Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Where the Two Seas Met

(The title of this series of posts, “Where the Two Seas Met,” is taken from the title of the book that inspired it. Where the Two Seas Met is the title of a beautiful book by Professor Hugh Talat Halman. In it, he illumines a wonderful story, the story of al-Khidr and the Hebrew prophet Moses. The blog will explore some of the themes that Professor Halman elucidates, but first, let us begin by setting the story.)

Rumi, perhaps the most read poet of all times, was, in his time, a famous teacher. He, as they say, had it all, worldly wealth, fame, success...

The story goes; you have heard it from me, and others, that someone who appeared to be a madman wandered into Rumi’s camp and threw Rumi’s manuscripts into a well. Rumi was angry, but the madman, Shams-e Tabriz, retrieved the un-harmed manuscripts from the well.

This act, designed specifically to shake Rumi from him slumber, had its effect, and Rumi became the follower of Shams who eventually bestowed upon Rumi the state of Perfection.

In this story we have an example of a very worldly and successful individual who is taken to the next level, because, as Meher Baba said, “Man will be dislodged again and again from his illusory shelters by fresh and irresistible waves of life, and will invite upon himself fresh forms of suffering by seeking to protect his separative existence through escape.”

Yes, in the world, Rumi had it all, but success in the world is not the goal, and as the Old Persian saying goes, “When it’s time has come, the prey finds the hunter”—the lover finds the Beloved. This should not be construed that the Beloved was not there, had not been there before, all along, but instead, at a certain moment, when the moment is right, the lover is allowed to recognize the Beloved. It could be a moment; it could be a lifetime, it could be hundreds of thousands of lifetimes, but eventually, inevitably, the moment comes.

About what you hear from the Master, never say it is wrong, for, my dear, the fault lies in your own incapacity to understand Him.” The Beloved is never cruel to be cruel, and He is never vengeful, for vengeance is payback for that which has been taken, and what does the Divine Beloved have that can be taken from Him? The Divine Beloved has Nothing—how can you take Nothing away when Nothing is nothing? The Divine Beloved has Everything—how can you take anything away from the One who has All Power, All Knowledge, and all Bliss—Eternally?

The Beloved is neither cruel nor vengeful. He waits patiently for his lover’s time to come, knowing that time itself does not exist, and when the time that does not exist comes, He gives Everything, and once Everything is given and received, the receiver knows that what was received what that which he always had and always will have that which was given. How can one give to another that which the other has always had? The only answers is; in games. In games we give and receive, we win and lose, yet, in the end it only a game. Rumi laid down his king on the chess board and said, “I have lost.” And Shams replied, “No, this time you have won.”—and gave to Rumi God-Realization.

Lover and Beloved, Seeker and the Sought, self and Self—it is all a game, but it is a game that must be played, it is a game that must be won and lost, it is a game that in the losing is winning and in the winning is losing, because, “In the spiritual game, the loser rejoices and the winner feels ashamed.” – Meher Baba

And what of this game of hide and seek, lover and Beloved, self and Self? Why the duality? Why the game at all? In a book called Beams from Meher Baba, Meher Baba made a few statements that shed light on this question:

 “The first man to realize God as one indivisible and eternal Truth was taken up into this realization by the eternal Infinite Avataric consciousness.” Beams from Meher Baba

“The Avatar is the first master of the first God-realized soul. But in God-realization the full consciousness of the first master became fused with the eternally infinite consciousness of the Avatar.” – Ibid

The first master had no master in human form. But all subsequent masters have had masters in the human form to help them in Truth-realization.” Ibid

Why? Meher Baba answers in this way:

“…two requirements for God-Realization stand—inner poise and adequate adjustment with everything in the universe.” – ibid

You have to admit that is an amazing statement!  Read it again. It is with regard to the second requirement that Meher Baba states:

“Hence, while adjusting himself with everything in the universe, the second candidate for God-realization is confronted with the problem of adjusting himself to the first master or God-realized soul who, as we have seen, is indistinguishable from the eternal Avatar.” – Ibid 

And so, after the first soul realized itself, it became mandatory for all subsequent souls to become, as Meher Baba said, adequately adjusted to the Divinity of the first soul who gained realization, and hence the game began.

And what a game it is, this game of lover and Beloved. The gazelle cries out to the hunter, “You hide yourself from me and from your place of hiding you shoot your arrows into my heart. I feel the sting of each arrow, I am in pain, and yet wounded and unable to run, you still do not show yourself, you do not advance to shoot the final arrow of annihilation and thus collect your prize?

“You have destroyed me really, I have no life, and I can no longer run with the wind or dance with a doe. Life is over for me, there is nothing except you, you the hunter, and now, mortally wounded, you do not approach to finish your kill? What kind of cruel hunter are you? And so, hear my complaint; come and take me, do not ignore my plight, but if you insist upon continuing your game, at least, please, do not stop shooting your arrows at me—for in each arrow’s wound I see a face, your face, the face of my Beloved.”

The story of the gazelle and the hunter could very well be applied to the story of Saint Francis.

“Don asked, ‘Baba, you have explained in the Discourses, God Speaks, and elsewhere that an individual cannot attain God-realization without the aid of a living Perfect Master. Since there was no Perfect Master in the West at that time, how did Saint Francis achieve Realization?’

“Baba turned to Ivy and asked, ‘Have you heard of the ancient Sufi prophet, Khwaja Khizr?’ She replied that she had heard Rabia Martin speak of him. Baba explained: ‘Khwaja Khizr now and then takes on a physical body if there is some spiritual situation that absolutely demands it. The Realization of Francis was such a case, because he had no Perfect Master to give him Realization. So on the night we read about on Mount La Verna, [near] Assisi, during which Saint Francis also received the stigmata [wounds of the Crucified Christ], Khwaja Khizr, in his temporary human form, gave this beloved Western saint the touch of grace which made him a Perfect Soul — a Sadguru or Perfect Master.’ Lord Meher (the biography of Meher Baba) by Bhau Kalchuri

Recently I asked Professor Halman if Khwaja Khizr was another name for al-Khidr and he replied: “From the little Meher Baba said about al-Khidr, I take Meher Baba to be referring to al-Khidr (or Khwaja Khizr as he calls him in the Indian style) as a particular person, an immortal and ever-returning person.”

Saint Francis never met Jesus, he was born almost twelve hundred years after Jesus dropped His body, and yet his love for Jesus was so strong and pure he needed no other master to prepare him for God-realization, and in the end, when his time had come, Khwaja Khizr came to Saint Francis in the appearance of his beloved Jesus.

And so who is Khwaja Khizr? And who is Jesus? And who is Saint Francis? And who are you—and who am I? The answer is one and the same. “All souls are one. All souls are in the Oversoul. All souls are one.” – Meher Baba, God Speaks

Meher Baba explained that the difference between souls is in their consciousness, and their experiences, and in their state. Yet, in reality, all souls are in the Oversoul and all souls are one. Try to imagine this oneness. Is that not the meaning of Bliss Infinite?

“Befitting a fortunate slave, carry out every command of the Master without any question of why or what.” – Hafez, trans. Meher Baba

These words must sounds so strange, so wrong, in so many ways to the average world citizen—either of East or West—these days. Masters and slaves; unquestioning obedience; we have all heard stories of teachers claiming to be masters in order to exploit the gullible for their own benefits.

We have seen the teachings of the Prophet distorted and used by others to influence the suffering and the ignorant to do what appear to be unspeakable things in the name of the Lord. But was it not the same in the days of the Christian Crusades and the Islamic invasions of Genghis Kahn?

My friends, I am neither a historian nor a scholar, nor do I claim to understand these events from the state and status of one who is One with Knowledge. I mention them merely to, so to speak, create a setting for our story, the story promised in the title of this series of posts called Where the Two Seas Met.

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

“Moses said to him (al-Khidr), ‘May I follow you so that you may teach me the guidance you have learned?’
“He, [al-Khidr] said, ‘Indeed, you will not be able to have patience with me.’

“He [Moses] said, ‘You will find me, God willing, patient and I will not disobey you in anything.’

“He [al-Khidr] said, ‘If you follow me, then do not ask me about anything until I mention it to you.’” Where the Two Seas Met by Professor Hugh Talat Halman
Moses had been led to al-Khidr because his time had come, and, “When his time has come, the prey finds the hunter.” – Old Persian saying 

Al-Khidr told Moses that he would not be able to respect his conditions, and, in fact, it turned out to be true, Moses could not keep from questioning the actions of al-Khidr.

“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.” – Hafez trans. Meher Baba

It was many years ago, perhaps I could say, many lifetimes ago, because it sure feels like that to me, I would read stories about real teachers and students—masters and disciples—and it seems so clear to me that I would never make the same obvious mistakes that those students/disciples made.

But now, I am not so sure. Real masters never cover-up their disciples flaws—flaws that keep them from the goal—no, in fact, they do everything to expose those flaws. This is why, in the Darbars of the real masters, peace and tranquility is only the occasional respite.

I often ask myself; is not everything in this life of mine, and all the other lives of mine, merely preparation for being able to live a lifetime in the living presence of my Avataric master? If he gave me hell, would I be able stay with him? If he did what appeared to me to be the unspeakable, would I be able to stay with him?

The answer is no, at least not now, until my bond with him becomes so unbreakable that it can under all circumstance and trials resist the power of my own mind so that I truly know—never forget—that in spite of all appearances, “I am the slave of the Master who has released me from ignorance. Whatever the Master does, is of the highest benefit to all concerned.” Hafez, trans. Meher Baba

“If you follow me, then do not ask me about anything until I mention it to you,” Moses persisted saying, “You will find me, God willing, patient and I will not disobey you in anything.” – All quotes from the Quran taken from Where the Two Seas Met by Professor Hugh Talat Halman

Al-Khidr repeated his admonition to Moses, “If you follow me, then do not ask me about anything until I mention it to you.” – Ibid

And so they proceeded to walk along the seashore, and circumstances led them to a boat belonging to some people who recognized al-Khidr who offered them a ride in their boat for free. It is recounted that during the boat ride “a sparrow came and sat on the edge of the boat and dipped its beak into the sea.” – Ibid

And al-Khidr said to Moses, “My knowledge and your knowledge, compared to the knowledge of God, is like what the sparrow has removed from the sea.” – Ibid

But, now, before going any deeper into the story, it may be useful for readers who are not that well acquainted with the Quran to take a step back and inquire why Moses, the King of the Jews, is in the story at all?

In fact, Moses is mentioned in this Holy book a substantial number of times other than in the story of his journey with al-Khidr. Perhaps, their relationship mirrors the closeness of the relationship that exists between all Jews and all Muslims. I remember another story told by Upasani Maharaj—the Hindu Perfect Master. In the story, He reminds the listeners that His Master was Sai Baba of Shirdi—a Muslim Master. Of course, upon arriving at God Realization, all such distinctions regarding religion, or sex, or color, or success, or fame, cease to exist, even good and bad are subsumed in the Ultimate experience of Oneness. But the distinctions do continue to exist for the many followers of the Masters.

And so, Upasani Maharaj told those present that sometime after His Realization He woke-up in Shirdi in the body of Sai Baba and conversely, Sai Baba woke-up in Sakori in the body of Upasani Maharaj. Upasani told those present that this may seem very strange to them, but He reminded them that the sense of strangeness was only the result of their identification with their physical bodies. He went on to say that consciousness is always and in everything progressing on its journey to Realization and that this journey can be understood as a migration through a whole series of forms and their accompanying experiences. The significance of the fact that Hindus were bowing down to a Muslim Master and Muslims were bowing down to a Hindu Master was not lost on the listeners. In the spiritual game, all attachments and distinctions have to be eliminated.

Are not all religions merely different forms that consciousness plays through over many, many, life-times? Is the Jew in one lifetime not a Muslim or a Hindu or Buddhist, or even an atheist in the next? Are not all these religions closely connected and intertwined? I remember a Tibetan Monk once told me, “Truth is found at the center of the wheel. Spokes run back and forth from the center to the periphery of the wheel.” He said, “Notice that as the spokes get further away from the center they appear further and further apart.”

Returning to the story, at some point in their journey, al-Khidr took out a tool and began cutting holes in the boat to sink it. Moses was aghast and began to question al-Khidr as to why he was sinking the boat and whether it was his intention to drown the people in the boat—the very people who out of kindness offered to ride them for free. Al-Khidr replied by reminding Moses of his promise not to question him and his warning that he would not be able to “find enough patience to bear with me.” Quran 18:72

Of course, who among us could blame Moses for speaking out? When what appears to one’s eyes and mind to be so wrong, how can one remain silent? And especially, in this cycle of time, when, as one of my dear friends recently said, “Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds,
scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality, (and) governments destroy freedom,”
how can one not speak out, how can one not believe their eyes? And, for Moses, his tests and trials didn’t end there…

“They continued further until they came upon a young boy playing among other boys. Al-Khidr stepped forward and, as if plucking a piece of fruit, killed him by pulling off his head off. And Moses challenged, ‘have you killed a pure soul who has not killed anyone? You have done a terrible thing.’” Ibid

Yes, by any morality known to man would not the killing of a child be anything but reprehensible? But is there a law, dare I say it, a compassion, beyond man’s morality? In my book, Supervisions co-authored by Dr. Dorothy Mead, we recount a story I heard told by Bhau Kalchuri, a close follower of Meher Baba:

“A mass murderer went to a Perfect Master for help. He realized his soul was in grave jeopardy because of all the people he had killed. So he joined a group who had gathered in the presence of a Perfect Master. He was an old and grizzled looking man who wore nothing but a piece of burlap cut from an old gunnysack. Seeing the stranger in their midst, he nonchalantly inquired why he was there.

“The man spoke quite openly and honestly. ‘I am a bad man,’ he said. ‘I have killed many people and I am terrified for my soul. I have heard about you and come begging for your help.’ Of course, all in the group had turned to see the man who was confessing to being a murderer.

“‘Let me get this straight,’ said the Perfect Master, feigning the tone of a scholar or a philosopher. ‘You are a murderer?’


“‘And you have come to me for help for your soul?’


“‘I see. Now tell me, how many people have you killed?’

“‘Ninety-nine,’ the man replied, and all of the people gave a collective gasp.

“‘I see,’ said the Perfect Master. ‘You have killed ninety-nine people, and you want my help for your soul?’ his voice sounding thoughtful and inquiring.

“‘Yes, that is the truth.’

“‘I see. You have killed ninety-nine people. You are sure it is ninety-nine?’

“‘Yes, I am sure,’ said the murderer, who was beginning to wonder at the Perfect Master’s questions.

“‘Ninety-nine and not one hundred,’ the Perfect Master persevered while the murderer grew more impatient.

“‘Yes, I have killed ninety-nine and not one hundred.’

“‘And you are coming to me for my help?’ The man jumped to his feet. He felt the so-called Perfect Master was either crazy or teasing him.

“‘Where are you going?’ asked the Perfect Master in mock surprise.

“‘I feel I have made a mistake in coming here. I don’t believe you are taking me seriously. I am leaving.’

“‘On the contrary,’ replied the Perfect Master, ‘please sit down. I promise I will help you.’ The man sat down again.

“‘Now let me get this straight,’ said the Perfect Master. ‘You are a murderer and you have killed ninety-nine people and you are coming to me for help for your soul?’


“‘And you are sure you have killed ninety-nine people?’


“‘And not one hundred?’ Again the man jumped to his feet.

“‘What are you doing?’ asked the Perfect Master with all the innocence of a child.

“‘I am leaving.’

“‘Please sit down. I promised I would definitely help you,’ said the Perfect Master. The man again sat down.

“‘Now listen carefully to what I tell you. Will you do as I request?’


“‘Very well. Do you see that tree by the road over there?’


“‘This is what I want you to do. I want you to go and sit beneath that tree. You are to stay there; I will see to all your needs. You will have food and protection from the elements. You are just to stay there, but when people pass by on the road, you are to go to them and bless them.’

“‘Bless them?’

“‘Yes bless them; you can say may God’s blessing be upon you—anything like that you wish. Can you do it?’

“‘Yes,’ replied the murderer, who was happy to be given a penance for his sins.

“And so the man began to stay under the tree and bless people when they went by. He stayed there for years—after a while, people even began to think he was some kind of great saint.

“It so happened that one day a messenger on horseback came galloping down the road at top speed. The murderer was out in the road, busy doing his blessings, when the man rode by. Not seeing him coming, the murderer stepped in front of the charging horse, the horse reared up and the rider was thrown into the air. Picking himself off the ground, the rider was absolutely furious.

“‘What the hell are you doing, man?’ he shouted at the murderer. ‘Are you crazy? You fool! I am delivering an important message from the king. See what you’ve done, you piece of shit?’ and he went on like that, railing against the murderer, who himself was getting more and more angry.

“Finally, the murderer could stand the abuse no longer and picked up a large stone and crushed the messenger’s head. Just then, at that very moment, the Perfect Master arrived, said simply ‘One hundred,’ and bestowed upon the murderer the highest state of liberation. The Perfect Master gave him the state of God Realization.” Supervisions, by Dr. Dorothy Mead and Michael Kovitz, (available at

In the book, Supervisions, Anne is a very accomplished and gifted psychoanalyst. Victor is Anne’s friend. He is wonderful musician who has been treading the spiritual path for most of his life and is quite well-versed in the teachings of the Masters. After hearing the story of the man who killed 100 people, Anne tells Victor;

“Victor, I have absolutely no idea what this story means.” – Ibid

To which Victor responds;

“You see, Anne, the messenger was carrying orders from the king for the execution of one hundred innocent people. By killing the messenger—his one hundredth murder—he saved one hundred people. The Perfect Master knew this in the beginning, knew exactly what was necessary to balance the murderer’s actions and liberate him from their consequences.” – Ibid

But Anne’s dismay and irritation were in no way relieved by the explanation.

“I get it,” Anne said, “but I don’t think I like it. It disturbs me on many different levels,” – Ibid

—as was Moses disturbed, as would most people be disturbed by the workings of the Masters, for the Masters work in illusion to free those bound by illusion, to wake those from delusion’s dreams—and who enjoys their slumbers disturbed—even when those dreams lead only to more and more suffering? Gurdjieff once said, “The most difficult thing you can ask a man to give up is his suffering.”

And so it was that twice Moses broke his vow to not question al-Khidr and al-Khidr reminded him of that fact.

“Next they journeyed until they came to the people of a village. They asked for food and drink, but the people of the village refused to grant these favors. Al-Khidr then found in the village a wall that was half on the verge of falling down. So al-Khidr passed his hand upward over the wall and it straightened back up. Moses protested, observing that these people had denied them food and refused them as guests and yet al-Khidr had chosen to rebuild their wall, even though, had he desired, he could have taken a reward for this service. Moses was thinking that they could use the wages for food. But al-Khidr was not acting for the sake of his own reward.” Quran 18:77, as quoted from Where the Two Seas Met, by Professor Hugh Talat Halman

“At this point al-Khidr announced to Moses, ‘This is the parting between me and you. However, I will reveal to you the real meaning of what you what you were not able to bear patience…

As for the boat, it belonged to poor people who worked on the sea and I wanted to make it useless because a king was coming behind them, seizing every boat by force…’” – Ibid

Al-Khidr explained that in the case of the youth, his parents were believers and that God and al-Khidr together feared that the child would cause them grief by his stubborn rebellion, disbelief, and ingratitude. In fact, he was likely to corrupt his parents, who, is their love for him, might have been lured into a life of evil. So, their Lord and al-Khidr desired to give them in exchange a child in purity and closer in mercy, perhaps a girl.” – Ibid

Okay, so let’s assume that we can accept the explanation of the destruction of the boat, though it does seem a little inconsiderate to the boat people, who may or may not have been drowned in the process, but what about the killing of this boy? How was it written in the holy Quran? “as if plucking a piece of fruit, killed him by pulling off his head off,” so that his parents might not be lured into a life of evil? Can you imagine a defendant in a modern courtroom explaining that the reason he lopped off a child’s head was to protect the parents from the lure of a life of evil? Are we missing something here?

And remember the story of the guy who upon taking the life of his one hundredth victim was given God Realization? How would he fare in a modern-day court of law?

So, we seek an explanation that would comfort our sense of morality within the vision we call reality. For the skeptics among us, perhaps, the simplest explanation would be that the teachings and ways of the Masters are attempts on their part to, so to speak, rationalize evil as good in order to somehow further their own selfish aims.  A more impartial individual might conclude that these stories are not to be taken literally—that they are symbolic—that the boat and the boy and wall all represent other things and that the truth lies deep under the surface of the literal representation.

Underlying both of these explanations is an unstated assumption that what we see as the universe around us is something real—real in the sense that it, and ourselves, actually exists and exists the way we think it exists But isn’t this assumption the very boat that needs to be sunk, the child that needs to be killed, and the already crumbling wall that needs to be rebuilt by the emerging consciousness within us?

And even if we agree to this interpretation, does not some part of us still  question why the boy  had to die, either literally or symbolically and why the boat really needed to be sunk? Could not al-Khidr have found a different way to teach Moses?

I remember an old joke. A man falls off a high cliff. Somehow he catches hold of a vine that is growing out of the cliff’s wall. But the vine begins to pull loose and the man is in eminent danger of falling to his death. He looks up to the sky and beseeches God saying, “Oh God, oh God, please save me! Oh God, oh God, are you up there?” And a voice booms from above, “Yes, this is God, I am here, and I will save you, but only if you do as I say.” The man replies that he will do whatever he is asked to do. Then God tells him, “I will save you, but you must first let go of the vine.” The man hesitates and then looks up to the sky again and calls out, “Is there anyone else up there?”
Yes, we want God, who wouldn’t want God, but who among us would be able set aside all of our desires, all of our notions, all of our prerequisites—all of our terms? Who among us would be able to let go of the vine, first?

So there is no denying it, whatever tests Moses was put through were not easy tests. Why was he tested so, i.e. who was Moses to be tested in the way he was? Hafez once say, “Praise be to God, for He never tries His slave in vain.”? I mean, when was the last time you met an al-Khidr and went with him on such a journey and was tested in the ways Moses was tested?

We tend to look at things through the lens of our own consciousness—our own reality. In so doing, we keep affirming our reality as reality. In other words, by not questioning our reality, our reality goes unchallenged, and remains the basis on which we judge everything and everyone—including ourselves and including even God.

Who was Moses, and who was al-Khidr?  Remember, Professor Halman said that al-Khidr was an immortal and believed he was the same one that Meher Baba called Khwaja Khizr. Here is exactly what Meher Baba said;
 “Baba turned to Ivy and asked, ‘Have you heard of the ancient Sufi prophet, Khwaja Khizr?’ She replied that she had heard Rabia Martin speak of him. Baba explained: ‘Khwaja Khizr now and then takes on a physical body if there is some spiritual situation that absolutely demands it. The Realization of Francis was such a case, because he had no Perfect Master to give him Realization. So on the night we read about on Mount La Verna, [near] Assisi, during which Saint Francis also received the stigmata [wounds of the Crucified Christ], Khwaja Khizr, in his temporary human form, gave this beloved Western saint the touch of grace which made him a Perfect Soul — a Sadguru or Perfect Master.’” Lord Meher (the biography of Meher Baba by Bhau Kalchuri

Among the many things that make this statement so interesting is the fact that previously, and on many occasions, Meher Baba said that when a Perfect Master drops His body, He never reincarnates. So, Khwaja Khizr, or al-Khidr, would be the exception to this this rule.

And what about Moses, who was he? Once again, Meher Baba brings clarity to the question:

“Moses was on the sixth plane. His seeing the land of Israel but not being able to enter it is symbolic of his experience on the sixth plane of seeing God, but not yet merging in Him. Though when he dropped his body Moses realized God.”  Meher Baba, Lord Meher, volume 15, page 5264

The sixth plane of consciousness is the highest and final state, or stage, of illusory consciousness before God-Realization. In His book, God Speaks, and in The Nothing and the Everything, (a book by Bhau Kalchuri based on points dictated to Bhau by Meher Baba) Meher Baba explains that the pilgrim on the sixth plane of consciousness identifies himself with feelings, in other words, his seeing is feeling.

Feeling is the highest stage of mental activity, but feeling on sixth plane is not the feeling of ordinary man. Ordinary man does feel and experience emotions, but he identifies himself with the physical body. The pilgrim of the sixth plane, however, experiences himself as feeling itself. One with sixth plane consciousness does not even experience his physical body, let alone identify himself with/as the physical body.

What does the sixth plane pilgrim feel/see?  Meher Baba says, “He feels seeing God everywhere continuously but he cannot feel seeing himself in God as God… he still identifies himself with feelings.” God Speaks, by Meher Baba

The sixth plane pilgrim sees God face to face, everywhere and in everything, and yet maintains the Illusion of duality of God and other and, therefore, does not experience the state of Union, Oneness, tat what san—I am that I am—God-Realization.

Imagine that, seeing God face to face everywhere and in everything, and yet not experiencing Union with God the Beloved. Perhaps that is why Meher Baba sometimes refers to the sixth plane of consciousness as the experience of the dark night of the soul. It is written in the Old Testament that Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Was Moses on the sixth plane when he received the Commandments? And was Moses on the sixth plane before or after he met al-Khidr? Did al-Khidr first establish Moses on the sixth plane and then during the period immediately preceding the dropping of Moses’ physical body raise him to the state of God-Realization? “The tale of love must be heard from love itself, for like the mirror, it is both mute and expressive.” – Sham-e Tabriz

On a wall in the gallery that leads to the studio, in a dimly lit place where one would have no reason to pause, hangs a small painting in the style of oriental miniatures. Though I passed it for over a year on my way in and out of lessons, I never really noticed it until one day when the sun’s rays from the studio’s windows found just the right angle into the gallery and set the little painting aglow with life. I stopped and stared and was enchanted.” – From Silence to Sound, by Michael Kovitz, (available,

I began this series of posts inspired by a Quranic story that I discovered in a wonderful book, Where the Two Seas Met, by Professor Hugh Talat Halman. I had read the Quran many years before, but didn’t remember the story of al-Khidr and Moses. Professor Halman’s book had the effect of the painting that hung in the gallery that was, for a moment, illumed by the sun. I highly recommend Where the Two Seas Met to any of my readers who have become interested in this story as a result of reading this series of posts.

It was never my intention to analyze or critique the book. I will leave that to more gifted Quranic scholars. My intention was simply to, as they say, riff off of the story, going where I would go—making connections to the teachings of Meher Baba and others.

In the end, for me, all my meditations and pondering and contemplations upon the story of al-Khidr and Moses, far from exhausting the subjects, just barely cracks open the door that leads deep into its meaning and substance.

“Come, come, come,
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving—
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Though you may have broken your vow a thousand times,
Come, come yet again, come!” – Shams-e Tabriz

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