Symbols of the world's religions



Rustom Falahati

One reason why I constantly felt distressed was that I held the Mandali in such high esteem. Thus every time we had a run in of sorts, it hurt twice — one that they didn't seem to be living up to my high image of them, and secondly because inevitably I ended up feeling that I had lost their respect as well. Either would have been intolerable, but to experience both simultaneously was torture.

It was like a zen koan, my mind wrestled with it constantly. Here were people who proved, on a daily basis, that they were wise, and loving, and yet they seemed to be the cause of my not being able to accomplish the simplest and most straight forward task. And, despite the fact that I was doing, what my mind told me, was entirely sensible and correct, I was invariably being told by them that I was doing the wrong thing.

How could people I respected so much make such mistakes, or judge me so harshly? If their judgment was correct, then I was such a wretch I couldn't bear to live with myself, but if their judgment was wrong, then how could I live with their misjudgment and what did that say about my high regard for them? Yet, my heart held on, knowing that there was something deeper going on here that my mind was not grasping.

There was no way out of this conundrum, at least for me at that time. So I learned to take "vacations." These didn't involve stopping my work, they were more about learning to let go of it when I wasn't directly involved so that I could appreciate better the other experiences that were open to me.

As a kind of consolation, I took to spending whatever time I could around Eruch. During my time as a resident, I lived for quite a while in the Trust Compound itself. This gave me a great opportunity to see Eruch when he came into the Trust Office three days a week. Eruch would be busy with Trust work in the morning, but I would make it a point to attend tea whenever I could. As I've said before, other residents who worked in the Trust Office would congregate around Eruch's little table on the back verandah and the atmosphere was informal, relaxed and intimate. Residents from Meherabad and Meherazad would also try to stop by for tea if they could as well.

Gary Kleiner, a long time resident, would almost always come by. Gary enjoyed teasing Eruch by saying the most outrageous things, in an effort to provoke Eruch into saying something significant. He would do his best to argue with Eruch, to engage him in a bout of intellectual gymnastics. He would try to talk Eruch into a corner and Eruch would always escape with ease. Things were never dull, when Gary was around. He was, by nature, gregarious, even flamboyant, and I think he went out of his way to accentuate this when he was around Eruch in an effort to amuse him.

Eruch seemed to enjoy Gary's mischievous and humorous nature and, for the most part, so did the other residents. Gary seemed to feel that most of the time Eruch just gave out the "party line" when he was talking to pilgrims and Gary was determined to somehow get Eruch to reveal the real "secrets" in these less public settings. To this end, Gary would often ask questions or make statements that most of us found outrageous, but Eruch would generally just laugh, knowing what Gary was up to. It was all just part of the everyday fabric of life as a resident.

But I remember one occasion when it seemed to me that Eruch spoke very forcefully and quite seriously, as if he was trying to drive a point home. A point that could not be taken lightly. Gary started off, in his typical manner, "Eruch, Baba often said that He is not the physical form; that He is not the physical body. He has repeatedly said that He is Infinite Consciousness. Yet the Mandali encourage everyone to hold onto the form of Baba, to remember Baba as we see Him in His physical body. Wouldn't it be better if I pursued the Infinite Consciousness? If I focused and meditated on the infinite aspect of Baba, wouldn't that be a superior path to one of clinging to His form, which Baba Himself, said is not His reality?"

Eruch chuckled and said, "No, Gary. The path of Meher Baba is superior to the path of the Infinite aspect of God."

Inevitably, Gary persisted. "Oh, come on, Eruch. You are not being open minded. After so many years of being around Baba's body, you have become attached to it. Your attachment has biased your opinion and your reply too."

Eruch, to my surprise, reacted with uncustomary sharpness.

"Gary, you don't know what you are saying. The path of Meher Baba's form is superior to all other paths. You would piddle in your pants if you got the experience of Infinity or Oneness. The path to that experience is full of dangers and if you get that experience, it will be too much for you, it will cause you too much suffering. You would become like the mast who stood on his head all day long. Do you know that story? (Masts are God's intoxicated souls, who have lost normal consciousness).

"There was this Mast who would not put his feet on the floor because he saw God everywhere and putting his feet on the floor would mean putting it on God's face. He was considered mad and locked up in an asylum.

"A Baba lover happened to meet this mast and tried to convince him to stand on his feet, like everyone else. The mast refused, saying, 'How can I put my feet on God's face, it's blasphemy to do that. I have to stand on my head; there is no other way for me.'"

Eruch concluded, "You have no idea of the suffering that the experience of 'oneness with the whole creation' can bring. Just thank your stars that Meher Baba has come in our midst to save us the agony of that journey. So hold on to His form. Hold on to Him."


2006 © Rustom B. Falahati


 Spiritual Path | Anthology | Main Page Norway | AvatarMeherBaba USA | HeartMind | Search