In the early years, in the Manzil-e-Meem period, Baba used to have the mandali meditate early in the morning, for an hour. I wasn't there at the time, but I gather that the focus of the meditation, as far as the poor mandali were concerned, wasn't so much God as it was trying to stay awake. Baba would keep them all very busy, all day long, and then they would have to get up at four or five in the morning and they weren't used to it. It was very hard for them to stay awake. If Baba had had them get up that early and do some sort of physical labor, they could have done it, but to get up early and then sit quietly for an hour was too much and they would start to nod off.
That is how Pendu got his name. You know that Pendu is the name Baba gave. His real name is Aspandiar. But in those early hours, the mandali used to resort to different tactics to stay awake. Some used to pinch themselves, some would hit themselves, and Pendu would rock back and forth. When Baba and the mandali came to Happy Valley for the first time, before moving to Meherabad, Baba, saw Pendu rocking back and forth and nicknamed him "Pendulum." After a while, He shortened this to "Pendu" and that has been his name ever since.
And that Manzil-e-Meem period was, as far as I know, the only period when Baba ever had His mandali meditate. Sometimes people see how many pages are devoted to meditation in the Discourses, and they think that Baba must have placed great importance on meditation, but Baba dictated those discourses for posterity, for the time when the Avataric period is over and His immediate presence starts to fade. That is when people will once again have to resort to meditation to concentrate on the Lord. But now, if you ask me, I would say there is no need. Now all that is needed is to determine to become His, to make Him your constant companion, and if you do that, then you will find that you are always thinking about Him, and that is meditation in its most natural and highest form.
But Baba did have us meditate once. Would you like to hear about it? We were in Satara. There were five of us and we were playing cards with Baba. It was evening time, I remember that because Baba had called the five of us to be with Him at 5:00 or 5:30, I don't remember the exact time. We all came and Baba suggested a game of cards. We were playing and there was the usual sort of good-natured conversation going on concerning the cards when Baba, suddenly stopped the game and said that He wanted us to meditate. This took us all completely by surprise.
Baba must have seen how startled we were because He began to explain how He wanted us to meditate. He said He would clap His hands three times. First, we should go out into the compound area and each of us was to find a suitable spot to sit. When Baba, clapped the first time, we were supposed to settle down, relax, quiet ourselves, and try to be calm. When we heard a second clap, we were to close our eyes and begin to meditate. And when we heard the third clap, we were supposed to get up and return to Baba.
But we still didn't have any idea how we should meditate, so Baba, came to our rescue. "How will you meditate?" He asked us. "To meditate you must think about God. But God is infinite and eternal, so how will you be able to imagine this? You can't, it is beyond the mind. So think of God as all-pervading effulgence. Try to bring before your mind's eye a picture of an ocean of infinite, all-pervading effulgence, which is God. A shoreless, bottomless ocean."
Baba looked at us then and asked, "But if this ocean of effulgence is infinite and all-pervading, where will you be? What will your position be?" We had no answer for this, but Baba went on and said, "If you imagine this ocean in front of you, then it is not infinite. So try to bring before your mind's eye this infinite ocean of effulgence and imagine yourself in it. You are in the midst of this infinite ocean of effulgence. Try to picture this when you meditate."
So, with these instructions we went outside and we each found a place to sit, and got ourselves comfortable as Baba had said. After a moment or two, I heard Baba's clap. I relaxed, and was breathing very evenly when, after some time, I heard Baba's second clap. I closed my eyes and began to try to meditate as He had just instructed us. I pictured an infinite ocean of effulgence all around me, with me floating in the middle of it. The image came easily to mind and I found that quickly I had lost myself in this ocean. I was just beginning to enjoy the feeling of being lost in this ocean. I don't know how much time had elapsed. It seemed like only a minute or two. I was just beginning to really enjoy the sensation, when I heard Baba's clap again. So I opened my eyes and got up and rejoined Baba as did the others.
Baba told us, "Don't ever meditate like that again," and we resumed the card game. That was the first and last time I ever meditated.
THAT'S HOW IT WAS, pp. 223-226
1995 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust