TIME, OTHER WORLDS, THORNS
On one occasion, Baba told us:
"Remember about keeping time. In the beyond state, time and space are nil non-existent. In the sphere of duality, time, space, cause and effect exist. So when I work in the sphere of duality for the upliftment of humanity, I am bound superficially by time and space. So I, too, appear limited at times; but in reality, I continually experience Oneness and the Infinite State of the beyond. I work at fixed times for My Circle, but for the universe no time is fixed. So when I ask you to abide by time it means you have the benefit of My working for the Circle. Always I give the mandali a fixed time to do certain things."
Baba also talked about illusion and delusion:
"Now what is self-delusion? We say that so and so is self-deluded. What is meant by this?"
Someone answered, "A person who imagines himself to be what he is not."
Baba replied: "But this imagination is so strong that the self-deluded man does not doubt he is what he thinks himself to be. He feels he really is this or that person. This delusion is very positive, but it is, after all, delusion, and although these persons are not hypocritical, they are dangerous but not seriously so. In one sense all are mad; deluded persons are mad. For instance, you think you are the body you are body-mad. Are you not mad? [addressing one of the group] You are mad, but God-mad. There are many on the path who become self-deluded and think they have reached the Goal and they say, 'I am God.' They are not charlatans but self-deluded. They believe it genuinely. This is called Mukameafasan or the Abode of Delusion."
From time to time various notices were posted for all to note and abide by. For example:
No one should sit in the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Till 25th February, none of the Western devotees to walk beyond the property boundaries.
None of the Western devotees to converse with visitors unless ordered by Baba.
None of the Western devotees to receive or to invite guests for meals or to stay overnight, unless ordered by Baba.
No one to enter the kitchen. Complaints to be referred to Norina.
For individual errands in Nasik or Bombay, refer to office.
Access to store-room can be at any time during the day call for key at office.
No one is allowed to use the cars without informing the office.
Sometimes even a serious order would reflect Baba's sense of humor, such as the notice which was posted that read:
EACH MEMBER OF THE GROUP MUST REST FOR ONE HOUR
AFTER LUNCHEON TODAY ONLY
It was not easy for us, who had lived such independent lives, to be suddenly obeying a sheaf of orders. Baba's orders yes but not anybody else's! And, when rightly or wrongly we felt at times that even some of Baba's orders had been prompted by one of the group or by Norina, the manager well! This was enough for a clash of temperaments! For example, we were all asked by Baba to write "Our Impressions*." These were to be typed, if possible. Nadine, I recall, had no typewriter and, wanting hers typed, suggested to Baba that I could type hers. Baba agreed and asked me and I said, "Yes, of course." Delighted, I began full of enthusiasm and typed them along with my own. And then, Nadine's "Impressions" seemed never to end! Each day there were more pages of handwritten material with a slight Russian idiom! I was getting impatient and probably made some unkind remark, to which Nadine replied so sweetly, "But Baba said you were to type them." A small, stupid thing, but moods did not always improve under such tests. Just a slight murmur, but indicative of deeper murmurings, for on December 31, Baba called us all together and began:
"I have left things in Norina's charge regarding food and general management. To have harmony amongst you all, four points should be kept in mind:
" There should be complete cooperation between you all and Norina.
" In some matters, Norina should give way in some you should give way. You all have come here to learn spiritual Truth, leaving all, so you should put up with small discomforts and inconveniences. By this I do not mean that you should overlook your real needs and necessities. We are going to give to the world the Message of Love and Brotherhood through Garrett's magazine and if in our home we have conflicts and disharmony over trivial matters, our message would be farcical and even hypocritical.
" The 'thorns' to which I previously referred will be in many forms. If you take them too seriously or give them too much importance, they will naturally cause unnecessary suffering. But if you take these thorns lightly and do not attach undue importance to them, even these thorns will be like flowers.
" If any of you here have the impression that Norina tries to run things her own way just because she is in charge, it is a grave and unjust misconception and should immediately be removed from your minds. I know whatever Norina does is only out of her deep love and feeling for Me; to economize and save as much as possible for My work. On the other hand, Norina seems to have the notion that some do not like it that she is in charge, although I know it is quite the contrary. You all like her to manage things as she does. These misunderstandings create unnecessary situations, disharmony, and upset things, so the sooner you all clear them up the better.
"You should never forget that your aim is spiritual; otherwise the retreat would be like a resthouse or a hotel. If you have come for Me you should also suffer for Me.
"In the event any of you feel indisposed, you should report at once to Norina and she should give it her immediate attention and either utilize Garrett's stock of medicines or send for the doctor if it is anything serious. Norina should give Me a detailed health report when I come every week."
Here again was cause for conflict, as we were all so independent we did not wish to discuss our ailments except directly with Baba or the doctor!
Food was often a cause for dissatisfaction, perfect as the menus were. One had to have spinach every day, another needed cooked beets. Another request would be for buttermilk but with an orange squeezed in it to make it more digestible! These were but a few of the daily problems the housekeeper had to deal with, besides our resentment over such orders as "lights in the living room to be out by 9:30 p.m. and no noise between [specified hours]." After lunch we might like to play records, but the one whose room adjoined the living room would want to rest. When Baba heard of the argument, He said it was good for the digestion to sit and listen to music. (Delia recalls how at other times Baba would play continually, "Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out in the Mid-day Sun" by Noel Coward perhaps referring to us as we often did not put on hats when going out in the sun!) Nevertheless, this did not mean Baba approved of our lack of consideration! That was a different matter.
There were many opportunities for each to give in, to be silent rather than to argue to help make the life of the ashram run smoothly because by so doing we would be obeying Baba and helping Him in His work. Let us, however, not forget that Baba's work on the individual is the elimination of the ego and He saw to it that opportunities for His work were not lacking. The atmosphere, I'm sure, improved for a while, but only for a while else why was it we were all called together by Baba within a week or so on the same theme?
Impressions* These appeared at different times in various issues of the Meher Baba Journal published in India a few years later. BACK
LOVE ALONE PREVAILS, pp. 158-162, Kitty Davy
1981 © by Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust