The Spiritual Training Programme
 

perform as He wishes you to perform. Each individual alone is responsible to the Beloved for their relationship. No one should forget this sacred responsibility - the intimacy of love between the lover and the Beloved. It is the reason that the whole world came into existence.

THE NEW LIFE

According to the Deed of Declaration, the Trust's Spiritual Training Programme is based particularly upon the time period of Beloved Baba's life called the New Life.

What is the New Life? When the search for God begins, we leave our old life behind and seek a new life. But to search for God is not an easy matter. Therefore, each time the Avatar comes, He reveals to searching humanity what it is seeking -The New Life. He determines how this New Life is to be lived according to the needs of mankind at that time. The New Life that He establishes each time is the easiest way to follow Him, live for Him and love Him.

Beloved Baba played perfectly the role of a Seeker of God by following the conditions of the New Life one hundred percent. During this phase of His life, He took His Companions through a brief training period in the spiritual activity of a Life of Begging, Langoti Life (that is, to put on a langoti, loincloth, and meditate), Gypsy Life and physical labour.

After this training phase, Baba made three plans for the Companions to choose how they would like to live the New Life with Him. However, He stated, "These three plans are based on the Labour Phase. The other three phases of Begging, Gypsy and Langoti Life will be personally carried out by Me alone or with the Companions staying with Me as New Life Companions. Therefore, the Companions, by accepting one of

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these plans, (particularly Plan 1-A) will have been said to have gone through all the four phases of the New Life. As they will do the Labour Phase for Me, I will have been said to have gone through the Labour Phase also."

By emphasising the Labour Phase in the New Life, Meher Baba directs humanity how spiritual upliftment is to be attained in this age. In previous ages, the three phases of Begging, Gypsy and Langoti Life were suitable for spiritual search. But for the modern world, which is an active world, it is easier for the mind to focus on God through action that is dedicated to Him, rather than trying to focus the mind on Him by being physically inactive through meditation.

No longer is it necessary to withdraw from the world to find God. God can be found in your daily surroundings as long as your action is dedicated to Him, no matter what work you are doing or where you are doing it. Whether you are in a city or in a rural area, whether you are on a farm or in an office, whether you are a professional or a businessman, if your actions are dedicated to God, then you can live the New Life. When Beloved Baba sent His Companions to run the ghee business in Delhi, it showed that His physical presence is not required to live the New Life.

Although Beloved Baba showed physical renunciation by leaving Meherabad and Meherazad, ultimately His message to the world in this Advent is that you have to renounce your own false self in the course of your daily life. Therefore, the way to search for spiritual truth in this age has changed from outer renunciation to inner renunciation and from the inner activity of meditation to the outer activity of dedicated action.

In order to begin to live the New Life in this modern age, Beloved Baba created the Labour Phase of dedicated action to God, where you can follow Him in the midst of intense

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activity. But in order to live for God, you must become His Servant.

The Labour Phase of Baba's New Life lasted until Baba asked those of the Companions, who were willing to obey Him one hundred percent willingly and cheerfully, to become His Servants.

Accompanied by His Servants, Baba's New Life culminated in His Manonash phase. Manonash means "annihilation of the mind". The search for God ends with the mind being utterly eradicated and the final remnants of the false self effaced. Before God is realised, the mind must be annihilated. Everyone eventually has to go through Manonash. Of course, Baba did not annihilate His mind. His mind is the Universal mind, which contains not only all individual minds but also the whole universe. What He must have done for His work is to take upon Himself the limited mind of a seeker of God who was ready for Manonash. And when Baba achieved Manonash as a Seeker of God, it was that person's limited mind which was annihilated. Beloved Baba always remains God, no matter what work He has to do to help humanity.

In order for humanity to live the New Life in this modern age, Beloved Baba and His Companions went through three distinct stages of the New Life. By doing so, He created a clear path of development for spiritual progress in this age. That path, which is the basis for the Trust's Spiritual Training Programme, is:

  1. 1) Following God through dedicated action of the labour phase;

    2) Living for God by being His Servant, and

    3) Realising God by Dying for Him through manonash.
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You, as Spiritual Trainees, enter the first stage of living the New Life through the Labour Phase of dedicated action to God. Your life steadily becomes more and more dedicated to Him while serving under Mastery in Servitude. As you mature in your service to Him, your false self gradually becomes as dust beneath His feet. The Labour Phase is part of Beloved Baba's Wish for serious seekers of God in the modern world, because living a dedicated life leads you to become a Servant of God, where you live for Him alone. The Labour Phase ends when you no longer care for your own wishes but only follow the Wish of Beloved God.

When you live a life of one hundred percent cheerful obedience to His Wish, you enter the second stage of the New Life. You now are a Servant of God living for Him alone. In the state of being God's Servant under Mastery in Servitude, you no longer listen to the false self. The false self has become submissive to God's Wish, until ultimately, you become completely and fully submissive to His Wish.

At that ripe moment, the mind is ready for Manonash through the grace of the Avatar or Perfect Master. In this third and final stage of The New Life, you truly die for God. The mind is born once and dies once. And in this stage, the mind finally dies in order for the soul to realise its true being - One with infinite and eternal existence.

The first stage of entering the New Life through the Labour Phase is your own personal decision. But the second stage of becoming God's Servant comes about because your dedicated action has deepened your love for God to the point that you live for Him in a state of one hundred percent cheerful obedience to His Wish. If you become His Servant, He will be very pleased. And as His Servant, you have not the slightest concern with the third stage of the New Life, which is

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Manonash. When Manonash occurs is left entirely to His pleasure.

Therefore, your goal as Spiritual Trainees is not the third stage of the New Life, but the second stage of becoming God's Servant and living for Him alone.

Because you will begin your Spiritual Training to live the New Life under the Labour Phase, it is meaningful to see what Baba dictated for His own Companions on how to live the New Life.

As I explained before, after the brief training period in the New Life, Baba made three plans for the Companions to choose how they would like to live the Labour Phase of the New Life with Him. Under the Collective Plan of 1-A and the Individual and Collective Plan of 1-B, Baba dictated ways that His Companions may work and live together.

As far as the Trust is concerned, Plans 1-A and 1-B are the most suitable for the Spiritual Training Programme. Plans 1-A and 1-B establish collective and individual life under the Labour Phase for the Trust. To work for any Trust project selflessly can be a collective or individual responsibility. These Plans also give some important guidelines on how the Trust may develop a Spiritual Training Programme appropriate for you as Spiritual Trainees to live and work together.

The points Baba dictated in Plans 1-A and 1-B, and which provide helpful guidelines for the Spiritual Training Programme, are as follows:

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. . .
Extracts from New Life Plans 1-A and 1-B
  1. 1. In this collective plan, all of you must cooperate with each other, help each other, and adjust things suitably to the ability, capacity and tabiyat (health) of each of you - each of you doing his best to keep this plan going.

    6. No Begging or Gypsy or Langoti life for you all in this Plan No. 1-A.

    11. Everything to be managed by the companions, in any way they like, by committee, majority or appointing manager.

    12. I will fix the conditions for you finally, and then leave it to you to carry them out or not.

    13. I will trust you with the conditions, and whether you follow them or not is your responsibility, for which I will neither do insaf (justice) or blame or enquire. He who does not follow the conditions will not be in the New Life even though he stays with the companions.

    14. In companions' spare time they may gather for light talks with me, or ask me to take part in any entertainment like music programme etc.

    15. The companions will be free to live and work as they like within the limits of the fixed conditions, and can even stay on at the place
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  1. in my absence, as I am free to do as I like and go where I like for my three phases.

    19. If a companion is found to be deliberately disobeying the conditions or deliberately not carrying out the duties entrusted to him or is found not to be fitting into the general management because of his temperament or obstinacy, he can be asked to leave the groupcompanionship by majority of votes.
 
. . .
All of these points have been taken into account and have been considered with regard to how the Trust will administer the Spiritual Training Programme. They will be discussed in a later section.

Along with the Plans that Baba dictated were the Fixed Conditions under Plans 1-A, 1-B and 1-C and Plan No. 2. Those Fixed Conditions are:

. . .
Fixed Conditions
  1. 1) First and foremost, you must take it as an absolute and unqualified certainty that you will not receive even the slightest spiritual or material benefit, or indeed any benefit whatsoever. On the contrary, you must be prepared for every kind of disappointment and adversity.

    2) You should not expect that Baba will have His "Nazar" ("glance") on you or that He
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  1. will perform miracles or use His spiritual "key" to protect or save you from illness, danger, imprisonment, death, or difficulties and disasters of any kind.

    (3) You will not touch women except when necessary, mother, wife, sister, and daughter; or professionally when you are doing a doctor's profession.

    (4) You will not enter politics.

    (5) You will not express anger, by word or deed to anyone, whatever provocation, and you will not criticise anyone unfairly, either to his face or behind his back. Although you may at times feel anger in your mind, you must never express it in word or deed.

    (6) You will not tell lies under any circumstances.

    (7) Neither Baba nor you will accept homage from anyone nor will you deliberately create circumstances that might invite homage to Baba or to you. If however, without having invited it, homage is given to Baba or to you, it must be repaid action for action to the giver.

    (8) It must be clearly understood that although the conditions are absolutely binding on you all, Baba Himself is not bound by any order or condition, and is absolutely free for all time.
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  1. (9) The one and only thing, however, in which Baba is not free, but deliberately binds Himself, is regarding the condition that you will not receive the slightest benefit of any kind whatsoever, and that you must be prepared for every kind of disappointment and adversity. It must, in addition, be absolutely clear that Baba will also never give any order that will absolve you of your individual responsibility before God for any consequences that may follow. You may take it as an absolute certainty that the responsibility before God for each and every consequence rests for all time wholly and solely with you and you alone, and that Baba will never give any order that will change or nullify this responsibility.

    (10) You will not commit any lustful action with anyone, male or female, young or old.
After dictating the Fixed Conditions for the New Life, Baba repeated, "It must be clearly understood that although every order listed here is absolutely binding on you, I am not only not bound by any order or condition, but I am also absolutely free for all time to give any order to you, and that such orders might change or even nullify any or all of these orders and conditions."

"The one and only thing, however, in which I am not only not free, but deliberately bind myself, is regarding the certainty to the effect that you must take it as an absolute certainty that you will not receive the slightest benefit of any kind whatsoever, and that you must be prepared for every kind of disappointment and adversity. This condition will stand for ill time, and will never be changed or nullified by me."

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"It must, in addition, be absolutely clear that I will also never give any order that will absolve you of your individual responsibility before God for any consequence that may follow. Thus, you must take it as an absolute certainty that the responsibility before God for each and every consequence rests for all time wholly and solely with you and you alone - and that I will never give an order that will change or nullify this responsibility."

These conditions that Beloved Baba gave to His Companions during His New Life still can be applied to your New Life as Spiritual Trainees. Meher Baba's firm instructions can direct you. He dictated the 10 Fixed Conditions, emphasising Conditions No. 1 and No. 9. In order to acknowledge your seriousness in living the New Life, a list of the Fixed Conditions will be given to you to sign, indicating that you will uphold them. You will also make a written oath before God that you resolve to live The New Life. The written oath will be your personal expression of your own resolve.

Therefore, those of you who aspire to be Spiritual Trainees must consider these conditions and make a very serious self-appraisal of yourself, similar to what Baba asked His companions to do in following Him in the New Life. If you find that you can happily and wholeheartedly uphold these conditions, then you may request the Trust to accept you into the Spiritual Training Programme. Similar to Baba's New Life Companions, those who wish to live the New Life as Spiritual Trainees must obey the Fixed Conditions one hundred percent.

You, as Spiritual Trainees, have come here to rise above lustful actions, and you should take Fixed Condition No. 10 very seriously. If your weaknesses overwhelm you and you indulge in sexual activity, then you would not be living up to the conditions of the New Life. It is possible that you will be

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asked to leave the Spiritual Training Programme. Yet, Baba always wanted things to be natural. And times also change. And therefore, even though Condition No. 3 states, "You will not touch women except when necessary, mother, wife, sister, and daughter; or professionally when you are doing a doctor's profession", as long as you embrace or touch anyone with a brotherly or sisterly feeling in your heart, you are upholding the conditions of the New Life. If the feeling is anything other than a brotherly or sisterly feeling, however, you should remember this Condition and not embrace or even touch the person in that circumstance.

At the Meeting in Mahabaleshwar on 16th October 1950, Baba ended the Labour Phase for His Companions and started the next phase with those Companions who were prepared to be His Servants. Also at that Meeting, Baba gave a very important statement regarding the New Life. Through this statement Beloved Baba tells posterity how to live for the Truth when the Avatar is not in physical form. It is the foundation upon which you, as a Spiritual Trainee, will live your New Life. This message will guide any genuine Spiritual Trainee now and hundreds of years from now.

. . .
New Life Message
This New Life is endless, and even after my physical death it will be kept alive by those, who live the life of complete renunciation of falsehood, lies, hatred, anger, greed, and lust; and who, to accomplish all this, do no lustful actions, do no harm to anyone, do no backbiting, do not seek material possessions or power, who accept no homage, neither covet honour nor shun disgrace, and fear no one and nothing; by those, who rely wholly and

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solely on God, and who love God purely for the sake of loving, who believe in the lovers of God and in the reality of Manifestation, and yet do not expect any spiritual or material reward, who do not let go the hand of Truth, and who, without being upset by calamities bravely and whole-heartedly face all hardships with one hundred percent cheerfulness, and give no importance to caste, creed and religious ceremonies. This New Life will live by itself eternally, even if there is no one to live it.

. . .
 

The goal of life cannot be achieved until the mind undergoes Manonash but Manonash cannot be achieved until each individual lives the New Life. Therefore the New Life is eternal!

During the 16th October 1950 Meeting in Mahabaleshwar, Baba also had read out a very succinct statement called "Baba's Sermon" in which He declared the established divine facts.

. . .
Baba's Sermon
Being just now in "Old Life" for these few hours, I will tell you what I feel to be the established Divine Facts:

Essentially, we are all One. The feeling of our being otherwise is due to ignorance. Soul desires consciousness to know itself, but its progress

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towards this Goal which it cannot realise independently of creation, it must undergo the experience which it gathers as the individualised false self and which is all imagination. Thus it is faced at the outset with ignorance instead of Knowledge.

Dual forms and illusory creations are the outcome of ignorance: birth and death, happiness and misery, virtue and sin, good and bad - all are equally the manifestation of this same ignorance. You were never born and will never die; you never suffered and will never suffer; you ever were and ever will be, as separateness exists only in imagination.

Soul undergoes experiences through innumerable forms such as being king and beggar, rich and poor, tall and short, strong and weak, beautiful and ugly, of killing and being killed. All these experiences must transpire as long as the soul, though it is one in Reality and undivided, imagines separateness in itself. When soul is bereft of the impressions of these illusory experiences, it becomes naked, as in its origin, to become now fully conscious of its unity with the Over-soul which is One, Indivisible, Real, and Infinite.

. . .

The soul becomes free of the binding of impressions through various paths. And love is the most important of these paths leading to the realisation of God. Through this love, the soul becomes entirely absorbed in God, ultimately forgetting itself completely. It is then that, all of a sudden, Knowledge comes as swiftly as the lightning bolt which burns to ashes all that it falls upon.

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This Knowledge uproots illusions, doubts and worries. Apparent sufferings are instanttaneously replaced by everlasting peace and eternal Bliss, which is the Goal of all existence. The soul, now free from its illusions, realises the Original Unity of Being.

Let us not hope, because this Knowledge is beyond hoping and wanting. Let us not reason, because this Knowledge cannot be comprehended or thought of. Let us not doubt, because this Knowledge is the certainty of certainties. Let us not live the life of the senses, because the lusty, greedy, false and impure mind cannot reach this Knowledge. Let us love God as the Soul of our souls, and in the height of this Love lies this Knowledge.

The divinely Perfect Ones can bestow this Knowledge on anyone they like and whenever they like. May we all gain this Knowledge soon.

. . .
 
These two messages and the Fixed Conditions are the basis for Spiritual Training. The Fixed Conditions are the guidelines. The New Life Message describes the path. And Baba's Sermon explains the goal.

But putting Baba's words into action in order to live The New Life is the important thing. And this can only happen as you efface your false self.

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