As Food Is to the Body, the Body Is to the Soul

The desire expressed by one among the mandali to Be buried on the hill gave rise to a discussion of the General question of the disposal of the dead. Another mandali said that he would not mind his body being fed to the dogs after his death, for what does it matter whether the dead body be destroyed in this way or that? It has to be destroyed somehow:  that is the point. Burial, burning at the crematorium, exposure to the sun-all these are different methods of destruction, each with its own merit, Though burning is the best of them. Still another among the mandali said that he was willing to give His body to medical students for dissection and other such uses.

Thereupon the topic of the preservation of the body was dilated upon by Shri:

Why do we preserve and care for our living body? Merely so that it may continue and grow in age, and in the process, serve useful to others? And what do we do towards that purpose? We eat food and throw out the refuse. That portion of the food which we digest forms blood which makes us grow in size gradually as our age increases, until at length we grow old, die, cast aside this old body and take a new one again in rebirth. Once again we nourish our (new) body, grow old, die, and throw it off. And so on and on it goes. We eat food, in other words, to build up our body, and we engage in this process (of eating and body building) quite willingly and with great pleasure. Nor do we shed tears over that portion of the food which we throw out in the form of excrement, nark. Do we cry at all over the destruction of the food which we have brought about? Not a bit. Why, we never give it a thought, the very idea never occurs to us.

Then why on earth should we shed tears and weep and wail when the body, which is merely food for the soul, is cast off at death? We build up the human body merely as a supply of food to nourish the soul. For the sours advancement the body serves just as a means, in the same way as food provides a means for the growth of the body. We never mourn over the loss of the one kind of “means” (i.e., food) when it is destroyed and expelled from the body in the form of excrement. Then why should we mourn for the loss of the body which is no more than the means for the soul, when it—the body—falls off and perishes? Such grief and lamentation are mere folly, mere weakness. Just as in the place of the old food consumed and expelled as excrement we eat new and fresh food, so we take on a new body after the destruction of the old. Then why weep and worry over that which is the law of nature and cannot be altered? What cannot be cured must be endured.

“Meher Baba’s Tiffin lectures”, p371
11-February-1927

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