Symbols of the world's religions

               

BONDAGE ADDS TO VALUE OF FREEDOM

Meher Baba

 
All persons have to pass through the state of bondage but this period of bondage is not to be looked upon as a meaningless episode in the evolution of life. One has to experience being caged if one is to appreciate freedom. If in the entire span of its life the fish has not come out of the water even once, it has no chance of appreciating the value of water. From its birth till its death it has lived only in water, and it is not in a position to understand what water really means to its being. But if it is taken out of water even for a moment, it longs for water and becomes qualified by that experience to appreciate the importance of water. In the same way, if life had been constantly free and manifested no bondage man would have missed the real significance of freedom. To experience spiritual bondage and know intense desire to be free from it are both a preparation for the full enjoyment of the freedom which is to come.

As the fish which is taken out of water longs to go back in the water, the aspirant who has perceived the goal longs to be united with God. In fact, the longing to go back to the source is present in each being from the very time it is separated from the source by the veil of ignorance, but the being is unconscious of the longing till the aspirant enters the Path.

One can in a sense become accustomed to ignorance, just as a person in a train may get accustomed to the darkness of a tunnel when the train has been passing through it for some time. Even then there is a definite discomfort and a vague and undefinable sense of restlessness owing to the feeling that something is missing. This something is apprehended from the very beginning as being of tremendous significance. In the stages of dense ignorance, this something is often inadvertently identified with the variegated things of this mundane world.

When one's experience of this world is sufficiently mature, however, the repeated disillusionments in life set the man on the right track to discover what is missing. From that moment he seeks a reality which is deeper than changing forms. This moment might aptly be described as the first initiation of the aspirant. From the moment of initiation into the Path, the longing to unite with the source from which he has been separated becomes articulate and intense. Just as the person in the tunnel longs for light all the more intensely after he sees a streak of light coming from the other end, so the person who has had a glimpse of the goal longs to hasten towards it with all the speed he can command.

 

DISCOURSES, 7th ed, pp. 128-129
1967 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

               

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