Symbols of the world's religions



Don E. Stevens

It was mid-afternoon, and the strains of songs from the great Sufi mystics floated from the dormitory atop the old military reservoir. Each one in the room was trying to soak in the last essence of the occasion, to stretch each second of time into an eternity, that body, mind and soul might be wrapped in the endless perfection of the moment.

The rhythms swayed, and the bodies swayed, and suddenly one young man of stolid mien dropped unconscious. There was a flutter of activity as restorative measures were applied. He was led in a somewhat dazed condition from the hall and the songs went on. India has developed its own knowledge through the centuries of the possible side effects of man's search for his soul. In the West the goal of the boxer is to knock his opponent into physical unconsciousness. In the East the spiritual aspirant might possibly lapse into a similar state of unconsciousness.

The devotions went on, and at last Baba signified that they were at an end. There was nothing left now but to receive the parting embrace of a good-by, and this I shall not tell. There is a time in human fullness, as in human sorrow, when the human soul must be allowed to sit within the privacy of its shrouds and smile or weep or caper as it may.

They walked down the hill, some smiling, some sad, some still gently weeping. They packed their bags and that evening some of them left to go home.

What had they left behind? What was this they carried in their hearts?

For one week they had been with a simple man of great tenderness. He had laughed with them, played with them, prayed with them. He had been father, mother, son and lover. He had played on the strings of their hearts until their innermost beings sang. He had drawn the fullness of feeling from them until they had wept at the tale of Nozher and the real miracle.

This was a man for whom there was no description, who awakened in them things that could not be defined. He was himself, and in that self lay the secret of finding one's own self. No logic was of any use in describing it, discussing it or explaining it. One had only the choice of experiencing it and being lost in the simplicity of it.

Old men became like children, over-awed and delighted by the presence of the true parent, yet the parent who at the same time was the child. Young men became old and wise beyond their years, with penetrating insight into the hidden springs which powered the movements of man in the universe. And they found within themselves the reason to be, and to continue to be, the sparkling streams of assured, unthinking hope, which is always the seal of youth.

Who was this man with whom they had spent this priceless week? He was called "Meher Baba" (compassionate father), and thousands flocked about him at the slightest opportunity. But what did it matter who he was? What did it matter what anyone else thought or said? What DID matter was this almost overpowering knowledge of having carved through mountains to come back to where one had started: one's own self. Now, it was a self which was real, friendly, believing in itself, no longer disconnected from other selves; a self which felt and lived and vibrated as the quivering reed to the tuning note of the universe.

1982 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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