Avatar Meher Baba: The Ocean of Truth, Love, Beauty & Happiness
Prof. J.S. Rathore
The news was disgusting and extremely disturbing and had all the ingredients of a horror movie. It came from Uganda and reported mass killings of or mass suicide by more than 1000 members of The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments. The members of the Ugandan group were made to believe that the world would end on December 31, 1999. The cult centered around the imposing figures of a former Roman Catholic priest and a self-proclaimed former prostitute who claimed to had visions of Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael. The cult included men and women who brought along their children and handed over their properties and wealth to their leaders. The prophecy for Millennial Apocalypse was made. Those who sincerely believed in the doomsday gathered in a church and burnt themselves to death. Those who did not were indiscriminately and brutally murdered. The irony is that one of the Ten Commandments prohibits murder.
Human history is replete with similar doomsday prophecies and ghastly killings. The hold of irrationality over gullible people through leaders like Jim Jones and David Koresh is difficult to comprehend. It appears that between Known and Unknown, Unknown is much mightier and alluring. Human mind has a tendency to disregard that which can be understood easily, and look at with awe and respect that which it finds difficult to comprehend.
Uganda doomsday killings episode revived in me some memories. I recollected that sometime in 1995, my wife and I visited a Meher Baba lover family in a town of India. They emanated great love and dedication for Beloved Avatar Meher Baba and worked frantically to make use of all possible means at their disposal to spread the message of Baba's Love and Truth. However, the family appeared to be in a great hurry, as if working against a time deadline. On being asked, "What's the hurry?" one of them, a young lady in her early twenties said, "It was predicted by Beloved Baba in His Final Declaration that three-fourths of the world will be destroyed. This is going to happen any day from now. There is, therefore, very little time left with us". Fear of the imminent doomsday appeared to be their principal motivation.
Concerns, about when and how Meher Baba's prophecy would materialize, have made some Baba lovers unconsciously insensitive to human suffering. News about devastating earthquakes, floods, cyclones, wars, famines, volcanic eruptions and the like are received with suppressed appreciative delight that at last the prophecy is coming true and the predicted great destruction is showing signs of its beginning.
Simultaneous with these recollections, I remembered that on the night of 31 December 1999, I and my wife and my entire family - sons, their wives, their children, and hundreds of Meher Baba lovers were singing and dancing in the dining hall of Meher Pilgrim Center at Meherabad, Ahmednagar, India. Around midnight we carried lighted candles in our hands and walked in a procession to Beloved Meher Baba's Samadhi at upper Meherabad. At zero hour midnight, the whole firmament resounded seven times with "Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai" and we all greeted and hugged each other wishing a Happy Baba New Year, which eventually happened to be the year marking the beginning of a new century and a new millenium. Love, happiness and hope marked the great occasion.
With these contrasting images popped up the question, " Who is Meher Baba? Is He the prophet of doom and death or He is the prophet of hope and life? " Though the intellect did frame this question but it was immediately rebuked by the heart. How could any one think that Beloved Meher Baba can be the prophet of doom and death? The very thought stinks! It is sheer insanity. Countless individuals have drawn inner strength from Beloved Baba's assurance, "Don't worry. Be Happy. Hold fast to my daaman and forget your all worries." The entire life of Beloved Meher Baba is a life of Divine Truth, Divine Beauty and Ecstasy of Divine Love. By shedding His blood in America and India, in His two car accidents, He suffered for all of us and saved humanity from great misery. Meher Baba loved life - mountains, rivers, lakes, seas, forests, animals, plants, people, villages, towns, cities, poetry, music, dance, theatre, films and sports. He washed the feet of lepers, bowed down to poor, downtrodden, and served humanity. His tomb-shrine in Meherabad, Ahmednagar, India, bears the inscription, "Mastery in Servitude." There are countless letters, telegrams and cablegrams bearing testimony to the concern and care He took to relieve His lovers from the strain of even trifling distresses. The One, who gave the gift of New Life of God's constant companionship to His lovers, how can He be called the prophet of doom and death! To think of this, even for a fleeting moment, is the height of insensitivity.
Meher Baba talked about the emergence of a New Humanity as a direct consequence of His coming as the Avatar of the Age. About our contemporary world Meher Baba says:
"As in all great critical periods of human history, humanity is now going through the agonizing travail of spiritual rebirth. Great forces of destruction are afoot and seem to be dominant at the moment, but constructive and creative forces that will redeem humanity are also being released through several channels. Although the working of these forces of light is chiefly silent, they are eventually bound to bring about those transformations that will make the further spiritual advance of humanity safe and steady. It is all a part of divine plan, which is to give to the hungry and weary world a fresh dispension of the eternal and only Truth."
About the New Humanity, the emergence of which is the most significant part of His divine plan, Meher Baba says:
"... The coming civilization of the New Humanity will be souled not by dry intellectual doctrines but by living spiritual experiences. Spiritual experience has a hold on the deeper truths that are inaccessible to mere intellect; it cannot be born of unaided intellect. Spiritual truth can often be stated and expressed through intellect, and the intellect surely is of some help for the communication of spiritual experience."
"... The New Humanity will be freed from a life of limitations, allowing unhampered scope for the creative life of spirit; and it will break the attachment to external forms and learn to subordinate them to the claims of spirit. The limited life of illusions and false values will then be replaced by unlimited life in Truth; and the limitations, through which the separative self lives, will wither away at the touch of true understanding."
About the uniqueness of Avataric period, Meher Baba says:
" Avataric periods are 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.
" This influx of the creative impulse takes, through the medium of divine personality, an incarnation of God in a special sense -an Avatar. This Avatar was the first individual soul to emerge from the evolutionary process as a Sadguru, and He is the only Avatar Who has ever manifested or will ever manifest. Through Him, God first completed the journey from unconscious divinity to conscious divinity, first unconsciously became man in order consciously to become God. Through Him, periodically, God consciously becomes man for the liberation of mankind."
This indeed is a great vision of humankind's future. Meher Baba reveals that the humanity is in the process of its spiritual rebirth and its suffering and anxiety are the transitory pangs of birth. The forces of destruction which are operative right now will be countered by the constructive and creative forces released by the Avatar through many channels energized by Him as part of His universal work. These constructive and creative channels are the channels of education, literature, painting, theatre, films, music, dance and sports, which will unite the humanity and will redeem it from chaos, confusion and attachment to false values. All over the world, Meher lovers will be the recipients of Avatar's Grace, which will open in their hearts a floodgate of inner spiritual experiences. Transformations brought about by these living spiritual experiences will usher all of us in a regime of new quality of energy, awareness and very high levels of consciousness.
What then He wanted to convey in His Final Declaration? Meher Baba did talk about the destruction of three-fourths of world. Why did He say that and what He actually meant by that? These are relevant questions and need be explored by all Baba lovers.
Meher Baba gave His Final Declaration on 30 September 1954 to a select group of His eastern and western lovers. It opens with His emphatic assurance:
"I have not come to establish anything new - I have come to put life into the old. I have not come to establish retreats or ashrams. I create them for the purpose of My universal work, only to repeatedly dissolve them once that purpose has been served.
"The universe is My ashram, and every heart is My house; but I manifest only in those hearts in which all, other than Me, ceases to live.
"When my universal religion of love is on the verge of fading into insignificance, I come to breathe life into it and to do away with the farce of dogmas that defile it in the name of religions and stifle it with ceremonies and rituals."
The message is clear: This time Avatar's universal work will be obstructed if any thing new - a new religion or a new regime of rituals and ceremonies - would be established on His name. His universal religion of love is in the danger of extinction, and that is why He has come to breathe new life into it and liberate it from the clutches of farcical dogmas. How will He materialize this? He will breathe new life into the old by manifesting the beauty of His love and truth, in the form of inner spiritual experiences, in the hearts of His true lovers. The New Humanity shall rise not through organized religions and cultist groups but through profound inner transformations, in the quality and energy of consciousness, at the level of the individual.
The next part of Final Declaration describes the current location of the humanity on the `Happiness Vs Suffering' scale of the gross world dualities. The collective sanskaric thrust of the humanity has pushed it to the 'suffering' end of the duality. In other words, humanity's present and future suffering is due to its own evil karma. Baba says:
"The present universal confusion and unrest has filled the heart of man with greater lust for power and a greed for wealth and farce, bringing in its wake untold misery, hatred, jealousy, frustration and fear. Suffering in the world is at its height, in spite of all the striving to spread peace and prosperity to bring about lasting happiness.
"For man to have a glimpse of lasting happiness he has first to realize that God, being in all, knows all; that God alone acts and reacts through all; that God, in the guise of countless animate and inanimate entities, experiences the innumerable phenomena of suffering and happiness. Thus, it is God who has brought suffering in human experience to its height, and God alone who will efface this illusory suffering and bring the illusory happiness to its height."
This is a reminder to have an integral and holistic vision. `Suffering Vs Happiness' are components of our illusory world and God alone, being the Supreme Doer and the creator of Maya, the architect of cosmic illusion, can take us out of this illusory suffering and put us on the pinnacle of illusory happiness. The remedy, therefore, is our complete surrender to Meher Baba, the Avatar of the Age, giving Him the free space of our hearts to act and manifest.
What makes humanity suffer? Baba says that `manyness' is the cause of suffering and `oneness' is the cause of happiness:
"With the growth of consciousness, manyness also went on increasing, until now it is about to overlap the limit. Like the wave that reaches its crest, this height of manyness will dissolve itself and bring about the beginning of oneness in illusion. Suffering at its height will cause the destruction of this climax of manyness in illusion.
" The time has come for the pre-ordained destruction of multiple separateness which keeps man from experiencing the feeling of unity and brotherhood. This destruction, which will take very soon, will cause three-fourths of the world to be destroyed. The remaining one-fourth will be brought together to live a life of concord and mutual understanding, thus establishing a feeling of oneness in all beings, leading them towards lasting happiness."
" In order to bring this about, I am preparing to break my silence. When I break my silence it will not be to fill your ears with spiritual lectures, I shall speak only one Word, and that Word will penetrate the hearts of all men and make even the sinner feel that he is meant to a saint, while the saint will know that God is in the sinner as much as He is in himself."
"When I speak that Word, I shall lay the foundation for that which is to take place during next seven hundred years."
Since manyness and suffering are directly correlated with one another, Meher Baba says that humankind will reach the height of suffering because of manyness overlapping its limit. Avatar will release unprecedented quantum of spiritual energy which will generate new awareness, new quality of consciousness and new capabilities. These together will bring about the preordained destruction of this illusion of manyness initiating the process of magnification of oneness. Meher Baba says that it is the preordained destruction of separateness that will result in the destruction of three-fourths of the world. The destruction of manyness is preordained by Maya, the creator of cosmic illusion and the law of opposites. Humankind having reached the very edge of the polarity of manyness and suffering would inevitable move towards the opposite polarity of oneness and happiness. Avatar of the Age accelerates and gives spiritual direction to this drift, which is always under the danger of being possessed by the desire that equates happiness with sensual pleasure, and oneness with monolithic regime of one religion. Through His own crucifixion, the Avatar of the Age takes the brunt of the human suffering on Himself.
Obviously, the predominant separatist forces will resist the highly accelerated unification of the world at all levels -social, religious, economic, educational, cultural, political and environmental, and this will cause all round destruction. Whether this destruction will be the destruction of the institutions of separateness -religious fundamentalism, aggressive nationalism, economic separatism and exploitation etc; or a collapse and destruction of the physical environmental system; or the destruction of human population; or the destruction of sanskaras loaded with separatist values, we do not know. Whether this destruction, if it is the destruction of human population, will be caused by a global nuclear war in one go or this will be caused in a prolonged phase of time through man-made and natural disasters, we do not know. Almost immediately after delivering His Final Declaration, Meher Baba, the Ocean of Love and Compassion, issued His clarification in which He clarified that the statement that the three-fourths of the world will be destroyed was said in His own language alone. Meher Baba asserts that human intellect cannot fathom the implications of His own divine language. One is free to interpret it, if he or she likes, but it will always be a time wasting exercise.
I sincerely feel that we should not cross this line and try access to the forbidden land. However, one thing is quite clear that the `destruction' as declared by Meher Baba is not the `destruction', as we understand it in terms of our limited human understanding. The story goes that after His Final Declaration, the atmosphere in the entire district of Hamirpur was surcharged with the emotion of fear and concern. This was also the time of Hamirpur's famous annual Meher Mela. Meher Baba deputed Bhau Kalchuri to participate on His behalf. Bhau, not being so confident about his ability to face the lovers on this issue, sought guidance from Baba. Baba gave Bhau, what can be called as Meher mantra, "Sacchidananda Paramananda, Meher Baba Vigyananda." He instructed Bhau to tell His lovers about this. Through this mantra, Meher Baba conveyed to His lovers: No more talks about the hypothetical doomsday or global destruction. Meher Baba is Supreme Truth, Consciousness and Bliss, and so are His all lovers.
Don't Worry, Be Happy. Hold fast to Baba's Daaman and forget all your worries.
Prof. J.S. Rathore is the author of 'The Shore to Shoreless'. He lives in Meherabad, Ahemadnagar, India . You can write to him about this article at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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