Symbols of the world's religions



Jean Adriel

First he would stir up my emotions by insisting I speak my mind; then he would induce me to become calm — detached. This soul-surgery continued for about an hour, during which time I must have recapitulated all the emotional crises of my entire life — and there had been many. Perhaps this emotional review was another aspect of Baba's 'game' — one for which at the time I felt little zest.

When it was finally over, I was utterly shattered. I had to be carried back to my bed, where for hours I lay sobbing with hysterical heart-break. I could see no reason for the ordeal to which Baba had subjected me. The tender, loving Father seemed to have become the Devil himself! When he looked in on me a little later, I told him I could not stand any more; I had reached my limit of endurance. Then from sheer exhaustion I fell asleep.

On awakening in the morning I felt more dead than alive. My body seemed drained of life, my soul devoid of hope, my heart barren and cold. The brilliant Indian sun infiltrating through the doors and windows of my room was powerless to penetrate my inner darkness.

Later I sat on our back porch with Malcolm, in silence. I saw the sympathy in his eyes, but my heart could not receive it. Where faith had upheld me, despair now ruled; where love had drawn and impelled me, icy fingers gripped my heart. My God had failed me; I longed for the oblivion of unconsciousness — for the peace of utter annihilation — the great temptation which comes to all at this moment of the soul's Calvary. Then I thought of Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane — how even he had asked to have the cup removed from him. But with the next breath I remembered the succeeding words: "Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done."

"Not my will, but Thine"; here was the key to my problem. I let the words sink deep into my soul. A deeper abandonment to God — to my Master, an incarnation of God — this was what was required of me. Much of my anguish was due to my rebellion against what Baba knew to be for my highest good. I had trusted him for many years; he had not failed me. I must know that he was not failing me now. He saw more deeply into my need than I could possibly see; and better than I, he knew how to meet that need. In my heart I offered my life to him anew to use as he deemed best. I accepted the darkness, then I let go. At that moment out across the fields a robin sang its liquid canticle; and with its melting lilt a blockage was released in me and peace poured into my heart.

A few minutes later, with his perfect timing, Baba appeared. He had pointedly stayed away until this moment. He looked at me seriously — questioning me with his eyes, even as a surgeon examines his patient after a major operation. Then I asked him a question:

"Is it possible to love God merely through obedience — when feeling is absent?"

He smiled. The operation has been successful and the patient would live!

"It is the highest form of love," he replied.


AVATAR, pp. 197-199
1947 © Jean Adriel


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