|The Spiritual Training Programme|
According to the availability of funds, the Board should provide more staff quarters, more staff kitchens and other facilities for Spiritual Trainees. When Beloved Baba's Manifestation takes place, more and more people will want the opportunity to join the Spiritual Training Programme. As the Trust is able to accommodate more Spiritual Trainees, the Board of Trustees should avoid hiring paid workers, and let His lovers serve Him as Spiritual Trainees on the Trust Estate.
ACTIVITIES OF THE SPIRITUAL TRAINEES
After a Spiritual Trainee has been selected, the Chairman along with concerned Trustees, Department Manager(s) and Sponsor(s) will decide in which activity or activities the Spiritual Trainee will begin their service. Afterwards, they will give further work assignments according to the ability and interest of the Spiritual Trainee. Spiritual Trainees can also serve in other capacities and be involved in other projects and activities as time goes by. The Chairman should be kept informed in writing when they become involved in these new activities. If Spiritual Trainees wish to be transferred to different duties, they should send their request letter to the Chairman.
However, in the future, when it is no longer possible for the Chairman to be directly involved in every step of this work, the Spiritual Workers Department will have this responsibility. This Department will assign Spiritual Trainees their duties. They will take into account the needs of the Trust and the abilities and interests of the Spiritual Trainees. All other Trust Departments must keep the Spiritual Workers Department informed as to their present and future staffing needs. This will permit the Department to make appropriate work placements.
Due to special circumstances, other Trust Departments can request the Spiritual Workers Department to transfer the required number of Spiritual Trainees to their department temporarily in order to complete urgent projects. The various departments can also make an application to the Spiritual Workers Department requesting specific Spiritual Trainees who have special skills needed to complete their projects.
Spiritual Trainees may make applications to the Spiritual Workers Department if they wish to be involved in Trust activities other than the ones in which they are currently involved. They can also make applications to this Department if they would like to do individual projects and are seeking the Trust's support and guidance.
Spiritual Trainees will work collectively and individually in their Departments according to how the work is assigned by the Spiritual Workers Department, as well as the Department Manager and Section Supervisor.
In every activity which you, as Spiritual Trainees, perform, you should think that you are serving the Beloved only. You should remember this with every action. When you work to please Him, all service is the same. So do not let your service be spoiled by trying to judge whether the work you do is high or low by worldly standards. Such thoughts show there is a lack of love in your service. It also shows that you feel that your pride is important to you. Your heart should remain the abode of the Beloved, not the abode of pride.
I remind you once again that when you serve the Beloved, it should be done in such a way that your inner feelings are reflected in your outer work. In order for this to happen, the heart must become the master and the mind must become the slave. The intellect is used to do the work, but the way in which it is done is where the heart steps in, and the
intellect must follow its wishes of love and service. Then the service will be pleasing to Him.
Although you will be assigned your work according to your abilities and interest, you should also be ready to do any work on the Trust Estate when called upon, especially during special programmes such as Amartithi or Silence Day. At other times, you can continue with your work under your usual Departments. But whatever work needs to be done on the Trust Estate should be done willingly by you when you are called upon. Suppose a sweeper's work, which includes cleaning the toilets, is given to some trainees during a special programme like Amartithi or Silence Day. You should not feel ashamed of doing such type of work. Those of you in managerial roles should also take part in such work at that time by supervising.
I will give an incident in my life with Beloved Baba, Who showed me how to play my role according to His orders.
On 29th and 30th September 1954, there was the meeting at Meherabad when Baba gave His Declaration. Beloved Baba had called the Westerners earlier, on 22nd September. They had to stay at Meher Retreat Building at Upper Meherabad. At that time, there were only a few buildings at Meherabad. At Lower Meherabad, there were only Mandali Hall and the Mess Quarters, where the Dharamshala is at present.
Indians were accommodated in tents at Lower Meherabad. At both Lower Meherabad and Upper Meherabad, provisional toilets and bathrooms were installed. The Westerners had to use these, as the building had no toilets or bathrooms. Each toilet had one potty. But the sweeper would come only once in the morning to clean the potties. So Beloved Baba appointed Dr. Donkin (who was an M.B.B.S. [Bachelor of
Medicine and Bachelor of Science] and F.R.C.S [Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons]) and me to clean the potties.
Now, this was the problem. If any Westerner saw us cleaning the potties, they would not have liked it. So, Dr. Donkin told me that we both should remain hidden nearby, as if we were on watch duty, and as soon as anyone leaves the toilet, we should immediately go and clean the potty. And this is what we did. We had a big pit, in which we would throw the waste (nightsoil), and then clean the potty. Nobody would see us doing this work; everyone would always find the potties very clean. We worked there from morning until late at night.
Then, in 1955, there was a Sahavas programme, and Beloved Baba appointed me as a supervisor over the workers. There were four language groups (Gujurati, Telegu, Hindi, Marathi), and each group would come for five days. Each week for four weeks, a different language group would come to Meherabad. Baba had given me the duty of supervising the workers to see that they cleaned the area and made the food and bath arrangements. I was continually engaged in this work.
As soon as one group would leave, each pandal would be cleaned. Beloved Baba had ordered that the Sahavasees should have beds, and when each group departed, bedsheets and pillow covers had to be washed and put back on the beds. This work would go on all night and all day. But after some hours, the workers would sleep. Because the next group was to arrive soon, I felt responsible for getting all the beds arranged properly, thinking this would please Baba. So I would end up doing the work myself. I would also sprinkle water in the pandal so that the dust would settle.
As I was taking a bucket of water into the pandal, Baba came and immediately called me. "What are you doing?" He asked me.
I said, "I am sprinkling the water in the pandal so that the dust will settle."
Baba asked, "What duty have I given to you?" "Supervisor," I replied.
And Baba said, "Are you supervising, or are you doing the work yourself? Remember this, whatever duty I give you, you must do it. When I appointed you supervisor, you must supervise. Not do the work yourself."
Baba displayed His unhappiness toward me. He told me to be the supervisor, but I did otherwise. He had given me the duty of the sweeper in 1954, and I did that. Then in 1955, He gave me the duty of being the supervisor. I should have done that job, not the job of a sweeper. This was a good lesson for me. It is important to understand that whatever your duty is, it should be done one hundred percent in order to please Him.
Therefore, whatever work is assigned to you, you should do it and not become negligent towards that duty. Any work done with love for Beloved Baba becomes His work. When you work with that understanding, you will gradually find yourselves free from the worldly idea of high and low. And through this, you will gradually feel inner Oneness. Beloved Baba is in everything and everyone.
One early Mandali member was Ardeshir, from Iran. He was illiterate. But Ardeshir was made Director of Agriculture by Baba, who wanted a garden near His jhopdi (hut) at Lower Meherabad. The Mandali had to construct channels for the water. To make the channels, they had to bring stones by carrying them on their shoulders from a long distance away. Ardeshir was giving orders to qualified workers, and he would
correct them. Baba would watch whether the Director was directing the work and whether the workers would listen to the Director, even though they were more qualified than he was.
When Dr. Goher came to live with Baba, even though she was a qualified medical doctor, He gave her the duty of looking after chickens and ducks that Baba kept at Upper Meherabad. She willingly fed them, looked after their health and arranged their habitats.
Another early Mandali member was Arjun. He died in 1926. He was quite illiterate and only able to give his thumb impression for his signature. When the Hazrat Babajan School opened at Meherabad, Baba made him the Director of Education. All the qualified teachers were under his direction. Baba would express much love for him. Sometimes Baba would take His own food and put it in Arjun's plate as they ate. Everyone in the Mandali would be jealous, knowing that, although Arjun was illiterate, Baba made him Director of Education, and they had to work according to his direction. They felt they also had love for Baba, but Baba did not love them as He loved Arjun. Baba loved Arjun very much, because he was obedient to His wishes.
One day, in 1925, Baba went to inspect the school and found some mistake committed by Vishnu. Baba got very angry with him. After some time, Baba said to Vishnu, "Vishnu, I got angry. That isn't good. Take the stick in My hand and beat Me thrice on My hand." And Baba held out His hand.
But Vishnu could not hit Baba's hand because He was his Master. He felt it would be a great sin to strike his Master. He said to Baba, "You are my Master, and I am your disciple. If you ask me to do such things, I will not do it. I will run away."
Then Baba called Rustom, who was the Manager at
Meherabad, and asked him to do the same thing. But he could not do it, feeling the same way that Vishnu felt. He said to Baba, "If I am your disciple, then how can I do this? This is a sin. If you ask me to do it, I will jump in the well and die."
Arjun was then called. Baba gave him the order to beat Him on the hand three times. Without a second thought, Arjun obeyed His Master. Then Baba told the Mandali around him, "Do you know why I love Arjun so much? Because He pleases Me. Whatever I say, he does. You people, just think about your own orthodox ideas. Of course, it does not mean that you should beat Me. But when I say such an action is My order, you must do it. This is called obedience, and obedience always pleases the Beloved. There is no question of sin or virtue. It is the matter of pleasing Me."
These incidents are examples of what Beloved Baba wanted from those who loved Him. As I said before, although Baba is no longer physically present, if you, as Spiritual Trainees, fulfil your duties with Baba's motto of Mastery in Servitude firmly established in your hearts, you will certainly please Him.
As Spiritual Trainees, you will carry out two categories of activities of selfless service under "Mastery in Servitude". One category is those projects required for the general development and maintenance of the Trust Estate, which the Trust has as its general objects:
• Medical - hospitals, health centres, dispensaries,
clinics, veterinary aid, etc.;
• Educational - colleges, high schools, Music and Arts Centre, Physical Education Centre, Libraries, Museums, etc., and
• Pilgrim Accommodation - Pilgrim Centres, Hostels, Dharamshalas during the year and
additional pilgrim accommodation during special
programmes such as Amartithi and Silence Day.
As the Trust Estate grows at Meherabad and Meherazad, Spiritual Trainees with all kinds of skills, interests and temperaments will be required to run what will become like a township. Therefore, no matter what skill or lack thereof, if the heart is willing to become His servant, genuine Spiritual Trainees can find a place to serve here under Mastery in Servitude.
The second category of activity is the list of ten objects under Spiritual Training in the Deed of Declaration. All of these objects will also require Departments and various sections and consequently all the necessary administrative and creative staff to complete these projects. The first object is Spiritual Training itself. The list of objects, items (ii) through (x), continues with the pursuit of various creative expressions of remembrance of Avatar Meher Baba upon which Spiritual Trainees can focus. To execute many of these items will require technical skill. As stated in the Trust Deed, the primary focus of activity is for the general development and maintenance of the Trust Estate. But as more funds become available in the decades and even centuries ahead, these objects can, and must be, carried out fully.
- "(ii) For depicting and unfolding the life and words of Avatar Meher Baba through the establishment of museums, memorials, study-halls,
libraries, fairs or exhibitions or melas at such places
as may be feasible from time to time, open to the
I have already presented to the Board of Trustees the idea that the Trust should have an exhibition area of Avatar Meher Baba's life and works called "Meher Baba in Motion" at Meherabad. This will cover hundreds of acres and will have museums, exhibition halls, theatres, multimedia centres, outdoor performance areas, libraries and research buildings. For those visiting Meherazad something similar, but in a smaller way, can be created to show Beloved Baba's life specifically at Meherazad and give visitors the feeling of Baba's Home. These areas will help the general public learn more about Meher Baba.
The creation of such areas will require an enormous amount of funds, and we leave it to the followers of Avatar Meher Baba of future generations to fund it and future Boards to manage it. However, we have already started this work through the Archive, Museum and Research Building, which will be a major reference source for the creation of the exhibitions, etc. of Meher Baba's life and work.
- "(iii) For assembling or producing and/or exhibiting films on the different aspects of the life and work of Avatar Meher Baba, such as His "New Life", the Poor Programmes, the Leper Programmes, Darshan to the masses and His other activities in the course of His mission of sowing the seeds of "Divine Love" and "awakening the whole of Humanity to the Divinity in each one of them" and the building of a foundation or nucleus of the New ! Era or the New Humanity which will live in peace and cordiality eliminating all selfishness, greed and discord of all forms and will realise the ONENESS
- OF HUMANITY so that man's life may be devoted to the realisation of the Godhood within each one;"
Included in the plans for Meher Baba in Motion are workshops, so that exhibitions in Meher Baba in Motion can include films (or whatever media will be in use at the time) to depict Meher Baba's life and work.
- "(iv) For the writing and production of "Plays" based on the messages, discourses, and sayings of Avatar Meher Baba for the benefit of the public;"
At present the Trust has a Music and Arts Centre, and in the near future, we plan to build a college. Plays are already performed at the Music and Arts Centre. When the college is built, its facilities may be used for the writing of the plays. Also, play productions will take place at the various facilities to be created at Meher Baba in Motion.
- "(v) For encouraging music, songs, kirtans, quawwalis, bhajans (vocal and/or instrumental) disseminating the life and work and the messages and dissertations of Avatar Meher Baba for the benefit of the public;"
Eastern and Western music performances as well as dance programmes from around the world are already taking place at the Music and Arts Centre. When the college is built, musical theory and dance will be taught there. Also, music and dance performances will take place at the various facilities to be created at Meher Baba in Motion.
- "(vi) For encouraging various Arts, paintings, sculptures, engravings, etchings, printings, posters, drawings, slides, depicting the various facets
- of the life and work and dissertations of Avatar Meher Baba for the benefit of the public;"
When the college is built, it will have courses on these various arts.
Workshops will be constructed to facilitate these activities, and finished artistic works will be on display at Meher Baba in Motion.
- "(vii) For the writing of books, tracts, booklets, journals, magazines, souvenirs, periodicals, and other publications or literature and the publication and distribution thereof amongst the public in several languages as may from time to time be feasible on the different aspects of the life, messages, sayings, expositions and discourses of Avatar Meher Baba;"
When the Trust can afford to undertake this work, it must be on a non-profit basis and done by competent Spiritual Trainees suited to such work.
- "(viii) For encouraging talks, speeches, lectures, broadcasts, radio talks and television broadcasts amongst the public or sections thereof at such places and times and occasions in such languages as may be feasible spreading and disseminating for the benefit of the public the universal message and discourses of Avatar Meher Baba and His Mission and Avatarhood by those who lead a life of sacrifice, love and brotherhood, for the upliftment of Humanity as aforestated in all spheres of life."
Baba's message is to be spread and shared. But who is to spread and share the message? This object tells us "by those who lead a life of sacrifice, love and brotherhood" for God. All Spiritual Trainees will have joined the Spiritual Training Programme in order to lead such a life. But those amongst you who have the talent and interest may share your experience of trying to be Baba's Servant, as well as talk about Meher Baba's life and work. You should inform the Programme Department (which sees to programmes on the Trust Estate) of your interest and tell them what you would like to talk about.
You Speakers should remember that words are only words until you live them, and so you must be very careful to live His words that you are sharing with others. Otherwise, you will become hypocrites.
When you are speaking to the general public for the first time or to other Spiritual Trainees, the Programme Department will help you make your presentation of Baba's life and work fitting to the Avatar. The Programme Department will then arrange gatherings, either amongst the Trainees or the pilgrims. The Chairman or the Department Manager of the Programme Department will give final approval of the speakers' programmes.
As the object states, Baba's Message is to be spread to other locations and through all media. For this aspect of spreading Baba's life and message, another department should be created separate from the Programme Department. This department may be called the Communications Department, which will see to spreading His message of love and truth through spoken language on a national and international scale. Those of you who have this specific interest and talent, and most importantly, are leading a life of sacrifice, love and brotherhood for God, may be called upon by the Communications Department. Ordinarily, speakers will have
gained experience giving talks on the Trust Estate before going out to the general public at other locations or giving talks through the media.
You should know what Beloved Baba told us when He would send us out to give His message, "You should tell the audience that you are in ignorance, and you don't have knowledge of My true state. You are only speaking out what I have declared about My Self."
And also remember, Baba did not like propaganda. And He certainly does not need missionaries. Baba often told those who wished to spread His message of love and truth to do so but with the understanding that after the people heard His name, He would take over. It was for Him to see that His name moved from their ears to their hearts.
- "(ix) For facilities of visits to places touched or visited by Avatar Meher Baba during His life time and during His Avataric Mission or Advent and to enable the study of and undertake research in the various aspects of His work at the respective places and to pay homage to the same and to the memorials, statues, symbols kept or preserved thereat or therein for the benefit of the public."
In this object, to enable the study and research of Baba's life and work, the Trust will arrange for those interested to go to the various places Baba visited. The Programme Department should undertake this responsibility to arrange such trips for Spiritual Trainees.
- "(x) For the service to and for relief of the poor, indigent, illiterate, sick, the disabled, blind, giving of education, medical relief, relief of all kinds and help and succour, and amelioration in times of