THE EXPERIENCE OF BOTH IMPRISONMENT AND RELEASE
The whole world is a prison, for the Soul experiences being behind the bars in a cell of its gross-subtle-mental body. The hold of illusion is so strong that it imprints the feeling of perpetual bondage. And the eternally free Soul — though lone Sovereign and supreme Lord — experiences itself as serf rather than Soul.
Illusion stages the Lord's imprisonment so perfectly and establishes his serfdom so convincingly that even at the moment when the Perfect Master bestows his grace on the Soul, it experiences itself as breaking out through the bars of a prison which never existed.
The [embodied] Soul's apparent imprisonment becomes so suffocatingly unbearable that a time comes when, by the Master's grace, it literally tears itself free as if from shackles. And when at last freed, the feeling of exultation is as powerful as was its feeling of suffocation. The experience of both imprisonment and release is of illusion, but the experience of the final freedom is of Reality. The emancipated Soul then experiences continuously and eternally its own infinite freedom.
The world exists only as long as the Soul experiences bondage. When the Soul realizes itself as Reality, the world vanishes — for it never was, and the Soul experiences itself as being Infinite and Eternal.
LORD MEHER, Online revised ed, pp. 4717-4718
1996 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust