Monday, July 9, 2012

Meher Baba on the Spiritual Hierarchy - Part II

For page numbers in this post, the version of God Speaks used is the online edition, which is the same as the current 1997 in print edition. It is abbreviated GS.

In Part I of this series on the spiritual hierarchy, I covered the 7000 members of the hierarchy as Baba lists them. I emphasized that Baba said all 7000 advanced and perfect souls in the hierarchy are living persons on earth.

In this part II, I want to talk about the aspect of the hierarchy that Baba in fact begins with in God Speaks, coming back to it because it is more difficult to explain. It pertains to the God-realized human beings in the hierarchy over the course of a single cycle of time, which he said was 700-1400 years. So we are not left hanging, we will also cover all those God-realized human beings on earth that are not in the hierarchy, explaining what kinds there are and what functions these others perform.

A few things make this aspect of the hierarchy more difficult to articulate than the first. It is all very plainly stated in God Speaks, but requires a lot of detail.

First, in describing the hierarchy, Baba goes over two different aspects of the hierarchy, quite different, and each in turn. He first gives the numbers of Perfect Masters and Majzoobs over the course of a cycle of 700-1400 years, and explains which of these are included in the hierarchy. Next he gives the numbers of all the members of the hierarchy at any given time. As these two parts deal with different stretches of time, it is important not to get their numbers confused – yet see how the two are related.

Secondly, the number 56 arises three times, both in a cycle and at any one time, and in every case the number relates to God-realized people – but not always to the hierarchy.

Here are the three uses of the number 56:

  1. 56 is the number of Perfect Masters over the course of a cycle of 700-1400 years (all of whom are in the hierarchy).
  2. 56 is the number of Majzoobs over the course of a cycle of 700-1400 (not all of whom are in the hierarchy).
  3. 56 is the number of God-realized human beings on earth at any given time (some of whom are in the hierarchy and some not).
We now turn to the table of Perfect Masters and Majzoobs over the course of a cycle on p. 254 of God Speaks. To understand it we need to know a couple points relevant to the table.

  1. One cycle lasts “about 700 to about 1400 years.”
  2. Each cycle is divided into 11 ages. Each age lasts for “about 65 to 125 years.”
  3. In each cycle and each age there is a fixed number of Perfect Masters and Majzoobs. For what a Majzoob is read this post.
  4. The term “Perfect Ones” (applied in the table to Majzoobs or Majzoobs-e-Kamil) is a term Baba also applies to other types of God-realized people as well (GS 150), but in the table the term is used to mean Majzoobs. They are the “Perfect Ones” relevant to the spiritual hierarchy. Further on I'll go over all of the types of “Perfect Ones.”
Here then is the table from God Speaks.

Note the following.

  1. As explained above, in this table Baba is only giving the number of Perfect Masters and Majzoobs in a cycle of 700-1400 years. He is not naming all the types of God-realized human beings on earth during a cycle, which we will go over as I said.
  2. In a whole cycle of 700-1400 years there are 56 Perfect Masters, including the Avatar. 11 X 5 = 55;  55 + 1 = 56.
  3. In a whole cycle of 700-1400 years there are 56 Majzoobs. Their number alternates from age to age, but adds up to 56.
  4. While all 56 of the Perfect Masters in a cycle are in the hierarchy, not all 56 Majzoobs are. “. . . in any given age only three Majzoobs remain in the body. Thus from the point of view of the functioning hierarchy there are really only three Majzoobs in each age” (GS 255). Therefore only 33 of the 56 Majzoobs are in the hierarchy.
  5. In short, 1 Avatar, 55 Perfect Masters, and 33 Majzoobs are the only God-realized people in the hierarchy over the course of a cycle of time. There are no others.
The Present Moment

Now let’s leave aside talking solely about the Perfect Masters and Majzoobs in a cycle, and turn to the promised subject of all those God-realized human beings on earth at any given time.

At all times there are:

In the hierarchy

  1. 5 incarnate Perfect Masters
  2. 3 incarnate Majzoobs
          * During the 11th age there is also the Avatar

Not in the hierarchy

  1. An unspecified number of incarnate ones in the Divine Junction (Majzoob-Salik or Salik-Majzoob)
  2. An unspecified number of Kamils – incarnate Perfect Ones that have neither disciples nor duty
  3. An unspecified number of Akmals – a rare type of incarnate “Most Perfect One” who has no disciples but has duty (GS 282)
Thus there are five types of God-realized people on earth.

Of the second group, none of whom are included in the hierarchy, Baba says there are a total of 48 on earth at all times. Baba does not specify the number of each type that there are, or how many of each type are in a cycle, only that they total 48 at all times.

If we add these 48 to the 8 in the hierarchy, we get 56 God-realized people on Earth at all times.

Here is what Baba says about the 48 who are not in the hierarchy.

The remaining forty-eight God-realized ones [Majzoob-Saliks, Kamils, and Akmals] are not amongst the functioning spiritual hierarchy of 7,000 members. They remain aloof and people are not cognizant of their divinity, though all forty-eight have the same experience and enjoy the same divine state of “I am God” as the other eight. These forty-eight are, as it were, on the waiting list ready to help in any spiritual contingency cropping up through one or more of the functioning members dropping the body. (GS 256)

Now we understand how many God-realized human beings are on the earth at any given time, and how many of these at any particular time are in the hierarchy.

All types of God-realized human beings

Now we will carefully go over all the kinds of incarnate God-realized people there are, both in the hierarchy and not.

Let’s begin by going over the three types of Salik. Take note that all three of these kinds are real Saliks, sharing the exact same simultaneous experience of Duality and Reality that Perfect Masters do, but not all of them assume that “office” or duty, thus are not called Perfect Masters. The state where this experience of sulukiyat, in which God and the Illusion are experienced simultaneously (unlike Majzoobs who do not experience the world), is called by the Sufis baqa-billah and by the Vedantists sahaj samadhi. The following on these three types of Saliks is taken from God Speaks, pp. 138-39

In short, baqa-billah is that state of God where “abiding-in” or getting established in God is experienced by those who are defined as “Saliks” or “Jivanmuktas.” The Salik continually and consciously experiences simultaneously the dual experience of the “I am God” state and “I am human” state . . .

In baqa-billah, the life of God-in-human being established, man as God . . . simultaneously, without the least effort, has continually and automatically the dual experience of God and of man. This is the state of Perfection.

Perfection generally carries with it the sense of the highest pitch of, or the extreme type of, accomplishment, and Perfection as such cannot become more perfect. But when the term “Perfection” is used in terms of Divinity, there are three types of Perfection in the state of sulukiyat of baqa-billah:

The first type is known as “Kamil”—The Perfect One.

The second type is known as “Akmal” —The Most Perfect One.

The third type is known as “Mukammil”—The Supremely Perfect One. [Perfect Master]

Now we'll go over every type of God-realized human being (both Salik and not Salik). We will give as many of their names from different traditions as possible as such names are used in God Speaks. This may help the reader locate them in God Speaks if they like, for at different times Baba calls them by their different names.

  1. Avatar (Saheb-e-Zaman, Rasool, the Christ, the Messiah, the God-Man, the Saviour, the Prophet, the Son-of-God, the Buddha, the Ancient One, The Highest of the High, and so forth). A special Perfect Master and the original soul who appears once in a cycle who experiences sulukiyat as well as qutubiyat when on earth. God taking birth as a man at the end of a cycle. The head of the hierarchy while on earth. When not on earth one among the five Perfect Masters called the Qutub-e-Irshad holds this office. Can God-realize every soul in Creation. (State X of the Ten States of God)
  2. Perfect Master (Qutub, Sadguru, Mukammil, Salik-e-Mukammil, Param Mukta). He experiences the states of sulukiyat as well as qutubiyat. A Supremely Perfect One. When the Avatar is not present, one amongst these, the Qutub-e-Irshad, assumes the office of head of the spiritual hierarchy in his place, much like a steward sits for a king. Can God-realize every soul in Creation. (State X of the Ten States of God)
  3. Majzoob (Majzoob-e-Kamil, Brahmi Bhoot, Videh Mukta, God-merged, Divinely Absorbed). He experiences the state of majzoobiyat. A God-realized mast who is oblivious of the world and his body, and who has no duty to perform. A sleeping or inactive partner in God’s lela. “The Majzoob has no body-consciousness and no consciousness of the three spheres, the gross, the subtle and the mental. This means that in this State VIII, God as Majzoob consciously experiences His own infinite trio-nature of infinite power, knowledge and bliss, but does not make use of these infinite aspects of His nature” (GS 184). (State VIII of the Ten States of God.)
  4. Majzoob-Salik or Salik-Majoob (Paramhansa, Divine Super-Man, Liberated Incarnate Soul). He is in the Divine Junction, a state known to the Sufis as fana-ma-al-baqa of the muqam-e-furutat, and to the Vedantists as turiya avastha. His experience swings between that of a Majzoob and a Salik (i.e. majzoobiyat and salukiyat). (State IX of the Ten States of God)
  5. Kamil (Kamil-e-Salik, Jivanmukta, Azad-e-Mutlaq, Saheb-e-Jamo-Farq) who experiences sulukiyat, but not the qutubiyat of a Perfect Master. He is a Salik in the state of baqa-billah, experiencing the same experience as a Perfect Master, but without duty. A Perfect One. He can God-realize a single individual before he dies.
  6. Akmal (Akmal-e-Salik) A rare type of God-realized Salik in baqa-billah who has duty in duality, but no circle of disciples. A Most Perfect One. He has the same experience as a Perfect Master, but does not hold that office. He can God-realize any number of souls, but not all souls in Creation as a Perfect-Master and the Avatar can.
God-Realized and Liberated souls not in a physical body:

When a Perfect Master (including the Avatar) drops his body, he enters state II B (same as state VIII) described in God Speaks. The moment of passing into this final state is called “The Fourth Journey.” This soul is no longer conscious of the Illusion, and no longer performs any duty. He is as if awake in deep sleep. This state is also called vidnyan, “the resting place of the Masters” (GS 226). Only while remaining in a physical body do such souls interact with the illusion and directly intercede in human affairs, perform duty, and so forth. However, to worship one after he has dropped his body is to worship God with attributes, a high form of Bhakti.

Majzoobs and all the types of Perfect Ones (Paramhansas, Jivanmuktas, and Akmals) also experience this state upon dropping their body.

Ordinary Muktas (liberated souls). Most souls do not get God-realization. Rather they achieve liberation, after which they take no more births. This is called “ordinary mukti” or “ordinary moksha.” This occurs a few days after dropping the body. Such souls experience only the bliss of Union with God, but do not experience the Illusion, nor do they experience the infinite power and knowledge that Perfect Ones experience after dropping the body. Such souls are called “Muktas."

Here is what Baba says about ordinary mukti.
Ordinary mukti (najat) is achieved only after death by some exceptionally God-fearing, Truth-loving, good souls; and this mukti usually comes three to five days after the soul has left the body. Since this mukti is attained without the body, the individual soul enjoys only bliss (anand); and although power and knowledge are there, such a Mukta cannot experience them. Such a liberated soul is conscious only of the bliss of Union, and for him Creation no longer exists, thereby bringing to an end the constant round of births and deaths.  (GS 243)
Anand (bliss) only; no consciousness of “I am God” or of duality. (GS 245)

There are no disincarnate souls in the hierarchy. Although Perfect Masters and even souls on the planes use their subtle bodies separately from their gross bodies to do certain work, they retain a physical body whenever they do so.

Additional points on names in God Speaks

Other names for a Perfect God-realized soul in a body include Insan-e-Kamil, Shiv-Atma, and Perfect Man.

Also, an important point on the term “Perfect One” is given in God Speaks.

It must be noted that all of the fifty-six God-realized ones may be called Perfect Ones; but all of these fifty-six Perfect Ones are not all Perfect Masters. (GS p. 150)

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