Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Universe - The Nothing Residing in The Everything

“Thank you for coming Ayushya; it seems like a long time since we’ve last talked.”

“Yes Mera, a long time, and at the same time, no time at all.”

“Indeed, my dear friend, indeed.”

“The tea is wonderful and your garden, as always, is beautiful.”

“Grandfather has such an attentive eye; he attends to all the details.”

“And will he be joining us today Mera?”

“Possibly later; he has a few things to do today, but you know he always welcomes the opportunity to sit with you.”

“And I enjoy being in his company as well. So, in your note you mentioned you had been pondering something?”

“Yes Ayushya, I have been re-reading the Meher Baba book, Infinite Intelligence, and on page 73 there is a statement—may I read it to you?”

“Of course.”

“‘The universe is nothing but darkness residing in Light; nothing but imagination residing in Intelligence; nothing but ignorance residing in knowledge; nothing but the Nothing residing in the Everything; nothing but the utmost finitude residing in the Infinite; nothing but the shadow residing in the Paramatma. Itself most finite, the universe resides as a drop in the infinite Ocean of Paramatma.’”

“I too have read this statement, actually a number of times, and find it quite remarkable also; what strikes you about it Mera?”

“I’m sure that the most remarkable thing for me, and this applies to all of Meher Baba’s statements as well, is that they emanate from Baba’s own direct experience. I think I can feel that.”

“Words that proceed from the Source of Truth have real meaning…”

“Yes, exactly Ayushya, and I think also that Baba’s constant reminder that, as Hafez said, ‘The universe and all its affairs are truly nothing into nothing.’”

“The words of Hafez, another fully God Realized soul, proceed from the Source of Truth.”


“Something that affects me deeply in Baba’s statement, and I wonder if it does you as well Mera, is the way he uses the word resides? ‘…darkness residing in Light… imagination residing in Intelligence… nothing but ignorance residing in knowledge…’”

“Yes, at first I even wondered if, perhaps, Baba could have said, light residing in darkness… intelligence residing in imagination.., etc.”

“That would be something quite different indeed!”

“I agree, but please don’t ask me to explain why! And what about you Ayushya, do you have some thoughts about it?”

“Yes Mera, I have thoughts—and  thoughts and thoughts—about everything!

“And I’m glad you do, as I find your thoughts to be unique and inspiring!”

“Thank you Mera, you’re too kind!”

“More tea Ayushya?”

Yes please.”

“So regarding Baba’s statement; the word residing also captures my attention because it subtly implies an impermanent or passing state—of the universe, of imagination, of ignorance, of the shadow…”

“Of everything our human consciousness takes as real and ever-lasting.”

“Exactly! It’s like my name, the name you and your grandfather suggested to me years ago, Ayushya—a period of time—a period of time defined not so much by what it is, but by the Reality that exists on either side of it—of the nothing residing in the Everything!”

“Ah Grandfather, I’m so happy to see you. Please have a seat and I’ll serve you some tea. I believe that the conversation has only just begun.”

“You were talking about the Nothing and the Everything?”

“Yes Grandfather, we were considering Meher Baba’s words in the book Infinite Intelligence—that the Nothing resides in the Everything.”

“The Nothing resides in the Everything—yes, that is very interesting.”

“Exactly, that is exactly what we were talking about. Ayushya was saying that the way in which Baba said it suggests the impermanence of illusion with regard to Reality.”

“Will you be so kind as to re-read Baba’s words?”

“Of course:

 “‘The universe is nothing but darkness residing in Light; nothing but imagination residing in Intelligence; nothing but ignorance residing in knowledge; nothing but the Nothing residing in the Everything; nothing but the utmost finitude residing in the Infinite; nothing but the shadow residing in the Paramatma. Itself most finite, the universe resides as a drop in the infinite Ocean of Paramatma.’”

“Grandfather, what were you thinking just now when you had your eyes closed?”

“I was remembering that in the ghazal I was reading the deer first approached the hiding place of the hunter and called out; ‘Why are shooting at me? I am your friend.’ But as time went on and the hunter, still hidden, continued to shoot arrow into the deer, the deer called out again; “You continue to shoot your arrows at me, yet refuse to show yourself to me. Over time, you and your arrows have taken everything from me. I have no life anymore; I have no desire for anything of this world or the next; all I have are these wounds. So, I implore you, either show yourself to me, or continue to shoot your arrows, because it has come to pass that in each wound I see the image of your face and long for you more and more and still yet more!’ That is was I was thinking Mera.”

“The beauty of that ghazal is beyond all words, but why Grandfather, did Baba’s words inspire that ghazal in you just then?”

“Because, my dear, for me, Baba’s words are those arrows he sends to us to remind us to remember him until the time determined by him to reveal himself to us as our own most-beloved Self.”

 “And are we to conclude from your story of the deer and the hunter that you experience Meher Baba’s words as the hunter’s arrows?”

“My dear, do you remember Upasani Maharaj’s description of the Jivatma (embodied soul) as, ‘that pure celestial soul identified with the projections of the mind.’?”


“So as a way of answering your question, it is my jiv in the state of experiencing imagination as reality that experiences Baba’s words as arrows, while my atma simultaneously experiences Baba’s words to be like water is to a thirsty man, or a raft is to a drowning one.”

“That is your experience?”

“Yes, but only sometimes, and always only more or less.”

“May I see the book?”

“Of course Ayushya.”

“I would enjoy discussing with both of you these words from Meher Baba regarding the consciousness of the sixth plane.

The Infinite Intelligence as sant, akmal, or pir creates the universe infinitely and knows and understands this. It feels that the universe has come forth from Itself and, moreover, feels the universe to be its own imagination or shadow. It realizes the universe for the benefit and salvation of others, to draw others from the low material plane to the higher spiritual planes. It does not take Self-realization and does not enter into Nirvikalp Samadhi, knowing that if It did so, It would not be able to come back to the planes, as the Sadguru does, but would become a Majub, unable to serve the world for its salvation.’”

“How beautiful! Yes Ayushya there is so much in this statement, where shall we begin?”

“The first thing, for me, is the statement that on the sixth plane, the highest and final plane before Realization, one is actually aware of oneself as the creator of the universe! To my knowledge, Baba has not revealed this fact before?”

“Indeed, although he does say as much in God Speaks, I don’t recall seeing exactly this formulation in any of his other written teachings—Grandfather?”

“Nor I.”

“And Grandfather, does something strike you about Baba’s statement?”

“Yes, you know that in the various forms of Buddhism there is the Bodhisattva vow—where the practitioner dedicates his life and future lifetimes to working for the emancipation of all sentient beings from the grip of samsara.”
“Yes, Grandfather, I was thinking the same thing—that Baba’s words bring great clarity to the subject.”

“Of course not all who take this vow are on the sixth plane, I’m quite sure that most are not, but I believe the vow is rooted in the striving to be able to live such a life of service as does the real six-planer—the sant, akmal, or pir.

“Yes, and also that Baba reminds us that when the sant, akmal, or pir does enter into Nirvikalp Samadhi (Realization), he does not take another birth in creation—his connection to the planes is severed forever.”

“Except for those very few who take that next divine journey to become a Sadguru.”

 “Ayushya, you had an interesting expression on your face just now?”

“I was thinking about our conversation, how it began—can you please read the quote again from Infinite Intelligence?”

“Of course; ‘The universe is nothing but darkness residing in Light; nothing but imagination residing in Intelligence; nothing but ignorance residing in knowledge; nothing but the Nothing residing in the Everything; nothing but the utmost finitude residing in the Infinite; nothing but the shadow residing in the Paramatma. Itself most finite, the universe resides as a drop in the infinite Ocean of Paramatma.’”

“Mera, you mentioned that Meher Baba’s words help you to remember—your grandfather said as much, and it is the same for me also. I was just now considering how I work with Baba’s words regarding the nature of the universe and the reality of my Self. 

“You know, Baba gives us so much; not only does He tell us that the universe is but a shadow, is  but imagination, is but Nothing, He also goes into great depth about the mechanics of the expression  of this shadow, this, imagination, this Nothing. For example, He tells us that mind creates the universe and mind takes the experience of the universe.

“He tells us that the nature of the mind is to think and that the universe is thought imagined by the mind. He explains that it is also thought in the form of gross and gross and subtle bodies that take the experience of its own imagination which is the universe.

“The reason why Baba’s words have such power is because His words are not ideas that He has come up with or read somewhere, they are the expression of His direct experience. Baba truly experiences the universe and all its affairs as truly nothing into nothing.

“Of course there is a vast difference between my state and Baba’s state, and therefore I don’t experience mind—its imaginings and its thoughts—in the way that Baba explains. 
“And also, of course, no amount of thinking on my part can bring me to Baba’s experience, but I do find the attempt to reconcile Meher Baba’s experience with my own experience is like a meditation for me, and I sincerely enjoy the activity, but most importantly, it is a way that I can remember Baba.”

“And Ayushya, can you give us an example of what you do?”

“I will try, although it is always different. Now, the other day I decided to take a walk. I left my apartment in Istanbul and began walking down the street. As I walked I tried to bring myself into the state of presence. It was a cold rainy day, but the street was still full of people. I began to consider; ‘How much of this ‘reality’ that I am experiencing do I feel that I am creating?”

“There seemed to be two possibilities; the first was that I definitely, through my own decision, had decided to take the walk and decided to find the state of presence. I could have decided to stay home and not walk. That seemed clear; I was the creator of my walk. 
“The second possibility had to do with that which I could not take credit for. I had decided to take the walk, but I had not decided that it would be cold and rainy or that the street would be crowded with people.”

“Are you speaking about the question of free will versus predestination?”

“In a way yes, and I do recall when the question was once asked of Meher Baba, He asked the questioner, ‘Can you pick up your foot from the ground?’ The questioner stood on one foot. Baba then asked the questioner to pick up the other foot. Of course, he couldn’t, and that was Baba’s answer to the question—and it is also was my answer to my question; the first foot was taking the walk but the second foot, the foot I could not lift  through an act of will, was the cold rainy day and the people I encountered along the way.

“On one level these two possibilities, or states, seemed clear to me, but I wanted to experience them as I walked. Of course, I could not experience them as Baba does, but there was a clarity to my state—another dimension to my experience—do I dare say that I was just a little more awake?  Mr. Salih, do you happen to recall that poem you once wrote for Mera on her thirteenth birthday?”

 A Sip of Wine

Inscribe these words in your heart. Nothing is real but God, Nothing matters but love for God!”

Oh Lord, my eyes believe that all they see is real —
Are not these stones and trees and birds and bees
and creatures of the earth and sky and sea real?

My lover, they are not real,
the Self within them is what’s real.
Their forms are only shadows cast
 that come and go
from nothing to nowhere.

See them, love them,
but upon them do not depend.

And my Lord,
what of men who speak and walk and love and hate,
who laugh and cry with joy and pain,
and grow from babes to live and die —
are they not real — like You and I?

My lover, they are not real,
nor is the pain and pleasure that they feel.
The Self within them is what’s real,
while their forms like clouds that cross the sky
appear as shapes that dance and cry.

Know them, love them,
but upon them do not depend —
the Self that is real has no beginning or end.

But my Lord, I am a man.
Am I not real,
or my thoughts and what I feel?
Who is it then that seeks for You
and in my heart what voice speaks to You?
And are You real or just a dream?
It seems that nothing’s what it seems!

My lover, you are not real,
the Self within you is what’s real —
that Self and I are really one.
When you experience this, my work is done.

You say that nothing’s what it seems,
and that’s because your life’s my dream,
though in this dream my life’s displaced
and found again when you’re effaced.

Know Me.
Love Me.
Upon Me alone depend.

Within you I will awaken in Bliss,
beyond beginning and without end.

Remember, dear one, these words I say,
‘Nothing is real but God.
Nothing matters but love for God.’

 “Grandfather, I have always treasured that poem you wrote for me. In its most sweet way it brings me back to what Baba always comes back to—always reminds us of—that God alone is real!”

“Yes, Baba is so very consistent. The more and more I read His words, the more and more I realize that He is always saying the same exact thing—He is always showing us who He is, who I am, and what is the true nature of His creation—He is always revealing the nature of the relationship among all of the various expressions of the same one Infinity.”

“Indeed Ayushya, indeed! I remember a talk in Beams From Meher Baba called The Whim from the Beyond, in which Baba states, ‘In the Beyond-Beyond state of God there is unconscious inaction; at the goal of man there is conscious inaction; and in the intermediate state there is conscious action which is established in illusion.’”

“Indeed, conscious action is the goal of the man-state in creation. Did not Baba say that conscious action in the man state brings about a fusion point which becomes the medium for effecting harmony among the gross, subtle, and mental bodies?”

“I believe that is accurately put; and did He not say also, that the fusion point also brings all three bodies under the control of what is sometimes called the Universal Body, which is the seat of the Universal Mind?”

“Yes, all that ran through my mind when Ayushya was talking about his walk through the streets of Istanbul and how he worked to establish a state of presence from which to observe, as it were, the world through the eyes of Reality rather than the eyes of Illusion.”

“Indeed, I believe that the very effort creates the fusion point—whether the effort to see the world through the eyes of reality is actually successful or not.”

“True, I cannot claim to have actually seen the world through the eyes of Reality—through Baba’s eyes.”

“Conscious action, it appears in so many teachings;

‘Be awake, do not sleep!’ (Jesus in the New Testament).

‘Remember, be here now.’ (Ramdas—from the book of the same name).

‘Remember yourself!’ (Gurdjieff).

"And grandfather, can you repeat the Sufi saying about the son of the moment?”

“Indeed, ‘Think not about the past or the future; become the son of the moment; and take death as the target before your eyes.’”

“More tea Ayushya?”

“Yes please.”

“So while listening to grandfather and you talking about Baba’s words, I began to remember a school friend of mine when I was just a little girl. Her family was Christian and she used to repeat this affirmation in church:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.’

“Even at the time, I used to think that many of these words were generally consistent with some of the things that Baba said, but some others seemed, well, a bit off.”

“And did you talk to your friend about this?”

“I thought about it, but I didn’t, for what did I know… The affirmation was about belief, but belief is not experience, and for me belief is not enough. For me, I wanted to experience for myself—know for myself— the reality behind these assertions.”

“Indeed. Why sit on the shore and argue about the ocean without having ever experienced the ocean and its depths?”

“Indeed Grandfather! What is the good of sitting on the shore and arguing about the nature of the ocean when the ocean is right there for all to experience?”

“Yes, my dear, there are those who hear about the ocean and the shore but never go to the ocean and the shore. Then there are those who go to the ocean and the shore but only sit on the shore and gaze at the ocean. Then there are those who venture to the water and dip there feet. A few might also venture a little further, but only a very very few will dive so deep into the ocean that they lose themselves totally in the ocean only to find themselves as the Ocean.”

“Yes, while the All Merciful One continues to remind us that at one time or another all will acquire that longing to experience the ocean—each and every one—each in their own time—like the seed that eventually sprouts, and grows into a plant, and flowers, and opens fully to the sun.”

“While in the meantime, Meher Baba also reminds us, ‘Live not in ignorance. Do not waste your precious life-span in differentiating and judging your fellowmen, but learn to long for the love of God.’”

 “More tea Grandfather?”

“Yes my dear; you know I was just thinking about tea.”


“Yes, I was imagining that there was nothing else—only tea.”

“Please go on.”

“Yes, just tea—Infinite tea—tea without beginning and without end—nothing above it or below it or around it—just tea everywhere, nothing except tea.”

“Are you saying tea leaves?”

“Yes, exactly, Ayushya, and that tea gets the whim to experience itself—to know itself.”

“And for that experience, for that knowledge of itself, the tea leaves need to become tea.”

“Yes, the tea leaves need to become tea and then the tea needs to drink itself!”

“Amazing! But how is that possible?”

“Exactly Mira, that is what I was considering; for to become tea to drink it needs water, a way to heat the water, and a pot for steeping.”

“And then it needs cups to drink the tea and a form to taste it.”

“Exactly, but none of these exist because tea leaves are the only reality—the only thing that exists.”

“A dilemma! What’s the way out?”

“Well the only way out is for the tea leaves to imagine the water and the pot.”

“And even imagine itself as someone who can drink the tea.”

“Yes, the tea leaves needs to imagine that it is the pot, the water, the cup, the brewer of the tea, and the drinker of the tea.”

“Indeed, the tea needs to be the imaginer and the one who experienced that imagination.”

“And so we are talking about Infinite Intelligence as teas leaves.”

“Exactly, that is what I was thinking.”

 “Ayushya, I understand you have been doing some traveling these days…”

“Yes Mira, it’s been very enjoyable. You know, a vacation is a great metaphor for reincarnation.”

“How so?”

“Well, where one goes on vacation is determined by the plans one puts in place to go somewhere, and this is determined by sanskaras accumulated during one’s lifetime—places one visited or heard about, the amount of time one have for the holidays, one’s financial situation too…  In other words, as Meher Baba has taught us, one’s current lifetime is the consolidated mold of the sanskaras gathered in one’s previous lifetime.”


“Then, as the time of the vacation approaches, one begins to get his affairs in order—like the arrangements one makes at the end of one’s lifetime…

“The journey begins with travel and this is like the death state between lifetimes.

“One eventually arrives at his destination and what happens? He begins to establish patterns and habits consistent with his previous lifetime. For me, I begin to establish those things—those activities—which ‘at home’ were important to me. I find a place to do my music; I establish a time and place for my meditation and prayers. I stock my kitchen with the food and wine that I enjoy. In other words, I create my new life—my vacation life—consistent with the habits and patterns that I am familiar with. This is very much as it is with the taking of a new life—a new incarnation.”

“Yes, I can see that—very interesting.”

“These habits and patterns may take some time to establish, because in each new incarnation one needs to go through a kind of orientation process in which one begins to ‘find oneself’ again. This is similar to the ‘relearning’ or ‘remembering’ that one goes through during the transition from infant, to child, to adult—and the timing of this relearning or remembering is also consistent with one’s experiences in their previous lifetime(s).”

“And when the vacation is over?”

“In fact, it is just one vacation after another—one lifetime after another— until, as Maulana Shabistari said, “He returns to the door from which he first came out, although in his journey he went from door to door.”

“Thank you Ayushya, your explanation is as enjoyable as it is enlightening.”

“Thank you Mira, and so now to return to our initial conversation, is there anything more you wish to add concerning Meher Baba’s teachings found in the book, Infinite Intelligence?”

“I’m sure I could talk about it endlessly—every page is so interesting.”

“For example?”

“Yes for example, Baba’s statements regarding pran and akash. Originally they were one, but with the onset of the thinking (imagination) of Infinite Intelligence, they became split, and then in their attempt to reunite, pran (as energy), began to work on akash (as space), to fill that space, and the result of this action was the production, through thinking, of infinite subtle and gross forms that could experience the imagination of the thinking of Infinite Intelligence’s Infinite mind.”

“Yes Mira, there is for me also, something unique in Baba’s explanation of this topic—the expression of a kind of coherent dynamic that reconciles all of the various states of God. Mr. Salih?”

“I am reminded that before the beginning and after the end there is Unity, but in-between, there is duality which expresses itself everywhere and in everything. I wonder if Baba’s teaching regarding pran and akash is what is being expressed the ancient story of Adam and Eve? The garden is the imagination of Infinite mind and Adam and Eve represent the embodiment of pran and akash respectively. Their children are the result of their attempt to reunite.”

“And the snake? And the forbidden fruit?”

“Indeed, Baba’s explanation can be found in Bhauji’s book, The Nothing and the Everything, in which He explains that Adam entered creation in a state of ignorance—meaning without consciousness—and that illusion—the snake—working on ignorance—created the appetite in Adam for more and more fruit—fruit being knowledge—knowledge being consciousness.”

“Consciousness at first being of the imagination and only in the end freeing itself to be of its Real Self—Reality.”

“Exactly, as was said earlier, “‘He returns to the door from which he first came out, although in his journey he went from door to door.’
© copyright Michael Kovitz, 2019  


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