that if bad is an iron chain, good is the chain of gold.
Both bind and the state of Freedom is found when both balance and terminate each
other. So, no sanskara takes one towards, or away from Reality i.e. God: "
there is an exact balancing and overlapping of good and bad sanskaras there is
at once a termination of both types of sanskaras and the precipitation of
consciousness from a state of bondage to a state of Freedom. (Discourses, Good
and Evil, p. 63)"
In Discourses we read
about many categories of sanskaras such as subjective and objective; gross,
subtle and mental; natural and non-natural; vidnyani and yogayoga.
Excepting "Natural and Non-Natural" rest of the above mentioned
categories find mention in God Speaks.
However, In God's
Hand (not considered at all by the neti article) has introduced a totally
new perspective on sanskaras in relation to this category, and a better
understanding of what Bhau is communicating would need a serious thinking on the
entire issue of sanskaras.
In God's Hand
starts with this statement:
"Real I (i.e. Mind
Stopped, i.e. Self) = Light Natural
False I (i.e. mind working,
egoism) = darkness unnatural.
The Existence of Natural
Light = Darkness Natural.
The existence of unnatural
darkness = unnatural light (i.e. the
universe, Maya, all that the
unnatural darkness - i.e. false I, i.e.
egoism - sees, hears,
smells, eats, and experiences throughout).
[This is so] because, [as]
we have seen, where there is Light there must be Darkness.
As that Darkness proves the
existence of Light, so because Darkness is, Light is. Thus:
because Natural Darkness is,
Natural Light is;
because unnatural darkness
is, unnatural light is. "
And this statement on page
"The Mind Stopped is
Light, God, Self.
Mind working is false I,
Thus in every one of you
there is Natural Light (i.e. your Real Self) and Natural Darkness (i.e. the
Existence of Light, i.e. Spirit), and unnatural darkness (i.e. mind) and
unnatural light (i.e. body, and the whole universe)."
An elaborate statement on
sanskara is given on pages 36-37:
"This means mind's
concentration = sound sleep (no.3);
mind's advancement = dream
mind's stopping = Awakening
(This must happen in
ordinary awake state.) Now when mind is working, sanskaras (imagination =
impressions) are formed; for the sake of experiencing these sanskaras the body
comes forth, and for the sake of the body comes forth the world. In other words,
because sanskaras exist, the body and the world exist. If there are no sanskaras
(which are the cause of all imagination and assertions like "I,"
"that is mine," "I and mine"), then there cannot be any body
and world. This means that the body and world are only the creation of
imagination. In concentration, the mind makes great effort to remain aloof from
sanskaras, that is, aloof from body and from world, and when the final stage of
concentration is attained, then the sanskaras - or body and world - become
"nothing" (i.e. vanish). For this to happen, many ages are required.
But the Sadguru by a single nazar can destroy all sanskaras. And the absence of
all sanskaras means the stopping of the mind. For when there are sanskaras, the
mind functions, and when there are no sanskaras, the mind is stopped. The
stopping and the functioning of the mind depend, [respectively,] upon the
absence or existence of sanskaras. "
Mind working is darkness
unnatural and when the mind is working, sanskaras (imagination = impressions)
are formed. All mind born sanskaras are the formations of unnatural darkness and
are, therefore, fundamentally unnatural. In God's Hand, words
"Natural" and "unnatural" have been given profound spiritual
meanings. The word "Natural" is used only for "Natural Light or
Real Self" and "Natural Darkness or Spirit" i.e. for
"That", which remains after mind is irreversibly stopped.
On page 29, Baba diagrammatically
presents the "distance" between us and Reality i.e. God. On one end is
the universe and on the other is the Self and in between are body,
mind, 7 planes and Spirit, in that order. Within us this
"distance" between us and the Real Self is marked by 5 states: false
(1) ordinary awake state, false (2) ordinary dream, (3) ordinary
sound sleep, Real (4) Divine Dream, Turiyaa, i.e. the seven and their
manifestations, Real (5) Divine Awakening, i.e. Sound Sleep in the
Awake State. So long we are oscillating between (1) and (3), we are
"far far away" from Reality. It is only when we enter from (3) to (4),
we are somewhat "nearer". Final termination of both types of sanskaras
takes place at plane 6 of Real (4) Divine Dream and not at (3)
ordinary sound sleep.
The statement on pages
23 - 24 of In God's Hand reveals that some sanskaras not only continue
but also help us in pushing our way across the planes and leading us towards
Reality, God: "...
by the process of concentration is the Goal attained. But the concentration must
reach such a stage as to make mind stop. This is a very difficult process, and
it takes a very, very long time: because the mind - if it succeeds in
concentrating a little - to it is manifested the first plane, which so interests
it, that it gets concentrated on that only. And if it (by the grace of the Guru,
or [by] its sanskaras) concentrates more, the second plane is manifested, and
here the chances of its concentrating further become [even] less."
imperative for Baba lovers not to forget that "The Book" which Baba
wrote is yet to appear. About His book Beloved Baba has said on 7th August 1927:
"The Big Book I have written will be the future Bible, Koran, Avesta
and Veda, and it will be universally accepted by all castes and creed."
Baba lovers, who sincerely seek integral intellectual understanding of the
fundamental spiritual knowledge, as given by Him, will have to patiently wait
until "The Book" is made public and published. Take the case of the
book In God's Hand. The contents of this book were written by Baba in
1925 but remained unavailable until 2000. None of the classic sources - God
Speaks, Discourses, The Nothing and The Everything - provide the details and
insights given by In God's Hand. What new concepts the "Big
Book" will give, we do not know. We should, therefore, earnestly wait for
Beloved Baba's Words. In the intervening period, rushing to conclusions or being
judgemental about others is best avoided.
Our dearest Eruch was very
fond of narrating this story. Beloved Baba one day asked the mandali, "Who
do you take me to be?" The mandali offered many answers in reply. However,
none of these answers were satisfactory to Baba. Finally, Baba himself gave the
answer: "Who is Meher Baba? He is the One who provokes this question in
you. The Being of all Beings."
has suddenly entered a phase of great physical churning, value perception and
spiritual transformation. Baba is provoking all these questions, which we are
asking today, or would ask tomorrow. Answers to them would also come from Him.
We should keep on holding His feet, His daman.
Professor J.S. Rathore is the author of the 'Shore to Shoreless: A Voyage across the Ocean
of Existence with Meher Baba'.
Baba Bhopal Centre
Name: Meher Baba (born Merwan
Date of Birth and Death: February
25, 1894-January 31, 1969
Birth Place: Guruprasad,
Year Groups were Founded:
Meher Baba first established
a following in 1922 in Bombay. In 1931 Baba visited the U.S. and
established a loose following there. In 1952 he accepted the inheritance
of the Sufis Reoriented in the U.S.. Meher Baba's followings include the
Sheriar Foundation, as well as numerous other
Baba Groups. Some of these groups such as Meher Baba Information of
Berkeley, CA, and the Society for Avatar Meher Baba of New York City were
formed after his death in 1969. There are also a number of publications
such as MANifestation, Inc.,
International, and a kids' magazine, Rainbow! devoted to spreading
Upon close interaction with
guru Hazrat Babajan, Merwan later said that he had experienced
self-realization and from there he persued the teachings of other
spiritual masters including Upasani Maharaj who declared Merwan "one
who has come to full God-realization." Ultimately, Baba was
proclaimed to be the Avatar or manifestation of God in human form. (Hopkinson)
He believed his duties as Avatar to include awakening the human spirit to
a realization of God. His main teachings are Universal Love and Devotion,
two qualities he believed could heal the materialism of his age. Baba
first set up schools in India as well as his own community, Meherabad, in
order to provide a place for "devotees" or disciples to do work.
The cosupervisor of the
Center, Kitty Davy sums up, "The Avatar is God in human form. He
comes again at the right moment, when the world is in chaos and
materialism as it is now, to live again the way of life which is expressed
in selfless service, because love means action. Baba says the material and
spiritual must go hand in hand. You cannot stay in a spiritual retreat for
your whole life and find God. God must be found in the world, through
sevice, through selfless action."(Anthony)
Sacred or Revered Texts:
There are no sacred texts
exclusive to followers of Meher Baba, other than the sacred texts of their
own denomination. His two most famous writings are the Discourses
and God Speaks. God Speaks was written as a spiritual guide
for Westerners who are unfamiliar with the sacred universal or cosmic
realm of the spirit.
Cult or Sect:
Negative sentiments are
typically implied when the concepts "cult" and "sect"
are employed in popular discourse. Since the Religious Movements Homepage
seeks to promote religious tolerance and appreciation of the positive
benefits of pluralism and religious diversity in human cultures, we
encourage the use of alternative concepts that do not carry implicit
negative stereotypes. For a more detailed discussion of both scholarly and
popular usage of the concepts "cult" and "sect,"
please visit our
"Cult" and "Sect" page, where you will find
additional links to related issues.
Size of Group:
The size of Meher Baba's
following is estimated at near one hundred thousand in India. In the U.S.,
the size is substantially less and broken down by individual community
centers with varying membership. (Anthony)
Meher Baba was influential to
many cultural icons of the 1960's counterculture including Pete Townshend
of "the Who" and other artists. Baba is credited with converting
the self-destructive lifestyle of many drug users to a life of community
service and personal meaning. (Anthony)
Meher Baba and his followers
believe that he was the God incarnate and the Avatar of the "dark or
iron" age, also called the Kali Yuga. This age is our present time
period in history, and the last of the atavistic cycle. This cycle included
the predecessors: Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, and Mohammed. (Needleman)
Baba believed that the avatar's duty is to "awaken humanity to a
realization of its spiritual nature and quicken the whole life of the spirit
of his time. . ." Baba was concerned about the materialist culture of
his age and was devoted to spreading the understanding of a cosmic
sacredness. As an Avatar, Meher Baba's message was the metaphysical unity of
all persons through a relationship of Divine Love. By loving Baba, Baba
lovers can learn to love others. In the highest, most intense, state of
love, Divine Love, the distinction between the lover and the beloved ceases
and one attains union with God. (Melton)
Baba's teachings are
influenced heavily by
which is his native religion, and
as well as from Indian gurus and mystics, many of whom agreed that Meher
Baba was special. He also used the teachings of various other religions
believing that one's religious denomination did not interfere with one's
ability to attain the highest level of spirituality. He encouraged all
followers to maintain their respective religious practices except when they
conflicted with his teaching of abstaining from sex until marriage. Meher
Baba incorporated many of the Eastern religious themes into his teachings
including that the soul or consciousness was detachable from the physical
body and that one's soul never ceases to exist. Ideas such as this become
increasingly complex as Baba delves into levels of consciousness and
III. Links to Meher Baba
IV. Selected References
- Anthony, Dick and Thomas
Robbins. June 1972.
"Getting Straight With
Meher Baba," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 11
- Baba, Meher. 1973.
Who is Meher Baba?,
Meher Era Publications, Poona, India.
- Hopkinson, Tom and Dorothy.
Much Silence, Meher Baba:
His Life and Work, Meher House Publications, Bombay, India
- Melton, J. Gordon. 1986.
Biographical Dictionary of
American Cult and Sect Leaders, Garland Publishing, Inc. New York
- Melton, J. Gordon. 1978.
Encyclopedia of American
Religions Vol. 2, McGrath Publishing Co., Wilmington, NC
- Miller, Timothy ed. 1995.
Religions, State University of New York Press, Albany.
- Needleman, Jacob. 1970.
The New Religions,
Doubleday & Co., Garden City NY
Prepared by: Jon Brandt
Soc 257, New Religious Movements
Spring Term, 1997
Last modified: 07/6/01