CONSIDERING THE IMPORTANCE OF REPEATING BABA'S NAME
William M. Stephens
Considering the importance of repeating Baba's Name, Baba did not say very much about the actual process we should follow. In November 1955, at the men's sahavas that Don Stevens attended and wrote about in Listen, Humanity, Baba asked for volunteers to share actively in His work for 21 days. Each of the men selected was to stay inside his own home, take no food and only water, and repeat Baba's name constantly during waking hours. They were to say "Ba" on each inhalation and "ba" on each exhalation. Quite a few men volunteered from each of the three Indian language groups — Marathi, Hindi and Telugu — but Baba gradually modified the conditions to require them to fast and repeat His name for only seven days instead of 21.
From time to time I have tried the method Baba specified in 1955 — to inhale with the first vowel of His name and exhale with the last. This method, it seems to me, has the effect of slowing down the breathing, and consequently stilling the mind. Becoming aware of one's breathing is a meditation in itself, and it becomes infinitely more potent when combined with the repetition of God's name. Sometimes I use this process while lying awake early in the morning, and it often results in my going into a half-sleep state in which the repetitions of Baba's name seem to continue without effort on my part.
During daylight hours, that method, so meditative, so relaxing, is difficult for me. It is easier to attach a string of words to each breath. While inhaling I might think, "Meher Baba Avatar," and while exhaling "Meher Baba I love you."
And my mind, craving variety perhaps, is apt to change this after a while to something different, such as "Meher Baba who am I ... Meher Baba who are you?" Which after a time might be changed to "Meher Baba Hu Hu Hu ... Meher Baba you, you, you."
And later I may realize I'm saying something like "Hu Baba Hu Baba Hu Hu Hu ... You Baba you Baba, you, you, you" and so on....
High volume repetitions are, in the beginning, very exhausting and difficult. But, there are times when the image of Baba seems to come alive and I feel I am actually in His presence, kissing and touching His feet and hands while His luminous eyes observe me compassionately.
Perhaps the most positive result is the addiction that develops; an addiction that brings nothing but benefits and no detriments, and which no one would ever want to kick. This addiction does not demand attention when you have other things to do. While you are concentrating on daily tasks, it remains subliminal. But when work is finished, and you set out for a walk or a drive, you may realize suddenly that without any conscious thought on your part, Baba's name is being repeated in your consciousness. And it feels so good that you inwardly thank Beloved Baba for allowing you to experience such joy.
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND, pp. 55-61
1977 © Oceanic Press