Symbols of the world's religions



Michael Da Costa

My image of Majorca is of crowds of noisy English tourists in kiss-me-quick hats, staggering drunkenly through the streets singing raucously, "Here we go, here we go, here we go"; an image that stretches my powers of tolerance and love to the limit, I must admit.

And yet, Meher Baba, in his wisdom, so arranged things that "there we went" for our summer vacation instead of the Greek island we thought we wanted to go to. And so my family and I arrived at Gatwick airport in the middle of the night to discover that our charter flight was delayed for a few hours. This was during the height of the holiday season.

Horrified by the frantic noise and bustle of the airport I took my turn to have a wander around the terminal, until I spied a small neon sign saying "Chapel". This was the first of Baba's holiday gifts. Like the eye of the hurricane that he is, this small empty room, simply decorated and decked with flowers, was full of God's peace and tranquility and loving silence. This wine I drank deeply and gratefully and re-emerged into the clamour with a silly smile on my face, ready to take my turn at looking after the children.

After this experience Baba never left my side for the two weeks we were in Majorca. On numerous occasions my heart was prised open and I would find tears tumbling down my cheeks as I felt the power and the tenderness of his Love enfold me.

He appeared in so many ways: as I lay drifting and dreaming on a crowded beach it felt as if it were Baba's beams gently browning my skin;

or when I would swim far out into the bay alone among the small craft that were moored there, it was Baba's chuckle I could hear as the water lapped against the side of the boats;

or as we sat content in the warmth of the evening, sipping wine in the leafy square of the mountain village, it was Baba I could see, running and laughing with the village children;

or while I sat in the cool of the morning, breakfasting on the terrace of our holiday cottage as the sun came up over the mountains across the valley, it was Baba's smile which first illumined the highest peak;

or as we negotiated the precipitous hairpin bends of the mountain roads, it was Baba who navigated us safely to our destination;

and it was Baba's voice I could hear singing in the clanking bells of the goats as they made their way among the terraces of olive groves and lemon trees.

For me, Baba came to be especially identified with the mountains; it was as if he were the mountains, there, whenever I looked up, awesome and immovable, rooted in the earth, reaching to heaven, ever-present, ever-powerful, ever-beautiful, ever the same, yet ever-changing.

I suppose it is not really so difficult to find God among those lovely experiences. What is not so easy is to feel his presence among the hoards on package holidays, even though I know that he is there too. My judgmental critical self separates me from them, and therefore prevents me from feeling the Baba in them.

Baba himself, of course, never differentiated. In fact he was very happy among the crowds, doing his eternal work. His Love is for all, and he stands as a divinely human example for each of us as we struggle to emerge from the confines of a limited ego. So let me be glad for the glimpses he gave me, and perhaps, who knows, I may be able to see him everywhere. Until then I am starting to practice... "Here we go, here we go, here we go....."

1999 © Michael Da Costa


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