Merwan Sheriar Irani was the second of six children, born to a Persian family in Poona, India.
As a young boy he liked to read poetry and participate in sports. He spent hours with his friends playing their favorite past time game, cricket. At the age of thirteen he started a boys club, where they kept up to date on current events, developed public speaking skills, and collected money for the poor.
Merwan graduated from High School and then attended Deccan College. One day on the way home from school he noticed an old lady sitting under a tree. Perhaps she was 100 years old. She motioned to him to come over. He was curious to see who she was. Then Hazrat Babajan (a Sufi Master holy woman) gave him a kiss on the forehead.
His life changed in an instant. He was dazed and barely made it home in one piece. His consciousness filled with the splendor of blissful eternity. By evening he realized God within himself.
He spent the next several years under the tutelage of a variety of spiritual Masters. When he was twenty seven he left his current master, Sadguru Upasni Maharaj, and headed out into the world to travel and teach. He spent time helping the poor and opened a boarding house for those with no place to live.
In 1925 he went into silence, never to verbally speak again. He communicated with the world using sign language and an alphabetic board. As such he was sometimes called the silent Guru.
In 1927 Meher founded his first ashram and living center, based on the Sufi tradition. His students gave him the name Meher Baba, which means “Compassionate Father” in Persian.
Meher Baba traveled around the world several times. In the west he taught in Australia, the United States, and England (1931). He wrote many books. Thousands of people flocked to be by his side or just to catch a glimpse of him.
He observed silence for the last 44 years of his earthly life.
Note: Sufism is the mystical arm of Islam. However, in recent years their shrines, temples, and followers have come under attack by Islamists in Pakistan, Iran, Kurdistan, Syria, and other countries. Please pray for their safety and well being.
The Seven Realities:
Existence, Love, Sacrifice, Renunciation, Knowledge, Control, and Surrender.
I give no importance to creed, dogma, caste, or the performance of religious ceremonies and rites but to the understanding of the following seven Realities:
1. The only Real Existence is that of the one and only God, who is the Self in every finite self.
2. The only Real Love is the love for this Infinity (God), which arouses an intense longing to see, know, and become one with its Truth (God).
3. The only Real Sacrifice is that in which, in pursuance of this love, all things-body, mind, position, welfare, and even life itself are sacrificed.
4. The only Real Renunciation is that which abandons, even in the midst of worldly duties, all selfish thoughts and desires.
5. The only Real Knowledge is the knowledge that God is the inner dweller in good people and in so-called bad, in saint and in so-called sinner. This knowledge requires you to help all equally as circumstances demand without expectation of reward; when compelled to take part in a dispute, to act without the slightest trace of enmity or hatred, to try to make others happy with brotherly or sisterly feeling for each one; and to harm no one in thought, word, or deed-not even those who harm you.
6. The only Real Control is the discipline of the senses to abstain from indulgence in low desires, which alone ensures absolute purity of character.
7. The only Real Surrender is that in which poise is undisturbed by any adverse circumstance; and the individual, amidst every kind of hardship, is resigned with perfect calm to the will of God.
Selfishness comes into existence owing to the tendency of desires to find fulfillment in action and experience. It is born of fundamental ignorance about one’s own true nature. Human consciousness is clouded by the accumulation of various types of impressions deposited by the long course of the evolution of consciousness.
These impressions express themselves as desires, and the range of the operation of consciousness is strictly limited by these desires. The samskaras, or impressions, form an enclosure around the possible field of consciousness. The circle of samskaras constitutes that limited area in which alone the individual consciousness can be focused.
Lust, greed, anger:
The chief forms in which the frustrated ego finds expression are lust, greed, and anger. Lust is very much like greed in many respects; but it differs in the manner of its fulfillment, which is directly related to the gross sphere. Lust finds its expression through the medium of the physical body and is concerned with the flesh. It is a form of entanglement with the gross sphere.
Greed is a state of restlessness of the heart, and it consists mainly of craving for power and possessions. Possessions and power are sought for the fulfillment of desires. Man is only partially satisfied in his attempt to have the fulfillment of his desires, and this partial satisfaction fans and increases the flame of craving instead of extinguishing it. Thus greed always finds an endless field of conquest and leaves the individual endlessly dissatisfied. The chief expressions of greed are related to the emotional part of man. It is a form of entanglement with the subtle sphere.
Anger is the fume of an irritated mind. It is caused by the thwarting of desires. It feeds the limited ego and is used for domination and aggression. It aims at removing the obstacles existing in the fulfillment of desires. The frenzy of anger nourishes egoism and conceit, and it is the greatest benefactor of the limited ego. Mind is the seat of anger, and its expressions are mostly through the activities of the mind. Anger is a form of entanglement with the mental sphere. Lust, greed, and anger respectively have body, heart, and mind as their vehicles of expression.
Road to happiness:
Selfishness inevitably leads to dissatisfaction and disappointment because desires are endless. The problem of happiness is therefore the problem of dropping one’s desires. Desires, however, cannot be effectively overcome through mechanical repression. They can be annihilated only through Knowledge. If you dive deep in the realm of thoughts and think seriously for just a few minutes, you will realize the emptiness of desires. Think of what you have enjoyed all these years and what you have suffered. All that you have enjoyed through life is today nil. All that you have suffered through life is also nothing in the present. All was illusory.
It is your right to be happy, and yet you create your own unhappiness by wanting things. Wanting is the source of perpetual restlessness. If you do not get the thing you want, you are disappointed. And if you get it, you want more and more of it and become unhappy. Say “I do not want anything” and be happy. The continuous realization of the futility of wants will eventually lead you to Knowledge. This Self-knowledge will give you the freedom from wants that leads to the road to abiding happiness.
Love and Service:
The dawn of love facilitates the death of selfishness. Being is dying by loving. If you cannot love one another, how can you love even those who torture you? The limits of selfishness are created by ignorance. When a person realizes that he can have more glorious satisfaction by widening the sphere of his interests and activities, he is heading toward the life of service. At this stage he entertains many good desires. He wants to make others happy by relieving distress and helping them. And though even in such good desires there is often an indirect and latent reference to the self, narrow selfishness has no grip over good deeds. Even good desires may, in a sense, be said to be a form of enlightened and extended selfishness; for, like bad desires, they too move within the domain of duality. But as the person entertains good desires his selfishness embraces a larger conception that eventually brings about its own extinction. Instead of merely trying to be illustrious, arresting, and possessive, he learns to be useful to others.
Every time you go to sleep you are unconsciously united with the infinite Reality. This unification involves the extension of unconsciousness over consciousness. It thus bridges over the chasm between the unconscious and the conscious. But being unconscious of this union, you do not consciously derive any benefit from it. This is the reason why, when you wake up again from deep sleep, you become aware of the same self, humdrum individual; and you begin to act and experience exactly as you acted and experienced before going to sleep. If your union with the supreme Reality had been a conscious union, you would have awakened into a completely new and infinitely rich life.
The gulf between the clouded consciousness of average humanity and the fully illumined consciousness of a Perfect Master is created by samskaras that give rise to egoism. These can be removed through perfect character, devotion, and selfless service; but the best results in this direction are attained through the help of a Perfect Master. Spiritual advancement consists not in the further development of consciousness (for it is already fully developed in man), but in the emancipation of consciousness from the bondage of samskaras. Although, in essence, consciousness is the same in all the different states of existence, it can never be consummate unless it can reflect the knowledge of Infinity without the least shadow of ignorance, and also cover the whole extent of creation illumining the different spheres of existence.
Through opposites to beyond opposites:
Like the shuttle of the weaver’s loom, the human mind moves within two extremes, developing the warp and the woof of the cloth of life. The development of spiritual life is best represented not as a straight line but as a zigzag course.
Take the function of the two banks of a river. If there were no banks, the waters of the river would disperse, making it impossible for the river to reach its destination. In the same way, the life-force would dissipate itself in endless and innumerable ways, were it not confined between the two poles of the opposites.
These banks of the river of life are best looked upon not as two parallel lines but as two converging lines that meet at the point of Liberation. The amount of oscillation becomes less and less as the individual approaches the goal, and completely subsides when he realizes it. It is like the movement of the doll that has its center of gravity at the base, with the result that it has a gradual tendency to become steady in the sitting posture. If shaken, it continues to swing from side to side for some time; but each movement covers a shorter span, and in the end the doll becomes stationary. In the case of cosmic evolution, such subsiding of alternation between the opposites means Mahapralaya; and in the spiritual evolution of the individual, it means Liberation.
Analysis of human experience:
There are two aspects of human experience-the subjective and objective. On the one hand there are mental processes that constitute essential ingredients of human experience, and on the other hand there are things and objects to which they refer. The mental processes are partly dependent upon the immediately given objective situation, and partly dependent upon the functioning of accumulated samskaras, or impressions, of previous experiences. The human mind thus finds itself between a sea of past samskaras on the one side and the whole extensive objective world on the other.
Human actions are based upon the operation of the impressions stored in the mind through previous experiences. Every thought, emotion, and act is grounded in groups of impressions that, when considered objectively, are seen to be modifications of the mind. These impressions are deposits of previous experiences and become the most important factors in determining the course of present and future experience. The mind is constantly creating and gathering such impressions in the course of its experience.
When occupied with the physical objects of this world (such as the body, nature, and other things), the mind is, so to say, externalized and creates gross impressions. When it is busy with its own subjective mental processes, which are the expressions of already existing samskaras, it creates subtle and mental impressions. The question whether samskaras come first or experience comes first is like the question whether the hen or the egg comes first. Both are conditions of each other and develop side by side. The problem of understanding the significance of human experience, therefore, turns around the problem of understanding the formation and function of samskaras.
The samskaras are of two types, natural and nonnatural, according to the manner in which they come into existence. The samskaras the soul gathers during the period of organic evolution are natural. These samskaras come into existence as the soul successively takes up and abandons the various subhuman forms, thus gradually passing from the apparently inanimate states (such as stone or metal) to the human state, where there is full development of consciousness. All the samskaras that cluster around the soul before it attains the human form are the product of natural evolution and are referred to as natural samskaras. They should be carefully distinguished from the samskaras cultivated by the soul after the attainment of the human form.
The samskaras that get attached to the soul during the human stage are cultivated under the moral freedom of consciousness with its accompanying responsibility of choice between good and bad, virtue and vice. They are referred to as nonnatural samskaras. Though these post human samskaras are directly dependent upon the natural, they are created under fundamentally different conditions of life and are, in their origin, comparatively more recent than the natural samskaras.
This difference in the length of the formative periods and in the conditions of formation is responsible for the difference in the degree of firmness of attachment of the natural and nonnatural samskaras to the soul. The nonnatural samskaras are not as difficult to eradicate as the natural, which have an ancient heritage and are therefore more firmly rooted. The obliteration of the natural samskaras is practically impossible unless the neophyte is the recipient of the grace and the intervention of a Sadguru, or Perfect Master.
Spirituality covers the whole of life:
The life of the spirit is the expression of Infinity and, as such, knows no artificial limits. True spirituality is not to be mistaken for an exclusive enthusiasm for some fad. It is not concerned with any “ism.” When people seek spirituality apart from life, as if it had nothing to do with the material world, their search is futile. All creeds and cults have a tendency to emphasize some fragmentary aspect of life, but true spirituality is total in its outlook. The essence of spirituality does not consist in a specialized or narrow interest in some imagined part of life but in a certain enlightened attitude to all the various situations that obtain in life. It covers and includes the whole of life. All the material things of this world can be made subservient to the divine game; and when they are thus subordinated, they become auxiliary to the self-affirmation of the spirit.
Body not necessarily hindrance to spiritual life:
The value of material things depends upon the part they play in the life of the spirit. In themselves they are neither good nor bad. They become good or bad according to whether they help or hinder the manifestation of divinity through them. Take, for example, the place of the physical body in the life of the spirit. It is a mistake to set up an antithesis between “flesh” and “spirit.” Such contrast almost inevitably ends in an unqualified condemnation of the body. The body obstructs spiritual fulfillment only if it is pampered as having claims in its own right. Its proper function is rightly understood as ancillary to spiritual purposes.
Detachment does not mean indifference:
However, those who would live the life of the spirit must remain detached in the midst of worldly things without becoming cold or indifferent to them. Detachment should not be misunderstood as lack of appreciation. It is not only compatible with the true evaluation of things but is its very condition. Craving creates delusion and prevents right perception. It nourishes obsessions and sustains the feeling of dependence upon external objects. Detachment promotes right understanding and facilitates perception of the true worth of things without making consciousness dependent upon external objects.
To see things as they are is to grasp their real significance as parts of the manifestation of the One Life, and to see through the veil of their apparent multiplicity is to be free from the insistent obsession for anything in its imagined isolation and exclusiveness. The life of the spirit is to be found in comprehensiveness that is free from clinging and in appreciation that is free from entanglement. It is a life of positive freedom in which the spirit infuses itself into matter and shines through it without submitting to any curtailment of its own claims.
Spiritual understanding not born of blind imitation:
Spiritual understanding, which is the complementary aspect of the life of the spirit, must be distinguished from worldly wisdom, which is the quintessence of the conventions of the world. Spiritual wisdom does not consist in the unquestioning acceptance of the ways of the world. The ways of the world are almost always the collective effect of the actions of materially inclined people. Worldly people consider something to be right and make it right for persons of similar inclination. Therefore the blind following of conventions does not necessarily secure wise action. The life of the spirit cannot be a life of uncritical imitation; it must have its basis in the true understanding of values.
Love pervades the universe:
Life and love are inseparable from each other. Where there is life, there is love. Even the most rudimentary consciousness is always trying to burst out of its limitations and experience some kind of unity with other forms. Though each form is separate from other forms, in reality they are all forms of the same unity of life. The latent sense for this hidden inner reality indirectly makes itself felt even in the world of illusion through the attraction that one form has for another form.
Lower forms of love:
Human love is encircled by a number of obstructive factors, such as infatuation, lust, greed, anger, and jealousy. In one sense, even these obstructive factors are either forms of lower love or the inevitable side results of these lower forms of love. Infatuation, lust, and greed might be looked upon as perverted and lower forms of love. In infatuation a person is enamored of a sensual object; in lust he develops a craving for sensations in relation to it; and in greed he desires to possess it. Of these three forms of lower love, greed has a tendency to extend from the original object to the means of obtaining it. Thus a person becomes greedy for money or power or fame, which can be instruments for possessing the different objects that are craved. Anger and jealousy come into existence when these lower forms of love are thwarted or threatened to be thwarted.
Divine love and human love:
Divine love is qualitatively different from human love. Human love is for the 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 aspects are in alternating ascendency. 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. A sense of duty comes to the individual as an external constraint on behavior, but in divine love there is unrestrained freedom and unbounded spontaneity. Human love in its personal and impersonal aspects is limited; divine love with its fusion of the personal and the impersonal aspects is infinite in being and expression.
Dynamics of love:
Love is the reflection of God’s unity in the world of duality. It constitutes the entire significance of creation. If love were excluded from life, all the souls in the world would assume complete externality to each other; and the only possible relations and contacts in such a loveless world would be superficial and mechanical. It is because of love that the contacts and relations between individual souls become significant. It is love that gives meaning and value to all the happenings in the world of duality. But while love gives meaning to the world of duality, it is at the same time a standing challenge to duality. As love gathers strength, it generates creative restlessness and becomes the main driving power of that spiritual dynamic which ultimately succeeds in restoring to consciousness the original unity of Being.
Practice meditation every day to imbibed the essence of Meher Baba’s life and glorious teaching.