Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lost in the Heavens (Part 2.)



Nanga Baba is completely naked and carries a forked stick with bits of dirty rags tied to it. He lives on a mountain facing the Amber palace and each morning he comes down to the village, takes some sweetmeats from a shopkeeper who gives them to him and then, speaking to no one, returns to his mountain. About half-way up the mountain, at a small temple where there is a spring of water, he washes and eats the sweetmeats, drinks water, and then goes up to his mountain top after making mud balls.

“I asked him what these were for and he told me that he was ordered to throw these “fire balls” on big cities in other parts of the world, and because of this he was very busy and couldn’t come with me. I then asked him what his peculiar forked stick was for and he replied that the stick and the knots of old rags on it helped him to aim and point towards the cities on which he threw the “fire balls.” The Wayfarers – Meher Baba with the God-Intoxicated, by William Donkin, © copyright, 1948, Adi K. Irani


Imagine a pencil with points on either end. Both points are in contact with a piece of paper. One piece of paper represents the gross world—the entire material universe that gross conscious souls see and hear and smell and taste and feel. The other piece of paper represents the higher planes of consciousness in the subtle and mental worlds.


Gross conscious souls experience themselves as moving the pencil on the piece of paper representing the gross world and doing gross actions like eating, talking, and moving around. What they don’t see, what they don’t experience, is that as the pencil point moves on the paper representing the gross world it is also making marks with the other point on the paper representing the subtle and mental worlds.


The exact opposite is true of advanced souls who see themselves moving the pencil upon the paper that represents the subtle and mental worlds. What they don’t see is the other end of the pencil that reacts to the subtle and mental movements by making patterns on the paper representing the gross world.


Meher Baba was clear on this point, that all souls in illusion, whether gross, subtle, or mental conscious only experience one world at a time. Gross conscious souls do not experience the subtle or mental worlds, subtle conscious souls do not experience the gross or mental worlds, and mental conscious souls do not experience the gross or subtle worlds.


Masts experience the subtle and mental worlds, but they differ in their experience from both the ordinary human being and the other advanced souls because they do not absorb their experiences into their sense of self because their sense of self is lost in their own experiences. Consequently they do not experience themselves as the doer of their own actions and it is precisely for this reason that the behavior of masts often appears to those of gross consciousness to be quite odd, bizarre, or unbalanced.


Now, of course, all this information regarding the masts and other advanced souls comes but from the teachings of Meher Baba.


One of my favorite books of all times is called The Wayfarers — Meher Baba with the God-intoxicated. Written by Dr. William Donkin, it is still available through Sheriar Press. The book highlights a period in Meher Baba’s life (1922– 1949) when He actively sought out masts for the purposes of His work.  The exact nature of this work remains unknown, because what even his closest followers saw, or what we are able to glean from the chronicles of The Wayfarers, is only the outer shell of that work and what was going on internally remains hidden. Maher Baba did give some hints, however, and from these hints we are able to conclude that His work with masts was for their spiritual benefit and the spiritual benefit of all creation also.


During this period of his mast work Meher Baba traveled with a small number of close disciples throughout India, the Kashmir, and much of what is now Pakistan. He traveled incognito, taking great pains to not be recognized. Often, in speaking about Meher Baba to others, the followers were told to refer to him as their older brother. The travel was often difficult and exhausting. Masts are often reclusive, living alone in out of the way forests or hovels, on the streets of big cities, or in the foulest sort of places like butcher shops and even brothels. Additionally, when a mast is known by individuals in a community they are revered as saints and often protected from outsiders.


While on His mast tours, Meher Baba always seemed to know where He was going and would direct his party to specific places where masts were known or suspected of being; once there, He would send out a follower or two to first contact the mast or the mast’s attendants and deliver a message that their elder brother wished to contact the mast. A consistent requirement was that the contact should private and that the mast should willingly agree to the meeting.


“He is a fifth-plane mast in a ghous-like state. He has a peculiar springing gait as he walks; that is to say, he bobs his body up and down in an agile way, and Meher Baba explained that this gait was typical of ghouls-like masts… Chambeli Shaw lives in the prostitutes’ quarter of Chapra and runs away from everyone who approaches him. There was this difficulty when Baba wished to contact him until someone mentioned that he was very fond of chewing tobacco and lime. A handful of this was brought, and when he saw it, Chambeli Shaw was tempted to approach, and so was contacted.” – Ibid.
Ghous-like masts have the qualities of a ghous


Meher Baba explained that ghous-like masts “are able to disconnect their limbs from their bodies when in a certain state of consciousness.” He said that “ghous-like masts are found in lonely places, because with the characteristic of separating the parts of their bodies, they prefer to remain hidden from the eyes of ordinary people.

(To be continued.)
   



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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Lost In the Heavens (Part 1.)



The average person of the world believes that they can acquire more knowledge and power and obtain some measure of happiness in life. The average person of the world believes that these possibilities can be obtained and acquired while remaining in the same familiar state of consciousness and they are correct.

But there is another knowledge, another power, and another happiness, of which the average person of the world is mostly unaware. It is a knowledge, power, and happiness that is only accessible to only another level of consciousness—the consciousness of the advanced soul.

The average person of the world has little knowledge of advanced souls—individuals whose consciousness has involved beyond the gross physical universe. Advanced souls have begun to tread the path of the higher planes of consciousness and have begun to experience themselves as energy or mind. It is not that these individuals think that they are energy or mind while experiencing themselves as their own gross body, instead, they actually do not experience their gross bodies at all and directly experience themselves as energy or mind. One such rare category of advanced souls is called the Mast.

In describing the possibilities that exist for the consciousness of man, Gurdjieff once said that the average man lives in the dark dank basement of a beautiful house with beautifully appointed rooms that he never uses and never sees.

But though this series of posts is for the average man, this series of posts is not about the average man, but about that much rarer type of man “whose exterior semblance doth belie thy soul’s immensity…– William Wordsworth

This type of man is the man of suspicious exterior and auspicious interior—it is about the God-Intoxicated man—it is about the Masts.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie thy soul’s immensity.” Ibid

Even though Wordsworth was not referring to the Masts when he penned that line, I don’t think a more poetic expression of the Mast state can be found.

I have always enjoyed hearing about the Masts and other types of advanced souls. Reading about them—hearing stories about them—helps me to remember what is truly important and shakes me in my sleep by evoking in me the state Gurdjieff called Self-remembering.  

Self-remembering is a state in which I am reminded if I am really serious, then most all things, including myself, should not be taken too seriously, for is it not true that those who take things too seriously cannot be very serious, while those who are really serious take very little seriously?” Masts, those advanced souls who are lost in the experiences of the heavens of the planes of consciousness, take God very seriously, but not much else.

“She lives alone in some ancient and disused stables, about a mile from the famous Taj Mahal. As Meher Baba and his attendant approached the stable, guided by a gardener from the Taj gardens, they heard a noise like the roaring of a tiger. When they came closer they found an old lady; but though old, she was a big strong woman. Her arms were covered with bangles and she had a bright attractive face. She was pacing to and fro roaring in this extraordinary fashion, all the while, making gestures with her hands. When Baba arrived she stopped roaring and greeted Baba with respect and seemed happy to meet him. Baba told Eruch to ask her if she felt happy, and she replied that she was very happy to see them. Baba was obviously very glad to contact her and said that she was a very high mastani. She has since passed away.” The Wayfarers – Meher Baba with the God-Intoxicated, by William Donkin, © copyright, 1948, Adi K. Irani

Over two hundred of the more than four hundred pages of The Wayfarers are in the form of a supplement. The supplement describes mast contacts and consists of short descriptions “first culled from various disciples of Meher Baba. Meher Baba then read through each description, correcting many, adding to many; and in the majority of cases, he also dictated an authoritative note concerning the type of mast, and sometimes, also, a note about their spiritual advancement.” — William Donkin

I have always loved these descriptions — they are my favorite part of The Wayfarers. Something about them fires my imagination and resonates in me at some deep level beyond words. 

“The tale of love must be heard from love itself, for like the mirror, it is both mute and expressive.”— Shams i Tabriz

“Agniwala Baba — A mast from Aligarh (near Delhi) 1942
“An old mast that lives in a deserted room that was once a shop; he keeps five or six puppies, and always has a fire (agni) in the room. He asked for firewood from Baba who gave him one maund (80 pounds) of it which the mast himself carried t on his head from the wood-stall to his room. Baba also fed him, and as usual with these masts who keep dogs about them, Agniwala Baba first fed the puppies, and then allowed himself to be fed. Meher Baba said he was a good mast.”  The Wayfarers – Meher Baba with the God-Intoxicated, by William Donkin, © copyright, 1948, Adi K. Irani

Masts appear to the average person to resemble homeless people or even the insane. It is because the average person cannot see beyond their suspicious exterior. But Meher Baba sees beyond that exterior, deeply into the minds and hearts of the masts. In the Wayfarers, He describes the various types of masts. One type He calls Jalali:

“A jalali mast is always hot –tempered, abusive to others, and talks at random. He is restless and beats those who come near him. He is almost always dressed in rags, and lives in an environment of filth and squalor… He never asks for gifts except tea and tobacco. If given clothes, money and so forth, he at once throws them away… He is happy in crowded streets and bazaars, and sometimes enjoys the company of dogs. The presence of small children annoys him.”— Ibid. pages28-29

(To be continued.)










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Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The Other Yoga



And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” —Matthew 11:12

Meher Baba stated that John the Baptist was one of the five Perfect Masters who precipitated the incarnation of God in the human form of Jesus Christ. Most history suggests that Jesus was born approximately B.C. 4-6 and that John the Baptist was born a few years before Jesus.

The crucifixion of Christ is placed A.D. 30-36. Approximately fifty to seventy-five years later Matthew wrote his gospel. In other words, the period of time when the kingdom of heaven could be taken by violence was at least 100 years, but I believe that it could have been much longer, possibly thousands of years…

The 100 year period between the birth of John and the birth of Jesus and the writing of the Gospel of Matthew is within the cycle of time known as the Kali Yuga, the dark age of the cycle of four yugas when, metaphorically speaking, the shadow of the sun appears much greater than the sun itself. We are now in a major transitional period between Kali Yuga and the Satya Yuga which begins a new cycle of cycles. Yugas last a long time, depending on who you ask, a Yuga could last from a thousand years to hundreds of thousands of years.

My sense is that it was in Dwapara Yuga, the Yuga before Kali, when the kingdom of heaven could be taken by violence—the violence of austerities, penances, and certain breathing exercises. People were powerful in those days, more powerful than now. The word violence was translated from the Greek word biázœ. Biázœ means force, or to force. The techniques used to force open the kingdom of heaven fall under the term yoga, but this yoga is not the yoga that is currently being taught in gyms and fitness centers around the world, or even in yoga schools and ashrams in India, instead, it is the Hatha Yoga that Upasani Maharaj refers to in this talk from 1924.

To effect union with God means yoga and there are many a method for the same. Not knowing the different forms of yoga, many call Hatha Yoga alone as yoga and the control of the breath and holding the breath is taken to be the proper study in the line by them.

“The study of yoga, however, that does not go against nature, that takes place at a slow pace at the will of a Sadguru, and is based on punya accruing out of motiveless, desireless, actions, in other words, what is called Nishkama karma, leads one to its final stage of Sahaj-Samadhi. This method is natural and not forced as is methods and practices of Hatha Yoga—it never goes against nature.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, page 537

There is so much to be learned from this statement, but first let’s take a step back in order to create some context: I always return to the teachings of the Perfect Masters for guidance and clarification. Perfect Ones are those who have achieved the kingdom of heaven and have become the embodiment of Infinite, Knowledge, Infinite Power, and Infinite Bliss. These Perfect Ones retain their bodies for a period of time after their Realization in order to help others in their journeys to God. In this talk, Upasani Maharaj refers to these Perfect Ones as Sadgurus. Upasani Maharaj was such a Perfect One. He never gave an opinion, He always spoke from His own experience of Infinite Knowledge and so I give His statements a lot of weight.

In this talk, Upasani Maharaj uses the term Nishkama karma. Karma is understood to be the fruit of actions—tasty or not, golden or spiked. Kama is generally understood to mean the pursuit of pleasure—pleasure as distinct from happiness. And Nish means without; hence, Nishkama karma means motiveless, desireless, actions.  To attempt to live one’s life without regard for personal pleasures or gain is, in fact, one of the meanings of Karma Yoga. But how is it possible to live such a life?

If you want someone to not think about pink elephants, you don’t tell them to not think about pink elephants, because the nature of the mind is to always go where it is told not to go. Therefore, it is more effective to tell the person to think about blue elephants. With regard to Karma Yoga and its pursuit of eliminating actions born of self-interest, there are various methods like doing actions for the benefit of others without regard for oneself. But the highest method is to do actions with the single and self-less motive to please God in the form of a living Perfect Master or the Avatar.

In light of all this, Upasani’s statement makes total sense; “To effect union with God means yoga and there are many a method for the same. Not knowing the different forms of yoga, many call Hatha Yoga alone as yoga and the control of the breath and holding the breath is taken to be the proper study in the line by them.

“The study of yoga, however, that does not go against nature, that takes place at a slow pace at the will of a Sadguru, and is based on punya accruing out of motiveless, desireless, actions, in other words, what is called Nishkama karma, leads one to its final stage of Sahaj-Samadhi. This method is natural and not forced as is methods and practices of Hatha Yoga—it never goes against nature.” – Ibid


I frequently return to consider the three states of God—God in the state of deep sleep; God in the dream state; and God in the fully awake state. In the first state God says nothing because He is so deeply asleep that He is neither conscious nor unconscious of Himself; in the second state, God  asks and attempts to answer His question, “Who am I?” while in the third state, God consciously says, “I am God!” and experiences Himself as God.


 “The one that was there right from the Beginning, obviously did not study Hatha yoga; he behaved in a natural way; he did not work on his own; he did not think of results; he did not do anything to have pleasures; he just went on in the most natural way—he remained in the state of ‘Be as it may,’ and ultimately experienced that he himself is everything; and this state is the state of Infinite Bliss.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, page 537

So, who was that one “that was there right from the Beginning?”

In a small town in central India is the ashram of Sadguru Narayan Maharaj, one of the five Perfect Masters who precipitated the advent of Avatar Meher Baba. In that ashram is a room with a silver throne that depicts the throne of God. It is called Ars-e-Maula. You can see a picture of that throne in Bhau Kalchuri’s book, The Nothing and the Everything. It is quite an impressive thing.

In his book, Bhau writes;

In the beginning of time this throne remained to be filled until Infinite Consciousness was gained through the medium of Infinite Unconsciousness. The first to occupy that throne, who eternally remains enthroned, is none but the Nameless Ancient One who gained Infinite Consciousness by Himself.

“By occupying that vacant seat filled by Infinite Consciousness (at the instant He realized Infinite Consciousness), He established the eternal aspect of Personal God when His Infinite Consciousness filled the Vacuum of Impersonal God’s Infinite Unconsciousness.

“Ars-e-Maula represents the vacuum that was filled by the First Soul when He realized God, and when He realized Himself to be Infinite Consciousness.” – The Nothing and the Everything, Bhau Kalchuri, page 103

This first soul became the first Sadguru—the first Perfect Master—but what is different about than the Sadgurus that followed Him is that these later Sadgurus never incarnate after they drop—discard—their physical bodies. Meher Baba explains that when a Sadguru drops His body He remains in the I am God State eternally enjoying Infinite Bliss and that He loses all connection with and consciousness of creation.

But the first Sadguru did take another Incarnation and continues to take an Incarnation every 750 to 1,400 years. Meher Baba tells us that when He comes again and again He is known as the Ancient One, the Christ, the Messiah, the Buddha, the God-Man, etc.

All these Names are Names that identify His State and His Station. For example, Jesus was the Incarnation of the Christ State and Gautama was the Incarnation of the Buddha State, but though the name of the State is different, the State is always the same, and the One who incarnates in that state is also always the same One—the Ancient One—the First Soul—the One who was the first Sadguru.

As Upasani Maharaj said, “The one that was there right from the Beginning, obviously did not study Hatha yoga; he behaved in a natural way; he did not work on his own; he did not think of results; he did not do anything to have pleasures; he just went on in the most natural way—he remained in the state of ‘Be as it may,’ and ultimately experienced that he himself is everything; and this state is the state of Infinite Bliss.

“The one that was there right from the Beginning, obviously did not study Hatha yoga; he behaved in a natural way; he did not work on his own; he did not think of results; he did not do anything to have pleasures; he just went on in the most natural way—he remained in the state of ‘Be as it may,’ and ultimately experienced that he himself is everything; and this state is the state of Infinite Bliss.”The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, page 537

He then went on to say;

The World came into ‘Being’; ‘Being’ means: to use things therein in a natural way; not to exert to make anything useful; to see whatever happens, just like a witness; not to name anything as good or bad; not to stop anything that is happening; not to exert to cause anything to happen in one’s own or anyone else’s interest; not to think of what one is doing; not to think of any pleasure or pain; only to see as a mere on-looker, whatever goes on—whatever happens—all this is just ‘Being’.” – Ibid


Reading this statement makes me wonder what a life like this would be like and how it would compare to the life I am now living. It seems to be a prescription for how to be in the world but not of the world. It also seems to be a prescription for what Upasani Maharaj called the state of “Be as it may.”

And so I try to imagine a life opposite to what Upasani Maharaj describes—a  life full of exertion, naming anything and everything as good and bad, trying to stop unwanted things from happening and make wanted things happen, etc. Is not this a picture of the life of the average man or woman living in the world these days?


People do what they do to be happy, but does living a life of chasing desires and avoiding the unwanted really bring happiness? Can one really be happy while continuing to swing back and forth on the nearly endless pendulums of pleasure and pain, riches and poverty, health and sickness, etc. for lifetimes on end? To me, the people of the world do not seem to experience lasting happiness. And so, if the opposite of a natural life, does not lead to any real happiness, perhaps the natural life described by Upasani Maharaj does?


But who can lead such a natural life? Does the average person really have a choice? A Perfect Master once told a follower; “A problem comes to a person with a troubled mind, it is like chiseled into the stone, but when a problem comes to a person with a happy mind it is like written in the sand.”


The follower replied that he had heard the saying before and that the Master should tell him something new! A pretty cheeky follower, no doubt, but Masters sometimes allow such intimacy from their followers; after all, Perfect Masters have no need of anyone’s respect and are unaffected by either kicks or kisses. They also never allow a follower’s suspicious interior to hide behind an auspicious exterior—for very long. And so Perfect Masters often create conditions that encourage hidden hindrances to come to the surface so that they can be seen and worked on in a natural way.

The Master then asked the follower what the saying meant and the follower said that it meant that things go more easily when one is in a happy state of mind.

The Master nodded His head in agreement, but said that there was a deeper meaning to the statement and explained that the sanskaras created from the actions performed at the behest of a happy mind do not make deep impressions on the mind and are therefore easier to erase than impressions created from the actions of a troubled mind.


I mentioned this story as a reminder that the lives we live are, as Meher Baba put it, the consolidated molds of impressions—sanskaras—created in our previous lives. In other words, most impressions formed in a lifetime are not experienced in that lifetime, but in the next. It is almost as if we are always living one lifetime behind.


Now this is not to suggest that we don’t have some choice, but the choices in any given lifetime are not the choices of the cards that we have dealt ourselves—what is generally called our karma—instead, our choices lie in how we choose to play those cards—what is generally called dharma, or the playing the game from the level of the highest directive we can fathom.


And so, if one’s life is the consolidated mold of past unnatural sanskaras, like the one I imagined, then to live a natural life, such as the one Upasani Maharaj described would be very difficult indeed.


Of course the Perfect Masters know all this. They know everything and are always most merciful and they would never leave us in an untenable position for long. So, sensing our inability to lead the natural life in order to become free of the nearly endless pendulums of duality that lead to an almost endless chain of births and deaths, Master suggest appropriate strategies that fit the various natures of their followers in order to lead them in the most efficient and compassionate ways to their ultimate liberation.


In His talk, Upasani Maharaj explains that the effectiveness of various practices like yoga to attain the Bliss of Being turns around something called Ahamkara.


Ahamkara is a Sanskrit word that means pride, but its implication goes deeper, because it suggests identification with anything other than Self—other than God. This identification can be with the state of being a man or a woman, a king or a pauper, a Muslim or a Jew, etc. In other words, any identification with one of the opposite forms of any of the nearly endless pendulums of duality—Ahamkara is the pride that binds one to a false identity. 


When one begins to experience in the world that he is in no way connected with anything else in it, that he is just as he is, that he is in the state of ‘only’, then he begins to experience the real happiness—the Bliss of Being. Those who have mastered the state of ‘Contentment’ are the real perfect persons, and having not done any actions with the least feeling of Ahamkara, there is no further necessity of any more births to bear the evil fruits thereof. The study of Hatha yoga, however, cannot be done without Ahamkara, and as such, the Hatha yogis never get the real Bliss born out of Nirahankara—the state devoid of Ahamkara.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, page 537 - 538


Upasani Maharaj then gives the example of the heat of summer and the breeze that accompanies the heat. He says that living in a natural way means to rely on nature for relief  equilibrium in which the Buddhi—the innate intelligence, the wisdom of the soul—remains in the state of poise in relation to the laws of Nature, or what He often calls the  state of be as it may. But be as it may ought not be taken as state of inactivity or passivity, and to make this point more clear, He reminded us of Shri Krishna’s response to Arjuna when Arjuna began to doubt his dharma in the epic story of the Mahabharata.  


The first canto of the Bhagavad Gita shows that Arjuna was insisting on abandoning the fight, but subsequently as a result of Lord Krishna’s advice he gave up his point of view and behaved in the natural way, according to the Laws of Nature, according to Swadharma. Krishna further said that since that time both of them became one and the same.”– Ibid.


There are so many interesting things about this quotation. Take the word Swadharma. The prefix Swa means one’s own, and this is extremely important, because in order to behave in a natural way it is imperative to live one’s own dharma and not attempt to imitate or emulate anyone else’s dharma. As Krishna later said in the Gita, “To live one’s own dharma imperfectly is superior to living another’s dharma perfectly.” And then there is the last statement; “Krishna further said that since that time both of them became one and the same.” I am reminded of what Meher Baba said; “You and I are not we, but One.”

“One must remain in the state of ‘Be as it may’; one has thus to remain like all other things—animate or inanimate—without any Ahamkara; after all, each of us is but an object like all other objects in and of the world. Is anything in this world, other than human beings, ever seen to exert for pleasure or pain for itself? It is the human being alone that exerts in that way. Just as everything else is actionless (ego-less), in the same way one should remain actionless and just go on seeing things in a detached way as they occur—as they happen. Once one is able to remain in such a state for all time, one has achieved the state of Sahaja-Samadhi.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, page 539


To become one with Krishna and to become one and the same as Krishna means to be one and the same with Infinite Bliss. Does not the same opportunity exist for everyone? God exists for everyone; He is the same One God with many different Names.


Everyone has their own karma and dharma; and the natural way could not be natural if it did not exist for everyone. But perhaps, the opportunity, though ever-present, does not really present itself until one’s longing for God—one’s longing for real Bliss—reaches a certain level of intensity that burns away all other longings and desires.


But it takes many lifetimes for the longing for God to reach this intensity through the gradual dissipation of one’s Ahamkara.  


When the study of Hatha yoga reaches its full measure, then it becomes one with the natural ways; till then, all the actions therein are of a forced type and not natural.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, page 539


He goes on to explain what happens to a practitioner of forced yoga who discontinues or happens to die before their practice achieves completion and becomes natural.


If, however, a person has to discontinue their study for some reason, or dies during the study, such a person is called Yoga-bhrashta and they get their ensuing birth in a royal or rich family to enjoy the pleasures commensurate with the punya (blessings accrued from previous good or Satvika actions) they had accumulated. After they expend away their punya in this way, they again become as they were to begin with, prior to their study.


“As a person begins to enjoy princely pleasures as a result of the punya accrued from his Yoga-sadhana (practices), he normally acts in various ways while having them and these actions are generally of an adverse nature leading him to suffer, and that is why, as the maxim ‘Rajante Narakam Ghoram’ suggests, that at the end of enjoying as a king, due to many faulty actions performed by him during his rule, he has to descend down to the worst hell to pay for all those actions; in other words, he becomes bound down permanently to the chain of births and deaths.


“But, on the other hand, instead of doing many an action on his own, if the king sticks to a Satpurusha, rules according to the rules laid down by his forefathers, rules because he has to, and treats his subjects as his children, then such a man, without being affected by any of the actions he commits, becomes qualified for that Godly state with the help of that Satpurusha.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, page 540


Yoga means union; this union is understood to be union of consciousness with the Eternal Self, or Soul, or God—the various terms mean the same thing. Why does one begin the practice of yoga?  In these days, perhaps only a few would say to achieve union with God. For many people the answer is to find the peace that come with a tranquil mind, or to achieve a healthy body, or to acquire some powers, but at the bottom of these desires is not happiness the common goal?


But the real Masters, the Ones who have achieved the Ultimate goal, always remind us that powers, or health of body or mind, do not bring the real and lasting happiness that comes with the union of consciousness with the Eternal Self.


The train is going somewhere, we are not driving the train, but the Destination is assured. There is nothing wrong with seeking a measure of comfort along the way; didn’t Meher Baba often remind us to “not worry, be happy?” The real question, however, is how to live in such a way that brings happiness and yet does not create new bindings?


And the answer can be found in those words of Upasani Maharaj when He said, “But, on the other hand, instead of doing many an action on his own, if the king sticks to a Satpurusha, rules according to the rules laid down by his forefathers, rules because he has to, and treats his subjects as his children, then such a man, without being affected by any of the actions he commits, becomes qualified for that Godly state with the help of that Satpurusha.”


For is it not obvious that to live and act in the world without Ahamkara is impossible if one is living and acting to please oneself and not one’s Self?  As Gurdjieff once said, “it is like trying to jump over one’s own knees.” Is not the only way out of this dilemma to somehow enter into a relationship with One who is already Eternally Free and to begin to live and act only to please that One?


That is what the Masters are saying, but again the question remains; how to find such a Master and how to stick to that Satpurusha?


And so it seems that impressions (sanskaras), either bad or good will continue to collect when there is even the slightest vestige of identification connected to an action, and even when the soul is ready for Union, those impressions, bad or good, still have to be wiped away. So, what exactly precipitates this ending of the state of illusion before the experiencing of Union? One aspect of this is adequate adjustment with everything in the universe.


Meher Baba explained the difference between the first soul to realize God and all subsequent souls to realize God, “With regard to those souls who attain God-Realization subsequently (after the first), the two requirements stand, inner poise and adequate adjustment with everything in the universe.”Beams From Meher Baba, page 29


He later went on to explain that adequate adjustment with everything in the universe would have to include the adequate adjustment to any living God-Realized being in existence in the universe at the time of a soul’s realization by acknowledging the Perfection of these God-Realized beings and accepting any assistance that was rendered by them.


Upasani Maharaj said, “The power of the Sadguru is always there in existence; a Sadguru never takes his devotee through any Hatha. On whomever He wants to bestow His kripa, he takes away from him—relieves him—of the Asat-Prakriti that is responsible for the affairs of and in the world, and He replaces that Prakriti with the natural—the Sat-Prakriti—responsible for bringing the world into existence. That is what the Sadguru does.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, page 541


Prakriti is one of those words that have no easy equivalent in the English language; perhaps this is due to the fact that the idea of Prakriti does not really exist in the Western mind.


The Western mind understands the universe to be something concrete—something material—and that this material is real. But contrary to this notion are the teachings of the Avatars and the Perfect Masters who tells us that it is a combination of fine imagination and false consciousness that makes up the embodiment of the embodied soul, and by extension, the universe that the embodied soul finds itself in.


Prakriti is a state that the soul temporarily finds itself in between its unconscious reality as God and its conscious reality as God—and that this temporary state is necessary to acquire the consciousness that distinguishes the second state form the first. The matter that makes up this temporary state is not in question here, but the reality of that matter is.


The words Sat and Asat are a little easier to digest. Sat means knowledge—real knowledge—knowledge of Reality—while Asat means false knowledge—the knowledge of ignorance.


Hopefully, in light of these distinctions, Upasani Maharaj’s statement becomes clearer.


“… he takes away from him—relieves him—of the Asat-Prakriti that is responsible for the affairs of and in the world, and He replaces that Prakriti with the natural—the Sat-Prakriti—responsible for bringing the world into existence.”


I once had the good fortune to meet a man who Meher Baba said was living his last lifetime before achieving the Goal. His appearance seemed average; he had a good sense of humor; frankly one would not take notice of him in a crowd or gathering...


Anyway, before returning to Upasani Maharaj’s talk on the other yoga, I can’t help but wonder if the adequate adjustment with everything in the universe that Meher Baba spoke about does not only apply to those fortunate souls who are standing at the immediate threshold of God–Realization, but also to the vast majority of souls who experience the universe as something very real and themselves as beings most  limited, unknowing, and vulnerable, and do not have any direct experience beings who are not perceptibly different than them-selves?


In other words, what constitutes an adequate adjustment for those beings who are lost in the dream of life, but who may have heard about the Incarnations of the Avatar and the existence in creation of the God-Realized? Does merely saying, “I believe,” or “I don’t believe,” constitute adequate adjustment, or perhaps is adequate adjustment found more in the words of the Perfect Master Kabir who once said, “Until you experience it, it is not true?”


By my own count this is around the tenth page of my post on the subject of yoga inspired by a talk by Upasani Maharaj. Much has been discussed, and still the question remains; what is yoga? It seems simple enough; traditionally the word yoga means union—union of the soul with the Oversoul, the atma with Paramatma, or the drop of the Ocean with the Ocean of God, but still…



He returns to the door from which he first came out, although in his journey he went from door to door.” – Maulana Shabistari as quoted in God Speaks, by Meher Baba, page 170


Creation itself can be considered to be the yoga by which Unconscious God achieves Self-consciousness—becomes conscious God, and Meher Baba tells us that this achievement is assured for every soul that enters creation, but that the journey is an odyssey that takes many forms and many lifetimes.


To the question, “What is your yoga?” Meher Baba simply replied, “My yoga is you go!” In other words, the imaginary gross, subtle, and mental, bodies that apparently encapsulates the soul on its journey to acquire consciousness must be removed once that consciousness has been achieved. As Rumi said;


The mind is a great and a wondrous thing that has brought you to the door of the King—then, like shoes at a holy place, they must be removed and left at the door.”


 But how can one remove those shoes—those gross, subtle, and mental bodies that the soul has identified with from the very beginning?  How can an individual lose their-self with their-self in order to experience their-Self? Gurdjieff once said, “It is like trying to jump over your own knees!” And that is why, the help of a Sadguru is necessary, and being able to accept that help is predicated on adequate adjustment with everything in the universe.


When a Sadguru actually bestows his kripa, one experiences this change in himself—experiences that the Asat Prakriti (non-natural Prakriti) that does all sorts of actions responsible for the affairs of and in the world, has left him and that the One Original Primary Prakriti (the natural Sat-Prakriti) has taken a form and entered his heart.


“Then, in accordance with the qualities of that Original Prakriti, he begins to experience his gross (physical) body spontaneously performing various actions with regard to the spiritual path and the good of the world—actions that are opposite to the common ways of the average human being.


“The ways of the first Prakriti were experienced for births on end, but when the other Prakriti—the result of the Sadguru’s kripa—begins to possess one’s self and when one begins to see her work, one begins to wonder at the happenings. When the first the Asat-Prakriti left me, and was replaced by the Sat-Prakriti, I passed through all this peculiar experience.” The Talks of Sadguru Upasani-Baba Maharaja, Volume II, Part B, pages 540-541


Now there are teachings and there are teachings. The teachings of the world are one thing and the teachings of the spiritual path are another, but the teachings of the Perfect Masters and the Avatar are again, something different. These teachings are often opposed to both the worldly teachings and the spiritual teachings. For one steeped in the teachings of the world, the teachings of the Perfect Masters and the Avatar may appear to be wrong—even insane—and to even admit the possibility of their Truth would necessitate  a monumental suspension of all the   truths and beliefs held through perhaps thousands of lifetimes in the human form.


What worldly minded person could hear these words by Hafez and not balk at their implication?


Befitting the fortunate slave, carry out every command of the Master without any question of why or what.”


About what you hear from the Master, never say it is wrong; because, my dear, the fault lies in your own incapacity to understand Him.”


I am the slave of the Master who has released me from ignorance; whatever my Master does is of the highest benefit to all concerned.”


For the worldly minded person, spiritual teachings may be an easier transition because spiritual still leave a little room for the ego to play because on the spiritual path one does not have to give up desires all at once, but just to, so to speak, up-level them. When one realizes that things like money, fame, fortune, and worldly power do not bring happiness, they may begin to desire the experiences and powers of the higher planes of consciousness, and indeed, the experiences and powers of the higher planes are quite seductive. On the spiritual path there still remains room for belief of I can do.


But the Masters tell us that all these experiences and powers of the higher planes of consciousness are not the Goal, and that in relationship to the Ultimate Experience of the Goal, the spiritual experiences of the planes are still nothing more than excrement—the waste product of the evolution and involution of consciousness. Masters don’t give until they have taken everything away and then they turn the key and give Everything! What needs to be given up—taken away? Hafez said;

There is no barrier between the lover and the Beloved; Hafez, lift yourself aside, you are the covering over Self.”


Hafez once explained that there is a desert and a lush garden adjacent to each other. The lush garden is the worldly life and the desert is the spiritual path. Hafez said that in order to follow the Beloved, one must walk on the sword’s edge between the garden and the desert. But to do so is only possible with the kripa of the Master and this kripa requires a connection and this connection is love.


Listen to the words of Meher Baba:


“Pure love is not a thing that can be forced upon someone, nor can it be snatched away from another by force. It has to manifest from within, with unfettered spontaneity. What can be achieved through bold decision is the removal of those factors that prevent the manifestation of pure love.


“The achievement of selflessness may be said to be both difficult and easy. It is difficult for those who have not decided to step out of the limited self, and it is easy for those who have so decided. In the absence of firm determination, attachments connected with the limited self are too strong to break through. But if a person resolves to set aside selfishness at any cost, he finds an easy entry into the domain of pure love.


“Need for bold decision:


“The limited self is like an external coat worn by the soul. Just as an individual may take off his coat by the exercise of will, through a bold, decisive step he can make up his mind to shed the limited self and get rid of it once and for all. The task that otherwise would be difficult becomes easy through the exercise of a bold and unyielding decision. Such a decision can be born in his mind only when he feels an intense longing for pure love. Just as someone who is hungry longs for food, an aspirant who wants to experience pure love must have a intense longing for it.


“True love awakened only by Master:


“When the aspirant has developed this intense longing for pure love, he may be said to have been prepared for the intervention of a Perfect Master -- who through proper direction and necessary help ushers him into the state of divine love. Only the Master can awaken pure love through the divine love that he imparts; there is no other way. Those who want to be consumed in love should go to the eternal flame of love.


“Love is the most significant thing in life. It cannot be awakened except by coming into contact with the Incarnation of love. Theoretical brooding on love will result in weaving a theory about love, but the heart will remain as empty as before. Love begets love; it cannot be awakened by any mechanical means.” Discourses, by Meher Baba, 7th ed, pp. 397-398Copyright 1987 AMBPPCT


                                                                                                                                              © copyright Michael Kovitz 2017




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