VERY FAR-OFF AND ABSTRACT GOAL
BABA: It is presumed you know already that planes are not places. The state and stage connoting Shamballa exists. There is difference of terminology only. This is also known as Vidhnyan.
Questioner: Are there seven rays as told about in occult books and are there Masters who function on these respective rays, such as Jesus who stands on what is called the sixth ray of devotion, or abstract realism; the Master D. K. on the second ray of love, wisdom....
BABA: The seven rays with their peculiar characteristics are a symbolic expression of the seven stages of the return journey of a Realized soul to normal consciousness. Those Realized beings who have a duty to perform and a mission to fullfil, have to come down to normal consciousness and take their stand at one of the seven stages of the return journey, best suited for the fulfilment of their task. These seven stages of the return journey have their peculiar features and characteristics and reflect the outward circumstances of a Master. For instance, one Master lives on earth like a prince, another lives in all austerity. One is in the midst of the busy world, another in seclusion. The powers are peculiar to different stages. For instance, healing of diseases and bringing of the dead to life is characteristic of the fourth stage.
Questioner: Where is the "Hall of Learning" of which I have read and were those on the path are taken as they progress to take the first few initiations? Books allegedly dictated by Hilarion describe it impressively, telling of the great host of souls who stand within it, veiled, thinking themselves alone until their veils are raised with various initiations.... Is all this true or just told as symbolism?
BABA: "Hall of Learning", is pure symbolism. It is analogous to Islamic belief and picture of "Darbare Mohammadi", i.e., the court of Mohammed. The inner court presided over by Mohammed in person and the outer court presided by deputies, and the outer-most court consisting of those prepared souls clamouring for entry, is almost and similar to the picture drawn by Hilarion, as you say.
Questioner: Will I have to wait until I have received Realization to carry on work on the astral plane, as I asked when I first met you? Do I work now without being able to bring anything through? How long will it be before I am able to direct my consciousness deliberately to leave my body and establish contact with those whom I love, or would like to help, regardless of time and place?
BABA: Yes, you are working on the astral plane but unconsciously. In order to do so consciously, you are to attain illumination (sixth plane) which is a prelude to Realization. I have assured you of the experience one day.
Questioner: Is it impertinent to ask why you are focussing our attention on such a high goal rather than showing us the lower planes and giving us understanding of their properties and functions? The high ideal is so removed from our understanding that it leaves us empty, unsatisfied, still as blind as ever, like a class of children listening to the nebular theory.
Without this more elementary knowledge, how can we go back into the world and answer the questions of those who only need and can understand just a little to help solve these problems? We would seem to be then like hundreds of spiritual teachers whose words go over the heads of the humble seekers. Most of them are too tired or too blind to deal with higher concepts — they need the simple remedies first.
BABA: There is no higher or lower goal. There is only one goal, i.e., Self-realization. The journey of the planes, from one to the other, is like changing one prison cell for another, or amounts to exchanging iron fetters for golden ones. In neither case is one free, and it is perfect freedom from the bindings of the physical and the spiritual planes that I aim at.
The advancement on the planes may connote progress and beatitude, tempting to the wayfarer; but the allurements of a plane once entered are difficult to shake off. In fact, the bindings (sanskaras) of the physical plane are much easier to destroy than the bindings of the astral planes. I wish you to be free once and forever.
THE ANSWER: Conversations With Meher Baba, pp. 25-27, ed Naosherwan Anzar
1972 © Naosherwan Anzar