Symbols of the world's religions



Bal Natu

As one reads the account of Meher Baba's contacts with the God-intoxicated souls, the masts, at the outset as well as in retrospect, one comes upon a phase unmatched in spiritual history. The work seemed so simple in its outward expression, yet in effect it was profoundly deep — so visible, but abundantly penetrating. Especially in the forties, the work with masts was "the must" in Meher Baba's life; it far outweighed other phases to which He gave attention.

The inner life of the mast tendered a mystery, and so the channels through which Meher Baba reached his dazed being were inherently mystical. Baba underwent great inconveniences and hardships to reach the places where they dwelt. With ease of manner and the gentle love that was evident in Him, He carried on His divine work as an ordained mission that none can take over until the Avatar again becomes enformed. This Advent occurs when humanity feels adrift and is in need of the Star to sail by on the shoreless sea of life.

Masts, with their mysterious states and peculiar traits, as explained by Meher Baba, are mostly found in India. Very little is known about them in other countries — if anything, it is in the form of distorted interpretations. Why should such God-intoxicated souls be found in India mostly? It is a fair question. Instead of attempting to answer it myself, I will quote two paragraphs from the Wayfarers, perhaps the only book on the masts:

A person of inquiring mind may wonder whether masts may be found in other parts of the world, and if they are not, then why it is that India alone is gifted with such souls. Baba, in explaining this paradox to his disciples, told them once that India was nearest to the "creation point", and was, therefore, the most significant country in the world in the realm of spirituality. It was for this reason, he explained, that there were very few masts outside India, and none in Europe or the Americas, although there were mystics, saints and God lovers there. He told them, however, that there were a few masts in Arabia, a few in Egypt, a very few in Iran (mostly in Meshed and Tabriz), and a very few in Tibet.

It is, therefore, not surprising that in the western world there are, as far as I am aware, no traditions about these God-intoxicated souls, and that when a Westerner is confronted for the first time by the eccentric characteristics of a mast, his reaction is, quite possibly, one of incredulity and even abhorrence.

1977 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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