Symbols of the world's religions

               

GENERAL ATMOSPHERES

Don E. Stevens

 
The first important atmosphere which derives from Baba is that of the miraculous. It exists, and no doubt of it. All of life around him becomes a miracle composed of the most unbelievable coincidences, astounding good fortune and split-second precipitation into acute crises. The coincidence factor (which is something like a batting average, but is inverse to pure chance) leaps to a remarkable figures.

This atmosphere of the miraculous about Baba seems to sweep everyone into its maw, whether a close associate or a casual passer-by. Often one holds one's breath in anticipation of what may happen to some complete stranger who happens to wander into Baba's neighborhood.

To the people who are linked to Baba, the unexpected happens with great regularity. One is acutely aware of this extraordinary speeding up and meshing of events in life....

The second general atmosphere which permeates from Meher Baba is one of quiet omniscience. I have seen him make decisions on several occasions which I felt were absolutely wrong, but after time and tide had their say I was forced to divide these situations into two categories. First, there were those in which clearly Baba had been factually correct and I had been wrong.

In the second category, a very strange thing occurs. On the surface, things seem to work out wrong, and one often has a wish that they had worked out better. Then there develops a nagging suspicion that what meets the eye is not the entire story. One is forced to stretch to a new and bigger standard, and then all at once it becomes apparent that Baba's decision was aimed at fishing for much bigger fish: the salvation of the someone's soul, and the apparent values of the world could go damn if he made a dent in the real problem....

A third general atmosphere which surround Meher Baba is that of the greatest personal power. He gives the impression of a giant electric generator, humming quietly, with its energy directed along cables which disappear through the walls of environment and out into the imponderables of creation.

Occasionally there is an opportunity to judge something of the total current that flows through this system by being linked for a few moments to one of the leads. Whether one is alone with Baba at such a time, or involved in some group project, the result is startling. Things happen with a speed and intensity nowhere matched in environment. If it be personal matters, they usually precipitate in brief moments. If they are group undertakings, they also are brought to a head as fast as hands, feet and jelling human emotions can carry them out.

I introduce the term "jelling human emotions" deliberately, for there is almost never a group project carried out for Baba which does not include this element. Human emotion is almost inevitably entangled in the matter, or else Baba deliberately prods it into entanglement. In the rapid sweep of events, group emotion is first snared and tangled in a jumble, and then unexpectedly extricated. Baba rarely allows a project with its attendant emotional schooling to go on for long. The movement is rapid and the lesson profound, and then it is all abruptly ended....

The last diffuse atmosphere to be described is the sense of peace which steals over one in Baba's presence. A spirit of agitation is not only very much with us in the confusion of a complex civilization, but it is also very dear to us. The tempo of living picks up just to a certain degree when, instead of going into rebellion against it, the individual comes incomprehensibly to enjoy it and uses every means at his command to perpetuate or even intensify it. This is an incredible example of the self-perpetuating force of habit. A person may be crying to high heaven that he is so busy that he is about to lose his mind, and yet when the very next point of decision arises, he will deliberately choose the course involving further complexities.

This is one of the most insidious problems of our times, for it is a virtually insuperable temptation to seem simultaneously put-upon, virtuous, terribly busy, and deserving of commiseration. If recognition of one's martyrdom is not given spontaneously, it is almost impossible not to parade it before whoever will listen.

Baba again slices through the confusion with two constant injunctions: "Be happy; don't worry".

 

LISTEN, HUMANITY, pp. 211-218
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