Sunday, July 05, 2015
“Yes my dear.”
“Would you like me to bring you some fresh tea?”
“Yes my dear, and please bring a cup for yourself and join me here in the garden.”
“Grandfather, I have been reading the story that Rumi tells in his Masnavi about the making of Adam. Since you have always demonstrated an ability to reach into the heart of a story and find its deeper meanings, I would like to talk to you about this story today.”
“Granddaughter, please relate to me the story as you remember it.”
“As I remember it, Rumi said that God determined to create mankind in order to be proved by good and evil. And Grandfather, that is my first question; ‘What exactly does Rumi mean when he says, ‘proved by good and evil?’”
“My dear, in the end, God has to be chosen of one’s own free will and the agent of that free will is love. God cannot be forced on someone; God cannot be coerced on someone, God has to be chosen, and God is very patient. God is patient because in the beginning, even before the beginning, God knew the end and God knows that in the end, each in their own time and way will choose God of his or her own free will.”
“And how does God know this? How can God be so certain?”
“Because, my dear, in the end, one always chooses reality over illusion, always chooses one’s reality of unending Infinite Bliss over one’s illusions of self as the passing and ephemeral experiencer of pleasure and pain, life and death, hope and disappointment. God is Infinite Bliss and all else pales in the light of that effulgence, all else disappears in the light of that effulgence, because all else only appears to exist but by the support of that effulgence.”
“As beloved Meher Baba said, ‘You and I are not we—but One.’”
“Yes my dear, and as He told us in the beginning of His book, God Speaks, ‘All souls were, are, and will be in the Over-soul. Souls are all One. All souls are infinite and eternal. They are formless. All souls are One. There is no difference in souls or in their being and existence as souls.”
“And to awaken to that that Reality, souls must go through the process of Creation.”
“Yes, because to awaken from sleep one must pass through dreams and this process of Creation is the dream state of God. All who sleep are destined to awaken and this awakening is always a choice made by love. But, my dear, this awakening can never be forced— if you try to force open the petals of the rose before its time, it will never open and never experience the joy of basking in the light of the sun.
‘And so Rumi says that God made mankind in order to be proved by good and evil. Proved, in this sense, means to be made conscious of. Consciousness is gained in life and perfected through choice. Ultimately even good and evil are discarded in favor of God. Take away everything that does not exist and only God remains.
‘My dear, do you remember Meher Baba’s dedication to God Speaks?”
“‘To the Universe—the Illusion that sustains Reality.’”
“Indeed my dear, indeed.”
“And so, in order to gain consciousness of Himself, God made of Himself mankind and gave mankind choice to choose Himself over all else—to choose Reality over illusion—to choose to be awake and end the dream.”
“Yes dear granddaughter that is how I understand. Now please go on with Rumi’s story.”
“And so God sent the angel Gabriel to bring forth a handful of earth for the purpose of forming Adam’s body. But the Earth, knowing that mankind would have choice, was not confident that mankind would make the right choice and feared that God would be angered and bring down His wrath upon Adam and the Earth.”
“That too is very interesting—that the Earth was worried.”
“How so, Grandfather?”
“Well as you know, Meher Baba has told us that of all the planets that have human life, only Earth is the planet where involution of consciousness and Realization takes place—evolution, however, occurs on the other planets as well.”
Yes, Baba has said that reincarnation takes place on other planets, but the spiritual path with its higher planes begins and ends with our planet Earth. Also, that this planet is the only planet where the Avatar takes a human birth.”
“And when it’s time has come, for whatever the reason, the Earth will be replaced by another planet as the planet of involution.”
“So Grandfather, you are saying that the Earth was worried, because although the process of realization will always continue, it knew that its existence was not assured—in other words, the Earth is replaceable and therefore expendable?”
“Indeed, but that the human form is necessary for the processes of Evolution, Reincarnation, and Involution of consciousness and that is why the Earth was worried.”
“Of course, my dear, that is only my opinion. And so, please continue with Rumi’s tale of the making of Adam.”
“So the Earth prayed to Gabriel to prefer mercy over judgement and return to the Almighty without the handful of earth.”
“To prefer mercy over judgement; what do you think that means Granddaughter?”
“Of course I am not sure, but in Meher Baba’s version of Zoroaster’s 101 Names of God, the two names, Khwafar and Avakhshiaea are next to each other.”
And their meanings?”
“Compassionate Judge and Merciful Giver.”
“And how do you understand these Names?”
“Again, Grandfather, I can’t really say, but I very much enjoy what your friend Michael says in his book, Meditation and Prayers on 101 Names of God. Ah yes Michael, what did you lovingly name him? ‘Ayushya, Baba’s Talking Parrot.’”
“I have it here Grandfather;
At every breath I stand before the Judge,
my conscience speaking to my mind.
“I don’t want to hear this,” says my mind.
“You’ve got it wrong.”
“It isn’t that way!”
“He did this and that is why…”
“I am justified!”
“I am right!”
But, Khwafar never argues,
just tells it how it is.
Conscience cannot be swayed by the convulsions of the mind.
Oh Compassionate Judge,
though it is my mind that hears You,
it is my heart that understands,
and patiently informs me through beating whispers
of Your Compassionate reminders.
The golden chain that binds the saint to goodness,
and the spiked chain that shackles the sinner to pleasure and pain,
are both Your Merciful Gifts.
Heaven and hell,
loss and gain,
are Your Merciful Gifts.
The cloth, dipped in dye, emerges a vivid hue,
only to be faded in the sun,
and dipped again,
its brilliance regained.
Dipping and fading, until its color is fast,
again and again, until the color is fast.
Praise to You, Avakhshiaea,
Breaker of Chains.
“Indeed, my dear, indeed.”
“And so dear grandfather I am led to my next question…”
“Please go on.”
“Well, in making her case to the angel Gabriel, Earth said that he should choose Mercy over Judgement because God had promised Gabriel that at the last day he would be pre-eminent over all the other angels who would support the Throne and therefore it was only right that he should prefer Mercy over Judgement. I guess, dear Grandfather, that I have a number of questions here!”
“I understand, my dear, it is the nature of the mind to question that which disturbs it, and the greatest disturbance is when it feels that it does not understand. Indeed, there are many questions here. As always, I am happy to share with you all that I know.”
“Thank you dear Grandfather, please tell me about the Throne.”
“Ah yes, the Throne! Will you please go back to the house and bring us dear Bhauji’s book, The Nothing and The Everything?”
“And so dear Granddaughter, Narayan Maharaj was one of the five Perfect Masters who precipitated the most recent incarnation of God in human form. Of course I am speaking about Avatar Meher Baba.
“Now in Narayan Maharaj’s temple there was built a large ornate silver throne depicting the Throne of God. And so it happened, that after Meher Baba had been given consciousness of Himself as God, He visited Narayan at this temple and Narayan had Meher Baba sit on this throne. Will you please turn to that picture and read Bhauji’s words based on the explanations given to him by Meher Baba?”
“Yes, Grandfather, here it is. It says that ‘in the beginning of time Infinite Consciousness Itself was established as the divine state or Seat of Impersonal God who had no consciousness of illusion. This seat of God is called Ars-e-Maula—the Seventh Heaven…
‘In the beginning of time this throne remained to be filled until Infinite Consciousness was gained through the medium of Infinite Unconsciousness...’ Grandfather, does this mean through the processes of Evolution, Reincarnation, and Involution?”
“Yes my dear, that is exactly what it means and the first to occupy that throne, the One who eternally remains enthroned, is none other than the Nameless Ancient One who gained Infinite Consciousness by Himself.”
“Yes that is exactly what the book says and then goes on to explain; ‘By occupying the 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.’”
“And so dear Granddaughter, that throne is the very Throne of which Rumi speaks when he said that at the last day, the angel Gabriel would be pre-eminent over all the other angels who would support the Throne. Of course, my dear, that throne, Ars-e-Maula, is not an actual throne, nor is it a thing or even a place. The Throne of God is a state. Also, notice that Rumi uses the word support and not the word occupy when speaking about the angels relationship to this throne.”
“Because, an angel does not have Infinite Consciousness and therefore cannot really occupy the Throne.”
“And dear Grandfather, what is it that Rumi is referring to when he says, at the end of time? Is this a reference to Mahapralaya?”
“Yes, God is infinite and eternal, therefore, there is no beginning, or end, or time, to God, to Reality, to The Everything state of God. The end of time refers only to the state of creation, to illusion, to the dream-state of God that has a beginning and therefore must have an end. Mahapralaya is when The Nothing is absorbed by The Everything—all of the three worlds of creation—the gross, the subtle, and the mental worlds—are absorbed. Even the states of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva—the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer states—cease to function.”
“And dear Grandfather, what about the angels—what happens to them?”
“Yes, angels are souls that, in the beginning, gained conscious in the subtle and mental worlds—unlike most souls who begin their journey in the gross sphere, they never entered the processes of Evolution, Reincarnation, and Involution. But, at the end of time, their worlds, the Worlds of the Subtle and the Mental, are absorbed, like the Gross World, and like the all gross-conscious souls they are re-absorbed into the Oversoul to, as it were, await the next beginning of creation.”
“And that beginning, Meher Baba says, is in the very next instant.”
“Yes, that is what He said.”
“So, dear Grandfather, if the angels are re-absorbed at the end of time, then how can they support the Throne of God once they have been absorbed?”
“Yes, my dear, that is my question too.”
“Your question; ‘if the angels are re-absorbed at the end of time, then how can they support the Throne of God once they have been absorbed?’ reminds me of a similar question in the Mahabharata that Draupadi asked her husband Yudhishthira—do you remember?”
“Yes Grandfather, Yudhishthira loved to gamble, but he was very bad at gambling, and so in a rigged game of dice he lost everything.”
“And for a king to lose everything, that is saying a lot.”
“Yes, he wagered and lost his armies, his weapons, in short, his whole kingdom and then wagered and lost his brothers as well. When all of these were lost he wagered himself and lost himself too. But there was one thing he had not wagered, that he had forgotten to wager before he lost himself…”
“Draupadi, his wife.”
“Yes and his opponent was aware of this and reminded him.”
“And so he wagered her and lost her as well. Draupadi, who had been elsewhere at the time was found and brought to the game kicking and screaming. When she found out she had been lost in a wager by her husband she demanded an explanation and when hearing that she had been wagered and lost after he was already lost she asked him, ‘how could you have wagered and lost me after you had already been lost yourself?’ I can see how the statement about the angels reminds you of this story.”
“Indeed, and so returning to Rumi’s story about the making of Adam; what happened after the angel Gabriel returned to God empty-handed?”
“And so God then sent Michael on the same mission, but after hearing the earth’s pleas, he too returned empty-handed. God then sent the angel Israfil and the result was the same. Finally, God dispatched Izrail, the angel of death, who, being of a sterner disposition, was not swayed by the Earth’s entreaties, arguing back that it the handful of earth was God’s wish and that he was only a spear in the hand of the Almighty. Rumi then concludes that the moral of this story is that when any of God’s creatures do us harm, we ought to regard them only as instruments of God, who is the Only Real Agent.”
“And Grandfather, what do you make of the fact that it was the angel of death who was the only angel who was able to accomplish the task?”
“Yes, that is very interesting. I remember a story about Meher Baba. He had given kitchen duties to a particular disciple and told her that from a certain day she should only serve plain tea to the others in the morning. But after the first day, disciples started coming to her with various entreaties, asking her to allow them some little milk, or sugar, etc. for their morning tea. Being of a caring nature, she began to allow them their small requests.
“Of course, Meher Baba, who knew everything, showed up one day and asked her what was going on. He appeared very angry with her and after hearing her explanation told her that it was evident that she cared more about the others than she did about Him. Of course, the disciple realized her error and realized that her act of kindness was not really kindness at all, but motivated by her desire to appear to herself as a good person to others.”
“Hafez said, ‘He never tries His slave in vain.’ Making Izrail His instrument of death shows how highly God regarded him.”
“Like it is said by some that Judas was the most beloved of Jesus and was given the most difficult role to play amongst all of the disciples?”
“And so, as the story goes, the angel Izrail brought the handful of earth back to God who then embodied the first soul as Adam, but grandfather what does it all mean? Has Meher Baba said anything about this?”
“Dear granddaughter, He did reveal the inner meaning of the story of Adam to Bhau Kalchuri who included it in his book, The Nothing and the Everything. I’ll tell you what I remember of Baba’s explanation:
“Adam represents Unconscious God and Eve represents Original Maya—the Nothing—the Shadow of the Everything.”
“And so the story is not just about two people?”
“Correct, it is about the states of God journeyless journey that began before the beginning of Creation with God’s Original Deep Sleep State and ended with His fully awake state, state of ‘I am God.’
“Now, before the beginning of creation and before the God’s whim expressed as the question ‘Who am I?’ God’s state was what Meher Baba called the Beyond the Beyond State of God—God’s Original Deep Sleep State. About this state, Meher Baba tells us that even fully Realized Masters cannot fully explain or describe it others.
“What can be said is that in this Original Beyond the Beyond State of God there is no existence nor non-existence, consciousness, unconsciousness, and non-consciousness do not exist; there is no manifestation or un-manifestation, and there is no reality, illusion, or delusion. This state is so deep—God’s sleep is so deep—that nothing can touch it—nothing can disturb it—and God’s Whim as expressed by the question ‘Who am I?’ cannot arise.”
“But Grandfather, if the Whim could not arise in the Beyond the Beyond State of God, then how or where did it arise—since there was nothing but this Beyond the Beyond State?”
“Yes, that is fair question and Meher Baba said that the Whim arose not in the Beyond the Beyond State of God, but in the Beyond State of God.”
“The Beyond State of God?”
“Yes, Upasani Maharaj, in one of His talks said something that I found quite useful. He said that if the Beyond the Beyond State of God was likened to an Infinite Ocean, then the surface of that ocean, though made-up of the same ocean below it, would manifest different properties by virtue of its location within the ocean.”
“You mean like surface tension and the ability to reflect?”
“Yes, like that, though as Meher Baba said, all this is really impossible to describe—and I might add, to understand. As Kabir said, ‘Until it is experienced, it is not true.’”
“Indeed, so we work with what we have, what Meher Baba explained, and Meher Baba said that it was in the Beyond State of God that the Whim arose and it was within that state that the Oceans of Everything and Nothing became established, as did Infinite Consciousness and Infinite Unconsciousness, and the state described as Maya—that which has the power to make illusion appear to be reality and reality appear to be illusion.
“Adam was the personification of Infinite Unconsciousness and Eve was the personification of Maya. All this occurred in the Beyond State of God after the Whim, but before the beginning of creation.”
“And so our story continues.”
“Yes my dear, but first some tea?”
“Yes Grandfather, first some tea.”
“So there was a time between the Whim and the beginning of creation?”
“Yes, my dear, Meher Baba said that when the Whim surged in the Original Ocean with the question, ‘Who am I?’ the Ocean of Everything and Nothing were established and the Ocean of Everything immediately replied, ‘I am God!’ and consciousness was established in the state of the Ocean of Everything.
“But the poor Ocean of Nothing, the mere shadow of the state of the Ocean of Everything, could not answer the question because it was Nothing.”
“But it tried to answer the question.”
“Yes, my dear, and the result was creation which in-formed all of the Nothing’s wrong answers as stone, vegetable, worm, fish, bird, animal, and human.”
“And Adam and Eve?’”
“Yes, it was during that time between the surging of the Whim and the beginning of creation, that Adam as Infinite Unconsciousness and Eve as the Nothing slept happily together in the Paradise of the Beyond the Beyond State. In other words, they were in Paradise but they were without consciousness of their state.”
“And Grandfather, what about the snake?”
“Ah yes, the snake; well the snake was in Paradise too. The snake represented illusion and you well know that the Nothing, being nothing, is very susceptible to illusion. It was illusion that convinced Eve to tempt Adam.”
“And Adam was susceptible to Eve.”
“Yes, because Infinite Unconsciousness is just another aspect of the Nothing which is susceptible to illusion.”
“And the snake told Eve that if Adam became aware of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge he would not be able to resist taking a bite. But the knowledge of that tree was not the Infinite Knowledge that the Everything inherited, it was false knowledge, the knowledge of duality, the consciousness of Creation. Adam and Eve were not thrown out of Eden, in truth they never left Eden at all, they just dreamed that they did and their dream was the dream of creation.”
“The dream from which they would one day awaken.”
“And God did say, ‘O angels, bring him back to Me, for when I saw that the eyes of his heart were set on hope, without consequences I set him free and drew the pen through the record of his errors.’” – The Masnavi (the teachings of Rumi)