Symbols of the world's religions



Meher Baba

I once came across my old friend Usman in the Poona Express one morning at Lonavla station; and in response to my friendly overtures, some taunting remarks were flung at me. It included a couplet from Shaikh Saadi's Gulistan, which I couldn't remember while repeating the incident to Baba after my return. At dinner time, however, Doctor [Ghani] told Baba that he had come upon the particular couplet repeated by Usman to me at the time, and it is: "Reaching heaven following a friend is truly equal to going to hell."

Hearing this, Baba said that, "Usman is cent per cent right in what he told Ramjoo. Paradise should be earned by one's own exertions. It should never be gained by favour, or by the help of someone else. It should be deserved! To enter paradise without deserving it, merely through favour or grace of someone is no doubt not only equal to, but worse than, burning in the fires of hell. Hence so far as Usman limits himself to this meaning he is perfectly right. If, however, his intention was to ridicule you, or taunt you for following me, then he has ridiculously failed therein. Here, the question of heaven and hell does not concern you at all.

Neither have I lost heaven nor do I need to flee from hell.
The call of the Perfect Master is supremely distinguished.

"I have held out to you expectations of something much higher than this dream of paradise and hell. By remaining with me, you hope to understand Truth, i.e. God, and thus fathom the secret of the universe. This knowledge is impossible for anyone to obtain without the help of a Master. Individual attempts in this direction are of no avail without the guidance of a Realized Guide. That divine poet of Persia, Hafiz, exclaims: 'Without a guide, don't enter the path of Love, as I failed hundreds of times while doing so.'"

Continuing, Baba said, "Moulana Rumi, whose Masnavi Usman is so fond of repeating, corroborates Hafiz when he writes: 'Priest Rumi would never have become Master Rumi if he had not become the slave of Shams-Tabriz.'

"One whose object is God, what does he care for heaven or hell? Hafiz aptly describes the feelings of such a one in this couplet:

Since I see my Friend throughout both the worlds,
what do I care for heaven and hell and the spirits, etc.?

"Poor Usman does not understand what he himself speaks. To say and claim that the Prophet will lead or give all Muslims paradise is a beggary that beggars a description. His case is so helpless that instead of searching for Truth for himself, even the question of paradise he leaves entirely in the hands of the Prophet, and at the same time he confesses that heaven is to be earned or deserved, or otherwise, it is equal to hell. To preach that which you don't practise is hypocrisy in its worst form."

RAMJOO'S DIARY, pp. 81-82, Ramjoo Abdulla
1979 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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