Symbols of the world's religions



Don E. Stevens

Sooner or later, each human being must be willing to annihilate for a time his own sense of self-determination in a sense of absolute trust of another. Only in this manner can there be the opportunity to comb out the snarls of countless accumulated actions in one's nature.

Even when a person is unhappiest, he still has a persistent sense of unconscious hope that his own deliberated actions will one day lead him to success and happiness. Usually, it is only the person who has almost entirely ceased to hope who is willing to take the conscious step of annihilating his own ego in the person of another. For in annihilating his ego, he denies the very core of the 'right' of free-will, of self-determination, and in that destruction there is bound to go his most stubborn, ego-centered hope for the future.

Once it is gone, he is really at sea. There is no landmark, no point of reliance or help, only that cause or person to whom he has perhaps by now given his allegiance. This is a frightening position and it is no wonder that most people would prefer to trust their own fallible but 'visible' sense of self-determination, rather than surrender it to another's possible whims.

There are few people who have reached either such desperation in the successive traps of life, or enlightenment in the inner processes of the heart, to be willing to trust their fate implicitly to another being.

This is the challenge which frightens people not only with Baba but to a degree with all religious personages, faiths and movements. Baba poses the issue indelibly, however, clearly and repeatedly. For this reason there is often little opportunity to appreciate the scope and style of his statements. The human challenge they contain is too profound.

Then one day the great teacher passes on. The words can be read with academic interest in their loftiness or precept and the beauty of their phrasing. The rugged, stripped-bare challenge of a personal and immediate surrender is no longer present. Then the great man begins to be appreciated. Or is he appreciated, really?

Actually, I do not think he is. The real importance of such a person is in what is done in the direct personal relationship. The important people are the ones who went through whatever hell there was in fighting the thing through in the intensity of the living challenge. What comes after may have its glory, its beauty, its mass acceptance, but these are a pale shadow to the real man and the vitality of the living relation.

This is the challenge for man, and there are always individuals on earth who will present it to him. At some time he must meet it, and finally realize that the one who poses it does not do it for himself, but for love of the people who must know themselves.

Trust in or identification with another human being is not peculiar to the follower of the guru. It has its modern counterpart in the relation of patient to psychoanalyst, of friend to trusted advisor, of one who loves the beloved. Such a relation apparently involves a very fundamental principle of nature in which the complexities of self can be attacked at their root through the loss or lessening of self in the being of another. BACK


LISTEN, HUMANITY, 3rd ed, pp. 232-233, ed Don E. Stevens
1982 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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