Saturday, July 29, 2017

Meher Baba's Divine Theme (Part 2.)



During the process of reincarnation sanskaras are spent. The term is used by Meher Baba to describe an exchange of sanskaras. The purpose of reincarnation is not to decrease the sum total of an individual’s sanskaras as much as it is to loosen their hold on consciousness so that they can be removed later, during the process of involution. It can be likened to the process of loosening the dust on the mirror in order to make it easier to remove. The greatest hold on consciousness is the hold of gross sanskaras. In reincarnation this hold is loosened by gradually exchanging what could be called the grossest of sanskaras for less gross or lighter sanskaras, hence there is effected what Meher Baba describes as a thinning out of gross impressions

                                                                 
                                                                              III.  
   

 Meher Baba tells us that all of creation is comprised of three spheres of existence named the gross, the subtle, and the mental spheres. What science calls the universe, or the cosmos, with all its planets and stars, matter and anti-matter, black holes, etc. is an incomplete and inaccurate description of the gross sphere only. The subtle and the mental spheres, let alone Reality, are currently way beyond science’s capacity for inquiry since their existence can only be experienced by subtle, mental, or Divine consciousness.

To experience the subtle sphere, a subtle form and subtle consciousness are necessary; to experience the mental sphere, a mental form and mental consciousness are necessary; and to experience Reality, Divine consciousness and a Divine body are necessary. This need of a proper form and consciousness to obtain a certain experience is spoken of in the New Testament parable of the man who was thrown out of the wedding—symbolizing the occasion of a soul’s union with God—because he did not have the appropriate garment to wear.    


The sojourn of the soul from its state of deep dreamless sleep to its fully awake, I am God state, descends without consciousness from the God state through the mental and then the subtle world to the gross world. It is there, in the gross world, that the soul’s conscious journey begins, ultimately to ascend with greater and greater and more perfected consciousness back through the subtle and mental worlds to the conscious God state. An interesting fact that Meher Baba revealed is that a few souls do become conscious while descending through the mental and subtle worlds. Those who become conscious in the mental world become archangels and those who become conscious in the subtle world become angels. Meher Baba further explained that archangels and angels are not, however, God realized and that ultimately to fulfill their destiny each must take birth as a human being in the gross world.


Meher Baba names the first stage of the journey evolution. During evolution, the soul systematically associates with and dissociates from 8,400,000 gross forms— from stone to metal, vegetable, insect, fish, reptile, bird, and animal forms. Through these associations, the soul acquires consciousness. He also makes the point that association tends the soul to identify with that which it is associating. I have often wondered about this subtle distinction and its possibilities. The final evolutionary form is the human form and, being the last, contains within itself all of the previous lower forms.


While continuing to describe and explain the details of this incredible journey, Meher Baba continually reminds us however, that this journey is a journeyless journey. In reality, the soul never goes anywhere or does anything. The whole journey is, in fact, an illusion within Illusion for it takes place in the dream state of God. Yet, it is a necessary illusion. Meher Baba suggests the nature of the relationship that exists between Illusion and Reality in the dedication to his book God Speaks.

                                                    
           “To the Universe—
                                                      the Illusion that sustains Reality”
      
                                                                         
                                                                             IV.


With the achievement of the human form, consciousness is full and complete—but it is not perfected.  The sanskaric dust still obscures the surface of the mirror and so the soul now experiences reincarnation, the second stage of its journey.

 It generally takes millions of incarnations in the human form, experiencing the endless pendulums of duality such as woman and men, rich and poor, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jew, etc. etc. to sufficiently relax duality’s grip through identification on the consciousness of the soul.  During this time, consciousness and identity continue to be centered in gross sanskaras and the soul continues to identify itself with the gross human body living in the gross world. In reincarnation, there is awareness of thoughts and feelings that emanate from the subtle and mental bodies, but there is no direct consciousness of these bodies or identification with them.


Only during the process of involution, does the individualized soul lose consciousness of the gross body and the gross world and become conscious of the subtle body and the subtle world. At this stage, the consciousness of the individual soul, while still associating with a gross human form, identifies with and begins to experience itself and the subtle world as pure energy. This experience is not a thought or a belief or a conviction, it is a direct experience and is without doubt.


“Until you experience it, it is not true!” – Kabir
    

There are seven planes of consciousness beyond gross consciousness. The first three planes comprise the subtle world. The fourth plane stands half in the subtle world and half in the mental world. The fifth and sixth planes are both in the mental world.  Meher Baba tells us that the seventh plane is the goal and the destiny of all souls and that ultimately, all souls reach that goal. There are many formulations used to describe this achievement; God Realization, The Self, Self-Realization, Union with God, Becoming God, The Kingdom of Heaven, The Real Awakening, Reality, etc.—many ways of describing the same one thing. With regard to the experiences of the first six planes we will go into much more detail later…

                                                                   
                 V.     
    

Meher Baba once drew a picture of Himself as a chicken. He called it the Mischievous Chicken and explained that it was the first chicken to emerge from under the wing of the Mother Hen (the Original First Deep Sleep State of God) and journey through evolution, reincarnation, and involution to realize the Goal. After reaching the Goal the Mischievous One looked back and saw all the other chickens that had followed him out. It was there and then that he took on the burden of helping all the other chickens to realize the Goal also. The name given to this first soul to reach the Goal and take upon Himself this burden of responsibility is the Ancient One, Avatar, Christ, Rasool, or Messiah.


The Ancient One comes again and again and though the form of His message is seen to change to conform to the needs of the times, the essence of His message is always the same, “God alone is Real and the destiny of all souls is to recognize that Reality as oneself.” Likewise, though the form of the work of the Avatar changes with the exigencies of time and situation, His work also, always remains the same—to give to all of creation a universal spiritual push towards the Goal and to take upon Himself the burden of the suffering acquired by each soul in its journeyless journey to Self.    


Meher Baba has identified Krishna, Ram, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, Mohammed, and Himself as a few of the more recent Avataric incarnations. He tells us that these historical personages are, in essence, unique garments that informed the Avataric Presence at particular times in particular places. For example, Jesus was the name of the man who informed the Christ, i.e. the garment that clothed the Avataric presence. That garment was used and then discarded. All of the garments of the Avatar are discarded and not used again. Therefore, the Avatar as Jesus will not come again, but the Avatar, the Ancient One, continues to come again and again—Meher Baba tells us, every seven hundred to fourteen hundred years.    
    
  (To be continued.)

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