Saturday, March 04, 2017
“Meher Baba took His group of disciples along the banks of the sacred Ganges to the Dashashwamedh Ghat, which is used for cremation and for those ceremonies that take place on the tenth day after death. Harihar Baba is an old mast, is blind, and sits on top of a boat there. He is on the fifth plane and is the Spiritual Chargeman of Benares…” — The Wayfarers – Meher Baba with the God-Intoxicated, Page 209, by William Donkin, © copyright, 1948, Adi K. Irani
The fifth plane of consciousness is the first of the two planes that comprise the Mental World. Fifth plane pilgrims experience themselves, and all of creation, as thought. It is not that they think, “I am thought,” instead, they are thought itself, and their thinking bears little resemblance to the thinking of a gross conscious individual. Likewise, with regard to their “seeing,” they “see” thought and do not see the Gross World—the world experienced through gross consciousness—the world experienced during evolution and reincarnation.
It is said, that after reading a good story, one is left with more questions than when they began. Perhaps that is why I enjoy these stories of the masts. For instance, take the term, “Spiritual Chargeman of Benares.” What does that mean? In fact, it is some kind of a title, like a job description. We are used to thinking that the affairs of the world are in the hands of our governments and other power possessing individuals and organizations, not an old blind mast who sits on top of a boat?
The Wayfarers – Meher Baba with the God-Intoxicated, describes a number of different categories of masts. Generally speaking, masts often appear to have little or no concern for their outer appearance, the state of their hygiene, their food, lodgings, etc. though, in fact, they are often quite particular about these things, just not in the same way that ordinary human beings are.
In other words, masts are often quite particular about their non-particularity! For example, if a mast is not interested in bathing, and many masts have not bathed for decades, it is nearly impossible to get them to do so. If a mast wishes to drink kerosene as his tasty beverage of choice, as was the case with one mast they encountered, then that is what he will drink — apparently with no harmful effects. Meher Baba tells us that the reason for what appears to us the bizarre behavior of masts is that they have no gross consciousness; that is, they are not physically conscious of their or other’s physical bodies, or indeed anything at all in the whole gross physical creation.
In speaking about the differences between the consciousnesses of various souls in creation, Meher Baba explained that what we call the individualized soul is a drop of the eternal, indivisible, infinite, ocean of God. In the case of an ordinary human being, that soul — that reality — is covered by three bubbles, one of mind called the mental body, one of energy called the subtle body, and one which is gross or physical.
The manifestation of these bodies is first from the Mental World, then to the Subtle World, and finally to the Gross World. In other words, the patterns experienced by gross consciousness is first determined in the Mental World, then energized in the Subtle World, and then manifested in the Gross World. For the typical soul entering creation, their consciousness is first centered in the Gross World and not the Subtle World or Mental World. It is very rare that a soul entering creation first becomes conscious of the Mental or Subtle Worlds. If they do, they acquire the states of Archangels and Angels respectively. But perhaps, that is story for another time…
Meher Baba has always been consistently clear on this point; consciousness can only be in one place at a time; those who are gross conscious are not experience subtle or mental consciousness; those who experience subtle consciousness, do not simultaneously experience gross or mental consciousness. Masts have either subtle or mental consciousness. They have gross bodies, but are not aware of them grossly. Subtle consciousness experiences the subtle world, the world of angels, and powers, and enchantments that are unimaginable to the ordinary human being. As Kabir said, “Until it is experienced, it is not true.”
Mental consciousness experiences itself as the mind, as thoughts and feelings. It is in the Mental World that one directly experiences God, though one still does not experience oneself as God! It goes without saying that the power of all these experiences encountered in planes and heavens of the Subtle and Mental worlds that are so powerful that the individual experiencing them can become overwhelmed and trapped in their enchantments. And this is the situation of the masts.
Chapter five of The Wayfarers is called “Those Who Bear Witness.” It consists of a number of encounters with masts and other spiritually advanced souls who spontaneously recognized Meher Baba without ever being given any information about him or his status.
Azim Khan Baba; (Described by Meher Baba as a high mast of Muttra. The date was October 14, 1946). When Meher Baba contacted him, Azim Khan Baba said to Him;
“You are Allah; you have brought forth the creation, and once in a thousand years you come down to see the play of what you have created.”
I remember once that Eruch Jessawala, one of Meher Baba’s closest disciples, was reflecting on a line from an Arti dedicated to Meher Baba. The line was, “Truth and Truth’s body, Divine Avatar.” Eruch said that if Truth ever descended into illusion without first cloaking Itself in a body—Truth’s body—it would annihilate all of illusion—all of creation. How many people look at photographs of Meher Baba and see everything from Einstein, to Frank Zappa; from devil, to angel, to God in human form.
Gross consciousness sees only the exterior of things—only the gross bubble; subtle consciousness see deeper—it sees the subtle bubble; and mental consciousness sees the mental bubble. Azim Khan Baba was a high mast, probably on the fourth or fifth plane of consciousness; what was he seeing when he said, “You are Allah; you have brought forth the creation, and once in a thousand years you come down to see the play of what you have created.”
In January 1947 Bhorwala Baba said of Meher Baba, “Meher Baba has in him the whole universe, he is the Master of everyone, and he is within every disciple. He is this world, that which is above it, and below it: he is in me and in everyone. He is the saint of saints; he is Tajuddin Baba; in one glance he sees the whole continent of India.”
Meher Baba said that Bhorwala Baba was an Adept Pilgrim. Adept pilgrims are on the sixth plane of consciousness and experience themselves and all of creation as feeling. They are, they have become, feeling itself; their seeing is feeling.
To get some kind of glimpse at the difference between an adept pilgrim’s state and that of a gross conscious individual, imagine sitting in your chair in North Carolina and thinking about something — like being on a beach in a tropical paradise. With your mind you imagine the ocean and the sand, the sun, and the feeling of the sun warming your skin. Then you open your eyes and there you are again, sitting in your chair in North Carolina. “Ah that was a great fantasy,” you say, tacitly affirming to yourself that your reality is your gross body, gross world, and gross consciousness.
But the adept pilgrim has no gross orientation or identity at all—time and space, in the usual sense, does not exist for them at all. Whatever it is that they are feeling is what they are and where they are. That which the average person of the world distinguishes as internal and external holds nothing of the same meaning for an adept pilgrim. They have no gross world or gross body to come back to, to re-orient to.
The sixth plane of consciousness is the highest plane before God-realization. Meher Baba says that sixth plane pilgrims see God everywhere and in everything, including themselves, and yet do not experience themselves as God. Try to imagine that!
(To be continued.)