Symbols of the world's religions

               

DIVINE BLISS AND HUMAN SUFFERING

Meher Baba

 
"How can the individualized soul that continually experiences infinite bliss suffer bodily ailments and be susceptible to ordinary heat and cold?" one may ask.

It is true that illusory things, one and all, individual and collective, local and universal, cease to exist even as illusions when man once becomes God-realized, the Perfect One, eternally conscious of his own infinite Oneness. Whether the gross, subtle and mental bodies of such a Perfect One remain or drop, they DO NOT EXIST for him. There is nothing in illusion that exists for him — yet he exists for all things within the illusion of ignorance and his abundantly overflowing Godhood takes care of them, including his body.

Until dropped, the physical body of the Perfect One remains immune to ailments, and is unaffected by heat or cold because these are automatically neutralized through his own all-pervading God-consciousness.

A Perfect One very rarely becomes a Perfect Master, as did St. Francis of Assisi, returning with God-consciousness to the realm of illusion. When he does, he is fully conscious of his physical body and of one and all the spheres of illusory existence, without experiencing a break in the infinite bliss of the indivisible Oneness of his being.

In short, the God-realized or Perfect One has God-consciousness with no consciousness whatever of anything else, as nothing other than God exists for him. The Perfect Master has God-consciousness plus consciousness of illusion.

It is the complete and absolute unconsciousness of his body (as of all other illusory things) that keeps the body of all the Perfect One untouched by environmental conditions and effects, whereas it is the regaining of consciousness of the body which makes the Perfect Master susceptible to its ordinary ailments and sufferings.

Not only do Perfect Masters not use their divine power to avoid or alleviate their own physical suffering which they consciously experience as illusion, but they take upon themselves physical suffering in order to alleviate the spiritual ignorance of others who are in the bondage of illusion.

St. Francis of Assisi suffered such excruciating headaches that he had to dash his head against stone, although others could be healed by a touch of his hand. Jesus Christ suffered the tortures of crucifixion to take on the suffering of the universe. Being simultaneously the Father and Son, His own infinite bliss was not interrupted by the cross nor did this status intervene in the bodily agony which He suffered as an ordinary human being.

The sublime difference in individual suffering lies in the fact that an ordinary man suffers for himself, Masters suffer for humanity, and the Avatar suffers for one and all beings and things.*

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*Baba gave this explanation to the above question that had arisen in the minds of a few after his auto accident in the U.S.A. in 1952 when he underwent severe bodily injury. To quote extracts from the report of Dr. Goher Irani, who was among the disciples following in another car at the time of the accident:

"Baba's face and left side of the body were badly injured, resulting in fractures of the left humerus and left tibia and fibula. The nose was severely damaged, the nasal bone being fractured and displaced and the septum markedly deflected causing profuse bleeding from the nose. As a result the structural appearance of the nose is considerably altered. The mucous membrane of the nose and accessory sinuses have become very sensitive and prone to congestion with the slightest exposure to cold, causing orbital and frontal headaches, heaviness and fullness in the nose, and puffiness under the eyelids. This condition is aggravated during damp weather and winter months."

As Avatar, the bodily suffering Baba takes upon himself is a significant part of his work and Baba has not let it interfere with other aspects of his work. With the hindrance of his leg in a plaster cast and arm in a sling Baba saw hundreds of people in America, England and Switzerland. On his return to India, before he had scarcely given up the use of his crutches, Baba carried out a whirlwind tour of mass darshans in the north and south of India — traveling thousands of miles, visiting numerous towns and villages, dictating over a hundred messages on the alphabet board and personally distributing "Prasad" of sweets and fruit to some fifteen thousand men, women and children at a time.

This kind of rigorous activity Baba has kept up at frequent intervals since then, regardless of the physical exertion involved, alternating intermittently with periods of seclusion and fasting. The universal spiritual work done by Baba during his seclusion left in its wake a complete exhaustion of the humanaspects of his mind and body. But his work went on, and Baba told us that his visit to the West in the midst of his 1955-1956 seclusion was of momentous significance. [The Editor, Murshida Ivy O. Duce]

 

LIFE AT ITS BEST, pp. 69-72
1957 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.

               

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