Symbols of the world's religions



K. K. Ramakrishnan

25th February 1894. Five hours before the birth of the divine child, when the midnight gong sounded twelve times in the distance, Shireen, the mother had a dream, which she described to her mother who was sitting by her bed in David Sassoon Hospital, Pune.

"I saw a glorious person like the sun sitting in a chariot and his cool brilliance pervaded the atmosphere. A few people were pulling his chariot, while thousands of people were leading this man in a procession. Tens of thousands of people were gazing at him, consoled by his divine radiance. I, too, was in the procession and marveled at the luster of his face. His light fell on the whole procession and people's eyes were fixed on him. They could not look away."

Hearing this, with tears of joy, her mother Golandoon said,

"Shireen, my daughter, a very auspicious son will be born to you. His name will be spread all over the world. He will be among thousands of people one day and will be carried in grand processions as you dreamt. He will be given special reverence and honour."

All these things we have witnessed during the time Meher Baba was with us physically, and even now we can witness such scenes in films and video cassettes on his tour in India and in different countries of the world. We can also read such events in books on his life and work. For instance we read in Lord Meher page 1650:

At 8:30 P.M. on 31st May 1932, a large reception of one thousand people took place at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood. Many from Los Angeles and the surrounding area came to the "spiritual" or "Love" gathering. There were so many people that the hall had to be cleared of all furniture. Men, women and children stood in line waiting to meet Baba. In a theatrical setting, Baba was seated higher on a platform with the four Eastern mandali on one side and six Westerners on the other, forming a semicircle at his feet. Behind Baba, like two angels, two harpists were playing softly.

Visitors were admitted one at a time through a side door of the hall. Each introduced to Baba, receiving a handshake and his radiant smile. Passing in a circle through another side door, they were then led outside to the lounge where refreshments were being served. In the dazzling light of the hall, Baba looked beautifully divine in his white robe and with locks of hair falling to his shoulders — a figure that captivated the hearts of all.

Baba's instructions were that one was not to ask questions and to leave after a hand shake with him. But there were many who were so enthralled, who felt so intoxicated, they would not leave. Their words of wonder echoed throughout that hall:

"If Christ were alive today, he would look like him."

"What a divine glow on his face!"

"He does not seem to belong to this world."

"Can any man be so beautiful?"

"He is the living Christ!"

"How marvelous is his divine attraction."

"I feel like looking at him forever!"

"My eyes are dazzled by his beauty."

"I just cannot leave. For the first time in my life, I have seen divinity!"

"What a sweet face! How holy is his divine purity!"

"Nothing can be said about him. My tongue is stuck."

"How electrifying was his touch! I felt a shock pass through me. My God! I was senseless."

"What is happening to my heart?"

"Oh, how wonderful is his form."

"What brilliance! What beauty! What a smile!"

"Seeing him, I am amazed!"

How does Meher Baba make such a universal appeal? Because he is the Life of all life, the Father of all in creation. He is the indweller of every heart, the innermost essence of everything in existence.

God is EXISTENCE, eternal and infinite. He is EVERYTHING. So when God manifests on earth as Man, as the Avatar, He also becomes one of every form with full knowledge and consciousness. He thus becomes a sparrow for all sparrows in Creation, an ant for all ants in Creation, a pig for all pigs in Creation, a particle of dust for all dusts in Creation, a particle of air for all airs in Creation, for each and everything that is in Creation. It is thus a Universal Incarnation of God that takes place. The infinite consciousness of the Avatar imperceptibly penetrates into every form and mind, and rising out of all forms and minds asserts his individuality established in the indivisibility of the Truth as the Ancient One, the First One to have overcome the sting of ignorance, who comes again and again to open to all the Kingdom of Bliss, Knowledge and Power. His physical form is the reflection of God's image imprinted in every atom of Creation.

The Avatar is like the Ocean that holds every drop, and experiences the experience of every drop in the ocean of Infinite Unconsciousness, which we call the Universe. It means that the Avatar contains in his Universal Body the bodies of all forms in existence and in his Universal mind the minds of all in existence. Thus it is possible for the Avatar to know the universal scale for everything and everyone in creation. One cannot imagine the vastness, depth and magnitude of the universal work of the Avatar unless one has a glimpse of his universal mind. There are many who have had experience of Meher Baba responding to their thoughts, while they were in crowds of thousands. But there are occasions when Baba responded to the need of a soul before the person became conscious of that need.

On Sunday, 22nd May 1932, Mr. and Mrs. Stokes gave a dinner party in Baba's honor at their house in Greenwich Village, America, and over three hundred people attended. Several black people came, and one woman asked Baba to help the people of her race, to which he replied, "I Will."

As people were standing in line to pay their respects to Baba, he suddenly stopped the program and called one of the mandali. Baba pointed to a woman standing far back in the crowd and instructed that she be brought to the front to meet him.

Baba's summons was delivered by Norina Matchabelli and received by the woman in an embarrassed manner, as neither of them knew one another. The woman apologetically explained that she had come merely to accompany a friend and did not feel inclined to meet Baba. Baba kept signaling that she should come to him. At this, her attitude changed and she walked toward him.

Baba's hand stretched out to her with obvious joy. He had found the needing soul that, for some obscure reason, was unconsciously due to meet him. Standing before Baba, her embarrassment almost grew into a state of confusion which Baba took care of immediately in his benign way. At his words, "Do not worry. I know everything, and I will take care of you and help you," she involuntarily began shedding tears. The reception continued as the rescued soul disappeared into the crowd. The woman's name was Marian and she was the stepdaughter of the scientist Albert Einstein.

About a week later the woman phoned to Norina wishing to meet and came to Norina's apartment and narrated the sorrowful state of affairs in her family due to the hatred between her and her daughter. Marian narrated to Norina:

"My daughter and I have persecuted each other in hatred for twenty years. I have never been able to understand why, as she was born in love. Neither was I able to overcome a physical detestation for my child. I had never even kissed her!

"When the Master asked me to meet him, I did not know why he was calling me. My own unhappiness had become so much a part of my life that I did not even know I was in need of help. When the Master greeted me with so much kindness, I did not remember being impressed in any way, not even to have been able to look at him closely. I was like one in a dream and woke up suddenly as if I had been carried off somewhere by an invisible friend for some good reason. I could not understand what had happened to me.

"The next morning, I woke from an unusually deep sleep and found myself bathed in an ecstasy of love and bliss! It was so powerfully active within me that it made me function without my will and without thinking. I walked straight into the room of my daughter who was still sleeping, and drawn by irresistible love, stretched myself near that despised child. For the first time in the lives of both of us, we felt a bond — a bond that was more than a mother and daughter's love! It was an experience almost superhuman. It sealed both our hearts together and a new life has begun for us. My experience was contagiously felt by her, and there is a tender relationship that today reflects happiness for the whole family.

"Friend, who is this man? I remember similar stories about Jesus imparting such grace of love."

Norina then told Marian a little about Meher Baba.

Another soul saved. On 1st of June 1932, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, leading stars of the film world of the then Hollywood, invited Meher Baba to Pickfair, their twenty-two-room mansion at 1143 Summit Drive, for a reception in his honor with a few others from the film industry.

After dinner, Baba got up to leave three times, but Mary Pickford would not allow him to go. Finally, when he stood up, all surrounded him. Dictating from his alphabet board, he continued to converse with them while standing. After a few minutes, his roving glance fell on a young lady standing isolated at the far end of the room with her back to him. Baba beckoned for her and when his summons was relayed, she turned her face toward him but remained aloof. She was called again. Slowly coming forward, she stopped at a distance. Norina told her, "Come and shake hands with Baba, child."

The young lady remained reserved and Elizabeth said to her, "Why are you afraid, dear? Come nearer and meet Baba."

She asked, "How can I touch him?"

"Why not?" Norina replied. "All can meet Baba!"

This brought tears to her eyes, and she pitiably asked, "But I am a sinner! How can I touch a holy being like him?"

Baba then went to her, and passed his hand over her head and shoulders. She started weeping, and Baba gestured to her, "I am the purest of the pure. I can purify the worst sinner. You have understood your mistakes and acknowledged them faithfully in the presence of others, and so you are forgiven. This penance from the depths of your heart is adequate, and you are now cleansed. Now, don't fear in the least and don't repeat your past mistakes. I give you my blessings!"

The girl burst into tears, and Baba lovingly embraced her. The tear which Baba had drawn from her wiped out all her sins.

Those who witnessed this were deeply moved; their hearts overflowed and their eyes also teared. Before departing, Baba again embraced all the guests and putting his hand on the girls head, consoled her, "You have received forgiveness for everything! Forget the past and don't worry at all."

The girl pressed her eyes to Baba's hand and kissed it. As Baba left, all eyes followed him. In their films, Mary Pickford and B.L. Douglas Fairbanks had depicted scenes of deep human love, but witnessing this sight of pure divine love from Meher Baba was a rare experience indeed. Their hearts were full.

At Nasik on February 18th, 1932, Baba explained to the mandali:

"You will never be able to understand my universal work. During this period of my Avatarhood, I have to cleanse the world completely. This overhauling will last a thousand years. During this Avatarhood of mine, the greatest work will be achieved — the union of the East and the West. I am the Universal Avatar, and not an Avatar for the East or West individually as in previous advents. I belong to the whole universe..."

During his second visit to America, in his message issued on May 19th, 1932, while revealing at length his Avataric mission to the Western world he said that it will be one of his greatest miracles to bring together and blend the realistic West with idealistic East; and the West at the zenith of its material and intellectual attainment and the East at the height of its spiritual manifestation in the shape of the Avatar will meet without shaming or looking down upon each other.

He repeated that materialism and spirituality must go hand in hand. The balance of head and heart must be maintained; the head for discrimination, the heart for feeling, whereby it is possible to realize infinite consciousness in art, science, nature and in every phase of life.

The performance of this greatest miracle we have witnessed when the East-West Gathering was held at Guruprasad, Pune from 1st to 4th November 1962. It was on that occasion while addressing over five thousand of his lovers from the East and West seated at his feet, thus bringing about the union of the East and the West, Meher Baba proclaimed:

My dear Children. Your coming from different places and from across oceans has pleased me. And although no sacrifice to be near me is too great, I am touched by the sacrifice that some of you have made.

Those who have not been able to come should not feel disheartened, for my life is with them as always and specially so at this time.

You have come from great distances not for some convention or conference but to enjoy my company and feel afresh my love in your hearts. It is a coming together of children of East and West in the house of their Father.

All religions of the world proclaim that there is but one God, the Father of all in creation. I am that Father.

I have come to remind all people that they should live on earth as the children of the one Father until my Grace awakens them to the realization that they are all one without a second, and that all divisions and conflicts and hatred are but a shadow-play of their ignorance.

Although all are my children they ignore the simplicity and beauty of this Truth by indulging in hatreds, conflicts and wars that divide them in enmity, instead of living as one family in their Father's house.

Being Infinite Love enformed as man, Meher Baba revealed the ineffable beauty of God's Love, which filled the hearts of all who came into his contact and felt that he loved them more than they could ever love themselves. The pure love he smiled into the life of those who came into his close contact made it natural for them to feel related to God in the form of Meher Baba, thus effacing many a preconceived notion of spirituality, religion and God, from their minds.

When compared to previous advents, Meher Baba's advent as the Avatar of our Age is unique in the sense he is accessible to all humanity. He is the only Avatar in the light of recorded history who has been accepted as such during his physical presence on earth. His magnetic personality, spontaneous self-giving love, radiant smile and all-seeing light of his eyes make such a universal appeal that he is able to relate to Europeans or Americans, Japanese or Chinese, Ceylonese or Egyptians, Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, Sikhs and Jains, Jews and Christians.

One of the truly great and revolutionary impacts Meher Baba's New Life — 16 October 1949 to 16 February 1952 — has silently and imperceptibly made on life in our time is that it is natural to make God a vital part of man's everyday life, without resorting to religion. God has become a loving companion of man constantly watching over his welfare with boundless warmth and love, demanding only implicit obedience to His wish by acting according to the dictates of one's own conscience, which is His voice. Thus we find today Meher Baba lovers in different parts of the world come together as the children of the one Father and live as one family in their Father's house, which is this earth and in the embrace of his all encompassing love, eat in his love, drink in his love, sing and dance in his love, while adherents of different religions cut each other's throat to prove that their way is the only way to God under the evil spell of bigoted religious leaders and self-centered politicians. The only way to God is Love, because God is Infinite Love. Hence Meher Baba asked us to love him in all and to serve him in each other.

The essential teaching of all religions of this world is love for God. To love God in the most practical way is to love our fellow beings, because our fellow beings are none other than the One God manifesting His infinite attributes on earth like the One Sun releasing infinite attributes of light, life and energy through infinite rays.

Creation came out of God's Will-to-be-conscious. And through man alone, with his fully developed consciousness, can God manifest His divinity on earth and experience His infinite power, knowledge and bliss. The Avataric Advent is divinely ordained on earth once in seven hundred to fourteen hundred years to help man to walk on the path of love and attain the goal of his life, Godhood, his birthright.

Meher Baba, the Compassionate Father of all in creation, during the seventy-four years of his life on earth, collected around him his children who have harkened to his call from the East and West, from the North and the South, belonging to all religions and races, castes and creeds of this world, from different walks of life and gave birth to a cosmic family bound by a common bond of love for Baba, which is expressed in their greeting each other "JAI BABA!"

This magic word "JAI BABA" drowns all distinctions of religion, race, caste and creed, all divisions of high and low, rich and poor, saint and sinner and all walls of national boundaries. In the tears of joy of a "JAI BABA" embrace of two lovers one can only see the image of Baba's smile radiant with ineffable divine beauty. This miniature Meher Cosmic Family represents the NEW HUMANITY, Meher Baba came to usher in on this earth.




MEHER DARSHAN IN TEARS OF JOY, Written for the Ninety-Seventh Birthday of Avatar Meher Baba
1991 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust and Avatar Meher Baba Poona Centre, Pune


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