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The Voice of Conscience and Firmness of Mind

“Your mind must be as firm as a rock that resists strong
blasts of wind from all sides without budging an inch.”

This saying alludes to the weakness of mind that people exhibit when they do things half-heartedly, just for show (before the eyes of the world in general), and many times against the voice of their own conscience, will, and wish. For instance, suppose your mind and conscience honestly admit and tell you that offering complete surrender to a Sadguru will do you good: in that case, do it—surrender to him your heart and soul—even if the voice of the whole world tells you otherwise, even if the whole world opposes you. Do not do it merely to please him, nor out of the fear of incurring his displeasure, nor to please and make a good show before other members of the mandali. In just the same way, if your head and heart refuse to admit the existence of any such Power in him (the Guru), if they distinctly tell you not to bow down before him, then don’t do it, even at the risk again) of provoking his displeasure. For the true Guru would, on the contrary, be pleased with such honest, open, bold action on your part, preferring it to a false show of submission and surrender.

There are many who seek the Sadguru’s darshan and visit him yet at the same time are afraid of the world’s disapproval and mockery at their stooping and bowing down before that Sage’s feet. They do it nonetheless just to satisfy their own mind and soul which honestly call for such acts of submission before him; but they do so half-heartedly like cowards, furtively looking about here and there before and after falling at his feet, to ascertain whether some outsider skeptical of such carryings-on has seen them stooping and prostrating themselves in this way.

My advice to you all is: do nothing that you don’t believe in, don’t act against the voice of your conscience, neither to please me nor to please the world. Be resolute, firm, unswerving, immovable as a rock—in spite of the world’s opposition—if you really think and honestly believe that what you are doing is right.

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p281
23-October-1926; Meherabad

 

On Swaraj and Self-Government—Political and Real

By “Swaraj” what I mean is the gaining of Truth—that Truth which already the property and birthright of everyone. What I mean, in other words is Spiritual Independence.

As for political independence, no doubt India will get it in the future. You need not worry about it.

This political independence is easily won, but real Spiritual Independence—that is achieved only with great difficulty.

Hence, my advice to you all is:

Seek that Truth which will give you everlasting
Bliss and real Knowledge (Jnan), thus enabling you
to raise others as you have been raised and to save
them from the entanglements of the world.

Anything sought in connection with external affairs is mere foolishness from the point of view of realized Persons who have actually seen the Truth and become one with everlasting Existence—as compared with those who have learned merely through reading and hearing.

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p270
07-October-1926; Meherabad

Don’t go against your conscience

A small group of four or five energetic and enthusiastic workers of the Swaraj party dropped in today. They happened by en route from another city where they had been canvassing for votes for a candidate in the forthcoming council election.

After touching upon general topics, the conversation turned to Swaraj and what India and Indians should do for its attainment. The party leaders, in their eagerness to impress upon Shri the importance and value of their work and the interest they took in it, betrayed their self-interested motives, which is to say, their party politics.

Whereupon Shri imparted to the group of them some sound and severe advice, writing (on his slate), “What is politics, after all, but fraud? Whatever may be your own honest and candid opinion, you are obligated to proceed according to the creed of your party, even against the voice of your own conscience, and thus you become dependent upon others in your actions, a practice which violates the fundamental principle of Truth.” Shri [Baba] impressed upon them all that, in whatever you do, don’t go against your conscience.

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p269
07-October-1926; Meherabad

On “Fears”—Vague and Real

The question arose: “Whom should you fear—God, the world, or Self?”

Baba replied:

  1. Do not fear the world or its people; always do the right thing. Whatever your conscience accepts and tells you to do, whatever your mind and heart feel right,’ do that. In other words, face the opposition of the whole world in doing what is right.
  2. Do not fear God to the slightest degree. For if you are afraid of Him, how will you be able to engender prem, love for Him? Only love for God enables and entitles you to attain the goal of Truth, which is Realization.
  3. Do not fear Self! For Self is never independent or apart from you. You yourself are no one other than Parameshwar (or God). What then is the sense of fearing Self, which only makes God aloof and independent of you and separates your “self” from Him?

If you have to fear anything, fear Maya!

Yes, be afraid of Maya, which is personified to you in the form of this world (jag); on Maya this entire material sphere is dependent. Maya means kam, krodh, and lobh—passion, anger, and greed. Fear these—fear passion, anger, and greed—and keep yourselves as far aloof and away from them as possible. Don’t fear anything else.

Speaking then on the subject of fear of God, Shri asked:

Do people actually fear God? Not a bit! They don’t fear God Himself. What they fear is the hell (nark-dozakh) created by Him for punishing sinners; they have fear as to where God will place them if their actions aren’t right. Take this as a simile: do boys fear the teacher—Arjun—or do they fear his cane? The cane, of course!—and not the teacher, who actually plays with the boys sometimes, and they play with him, and willingly too, since there is no cane then.

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p260
01-October-1926; Meherabad

Ceremonies and rituals for the dead

Then turning to the subject of ceremonies, particularly those for the dead, as practiced among the Parsis and Hindus, Baba explained:

These are a sheer waste of money, materials, and energy, even when they are performed with the greatest faith, reverence, and respect for the dead, to whom, unfortunately and unknowingly and in utter ignorance, these blind believers (andhala vahemi loko*) continue to devote themselves even years after their physical demise and departure. For example, think of the gold and silver caskets, the small (but costly) “snuff boxes” which, on the advice of the brahmins and dasturs, many people use in these ceremonies with blind faith—God knows why! The dead are dead after all, dead and gone! The only “necessary” ceremonies, the only ceremonies worth doing, are those three days after death, that is, between forty and seventy hours, when the soul (or spirit) is supposed to be hovering around the place where it dies, before passing on to other stages of development, according to its deserts and actions (which is to say, according to their sanskaras). At that time all that is required, the best ceremonial practice is to feed a dog or crow, both of whom are said to possess subtle eyes with which they can see the subtle form of the dead person there at the place of death.

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p260
22-September-1926; Meherabad

* Blind credulous people (Gujarati)

Stopping the Machine

Let’s take another concrete figure to illustrate how the ordinary human awake state and the “being” and “doing” of the mind are brought to an end. Imagine a machine at work. It runs continuously. Now, if you approach the machine and cry aloud from a distance, “Stop operating, please! Of what use is this continual whirling and revolving of yours?” Do you expect the machine to desist from its operation simply because of your words and loud cries? Certainly not! Then what is required for your purpose? You need  someone so bold and courageous as to grab hold of the machine as it is running and by sheer strength to force it to stop and to operate no more. For the machine on its own will never stop until such a one arrives who is daring enough to venture to manhandle it. Now imagine, further, that this machine has a big wheel and many sharp points. One could not seize hold of such a device even when it is at rest and stationary: to grab hold of this deadly dangerous mechanism when it is in motion would be to risk one’s life in vain, since stopping it is next to impossible by any ordinary means. So then what would an expert do to stop such a machine? First of all. he would take up some suitable instrument  and, standing at a distance, use it to break off the shay spikes. Only when this had been accomplished would he venture to use his strength directly to stop the wheel from revolving. Not otherwise.

In this analogy:

the “machine” represents the life of ordinary mankind (manusya);
the “wheel” represents birth and rebirth in the body (sharir);
the “points” represent sanskaras;
the “instruments” represent good actions proceeding from infinite Power and Knowledge (Anant Shakti and Jnan);
the “expert stopper” represents the God-Realized Sadguru

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p255
21-September-1926; Meherabad

Nothing other than the sound sleep state

Question: But how are we to disbelieve all these hard facts that come into our experience? How are we to feel and know that these things that we actually see and feel are really nothing?

Answer: When will we know and understand with certainty that all this is nothing, you ask? We will know and realize that all this is nothing when we attain to that State

For purposes of illustration, consider: in this your current awake state, would you ever get any adequate idea of what sound sleep is through any amount of verbal explanation? Not at all! We could never understand except by ourselves experiencing it. For in that state of sound sleep, nothing exists: no wife, no family, no children_ no money, no profession, no work, no body, no mind—absolutely nothing. I say this and declare it on oath, that this state I am referring to is nothing other than the sound sleep state. This is a fact, pure and simple. With the slightest awakening from sound sleep—which is from the immersion in pure Nothingness—khalas—all is finished. For that sound sleep state of Nothingness vanishes the moment you wake. Similarly, though in dream we feel hunger, eat and drink, and engage in other activities, when we are awake we come to know that all this happened in dream. In just the same way, if we knew this “Nothingness” in the awake state (instead of in sound sleep), we would know Everything. Yet it is precisely this very thing—the conscious experience of sound sleep—that is so hard to know and realize.

The heavens, earths, minds, bodies all disappear,
vanish completely, when Self is realized and only one
thing, Infinite Eternal Existence, remains. This
experience is the Living Freedom—Jivanmukthi—
that is the goal of Vedanta.

On this point Hafez says: “Jagno khyal karoj nahi, pachhi bhale sanv tamne ganda ya veda kahe to bi harkat nahi.” That is: “This world and its people are all intermingled with each other. Do not at all think about the world: what harm is there even if the world and its people call you mad?”

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p254
21-September-1926; Meherabad

The question is of the unfoldment of sanskaras

 

Question: Why did Buddha renounce everything?
Answer: In order to attain to what is real.

Question: Why did Ramakrishna renounce everything?
Answer: In order to see and become one with God (Ishwar).

Question: Why did Tukaram renounce everything?
Answer: He became disgusted with the world because of continual losses and failures in business. Having renounced the world, there was created in him the love of God. After this he had to pass through further untold sufferings.

Merely becoming aloof from the world because of worldly disappointments, or committing suicide to escape from them, or going mad on their account—all these are quite different from the renunciation we have been talking about. True renunciation is actual death. After that, if a man is fortunate enough to find a Guru, well and good; otherwise, he is doomed—with untold difficulties thrown upon his head as further severe testing.

In a nutshell, then, all these talks with their questions and answers hinge on the question of the unfoldment of sanskaras. That is the essence! If those sanskaras get wiped off that accrue from karma attaching to the pure (shuddh) Paramatma Itself, then all is well. Otherwise, if they remain there accumulated on the pure Paramatma, they comprise just that much more burden which one has to pick up and carry, with that much more stress and strain upon the self.

Sant Tukaram, as we have said, undertook renunciation (tyag) after experiencing disappointment and disgust with the world. Then the love of God was created in him, and this led in turn to the meeting and darshan of a Guru. But all these developments in his life resulted from previous sanskaras and a tremendous self-preparation that cannot even be imagined. Unthinkable difficulties, acute stress and strain, and all manner of hardships created and prepared such powerful sanskaras that circumstances in due course afforded him opportunities for renunciation, the appearance of the Guru, and the incurring of the Guru’s grace all within a single lifetime, indeed, within the scope of just a few years.

Altogether different from this is the experience of circle members but that’s another matter.

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p252
21-September-1926; Meherabad

Keeping Company–Satsang – Part 2/2

Now those who practice satsang can be divided into three types:

  1. He who gives, takes not, and stays
  2. He who gives not, takes not, but stays
  3. He who gives not, takes, but stays

All this business of “give and take” pertains to the domain of material things. The first two types in this list (that is, those who “take not”) rank more highly: the first can rightly be called “heroes”  and the second, the ‘best’. Those of the third category (who “take”) number among the “ordinary”. But all three derive great advantage, for the essential point is that, after renunciation, they remain in satsang, with the business of “giving,” “not giving,” and “taking” all depending upon their sanskaras descending from –the past. All three stand far above the so-called sanyasis of the world—not just first two types (who “take not”) but even the third (who “takes” but remains ri the sahavas or company of the Guru). But these ordinary sanyasis of the world who have renounced everything are in a way better than the ordinary people of the world, who still remain in the clutches and entanglements of Maya and materialism.

To abide in satsang means to obey the Guru’s orders.

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p250
21-September-1926; Meherabad

Keeping Company–Satsang – Part 1/2

You people think that renunciation is much easier than materialism that hating and giving up materialism comes more easily than love, liking and attachment to it. But this is not so. Renunciation is most difficult, to such an extent that only those prepared to risk and lose their very lives may dare venture upon it. To quote a line in Persian:

Ke ishq asan nomud avval vali aftad moshketha

That is, “Love at first seemed easy, but as time went on, innumerable difficulties arose.”

But even after everything external has been renounced, desires  and ambitions have still to be given up. But if one does not succeed in achieving internal renunciation, external renunciation brings advantage nonetheless. External renunciation is good, even if desires arise in the course of it.

But to succeed in internal renunciation, satsang—the company of and residence with a sage—offers the best expedient and remedy. Doubtless they do well who, remaining in the world, observe and practice renunciation; but the case is quite different for those who renounce and then live in the company of a sage after renunciation.

– “Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p250
21-September-1926; Meherabad