Let me first say that there is no book that has the above title, as most Baba lovers would know. But this presumed title is actually based on a real book, which is called My Master and His Teaching, and it’s by CD Deshmukh, who was Baba’s ‘scribe’ for The Discourses and many other of Baba’s books. Deshmukh was a graduate student in philosophy in London when he met Meher Baba there in 1932. He quickly became a disciple of Baba and learned and absorbed Baba’s teachings, and this book of 58 pages, which is actually more of a booklet, (which includes 8 pages of Deshmukh’s poems to Baba), and it was published in 1936. In this short length the book is an excellent account and compendium of Baba’s teachings.
The reason I am focusing on this booklet in this piece is Deshmukh’s use of the word “teaching.” In the last section of the booklet is the “Conclusion.” In it we find that Deshmukh indeed states that Baba has come “not to teach, but to awaken,” so that we know that he is well aware of Baba’s theme in this regard. So in this booklet we confront the somewhat paradoxical matter of Baba giving many teachings, although he says that he has not come for this purpose, but for awakening. How does Deshmukh deal with this, and the fact that he has called the booklet Baba’s “teaching?” Can we glean anything special from this and gain insight into this significant matter?
Looking further at Deshmukh’s Conclusion section, he says, “He [Baba] has not written much; but He prefers to impart His Teaching directly to the aspirants.”* Deshmukh’s word “directly” is most interesting. What does he mean by this? How does Baba impart his teaching directly?
For one thing, it is clear that this at least means that Baba imparts this by his physical contact with the aspirant. Deshmukh writes, “As a result of coming into personal contact with Shri Baba, the aspirant experiences a quickening of his life and the widening of his consciousness; and he gets a glimpse of eternal values . . .And one recognizes in Him the revelation of the Truth which really is the object of our search and the destination of your long pilgrimage, and which alone will completely satisfy our inner aspirations.” Deshmukh then concludes by saying:
While travelling along the steep Path that leads to the Truth, the aspirant meets with many a difficulty and has to fight with many a dark power within and without. And there are many occasions when he is likely to feel tired. Time and again, he needs to have a spiritual bath which will wash away all the dust that gathers on him in the journey. And he also needs to have some spiritual food which will restore his vigour. And this is exactly what the aspirant gets from the Beloved Master. The very presence of Shri Baba is enough to chase away the impurities that might be lurking in his mind. As the aspirant attunes himself to the Master, his mind and heart become tranquil and clear. And when he receives His beautiful and life-giving Love, his spirit is refreshed; and he is filled with a new faith and a joyous enthusiasm to press on to the Goal.
When Deshmukh wrote this in the early thirties, the physical presence of Baba was totally assumed. The idea that Baba would be physically leaving us was not even on the horizon. So how does Baba impart his teaching now “directly,” without being physically present? How do we get that “spiritual bath” and “spiritual food” now? Or can we get it? There have been many ways to answer this question, but a particularly interesting one is in The Everything and the Nothing. It is in message 18, “The Unlimited One is the Sadguru [Perfect Master].” Baba begins this by quoting a passage from Kabir, where Kabir says “The ear- whispering Guru is of the Limited; not of the Unlimited. Of the Unlimited is the Sadguru . Grasp this clearly in the mind.”
Baba then explains: “A Wali or a Pir (fifth and sixth plane master) necessarily requires the physical presence of a person whose level of consciousness he intends to raise. . When a Wali or Pir is pleased with someone he whispers or breathes a divine Word in his ear, or he looks steadily into the eyes of the person concerned and causes a lift in that person’s consciousness. But time and space are no obstacles to a Sadguru when he wishes to bestow His Grace on any person or thing. The person concerned may be thousands of miles away or not even in a physical body. Just a wish of the Sadguru can instantaneously establish that particular individual in the consciousness of the seventh plane of Limitlessness . . .But where are these planes and spheres? They are all within you.”
What we see here is that the “direct” presence of the Master does not require the presence or even the existence of his physical body. All the planes are within us, and the Sadguru who is stationed on and even is the seventh plane is also within us. When he is in physical form and has his effects on the aspirant, let’s say through a darshan, that effect, that grace, happens because the Sadguru is also and always within us. So when he drops his body, his inner presence still remains. In Deshmukh’s early time this was not really appreciated or even known because it did not need to be. Baba was physically in the world and his disciples and lovers could look forward to physical contacts with him.
But now we are in a time when Baba is no longer physically present. So when Deshmukh talks about the importance of “direct contact” with Baba, we need to know that this still occurs, or can occur, because the “Sadguru,” Baba is always present within us. But in contrast with the time in which Deshmukh’s booklet was written, we don’t access this presence by looking forward to the next physical contact with Baba. Instead we have the power to invoke that direct contact through our own actions or inner attitude. We may do this by going to the Samadhi near Ahmednagar India or to Baba’s bedroom at the Meher Center, and even more importantly by our own inner turning, wherever we are. This is the meaning of Baba saying”Make me your constant companion.” And related is the expression, “For every step you take towards the Beloved, the Beloved takes ten steps toward you. But you have to keep taking that one step.”
And thus we have the awakenings of the Master, who has been long out of his physical body. Orthodox religion does not understand this, and either functions as an “archeological dig” (to use Baba’s own words) or else literalizes his presence as a physical resurrection, with what one scholar called “empty tomb stories.” If not all this then religion looks forward to his next appearance with “great fervor and longing” (to again use Baba’s words). But the “spiritual bath” is available for our bathing at all times, if we just endeavor to step in or, shall we say, step within.
* Italics in original.
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