Symbols of the world's religions

               

FRANCIS BRABAZON IN ANDHRA PARADISO

Ross Keating

 
From Pune, Brabazon was the only Westerner out of a group of forty to accompany Meher Baba on an exhaustive tour of the rich fertile area of Andhra. He could not help but notice the spiritual poverty in the West, "between their wholeness and our fragmentation between their open purity and our tamasic self-envelopment."

Large crowds of up to twenty thousand came to receive Meher Baba's darshan (sight of the Master) and blessing as he stopped at the various towns and villages. In all, an estimated ninety thousand people came to see him during the tour. Incredibly, to each of those who came he personally gave prasad (gift from the Master) of a banana which was a fruit commonly grown in this tropical region. The distribution of the fruit prasad would take hours as each person filed by. Brabazon was staggered as he witnessed this spectacle of love and was struck by the attentiveness Meher Baba showed to him....

Brabazon also saw people dancing, singing and presenting extempore verses in praise of their Master. It was for him an experience of a vital, spiritual culture, a proletariat which needed no transition, an "Andhra-paradiso -- / With no fall, and no expulsion from the Garden: / But again with the seal of God's feet upon her earth" — and filled with a pure devotion to God.

"At another place, on leaving, a mere child climbed into our bus and sang songs about Baba, and harangued us to love him, without any signs of childish precocity, winning the respect and admiration of men who had served him for years."

Not surprisingly, the tour secured even further Brabazon's conviction in Meher Baba's spiritual authority. He had now seen with his own eyes Meher Baba moving and working in the midst of people and their natural devotional outpourings in response to being simply in his presence. "One thing is certain," Brabazon wrote:

"... and that is, if any one can help us to gain that freedom (which we feel is our birthright) it can only be one who not only says he has won it himself, but demonstrates his claim in his actual day-to-day living. That one alone can help us to touch the depths of ourselves, who first touches our depths."

And later, in a subsequent passage, Brabazon describes how being in Meher Baba's company on this tour actually touched his own "depths"...:

Whether Meher Baba is the totality of Godhood or not, I have personally no way of knowing — I can only measure to my own degree. But to that degree, he is the embodiment of that ideal which I call God. Since Beauty and knowledge has been the only God I have ever worshipped or pursued, and since this man appeals to my eyes as the very embodiment and manifestation of beauty and knowledge, I call him God.

Not only the all-forgiveness and humour in his eyes, but the very movements of his hands and body, have unlocked regions within me which were unknown to me before. No man or woman, no flight of thought, no aesthetic experience, no sublimity of nature, has touched the depths of me as this man has. I have met no-one, or experienced no experience, which has melted my heart or sharpened my intellect as he has.

 

FRANCIS BRABAZON, Poet of the Silent Word, pp. 120-122, Ross Keating
2002 © Ross Keating

               

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