Symbols of the world's religions


Part 1


Meher Baba

On the subject of Shariyat (external religion) for the edification of Muslim inmates in the Manzil-e-Meem, Meher Baba said:

"There are two states — internal and external — divided by a mental curtain. To cleanse or purify the internal by one's individual efforts is a very difficult task indeed. This inner purification can only be achieved by the help and grace of a spiritual Master. Unless such a Master comes to you or is contacted by you, it is best to engage oneself in keeping the external i.e., body clean, and this is what the ceremonial side of all religions teaches and emphasizes. The purpose and meaning behind this is obvious enough.

By following Shariyat to Perfection, one has a chance of coming into contact with a living Master (Salik). The observance of external cleanliness as taught by different religions, does brighten up to a certain extent the mirror of the mind, but its complete purification whereby the individual soul can stand reflected in all its divine effulgence and glory, rests in the hands of a spiritual Master.

Thus to understand or realize God, one of the two ways should be adopted and no half measures would do. All the religions concern themselves with the purification of the external only by means of reading, praying, worshiping, sitting, standing, bodily baths and ablutions, tidiness of clothing and selection of food, etc.

With the eyes you enjoy the sight of good, holy and religious objects; with the tongue and lips you utter prayers; with the ears you hear divine recitations, and with the hands you offer supplications and count the beads of a rosary. Thus all the great prophets and religious law-givers have very knowingly enjoined upon their followers the necessity of external purification pending the arrival of the stage of inner enlightenment.

The middle course as pursued by Yogis (Rahib) is almost always a failure, as they hopelessly intermingle the internal and the external for the realization of their goal. By bringing the mind into play in the process of concentration and meditation and by trying to force a collusion of the upper and lower breaths in the region of the brain, they are poaching into the internal domain prematurely, while by indulging in asanas (fixed posture), muttering of mantras (Zikr), fasting and physical mortification they take the help of the physical paraphernalia and consequently their efforts invariably yield disappointment.

It is best therefore for everyone concerned to follow the observances of one's own religion until such time one is luckily drawn into the orbit of a spiritual Master's influence.

When once the internal is purified by the grace of a Salik (a Perfect Master), the external formality of religion is no longer needed except under special circumstances and considerations of duty that one has to perform in the world of his choice. It is for this reason that saints are generally seen to be in the most dirty state externally and the worldly people unaccustomed to such sights, fail to recognise the spirituality of a person in such surroundings.

Whether recognized or not, what do such people care for details of external habits after having realized their goal?

Everyone is aware that a new swimmer has necessarily to have the use of floats to help him learn the art of swimming. No sooner one becomes perfect in swimming, the floats are automatically discarded and are no longer found necessary. Who would ever think of expecting the swimmer to use floats perpetually even after mastering the art of swimming?

But Perfect Masters have been known throughout the religious history of mankind to go in sometimes for externalism also for the sake of the masses during their life mission on earth."

TWENTY YEARS WITH MEHER BABA, pp. 85-87, Dr. Abdul Ghani, Munsif
1975 © Avatar Meher Baba Poona Center

By Following Shariat To Perfection, Part 2


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