Symbols of the world's religions


Meher Baba


Allan Y. Cohen

Meher Baba's analysis of physical sexuality goes beyond moralistic judgment. In his cosmology there is no personal "Satan," eternal hell, or absolute evil. Given the ultimate goal of God-realization, "good" is anything that frees consciousness to experience divine love; "evil" is anything which obstructs spiritual freedom. Baba views sexuality from this perspective, noting the spiritual limitations and possibilities in male-female relationships. To the extent that sexual contact reflects lust for sensation, it is a roadblock; to the extent that it is an expression of selfless love, it becomes more consistent with spiritual progress.

The craving for sexual sensation is a serious obstacle to spiritual development, but originates from understandable motives. Baba points out that identification with the male-female polarity is the most powerful experience of duality, that we reincarnate as both male and female, and that sexual attraction is

a result of the effort which the mind makes to unite with its own unconscious part.

But a purely physical solution to compensate for fragmentation is impossible because,

paradoxical though it may seem, the form of the opposite sex prevents the true understanding of experience associated with the opposite sex. (4)

Baba thus states that relationships motivated primarily by physical desire tend to choke the development of real love. This spiritual roadblock is intensified by sexual promiscuity, in which

the temptation to explore the possibilities of mere sex contact is formidable. . . . In promiscuity the suggestions of lust are necessarily the first to present themselves to the mind, and the individual is doomed to react to people within the limitation of this initial perversion and thus close the door to deeper experiences. (5)

The problem of sensual desire can haunt the aspirant all along the spiritual path in both obvious and subtle forms. Baba advances two different kinds of solutions, the first occurring when a seeker gets fed up with both indulgence and repression and learns detachment.

When the aspirant becomes fully awake to the inevitable bondage and suffering entailed by craving, he begins voluntarily to disburden himself of craving through intelligent understanding. (6)

Perhaps a more palatable solution is the sublimation of physical desire.

This lust must be converted into love. What is lust, but a craving to satisfy physical senses, and love is the craving of the Soul. (7)

In all practicality, Baba advises a committed aspirant to follow either strict celibacy or marriage, whichever is more natural. He suggests lifetime celibacy only for those serious pilgrims to whom restraint comes easily, its value lying

in the habit of restraint and the sense of detachment and independence which it gives. (8)

In parallel, Baba points out the immense possibilities for spiritual growth in a totally committed two-person relationship:

The value of marriage lies in lessons of mutual adjustment and the sense of unity with the other. . . . In one sense married life may be looked upon as the intensification of most human problems. As such it becomes the rallying ground for the forces of bondage as well as the forces of freedom, the factors of ignorance as well as the factors of light. . . . In married life two souls get linked in many ways, with the result that they are called upon to tackle the whole complex problem of personality rather than any simple problem created by some isolated desire. (9)

In the beginning of married life the partners are drawn to each other by lust as well as love, but with conscious and deliberate cooperation they can gradually lessen the element of lust and increase the element of love. Through this process of sublimation lust ultimately gives place to deep love. By the mutual sharing of joys and sorrows the partners march on from one spiritual triumph to another, from deep love to ever deeper love, till the possessive and jealous love of the initial period is entirely replaced by a self-giving and expansive love. In fact, through the intelligent handling of marriage a person may traverse so much of the spiritual path that it needs only a touch by the Master to raise him into the sanctuary of eternal life. (10)

  (4)  DISCOURSES, 3 : 81.
  (5)  Ibid., 1 : 146-147.
  (6)  Ibid., p. 144.
  (7)  Quoted in "The Answer: Conversations with Meher Baba,"
         ed. Naosherwan Anzar (Bombay, 1972), p. 2.
  (8)  DISCOURSES, 1 : 145.
  (9)  Ibid., pp. 145, 149-150.
(10)  Ibid., p. 155.


THE MASTERY OF CONSCIOUSNESS, Meher Baba, ed. Allan Y. Cohen, pp. 42-44
1977 © by Ira G. Deitrick
Quotes from Meher Baba © 1977 Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

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