Symbols of the world's religions



Meher Baba

"The Ocean Is As It Was"
   is a story Meher Baba personally recounted
      and it reveals something of the inner nature
         of the subtle and mental planes,
            which are what they are,
               nothing and a mere illusion.
But to know illusion as illusion
   and to experience the Ocean,
      these subtle and mental planes
         have to be passed through.
Only then is it realized
   that the Ocean alone exists —
      that the Ocean is what It is —
         eternal, indivisible and infinite.
In this story each of the seven fish indicates an inner plane,
   and the relation of the fish to the Ocean
      concerns the nature of the seven inner planes.

In an Ocean there were seven fish;
 the first fish was the smallest,
      the second was a little bigger,
         and the third was a little bigger than the second,
            and so on up to the Seventh Fish.
The Seventh was the Biggest Fish,
   and all the fish resided in the waters of the Ocean.
One day the second fish was very hungry
   and this hunger could not be controlled,
      so it ate the first fish.
After seven years the third fish felt very hungry,
   its hunger could not be stopped,
      and so it devoured the second fish.
Again after seven years the fourth fish felt very hungry
   its hunger could not be controlled,
      and it consumed the third fish.

Thus after every seven years
   each fish one after the other felt so hungry
      that one by one each did away with the smaller.
This finally left the Seventh Fish alone in the water
   with no one left to sport with It,
      and except water, there was nothing for It to eat.

So this Big Fish lived on water, slaking Its thirst,
   but It had nothing to satisfy Its hunger.
After seven years, however, that Huge Fish
   felt very hungry and very lonely,
      being alone all the time
         with no one to play with.
The more Its hunger pained It
   the more loneliness It felt.
It was fed up with the loneliness
   and life had no zest.
The Big Fish could no longer control Its appetite,
   and disgusted with life, It ate Itself.
      Fish were no more.
No fish were left in the Ocean,
   but the Ocean was as It was.

The Ocean was as It was from the beginning,
   and the Fish that ate Itself
      attained consciousness of being the Ocean,
         "I am not a fish, I am the Ocean."
The Unconscious Ocean is infested with fish —
   hungry and thirsty, attacking and devouring each other,
      but for that Fish that became the Conscious Ocean
         there was not one fish left.
For those who are hungry and thirsty,
   who attack and devour,
      there is an end — that end is the Ocean.
The Ocean has no hunger and no thirst,
   and in It are no fish.
      It is as It was,
         perpetual, constant.

The Unconscious Ocean with innumerable fish
   is named Ishwar,
      and the Conscious Ocean with no fish
         is named Paramatma.
The last Fish which ate Itself
   and disappeared and became the whole Ocean
      was the First Fish to return into the waters
         as the Fish which is the Ocean Itself.
That Fish which returns into the waters
   changes as Fish,
      but It is as It always is,
         not a Fish but the Ocean.
When that Fish first returned
   into the waters of creation
      He was named Matsya Vishnu Avatar,
         the Fish Who is the Ocean.
Avatar Meher Baba is that Oceanic Fish-Man.


THE NOTHING AND THE EVERYTHING, pp. 336-338, Bhau Kalchuri
1981 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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