FOUR TYPES OF OBEDIENCE
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
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
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
(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