|The Spiritual Training Programme|
After the Spiritual Training Programme Book was distributed amongst the Spiritual Trainees, a meeting was held and several residents spoke out their concerns to me. I later asked that they put their questions in writing. Afterwards I received a letter signed by Trustee FJ. Mistry and long time residents Ms. Heather Nadel, Ms. Janet Judson and Ms. Meredith Klein. The questions they sent to me are really good and I feel their questions are the main questions that the Spiritual Trainees expressed at the Meeting. Therefore, I want to clarify the points they bring to my attention. Because the questions are helpful in understanding the Spiritual Training Programme, I have decided to make their questions and my answers to these eight questions the supplement to the Spiritual Training Programme Book when the second edition of the Book is reprinted.
Now if other questions come up it is time that you ask Beloved Baba and He will guide you. You can ask Him anything but He is the one who does not reply in words but He will reply to you by awakening you.
I. Written Agreement with the Spiritual Trainee: In the Meeting you held of the residents at the Trust Office, you clarified that a written oath or the signing of the Fixed Conditions of the New Life is not required or necessary for anyone joining the Spiritual Training Programme . Yet for the Trust to establish the candidature and acceptance of a Spiritual Trainee, some documentation would then become necessary. The spiritual aspirant needs to make a commitment and show good faith in an Agreement to undergo training, and it is necessary for the Trust to maintain a record, in writing of this commitment made by the trainee.
Should not the Trust have the Spiritual Trainee sign an Agreement to:
(a) read the Spiritual Training Programme Book
(b) undergo training, as stipulated in the clause of the Trust Deed, in living "...the life, particularly what was called 'The New Life', lived by AVATAR MEHER BABA and His Companions exemplifying and practicing at all times renunciation, and detachment in the midst of the ordinary worldly activities, that is, 'To be in the world and yet be not of it.'"?
When there was a Meeting with the Spiritual Trainees they asked me whether a written oath and the signing of the Fixed Conditions that Baba gave during the New Life is required for any one to join the Spiritual Training Programme. At that time I said it is up to each one because it is a matter of the heart. Only the heart can sign such an Agreement and then the Conditions can be followed. Therefore I can not say anything about whether anyone "should" sign or not sign the Fixed Conditions, otherwise afterwards it will become a rule and people will do it mechanically. This New Life is not for that.
People get attracted to Baba's New Life Message and they say what a "beautiful message the Beloved has given." But do they understand that in order for this "beautiful" message to be lived one has to abide by the Fixed Conditions that Baba gave in the New Life. The intellect asks why? It is because they are the conditions to an inner life. They have nothing to do with the outer life. Therefore if anyone wants to live the New Life, naturally they will have to follow the Fixed Conditions. And Spiritual Training as put down in the Trust Deed is based on trying to live the New Life.
I repeat Baba's New Life Message:
|New Life Message
This New Life will live by itself eternally, even if there is no one to live it."
Of course Spiritual Trainees do not live under the same circumstances that the Companions did when they lived with Baba on the New Life. They do not have the same degree of material, mental, emotional and spiritual hardships that the Companions had as they do not obey Baba's direct orders. Spiritual Trainees live on the Trust Estate at Meherabad, Meherazad and Meher Nazar and their basic material necessities are met. But it is for Spiritual Trainees to live the "spirit" of the New Life as Baba states in the above message through its Labor Phase. In fact any Baba-Centre, or any other trust or any other institution that is dedicated to Beloved Baba can introduce this Programme if they so wish. There is no restriction. The New Life is for the whole universe.
Meher Baba was called "Agreementwalla Baba" because throughout the years, He would make the Mandali sign so many agreements. Sometimes He would have the Mandali sign what He had dictated and sometimes He would have the Mandali write would what we would feel.
We were in Satara and He asked me to write a letter to Him as an Agreement. And I wrote it and read it out to Him. Ramjoo Abdullah one of the old time Mandali was there, and he appreciated that letter very much. Other Mandali liked it too, but Ramjoo Abdullah was a very critical person and when he liked it I was extremely happy. What I wrote I took the words from my heart. That Agreement letter was kept with Pendu as were all the letters from the Mandali. I don't know where Pendu kept this letter, but Baba had asked him to keep it as a treasure. I don't remember what I wrote. But, I will give the summary of it:
I did not know about you and still I don't know who You are. I did not know about spiritual life. But, when I saw You, I just felt that I must be with You. I was in the university as a student, and I was very much interested in my studies. I did not know how it happened that I came to see You when you came to Nagpur. Now, I feel that You are for me, to guide me and I am for You, to obey whatever You ask me to do. I am not interested in achieving anything. My achievement is that You have allowed me to be with You. I feel that whatever You ask me to do, that is the only thing I must do. And if there is any interest in my life, it is to please You. I will live with no stone unturned in order to please You. I have no other aspiration. I have come to You to belong to you and, therefore, there should be nothing left which makes me not to belong to You.
Please, allow me to please You, so I may not fail in doing so. I know that I have many shortcomings but you are my strength. Even when I came to know You, I did not know what
obedience is. But I know now that obedience is that which pleases You. I cannot say that I am pleasing You all the time. I fail many times, but I am under the weight of Your compassion that Your forgiveness gives me strength and I become strong. Oh, Beloved, whatever I may be, I belong to You, and You belong to me. But, please see that I may not be able to forget You in any circumstances. This is my humble request to You. And I bow down at Your feet so that this head may not lift up any time.
|Your humble servant|
Now, I tell you all dear ones the truth: I came to Him definitely not to take anything from Him. Just to love Him and please Him and obey His orders. I never expected anything from Him. And that same attitude has stayed with me throughout my life.
Whatever I had given to Beloved Baba in writing about obedience was not only in writing but it was from my heart. And from that time when anything would happen I would remember those words and correct myself. Baba would place me in difficult situations in my life with Him but since those words came from my heart I could not go against His wish. I don't say that I would not get thoughts. I would. But through my words Baba Himself would remind me and still He reminds me to follow His wish.
And so just as we Mandali signed so many Agreements with Baba during our life with Him, I am suggesting that the Spiritual Trainees continue with that and sign their Agreement with Baba also. But as I say it has to be done from the heart and that is why I said it is up to each one.
Perhaps there should be two Agreements. I suggest in the Spiritual Training Programme Book that there should be a preparation period of five years under Spiritual Training before one becomes permanent. So perhaps there can be an initial Agreement with the words from the Trust Deed that state that the person is undergoing training "according to the life, particularly what was called The New Life', lived by Avatar Meher Baba and His Companions, exemplifying and practicing at all times renunciation, and detachment in the midst of the ordinary worldly activities, that is, To be in the world and yet be not of it.'" And also the Agreement can state that each Spiritual Trainee will read the Spiritual Training Programme Book.
So the Spiritual trainee begins their training "to be in the world, but not of it." But this is really very, very difficult, in fact rather impossible unless one remains dedicated and one's focus is always on the Beloved. Thoughts may come, desires may come, but they should not be but into action.
Then when the person, that is the Spiritual Trainee, feels inwardly prepared (whatever the time period) and is ready and decides on his or her own wholeheartedly to join the New Life he or she can sign another Agreement that is more specific giving Baba's New Life Message along with the Fixed Conditions as given by Baba in the Labor Phase of the New Life. And also at-that time on his/her own the Spiritual Trainee makes a personal written oath to God that he/she resolves to live the New Life.
All of this seems very practical to me. The only fear I have is that it may become mechanical. And that is why I say that unless all of this is followed by the heart, it is not Spiritual Training. It should be wholeheartedly and lovingly performed in order to please the Beloved. Those who are really inclined towards Spiritual Training and will want to live the New Life
Message, they themselves will invite the Fixed Conditions and they will lovingly sign and take the oath before God. It all must be spontaneous. The signing of the New Life Agreement should not be made into a show. It is a matter of inner honesty. It is between each one and Baba. But also there should be no distinction between the Spiritual Trainees as to who has signed and who has not. And in fact it is a personal matter.
Most of the present day Spiritual Trainees have already signed a Declaration of Intent and made a written oath before God of why they are here which was submitted to the Indian Government long ago in order for them to receive long term extendable visas. At that time we used the phrases "meditation in action" and "inner discipline" to describe Spiritual Training. But what is "meditation in action" other than the Labor Phase of the New Life and what is "inner discipline" other than following the Fixed Conditions? Now it is for them to decide whether they want to continue their Spiritual Training by signing the New Life Agreement, follow the Fixed Conditions and make their loving oath before Beloved God. Any Spiritual Trainees who have come recently and new ones that join the Programme should sign the first Agreement.
When Spiritual Trainees on their own sign the New Life Agreement, the Beloved will be pleased with them because their resolve has been to serve the Master according to His Wish. They should always remember that in order to please the Beloved more and more they should think about their false selves less and less. As they commit mistakes, they should not justify them. There is no justification in the dictionary of spirituality. They should correct themselves. We have been with the Beloved and I tell you that the mind is not crushed immediately. It takes a long time, but when one relies on Him, He gradually makes the heart stronger and stronger and the mind weaker and weaker.
If Spiritual Trainees who have been here for decades and have been determined throughout this time to dedicate their lives here in His service where is the question of asking me whether they should sign the Fixed Conditions and make a written oath to live the New Life? When the intellect is used for such things, what reply can I give? And therefore on the day of the meeting, I said, "It is up to each one, how they take it."
But I ask what is wrong in making an Agreement as Baba would have the Mandali do? Why use the intellect this way when one has been dedicated to His Cause? The intellect goes on creating different interpretations and by doing so it creates obstacles where there should be none. One should have the feeling to "just do it!" But at the same time it should not be done coercively. Everyone should know that they are following the Wish of the Beloved and not any person's wish. And according to His wish He gave the Fixed Conditions and the oath in order for His Companions to lead the Labor Phase of the New Life.
There were four phases of the New Life: Begging, Langoti life (put on a loin cloth and meditate), gypsy life, and physical labor. Baba gave His assurance to His Companions that He will lead the first three phases for them and the Labor Phase should be lived by His Companions. In the Labor Phase, He created three plans. This is briefly explained in the Spiritual Training Programme Book and I give full details about the New Life in a Book I have written called "Meher Baba's New Life" which will be published in the future. Those who accompanied Baba were in Plan 3. But later He also abolished this third plan in order to put before the world that His physical presence is not necessary to live the New Life.
This Labor Phase of the New Life is so important for this modern age of action. Through Baba's work in the New Life, He made renunciation internal and not external. This is
most important. It is through the Labor Phase that one can come closer to Him when one honestly dedicates their work to God. But the New Life is important not only for this age but for always as Baba stated in His New Life message. To join the New Life is the beginning of the end of the false life. To follow the Conditions will lead the Spiritual Trainee to being prepared for the goal of all life which is to annihilate the mind and achieve oneness with God. And so what He has given in this Labor Phase of the New Life should be accepted with all love without any compromise from the intellect.
Every one should know that Beloved Baba is actively present all the time. When I say Beloved Baba is very active, more active then what He was during physical life time, these are not just false words. I feel that. I feel that and at the same time, when I see the new faces coming to Him, every now and then, I just feel that what He is doing for them. They do not know that the Beloved has already taken their burden at the time of His last seclusion. And what was that burden? It was the burden of unnatural impressions which everyone had collected. This burden does not allow consciousness to progress further to God. So now He is actively lessening the burden in each one and since that process has begun, people are coming to Him. This Awakening will differ from person to person but it will give everyone the opportunity to follow Him. But in order to follow Him one should remain honest with Him by using the heart. If one tries to follow Him using the mind, one can not really follow Him because all the mind does is interpret things according to one's impressions.
When Beloved Baba was physically present, He gave treatment (that is His orders) to different persons according to their different diseases (that is their sanskaras). He would see that they followed His orders 100%. For Baba lovers around the world He gave an important message called His Wish in 1958 which gives general directions on how to keep Baba's
remembrance alive while they lived in the world and did their worldly duties. And for those of us who lived with the Master, we had to dance to His tune, and He would go on changing His tune every moment. It was not an easy thing.
The time has gone for receiving His orders. But for those who want to dedicate their life to the Beloved the Spiritual Training is Programme is there for them. They can live the New Life by wholeheartedly following the Conditions thinking that it is His order. The New Life Agreement with its Fixed Conditions and oath are not from the Board of Trustees. They are Baba's words. Spiritual Trainees sign the New Life Agreement before the Beloved as the Companions did and not before the Trustees. However, those who are responsible (Board of Trustees) should be given signed copies of the Agreement as records. As for the Oath, the Spiritual Trainees after writing such an oath should keep it with them as a treasure from their heart, to help remind them and inspire them to overcome the obstacles that will come in their way as they try to love and serve Baba through a life of Spiritual Training. And for those who are not under Spiritual Training, they should follow His Wish in such a way that they take it to be His order and His help will be there.
But it is very, very important for the Spiritual Trainees to know what responsibility they have taken upon themselves and it is their duty to fulfill that responsibility. This duty is for all time and it has to be done willingly. And therefore after one signs the New Life Agreement with its Fixed Conditions and takes the oath and deliberately does not follow it, without trying to correct oneself, this is hypocritical.
For those Spiritual Trainees who do not sign, it is left to them. There should be no compulsion. They should be given time and when they willingly come forward to sign, they should be given this opportunity. Those in charge must not let Spiritual
Training change into a mechanical life. But, one thing is definite: one who wants to lead the life for the Beloved will sign and take the oath without any question. And those who do not want to sign have not yet decided wholeheartedly to try to live for the Beloved.
These are my suggestions. I can not say about the future. Future Board of Trustees may decide that after a preparation period Spiritual Trainees may either have to be prepared to sign the New Life Agreement or return to their native places. It is left to them. But for now and for this present group of Spiritual Trainees I do not suggest that. Many of them have come here under unusual circumstances, and I do not wish to disturb them. They have their connections with Baba and His Mandali. But in the future for other Spiritual Trainees it may be a different thing.
But I want to say something more about the Fixed Conditions that seem to make some Spiritual Trainees uncertain about maintaining them:
About Fixed Condition No. 2 - Here Baba says not to expect His Nazar. A Baba lover may pray, "Baba, please have Your nazar on me." In the New Life Baba gave this Condition of not expecting His Nazar to fall on His Companions. But during the New Life Baba became an ordinary seeker. Therefore, what expectation can you have from an ordinary seeker?" However now because He has dropped his physical body, He is more than just ordinary seeker. Beloved Baba led the life of seeker so that people from any place in the world can follow the New Life. But not only did He play the role of a seeker, He also played the role of annihilating the mind. That was the end of the New Life. He did not annihilate His mind because He had the Universal Mind. But He was playing the role for humanity. Therefore anyone can ask for His help but one still should not have expectations.
About Condition No. 3 about not touching women etc. -I have already said in the Spiritual Training Programme Book on page 37-38 that to embrace others in a brotherly or sisterly way is understandable but if it goes beyond that in any way then the Spiritual Trainee is breaking Condition No. 10 where one should not commit any lustful act with anyone.
About Condition No. 5 about expressing anger - It is natural to feel anger, since we are not stones. But, if we cannot control the expression of anger then we can say the repentance prayer, not mechanically, but wholeheartedly. Weaknesses are there in everyone, but if we pay attention towards the Beloved and follow His Wish, we will become strong internally. It is not that we should appear good before others and have false modesty. We should develop equanimity and have that poise of mind. That is the spiritual training - to become pure. But when Spiritual Trainees sign the Fixed Conditions in order to want to lead the New Life this does not mean that they have overcome anger. It takes a long time to do so but by keeping the Beloved in their heart, they will defeat anger.
About Condition No. 10 about not committing any lustful action - In the Spiritual Training Programme Book on page 123-124, I recognized that occasionally two Spiritual Trainees may be so attracted to each that they will want to be married. And I said that if that happens, they may do so. And if they want to continue with their Spiritual Training, then they would have to submit an application to the Board for its consideration. Also I stated in the Book that even after marriage Spiritual Trainees should try to uphold Condition No. 10 as far as possible so they can eventually rise above lust.
Some of the Mandali were married. But no one has any idea how we were living with Baba. Gradually not only would the desires be wiped out, but also the thoughts. There became no question of action. I was married when I joined Baba. Sheila
was born before I came to Baba and Rama was already pregnant with Mehernath when I joined Baba. Since joining Baba permanently, I have not touched her.
After four years of being with Him, Baba asked my wife and two children to live in the staff quarters at Arangaon. I said to Him, "Baba, why have You called them here?" And Baba said, "Who are you to ask Me what I am doing? You have no authority to ask Me." And He did call them.
Once Baba sent me there for one night and the next day when I came back to Baba, before all the Mandali Baba asked me, "Did you commit any lustful action?" And I said, "No," because I had not committed a lustful action.
Then, afterwards, when Baba left, Vishnu came to me and he said, "You did not do it?" And I said to him, "I would get thoughts and desires. I am not free from that, but I know to put Baba always before anything else so I did not do anything." This would inspire Vishnu. He would always be interested to know whenever Baba sent me to see Rama. But because I did not do anything, there was nothing to tell him. Actually, I never wanted to get married. But it happened, and it shows that it was Baba's Wish.
I can say that when Baba dropped His body He gave me the gift of not having any desires and thoughts in this way. Because I don't get any desire how can anything be put into action.
Actually there is no place for free will in spirituality. Everything happens according to Divine Will. But it is difficult to understand the Divine Will. People do good and that is His Will. People do bad and that is also His Will. But because we can not understand Divine Will, people justify themselves in their actions saying that God has done it. But this is not the
Truth. No doubt everything happens according to Divine Will but because we can not understand the Divine Will, the Avatar comes age after age bringing His Divine Wish for humanity to follow.
I will give one story about the Divine Will and Divine Wish:
At the time of Prophet Mohammed, people were very illiterate and if someone in the village knew how to sign his name he would be considered to be very learned and the whole village would follow him. He would be the head of the village.
Prophet Mohammed would tell the people that everything happens according to the Divine Will. So one day one person from the village went to see Prophet Mohammed and he saw some people sitting near him and the Prophet was telling people that everything happens according to the Divine Will. When the villager returned to his village he told the Village Headman, "Sir, today I had gone to see Prophet Mohammed and he was telling the people that everything happens according to Divine Will. Is this a fact?"
And the Village Headman said, "No, it is not a fact. When I feel hungry, I eat. Nobody can stop me and if I don't want to eat, I won't. It is my will, my free will. Whatever Prophet Mohammed is telling is wrong."
So the villager told the Village Headman, "Why don't you go and tell Prophet Mohammed? Everyone listens to him without raising an objection. You are clever and when you ask such questions Prophet Mohammed will stop repeating such things."
So the Village Headman said, "I will go see Prophet Mohammed."
Prophet Mohammed was sitting with the people, and the Village Headman goes to him and said, "May I ask one question?"
And Prophet Mohammed very lovingly said, "Yes, yes, ask. What do you want?"
The Village Headman said, "I have heard that you are saying that everything happens according to Divine Will, is this a fact?"
And Prophet Mohammed said, "Yes, it is a fact. Everything happens according to the Divine Will."
And the Village Headman said, "I am not going to accept this. I am very learned. Do not think that I am illiterate like other people. Whatever I want to do, I do. Whatever I don't want to do I don't do. When I want to eat I eat. And when I don't want to eat, I don't. This is my free will. Where is your Divine Will?"
And Prophet Mohammed said, "Yes whatever you say the Divine Will is also there."
And the Village Headman said, "Prophet Mohammed you have not been telling the truth. You are making the people timid. I can do anything according to my free will. I am brave. And whatever I say is also correct. Whatever happens for me it is according to my free will and not according to the Divine Will."
And Prophet Mohammed said, "Everything happens according to Divine Will and whatever you are saying is also according to Divine Will."
Then the Village Headman said to Prophet Mohammed, "You have to prove it."
And Prophet Mohammed said, "I will prove it. All right stand up." And the Village Headman stood up. Prophet Mohammed was looking from side to side, ignoring the Village Headman until he got angry and said to Prophet Mohammed, "Why don't you reply. Why do you ignore me? All you are doing is looking around. This means that you don't know and therefore accept what I say."
And Prophet Mohammed said, "You are very, very impatient. I am replying to your question and it appears you are in haste. All right, lift one of your legs." And the Village Headman lifted one leg. And again Prophet Mohammed continued to look from side to side completely ignoring him.
This time the Village Headman could not bear it and he said, "I know Prophet Mohammed you can not reply to my question. You just ignore me. Just accept that whatever one does is according to one's own free will."
And Prophet Mohammed smiled and said, "Young man you are really very impatient. All right lift your second leg."
And the Village Headman said, "Lift the other leg, what do you want to say. If I lift the other leg I will fall down."
And Prophet Mohammed said, "You wanted an explanation about free will and I have given it to you. You think yourself as very learned but you did not understand."
And the Village Headman said, "You can deceive others but you can not deceive me. You made me exercise and you say that you explained free will to me."
And Prophet Mohammed smiled and said, "Young man, I have explained it all to you very clearly and you could not understand. All right, I will explain it again to you. When I asked you to stand up, you were able to stand up. I say to you that both of your legs are under Divine Will. But you do not believe me. When I asked you to lift one of your legs, you did so thinking that you were able to because of your free will. But now look at your free will you could not move. Even if you tried how much could you move? This shows the extent of what you think your free will is. But when I asked you to lift the other leg you could not do so at all. And you became useless. So you see your own free will of lifting your leg made you useless. Really speaking if there is free will it is only the product of the intellect. Now I will tell you how not to become useless. Follow the Divine Wish. It is impossible to follow the Divine Will. Divine Wish tells you what to do and what not to do. And if you follow the Divine Wish, one day you will know the Divine Will. Actually everything happens to according to Divine Will. And if you think free will is there, it makes you useless."
Beloved Avatar Meher Baba has said that the Divine Wish changes age after age when the Prophet, the Avatar comes down on earth. He gives a fresh wish according to the situation of humanity. And because He gives the Awakening the Divine Wish is followed for 300 to 400 years. Then again the priest class takes a hold of it, converts it into rituals, ceremonies and traditions and again the situation of humanity changes. God is forgotten, priest class remains alive and people follow mechanically the rituals, ceremonies and traditions. And then the Ancient One has to come again with another fresh Divine Wish according to the changed situation of humanity.
I will tell two stories of two followers of Beloved Baba. They both concern the Divine Wish and the New Life. One follower could not follow the Divine Wish and live the New
Life as Baba had wanted him to and the second follower could follow the Divine Wish and live the New Life and therefore he pleased The Beloved.
There was one follower of Beloved Baba named Manek Mehta from Bombay. He came to Baba and he promised Baba that he would follow Him. He said to Baba, "Baba, I love you. And I want to serve your Cause. I want to bring many people to You so they can know You and love You. I think I must start a bhajan group in Bombay. What rule should I form for this?"
And Baba said to him, "There is no need of any rules. One who loves needs no rules. And in order to bring others under my fold only love is required. But you may form a bhajan group to sing songs about Me and about God and about the lovers of God."
And Manek said, "I am very happy Baba to hear this, but I want some guidance from you from time to time."
Baba said, "You are always welcome. It is my duty to create love and your duty to remain open to receive that love. And to receive that love one should be open-hearted. That is, one should remain free of desires, attachments, temptations, wants, and all types of desires, good or bad. One has to become naked of all these enemies which keep one separated from God."
And then, Manek said, "I will follow this 100% but when you go on tour I will be happy if you take me with you."
And Baba said, "Very good, I am very happy."
So Baba went to Navsari and He allowed Manek to come with Him. The Western group was also there. Then Baba sent a message to C.D. Deshmukh to arrange a lecture at
Nagpur University and ordered Norina to go to Nagpur and give a talk on Baba there in the university. He also asked Manek to accompany them to Nagpur. And they left for Nagpur. It was a very good programme in Nagpur. Norina gave a very inspiring talk and the students liked it very much. A Marathi version of Baba's message was read out also. But Manek expressed his wish to read out Baba's message in Hindi. But he did not know Hindi well. He only knew Gujarati. He got up and started talking in Hindi. And the students could not follow it at all and they started laughing. Then Manek said to the students, "shanti, shanti (peace, peace)." This made the students laugh more and they started shouting at him, "Sit down auntie, sit down auntie!"
Baba said to him after this, "Don't worry, you will become a very good speaker. Now go to Bombay and do what ever I want you to do."
So Manek went to Bombay and he collected a bhajan group. He would also give talks in Gujarati. He had given instructions to his group that no one should go to Meher Baba directly. When he would take the group to Baba he would stand near Baba, introducing each one saying, "He is a very good lover Baba. He never fails to come when I hold the meeting. He loves You very much." Baba would say to the Mandali and other lovers that were there, "What work Manek is doing in Bombay! He is collecting the people and they love Me. Manek, I am very happy with you. You are fortunate that I have given this duty to you." And Manek would feel very happy and his group would pay more respect towards him. It would go on and on like this.
Once Manek came from Bombay to Meherabad along with the group and he said to Baba, "Now the group is expanding and we need a big place for the Centre so people may be easily accommodated."
And Baba said, "Go ahead. Why did you not tell me this before? I will finance it." Manek was very happy. Manek Mehta became a big guru. When people would come to him, they would garland him, bow down to him and they would sit before him with all respect. But one time, one of Manek's group had come for Baba's darshan separately from Manek. It was Nariman Dadachanji. And he was thinking, "Whether Baba knows what Manek does in Bombay? He asks everyone to bow down to him and garland him! But Baba continues to appreciate him."
In 1949 after Baba came from Mt. Abu where He was in seclusion, He came to Meherazad and remained in seclusion for forty days. He sat in the Blue Bus for thirty-one days and went to Poona for nine days to contact masts. It was a very serious period. At the beginning, no one was allowed to see Baba, even the Mandali. Only Kaka Baria was permitted to enter the seclusion compound surrounding the Blue Bus. Jal Kerawala kept a diary and conveyed instructions to the Mandali.
Afterwards Baba started going to Meherabad. And Baba started talking about the New Life and the instructions He was going to give. He told all the Mandali there if they join New Life they should think that they are dead to the world and alive only to obey His instructions. They will have no connection with the world. The whole atmosphere was very tense. Baba had made it very clear that if they want to join Him during the New Life they will have to take an oath before God and obey His instructions 100%. Where He would go and what He would do was not fixed.
At that time Baba called Manek Mehta from Bombay. And He said to him, "Manek, this is a very important phase of My life and I am leaving Meherazad and Meherabad. I will have no connection with Meherabad and Meherazad. Nothing will remain in My name. I have asked Pendu to sell all the
lands, farming implements, even utensils for drinking water and cooking food. Nothing should remain here. I have also told the Mandali that it is their decision to come with Me or not. But if they decide to come, then of course they have to take an oath before God that they will have no connection with the world. They will be dead to the world and alive to obey my day-to-day instructions. I will not be responsible for anything. Whether you get sick or suffer for anything, I will not be responsible. And I have given full freedom to the Mandali members to choose this New Life and come with me or go away. But I love you and you are the only one whom I am asking not to miss this New Life. You must join the New Life. Others, of course, I have left it to them to decide for themselves. But because of your love for Me and My love for you, I want you to join the New Life and be with Me."
And Manek Mehta said, "Baba I am very anxious to join this New Life and make You pleased, but what about the group?"
And Baba said, "That is not your responsibility; that is My responsibility. And though I will not be here, I will take care of everyone. Don't think that the group will be left out. My care will be there. I will take the responsibility."
And Manek Mehta said, "Baba I must make some arrangement for the group, I must not leave the group as such and so I need some time."
And Baba said to him, "No need for this. But because you insist tell me how much time do you need to make some arrangement for the group?"
And Manek Mehta said, "Six months."
And Baba counted six months. And He said, "I will let you know just a week before from wherever I am and give you the address and you must join me there." And Manek Mehta agreed.
Baba went on the New Life and after six months Baba informed Manek Mehta by telegraph to join Him. But Manek did not give any response. He continued with his own activities. People would continue to come to him, bow down to him and garland him. And he would give discourses but He would give Baba's discourses in such a way as if the words were his own.
When Baba went to Manjri Mafi, He sent him another telegraph to come and join him there. Manek did not give any response. He was very happy because he was considered to be a guru. And Manek never joined Baba during the New Life.
When Baba completed the New Life He returned to Meherazad. One of the followers of Manek Mehta came to Ahmednagar and he came to know that Baba came back from New Life. Although Manek Mehta told his group that no one should go direct to Baba, this man thought that as he had come to Ahmednagar he would see Baba and so he went to Meherazad. Baba embraced him very lovingly and he observed the atmosphere was loving and free. It was not like the atmosphere around Manek Mehta, sitting rigidly in discipline, not to move, not to do this, not to do that. He thought, "What Manek Mehta tells us about the atmosphere around Baba is not true. What a loving atmosphere is around Him."
He went back to Bombay and he told one after another in the group about the loving atmosphere at Meherazad when he saw Baba. And one after another of the group came to see Baba and they all gradually left Manek Mehta. So Manek Mehta ended up with only an empty hall without souls.
Then one day Beloved Baba went to Bombay and there was a darshan programme. Many people came for darshan. And one after another they embraced Baba. And after embracing each one Baba would ask them how their health was or caress them.
Manek also came with one garland in his hand. When he approached Baba he garlanded Him and in His ear he said, "Baba, please forgive me."
And the Compassionate One said, "Forgiven! Don't worry.
God does not forgive hypocrisy but it shows that the Avatar does. How compassionate the Beloved is. Even though the lover disregarded Him, still He does not disregard the lover and in fact forgives him. Even though the Lord Himself wanted Manek Mehta to join the New Life, he was unable to.
Now I will the story of a person who was really genuine and that was Dr. Daulat Singh. He had a family and was a medical practitioner. He was also given the chance to join the New Life and he accepted happily.
Baba held a meeting at Meherabad about the New Life. Baba said to everyone, "In this New Life you have to follow My instructions whether good or bad. You cannot say fnof to anything. It is not your choice, it is My Wish." Dr. Daulat Singh agreed and others also agreed. Dr. Daulat Singh was a Sikh and according to his religion he never smoked. At this meeting Baba took the cigarette out of Dr. Ghani's mouth and told Dr. Daulat Singh to smoke. Without any hesitation he put the cigarette in his mouth but before he could smoke Baba took the cigarette out of his mouth. Baba expressed His pleasure with Dr. Daulat Singh and allowed him to join the New Life.
Then when the New Life began Baba went walking from here to Belgaum in order to train the companions how to lead the New Life from His example.
In Belgaum one of Dr. Daulat Singh's duties was to clean the vessels. He had never done it in his life. He did not know how to sit on the ground or the Indian way of cleaning utensils which is that one has to sit on the ground and clean with ash and mud.
Eruch was keeping night watch. Baba told Eruch to see what the Mandali were doing. So he walked around the camp site. And he found Dr. Daulat Singh awake, cleaning the utensils. Poor Daulat Singh had one leg spread out and he would very slowly clean the utensils. He told Baba that all the Mandali members were sleeping except Daulat Singh who was trying to clean the utensils. Baba then told Eruch to ask Daulat Singh what he was thinking. Eruch went again to Daulat Singh and asked him and he said, "Thoughts came to me about how my daughter is thinking what kind of father she has that is not attending her wedding." Eruch reported this to Baba. And Baba told Eruch to tell him that the next day He would decide about this matter. When he heard this message Daulat Singh thought Baba would send him back and so he started to weep. Eruch went back and told Baba. Again Baba sent Eruch with another message to Daulat Singh that he should sleep and not worry and the next day He will decide what is to be done.
So the next day Baba called the Doctor and reminded him of the previous night. And Baba told him that what he was thinking of was against the spirit of the New Life and therefore he had to go back. Again the Doctor started weeping telling Baba that he was happy to be with Baba but his mind was troubling him. It was just a thought he had. And Baba said to him, "Listen to me carefully, you will still be in the New Life, provided you follow what I say. Attend your daughter's
marriage and then live with the family but one thing you must do for Me don't eat in the house. Beg for food. And he accepted this condition and went back home.
So, Dr. Daulat Singh had to leave. But then what happened? When he went home the daughter who was to get married was in the hospital with a serious illness, and his family members had tried to contact Baba. They had sent 2 or 3 telegrams to Baba, but the office was closed. But the Allknowing knew what was happening and that's why Baba sent him back. After a few days, she was all right, but Dr. Daulat Singh continued to beg for food. The family members could not tolerate this. They said, "What is the need for you to beg? The food is there in the house. You must eat in the house. What will people think?" But he did not care. He continued begging. Then the family members harassed him so much that he had to leave his home. He would go from place to place and beg for food. He did this for a long time.
The phase for begging stopped when Beloved Baba started the Labor Phase for the Companions. But Dr. Daulat Singh who was away from Baba did not know that of course and he continued to beg for his food. When Baba came down to Satara in order to go to Mahabaleshwar for the meeting, Baba happened to spot someone on the roadside far away and He asked Eruch to find out who it was. Eruch could not believe that it was Daulat Singh in the same New Life dress with a begging bowl looking quite old. Daulat Singh went to the house where Baba was staying and he begged food from Baba. Baba gave him food and embraced him. And then Baba asked him to tell Him everything that had happened to him since he left Baba's company. Baba felt very, very happy in hearing how Dr. Daulat Singh obeyed Him. And Baba said to him, "You are still begging?" And he said, "Yes, it is your order." And Baba said, "But my Mandali have stopped begging and you are still begging. You are really in the New Life because whatever order
I gave you, you are obeying it." Baba then told him to go back to his home, continue being a medical practitioner, that he was free from the New Life, that he should remain happy and one day Baba will visit him. (Baba also called Daulat Singh during the New Life in different places that Baba went to.)
After the New Life and Baba's accident in America in 1952 Baba started His mass darshan Programmes. After these Programmes His mast work again started and He went to Hyderabad. I accompanied Baba. Daulat Singh was living near Hyderabad in a place called Nizamabad. Baba asked Eruch, "Do you know where Daulat Singh is?" And Eruch said, "He is in Nizamabad, but I don't know where he lives in Nizamabad." So Baba said, "Let us go to Nizamabad." And we went there. And Eruch began asking people about where Daulat Singh lived. He was a medical practitioner so people knew him. They showed us the way. Dr. Daulat Singh was coming out of his house to go to his dispensary when he saw Baba and he became mad, continuously shouting "Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai! Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai! Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai! Continuously he would shout that and not say a word to Baba. When his wife heard this she came out and she invited Baba to come inside the house. Dr. Daulat Singh kept shouting "Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai." He did not stop.
After some time Baba said that He had remembered His promise to visit him. Baba told him to continue with his practice and to come whenever He called him, and that Baba was very very pleased with his love. His wife served tea and some breakfast to Baba and the Mandali and then Baba gave them all an embrace and Baba came back to Satara. After some years Dr. Daulat Singh expired in Baba's service telling people about Baba.
Now, just see: one side is Manek Mehta and the other side is Dr. Daulat Singh. If one does not want to lead the New
Life, no matter if the Lord Himself invites you, you still will not be able to do it. And if one wants to lead the New Life, one leads it regardless of anything that happens, even if the Lord orders you to leave His company. If Manek Mehta signed the Fixed Conditions what good would it have been? And although Baba sent him away for breaking His orders, Dr. Daulat Singh continued to live the New Live to such an extent that he was still begging long after the companions had stopped begging. And he pleased Baba very, very much.
Although I joined Baba after the New Life, I want to tell this story. Because again it shows His compassion when one surrenders to Him regardless of one's weaknesses.
Beloved Baba had given me night watch and at the same time I had to do correspondence and He also asked me to write books. In 1963 He asked me to translate "Wayfarers" into Hindi and also write 3 to 4 ghazals every day besides night watch. At this time He kept me aloof from correspondence so in this way the load was less. But to write 3 to 4 ghazals every day and to translate the "Wayfarers" every day was not an easy thing. When I would go for night watch in the evening at 6pm, the first thing I had to do was read out the ghazals that I had written that day. And then He would ask me how many pages of "Wayfarers" had I translated into Hindi? At that time, Baba asked me to keep night watch for 10 hours, not 12 hours a day as I previously did. But still it was difficult for me to write ghazals and to translate "Wayfarers" during this time.
One day I could hardly write two ghazals. And when I read out these two ghazals, He said to me, "You have written only 2, why not 4 ghazals?" And I said to Him, "Baba I have the lines You have given me, but I did not find time to compose four ghazals. It is very difficult. It requires the mood and when I am in the mood I can write." Baba got very upset and He said to me, "I don't want to see your face. You don't make me pleased.
And you don't try to please me. I am very upset. Just go and sit there."
I of course sat on the chair. There was the order that I should not make any movement, any sound and I should not sleep. I was thinking: "What Baba asked me to do was not possible for me. I can not please Him and He feels annoyed with me. It is my mistake no doubt that I can not please Him though I have joined Him in order to please Him and to do whatever He asks me to do. But it seems that I will never be able to please Him because the more I try to please Him the more and more He creates difficulties for me. So there is only one thing that I should do and that is to die. But how should I die? This also is not in my hands."
Then a thought came in my mind that I must commit suicide. And another thought came that Baba tells us again and again that suicide is a very bad thing. One who commits suicide does not get a body for a very long time. He remains a ghost and he has to spend each impression through different mediums that means other people's bodies. And the doors of Heaven or Hell for the suicidal soul remain closed until the past life impressions are spent through different mediums. So it takes a very, very long time for him to go even to Hell or Heaven, and then get a new physical body."
So such thoughts were coming to me at that time and the mind continued to tell me, "Who knows what happens or does not happen? I must commit suicide." But then, the heart would say, "Baba accepted me and .whatever He does, He does for my good. And I should not commit suicide." Then, again other thoughts would come: "I must write down why I am committing suicide. I must make it very clear that it is not because of Baba that I am doing this. He has been treating me very lovingly and kindly, so He should not be blamed for this. And no action should be taken against Him by the police, because whatever He
was doing was for my own good. It is because of my weakness that I could not relish His kind and merciful acts. So I must commit suicide." So before leaving Baba's room, I thought that I must write this.
But Baba's orders were not to move, not to make noise and not to sleep and I thought that in order to put the paper on the table, I have to break His orders. Again I thought, "No it is alright. I am doing this in order to save Baba from the action of the police. I must do it."
So as I tried to get up, Baba took a turn in such a way that I had to sit down. And again, I waited until I thought He was sleeping to try to get up. As I tried to get up again, immediately Baba took another turn showing me that He knew what I was doing. I waited, trying to get up five or six times. But I never could.
My night watch ended at 4am. I decided to go to the railway station which was close to Guruprasad bungalow and sleep on the rail and the train would come and I would be finished. So at 4am, when it was my time to leave, I stood up and prayed to Baba, "Please Baba, forgive me. Tomorrow You will not see my face. But I cannot help it. I cannot please You. I could not do whatever You wanted me to do and still, You are kind to me. But today I feel so fed up that I have to commit suicide. It is not possible for me to live without You. So, please, I pi ay to You to forgive me."
And very slowly without making any noise, I crossed the doorstep, and Baba did not take any turn or move. But what happened? As soon as I crossed over the doorstep of His room, I totally forgot that I had to go to the railway station. I went to my bed and I slept.
When I got up, I thought "How did I go to sleep? I wanted to go to railway station and commit suicide." Then I realized that nothing is in our power. Once you surrender to Him, He takes all care. And whatever He does, He does for ^ good of all. He Himself suffers. No one has any idea how suffers for everyone and particularly for those who are very close to Him.
This is what I want to tell you dear ones that He is really the Compassionate Father for each one. And therefore, I request all the Spiritual Trainees that they should always remember that the Beloved will never, never leave them. And that is why I say that in spite of one's weaknesses, one should try to live the New Life. One should rely on Him and at the same time try to rise above one's weaknesses. That will please Him.
But I also again remind each one that they should not use the intellect and feel justified when weaknesses are put into action. Thoughts come to everyone, many different thoughts, but they should not be put into action. One should be alert. We should recognize that it is the product of the mind. There is no room for justification and reason when one is dedicating one's life to the Truth. Truth is Truth and reason and justification have no place in the Truth. As my own story shows it is the relationship between the Beloved and the lover. And Beloved Baba is there to help if we are surrendered to Him.
2. Guiding Principles of Spiritual Training Programme are constant and unchanging, but the Structure and Administration of the Spiritual Training Programme evolves and changes with time: Age after age, God descends on earth giving the same message of Love and Truth. Never Changing and Ever the Same. Since the guiding principles of the Spiritual
Training Programme are about this Love and Truth therefore they too remain changeless.
However, the Structure and the Administration in the Spiritual Training Programme are outlines given as your suggestions. In the Book, you convey the sense that in implementing the Spiritual Training Programme, the Structure and the Administration will have to necessarily change and evolve with time, while the underlying principles never change.
So is it accurate to say that the guiding principles of Spiritual Training Programme are unalterable but its Administration and Structure set as guidelines by you will evolve and change with each future generation as determined by the then Board of Trustees?
Of course the guiding principles of the Spiritual Training Programme which are based on Beloved B aba's work and words must remain the same. And as the focus of Spiritual Training is on living the New Life, it is eternal but it takes place in the midst of illusion. It is not a question of the administration evolving. But the administration and its structure will change according to the situation, especially as Baba's Manifestation takes place. There will then be an increase in the number of Baba Lovers who will want to join the Spiritual Training Programme and there will also be an increase in the amount of funds that the Trust will have in order to provide facilities for the Trainees according to what I have suggested in the Spiritual Training Book.
I have already explained in the Spiritual Training Booklet that those matters that concern administration are my suggestions. But some matters which concern the Trust Deed can not be changed. This is what I said in the Booklet. It is on page 62:
"In the following paragraphs and sections, I will give some basic administrative procedures for the Trust. Some of. these procedures do not apply for the present, because the Trust's administration is still very small. But as the administration grows, these procedures can be implemented whenever the Chairman and the Board of Trustees find it necessary. They are given here so that some guidelines are already prepared for administrative growth. If necessary, some of them can be modified by the Board of Trustees at the time of implementation. However, a few of them refer to what has been given in the Trust Deed and cannot be modified."
The guiding factor should also be that the structure is a means to serve Him. It is not that we are serving anyone. Otherwise it becomes social service. People do social service for the sake of name and fame and even make sacrifices but it is for name and fame. Such persons may appear modest and polite and very caring but their false self becomes stronger and stronger because people appreciate them. But that way they have lost nothing. On the contrary, they take on the burden of the sanskaras of those they served. But spiritual service is a losing game. One loses the false self. That is the real game and one can only play that game according to the way that Baba has given. And this age is such that one cannot adopt any other way to lead a spiritual life except through the Labor Phase.
Baba gave both a collective plan and an individual plan. Serving Beloved Baba through the Labor Phase of the New Life is not only the question of Avatar Meher Baba P. P. C. Trust. Any organization dedicated to Baba, any trust, centre, etc. can serve Him through the Labor Phase. And therefore in the collective plan the structure and administration will differ according to the organization.
And individually, if anyone has any job, and he does that job for The Beloved, he is in the Labor Phase of the New
Life. If any one has any profession and if he does that profession for Him, he will be in the Labor Phase of the New Life. And the same thing is there if anyone does fanning or business, and if he does that work for the Beloved, he is in the labor phase of the New Life.
But one important thing is that each one's life must be based upon Baba's New Life Message and that message can not be lived unless one maintains the Fixed Conditions.
It is better not to think too much about the administration or structure, just think about Him and living the New Life. Structure and administration should not become obstructions. I can say that the administration and the structure is the outer thing. They are the external. And to live the New Life Message by following the conditions of the Labor Phase is internal.
Whatever work Spiritual Trainees do, they should uphold the New Life Message which will efface their false selves and please the Beloved. Go on doing this and one day, it will become very natural to feel close to Him. While living on the Trust Estate and doing one's duty and having no attachment with the results one becomes attached with the Beloved.
That is the New Life Baba has given to the world, which leads everyone to becoming dust under His feet. That means to kill the false self and achieve the ultimate goal of life. This is the important thing. This is the only thing. The decisions of how to administrate and how to create a structure are only secondary. And as I said before they can create obstacles and one can easily lose one's focus on these outer things. The administration and its structure are only the medium. They are like a channel that lets the water flow. The channel has no importance whatsoever if it is dry. The channel only becomes important when the water flows. If the focus is on the channel only, the
water will dry up. This happens eventually, and that is why He is The Ancient One. He has to come again and again to let the water of life that is love, flow through humanity.
3. Who comes under the Spiritual Training Programme?
Besides short-term pilgrims, there are currently four main categories of people both from India and abroad serving on the Trust Estate or connected with the Trust:
(1) full time residents who reside and serve on Trust Estate
(2) part-time residents who reside and serve on Trust Estate
(3) some who serve on the Trust Estate but reside nearby
(4) paid employees working on the Trust Estate
May individuals from all of these four categories listed above apply for the Spiritual Training Programme?
Because this Trust is established by Baba Himself, placing His Tomb-Shrine under its care, the Trust must become an example for other organizations, trusts, and centres dedicated to Beloved Baba of how the Labor Phase of the New Life is put into action. It is really a great responsibility.
Beloved Baba began the New Life in 1949. He became a Seeker of God, making the New Life the path for the spiritual seeker to follow. And therefore the New Life is for the seekers of God who want nothing but God. And for those in the world Baba has given the message called "His Wish." They should follow His Wish wholeheartedly until they have the longing to become seekers of God.
And therefore, it depends upon the inclination of each person, whether they are capable or not to live the New Life.
But, once the New Life is taken up, one should be determined to live His New Life Message by fulfilling the conditions. Although weaknesses are the obstructions, the Seeker has to face the obstructions and lovingly get through his shortcomings and gain inner strength. Therefore, one should always seek the pleasure of the Beloved through everything one does.
Number 1: full-time residents who reside and serve on the Trust estate:-
This Programme was originally for those who wanted to be here full time and dedicate their lives to Beloved Baba in His Service. But now many other categories are coming up and so already the administration is changing. And it is a good thing.
For those who live here full time, they are living here trying to live the New Life with no other thought in their mind. The Beloved has given them this opportunity. They do not have to focus on all the worldly distractions that others have. They live to awaken to Baba's love. And it is for them when they are ready to sign the New Life Agreement and join His New Life by inwardly living His New Life message and following the Fixed Conditions through their own personal oath. Then they are internally bound to the Beloved. They should not think that they are free. But they are bound in order to become free eternally provided they do everything according to the conditions that Beloved Baba has given in the Labor Phase of the New Life and remain honest towards the oath.
Whether they are from India or they are from abroad, the Spiritual Training Programme is without any distinction of caste, religion, creed, nationality, or sex. And it is very important for those who are connected with Beloved Avatar Meher Baba that they should not make any distinction between caste, religion, creed, nationality, or sex.
Number 2: part-time residents who reside and serve on Trust Estate:-
Now part time residents, why are they here? Are they here to do some service for Baba? Are they here to serve the Trust? They have been welcome and they have been a help to His Cause. But really speaking they should be here also for Spiritual Training. The Trust has accepted them to live on the Trust Estate and therefore they have a responsibility just like those who live here full time.
And therefore when they first come here they should sign the first Agreement that states that they are here to undergo Spiritual Training to live the New Life. And they can also be given the opportunity when they are prepared to do so to sign the New Life Agreement and join the New Life and follow the Fixed Conditions and write a personal oath.
Number 3: some who serve on the Trust Estate but reside nearby:-
Again I say here as I said at the Meeting with the Spiritual Trainees, "it all depends how you take" and "it is up to each one". And as I also said earlier Baba has made the New Life collective and individual. And so if any individual wants to try to live the New Life he or she is free to do so. And also if that individual wants to join the Spiritual Training Programme they are also free to do so. They can sign the initial Agreement and when they feel prepared they can sign the New Life Agreement and write their oath.
Number 4: paid employees working on the Trust Estate:-
Any Sevak or Sevika who wishes to join the Spiritual Training Programme may also do like those who serve but live nearby the Trust Estate. They can sign the First Agreement to
try to live the New Life and when they are prepared they sign the New Life Agreement and write their oath.
4. Trust Scope in regard to the Spiritual Training Programme - Administrative or Spiritual?: In the Trust Deed there is no spiritual authority conferred or spiritual hierarchy established by Beloved Baba. The Trust is an administrative body, with an administrative structure or hierarchy. The Spiritual Training Programme is in fulfillment of one of the objects of the Trust Deed. In writing the Spiritual Training Programme you have devoted a large section of the Book to the structure and administrative aspects of the Spiritual Training Programme.
Is the Trust's scope in regard to the Spiritual Training Programme purely administrative in nature without any spiritual authority?
Authority means knowledge and not just any knowledge but the knowledge of the Truth. So there is no question of anyone asserting they have spiritual authority. Only the God Realized can assert the Truth.
Now, the question then is whether the activities of the daily administration of the Trust can be separated from spiritual life. Everyone is here because of Baba. And so everyone is here dedicating their life to His Cause. And that is why all the activities of the Trust are dedicated to Him. All activity must be turned towards spirituality, and the false self should be crushed at every step. Therefore how can the administration be separated from the spiritual? It is not possible. And it should not be. The Trust is not managed like an ordinary worldly administrative pattern. What is the point then? Baba's message is to be lived.
Beloved Baba had given some of the Mandali members the duty of being a Trustee of the Trust. But what did they know about administration? They had to learn. But, in order to set an example of how to continue to carry on the Labor Phase of the New Life, Baba did this. When we call it Baba's Trust should not the administrative structure follow the Labor Phase of the New Life? Otherwise how would the Trust serve His Cause? But even the Mandali had no spiritual authority. They were just His servants, but those servants were following their duty by pleasing the Beloved.
Therefore those who are responsible for the administration of the Trust are also responsible for paying attention towards the spiritual aspect. They cannot be separated. It is the bounden duty of the Trustees of the Trust to accept the spiritual aspect because that is the basis for the whole set-up of the Trust.
I have made it very clear in the Spiritual Training Programme Book on page 61 that there is no spiritual hierarchy. But I have also made it clear how one's experience of leading a dedicated life can be shared in the midst of the day's service:
"There is no spiritual hierarchy here, either. Instead you may freely interact. Naturally, those of you who have been undergoing Spiritual Training for decades can be sought for your perspective, advice, consultation, guidance and encouragement. The many years you have spent in His service required you to renounce the false self repeatedly. You do not have spiritual authority, but you do have the efforts of your own lives in trying to please Baba. These are worth sharing with Spiritual Trainees and other Baba lovers."
Also as one needs explanations of how to lead a dedicated life, there are many stories about how the mandali
lived with Baba. These stories will definitely help anyone if they want to know how to follow the Truth.
There are many ashrams everywhere and particularly in India. And people think that they become very spiritual there. They get up early in the morning, take bath, do meditation, and different spiritual exercises. They try to be modest and people think that they are very advanced. That is not spiritual training. Spiritual Training is to clean ourselves from the dirt of falsehood. And what is that dirt, unnatural impressions which we go on collecting and which stop our progress of consciousness towards God. We remain where we are in the ditch of illusion. Therefore Spiritual Training is to clean ourselves from these unnatural impressions which our low desires create like selfishness, jealousy, lust, anger, greed and hypocrisy. And love for God is the only thing which can purify us.
The Trust created by Baba Himself is the first organization to put into action a Spiritual Training Programme. Although it is one of the objects of the Trust Deed, it was not implemented when the Trust started functioning after Baba dropped His body. But see how Beloved Baba works! Baba lovers from abroad started coming, and a few of them wanted to stay and be of service to Baba's Cause. Because there was a visa restriction it wrfs impossible to get a resident visa for foreigners from the Government. But Beloved Baba prompted us to recognize that on the basis of Spiritual Training, the government could sanction resident visas. We did not think at that time that Beloved Baba was creating this situation but He was. And since then Spiritual Training has come into the lime light. Now, as He has given the understanding about the importance of Spiritual Training, it will gradually spread all over the world for those who are Seekers of Truth just as Beloved Baba played the role of a Seeker of Truth during the New Life.
At present the Sevaks and Sevikas of the Trust, that is the paid workers do not have the understanding about following the Beloved. But, it is definite that after Beloved Baba's Universal Manifestation the workers too will follow the Labor Phase of the New Life. It will take some time, but it is going to happen because this is the age where serving God through dedicated action is important. A big change will take place because Beloved Baba has said that this time His Universal Manifestation will be the greatest and the whole world will recognize Him.
But discipline will need to continue in order for the work to go on whether it is under Avatar Meher Baba Avatar Meher Baba P. P. C. Trust or any other Baba group or organization. Discipline is also necessary for the collective plan of the New Life. On page 33 of the Spiritual Training Programme Book I shared the important parts of the collective plan in the New Life that are still applicable. Baba told them that in this plan, they must all cooperate together, that there would be a managing body, they were free to work and live the way they liked within the limits of the Fixed Conditions, and that they were free to get together for talks and entertainment. Such an atmosphere creates oneness so that the feeling of love for God is present. That is most important.
And therefore service should be out of love for Him. Otherwise, what is the point of being here? The Spiritual Trainee could earn in the world, but what will they achieve? They will achieve nothing, and not anything from The Everything. The real achievement comes only through His love. So they should work, work and work through the Labor Phase, and try to make their false self dust under His feet.
But the feeling of oneness is not the same thing as trying to enforce equality. In fact the idea of equality creates the differences and then hatred, jealousy and other things come up
causing disorder. People force equality on each other. But that is an outward thing and there can never be equality.
Mind divides and heart brings the feeling of oneness. Mind is the enemy of everyone, and we have to therefore, annihilate the mind, in order to realize the One who always exists. No one exists besides Him and whatever appears as existing, only exists in non-existence.
One should say to the mind, "please, keep quiet, let me follow my heart." The feeling of oneness comes through love for God. That love is the only medium which makes us realize who we really are. Where there is love then of course, there is no trouble from the mind which sees distinctions. The heart does not pay attention to distinctions.
Therefore whether one is a Trustee, head of a department, worker or sevak and sevika, whatever one has to do, it should be done for the One within everyone. While doing any service, whether it is administrative work or it is manual work, the spirit of love is just the same. Although the duty differs, the spirit of love does not differ. The spirit is internal. And when the spirit is expressed it balances the mind and heart. And gradually the time comes when the heart becomes stronger and stronger and mind becomes weaker and weaker, which is the motive of Spiritual Training.
Now, regarding the Trust administration, there are many roles to be played. Some are Trustees, some are department heads, some have supervisory work and some have special work according to some degree and some are workers. When it comes to being Spiritual Trainees all are under Spiritual Training. But when it comes to the administrative set-up, there is a difference.
But the supervisors who give orders have no spiritual authority. They are also servants of God. And those who work
under the supervisor are also as a servant of the servant that is a servant of God who is serving another servant of God by doing His duty. Duty comes when one does their service for Him, and He will be pleased if one follows the instructions of the supervisors who are also His servants. This is the most subtle point. And one should serve other servants of God because the motive should be to become the dust under His feet and ready for Manonash.
Therefore one has to work under whatever set-up those who are servants in the administration arrange. One should not avoid it. Spiritual Trainees should very honestly and sincerely do their duty, fulfilling their responsibility to The Beloved. When the work is done through the heart, only then can one become the servant of God serving other servants of God.
I give one example out of the New Life how one should take administrative responsibility. Every phase of the New Life was important. One phase took place in the New Life in May 1950 when He brought before the men companions two methods of carrying out the Labor Phase. This phase lasted until the October 1950 Mahabaleshwar Meeting when again Baba entered another phase of the New Life.
The choice Baba gave the men companions was:
Method 1 - To render lifelong service to Baba through the four women (Mehera, Mani, Meheru and Goher) and to obey Baba as a servant obeys his master or employer. And by serving the four women, Baba will arrange to feed them by using the funds which were at the disposal of these four women. Baba told them that He would give them all kinds of orders and they may have to do farm work, take up any job even be coolies, that is do any work. The servant-companions should expect nothing in return from Baba; there would be no reward or hope of one. And
whatever happens each companion is responsible for their decision. In short the continuation of the Fixed Conditions. Method 2 - Carrying out the Labor Phase by being individually independent and abiding under Fixed Conditions under Plan No. I-B. and Baba would give them funds to start so each could work out his independent labor phase in the best way possible.
Naturally, the men unanimously accepted Method 1.
This phase is important for Spiritual Trainees and the Trust because it shows how one may serve Baba under those who have the responsibility to supervise.
In order to be with Baba the men companions chose to serve the women Mandali under Baba's orders. And one could say that the men companions were the servants of the servants (women Mandali) of Baba. But, they were working directly for Beloved Baba because as far as the orders were concerned, they were following the orders of Baba.
So too should all the Spiritual Trainees not feel anything when they have to be under the supervision of some one else. Everyone is a servant and everyone also becomes the servant some one else in the administrative set-up. But really everyone is only serving Baba.
Really speaking those who are in the administrative setup are more responsible than others who work under different department heads. If a Trustee does not do his duty properly and does not live the New Life Message, how can he expect others under him to do so? And those who have been given supervisory duties do not do their work under the New Life Message how can they expect those in their departments to do so. They all should feel this great responsibility not only in doing the actual work but in molding their life according to the
New Life Message. Those who have administrative roles should feel that responsibility towards the Spiritual Trainees.
I will give an example of responsibility to Baba and the supervisory duty that He entrusted to one of His Mandali.
In 1954 when Baba made His second visit to Andhra, He made it very, very clear in Rajahmundry that He needs no one to do His work. He alone does His work. No one can do His work. When He gives the opportunity to His lovers to work in order to spread His message of love and truth, it is external work. He said, "When I form a committee just to translate an English circular into Telegu and distribute it to my lovers and also print other Books which are in English into Telegu, it is only external work. But now I see that the committee members have pride thinking that they are spiritually advance souls. I am most unsatisfied. And I am dissolving this committee. When I return, I will be in seclusion. Nobody should write to Me and nobody should come to see Me. I will do my work which no one can do. When I provide this opportunity for you to serve in helping Me with this external work, you must work as a servant with no expectation from Me. But, I see that instead of loving Me you all have pride. I am most dissatisfied."
This meeting went on from 9p.m. to 2:30a.m. I was there and Eruch was interpreting Baba's alphabet board. When Baba said this everyone got a shock. It was not a physical shock, but it was spiritual shock. That means the committee members felt great pain to hear this and the others who complained against them also felt pain because they were the ones who complained against the committee members and because of that Baba made this decision. They thought, "Now what will happen? We will not get any circulars. We will not get any Books in Telegu." Everyone was affected by Baba's decision. It was like a spiritual earthquake. Very lovingly they requested Baba to permit some communications with Him.
Baba said, "No one can have any contact with Me. I will be in strict seclusion. If you want to, you may write to Adi K. Irani and Adi, without informing Me, can write to you."
Adi was one of Baba's Mandali. And He lived in order to please Baba. What a responsibility Baba gave Adi. How much He trusted Adi because he did everything according to Baba's instructions. And therefore Adi was Baba's servant. Now Baba was making others to consult with Adi and Adi was to respond. Really speaking, Adi became their supervisor, and they had to listen to him because of Baba's orders. And thus they became the servants of the servant. What a difficult duty Beloved Baba gave to Adi.
The duty of those who consulted Adi was not as difficult as Adi's. And it is similar with those who serve at the Trust. That is, those who serve under the various supervisors, their duty is not as difficult as the supervisor, whether that supervisor is a trustee or head of a department, or anyone in the administrative staff. They should know their responsibility before the Beloved just as Adi did. And that is why Baba gave him that responsibility because Baba could trust him with it. Adi was bound so much in that responsibility towards Baba and towards His lovers. And ultimately Adi died in Andhra.
To determine to live the New Life Message and follow the conditions and write an oath is not for show. It is to be lived. Then, there is the sweetness and purity of serving Him honestly, sincerely, lovingly. There should be only one thing in everyone's heart that they are serving the Beloved and pleasing Him. Otherwise, undergoing Spiritual Training has no meaning.
5. The word "Spiritual" or its connotation is misleading when used as a prefix or affix for a title or department: When Trainees, Departments and Department Managers are given titles with spiritual prefixes, like Spiritual Trainees, Spiritual Workers Department and Spiritual Department Manager, the pitfalls of authority and misinterpretation of their roles and functions are potentially greater.
Since the Spiritual Training Programme neither recognizes nor confers spiritual authority to people or departments why call them other than by their specific role or function and create possibility of misuse and misinterpretation? Can they instead be called, preferably, only by their function i.e. "Trainee", "Workers Department". "Workers Department Manager etc. ?
I have already explained that there is a difference between authority and responsibility. No one can claim spiritual authority but everyone who undergoes Spiritual Training should feel that responsibility in his heart and should do their duty in order to please Him.
In the Trust deed itself it says, "Facilities for training Baba-lovers in living a life towards spiritual enlightenment..." And so this training is Spiritual Training. So we can not avoid this word. This is a most important word and everyone must know that spirituality is beyond intellectual understanding. In religion, there are always rituals, ceremonies and traditions. Spirituality is different. Spirituality cannot come under the boundary of religion. Spirituality is beyond understanding. Spirituality is connected with the heart. It is not connected with the intellect or mind, and the language of the heart is silent. Beloved Baba is the only authority and He has included the object of Spiritual Training in the Trust Deed. Therefore we
must have full conviction that when we fulfill that object, His pleasure is there.
Therefore why does this question of the use of names such as "Spiritual Trainee" come up or to name a department with that name? Whenever there is any kind of training the departments are called as such. So we must accept "Spiritual Training", and that word should not be avoided because it is the kind of training that Baba stated in the Deed. I don't think that this word is used anywhere. So it should be accepted very willingly and happily, and not only accepted, but one should not think anything about it, because one's purpose in being here is to efface the false self and the workings of the false mind.
If a department has the word "spiritual", does that give spiritual authority to the department manager or the workers in the department? How can that be? Again authority comes from having Real Knowledge. But if someone is appointed to be the manager then they have to fulfill their duties to that department as set by the Board. Whether one serves in the medical department or the educational department or pilgrim facilities department, archiving department, or the spiritual workers department all are the same because all are serving Him. And Spiritual Trainees serve in each department according to their qualifications. But the best qualification is that one should work for Him with one's heart without any reasoning or using the intellect.
Baba has said that God does not listen to the language of the tongue. God does not listen to the language of the mind. What He does listen to is the language of the heart, which is the silent language of God. Therefore, whatever one does, one should do for the Beloved from one's heart. When one eats, eat for Him. When one works, work for Him. He should be the center of every action, every thought, and every word. We
should have that silent longing in our hearts so that God can hear us.
I will tell a story of how I used my intellect and made interpretations of Baba's orders.
In 1954, when Beloved Baba was to enter into seclusion, His Hamirpur lovers thought that they did not have a chance to write a letter to Baba or to go and see Him. So they thought what should they do? They thought that they should start the repetition of God's name continuously without a break. So, they formed prayer groups. Each group had to repeat God's name for two hours continuously and this chain was formed for four and one half months.
Before Baba entered into seclusion, they sent a letter to Him telling Him about this. When the letter was read out to Him, Baba said, "Just see what My lovers are doing. You (Mandali) must also do it."
Baba then distributed the hours to each one of the Mandali. One hour to Eruch, one hour to Pendu, one hour to Vishnu, one hour to Dr. Nilu, one hour to Gustadji, one hour to Aloba, one hour to Dr. Donkin, one hour to me, and six hours to Baidul, etc. Kaikobad was repeating God's name one hundred thousands times every day. But, my hour was at lunch time. Others had different hours. When He gave the order I did not think that it was a bad time at that time.
Every day, Aloba and I would go to Baba's bungalow to bring Him to the men Mandali's bungalow. Then, exactly at 10:30 we would take Him back to His bungalow and my time for the repetition of God's name would begin. Everyone was repeating God's name according to their religion. Pendu, Gustaji and Baidul would repeat "Yezdan," Eruch would repeat "Ahurmazda," Aloba would repeat "Allah-Hu-Akbar," Dr.
Donkin would repeat "God Almighty" and Vishnu, Dr. Nilu and myself would repeat "Om Parabrahm Paramatma."
Now, the first day of repetition of God's name started. I returned after I took Baba to His bungalow. I sat on the bed, closed my eyes, and started: "Om Parabrahm Paramatma." After hardly half a minute of doing it, my mind started thinking about lunch. I was thinking, "Everyone must be eating now." Then, I would say "Om Parabrahm Paramatma" again and another thought came, "Will there be any food remaining for me?" Then, "Om Parabrahm Paramatma" and a third thought would come, "I have to write this letter, that letter, do this, do that." So, the whole hour I would be thinking of different things and also repeating "Om Parabrahm Paramatma." I would feel very much disappointed and I was thinking that the others must be doing very well and I am a very bad man. I am a sinner, and that's why I cannot repeat God's name.
The second day also the same thing happened. I would get different thoughts particularly at the time when I was repeating God's name and more and more thoughts would come. The fourth day, when I was doing the repetition of God's name so many thoughts came that I thought "I must tell Baba, that He should exempt me from this .meditation." Apparently, if anyone would have seen me at that time, they would have thought that I was doing my meditation wholeheartedly without making any noise. But my meditation was not connected with the heart. It was connected with the mind. Mind had the upper hand. When I became determined to request Baba to exempt me from meditation someone knocked on my head. I opened my eyes, and Baba was standing there. I got up from the bed, and I said, "Baba please forgive me, I cannot do it. I get many thoughts at this time, when I am repeating God's name."
And I said, "You asked me to repeat God's name."
And Baba said, "You are repeating God's name. That is the order."
And I said, "I get many thoughts particularly at that time."
And Baba said, "I had asked you to repeat God's name. And you are doing so. So, why do you worry?" And Baba gave this example: "When there are mosquitoes, what do you do? You have the mosquito net around your bed and you sleep inside the mosquito net. Still, you hear the buzzing sound of the mosquitoes outside, but they don't come and bite you in the same way. When I have asked you to repeat God's name and you do so, the thoughts and desires that come are like mosquitoes. But when you follow My order and repeat God's name, the mosquito net of My love is already fixed around your heart. So those thoughts and desires cannot harm you, because you are following My orders. Let the thoughts and desires come. Don't put them into action. Continue with the repetition of God's name, but always remember: any order I give, you must obey the order wholeheartedly, Just follow my order, and don't put those thoughts and desires into action, and you will be free. My duty is to wipe out the thoughts and desires when they come. Your duty is to follow my orders."
And therefore that is why I say try not to go on using the mind in such a way that interprets Baba's words. But use the heart so it can feel Him in the heart so you will know how to truly follow Him and please Him.
6. Reports, reviews, evaluations, guidance, questions, letters, etc. by the Spiritual Training Programme administrative hierarchy - limited to work performance & behavior:
Answering questions, writing sponsorship letters, reports & reviews, giving guidance to trainees, etc. are a part of administrative procedures. You state that the basis of any decision for report, review, assessment, sponsorship letter, evaluation and guidance given by the administrative hierarchy in the Spiritual Training Programme can only be made in relation to work performance, attitude or behaviour of a trainee.
Is it true that the Administrative hierarchy of the Spiritual Training Programme would have no authority to base any decision on anything other than the ''outward" performance or behavior of a spiritual trainee?
On page 26 of the Spiritual Training Programme Booklet I spoke of the outer and inner performance of the Spiritual Trainee. It is important to recognize that the way the Spiritual Trainee does his work can also indicate the inner:
"Outwardly, you help fulfil the objects of the Trust Deed by putting your hearts into the work with complete conviction that, by doing so, you are fulfilling the Wish of the Beloved. As you work lovingly, honestly and sincerely, acting out of a spirit of Oneness, the false selfs impulses for name, fame, etc., is restrained, and you will be upholding the Real Self by being in harmony with others. Through the outer performance of your innermost intentions, your spiritual life will grow. However, when you have not served the Beloved in a spirit of Oneness, your external performance will not be in harmony with others and can never please the Beloved, regardless of whether the outer work is done."
But I also go on to say how the Supervisor should view the outer performance of the Spiritual Trainee:
"The outer performance of your duty requires a Supervisor whose duty it is to see that the work allotted to you is done. Those of you whose duty and responsibility it is to be a Supervisor, whether Trustee, Department Manager, Section Supervisor, etc., must remember that you are also Spiritual Trainees. Your role as a supervisor is an external one. Your concern is to explain how the work is to be accomplished and to be responsible for the work being done satisfactorily. Spiritual Trainees under your supervision will fail in their assignments from time to time and should be corrected to enable them to fulfil their assignments better in the future. But remember, you are not in a position to judge their love for the Beloved. That is most personal."
So clearly no one is in a position to judge one's love for Baba. That is not possible. But that does not mean that those who are have the responsibility to write the review can not look at "how" the Spiritual Trainee does their work. In the Spiritual Training Programme Booklet on page 80 I have spoken of what the review is to be based on. I said there:
"What is the review based on? The review should be based on whether Spiritual Trainees do their work satisfactorily or not. Whether the work given to them is suitable, or whether they should be transferred to another Department. Although no one can judge the heart's love for Beloved Baba, outer structure is the reflection of inner structure. So the review is based on both the head and the heart. That is, whether the work is done honestly, sincerely and lovingly (which is where the heart is active), and whether it is done properly (which is where the head [intellect] is active)."
However, the Reviewer is doubly responsible: being responsible both to the Beloved and to those who work under Him. The Reviewer must take into account his attitude towards the Trainee when observing the outer work. He must be honest and truthful. This is a good test for the Reviewer. He should neither be prejudiced one way or the other. He should not favour the Spiritual Trainee nor should he allow his own weaknesses of jealousy and hatred etc. to harm the Trainee. This would displease Baba.
In Spiritual Training one must learn how to balance the mind and the heart. That is most important. That can only happen when the heart leads the way, when the ego-mind begins to be crushed by the heart that longs to love and serve and please Him. So both the mind and the heart of the Spiritual Trainee can be looked at in this very limited way. But still one can not judge their love for Baba. One can not say this person does not love Baba. And at the same time when one is serving it is difficult for one to judge if the Spiritual Trainee is doing the service with all love for the Beloved or is doing it out of pride. That is why if the Spiritual Trainees are sincere in their training and relying on Baba, He will guide them to crush their pride in order to feel His love.
Now, in our Trust, we find the Board of Trustees, and every one of the Trustees has certain responsibilities. There are also department heads. Now, what is their duty? They are supervising the workers in their departments, and it is their duty to see that the workers should work honestly, sincerely and lovingly. That is their duty and they must do it. But the workers should not think that since the Trustees and Department Heads are in the Labor Phase and we are also in Labor phase, that we are equal. There has to be structure and work has to be done accordingly. Everyone has different outward responsibilities but inwardly everyone has the same responsibility towards the Beloved.
Those who serve as Trustees or heads of the departments are also Spiritual Trainees. But they do not have any spiritual authority. And when they are Trainees, what training should they have? To follow the New Life Message and uphold its conditions 100% according to Baba's Wish. It is not easy, because it is the question of how one lives one's life. And at the same time, they have to look after the work under them and for that they have to engage the Spiritual Trainees as the different workers in the departments and see that the work not only is done but also how it is done so Baba's atmosphere prevails. And if the supervisor finds that the Trainee is not working properly, the supervisor can say, "You are not doing your duty; you are not putting your heart into it." The Trainee should not say, "Who are you to say this to me?" The Supervisor should do his duty, workers should do their duty, and the administrator should do his duty by administering the Trust.
Now what if the supervisors are not behaving well? What if the supervisor lets his pride get in the way and starts to think that because he has been given this post that, "I am something"? Does that mean it gives a Spiritual Trainee in his department the right not to be bound to follow their Agreements? Of course not! He has signed the Agreement for the Beloved and not for anyone else. The Spiritual Trainees are responsible to Him. The supervisors who are also Spiritual Trainees are also responsible to Him. And it is the duty of everyone to try to correct oneself. Spiritual Trainees should not play mental exercise with Baba's words. They should exercise the heart instead. The mind should follow the heart. Mental exercise should be avoided. Because the mind itself is false, Mind creates different things. What can one expect from the mind? One should depend upon the heart and should not pay attention towards the mind. But as I told you before it takes time. The Beloved is there to help.
There is no question of hierarchy; it is a question of the duty. In the spiritual world there is a hierarchy with a fixed number of those in the first plane, second plane, third plane, fourth plane, fifth plane, sixth plane. In all there are 7001 and there are also five Perfect Masters. Out of 56 God Realized souls, there are the five Perfect Masters as well as Jivan Muktas and Paramhansas. Under Spiritual Training, there is no hierarchy at all because everyone is bound to Beloved Baba through their Agreements to live the New Life. Whether they are workers, department managers, or Trustees everyone is responsible to Baba. When we have come to Meher Baba to love Him and to serve Him, we must try. Everyone has got weaknesses, and so many weaknesses, and Spiritual Training through the Trust is the medium which Beloved Baba has given us to get rid of our weaknesses gradually.
Now I will give an example of love that Beloved Baba gave us. There was a mother and a small child and there was poison in a glass of water which is on the table. Now the child goes and takes the glass in his hand and the mother says, "Don't drink it! It is poison!" The child does not know what poison is and he wants to drink it. Then the mother goes and tries to take the glass from his hand, but the child does not want to give it to her. So what does the mother do? The mother gives one slap to the child and takes away the glass. Now, whether this is love or cruelty? It is love. She wants to protect the child. So always we should remember that Love protects. Love does not harm anyone. In order to have love, we must be free of desires. If one has jealousy or if one slanders and backbites or if one hates anyone or if one has pride that one is better than others that is not love.
Therefore, it is the duty of the administrator, head of any department or Trustee to see that whatever work is allotted that the Spiritual Trainee is doing it properly with all love. If he or
she is not doing it properly, it is their duty to bring to the Spiritual Trainee's notice that the work should be done honestly, lovingly and sincerely by living Baba's New Life Message and following the conditions. But the supervisor, administrator, department head or trustee can only say this when he himself is living the New Life Message and following the conditions.
7. Conflict of interest when Report and Reviews compromise confidence: The idea of the Companionship Department and the understanding of the value of friendship in supporting new Spiritual Trainees, are necessary. But Personal Sponsors who are duty bound to write reviews or reports on the Spiritual Trainee would face a conflict of interest. The trust essential to friendship is compromised by the writing of a report or review of information exchanged in confidence by the Spiritual Trainee with the Personal Sponsor. This discourages the trainee from sharing confidence, and potentially undermines the basis of friendship among companions.
Can the Companionship Department be considered in the same line as the Household Department - providing for an important need of the trainees but not be part of the report/review process ?
I suggested that someone from the Companionship Department write a review only because sometimes a single review from the Spiritual Trainee's supervisor may not be sufficient to give the total picture. It does happen where the person does not get along with the supervisor. And if the review is based on just that report it may not be good. That is why I suggested another review by the person that the Spiritual Trainee is talking to on a personal level. Perhaps the review that the Companionship Department writes should not be
confidential and he shows the Spiritual Trainee what he writes. There should be that free flow between them then there is no conflict. It is an honest exchange. But just one person's review is not a good idea. And, as Baba had used the name "companions" for those who accompanied Him in the New Life we should not change the name of that department, and so we should keep it as such.
In the Spiritual Training Programme Book on page 115 I bring to the attention of the Spiritual Trainees the important difference between worldly friendship and true friendship and I illustrated the point with stories from our lives with Baba. This must be understood by the Trainees:
"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....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."
8. Selection of Trustees - 20 years residency?: In the Trust Deed the clause for selection of future Trustees has no limitation of time and place. You suggest in the Spiritual Training Programme that a residency of 20 years of service on the Trust Estate would be a requisite.
Do you think that selection of a Trustee should not have a time or place limitation, keeping to the spirit of the clause in the Trust Deed for selection of a Trustee: "Such Trustee shall be selected without any distinction of caste, creed, race, religion, sex or nationality."?
In the Spiritual Training Programme Booklet on page 74, I suggested that a Trustee who has been serving on the Trust Estate for over 20 years should be selected as Trustee and I explain why that is necessary:
"As vacancies appear on the Board, I suggest that it is advisable to nominate Trustees from those Spiritual Trainees who have been serving on the Trust Estate for over 20 years. Not only is dedication required but also decades of daily experience of serving under Mastery in Servitude on the Trust Estate. A time period of at least 20 years will indicate those who have the ability and willingness to shoulder the responsibility of Trusteeship in a way that would be pleasing to Beloved Baba. Baba nominated those who were always with Him as His Mandali to be Trustees. Likewise, only those Baba lovers who become Spiritual Trainees and live on the Trust Estate, dedicating their lives to become Baba's Servants, can be considered for Trusteeship. Trustees are chosen without regard to caste, creed, religion, sex, colour, nationality, etc. God is in everyone, and because all are here to serve Beloved Baba, these apparent distinctions must not be given any consideration."
However, after I wrote this, the question came up about those that may be quite capable and have lived a life that would be pleasing to Beloved Baba by remaining pure, dedicated, sacrificing, and living only for God, and living such a life by either serving at another Baba centre for many years or living independently. And therefore I say that if such a person's name is brought before the Board for consideration as a Trustee, he or she may be considered. But such persons should also have no selfish motive and they should not expect to be chosen as a Trustee.
Still, some years serving on the Trust Estate under Spiritual Training is most necessary and generally it is better to nominate persons who have been serving on the Trust Estate for many years, because they will know the administrative set-up and they will be familiar with the place and the people. Also they will have withstood the many tests that Baba gives in living the collective plan of the New Life. Serving here for many years will show if one's weakness is the pitfall of pride and then it is useless to be in such a position. The candidate for Trusteeship must be inclined to express the feeling of oneness because they should feel the situation of everyone and that is important.
It has been also suggested to me that in order to have proper administration we should nominate as Trustees even if they are not Baba Lovers retired collectors, retired engineers, retired doctors, etc. This is not a good thing at all. Then there will be no difference between the atmosphere on the Trust Estate and elsewhere in the world. How can a person who is not dedicated to serving Beloved Baba understand how to be an administrator here? This is not a worldly organization. One must be solely dedicated to Avatar Meher Baba. Everyone should note it carefully that at Baba's Trust or Baba's Centres or in Baba's institutions only those persons should be selected who have love for Him and who want to serve Him lovingly. Service
to Him is based on dedication and not money. There should be sacrifice. Here under the Trust service is for the Beloved without any expectation or any selfish motive. Service is done out of pure love to please the Beloved.
In fact anyone who is chosen to be a Trustee should have the thirst of becoming dust under the feet of the Beloved. Otherwise what is the use of this position of responsibility? A Trustee should be careful of hypocrisy. The responsibility of a Trustee is to try to please Him in every act they perform.
I cannot say that I have replied to the questions perfectly well. No one can do it, because when intellect comes into play, intellect always wants to have the upper hand. I can only say that if one follows the New Life Message and its conditions lovingly and lives up to one's oath, then, of course, these questions do not arise.
Everyone should try to find out their own weaknesses and not be concerned about the weaknesses of others. When love is there then no one laughs at anyone when they commit any mistakes. Lovingly, they can be corrected. The worldly pollution of selfishness, greed, jealousy, anger, hatred, backbiting, lust, etc should not be brought into the spiritual atmosphere of love, obedience and honesty. We must develop love for God and when we develop love for God, we should also love others for the same God is within them. Really speaking by living up to the Fixed Conditions these weaknesses will disappear, because we are also living a life of obedience to Baba. And when one gives their oath, it will help them stay true to Baba and the New Life.
Dear ones, it is most important to remember that the false self should be kept away from whatever work one does. Although the false self comes very often, if we are alert to it then of course we follow His wish. It is not possible to think about God and think about the world. Two swords cannot be put in one sheath. We should not keep Him absent from the heart. Outwardly one should remain dedicated in one's service to the Beloved. And if thoughts come, don't worry, let them come and let them go. When questions come in the mind, let them come and let them go. There is a long struggle between thoughts and action. But we must put into action only those thoughts which' are useful to serve Him. We should always be careful about this. Just continue to be dedicated to Him, put the heart into living the New Life and eventually one will feel Him in the heart. But it requires a long time to feel Him in the heart.
I should say we are all fortunate that we are getting the opportunity to serve the Beloved wholeheartedly and honestly. What an opportunity the Beloved has given. Our renunciation of the world should be internal, not external. If anyone goes to the forest and meditates there, he will only continue to think of the world, though he is in the forest. Real renunciation is to live in the world, but remain detached. What is this world: Nothing but a big zero. And therefore what can we get out of this zero, nothing but zero.
My dear brothers and sisters, I just request you, in my humble way to remain attached to the Beloved and not to remain attached to the world, which is nothing but a zero. There is no one equal to the Beloved. He is the same Beloved One, who comes age after age. He is the Unchanging One in the changing world. And therefore it is necessary that we should pay attention to the Unchanging One and not to what is changing. Love for God cannot be changed. It is just the same from beginning to end but people express it in different ways. But when they forget the spirit, it becomes mechanical.
Beloved Baba has said that this New Life is eternal, and if there is no one to live it, He alone will live it. The spirit of this New Life will always exist. The situation will change after this age, but the New Life will live on in Him. So therefore, why not go toward the One who is everywhere and in everyone. And in this age to follow the One, we have to lead the Labor Phase of the New Life.
I feel this is enough. Words are words unless they are put into action. Let the Spiritual Trainees' action speak those words of the New Life Message and they will find how the Beloved is bringing them closer and closer to Him. May Beloved Avatar Meher Baba bless all Spiritual Trainees to live the New Life Message and uphold its conditions through wholeheartedly following their personal oath to their Beloved. May they be strong not to make any compromise and that way they will please Him.
Avatar Meher Baba Ki Jai!
|April 2005 Bhau;|