Symbols of the world's religions



Rano Gayley

Meherabad was not a typical ashram. The usual eastern ashram or western monastery has a pattern of service chalked out for its members. After the first few years of training within the ashram, the novitiate is sent out as a sannyasi (renunciate) or sent to a hospital or mission, or is called upon for social work. Later, the aspirant returns to the ashram or is sent to a new ashram with new duties and increased responsibilities.

The daily routine, from dawn to dusk, is preplanned and the aspirant must discipline himself to meet the day's requirements. He awakens at a certain hour. Prayer, work, instruction, meals and meditation all have their time and all must be done. The routine becomes established, there are no sudden changes and one who follows this path can know what to expect.

With Meher Baba, there was no such surety. There was no preconceived channel for stewardship and no activity was established for long before it was disrupted or abandoned for something else. From day to day with Baba I was as unsure of what my future would bring as an initiate was sure of what was in store for him.

There were no guarantees for me or the others with Baba. Perhaps tomorrow Baba would send me packing back to the West; I never knew. Yet if one wished to remain with Baba, then one could not worry about it; one must forget that aspect.

Coming to Baba meant that the future and whatever it held was given to Baba for his keeping. As a result, if one wanted to stick to Baba, one had to let go of one's self. Thoughts about security, likes and dislikes and one's moods all had to be put at the feet of the Master. This was a painful process. Ashram life with Baba became the daybyday experience of Jesus' call: "Leave all and follow Me."

Meher Baba never wished for outer conformity. The discipline he expected from his disciples was an inward willingness to obey his wish. In a traditional ashram the head may be shaved or special robes worn as a sign of renunciation of the mundane for a certain ideal.

But Baba gathered such a potpourri of individual temperaments and unique personalities, one could never imagine them, on their own, living with one another, and certainly never acquiescing to a rigid standard of outward conformity. Each one had a definite character and Baba himself said, "I don't want stones around me."

It was only because of each one's love for Baba that each made the effort to live and cooperate with the others. Many times there were quarrels, and on such occasions Baba asked the ones concerned to try to live in harmony and asked that each be the one to "give in." Baba never minimized these differences, but rather brought them to the surface.


1983 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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