|The Spiritual Training Programme|
Wishes as stated in the Trust Deed. No doubt, your being here is in part fulfilment of that Wish, because you are here under the object of Spiritual Training. However, just as Baba used most of the money that came to Him from His lovers for His work and not for us, the same thing should apply to the Trust and the Spiritual Trainees. That is, most of the love donations that come to the Trust should be used in the fulfilment of the objects of the Trust Deed. Only what is necessary should be spent for the care of the Spiritual Trainees. You have the privilege of living on the Trust Estate in order to take care of it for Beloved Baba as He would want you to in the spirit of Mastery in Servitude, just as we would try to fulfil His orders as He would want us to.
It is very important for you, as Spiritual Trainees, to understand that there is a world of difference between equality and Oneness. The world these days is very much caught up in the idea of equality, and it may seem like a very noble idea to live by. But if you try to uphold that ideal, thinking that it is in any way spiritual, then you will be moving towards what is unreal. The idea of equality is a false one. Remember Illusion, which is based on duality, expresses itself through diversity. How can you make things equal that are limited and therefore false? If you seek equality in your daily life, eventually your attempt will create jealousy and hatred, and in fact, you will find that you have created differences. On the other hand, if you seek inner Oneness, then you will want to love God more and more. Seeking inner Oneness will create sympathy and love in your daily life, wiping out those differences. Equality is unnatural, because it is based on what is external in Illusion. However inner Oneness is natural because it is a reflection of the spirit.
The following incident shows how Baba would adjust a situation to meet an individual's particular need, paying no attention to the idea of equality. Dr. Donkin was one of the Companions of the New Life. As one of the Companions, he had to go through all the phases of the New Life, including begging. During that period, India got its independence from England. When Donkin would go begging, people could not understand why this Englishman was doing so. They would think that there must be some trick behind it. Often, he would be abused when he went out to beg.
All the Companions slept out in the open under trees. Donkin would not be able to sleep because there would be plenty of mosquitoes. Observing this, Baba one day asked Vishnu to go to the market and buy a mosquito net. Before all the Companions, Baba gave that net to Donkin. And Baba said, "By giving Donkin this net, do you think that I favour him? He did not expect that he would get a mosquito net. Then why I am doing this? Because he is not used to sleeping out in the open, where there are so many mosquitoes. He spends sleepless nights, but he does not complain. Do not think, 'Why is Baba giving a net to him and not to me?' He is following the conditions of the New Life. He is just the same as you are, and he is proving that by his actions. But what is My duty? You can sleep without a net, and I see he spends sleepless nights but does not complain. Because he cannot sleep, I have to do something for him. That is why I am giving this mosquito net to him. It is left to him how he will use the mosquito net, because he does not have a bed or anything to fix it to. But if a mosquito net is given to you, you will think about wanting a bed. (Baba said this jokingly.) So know well, there is no favouritism. This is required for Donkin, because he is not used to this type of life."
So in this example you have an illustration of how Baba took care of one person's need, paying no attention to the idea
of equality. If you have a feeling of Oneness, you would be happy that something was done for him in the midst of leading such a life. You would not feel jealous. But if you feel that everything should be determined toward a standard of equality, you would think, "Why was he given a net. Why wasn't I given one?" Then the spirit is lost, and you are living a life of the mind, not a life of the heart.
As I said previously, because everyone has different impressions, everyone has a different face. You perform deeds according to your impressions. So also, does everyone do different deeds. As long as impressions exist, differences are bound to exist.
But love is such that it wipes out these differences, these impressions. The more that impressions are wiped out, the more the experience of inner Oneness will come. And as you love God, you will go on freeing yourself from sanskaras (impressions) that keep you bound to the world. Love for God makes you free from bindings, but seeking equality increases them.
As Spiritual Trainees, the aim of your life is to love God. Therefore, as you do your duties, your heart's attention must be towards the inner structure of the world. As you love God, inner Oneness is revealed. But you will only feel this Oneness in your heart when your life has become one-pointed toward Meher Baba. The goal of life is to become One with God, and so, one day, by Beloved Baba's grace, He will make you realise your eternal Oneness with everyone and everything.
As there is a world of difference between Oneness and equality, the same holds true for humility and modesty.
What generally happens at spiritual retreats, ashrams, etc. is that people, in their attempt to be spiritual, end up only
being modest. They think that by appearing nice and loving, they are spiritual. But they have not won the feeling of Oneness nor even the inner understanding that would truly make them loving. It is only an outward show. Sometimes their weaknesses overcome them, and they appear modest just so people will praise them. Beloved Baba did not want us to be modest. He wanted us to be humble and natural. When you act out of modesty, you show others how you want them to see you. When you act out of humility, your actions are based on what you honestly feel and are within yourself. That is, your external actions are an honest reflection of your inner being.
For an example of what I mean by the difference between modesty and humility, we can look at the cherry, the almond and the grape. The cherry is very soft outside, but there is a hard pit inside. The almond is very hard outside, but soft inside. And the grape is very soft, both outside and inside.
Someone with a cherry personality appears very soft outwardly, but inside they are very hard and bitter. No one knows this. Outside, they appear very hospitable, very friendly and very nice. But inside, they are not so. When, instead of being open and cleaning our hearts of bitterness, we hide our grudges, our personality becomes like the cherry. Baba did not like grudges. Modesty creates weakness and even leads to hypocrisy.
Now the almond personality is very hard outside, but soft inside. So those who are like the almond, although outside they appear very hard, inside do not have bad feelings for others. Inside they have love, but outside they appear as if they are very bitter. We act like this when we become too preoccupied with things and become harsh towards others, but don't really mean it inside. But still, this shows a lack of control over the false self and an inability to uphold the feeling of Oneness at the time.
Baba gave the following example: It is just like a boy who calls his mother, "my father's wife" instead of "Mummy", which would make her happy. Although it is true she is his father's wife, calling her such makes her unhappy. It is a very unloving thing to call your mother, "my father's wife". The next time when we become hard outside, we should remember to try to become soft, so it really reflects what we are within. By doing this, misunderstandings are not created.
And finally, the grape personality is soft both outwardly and inwardly. The heart's inner softness is reflected outwardly, and consequently your external actions are an honest reflection of your inner being. This is being truly humble. When the heart is reflected in your actions, you are listening to the Beloved, humbly obeying His promptings in your heart. Reflecting your heart in your actions makes you strong, because you actually express what you are. You rely on the truth, and you have nothing to hide. Modesty can never allow this, because in modesty, you will try to portray how you want to be. Sometimes we can be like the cherry, sometimes like the almond and sometimes like the grape. But we should try to become more and more like the grape in our actions.
I will tell one more story from our life with Baba on this subject of modesty.
We were in Satara in 1959, and at the time, two boys from Nepal were there. They had been with Baba in Dehra Dun. They did kitchen work and cooked food for the Mandali, and they asked Baba if they could stay with Him. Baba accepted their request, and they came with us from Dehra Dun to Mahabaleshwar and then to Satara. These boys continued to do the same work. Aloba was the kitchen manager in Satara. He would go to their room at 5:30 a.m., wake the boys up for them
to finish making the tea by 6:00 a.m., so we could be ready by 6:30 a.m., because then Baba would come to Mandali Hall.
One night, these boys went to the movies without telling anyone. The next morning, Aloba knocked on their door. The boys said they would get up and make the tea. But they went on sleeping. They did not get up, so the tea was not ready at 6:00 a.m. Aloba became so irritated that he went to their room and shouted and shouted at them through the door. At last, he kicked the door. The boys got up, but Aloba continued to shout at them. At 6:30 a.m. Baba came and asked us if we had had tea.
We told him that we did not, because the tea had not been ready.
At this, Baba called Aloba and asked why the tea wasn't ready. Aloba said, "Baba, these two boys are rascals. I woke them up at 5:30 a.m. They told me they were coming, but they did not."
Pendu then spoke up and said, "They did not come, but you behaved very badly."
"What did he do?" Baba asked.
"Not only was Aloba shouting at these boys," said Pendu, "but he was also kicking the door to their room."
Baba said to Aloba, "Why did you do this? They are just new boys. And why did they come here? Because they love Me. Never do such a thing."
Baba ended the matter with these words to Aloba and the topic changed.
Then Baba went to His bungalow. I went with Him along with Aloba. But as we walked to the bungalow, I continued thinking how Aloba had not behaved well with the boys. It was not proper.
Baba immediately asked me, "What are you thinking?" I had to say that I was thinking about the episode in the morning, how Aloba had not behaved properly with the boys.
Baba immediately said, "Then go to Rishikesh. There are many ashrams there. Go to the Gandhi Ashram. There you will find modesty, and people will appreciate your modesty. But here, there is no modesty. Whatever you are, whatever Aloba is, it is open. He did not hide himself. Though his behaviour was not good, and I did not like it, at least he did not pretend to be other than what he is. But since you want modesty, go to those ashrams."
When I was in college, before I met Beloved Baba, I wanted to go to Rishikesh. I had been drawn towards spirituality, not knowing what spirituality was. I started observing long fasts, for twenty-one days, drinking only water and eating nothing. I went to Gandhi's ashram, and also to the ashram of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa in Nagpur. When I went to the tomb of Tajuddin Baba, I became even more restless. Then I wrote a letter to a Swami in Rishikesh, and he called me there. Unknown to me, behind the scenes, Baba was bringing about these changes in my life.
I did not go to Rishikesh, because in the meantime, Beloved Baba came to Nagpur where I lived. Before He came, I had never heard of Him. But when I met Him, I surrendered my life to Him. According to His orders, I joined Him in Mussoorie, in the Himalayas, three months after my final examination. Later, Baba took me from Dehra Dun to
Rishikesh, particularly to show me that place, so I would not think about it even in my dreams. When I went to Rishikesh with Baba, He pointed at it and taunted me by saying, "This is your Rishikesh." As I looked upon people in robes and long hair and all the dirtiness that surrounded them, I thought that it was good that I did not join an ashram there.
I came to understand later that those swamis and mahatmas do not know what real spiritual life is. They, and those in their ashrams, follow the ideal life, where you observe certain rules in order to fulfil your "idea" of spirituality. But this does not cause any real inner change. You are only following the mind. They do not know that real spiritual life is based upon the Master's orders. You fulfil them willingly, without thinking whether they are good or bad, because whatever He asks you to do is the proper treatment to get rid of the false self. There is no set pattern to the spiritual life.
As Spiritual Trainees, you should have a clear understanding that the ideal life covers the false self with the garb of modesty. And because modesty is maintained, the false self remains unchanged. In the spiritual life, the false self gradually disappears, because it is a life of effacement. With the ideal life you are unnatural, because your outer actions are not an honest reflection of your inner being. But in the spiritual life, you become more and more natural, because of the fact that your outer actions gradually reflect your inner being.
There is a story that illustrates the problems that modesty can cause.
In a village once lived a father and son. The son's mother died when she was delivering him, and the father brought the boy up. The father and son loved each other very much, and the son was so devoted to the father that he would not leave him, even for a minute. Now and again, the father
would consider how the son never left him for any change whatsoever, even for recreation or sightseeing. When the father would ask the son to go sightseeing, the son did not want to go. One day, the father thought of a plan to give some change in scenery to the son.
He said to him, "Your maternal uncle is about 50 miles from here, and I would like to see him. Will you come with me?"
The son said, "Of course, how can I leave you alone? I will go with you."
"We have only one donkey. How can we both go?"
"I am quite young, and I can walk the distance," the son said. "There is nothing difficult for me. I am strong."
The father was very happy, and he thought that in this way his son would get a change. So early in the morning of the following day, they started on their journey. After travelling awhile, they came upon a village. The villagers stared at the pair as they travelled down the street.
The people said, "Just see this man. He is riding the donkey, and he has no shame in seeing that young boy walk beside him."
When the father heard this, he felt ashamed that he was riding the donkey while his son was walking.
So the father said, "Son, now you ride the donkey. I will walk for some time."
Because the people were laughing at them, the son, feeling ashamed, also agreed. The son and father switched
places, and the son was riding the donkey. They went a further distance and came upon another village. There again, people started looking at them and speaking amongst themselves.
This time the villagers said, "What kind of young man is he that lets this older man walk while he rides the donkey like a prince? He has no shame."
When the son heard this, he felt very ashamed. So the father decided that both of them should ride the donkey. They went a further distance and came across another village.
There, too, people looked at them and said, "Just see their cruelty. Both of them ride the donkey, while the poor, dumb animal cannot say anything. How cruel they are!"
When the father and son heard this, they felt bad because they were being so cruel to the donkey. They decided then that both of them should walk and drag the donkey. Now the sun was near setting, and they came across another village. Once again, people looked at them and said, "What fools they are, that they are dragging a donkey while they themselves are walking. They are so ignorant that they don't even know that a donkey is meant for riding. They walk and drag the donkey."
Now the father and son felt really confused. They were feeling ashamed and cruel and foolish all at the same time. As they passed through that village, the father and the son decided to sit under a tree, feeling overwhelmed from everything that everyone had said to them. Wherever they went, they were found in the wrong by others. And they did not know how to proceed on their journey.
Just as they were thinking such thoughts, a saintly person came by and he said to them, "Why are you sitting here?"
They said, "We are thinking what to do."
And the father told the saintly person what had taken place on the first day of their journey. "If you have any remedy for this situation, please let us know. We will act accordingly."
The saintly person replied, "The reason that all this is happening is because you want to please the people of the world. But this is not possible because each person has their own ideas. Even though you did what they wanted, you are now confused and ashamed. They found you cruel and foolish. This is your weakness, because really you are neither. But if you continue to listen to the people as you travel from one village to the next, you will never be able to get to your destination. Then you really would be foolish. Do not listen anymore to their chatter, but listen to God within you. He will guide you properly.
The father and son had not listened to the voice inside themselves, and so they were at a loss as to what to do. All they could do was listen to everyone else. And that is why it is most important for you, as Spiritual Trainees, to listen to how Beloved Baba is prompting you. That is the voice you must follow, otherwise, you will not get to the destination. But to hear the voice in your heart, you have to be very honest with yourselves. Desires of every kind will always be in your mind, urging you to follow their lead. So you have to develop the discretion to distinguish between what is the voice of the heart and what is the noise of the mind and its innumerable desires. If you are not honest with yourselves, you will be led by false modesty, thinking that you are leading a spiritual life. But what you will be leading is only an ideal life, and no real inner change will take place.
Spiritual Trainees should also be aware of the difference between worldly friendship and true friendship. One thing that is very hard to accept for those beginning a spiritual life is the truth that friendship on the spiritual path is very different than what, in the world, is normally understood as friendship. I explained this earlier through some of the stories I shared in my life with Beloved Baba. Now I'll give one more incident I observed amongst Baba and the Mandali that directly concerns friendship.
Vishnu and Dr. Nilu were friends from the time they were in high school in Pune. Vishnu joined Baba after his high school education, and Nilu joined Baba after he finished his medical education. Both loved each other very much. They were fast friends.
But Baba did not like false friendship. He wanted true friendship. True friendship is such that one does not ignore truth for the sake of friendship. If anyone does so, he does injustice to his own honesty.
Dr. Nilu was fond of a special sweet produced from milk, called basundi. Milk is boiled and boiled until it becomes very thick, and keshar (saffron) is mixed into the milk. Beloved Baba permitted Nilu to have only 30 rupees worth of basundi every month while we were in Satara. Baba knew that after several months, His second accident would take place, and Dr. Nilu would die. So He permitted Nilu this treat which Nilu enjoyed so much.
Once, it so happened, that Nilu had exhausted the money before the month's end, and he wanted to eat some basundi very much.
Vishnu was doing the marketing, for which he had money. Nilu approached Vishnu and said, "Vishnu, bring
basundi for me today. I don't have money, but in three days, at the month's end, I will get 30 rupees. I will pay you back after that. But please bring me some basundi today."
Vishnu did bring it, but he felt very bad, that he had brought it without Baba's permission. It was not good. He should not have spent out of the money he had for marketing. And Nilu should not have spent more than 30 rupees during the month. So, Vishnu went to Baba and told him.
When Baba came to sit with the Mandali, Baba asked Nilu, "How much did you spend this month for your basundi?"
Nilu felt scared and answered, "Slightly more than usual."
Baba said, "Where did you get this money?"
"I asked Vishnu, and he gave it to me," said Nilu. "But I will return it."
"I had given you an order that you are to spend up to 30 rupees for basundi and not more. Why did you spend more?" Baba said, and then turned to Vishnu, "Why did you purchase basundi for him, because he is your friend? I don't like such false friendship. Be honest. Don't do such things. If you do it again, know well, you will have to take your bags and return to your homes. I don't like this type of dishonesty. If you do such a dishonest thing with Me, you are wasting your time here. It would be better that you both go home. Be honest; be truthful and sincere in following My instructions."
If anyone else had asked Vishnu to do this favour, he would not have done so without Baba's permission. But he did it for Nilu, because Nilu was his friend. But later he informed Baba that he had made this mistake. Baba always wanted true
friendship. He did not want us to seek each other's favour or to favour anyone. That is the weakness in worldly friendship. True friendship lasts, and false friendship spoils a person and permits their weaknesses to continue.
In the world, friends get personally involved with each other, favour and even lie for each other. Sometimes they commit very harmful acts in the name of friendship. But this is not true friendship. True friendship is based on helping each other towards the truth, just as Vishnu did for Nilu. In work situations on the Trust Estate, if worldly attitudes regarding friendship exist, it will spoil the work and the atmosphere. Favouring friends creates preferences where there should be none. As you can see, Beloved Baba did not want us to have such friendships. There is a world of difference between friendship as the world knows it and the feeling of Oneness. The feeling of Oneness is based on the Truth and is an expression of it.
But it is important to talk things over now and again with someone as friends do. We found that the first group of Spiritual Trainees came to us with their questions, and we did the best we could in helping them along the path towards Baba. But only He can really guide anyone. Even we who lived with Him could only offer care and suggestions. But the human need to talk things over will continue amongst the Spiritual Trainees after we are gone. I recognise that need, and so I am suggesting something be done to meet that need.
Although Spiritual Trainees can meet with their Department Manager(s) and their Programme Sponsors to discuss their work, it is also good to talk to someone outside of their work setting to get some sort of perspective. For that purpose, I am suggesting that new Trainees find on their own a "Personal Sponsor" amongst the Senior Spiritual Trainees (those who have been here for 20 years), with whom the new
Trainees can talk freely. If one is not available, then they should find some suitable Spiritual Trainee who has been here as close to 20 years as possible. Spiritual Trainees should inform the Chairman (or Spiritual Workers Department) who their Personal Sponsor is, so that the latter can also write the six-month review for the Chairman (or Spiritual Workers Department) and attend review meetings, if necessary, regarding the Spiritual Trainee's progress.
As the administration becomes larger in the future, in addition to the Personal Sponsor, I suggest one department be created to see to the relationships amongst the Spiritual Trainees. As Beloved Baba called those who accompanied Him in the New Life, His Companions, I suggest this Department be called 'The Spiritual Trainee Companionship Department." This Department will address any personal needs of, and give any assistance necessary, to the Spiritual Trainee.
This Department can also see to such things as orientating new Spiritual Trainees as they enter the Spiritual Training Programme. The Department will help to see that new trainees have someone of their own age, but who has lived under Spiritual Training for a year or two, to help orientate them, as part of an orientation process. (The new Trainees will receive further guidance from their Programme Sponsor in helping them adjust, as well as the Department Manager under whom they work.) The Companionship Department can also be available to any Spiritual Trainee who just wants to come in and talk things over.
Originally Mani and I would make ourselves available to hear the grievances of Spiritual Trainees. This is an important responsibility of the Chairman. While administrative duties still permit, the Chairman can get directly involved in such matters. But as his duties grow, it will no longer be possible. Therefore, included amongst the responsibilities of the Companionship
Department is also to attend to the grievances of Spiritual Trainees that come up during work. The Department will help co-ordinate the efforts to address these grievances amongst the people concerned. The Chairman may create this Department anytime he feels it necessary.
In trying to uphold a feeling of Oneness, it is helpful to remember that Beloved Baba wanted us to forgive and forget. Beloved Baba did not like it if we had grudges amongst ourselves. So if there is any misunderstanding, it should be sorted out with love, so that everyone can remain cleanhearted. And therefore, this Department will have this very important and loving responsibility.
During the New Life, Beloved Baba played the role of a seeker of God. Throughout the New Life, whenever Beloved Baba would make mistakes, He would humble Himself.
Beloved Baba gave humanity an important example of what humility is. One night, near the end of the New Life, Beloved Baba was staying with His Companions at the Imampur Mosque near Meherazad. During the night, a bird was making noise inside the building. Baba asked Eruch to catch the bird and throw it out. Eruch read Baba's gestures by lighting matches. Just as Eruch was about to catch the bird in the darkness, Baba called him back. He told Eruch to leave the bird alone and that He Himself had committed a great mistake. To throw the bird out would have been cruel. The next day, Baba had Eruch tell the Mandali about the incident, that Baba had given a cruel order. As a remedy for this, Baba then instructed His Companions to slap His body with their sandals and then spit on Him. As a seeker of God, and not God Himself, Baba made that mistake in order to show mankind how to be humble and repent when you make a mistake.
On other occasions, after expressing anger, Beloved Baba would ask the Mandali to spit on Him. Again, He did this in order to show how important it was to overcome anger.
You, as Spiritual Trainees, are also Seekers of God. And Beloved Baba's examples of how to humble yourself after expressing weaknesses should be remembered. Of course, you should not go to the extent that Beloved Baba did for the sake of His work for humanity. But when you express anger, jealousy, greed, etc., you should become aware of it and then feel genuine repentance for those actions. After the repentance, you should remain alert so that such weaknesses are not put into action again.
Spiritual Training is an inner discipline which means that you discipline yourself, rather than being disciplined from outside yourself, the way a parent does a child. However, one outer discipline should be maintained and that is that everyone should be on Trust property by 10pm. This curfew can be extended when there are special programs like Silence Day, New Year's Day, Christmas Eve, etc.
One letter came to Baba, the writer wondering how Baba lovers should behave at a particular Baba Centre.
Baba asked me to reply, "However you behave before Me, behave like that, wherever you are. This is the only discipline I want from My lovers. Do not think that I am absent. I am present everywhere, and therefore, behave with that certainty. Never think that I am absent. I am always present. When you backbite, know well that I am present there. When you say something against someone because of jealousy, know well that I am present there. Whatever act you perform, know well that I am present there. So do not do anything without' thinking that I am present. Know well, that nothing remains hidden from Me. And therefore, always behave with each other
in a way which pleases Me. That is the best discipline for you to maintain."
As Spiritual Trainees, offering your life in the service of God implies that you are willing and able to discipline yourselves. However, now and again, you will make mistakes. At that time, those of you in managerial roles should explain to the other Spiritual Trainees very lovingly (and not harshly) how they may approach their duties in a more responsible and loving way. As Supervisors or Managers, you should do this only in order to help the other Spiritual Trainees in serving God. This is a very important responsibility for those of you in managerial roles. You should feel that your responsibility is to give those who are under your supervision direction in the outer work, and at the same time, show through your actions what the essentials of selfless service require. It is your duty as Supervisors or Managers to live such a life that other Trainees understand how Beloved Baba should be served.
Besides mistakes in carrying out one's daily duty, if any Spiritual Trainee personally misbehaves, he or she should be talked with very lovingly by those in managerial roles. The Supervisor or Manager should request the Trainee to uphold the inner discipline required. If necessary, the matter can be reported to the Companionship Department who can talk with the Spiritual Trainee. Those in this Department should carefully, properly, and lovingly settle the problem, basing their assistance on what Baba has said. This should all be done in a spirit of helping the Trainee.
If the problems are severe to begin with, and any one of the Trainees is found indulging in violence, stealing, sex or other undesirable acts, the matter should be reported to the Companionship Department. The Department will issue "Reminders of the Fixed Conditions" that Spiritual Trainees said they would uphold. If he or she does not mend his or her
behaviour after three Reminders, the matter should be brought to the Chairman's attention. And if the Chairman cannot help the Trainee to mend his or her ways, the Chairman can recommend to the Board that the Trainee be asked to leave the Trust Estate and return to his or her native place.
Spiritual Trainees who want to leave the Spiritual Training Programme at any time are free to go without any shame. Occasionally, even after many years of living with Him, some of Beloved Baba's close ones would ask to leave to return to live a life separately from Him. Also, if Spiritual Trainees wish to go back to help the Baba Centre in their home town, and that Centre is calling them to be of help, the Spiritual Trainee is free to leave the Programme without any shame.
Recreation is also a part of life. One department, the Programme Department, should be created to see to this aspect of the Spiritual Trainees' life. This Department will have the responsibility of seeing to the creation and availability of games, both indoor and outdoor, sports and exercise programmes. Beloved Baba was very fond of games such as cricket and cards. In the early days at Meherabad, Baba had the Mandali play various games and even gave prizes. However, whatever team sports and games Spiritual Trainees participate in, they should only play in competitions organised for them by the Trust. They should not lose sight of why they are here and get involved in outside competitions.
The Programme Department can also arrange events which include music, plays, singing, talks on spiritual matters, the viewing of Baba films and Mandali videos, etc.
The Programme Department can also plan excursions for the Spiritual Trainees to visit places where Beloved Baba did His work, places such as Hyderabad where He did His Manonash work and Belgaon, Benares (Varanasi),
Mahabaleshwar, and Meher Mafi where He spent time in the New Life. It will be necessary to create many sections in the Programme Department.
Because there is a free mixing of the sexes on the Trust Estate, there is the potential of two Spiritual Trainees becoming so attracted to each other that they want to be married. This happened on a few occasions amongst the first group of Spiritual Trainees. We Mandali asked them to go back to their homes to be married. Some returned to continue their Spiritual Training, but most stayed at their native place to live their married life there. Spiritual Trainees make an oath before God to strive to live the New Life, and they also sign the Fixed Conditions. These acts on their part are done with full understanding of what is required to be a Spiritual Trainee. Amongst the conditions is striving to rise above the force of lust and maintain a brotherly and sisterly feeling for all.
However, if the force of attraction rises to the extent that Trainees feel that they must be married, that is their personal choice. They then should inform the Chairman (or the Spiritual Workers Department). They will be asked to return to their native places to be married. As long as they live on the Trust Estate, they are expected to uphold Fixed Condition No. 10 up until the time they are married.
Spiritual Trainees should not take it for granted that they will be allowed to continue to live on the Trust Estate under Spiritual Training if they are married. They will have to make an application to the Chairman (or Spiritual Workers Department). The Chairman will discuss the matter with that Department (if functioning) or the Department Managers under whom the Spiritual Trainees work. The Chairman will then present the application to the Board. Only those applications of Spiritual Trainees who have been serving the Beloved's Cause for many years genuinely, sincerely, honestly and lovingly will