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FOUR TYPES OF OBEDIENCE

AVATAR'S ABODE
June 3, 1958

John A. Grant

 
Baba said that He would give the discourse on obedience that He gave in America. He said a circular had been sent out before the Sahavas letting people know that one of the conditions of attending the Sahavas was to obey Baba implicitly during the Sahavas. Francis then started to read the discourse, and Baba interrupted every now and then to explain it more fully.

Baba then asked who would obey Him 100% for the Sahavas and particularly for a month, from 10th June to 10th July. All who agree to obey Him to raise their hand. He asked all to consider well what obedience meant, did we understand? Baba explained that some people at the American Sahavas were not able to obey Him and they had to leave.

When asked if we would obey Baba, all except three people raised their hand. Baba asked those who could not obey Him to come forward. Two boys aged 13 and 17 and a man came forward. Baba asked had they understood the conditions of coming to the Sahavas. The younger boy said he had not understood, the other two said that they were not sure whether they could obey Baba or not. Baba asked the mother of the boys if she had explained to her two sons the conditions of coming to the Sahavas. She said that she had explained, but evidently she had not explained adequately. Baba then said that He hoped that those people who had raised their hands had been as honest as the three who had not.

The atmosphere was now very tense, all emotions were charged as we considered the true meaning of obedience as meant by Baba. The impact of the significance of our promise had caused a tremendous upheaval in most people's consciousness. Here Baba was asking for the obedience that God had asked of Abraham. Baba had said that He was God within that human form, the Avatar, the Christ. Here was a test of our faith in Him. A person would really have to believe that He was a Divine Being, before he would normally put that much trust in Him.

Baba then asked one man, could he obey Him if He asked him to cut his wife's throat. That man slowly and reluctantly said that he could. A girl was asked, could she obey — did she really understand all that obedience to Baba implied? Deeply stirred, she said she would try. Baba asked a teen-aged boy did he understand completely what obedience meant; would he, if Baba asked, walk to school naked and sock the head in the eye. The lad said that it would be very difficult and he did not think that he would be able to carry out the order. Baba emphasized that He would not ask people to do these things, but the thing that He would ask them to do, would be just as difficult. At this point Baba adjourned the meeting for ten minutes for everyone to consider their position.

The boy's mother was leaving the hall thinking, 'How will I explain it to my son?' Then she caught Baba's eye and had the deep mental conviction right through her, that took the mental form of 'I believe He knows everything.' Seconds later her son came up to her and said, 'Well, mum, how could you promise, He might ask you to hurt somebody.' She said, 'I believe Baba knows everything.' And meant to explain, and therefore He wouldn't ask one to do anything that was wrong for that person — but she didn't have to. The sun shone on his face and he said, 'Oh, that's alright, if He knows everything, that's alright.' All his problems had gone and he was happy again. Her gift of the conviction that Baba knew everything, had been strong enough to carry on to her son.

The man who had stood up was an artist, he was ready to go home. Baba sent for him and kindly said to him, 'I am not asking you to obey Me now, I am asking you to stay as a favour to Me.' The man left Baba's presence thinking, 'Ah, I've had a victory.' And then he stopped, and he thought — I've run away from things all my life — and he ran back to Baba and begged Him to be allowed to obey. Baba allowed him to obey. When we returned to the meeting hall Baba continued the discourse on obedience:

There are four types of obedience.

1. The obedience of the soldier, who obeys out of a sense of duty.

2. The obedience of the servant, paid obedience, the higher the pay the louder the 'Yes Sir!'

3. The obedience of the slave, obedience through fear of punishment.

4. The obedience of the lover, obedience through love.

Obedience through love was the highest type and this was the obedience that Baba wanted. The obedience of the lover has further divisions.

The types of obedience through love are:

(a) Intellect and discrimination temper the obedience. The mind just obeys technically. If told to cut-off a finger, would give a small cut with a blunt knife — just enough to draw blood. (Thinks he doesn't mean to cut-off finger, he means to cut the finger).

(b) Unwilling literal obedience — the person does the job against his wishes — like taking castor oil.

(c) Willing literal obedience — the person is happy to obey literally the most difficult command.

Baba said that it is a progression. At first one's intellect prevents one from literal obedience but it is a step. The last type of obedience is very rare, where the person is happy to literally obey the most difficult command with love. Baba said that He did not think that any of us could be obedient like that. Baba instructed that a list be taken of the names of the people who were willing to obey Him 100%. He said that they would receive their instructions from Him later. He finally said that if all tried 100%, then He would help them.

 

PRACTICAL SPIRITUALITY WITH MEHER BABA, pp. 101-103
1985 © John A. Grant

               

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