Symbols of the world's religions



Charles Haynes

Almost every time I saw Meher Baba, he would look at me and make that same gesture, the thumb and forefinger in a circle indicating 'perfection', both in the 1958 visit and in 1962. Never was it translated or interpreted. It never occurred to me as a child what it meant exactly. I associated it very deeply with seeing Him. But later, of course, I began to ask: "What does it mean? What does perfection mean? What does Baba mean when He says this?"

Over the years, I have experienced many things meditating on this. One thing came to me very strongly through something Elizabeth once said: "Well, it could mean many things, but one thing Baba may be saying is, 'Become perfect in My love.'" A beautiful phrase. But it was a little difficult so I pushed it aside. Yet over the years it keeps coming back: "Become perfect in My love."

One day, not too long ago, I was thinking about a passage in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talked about loving your enemies. It is a very difficult passage, the passage that everyone sort of knows, but doesn't want to remember. At the end of the chapter, Jesus says: "Therefore, be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." What does that mean? The Greek root of the word 'perfect' would be better translated: "Be ye whole (or complete), even as My Father in Heaven is whole." When I realized that, a great deal fell into place about this notion of perfection. And I went back to Baba's own words, saying to myself: "Well, what does Baba say?"

Baba has a whole discourse on perfection. It seems to me that this is a wonderful key to Baba's mission if we reflect on what it is to be whole. For me, there are at least two ways of seeing this. One is to see it universally. We can think of this as the real story of the entire cosmos, this journey from unconsciousness to consciousness, or, as Baba puts it: "From unconscious divinity to conscious divinity." It is really a journey towards wholeness, towards a realization of all that is, of all parts as one. This cosmic journey has emerged in our time as the myth of the 20th Century.

The journey within to become whole has begun to emerge in many different places. The clearest example of this is in psychology, where perhaps the greatest discovery of our time has been the discovery of the unconscious. The great genius behind this discovery, Carl Jung, really saw the whole of life and the cosmos as the unconscious becoming conscious. He saw this in his patients and in the work he did in himself. Jung felt that this would be the new story of our time. In this way people would better understand their actions and motivations, and how this affected the world.

I feel this is from Baba, because Baba is doing so much more than simply relating to us, or even relating on a personal level to people in general. He is creating a New Humanity, and in that New Humanity, we need to have a fresh way of seeing; some framework in which everything can fit together and life can again view itself as moving towards a purpose and a meaning. One can think of this cosmically, and in that sense it is very helpful — whether you look at modern physics or Jungian psychology to see how this story is emerging as people discover more and more what it means. Jung had Meher Baba's blessing in receiving a book sent by Him personally.

This perspective is also important because it helps people understand the destructive side as well as the creative side of the world, and how both must come together. In His discourse on perfection, Baba says: "Perfection may manifest itself through killing or saving, according to the spiritual demands of the situation." Perfection is not unambiguous goodness in the sense of the human understanding of what it is to be good. Perfection really is wholeness, and in the process towards wholeness there is a great deal of destruction, along with a great deal of creativity, or so it seems to us.

Actually from Baba's point of view there is neither. We experience both aspects in our move towards our own wholeness. As we look around and see natural disasters or the threat of holocausts and wars, we realize that the destructive is also very much a part of this movement in God towards understanding God's Self.

Baba said: "Perfection does not belong to God as God. Nor does it belong to man as man." Perfection does not belong to us simply because we are the bearers of light (consciousness). "But we get perfection when man becomes God or when God becomes man." When the finite realizes its infinity or when infinity becomes finite, without its nature being affected, this is perfection — where the two are joined.

That is a marvelous image because the God-Man really is, as Adi used to say, greater than God. It is in the God-Man that the living embodiment of perfection is fully achieved. This does not mean some unambiguous one-sidedness. It means everything is consciously realized in the Beloved, and everything in each of us is struggling to realize itself to become perfect, to become whole.


GLOW International, Nov 1987, pp. 9-10, ed Naosherwan Anzar
1977 © Naosherwan Anzar


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