Friday, May 25, 2012

Where is Baba Now?

The version of God Speaks used in this post is the online version, which is the same as the 1997 current printed version.

There is an old question from the early days among the followers of Meher Baba after he dropped his body in 1969 — "Where is Baba now?"

The original cable sent by Baba's secretary Adi to Baba's lovers throughout the world when Baba first dropped his body in 1969 read as follows.
AVATAR MEHER BABA DROPPED HIS PHYSICAL BODY AT TWELVE NOON 31ST JANUARY AT MEHERAZAD TO LIVE ETERNALLY IN THE HEARTS OF HIS LOVERS.
However, some people were not long satisfied with seeking Baba simply in their hearts. Missing him, they began to wonder if in fact he had gone to some other place, maybe with some surroundings like in life. The question itself betrays an erroneous assumption that the Avatar after dropping his body continues to be conditioned and limited by factors like time and space, thus limited and located in some relative sense as things are that we see around us in illusion.

This misunderstanding has its roots in the kinds of thinking expressed in occult cosmologies other than Baba's own, which had been popularized in the years leading up to Baba's advent and clarification. This was especially true for those of Baba's lovers who had passed through Theosophical studies as part of their search in finding Baba. Thus it is only natural that these false teachings began to reassert themselves in the years following Baba's dropping his body.

To explain in depth the root of these false assumptions, and what Baba himself said about them, and what he said actually happens to the Avatar when he drops his outward form is the purpose of this short essay.

In 19th and early 20th century Theosophy, it was taught that certain clairvoyants received messages from "ascended masters," often claimed to be transmitted through "thought transmissions" or through automatic writing. The transmitters of these messages, often heard in the form of voices, claimed to be teachers who had gone beyond our mortal plane and now were immortal and hidden someplace, the name and character of their location frequently changing depending on who was claiming to be their intermediary - from a hiding place in or beneath the Himalayas to other planets or even flying saucers. These voices also claimed they orchestrated world events without their physical bodies. Baba said quite clearly that this was untrue of real masters.
The Theosophists. . . do not have even a smell of the Truth. It is said that the spirit of the World Teacher will manifest itself to the world through the medium of this boy, and the wire-puller of this show is supposed to be somewhere in the Himalayas.
There is nothing but ice and stones and dust in the mountains and on the plains. The real teachers like the Buddha, Krishna, Jesus and Zoroaster, never kept themselves perched on some mountain peak or hid themselves in the jungle. They freely mingled with those they had come to save. In spite of their unimaginable exultation, they came down to the lowest levels of men.
Not a single spiritual Master ever required any vehicle save his own physical body. In truth, this false note of the Theosophists in the eternal God-man's song of God and man is the result of the multifarious aspects of my work, and my methods in clearing a path for my manifestation.
The Silent Word : being some chapters of the life and time of Avatar Meher Baba / by Francis Brabazon, 1978. Detailed account of Baba's life and work up to 1928., pp. 262-263
To dramatize the confusion some of the early followers of Baba felt upon first coming to him, due to their encounters with Theosophical teachings, I quote from a conversation between Baba and the screenwriter Garret Fort who was impressed by some of these channeled books - concerning where the real Perfect Masters do in fact go when they die. This conversation is taken from The Answer, ed. Naosherwan Anzar, pp. 26-28, also Treasures from the Meher Baba Journals, ed. Patterson/Haynes pp. 195-197.
Garrett Fort: Is there really the place known as Shambala, the Astral centre where the Masters dwell in disembodied form?
Baba: It is presumed that you already know that planes are not places. The state and stage connoting Shambala exists. There is difference of terminology only. This is also known as Vidnyan.
Indeed in God Speaks (written twenty years later), Baba continued to assert that this state of vidnyan is "the resting place of the Masters" (God Speaks, p. 226).

What is vidnyan state exactly where the Masters rest after disembodiment? The following about this vidnyan state is from God Speaks, p. 184
This State VIII of God is of the highest divine consciousness, which is the ahadiyat (halat-e-Muhammadi) or the vidnyan. All God-realized beings—the Majzoob-e-Kamil (Brahmi Bhoot), Majzoob-Salik (Paramhansa), Azad-e-Mutlaq (Jivanmukta), Qutub (Sadguru), and Rasool (Avatar)retire to this state B of God in the Beyond after disembodiment.
Thus we see very clearly that the Avatar retires to this state after disembodiment, as do all God-realized beings. The "state B" referred to above (highlighted in red) refers to state II B, which we learn from careful reading is the same as state VIII, also highlighted.

Now we have the actual answer to the question, "Where is Baba now?" in Baba's own explanation rather than those of others.

How does Baba characterize this state?

To see what this state is one needs to see how Baba breaks down state II in Ten States of God into its three sub-states, A, B, and C. The detailed explanation of this begins on p. 161 of God Speaks.

State II is the state of God Baba calls the Beyond State of God. This Beyond State (State II) has in turn three aspects, or sub-states, among which B alone pertains to the question of where Baba is now that he has dropped his body. Below are gone over these three sub-states. Sub-state B (where Baba says the Avatar is after disembodiment) is highlighted.

  • Sub-state A: In this state God is in His state of infinite unconsciousness. He is not conscious either of the illusion (world) or Reality (Self).
  • Sub-state B: In this state God is conscious only of Himself, but not conscious of illusion (the gross, subtle, and mental worlds).
  • Sub-state C: God in this state (as embodied Perfect Master or Avatar in form) is conscious of both the illusion (the three worlds) and simultaneously conscious of Reality (Self) at one and the same time.

This state II B is the same as deep sleep, and differs from ordinary deep sleep only in that God in this state B is simultaneously awake in deep sleep, experiencing only Self. He experiences deep sleep consciously, whereas ordinary people experience deep sleep unconsciously.

About this state that he said the Avatar enters upon dropping his form, Baba goes on to clarify something of great significance for those who are experiencing hearing a "voice" claiming to be from Baba.

In this State of II B God experiences his trio-aspects of infinite knowledge, infinite power, and infinite bliss, but does not use them and in fact cannot use them for the advancement of others.

How can this be so? This is because from the vantage of experiencing only Self, there really is no one (else) to help.

Also Baba says that in this state there is no experience of the gross, subtle, or mental bodies or gross, subtle, or mental worlds.

When the Avatar drops his human form and enters vidnyan (state II B, same as state VIII), he experiences His own Real Self alone, but in this state does not experience the illusion (the gross, subtle, and mental worlds).
God in this sub-state B consciously experiences His own infinite power, infinite knowledge and infinite bliss but He does not use them. He is conscious of His Reality but is unconscious of Illusion. (God Speaks, p. 166)
This is very important and the crux of the discussion, and why Baba is not referring to an 'ascended master' teaching in the sense the Theosophists wrongly conceive it.

As we read further in this chapter, based on a chart by Baba, we learn that state II B is in fact the same as State VIII. They denote the same state. This is unequivocal and unambiguous in God Speaks. What is the experience of State VIII (or II B)?

Baba says that in this state God experiences his infinite power, knowledge, and bliss, but does not use them for the salvation of mankind. His experience is entirely of Self alone. This is also known as the state of nirvakalpa samadhi. In this state there is no experience of the illusion, no experience of the three worlds (gross, subtle, or mental), no thought, awake while in deep sleep.
I cannot go to sleep now, or I would not wake up until after seven hundred years.
(Lord Meher, p. 5977)
Now when we study what Baba says about this state very carefully, we can see something important about it. This state (VIII or II B) is Majzoob state, which is the state of nirvakalpa samadhi, in which there is experience of Self and nothing else. From this state Baba cannot talk to people because he has no experience of the three worlds.

Some people are disturbed to hear that in this state the Avatar does not experience anything but Self. They feel this limits God. But this view misunderstands the meaning of limitation from a spiritual point of view. The feeling that the experience of only Self (which is all that really is) is a limit upon God fails to understand that Baba tells us that the illusion is utterly an illusion, and thus mistake Self as limitation if it does not include what is false.

It is the coming down into the false illusion that Baba tells us is the taking on of limitation, not the re-merging into (or passing away into) experience of Self again. Recall Baba's words above. This state of pure Self-experience is the unlimited state Baba is referring to when he speaks of the "unimaginable exultation" that is sacrificed by the Master in 'coming down' into illusory experience for the benefit of others. Remember also, this 'coming down' means from the exulted state, not a literal coming down from a place.

Baba teaches something more profound than ascended master teachings. Baba explains that Self (God) is really all that truly is, the genuine Everything. All other apparent somewheres in illusion, whether gross, subtle, or mental, are really speaking from his vantage point limited and the Nothing. Thus in this state of vidnyan that the Avatar passes away into when he drops his body in order to take sufficient rest from the illusion and sufferings and miseries of others is his true exultation, not limitation as it would seem to us who are still apparently caught up in illusory happenings. It is in the state of Perfect Master that God endures experience of limitation. God as God-Man, in a gross form, actually allows himself to experience the torture of limitation in order to emancipate ailing humanity.

Vidnyan is thus not the passing away into limitation, but quite the reverse, is the emancipation from all limitation.

Jesus' resurrection

There are many references in Baba's statements that the Avatar enters Samadhi when he drops his body. The following are Baba's words regarding the death of Jesus, which is consistent with all that has been said and quoted above.
When Jesus was crucified, he did not die. He entered the state of Nirvikalp Samadhi (the I-am-God state without bodily consciousness). 
On the third day, he again became conscious of his body, and he traveled secretly in disguise eastward (with some apostles) to India. This was called Jesus' resurrection. 
After reaching India, he traveled farther east to Rangoon, in Burma, where he remained for some time. He then went north to Kashmir, where he settled. 
When his work was finished on earth, he dropped his body and entered Nirvikalp Samadhi permanently
(Lord Meher, Vol. 3, p. 752)

Dreams


People often feel that their dreams of Baba are in fact experiences of Baba coming to them from beyond the grave. Baba never agreed that this was true.

Yet people feel emphatic, for they want to feel some assurance that they have had a genuine spiritual experience when they have a dream or a vision of their Master after he has left the limitation of his form. Certainly a dream of the Avatar is a deeply spiritual and significant dream, but it does not connote a descent.

The following is from Lord Meher, page 2086.
Elizabeth: What are dreams?

Baba: Dreams are subconscious experiences which are always linked with your gross experience of the past. Sometimes, in your dreams, you see persons you never saw in this life. This link is from the past. It is all based on illusion and imagination.

Elizabeth: Then how was it that when I was twelve years old I dreamt of you three different times, and when I first met you I recognized you as the one I had known in the dream? That was not illusion.

Baba: What I mean is everything except your being infinite, is illusion. I am very ancient. Very, very old and always young.
Notice that when dreams are brought up, Baba gives an entirely reasonable and well-established scientific explanation for them. They are experiences that come up from the residue of our past experiences, hidden from us in our subconscious. Baba even clarifies in God Speaks the form that these traces of memory take. They are the impressions (sanskaras) left upon the mind from a person's past experience, and these impressions are exhausted in the dream as well as well as while we are awake. This, Baba clarifies, is in fact the reason for prescient dreaming.
"Thus it actually happens that a form of the future which he happened to witness in his dream of the past, reappears to the man as a gross form in his life associations of the present" (God Speaks, p. 89).
But notice that Elizabeth, even upon hearing this, wants to protest. It is natural, for she is clearly eager to hear from Baba that it is how she would prefer it to be. But Baba actually tells her that he is very old, giving Elizabeth a hint that she knew him in a previous lifetime also. Thus Baba applies the same principle that governs all dreams to dreams of him. And if we have not met him in the past we still might dream of our images of Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, etc. based on the many images we have seen of them in paintings and so forth in this or previous lives.

Asleep in the hearts of his lovers


Baba twice said he wanted to go to sleep for seven hundred years. This means real rest, awake while in deep sleep, nirvakalpa samadhi, state B, or vidnyan.
I cannot go to sleep now, or I would not wake up until after seven hundred years!
(Lord Meher, p. 5977)

I am awfully tired and want to sleep. This type of fatigue is quite different and requires seven hundred years of sleep.
(Lord Meher, p. 5653)
Elizabeth Patterson once asked Baba where he went when he slept. To this he replied:
Everywhere. (Lord Meher, p. 2086)
Really truly, it would be wonderful if we Baba's lovers could get back to where we were in our earliest days right after Baba dropped his body, when the feeling of love for him was fresh and we understood he was in our hearts still, and we still sought Baba there -- instead of auditory sounds and theoretical places, postulating as we do now secondary spiritual bodies, ascended master fabrications, and even time travel theories. In the spirit of that hope for that return I end with the words from the 70's song by Baba lover Bob Brown (now deceased) Wake Up to Stay in My Heart, where he expressed that old true feeling. I can't find the lyrics online, so I will have to just paraphrase from my memory. I think Bob really got it right in his lyrics. Funny how songs improve with time.
Bob Brown
Meher Baba the sleepless one is so sleepy
That he sleeps in our hearts; he hides for our keeping
Hide he may; he hides with all our desires 
Oh Baba Baba wake up to stay within my heart

6 comments:

  1. Very nice exposition, Chris. It does raise a couple of follow-on questions, such as (a) Who (if anyone or anything) is listening when one prays to, talks with, or calls out to Meher Baba? (b) Should a follower of Meher Baba ever seek an in-the-body(ies) Master? -- and the corollary: Must that alternative Master be Perfect (and how would one know?)

    I have my own feeling about question (b), but would enjoy hearing your thoughts about it. I suppose my answer to question (a) would be that it might be any number of entities -- probably anyone who is mental conscious -- right up to a living Perfect Master. But are any of these entities allowed to respond to a prayer or other communication directed to a deceased Avatar?

    Probably what is a more perplexing question for me relates to the very purpose of prayer itself (though this wanders off into another topic). What should one ask or not ask, and what constitutes a reasonable expectation of response or results? Do the living Masters (or does anyone else) really intervene in anything in response to a prayer? The best address of this by Meher Baba that I've seen is in Series 11 of Infinite Intelligence. I'm still trying to make sense of it; and still looking within for the answer as well.

    Anyway, that's for an interesting, well-written, and helpful article!

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  2. I don't know the answers to these questions. I muse on them personally also. In The Nothing and the Everything, Bhau Kalcburi writes, ""The Sadgurus lose connection with creation at the moment they drop the physical body. The Avatar never loses connection after he drops the body, but maintains his connection with all creation through the five Sadgurus living" (NE p113).

    I personally, after once or twice wondering if I needed a living master (as Baba himself said one did), came to decision that Baba is my master, and I need not understand how it all works.

    Here is a part of the Intelligence Notebooks that discusses the subject of replies to prayers, and it might be the part of Infinite Intelligence you mean. This is from the notebooks themselves, not the published book, p. 185.

    "But there are many who get their subtle and gross desires too fulfilled by Sadguru Bhakti. But these desires are indirectly fulfilled and are due to the faith and the Bhakti done to its proportion. Sadguru does not Himself give this subtle or material gift. Sadguru has Parameshwar and Ishwar near Him (Parameshwar in His right hand as it were and Ishwar in His left). He is attributed and attributeless Paramatma and is One and beyond both. He has three states near Him as it were, One Parameshwar, One Ishwar, and One Himself. The Sadguru has two hands as it were, right and left. This should not be taken to mean the Sadguru is His hands, it is only a figure. He who does Bhakti of Sadguru for the subtle or material desires, the Ishwar (who is near the Sadguru, i.e. in His left hand) hands over the fulfillment of these desires to the bhakta. He who wants Self realization, i.e. realization of Paramatma, and does the Bhakti of the Sadguru accordingly, gets the realization through Parameshwar, who is near the Sadguru, i.e. in His right hand. And he who wants neither the universe (subtle and gross) nor God, but does Sadguru Bhakti without any worldly or spiritual hopes or expectations, is made by the Sadguru like Himself on his own. So the Sadguru directly makes one like Himself, and indirectly makes one realize God or receive subtle and gross achievements" (I.N. 185) https://sites.google.com/site/intelligencematerials/

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  3. Yes, that's the part of Infinite Intelligence to which I was referring. It's a giant clue at the very least.

    I rather envy the ability of some to address Meher Baba directly and in full faith. For now, I seem only to be able to do it when I get quite desperate. No athiests in foxholes. : )

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  4. At first glance I thought the following quote was completely contrary to what you argue,

    "The Sadgurus lose connection with creation at the moment they drop the physical body. The Avatar never loses connection after he drops the body, but maintains his connection with all creation through the five Sadgurus living""

    However "maintains his connection" just means that the avatar is going to come back to creation, unlike the other sadgurus who never again become conscious of illusion.

    Actually that is another proof of what you say.. Baba says the avatar requires the 5 perfect masters to prepare his birth and unveil him because he is in samadhi and cannot do so himself as he is unconscious of illusion.

    So his connection to illusion through the sadgurus makes his return possible.

    Another version of that above quote,

    "Ordinarily, at death, a spiritual teacher or Master gives up the authority to guide or help others. There are, however, exceptions:


    THE AVATAR, who maintains his connection with the Gross, Subtle and Mental worlds whether or not he is incarnate.

    "The Sadgurus lose connection with creation at the moment they drop the physical body. The Avatar never loses connection after he drops the body, but maintains his connection with all creation through the five Sadgurus living."

    That one is even more misleading when taken out of context.

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  5. So indeed if Baba were to fall asleep he would not awake for 700 years as he would be in samadhi and would not be able to. Not until it is ordained that the perfect masters wake him up.

    Thanks for the article Chris. It corrected my thinking.

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  6. Quote from "Everything and the Nothing" re; dreams " you say you see me in dreams. These dreams arise through your love and faith in me. Do not attribute them to me. I have come into your midst to awaken you from the long,drawn out dream of illusion- not to create more dreams for you" pg 40. I heard living perfect masters and saints can appear in people's dreams to help people and they take on the forms of whoever that person is devoted too.faith is important and will ultimately lead you to the living perfect master. Great article, Amal Kumar

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