By Life Positive March 2000 Unlike many spiritual masters, Meher Baba, as a child, had little or no interest in spirituality. His awakening came at 19 when Hazrat Babajan, a Muslim ascetic, kissed his forehead. Thereafter, Shirdi Sai Baba, Upasni Maharaj, Tajuddin Baba and Narayan Maharaj led him on the path of truth. Not surprising from a man who was influenced by two Hindu and two Muslim saints. Meher Baba had little use for caste and community, addressing only the common spiritual ground of all religions. This unconventional saint freely dispensed with spiritual guidance and charitable service to the thousands who flocked to his ashram, Meherabad at Ahmednagar in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. In 1925, Meher Baba lapsed into a self-imposed silence that ended with his death in January 1969. Meher Baba felt his task ‘was not to teach but to awaken’, and stressed that Truth had already been laid bare by the great ones down the ages. The challenge for the times was to realize that. The following passages have been excerpted from Discourses by Meher Baba. LOVE: HUMAN AND DIVINE Divine love is qualitatively different from human love. Human love is for many in the One and divine love is for the One in the many. Human love leads to innumerable complications and tangles, but divine love leads to integration and freedom. In divine love the personal and the impersonal aspects are equally balanced; in human love the two are in alternating ascendancy. When the personal note is predominant in human love, it leads to utter blindness to the intrinsic worth of other forms. When, as in a sense of duty, love is predominantly impersonal, it often makes one cold, rigid and mechanical. Duty comes as an external constraint on behavior, but in divine love there is unrestrained freedom and unbounded spontaneity. Human love in both its personal and impersonal aspects is limited; divine love with its fusion of personal and impersonal aspects is infinite in being and expression. Even the highest type of human love is subject to limitations of the individual nature, which persists till the seventh plane of involution of consciousness. In human love the duality of the lover and the beloved persists, but in divine love, the lover and the Beloved become one. At this stage the aspirant steps out of the domain of duality and becomes one with God; for Divine love is God. It is for love that the universe sprang into existence, and it conditions that the spontaneous appearance of pure love from within becomes impossible. So when such pure love arises in the heart of the aspirant, it is always a gift. Pure love arises in response to the descent of grace from a perfect Master. When pure love is first received as a gift of the Master, it becomes lodged in the consciousness of the aspirant like a seed in favorable soil; and seed develops into a plant and then into a full grown tree. The descent of the grace of the Master is conditioned, however, by the preliminary spiritual preparation of the aspirant. This preparation is never complete until the aspirant has built into his spiritual makeup some divine attributes. For example, when a person avoids backbiting and thinks more of the good points in others than bad ones, and when he can practice supreme tolerance and desires good for others even at cost to himself—he is ready to receive the grace of the Master. One of the greatest obstacles hindering here is worry. When, with supreme effort, worry is overcome, a way is paved for the cultivation of divine attributes that constitute the spiritual preparation of the disciple. As soon as the disciple is ready, the grace of the Master descends; for the Master, who is the ocean of divine love, is always on the lookout for the soul in whom his grace will fructify. The kind of love that is awakened by the grace of the Master is a rare privilege. The mother who is willing to sacrifice all and die for her child, and the martyr who is prepared to give up his life for his country are supremely noble; but they have not necessarily tasted this pure love born through the grace of the master. Even the great yogis who sit in the caves and on mountain tops and are completely absorbed in deep samadhi (meditation) do not necessarily have this precious love. ACTION AND INACTION In many ways inaction is preferable to unintelligent action, for it has at least the merit of not creating further samskarasand complications. Even good and righteous action creates samskaras and means one more addition to the complications created by past actions and experiences. All life is an effort, a desperate struggle to undo what has been done in ignorance, to throw away the accumulated burden of the past, to find rescue from the debris left by a series of temporary achievements and failures. Life seeks to unwind the limiting samskaras of the past and to obtain release, so that its further creations may spring directly from the heart of eternity and bear the stamp of unhampered freedom. Action that helps in attaining God is truly intelligent and spiritually fruitful because it brings release from bondage. It is second only to that action that springs spontaneously from the state of God-realization itself. All other forms of action, however, good or bad, effective or ineffective from a worldly point of view, contribute towards bondage and are inferior to inaction. Inaction is less helpful than intelligent action; but it is better than unintelligent action. CONDITIONS OF HAPPINESS The kind of detachment that really lasts is due to the understanding of suffering and its cause. It is securely based upon the unshakable knowledge that all things of this world are momentary and passing, and that any clinging to them is bound to be a source of pain eventually. Man seeks worldly objects of pleasure and tries to avoid things that bring pain, without realizing that he can’t have the one and eschew the other. As long as there is attachment to worldly objects of pleasure, he must perpetually invite upon himself the suffering of not having them—and the suffering of losing them. Lasting detachment, which brings freedom from all desires and attachments, is called purna vairagya or complete dispassion. Complete detachment is one of the essential conditions of lasting and true happiness. For the person who has complete detachment no longer creates for himself the suffering that is due to the unending thralldom produced by desires. Desirelessness makes an individual firm like a rock. He is neither moved by pleasure nor by sorrow. One who is affected by agreeable things is bound to be affected by disagreeable things. If a person is pleased by receiving praise, he is bound to be miserable when he receives blame. He cannot keep himself steady under a shower of blame as long as he is inwardly delighted by receiving praise. The only way not to be upset by blame is to be detached from the praise also. Then he does not lose his equanimity. The steadiness and equanimity that remain unaffected by any opposites is possible only through complete detachment, which is an essential condition of lasting and true happiness. THE SEVEN STAGES Through all these fanas (minor annihilation of the ego) of ascending order there is a continuity of progression toward the final Fana-Fillah, and each has some special characteristic. When the pilgrim arrives at the first plane, he experiences his first fana. The pilgrim is temporarily lost to his limited individuality and experiences bliss. Many pilgrims, thus emerged, think they have realized God and hence get stuck in the first plane. If the pilgrim keeps himself free from self-delusion or comes to realize that his attainment is but a transitional phase, he advances further on the spiritual path and arrives at the second plane. The merging into the second plane is called fana-e-batili, or the annihilation of the false. The pilgrim is now absorbed in bliss and infinite light. Some think that they have attained the goal and get stranded in the second plane, but others who keep themselves free from self-delusion march onward and enter the third plane. The merging into the third plane is called fana-e-zahiri, or the annihilation of the apparent. Here the pilgrim loses all consciousness of his body and his world for days and experiences infinite power. Since he has no consciousness of the world, he has no occasion for the expression of power. This is videh samadhi, or the state of divine coma. Consciousness is now completely withdrawn from the entire world. If the pilgrim advances still further, he arrives at the fourth plane. The merging into the fourth plane is called fana-e-mulakati, or the annihilation leading to freedom. The pilgrim experiences a peculiar state of consciousness here, since he now only feels infinite power. Further, he now has a definite inclination to express it. If he falls prey to this temptation, he goes on expressing these powers and gets caught up in the alluring possibilities of the fourth plane. For this reason this plane is very difficult and dangerous to cross. The pilgrim is never spiritually safe, and his reversion is always possible until he has successfully crossed the fourth plane and arrived at the fifth one. The merging into the fifth plane is called fana-e-jabruti, or the annihilation of all desires. Here the incessant activity of the lower intellect comes to a standstill. The pilgrim does not think in the ordinary way, and he is indirectly a source of many inspiring thoughts. He sees, but not with the physical eyes. Mind speaks with the mind, and there is neither worry nor doubt. He is now spiritually safe and the beyond the possibility of a downfall; and yet, often a pilgrim on this exalted plane finds it difficult to resist the delusion that he has attained Godhood. Deluded he thinks and says, ‘I am God,’ and believes him to have arrived at the end of the spiritual
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