|The Spiritual Training Programme|
And when it starts raining in the dark forest, have unconditional faith that He is with you. Persevere, be brave, rely on Him, and you will definitely reach your goal.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE SPIRITUAL TRAINING PROGRAMME
Beloved Baba directed that the words "Mastery in Servitude" be inscribed above the door to His Tomb-Shrine. He wanted to let the world know how He lived His physical life and how mankind can follow Him by putting His motto into action. All Spiritual Trainees, whether you are the Chairman, Trustees, Department Managers or other Spiritual Trainees, should live such a life that it reflects Baba's motto of Mastery in Servitude. Everyone's first priority then is to go to the Office of Mastery in Servitude.
If everyone does not go to the chief office, how can the Trust run smoothly and properly? But where is that office? That office is the Tomb-Shrine of Beloved Avatar Meher Baba.
You should remember Beloved Baba's form itself is in the Tomb. And whether you feel anything or not, His form enshrined there is like the sun that touches everything. Going to His Tomb-Shrine will help disperse the cloud-cover of your impressions so that one day you can feel the rays of love from His Divine Sun in your heart. There is no rule or condition that you should go at a fixed time. You should go at a time that is suitable to you. But going regularly will help you. Do not doubt this.
In the New Life, the Companions were few in number, and we can expect as the decades and centuries roll by, that there will be hundreds and then thousands of Spiritual Trainees on the Trust Estate. Plans 1-A and 1-B of the New Life give us
guidelines as to how the Spiritual Training Programme can be managed. But those are general statements that show us ways that Beloved Baba approved of His Companions managing their lives.
The administration and its ways of managing things will create a pattern of life here, but the pattern of life which it creates should not be like a worldly institution. Therefore, in trying to establish any pattern of administration, careful consideration has to be given as to how it will affect relationships amongst all the Spiritual Trainees, whether you fulfil the role of Chairman, Trustee, Department Manager, Committee Member, Section Supervisor or other Spiritual Trainee.
Really speaking, the pattern of life which is worthwhile is a spontaneous one and comes from within. Spontaneity is not something that can be explained, but if you, as Spiritual Trainees, do your duty spontaneously, then a lively and loving atmosphere will be created. But if a disciplined pattern is created outwardly and enforced through coercion, then eventually duties become lifeless and boring, and the mind will rebel.
Although Spiritual Training is one of the objects of the Trust, it does not mean that a ritualistic spiritual order is to be created. The goal of Spiritual Training is to provide facilities for those Baba lovers who want to serve Meher Baba under Mastery in Servitude on the Trust Estate through the Labour Phase of the New Life, and by doing so with 100% cheerful obedience to Baba's Wish become His Servant.
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.
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 Board of Trustees' major responsibility is to make policy for the Trust, and the Chairman's major responsibility is to execute that policy. Although the Chairman is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the Trust according to the Trust Deed, he will report to the Board and remains answerable to it for how he upholds his responsibility. According to the Trust Deed, the Chairman can also arrange how the routine affairs on the Trust Estate are to be managed. This means, with the approval of the Board, the Chairman can appoint an Administrator to manage the routine affairs of the Trust Estate. Also, if the Chairman is too preoccupied with other Trust work, he can depute some of the responsibilities mentioned herein to other Trustees, Department Managers, etc.
For the sake of convenience, the Chairman is referred to throughout this book as "he" or "him". But the Chairman could also be a woman, and in fact, the second chairman of the Trust, Mani S. Irani, was Baba's sister.
Each object of the Trust and every major administrative activity will eventually have a Department. As these Departments grow, there will have to be many sections in each Department to see that the work is carried out. Each Department will have a Department Manager, along with a Managing Committee. Each section will also have its own Supervisor.
The Chairman, in his role as managing Trustee, chooses the various Department Managers. However the Chairman may also, under his discretion, change Department Managers if he feels it is in the best interest of the functioning of the Trust. The appointment of the Department Manager will be confirmed by the Board. The Department Manager may choose amongst those in his Department to be Committee Members. However, the Chairman will approve Committee membership, and the Board will confirm it. The Board will, in course of discussion create Departments and Committees, or, through the Chairman's recommendation to the Board, approve them.
After Spiritual Trainees have been here for five years, they may be appointed Section Supervisor by the Department Manager. The Department Manager can also select them to be part of the Managing Committee. The Board will also confirm these appointments. After Spiritual Trainees have been here for 20 years, they may become the Manager of the Department that they have been serving under. However, it is for the Board to make policies. It is not for the Department Manager to make policy, but to carry out policies made by the Board.
In previous Advents, the Avatar, the Christ, the Prophet never created a Trust for the benefit of His Lovers. But this age is a different age - an age of action. Through His work in the Labour Phase of the New Life, He has made it possible for mankind to follow Him in the midst of its activities. Moreover, through the Trust that the Avatar has created, He has made it
possible for His Lovers to be directly involved in activity that is focussed on fulfilling His Wishes as put down in the Trust Deed.
When Beloved Baba created the Trust Deed, He nominated Mandali members to be Trustees, although some of them, because they were with Him all the time, had no connection with worldly activity. But He nominated them in order to show the world, through their example, how to be in the world and yet be detached in the midst of doing one's duties in His Cause. In fact, out of ten Board Members, nine were Mandali. Although Beloved Baba may not have given specific instructions on how Spiritual Training is to be managed, He did give us Mandali two good examples and one good story of detachment, or "how to be in the world and yet not be of it".
The first example Beloved Baba gave us was that of a nanny, whose duty it is to take care of children who do not belong to her. She knows that even though the children do not belong to her, she takes care of them as if they were her own dear ones. Baba told us that, in the world, you should live like a nanny. That is, take care of everything according to your responsibility. But at the same time, you should not get attached to this responsibility. That, He said, was being in the world and yet not of it.
The other example Beloved Baba gave was that of a cashier at a bank.
One day, a man came into a bank and was watching the cashier. The cashier, very much absorbed in counting the money in order to keep proper accounts, did not notice the person watching him. After a while, the man left.
One evening, this man went to call on the cashier at home. Although the cashier did not know him, he let the man
inside and asked what he wanted. The man said, "You are very rich, and I need your kind help."
The cashier was surprised to hear that this man thought he was wealthy and said, "I am not wealthy. Whatever I get is by way of salary to support my wife and children."
And the man said to him, "But that day at the bank, I saw you were so absorbed in counting the money that you did not even notice me watching you. Now you tell me that you are not wealthy? You must be the owner of the bank. No one could be so absorbed in counting like that if the money were not their own."
At this, the cashier laughed, and he said, "Honestly, I tell you that the money you saw me count does not belong to me. It belongs to the bank. I only work there. My duty is to count the money properly and keep a proper account. When I am in the bank, I do this work with complete concentration. But when I come back home, I forget about the work, because I know that the money does not belong to me. I do the work in the bank according to the duty that is given to me. Then I am free of my duty when I leave at night."
Beloved Baba would want us to live in the world like the cashier of the bank, who counts money the whole day, keeping the account. But at the same time, he remains detached, knowing full well the money does not belong to him.
The third example Beloved Baba gave us in the following story.
There was a Perfect Master who had a few disciples who were living with him and followers who would visit him every week. When his followers came, they would garland him, bow down to him and give him some present. Then the Master
would deliver a short discourse, after which everyone would disperse.
One day, a rich man came. He observed this scene, and said to the Master, "Master, you are really very lucky. Without doing anything, you get everything! Your followers come. They garland you, bow down to you and give you different presents. You just give a short discourse. You do nothing, and you get everything. How fortunate you are!"
The Master said to him, "One day, you will come to know what I do."
The rich man said, "I know now! I don't have to wait to come to know. Just see, I work 14 hours a day and perspire all day long to earn money. And you, without doing anything, you earn!"
"One day, you will come to know," the Master repeated.
The rich man went on teasing the Master, but the Master kept quiet. Finally, the man left, still laughing at the Master.
One day, the rich man got a whim to go on an adventure that no one had gone on until then. This story takes place many centuries ago, when the only transport was camels, donkeys, horses, etc. So he thought, "No one has crossed the desert. If I cross it, I will become very popular! Since I am rich, I can afford it to make this adventure!"
He called his workers and said, "You all arrange one hundred camels. Load water and eatables on them. We have to cross the desert, so see that we have sufficient water and sufficient eatables."
So the workers got one hundred camels ready. The rich man got on his camel, and the procession of camels followed him. As he came near the desert, he could not bear the heat. But he was very determined to cross the desert, so he entered into it. The heat became unbearable, and he started pouring water continuously, all over his body! As the group went some distance into the desert, his workers thought, "This man is utilising so much water. What will happen to us when the water is exhausted? We will remain in the middle of the desert to die."
One worker said, "We should approach the owner, requesting him not to use so much water."
So the workers went to him, and they requested him to use less water, because there were so many people and the large desert had to be crossed. But he was a very proud man. He said angrily, "Why should I not use so much water? Does this water belong to you?"
And they said, "Sir, if you use so much water, then suppose the water is exhausted when we are in the middle of the desert. What will happen to us? We all will die, including you."
"If you die, what do I have to do with that?" the rich man said. "I am paying you. You must follow me, because I pay your salary!"
The workers said, "Sir, when the water is exhausted, we will not drink money. We will need water!"
He said, "You must obey my order! Don't say anything!"
"Then we must go back."
And the rich man said, "Then go back! What care do I have!?"
All the workers left him. Since he had one hundred camels loaded with water, he continued to pour water freely over himself. But when he was in the midst of the desert, the water was exhausted. He started dying of thirst. At that time, he prayed to God saying, "O God! I am dying! Please help me! Give me water!"
All of a sudden, a man appeared with water. The rich man said to him, "My friend, I am dying of thirst. Please, give me a little water."
"Give you a little water?" the man said. "If you want water, I will charge you."
The rich man asked, "How much do you want?"
"I want whatever wealth you are carrying with you, and whatever wealth you have where you came from. I want your home, shops and fields. You have to give me everything you own."
"You want so much?" the rich man said.
"If you don't want to give it to me, then don't give. You will die. What do I care?"
And he started to walk away from the rich man. The rich man yelled, "PLEASE! Please help me! I will give you half of my property."
"I don't want half your property," said the man. "I want all of it. It is not going to do you any good if you die."
Because the rich man was dying of thirst, he had to accept the man's terms. So they turned around, and the man who miraculously appeared kept supplying water throughout the journey until they reached their destination. As soon as they reached it, the man said to the rich man, "Now give me everything!"
And the rich man had to keep his word, because the man with the water had saved his life. So the rich man gave everything he had to him. That man even said to the rich one, "You can no longer stay at your home because it is mine. Go away."
The rich man had to leave his home and his wealth. He was standing on the street, thinking "What should I do now?" Then he remembered the Master and thought, "I must go to that Master. He may give me shelter. No one will give me anything because now I am very poor. That Master looked very kind, so I must go to him."
The rich man then went to the Master, who looked at him and said, "Why do you appear so miserable? What is the matter?"
The rich man told the Master everything that happened to him while he was intending to cross the desert. The Master said, "So, for a little water you gave all your property, and everything to that man?"
The rich man said, "Master, this was his condition. Otherwise he would not have supplied water to me. I would have died. That's why I had to give him everything I owned."
"This shows that water is more valuable than your property."
The rich man said, "Yes, Master, what you say I accept."
The rich man saw the man who had taken everything coming towards them and said, "Master, this is the man who took away everything from me. But at least he saved my life."
The man came to the Master, who said, "Have you taken everything from this rich man?"
He said, "Yes, Master, I took everything. It was my condition. I supplied water because he accepted my condition. He wanted to live. He did not want to die. So I supplied him water and brought him back here. I am not at fault. I did what he wanted me to do, which was to save his life!"
The Master said to the rich man, "Do you remember when you were dying of thirst? What did you say?"
The rich man thought and then said, "Yes, Master, I said 'Oh God! Give me water, I am dying!'"
The Master asked him, "Do you know who heard your voice?"
The rich man looked at the Master and said, "I don't know, Master. But just after my prayer, this man appeared with water."
The Master said, "I heard your voice and sent this man immediately with water. The desert is thousands of miles from here, and I heard your voice. And you say that I don't do anything, that I take presents from people without doing anything?"
The rich man said, "Master, I am very sorry. Now I realise my mistake. Please give me shelter under you."
"I cannot give you shelter unless you obey me implicitly."
"Yes, Master, I am ready. I will obey whatever order you give."
The Master said, "Again, think this over and then tell me whether you will be able to obey me."
"Master, I give you my promise that I will obey you one hundred percent honestly and sincerely."
The Master said to him, "Now listen carefully. I sent this man to you to bring you water in order to save your life. You gave away your property to him in exchange for water."
The Master turned to the one who had saved the rich man and said, "I am your Master, and you obey me. I want you to give me all the property that this rich man gave you."
The man replied, "I give it happily to you, Master."
The Master then said to the rich man, "All your property belongs to me: your business, your home, everything belongs to me. Now I appoint you as a caretaker of my property and my business. Do it for me, and never think that it is your property. You are neither rich nor poor, you are a caretaker of this property, so do your duty. Take care of my business, take care of my property. Never think that it belongs to you. Work for me. Eat well and sleep well as the caretaker of my property."
And the rich man happily agreed to that, so he was allowed to live under the shelter of the Master.
What Beloved Baba wanted the Mandali to know was that we should live as caretakers, not be attached to the things around us or our duties, even when those duties are given to us by Him.
After He dropped His body, the Trust started to function, and we had to fulfil the important responsibility of Trusteeship that He gave us. After our deaths, the time for you, His lovers, to take charge of the Trust will come. But as you take charge, you who will serve on the Trust Estate must know that you should fulfil your responsibility like a caretaker under the Labour Phase as you try to become Baba's Servants.
One way to insure that you remain a caretaker is to remember that Beloved Baba is the doer. All those who serve on the Trust Estate as Spiritual Trainees (including those Baba lovers who live nearby and wish to serve His Cause) must remember that it is He WHO is doing everything. You should not think that you are the doer.
Beloved Avatar Meher Baba created the Trust for His lovers as a medium for them to remember Him. In this age of action, it is a very practical medium because through the Trust people get the opportunity to actively serve His Cause.
Anywhere in the world, His lovers can donate to His Trust to fulfil His wishes. When the Trustees receive donations, they should think, "This is the Beloved Who is making His lovers the medium to help the Trust." They should never think, "We are running the Trust."
Those of you in supervisory positions should think, "What a privilege the Beloved has given us to serve His lovers."