Oneness in the World

 

Craig Ian Ruff

 

Booklet II

 

The Transformation: The New Humanity

 

 

Copyright © 2001 Craig Ian Ruff

Photo of Avatar Meher Baba through the courtesy of Raju Panday, Ahmednagar 2001

Computer typeset at Picatype, Pune, India

My heart acknowledges the efforts and kind help of: Steve Klein and Laurel Magrini for editing the text; Davana Brown for the cover design; Meher Fund and Bill LePage for funding the printing of the booklet; Mehera Makeig for proofreading; and Eruch Jessawala for listening to the text as I read it out to him.

 

 

 

 

PREFACE

The Avatar’s mission in this age is to release divine love to the degree that it inspires an exhausted humanity to transform itself into a New Humanity. As we look at the violent world we live in, and assess our own lives, however, it is almost punishing to believe that God is actively nurturing the hearts of everyone in order for us to attain a way of life which He called, “The New Humanity.” The world’s present condition, as Avatar Meher Baba stated, is because humanity has entered a state of spiritual rebirth, from which eventually it, “will attain a new mode of being and life through the free and unhampered interplay of pure love from heart to heart.”

What is this new mode of being? And how can we attain it? If you are like me, you probably thought the truths of the New Humanity would only be experienced at some time in the future when there would be spiritual abundance on earth. To try to uphold the values of the New Humanity in today’s complex and strong-minded world did not seem a valid approach to life’s problems.

But with actual surprise, as I reread Meher Baba’s discourses, "The New Humanity" and "The Travail of the New World Order,” with unhurried regard for His words and their meanings, I found that, in spite of the world’s current state, the realities of a “New Humanity” could be experienced here and now--by me and anyone else who choses to do so.

In fact, I became convinced that the only thing that had delayed my experiencing them had been my own complacency, and lack of effort to achieve them. For in these discourses, Meher Baba not only plainly explains the current predicament of mankind, but also lays out in detail the process through which we can transform ourselves, with the help of His love, to perceive the oneness of the spirit, which is the basis of the New Humanity.

I think it is well worth our while, therefore, to take a closer look at some of Avatar Meher Baba’s extraordinary statements in these discourses that explain and clarify how we can enter the “New Humanity” right now. That is what I intend to do in this second booklet in the series, “Oneness in the World,” entitled, “The Transformation — The New Humanity.”

The process of transformation that Meher Baba delineates requires hard work on our parts; this is not a magic recipe. Yet, as I’ve wrestled with the deeper meaning behind Meher Baba’s words, and afterwards tried to put them into action, I’ve found that my relationship with Meher Baba, and with the world I live in, has been, and continues to be transformed.

I hope that you will find reviewing the theme of the New Humanity as beneficial as I have.

 

 
THE THEME
“The attempt to control environment is the history of humanity. Surrendering control is the private story of the heart.”  Oneness in the World — The Relationship: Mastery in Servitude

What appears to me to be the predominant feature of humanity's history is its attempt to control its surroundings: the environment, the territory, and the nation. Repeatedly throughout the centuries, we witness one group seeking domination over another. These exploits have produced, for the most part, what is commonly considered mankind's history. No doubt we recognize achievements in the fields of art and science, but the theme of war and its devastation remains a central focus of mankind's story about its past.

Following Meher Baba however, creates a different kind of story because there is no observable history. The tale is created in the intimacy of surrendering to Him and, for the most part, is never told at all. It remains in the depths of one's being and consists of silent communion with Beloved God. The very thing that creates the history of the world, one's effort to impose one's self on one's surroundings, is that which the lover of God surrenders. Therefore, when it comes to history-making events for those who love God, there is little history and mostly silence on the subject.

This line of thought reminded me of what a spiritual master named Chuang Tzu had to say about history during an age when people understood life and love:

No one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branches on the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous without realizing that they were “doing their duty.” They loved each other and did not know that this was “love of neighbor.” They deceived no one yet they did not know that they were “men to be trusted.” They were reliable and did not know that this was “good faith.” They lived freely together giving and taking, and did not know that they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated. They made no history.

This was mankind's past in a long forgotten golden age, and it may also be mankind's future. This description, devoid of all philosophy and high-sounding spiritual language, may be a simple portrayal of the New Humanity that Avatar Meher Baba stated would come into being. Meher Baba said in His "Final Declaration" in 1954:

When I come again after seven hundred years the evolution of consciousness will have reached such an apex that materialistic tendencies will be automatically transmuted into spiritual longing, and the feeling of equality in spiritual brotherhood will prevail . . . Gradually, in the course of the next seven hundred years, this feeling [of Oneness] will supersede the tendency of separateness and rule over the hearts of all, driving away hatred, jealousy and greed that breed suffering, and happiness will reign.

What is going to actually take place in the next 700 years that will transform humanity to this miraculous state of being? At present, at the beginning of the 700 years, it seems that the best we  can do is only imagine such a life. But the fact is that we can do more than just imagine and talk about the New Humanity. We can enter it.

I begin with a story that Eruch has told on occasion in Mandali Hall. The story is about a dream: You find yourself in a fantastic mansion, walking down a vast hallway with numberless doors. There is no one else but you. Your eye catches a word written over one set of magnificently carved double-doors. The word is a warning; the word is HELL. Without giving it any thought however, you open the door, discovering a beautifully appointed dining room, lavish in all respects: well-crafted furniture, exquisite chandeliers shedding quiet light, magnificently woven tapestries and on a long, dining room table a bountiful feast.

After breathlessly encountering this regal scene, you see many dignified people, dressed in formal attire, walk into the dining room. Without noticing you, they take their seats on handsomely carved chairs. A moment later they begin to partake of the feast. Every one of these well-dressed, well-mannered people has very long arms. Their arms are so long, in fact, that although they can easily reach the food, when they try to feed themselves their arms become entangled with one another. The more they struggle to feed themselves the more a frenzyis created by arms flailing food in the air and everyone remaining hungry. The scene becomes so offensive and disgusting that you rush out of the room and return to the long corridor of the mansion.

You continue to walk down the hallway, passing one doorway after another, until you finally notice another sign written over another set of double-doorways. It says HEAVEN. You open the doors, and to your surprise, walk into what seems to be the same resplendent room, you entered earlier. Your disquiet grows as a group of people, similar in all ways as before, serenely walks into the dining room and sit themselves in their chairs.

Once again to your alarm you watch their long arms extend themselves over the bountifully prepared table. You are reeling and ready to exit. But, just before you do, you notice their arms become very graceful; the hands holding silver forks do not attempt to contort themselves into their own mouths. Instead, their arms stretch forth beautifully to feed their neighbor.

The banquet continues in this heartwarming manner, in this attractive room, in this beautiful dream. You view with relief and joy how the guests feed each other regardless of their long misshapenedarms. Then you wake up! You are back in the 21st century, where mankind does not know how to feed one another, where people’s hearts are closed to nourishing one another, and sometimes even prefer to starve one another.

This dream is a story that aptly illustrates where we are in the 21st century and where we are going: the New Humanity. The story is simple but profoundly fitting. For each room of Heaven and Hell, everything is the same: the room, the people, the food, and even the shortcomings — the long misshapened arms. Nevertheless, in one case one group of people was able to overcome their imperfection to share the food—Heaven. In the other case, the people could not and chaos ensued—Hell. The difference in outcomes was because of understanding.

Once Meher Baba told a group of His lovers that everything in the universe was His except one thing — their imperfections. So, He asked them to give Him their imperfections. The difference between present day humanity and the New Humanity is that the New Humanity will have the understanding and readiness to offer Him their imperfections, their shortcomings.

What does it mean to give God our imperfections? I think it means, first of all, to recognize that we are not our limitations or shortcomings which we are so accustomed to identifying with as ourselves. We dearly need to recognize these shortcomings as nothing but expressions of the separative self, which is fundamentally false. As we focus on the oneness within ourselves and others, our imperfections are given to God. I believe this awareness is the precursor to the experience of the oneness of life and the New Humanity.

As I reconsider the importance of Meher Baba's work for the creation of the New Humanity, I am easily transported back to the year 1972 and memories of my first Baba-Meeting. For the first time I heard about "the breaking of the silence," and "the coming of the New Humanity." I wonder how you felt about them when you first heard them with fresh ears? As I recall, I felt absolutely nothing on hearing these great prophecies of the future.

Why was that? Why would they totally disinterest me? These were God's own words stating a great and wonderful future for humanity. Did I disbelieve His words? I listened at the meeting to other Baba-lovers read His messages on the breaking of the silence and the coming of the New Humanity. Yet, it did not make me anticipate some great revolutionary change in my lifetime, or for that matter, for the world. Other things attracted my full attention — His face and form, stories about Him, and His clear exposition of what life and love were about.

I never gave it any thought why His messages about the coming of the New Humanity did not fill me with great hope until some years ago when certain inner crises and suffering forced me to reevaluate the way in which I was following Meher Baba. This I will share later.

To return to my questioning of why I was so disinterested in the hopes of an imminent New Humanity — was I perhaps prompted to feel this way because I had waited for something in the past, something that never came into being?

My imagination leads me to picture myself as one of those who waited for the Kingdom of Heaven to be established on earth at the time of Jesus. The person I imagine waited his entire life for a kingdom on earth instead of in the spirit. The Kingdom as this character understood it never appeared; the Kingdom never came! I imagine the following brief narrative for this character that lived at the time of Jesus.

I always felt it strange that my first recollection of His coming into our midst was with the assault of those icy winds that rule Jerusalem's winter. It was during that kind of weather when I first heard those warm beguiling prophecies.

Have you ever been hungry for the Truth? I suppose you have, otherwise why are you listening to me. You know there is no more dogged companion than the gnawing aches of that kind of hunger. This loyal dog is also a mad one, eating you alive once it sniffs out that you are as loyal and as mad as he is. The prophecies were a pack of stray dogs, seeking shelter during winter's worst and I gave them a warm place to stay — inside me.

You are probably like me; you did not see Him. We have only tales now spoken by every common mouth. Yet at first was there anything more rapturous than the whispering of the Kingdom of Heaven at hand? That glory was so close to us then, because it was right on our tongues. I know that my tongue anxiously waited for that ear that would be the proper vessel to pour forth its ecstatic hopes. My tongue spread this nectar like a wild bee. I went forth and scattered the news as if I was planting seedlings on the hillsides. I left everything I possessed except my hopes that would see the promise fulfilled of a Kingdom of Heavenon earth.

Now as I look over my shoulder and gaze back upon those years, people must recall me as the fool from heaven. I walked toward that horizon for years, but it never got any closer. It always receded as horizons always do. The prophecies tricked me and stole my life! I fell in love with a false promise. Perhaps that is all that love is, a beguiling promise. Now as I watch my own sun set, I remember how my years were spent in being the fool in love with a dream that never came true.

My taste for the ironies in life mounted as I observed the Biblical proverbs of fate enacted around me. These observations devotedly offered their company. After all, unasked by me, life continually shocked my sense of justice by exposing its cruel nakedness — promises that kill. If you ask me, that is how I remember the prophecies decades later.

Yet, His followers continued to spread His name and they increased in number, but I see no Kingdom of Heaven. I wonder what sort of people are they that can talk and believe, but cannot see anything. I have nothing further to say except beware of promises.

I am using this imaginary narration not to tell you that I know what a previous life was. Not at all, because I do not know! The narration is a device to present the old promise of the Kingdom of Heavenand contrast it with an updated version of the promise — the New Humanity. What is the promise of the New Humanity? Meher Baba ends the New Humanity discourse with these words:

Through divine love the New Humanity will learn the art of cooperative and harmonious life; it will free itself from the tyranny of dead forms and release the creative life of spiritual wisdom; it will shed all illusions and get established in the Truth; it will enjoy peace and abiding happiness; it will be initiated in the life of Eternity.

Don't these words sound like another "Heaven on earth" promise made by the Avatar? And yet, when I slowed myself down and carefully read this often quoted passage, I noticed that Meher Baba tells us that we are going to learn something — learn how to live anharmonious life. From making that effort, a spiritual life grows and flourishes as He expressed above so wonderfully.

His promise then, is fulfilled only if I learn, only if I make such an effort. But what kind of effort do I make and how do I make it, as there seems to be no end to making all kinds of efforts along the spiritual path. Meher Baba answers that question in the discourse, "The Avatar.”

First, He makes the critical statement revealing the direction He wishes us to take. "He (the Avatar) has demonstrated the possibility of a divine life for all humanity, of a heavenly life on Earth. Those who have the necessary courage and integrity can follow when they will."

Isn’t it striking that Meher Baba states that in order for us to live a heavenly life on Earth that we must have courage and integrity? To put such qualities into action certainly implies that His promise is not an empty one. In fact, these requirements suggest that there is an actual path to this "heavenly life”, this "New Humanity" and a process whereby, if one has the sufficient courage and integrity, one can attain it.

Naturally, where else would we look for examples in accomplishing such a goal, but in the direction of Meher Baba’s Mandali.For myself, not only would I visit them and be in their company, but I also came to reside at the Trust Office to see close up how to get closer to Meher Baba. For the first twenty years in living here, it seemed obvious that His Mandali were examples of how He would want us to live. However, in later years, as I sought to remember Him more deeply in my life than I had previously, I came to a different conclusion.

When I tried to actively invest my thoughts, words and deeds with Meher Baba’s remembrance, I found that, because most of my habit patterns were aligned against the truth, I had to undergo an attentive and patient process of remaking my psyche. Through this intense activity, I began to value the effort of remembrance, recognizing for the first time, that a life of remembrance is no small task. In fact, I clearly came to see that I had undervalued it. Strange, in some way, it had seemed too mundane, and I discovered that I still had longings for some secret, esoteric happening. The outcome of this wholehearted effort made me then feel that as extraordinarily special as it was to live with the Avatar, the life of the Mandali does not present to us the pattern for the New Humanity. What do I mean by this surprising statement?

Meher Baba’s Mandalilived a life of  “surrenderance.” And I feel that you, I, and the New Humanity, are headed toward a life of  “remembrance.” To be poetic for a moment, the act of remembrance strives to light the lamp of love in this dark world, but with the act of surrenderance, we already find the lamp is lit and shines so brightly that it extinguishes the darkness. In short, a life of remembrance is the beginning of love and the life of surrenderance is the culmination of love. Personally, I know that I am in no way ready for a life of surrenderance. But Meher Baba has shown me that I can live a life of Remembrance, if I strive to maintain such a life.

Another way of describing the difference between the life of the mandali and the life of the New Humanity is this: The mandali were Meher Baba’s tools to help Him do His divine work for the world. Understandably, a tool is chosen in order to accomplish a certain task. The Mandali’ssurrenderance was deep enough to permit Him to use them according to His wish and Will. Thus, they were instruments of His work. Meher Baba has told humanity that He has a design for Creation, calling it His Divine Plan. The Mandali were His tools to help make that plan. If a man is building a table, he chooses the tools he needs to make the table according to his design. A tool is shaped for exactly a certain kind of work. The Mandali were His special tools to make, let’s say, a  table where we, the New Humanity, will sit together and have a spiritual feast. Obviously, the tools (the Mandali) and the table (which allows us to sit together) are two different things. The Mandali were the direct medium for His work and the New Humanity is the result of that medium and work.

Meher Baba had said that His work was planting the seed of divine love. For now, for the most part, that seed remains hidden, but as the seed sprouts and grows, it is going to have a tremendous effect in our world, flowering into the New Humanity. Yet, a garden only grows because a caretaker has given careful attention. In order for us to know what kind of care and effort we need to make in transforming ourselves into the New Humanity, Meher Baba resorts to a firm, uncompromising injunction in His discourse on the New Humanity:

When it is recognized that there are no claims greater than the claim of the universal divine life which, without exception, includes everyone and everything, love will not only establish peace, harmony and happiness in social, national and international spheres, but it will shine in its own purity and beauty.

Meher Baba’s emphatic statement plainly tells us that the heavenly life that He said was possible to live, shines out when we recognize that the most important claim in life is the claim of Universal Divine Life. Yet, it does not shine easily. The process of becoming aware and then upholding the one universal life requires the courage and integrity to resist the claims of the separative self in ourselves and in the world by having the fortitude to persevere in maintaining the truth of the inner oneness

So let’s look a little more closely at the process Meher Baba has created whereby we can enter the New Humanity. When I read the discourses, "The Travail of the New World Order” and, “The New Humanity”, I found that Meher Baba spells out very clearly not only what kinds of efforts we need to make but also how to make those efforts required to live a heavenly life on earth. As stated earlier, the attempt to control environment is the history of humanity and the surrenderance of that control is the private story of the heart. However, it seems from what Meher Baba calls the “Divine Plan”, He is going to make the surrendering of ego-control a very public matter with the whole world undergoing a strenuous process of change. Through His work for humanity and through our efforts, we will be transformed from the brittle state of feverishly maintaining our separateness to lovingly upholding our spiritual oneness.

 

 

THE NEXT 700 YEARS – THE DIVINE PLAN

Obviously, only when we make an honest assessment of ourselves, recognizing our complacent acceptance of the separativeself, can we initiate the process of change that leads toward living a heavenly life on earth. The driving force of that honesty permits us to perceive what needs to be changed. In the discourse "The Travail of the New World Order,” Meher Baba makes a series of strong definitive statements regarding the Divine Plan that describe the present state of humanity and explain the forces that will help transform us. To begin with, He states:

Humanity has failed to solve its individual and social problems, and the evidence for this failure is very clear. The incapacity of men to deal with their problems constructively and creatively reveals a tragic deficiency in the right understanding of the basic nature of man and the true purpose of life.

Because our individual, social and international development has reached such calamitous dimensions, how and where do we begin to solve them? We can find the answer in what Meher Baba called the Divine Plan. In explaining the Divine Plan, Baba relieves our personal agony over the world’s condition by letting us know that the reason for this agonizing time in human history is because humanity’s spirit is being awakened. He said in the discourse on “The New Humanity” that the world’s topsy-turvy state, "is all a part of the divine plan, which is to give to the hungry and weary world a fresh dispensation of the eternal and only Truth." Unless the Avatar told us, who could imagine that the spiritual rebirth of mankind would require the world to be in its present state of turbulence?

Why should this be? Perhaps what might be happening during this period of spiritual rebirth is that all the concealed violence, lust, greed, hatred, etc. that lies hidden and dormant in mankind’s unconsciousness has now been released, exposing these mental and emotional illnesses. This global release of the unconsciousness into consciousness may be the result of the Avatar's work.

I imagine Meher Baba working with perfect care and caution in unloosing the unconsciousness and permitting it out of its hidden depths to be agonizingly experienced, understood, and then transformed by humanity with His help. He might have chosen this release as the way to redirect humanity to the Truth. For such a worldwide drama, of almost mythological proportions, to take place is a miraculous happening. Perhaps this Avataric work of releasing mankind's unconsciousness to this global degree in order to redirect mankind to the Truth was what Meher Baba had referred to in the 1960’s as something that was going to happen that never happened before.

Now, what is Meher Baba’s Divine Plan for humanity and how and where will it come into effect? First, we need to know that we have a part to play in the Plan and it begins with our readiness to face ourselves. Baba declares, "It is now high time for humanity to face squarely the true causes of the catastrophe which has overtaken it.”

We all know how difficult it is to face up to things. In fact, confrontation with ourselves is commonly our last recourse of action after all our manipulations have failed to solve a problem before us. If facing ourselves generally is so loathsome, how will we be compelled to do so?

Humanity will come to face itself, Meher Baba says, through suffering. Suffering will be a medium for the fulfillment of the Divine Plan:

Great suffering awakens great understanding. Supreme suffering fulfills its purpose and yields its true significance when it awakens exhausted humanity and stirs within it a genuine longing for real understanding. Unprecedented suffering leads to unprecedented spiritual growth. It contributes to the construction of life on the unshakable foundation of the Truth.

Although this may sound like an apocalyptic statement, and a vague reference to some Armageddon-type of event which will usher in the New Humanity, for me it has come to express a simple assertion of a fundamental truth we certainly may not want to hear — the value and necessity of suffering. I confidently believe His statement applies to us right now on an individual level because I have seen it at work in my own life.

About a decade ago, I was an exhausted member of humanity. As I have shared in other books, I had reached a place where I did not know how to get closer to Meher Baba. After so many years, I anxiously felt that the words that I loved to read about the Truth remained just words. The pain of this state propelled me to remember Meher Baba much more intensely than I ever had in the previous 20 years of knowing Him. Or as Meher Baba said in His statement above, the suffering experienced stirred within me a genuine longing for real understanding. Ultimately the clarity that emerged because of this suffering allowed me to make a fundamental shift in my mind and heart that led toward spiritual growth.

As I focussed on Meher Baba even in the small activities of my life, through the light of His Remembrance, I began to see how I maintained the separative self in ways I was not aware of previously. I became aware that as I lessened my insistence on being the one who was right, I discovered that I was able to begin to dismantle that terrible, invisible beast called pride that keeps my heart separate from others. What had been a philosophical concept for decades now became an opponent I could see — my false separation. Naturally, as I perceived the falseness in my actions, I would try to find that element of the heart that would heal the wound of separation between the other person and me so that oneness would prevail.

When put into words, this understanding may not communicate the catalytic force for change that it carried. Nonetheless, I cannot say strongly enough that it did change, and in some way,  transform my life. What I was surprised to discover, when I started to apply this sense of oneness, was that my suffering diminished and a certain peace accompanied me in my life. Certainly I was not free from misunderstandings with others, but I found myself more poised to deal with them based on upholding this sense of oneness in my life.

Having won this new perspective, I gazed at the battleground of my psyche, now at peace. As I surveyed the process of growth I had just undergone, I had to admit to myself the value and even the necessity for this unprecedented state of suffering in my life. I came to accept and understand Meher Baba's assurances that suffering can be the catalyst that leads us to productive change. Suffering certainly led me to a growth that brought the beginnings of true understanding.

Consequently, because of my personal travail of crisis and change, another important statement of Meher Baba’s regarding the Divine Plan that had previously seemed ominous, now seemed merely to be a factual statement of what we all will go through. “It is now high time that universal suffering should hasten humanity to the turning point in its spiritual history... In this critical time of universal suffering, men are becoming ready to turn towards their Higher Self and to fulfill the will of God.”

Certainly, the suffering I underwent was a turning point. It spun me toward a new direction and made me accept a mode of being I could never welcome before as a legitimate possibility — the effort to uphold a sense of oneness as my primary purpose. Therefore, I assume the turning point that Meher Baba speaks of may be the turning away from the "old humanity" to what He calls the "New Humanity."

It seems to me that the predominant difference between the “old humanity” and the New Humanity is that the New Humanity will openly live the truth of inner oneness. According to Meher Baba, the suffering which people in the world are undergoing today, collectively and individually, will provide the inevitable impetus for this transformation. I also found that as I attempted to uphold a sense of oneness, very naturally it altered the basis for how I relate to others.

This brings us to yet another significant statement Meher Baba made regarding the Divine Plan, “It is now high time that the very agonies of our times should become a medium for bringing a real understanding of human relationship.”

No doubt, a major question in all of our lives is the question of human relationship. In this statement, Meher Baba lets us know that our suffering also will be utilized to impart to us the essence of human relationship. He answers the question of what that essence is in the next statement that explains the Divine Plan, “It is now high time to seek a new experience of Reality.” It is likely that we may have not considered an experience of Reality as the basis for human relationship. Nonetheless, following Meher Baba leads us to a perception that realigns our relationships on the foundation of what is true. Meher Baba spells out what this perception is and how it is an experience of Reality.

To perceive the spiritual value of oneness is to promote real unity and cooperation. Brotherhood then becomes a spontaneous outcome of true perception. The new life which is based on spiritual understanding is an affirmation of the Truth. It is not something which belongs to utopia, but is completely practical.

Out of familiarity with Meher Baba’s words, we may discount His words here too quickly as offering nothing we have not read before. However, if we look a little closer at His message, we notice a process of how to develop this perception.

Initially, we must recognize the spiritual value of oneness. Yet we must do more than simply recognize its value, we must make its value supreme in our lives. Earlier we had read how Meher Baba had stated that the claim of universal divine life must be recognized as the greatest claim in our lives if love and happiness are to be experienced and shared. And that claim is really none other than the recognition of the spiritual value of oneness. Once we make that the “greatest claim in our lives,” we find that we start to welcome those values and actions this claim supports, rather than continuing with the habits of the separative self. Perceiving the value of oneness reshapes our actions so that very naturally brotherhood spreads through our deeds.

In this process, you can observe that brotherhood does not remain an intellectual ideal, but is promoted because its truth is acted upon. The perception of inner oneness is the new experience of Reality that Meher Baba spoke of above and is the foundation of human relationships.

Yet, even if brotherhood is an expression of Reality, how can Meher Baba say that it is completely practical? He says it is practical because, “Men shall orient life in the light of this ancient Truth (Oneness), and they will readjust their attitude towards their neighbors in everyday life.” For Baba to tell us that this new experience of Reality can be experienced in every day life means that it is available at any time of day during any activity in our lives.

The drama of inescapable personal and global suffering, called the Divine Plan, has been ordained in order to propel us to perceive the value of oneness and put that perception into action. In view of our examining this process of transformation, let us take another look at Meher Baba’s "Final Declaration.”

When I come again after seven hundred years the evolution of consciousness will have reached such an apex that materialistic tendencies will be automatically transmuted into spiritual longing, and the feeling of equality in spiritual brotherhood will prevail . . . Gradually, in the course of the next seven hundred years, this feeling [of Oneness] will supersede the tendency of separateness and rule over the hearts of all, driving away hatred, jealousy and greed that breed suffering, and happiness will reign.

Hopefully, what seemed unattainable, before we examined Meher Baba’s statements regarding the Divine Plan now, indeed, seems possible for us today and inevitable for posterity.

The “perception of the value of oneness,”with its accompanying values and application in daily life, is another way of explaining what spiritual experience is. So, let us look a little more closely at what Meher Baba says about spiritual experience in the New Humanity and how we may orient ourselves in the light of the ancient Truth of oneness.

 

 
THE NEW HUMANITY — A NEW EXPERIENCE OF REALITY

Meher Baba startles us in the discourse, “The New Humanity” by plainly stating that our survival and progress hinge on one thing — spiritual experience. Only through the perception of inner oneness, can the diseases of possessiveness, hatred and violent anger that originate from the mind’s illusion of outer separateness be cured. Our challenge then is to undergo the transformative processes that permit us to perceive this inner oneness.

In fact, during the next 700 years, all of humanity will directly face this challenge of regenerating themselves and this deeply befuddled world. Meher Baba speaks of mankind’s destiny as, "The coming civilization of the New Humanity shall be ensouled not by dry intellectual doctrines, but by living spiritual experience." The word ensouled is such a novel concept that it is not in the dictionary, so too, it is not common for people to think of spiritual experience as being synonymous with a perception of inner oneness. And yet, this perception will allow us to, “orient life in the light of this ancient Truth,” that is, Oneness, and readjust our attitudes towards our neighbors in everyday life.

Ordinarily, the notion of spiritual experience is that it is otherworldly, and therefore it is difficult to grasp how it can enter the domain of our daily routine. Meher Baba points out in the discourse, “The New Humanity,” that most people are overcautious and even apprehensive of spiritual experience believing that it leads toward an unbalanced life, causing: (1) anti-intellectualism; (2) obscureness; (3) confusion; (4) impractical behavior; and (5) disconnectedness with daily life. However, He emphatically warns that if spiritual experience, "loses its connection with the different phases of life, what we have is a neurotic reaction that is far from being a spiritual experience.” He goes on to say, “The spiritual experience that is to enliven and energize the New Humanity cannot be a reaction to the stern and uncompromising demands made by the realities of life."

If spiritual experience is available throughout the normal course of our day and can be part of  each and every event that takes place in our lives, what exactly is this experience? In a message Meher Baba gave in Madrasin 1945, He answers this question.

The most practical thing to do in the world is to be spiritually minded. It needs no special time, place or circumstances. It is not necessarily concerned with anything out of the way of anyone's daily life and day-to-day routine. It is never too late or too early to be spiritual. It is just a simple question of having a right attitude of mind toward lasting values, changing circumstances, avoidable eventualities and a sense of the inevitable. Spirituality is neither restricted to, nor can it be restricted by anyone or anything anywhere at any time. It covers all life for all time, yet it can very easily be achieved with selfless service and pure love that know no bondage and seek no boundaries. A mighty surge of this spirituality is about to sweep over the world. My blessings to you all.

With charming pithiness, Meher Baba in one meaningful sentence decodes spiritual experience and brings it into the realm of daily activity by stating, "It is just a simple question of having a right attitude of mind toward lasting values, changing circumstances, avoidable eventualities and a sense of the inevitable.” As I read this message, I felt Meher Baba depicted the motions of the dance of life as: lasting, changing, avoiding and accepting. The problem facing us is how to acquire the "right attitude of mind” in which these motions of life are perceived in the oneness of the spirit in order to bring us to the New Humanity.

Among Meher Baba’s words, in the book, “Listen Humanity,”I have found a seldom-recognized path for spiritual development that would indeed lead us to the right attitude of mind. I was really struck by its simplicity and found I could easily relate to it. He has traced the path of spiritual development as: first hearing the truths, then understanding them, afterwards thinking about them, followed by perceiving them which deepens into experiencing them and culminates in being them. I think we can safely say that the essential step we need to make in our lives is progressing from thought (or conception) to perception. One way to move beyond thought, is to move beyond reliance on the intellect itself.

During most of our search for the Truth, we have depended on the intellect, and Meher Baba has affirmed that the intellect does facilitate spiritual experience. He specifies the intellect's role as: (1) expressing and stating spiritual truth; (2) providing assistance in communicating this truth and thus; (3) preparing the ground for the experience itself. However, the significant characteristic of the operation of the intellect is that, although the intellect can prepare the ground, by itself it is unable to give or even communicate the experience. Meher Baba explains why this is so by observing,

Love and happiness are the only important things in life, and they are both absent in the dry and factual knowledge which is accessible to the intellect. Spirituality does not consist of intellectual knowledge of true values but in their realization.

Here Meher Baba establishes the importance of experiencing values that are connected to the heart and not simply hearing about those values as facts regarding spiritual life. To continue with the above quote, He says,

It is this knowledge of inner realization which is far more dependent upon the heart than on the mind. Knowledge of the intellect alone is on the same footing as mere information and, being superficial, it moves on the surface of life. It gives the shadow and not the substance of reality. The hidden depths of the ocean of life can be gauged only by sounding the heart.

This portrayal of mind and heart explains to us their difference. The intellect (and thus conception) skims life's surface for information while the heart dives beneath the shallows to perceive and feel the hidden substance. Naturally therefore, "spiritual experience involves more than can be grasped by the intellect” because the intellect can only know the surface.

Through these last few paragraphs, we have formed a conception of the difference between mind and heart, between thought and perception, between intellectual information and realization of true values. Now how do we actually move from conception to perception of inner oneness?

As Meher Baba pointed out, the richness of life is revealed not in intellectually understanding the value of oneness but in realizing it. A first step in realizing any value is acceptance; not just intellectually accepting it, but accepting it to such a degree that we base our actions upon it until we finally experience it. Of course, we do not necessarily experience the value right away.

Therefore, after wholehearted acceptance of the value of oneness, we have to put it into action. If we do not, we simply remain at the stage of conception. And we are struggling here trying to move toward perception. Putting the value of oneness into action, however, is so difficult that unless we wholeheartedly try to uphold the truth of oneness in our heart, we cannot gather the momentum to propel us to this next step.

Meher Baba provides us with a wonderful explanation of how this momentum is created — through a faith that is powerful enough to reconstruct the whole psyche. Just as the intellect functions only on the surface of life while the heart is capable of touching upon the hidden depths, so too do we find that our opinions are only superficial expressions of our thoughts while faith is remarkable enough to remake our lives!

The belief and opinions of a person often constitute a very superficial layer of the human psyche…. They remain in one region of the mind without bringing about any radical changes in the core of personality, which determines the attitude of life…. Living faith, on the other hand, has the most vital and integral relation with all the deeper forces and purposes of the psyche…. Living faith becomes a powerful factor that reconstructs the entire psyche.

In our case, the radical change that reworks our psyche occurs when we choose to alter our value system to believe the truth of inner oneness. When we maintain this truth in our actions, we eventually begin to perceive its value. This development of the perception of inner oneness is the new experience of Reality that Meher Baba stated as part of the Divine Plan for humanity.

Yet, it is not easy to ground our values and actions in our belief in the truth of inner oneness. Initially, as soon as we begin to try to put this belief into practice, we may find ourselves getting confused, or abused or misused and losing our grip on this belief. Our mind may immediately start to rationalize our actions and justify ourselves as being in the right which immediately causes separation from the person we may be thinking of or are interacting with. Such thought patterns belong to the separative self, which is why Meher Baba warns us not to listen to our minds, but to rely on our hearts.

The best approach for the understanding of spirit is through the heart and not through the mind. In its objective handling of the material world mind is saturated with experiences of multiplicity and separateness, and therefore it feeds the ego-centric tendencies which divide man from man and make him selfish and possessive. But the heart, feeling in its inner experiences the glow of love, has glimpses of the unity of the spirit, and therefore seeks expression through self-giving tendencies which unite man with man and make him selfless and generous.

Due to the heart’s capacity to feel the unity of the spirit, spiritual experience is a matter of the heart and not the mind, which brings us to another critical question. How do we come to know how to use the heart, and what exactly does the mind do while the heart is being used?

We commonly have two scenarios regarding the mind and heart. On the one hand the worldly man exalts the intellect, and almost castigates the expressions of the heart as weakness in a tough world. On the other hand, the spiritual novice often demeans the intellect's function, accusing it of thwarting the heart's longing to love God.

In the discourse,  "The Avenues To Understanding,” Meher Baba notably expounds upon the role of the mind and the heart. He identifies the process of enlisting their functions cooperatively as balancing them. Developing harmony between mind and heart answers what questions we may have of how to put our conviction in the oneness of humanity into practice.

Making this effort also answers the question of how to acquire the right attitude of mind that we raisedearlier in this section and bestows on us the insight that will be characteristic of the New Humanity — the perception of oneness. Therefore, it is essential to look in depth as to what Meher Baba states are the conditions that we must create in order to balance the mind and heart. I add my own perspective after each thought:

In most persons the mind accepts ends from the prompting of wants, but this means denial of the life of the spirit. Only when the mind accepts its ends and values from the deepest prompting of the heart does it contribute to the life of the spirit.

Meher Baba presents us with an understanding of how we deny the life of the spirit or contribute to it. We deny that life through compulsions of the mind and we encourage that life through peace of the heart. Both mind and heart receive promptings that bring them into activity, but what distinguishes them is the kind of prompting. Compulsions, impulses, obsessions, and coercions incite the mind to enter the labyrinth of the ego and lose itself in self-reflection and projection. Whereas quiet awarenesses, perceptions and intuitions stimulate the heart to offer its truths through genuine Self-reflection.

Mind cannot tell you which things are worth having, it can only tell you how to achieve the ends accepted from non-intellectual sources. The mind does not dictate the ends of life, but only helps in realizing those ends given by the heart.

As and when we are able to let these words sink down into our hearts, we will be on our way to living a life of the spirit. Accustomed as we are to living through the mind, this passage may be difficult to grasp. I had looked upon these words with blank understanding for decades before they began to reveal some significance. The mind is on automatic pilot, constantly goading us to carry out its dictates. By their very nature, these dictates deny the life of the spirit, and therefore their goadingscannot direct us toward what is worthwhile.

The mind's real function puts the values of the heart into action. These values lead toward the life of the spirit. The mind executes heart values through the mind's assessment of, "how," "when", and "where." However, these assessments are never at the cost of the values of the heart. To carry out the dictates of the mind, we suffer mentally. This is false suffering because it perpetuates the false. To carry out the dictates of the heart, we suffer spiritually. This is real suffering because it effaces the false.

Thus the mind has to work in co-operation with the heart; factual knowledge has to be subordinated to intuitive perception; and heart has to be allowed full freedom in determining the ends of life without any interference from the mind. The mind has a place in practical life, but its role begins after the heart has had its say.

This thought amplifies and clarifies the previous one. When we begin to understand the functions of the mind and the heart, we can begin to adjust their operations so that they cooperate with each other. As the heart unfailingly makes its quiet utterances of unity, the mind has to determine "how" to implement them in the practical world yet never at the expense of the spirit.

By its very structure, the mind can never go beyond the world of manyness, whereas the heart leads to the world of oneness. Doggedly the heart upholds the spirit above any considerations made by the mind, because the mind's understanding is limited to the factual knowledge of the material world. Through learning how to coordinate their functions so that they cooperate with each other, we begin to realize what cooperation actually is. This understanding allows us to be in harmony with others because we are in harmony within ourselves.

Mind and heart may be said to be balanced when they serve their proper purposes and when they perform their respective functions without erring this way or that. Such harmony of mind and heart is the most important condition of the integral undivided life of spiritual understanding.

Once we have essentially understood the functions of the mind and heart, we can intelligently make use of their distinct purposes, thus bringing about a balanced relationship between them. Their being balanced is another way of saying that the mind and heart are in proper relationship with each other.

This relationship is characterized by the mind being used to fulfill the heart’s aim. The heart’s true aim, as Meher Baba has pointed out, is essentially to uphold the value of oneness. As this value becomes our guiding light in our actions and thoughts, eventually our experience deepens into perceiving and finally feeling the inner oneness of the spirit in day to day life. And this will, in a natural way, lead us into the life of the New Humanity.

 

 
THE NEW HUMANITY'S CHALLENGE: THE SEPARATIVE SELF

In the last section, as we looked at the new experience of Reality that humanity may attain — the perception of inner oneness, I attempted to answer the question, “How do we put our belief of this truth into practice so that we may attain it?” The answer I gave was that one way of doing this is to concentrate on balancing the mind and the heart.

In this section, I will try to give another answer as well. If the defining characteristic of the New Humanity is the perception of the inner oneness, the chief activity of the New Humanity will be to counteract anything that fosters a sense of separative existence — within ourselves and others. So another way of attempting to put our beliefs into practice is to actively work at recognizing those obstacles which create a false sense of separation within ourselves. As we are able to lessen their hold on us, we will also be able to help others dispel the separative notions they painfully maintain.

Meher Baba, in the discourse “The New Humanity,” describes the obstacles to the perception of oneness as escape, attachment to external forms, and group identifications. We might have never considered these categories of experience as maintaining the ignorance of the separative self. Yet, according to Meher Baba, these are the very things that keep us bound tightly in an illusion of our own making.

Meher Baba has made it clear that genuine spiritual experience is not born of escape. However, when we are unable to adjust to the flow of life, we have a tendency to seek shelter in some self-created escape route. "Such a reaction," He says, "is an attempt to perpetuate one's separate existence by protecting it from the demands made by life." He goes on to say that escaping the pressing realities of the moment breeds two harmful psychic distortions: a false sense of security, and a false sense of self-completeness.

I suppose that my living in India might be considered, by the standards of western culture, an escape. True, I do not have the material responsibilities that many people have in the West. Nevertheless, I do have responsibilities at the Trust Office that have been entrusted to me by Meher Baba’s Mandali and the people I live with. Thus, my life certainly is not an escape from the pressing realities of the moment. And yet, although I try to fulfill these responsibilities, my separative self creates any number of subtle, little internal escapes all day long.

What are these subtle escape routes? They are anger, jealousy, defensiveness, justification, lack of interest in others, possessiveness, pride and on and on. I have found that all I am doing, whenever I choose one of these escape routes, is minimalizing my response to life in order to be on automatic pilot, which is an escape. When things (which end up being people) get in my way, I can always choose one of the above escape routes. When I do so, it means that I have been too lazy, from lack of self-control, to call up from my heart some conscious response that would connect my heart to the other person.

In other words, I have to be very careful whenever my inclinations are frustrated, because the separativeself is most prone then to manufacture some escape route. For that matter, even my cherished inclinations may even be escape routes themselves. Being constructed out of the imagination, escape is a remarkable ally. At the slightest whim, it supplies the needed evasion from the “spiritual truth” that life is trying make me face.

For example, let us take a scene we all encounter — a disagreement with a co-worker. Although there are always any number of so-called good reasons for the disharmony (like my viewpoint is more practical or cost-effective), the more fundamental ones lie in trying to maintain the position of being in the right and retaining my pride. Such a position is only the work of the mind, because the assertion of being in the right inevitably makes someone else wrong. This battle of pride only enhances the falseness of separation.

Where does escape enter this scenario? If, in the difference of opinion or in the heat of confrontation, I choose to defend my viewpoint to the degree of alienating another person, that is escape. I have escaped from the real work I need to do on myself, which is to create the faith to uphold the inner oneness, regardless of the contrast in viewpoint. Instead, I have chosen to defend a superficial opinion or cherished perspective through the mental process of justification and rationalization in order to be right and uphold my personal pride.

By justifying myself or rationalizing my behavior, I have reacted to life’s circumstances, but such reaction is in itself an escape mechanism. Because I  have not accepted what is happening, I react through anger, possessiveness, frustration, disappointment, and on and on! The pain makes me react. However, if I were able to accept the situation, although it goes against my inclinations, I would be able to unlearn what I have wrongly learned regarding the separativeself.

For me, I have found that in acceptance of the situation and discernment of  inner oneness, I am more in harmony with others because I have not separated myself from them by judging them. However, when I react and judge, I am only enhancing my separative self. Perhaps another way of saying this is that reactions and judgments tend to be habit patterns of the mind, while acceptance and discernment are functions of the heart. These differentiations have become helpful as I try to flow along with life.

Moreover, I have also found, that as I attempt to put my belief of inner oneness into practice, I tend no longer to make the kind of distinction between spirituality and ordinary life that I used to. On the contrary, I find that even in life’s most ordinary moments, or in the most difficult of situations, I am challenged to face the truth of the oneness of the spirit and decide whether I want to uphold this truth or not! This awareness makes me less anxious to escape life’s currents because there is a sense of genuine purpose in each moment of life. I suspect that as my understanding matures within me I will more easily recognize the other escape mechanisms my psyche employs without my conscious awareness.

However, as stated earlier, escape is not the only means by which we cling to our separative experience. Meher Baba points out that another such means is, "through uncritical identification with forms, ceremonies and rituals or with traditions and conventions." We may consider forms, ceremonies and rituals as religious expressions of the spirit, and traditions and conventions as societal patterns of accepted and expected behavior. Baba explains that these external attachments, "mostly have a tendency to gather prestige and claims in their own right, independently of the life which they might express." This leads, "to a drastic curtailment and restriction of life."

The question here is what kind of life Meher Baba is referring to. The normal person is so entrenched in uncritical identification that it is difficult for him to accept anything other than his cherished inclinations. And though we who follow Meher Baba are keen about not forming a new religion, at times we unconsciously fabricate a personal dogma out of our own habits and prejudices.

The key phrase here of course is, "uncritical identification." Life is a series of identifications. Each identification we make defines us. We continually shed one identification for a newer one that we prefer. Meher Baba has painstakingly elaborated this entire process of the unconscious becoming conscious, naming it, “The Theme of Creation” in God Speaks.

Since we have come into the orbit of His Truth, what we choose to identify with has greater meaning and becomes crucial for us. Do we continue to move literally, through a step by step process, of abandoning earlier identifications to move to a closer identification to the Truth? Or do we circumvent this process of growth by thoughtlessly accepting our current identifications? Or do we even back-track and get waylaid by recklessly pursuing our own desires? Well quite honestly, I have done all of these things and I have come to the conclusion that when my choice to identify is thoughtless, that is, when I have not chosen to identify with spiritual oneness, I have unwittingly chosen to identify with something that maintains the separate self. Invariably, this ends up causing suffering for myself and others.

From a slightly different vantage point, Meher Baba has stated that, “All the problems of the ego can be tackled only through intelligent and conscious action.” Therefore, it is indeed my responsibility to make intelligent choices and uphold them consciously. Having reached this conclusion, I think we can now answer the question we asked a moment ago, “What kind of life is Meher Baba referring to?” He is referring to the life of the New Humanity — a life that would not be curtailed and restricted by the separative self.

Moreover, in a broader context, the perception of inner oneness will free mankind from the limitations of worshipping God through rites, rituals, and ceremonies and allow mankind to love God as the One who resides in every heart. At last, mankind will face God as God would wish to be faced, that is, the heart will be free to love God in everyone and everything.

Meher Baba has further said the New Humanity, "will break the attachment to external forms and learn to subordinate them to the claims of the spirit." This development will have an extraordinary impact on humanity which will be freed from the predominant limitation that has characterized it throughout history — the war over which name of God is to be worshipped. This name-battle has consumed humanity since history began. In this advent, it seems that God Himself has gone to war and that through the “Manonash” phase of His work, He will eliminate the major limitation that has separated man from man and man from his God. Mankind will be freed from the ideological bondage of a parochial God and accept Him universally as the One in everyone. Thus, the illusion of the separative self will diminish significantly all over the world and renew humanity.

The third category of separativeexperience that Meher Baba refers to is the false identification with a class, religion, creed, sect, sex or ideology. These identifications are the basis for comparing ourselves with others. Meher Baba states that these comparisons maintain the essential nature of the false self. He states, "Separative existence derives its being and strength by identifying itself with one opposite and contrasting itself with the other."

Through my exuberance in my early years with Meher Baba, I identified with being a Baba-lover to such an extent that I mistakenly separated myself from the rest of humanity. I thought the world was two groups: followers of Meher Baba and the rest of mankind! Only after many years, did I come to realize that I was maintaining this false notion and I was quite appalled. How did I begin to do away with this differentiation? Well, to simplify the explanation, I repeat a phrase Eruch is fond of saying now and again in Mandali Hall, “all over the world, it is the same mind, same heart.” Mankind, the world over, has basically similar needs, desires, dreams, and struggles — the same mind and heart. And so when I relinquished my hesitation in becoming familiar with people other than Baba-lovers, I found their essential humanity similar to my own.

However, another differentiation I had made took more time to unearth from the bedrock of my psyche — my identifying with my being a “Resident” in Ahmednagar. Only when I started to travel to different Baba Centers in the U.S.A., and share my experiences of living here, did I become aware of this group identification I had unconsciously made. I also found that other Baba lovers were burdened by it, as if we were different from each other. But as stories of our sufferings were commonly shared, I and some of those gathered came to realize that the struggle toward the Truth is the same anywhere, because He is everywhere, and thus there is no difference.

When we seek to identify with a larger whole, we also create the false notion of losing our separate existence. People inherently want to lose themselves in something larger than themselves, and so out of ignorance they choose identification with class, religion, creed, sect, sex, or ideology. These apparent means to unite with a larger whole only yield a false sense of merging into something greater than oneself.

Although humanity, at present, uses these categories for identification in the hopes of finding and feeling a greater sense of self, the New Humanity will not be so easily appeased. Through the unfailing perception of inner oneness, the New Humanity will attain a real sense of the merging of the false self into the real self. We can already see this happening to some extent in our own lives. Whatever identifications we made, be they of class, religion, creed, sect, sex and ideology, have not been strong enough to hold us back from reaching out toward Meher Baba's Truth.

Through the truth of inner oneness, at first by faith and later through feeling, we will enter the joy and responsibility of the New Humanity. The joy is in being sensitive to the dictates of Truth, which at last are not entirely elusive to us. And the responsibility is to uphold this truth so that the charming sweetness of divine love draws us and our fellow man gradually closer to genuine brotherhood.

Meher Baba explains in the discourse, “The New Humanity” that the way we uphold this responsibility is to wage war spiritually, “against the attitude of mind responsible for such a cruel and painful state of things," i.e., the sense of separativenessthat prevails in the world. For those of us unfamiliar with this statement, Meher Baba’s words may seem surprising. We usually overlook this aspect of Baba’s message to the world, and yet this is where He has placed a firm responsibility on the New Humanity in challenging the separativeself.

However, the phrase “spiritual war” may conjure up images of man’s inhumanity to man. We all are very aware of our history where men, in the name of God, inflicted "righteousness" upon their fellow man. We have seen mankind's blind understanding fill the hearts of men with hatred bitter enough to ravage the world time and again. For humanity to wage war spiritually has not been an easy matter! It has, in fact, been its downfall! Therefore, you might feel, as I did, a certain repulsion to the idea — so much so as to not even want to hear for decades what Meher Baba is actually suggesting to us.

Yet in this message, Meher Baba tells us of our responsibility of waging a spiritual war against separativeactions so that we may begin to live, “in the light of the truth of the unity of all life”, where, “cooperative, and harmonious action becomes natural and inevitable." Through such activity, ultimately, mankind will see the idea of war on any level not merely as unnecessary, but as behavior that took place in a barbaric age of mankind's history.

If our immediate problem is, as Meher Baba says, to wage war spiritually against the attitude of mind that creates divisiveness, how do we fight this never-ending battle? The trick to waging war, as Meher Baba calls us to do, is in the steps we must take to wage this war. Just as making the claim of inner oneness central to our lives leads us to the experience of perceiving oneness, so too, upholding the value of oneness makes us capable of peacefully waging a spiritual war against the separative self. Consequently, we enter a battle that has two fronts: our own separative self and the separativeself of others. Foremost, we have to fight against our own attitudes that are responsible for the cruel and painful state of things.

Meher Baba illuminates how the transformation of the separative self takes place when He declares, "To face the Truth is to realize that life is one, in and through its manifold manifestations. To have this understanding is to forget the limiting self in the realization of the unity of life." I do not believe Meher Baba is talking about the final and full realization of God-Realization, but instead here He is speaking of our genuinely grasping the truth that life is one. Therefore, as we begin to grasp this fact, the limited self is forgotten.

But practically speaking what does that mean to forget the limited self? After all, we have to function in the world and we have seen how Meher Baba has said that the, “spiritual experience that is to enliven and energize the New Humanity cannot be a reaction to the stern and uncompromising demands made by the realities of life.”

Well, I take forgetting the limited self in the following way. First, it means that I try not to put into action or speech those possessive, jealous, and angry thoughts that would only intensify my separative self. In addition, I try to be very careful to not identify with whatever notions are running in my mind. As we saw earlier in this section, the choice of identification is an important one. Therefore, I try to identify with the truth of inner oneness and put some aspect of the heart into action such as tolerance, patience, compassion, and loving-kindness to counter the selfishness that is arising in my mind.

For me, forgetting the limited self also means that I attempt to forget the personal misunderstandings I have with others,and what I try to maintain in my relationships is the truth of the unity of all life. Regardless of how the other person may assert some separativenotion, I try in my heart to maintain a closeness with them in the spirit so no distance is created. After all, there is no such thing as distance because all are one. Of course, to uphold this activity of oneness in the face of misunderstanding, and sometimes even humiliation and personal verbal assault is not an easy thing. That could be why Meher Baba calls it a spiritual war. What is to prevail: the truth of oneness or the falseness of separation? Yet as we gradually become aware that life is one, the notion of what is personal also naturally changes, because now the personal begins to include the “other” person as well.

In addition to this aspect of warring against our separativeself is the aspect of waging a spiritual war against the separativeself of others. Although we may hesitate to involve ourselves in this activity, because of our apprehensions about the past evils of “spiritual warfare,” we should realize that a war is already occurring, whether we consider it that or not! Meher Baba makes a piercing appraisal of the ego when He states, "Even when military wars are not being waged, individuals or groups of individuals are constantly engaged in economic or some other subtle form of warfare.” Since this war is an ongoing reality in our lives, with or without our participation, merely being passive is, in fact, an abdication of our responsibility.

It is crucial that we recognize that the horrors of war occur not only when national interests collide, but also when individual interests clash. Our half-conscious attitudes of dissension and estrangement from one another close our hearts and ruin what chance we have for an authentic spiritual life. Yet, once we value the truth of inner oneness, and have faith in it by putting it into our actions, assertions of the separative self, whether in ourselves or observing them in others, bringsus a painful awareness that such attitudes are harmful to one’s well being. Just as love is self-communicative, so too is divisiveness. Therefore, we must try to fight the sense of separateness that exists in the world, but not by attacking those who express separateness (which only reinforces the separateness that all feel) but by proclaiming and demonstrating the truth of our essential oneness.

As the mind and heart become balanced, they are no longer overwhelmed by the reactions of the separativeself of others. Instead, these reactions are witnessed as, “the attitude of mind responsible for such a cruel and painful state of things" in the world. How can we help alleviate this attitude? I offer this one brief process.

First, I try not to get lost in the other person’s subjective expression of their problem. Second, I try not to support any separative attitude that would certainly only make matters worse. And third, I try to let my heart express some aspect of the truth of the unity of life so the other person does not feel so alienated from their circumstances that they cannot find a creative solution themselves.

When we have faith in the oneness of the spirit, we face the true fact of life, although we see endless separations in mind and body. So potent is this understanding that the separations we live with dissolve into the truth we live by. Other than recognizing the value of the truths explained by Meher Baba in His discourses, there is no way out for anyone. Decisive steps need to be taken to dismantle the separativeself in favor of the truth of there being one spirit. Humility, through the truth of oneness, does bring with it spontaneous, creative solutions to the social problems before us.

As we turn to the next section in this booklet, we will see that the same understandings and processes that can be employed on an individual level can be applied to a collective level. We can see this quite clearly in Meher Baba's remarks regarding society and its problems in which He explains how we can solve the material, intellectual, emotional, social and cultural problems that confront mankind when we base our solutions on the truth of our inner oneness. When an enlivening harmony of hearts has more value than our personal religion of being right, we will establish a politics of oneness in all of our interactions.

But before moving on to that section, I would like to add that much more could be said about waging a spiritual war against separative attitudes. In another discourse, Meher Baba has described upholding the Truth of Oneness as "spiritual work" and those who undertake such action as "spiritual workers." In the next booklet I hope to write entitled, "The Service — Work for the Spiritual Freedom of Humanity," I intend to go into this whole question in much greater detail.

 

 
THE POLITICS OF ONENESS

The most obvious feature of human history has been its wars. We are so accustomed to wars that we have come to accept them as the inescapable reality of the human condition. Humanity and war have become synonymous. We learn about it when we are children; hearing war stories and then playing our games in mimicry of what we have heard.

Sadly, war is so much a part of our culture that it’s even depicted as entertainment through movies, books, dramas and now computer games. Humanity's hero is the brave warrior. Yet, Meher Baba emphatically states that wars are not an inevitable outcome of the human condition.

Because military wars cause mass destruction of property and loss of life, we think of wars as something external to ourselves, as something that happens "out there," as something upon which politicians decide. However, as was discussed in the previous section, wars are the outer manifestation of what is within us, that is, our egos. They are responsible for creating all of the chaos and confusion. They create this atmosphere of war, whether its scope is individual, social, or international. Our egos are at war with the world because that is the nature of the ego — to affirm its separateness, and separation means self-interest, and self-interest means war.

Therefore, in an age where the truth of spiritual oneness is unknown, the process for decision-making in our governments — politics, is a major vehicle for promoting separation. Today, the ruling party all over the globe is the same — the political party of self-interest. Like the contamination of a nuclear blast, no one is able to escape its fall-out. No one remains untouched. Politics is not only a matter of how we govern the nation; politics is a matter of how we govern our lives.

As Meher Baba points out, "Humanity has failed to solve its individual and social problems, and the evidence for this failure is very clear. The incapacity of men to deal with their problems constructively and creatively reveals a tragic deficiency in the right understanding of the basic nature of man and the true purpose of life."

Tragically, we live in a world where neither we, nor our neighbors, nor our country, nor the international community has a, "right understanding of the basic nature of man and the true purpose of life." This is why the world is in a state of mass suffering. Yet, Meher Baba has emphatically stated that, "wars would immediately disappear" if true understanding dawned. When humanity understands war, whether between individuals, groups of people, or nations, as a definite expression of falseness, as an expression of glorifying the false at the expense of the truth, wars will cease on all levels.

Although it may sound like a soft-witted ideal to hope to eliminate self-interest, to one's surprise Meher Baba states in the discourse, "The New Humanity" that the elimination of self-interest is part of the Divine Plan. Clarifying what the urgent problem for all of us is, Baba declares:

At present the urgent problem facing humanity is to devise ways and means of eliminating competition, conflict and rivalry in all the subtle and gross forms which they assume in the various spheres of life.

It’s funny that Meher Baba says we have to figure out how to eliminate competition when our whole society seems based on the premise that competition is good. In fact, it is a term of praise to say that some person, or group, or country has a "competitive edge" over some other person, or group, or nation. This competitive edge is really only another way of promoting the falseness of separativeexistence. This edge, in actuality, is the cutting edge of the knife of separateness that cuts the heart into pieces, leaving it bleeding.

Meher Baba emphasizes and declares in the “The New Humanity” that even well- intentioned efforts to relieve the economic disparity that exists in the world today are bound to fail, because, He says, they are not based on spiritual understanding. He straightforwardly points out:

1. Economic adjustment is impossible unless people realize that there can be no planned and co-operative action in economic matters until self-interest gives place to self-giving love.

2. Otherwise, with the best of equipment and efficiency in the material spheres, humanity cannot avoid conflict and insufficiency.

Here is God's clear statement on how to solve our economic problems. He places the whole matter solely on self-interest — from international affairs to our own livelihoods. Giving the matter some thought, it occurred to me that our political systems and social beliefs derive mainly from their manner of material distribution: capitalism, socialism, communism, etc. However, it seems clear from Meher Baba's statement above, that no system of distribution will lead to harmony unless the self-interest which motivates each individual changes to self-giving love.

One way this change will happen is that through the Divine Plan, Humanity’s idea of self- interest will broaden from narrow possessiveness to an all-embracing concern, which naturally abounds from the perception of the inner oneness. As this understanding of oneness grows throughout the coming centuries, the processes by which we formulate our governing, and hence how we share our material resources, will necessarily undergo a transformation.

In addition to economics and politics being realigned for the purposes of the New Humanity, science will also be realigned. In this last 100 years civilization has been altered. Life's tempo dramatically shifted, as mankind fabricated a companion in the Garden of Eden — machines. Mechanisms of every sort now accompany us in all our activities. Yet, although science is our very own brainchild, we remain uneasy during this period of its adolescence. Will our own creative impulses continue to render accelerated technological prosperity or will they in unguarded moments enact global devastation?

Meher Baba has made a significant statement that should end the notion that science is evil and is about to destroy the world. He said, "The New Humanity, which emerges from the travail of present struggle and suffering, will not ignore science or its practical attainments." Thus the Avatar clearly stated the role of science in the future, affirming that humanity will gain the awareness of how to use its technological skills beneficially.

Very importantly, Meher Baba promoted the following attitudes regarding science: that it is not anti-spiritual, that science is like everything else in this universe, "a help or a hindrance to spirituality according to the use to which it is put." Science can serve humanity as a medium to explore and understand the physical universe. By revealing physical truths, science becomes a way for mankind to glorify Creation.

Meher Baba concluded with the critical point that in order for science to serve the purpose of bringing self-knowledge to the soul, science, "must be properly fitted into the larger spiritual understanding." That is, once the ingredient of the heart is incorporated into research, scientific inquiry will develop along constructive lines. Baba states this quite plainly when He asserts that scientific research will, “include a steady perception of true and lasting values" and use them as its guiding principle.

According to the Divine Plan, the New Humanity will discard the limiting notion of a separative self in all areas of life, not just in economics, politics and science, and will embrace the truth of humanity's essential oneness. How humanity will specifically confront global problems only time will tell. Yet Meher Baba has explained in the discourse, “The Infinity of the Truth,” processes that when put into action can solve political and economic problems on all levels of life.

What inspires me and excites me about the last several paragraphs of this discourse, which we will now look at, is that they are rare instances where Meher Baba speaks of mankind's present social and political life. He explains what causes the terrible climate of divisiveness and describes how an individual's life, society's functioning and even civilization itself can be established on the truth of the One Spirit.

First, He points out that our problems cannot be solved through majority or minority viewpoints. Again, as with economic redistribution, this process cannot succeed because it is based on a fundamentally flawed perception of the truth, i.e., separate groups. The solution, He says, is for every level of human life to focus its attention on spiritual oneness. Through that perception both the problems inherent in duality and in majority and minority assertions dissolve.

When the infinity of the Truth is adequately grasped from the point of view of non-duality, it also becomes fruitful for the adequate solution of social problems based on duality as an irreducible fact. Mere manipulation of numbers, however clever, can neither yield right adjustment between the individual and society, nor can it yield true harmony between various groups which come to exist within the society.

There are many interesting spiritual truths in this message. The first is that we are indeed capable of solving societal dilemmas when they are assessed with an accompanying inclination toward spiritual oneness. Meher Baba warns us that we cannot solve our social problems through majority voting or, by implication, any other numerical system of checks and balances. Such systems neither accommodate the needs of each individual nor do they promote a sense of oneness among society as a whole.

If social claims of a general nature are determined by the considerations of a small minority, the interests of the vast majority remain unreconciled, and the majority remains inevitably in rivalry and opposition to the minority. On the other hand, in democratic countries the claims of a general nature are determined by consideration of majority viewpoint rather than by the minority. This point of view, however, is still within the domains of duality, where the many exist, and therefore the problems of minorities remainsunsolved. Since their interests remain unreconciledthe minority remains inevitably in rivalry and opposition to the majority.

The democratic system of majority rule, where laws for society are based on popular agreement, seems noble considering mankind's history, when the few have traditionally dominated and oppressed the many. Yet in this last half-century, we have seen minority groups increasingly voice their unhappiness with their lack of representation in society. The social dilemma of our times, in fact, seems to be majority rule versus minority rights. This tug of war tears the fabric of society apart. Nor is there any traditional political solution in sight because:

As long as a social problem is dominated by the idea of numbers, and multiplicity there is no lasting solution for it. The lasting solution can come only when it is illuminated by the truth of the indivisible totality and intrinsic unity of all. The One in all cannot be contacted through the multiplication of the many, but only by shedding the false idea of the many. Any number, however great, is bound to be finite. Spiritual infinity is not a number, however great; it is the sole reality without a rival.

If we cannot hear and understand what Meher Baba is saying in this paragraph, we are doomed to frustration. He plainly states for us all that only when we perceive the One in the many can our social problems be confronted creatively and solved. He warns us that if we continue to try to figure out our social problems through intellectual or numerical attempts, we will fail because this human activity does not apply the truth of the inner unity that upholds God's Will.

Where there are many, there is necessarily comparison between them. There is a smaller and a greater, a hierarchy of claims, privileges and rights, and all valuation gets twisted by the recognition of gradations of different types. From the spiritual point of view all these are forms of false consciousness, because the same Truth vibrates in everyone. The similarity which is experienced in realization, however, is necessarily different from the principle of equality, i.e. that one person is equal to any other single person in respect to claims, right and worth but can never be equal within duality to two or more persons.

What is so harmful about our perception of the "many in the One" instead of the "One in the many?" We can start to answer this question by quoting the first sentence in the above paragraph, "Where there are many, there is necessarily comparison between them." The hang-up with comparisons is that they lure us into judgments, and judgments do not acknowledge the inherent divinity within each one. To negate these comparisons on a societal level, we try to rectify social imbalances by wrongly enforcing a standard of equality. However, the idealism of equality is very different from the truth of spiritual unity. Simply said, the Unity expressed through the loving heart gives no countenance to the differences imagined by the mind.

On the other hand, the spiritual infinity of the Truth has room for the paradox that one person can be regarded as the totality itself. Therefore one person is not only capable of being looked upon as equal in importance to two or more persons but even as equal to all. In spiritual infinity all comparison is out of place. There is no smaller or greater, hierarchy of claims, privileges and rights, and valuation remains unclouded because of the unmarred perception of The One in each and all. Since everyone in creation is not only in spiritual infinity, but is that indivisible spiritual infinity, then everyone is first in importance and no one is second.

Living with the perception that, "everyone is first in importance and no one is second" alters everything in our universe. Spiritual rebirth has taken place. A natural and spontaneous respect for the divinity in everyone automatically discards the hierarchy of comparisons that separates person from person that is the root of all social problems.

As we perceive, "the One in each and all,”our political and social actions also reorient themselves. Divisive reactions to circumstances gradually lessen and are replaced by spiritual responses that maintain the truth of the inner unity. Because honest difference of opinion is held in the superficial part of the mind, it does not cause divisiveness. Therefore, one’s heart continues to maintain a sense of unity with other people regardless of their opinions being different from one’s own.

We now come to the last paragraph in this discourse. Because it is so rich in meaning and thorough in direction, I am presenting it here one sentence at a time. For me it is one of the most potent paragraphs in all the Discourses because Meher Baba presents us with the fact that as we authentically re-perceive life, it will surely transform our society and civilization into the politics of Oneness.

In social life the recognition of the spiritual infinity of the Truth will mean a challenge to individualism as well as to collectivism.

We begin with the challenge to change our perception. The perception of, "the One in the many" is very different than our personal beliefs regarding the value of individuality or our ideas concerning governmental systems like democracy or socialism. This perception simultaneously disproves them and replaces them with what is the true framework of the universe — inner unity. It is possible that a form of true democracy will be an outer development of this inner understanding — the sharing of power because all are one.

It initiates a new way of thinking in terms of an indivisible totality and it discards all the relative values of comparison in favor of the recognition of the intrinsic worth of everything.

This sentence articulates both the result of recognizing the spiritual truth of oneness and the process as well. LAUREL SAYS TO WATCH THE FORMATTING HERE—WHAT IS RUFUS AND WHAT IS BABA)

1.  The perception of oneness activates a new way of thinking which apprehends the inner unity.

2.  This apprehension does not categorize people or experience as the "thinking mind" does through conception.

3.  Perception of oneness supersedes the conception of manynessthrough the, "recognition of the intrinsic worth of everything." God is now "sensed", "felt", "intuited" as being in everything and everyone. In this way, the gradations and judgementsof smaller and greater that occur in hierarchical thinking disappear because of spiritual understanding. Thus, we have a perception based on the Truth.

In a civilization based upon a true idea of the spiritual infinity of the Truth, there will therefore be no problems of majority and minority, of rivalry and competition, and of those comparisons and laborious assessments which so often become a shelter for pride and separative ego.

The mind's burden unequivocally is the laborious assessments it makes all day long, all life long. The extent of this burden is unimaginable until the awareness begins to dawn that these assessments are unnecessary and only hinder the expressions of the heart.

Life then will be infinitely simple and integral, because the illusions which create rifts and complexities will all have disappeared.

This thought brings to an end the discourse, "The Infinity of the Truth” with the final conclusive statement that life can indeed yield a feeling of wholeness where the complications and difficulties that arise from divisiveness fade away when life is lived in the truth of inner unity.

Now we have nearly reached a point where we can behold the image of the New Humanity. We began by recalling Jesus’ promise of the Kingdom Heaven and then observed that Meher Baba has made a similar promise to humanity by offering a, “heavenly life on earth.”

Meher Baba has made it clear, however, that if we wish to live this heavenly life we must have the courage and integrity to make oneness the greatest claim in our lives. He explained that through the Divine Plan, He is going to help humanity regenerate itself. Through our own suffering we will come to understand the truth of the inner oneness of life. As we uphold this truth, the process of balancing one’s own mind and heart naturally begins to occur.

Just as naturally, another process begins where one wages a spiritual war against, “the attitude of mind responsible for the cruel and painful state of things.” Waging this so-called spiritual war spreads the truth of oneness into the wider fields of social life — effecting our cultural, political, intellectual, economic, and scientific life. As these efforts in the future expand around the world by innumerable individuals, mankind will be in a state of transformative activity on all levels of life. Mankind will have entered the New Humanity.

Although we have described some of the processes that can bring us to the New Humanity, there is one process or path we have not discussed yet. That is, the great four letter word–love. After all, for the most part, my guess is that we were drawn to Meher Baba to begin with for one reason and that is love. Of course, you cannot call love a reason, can you? There is no reason to love, love is the expression of the Truth. Nonetheless Love also has its process that will bring us to the New Humanity and we are going to look at that now.

 

 
THE DIVINE SEED — THE NEW HUMANITY'S LOVE

Interestingly, Meher Baba says that, "the one redeeming feature about human nature is that even in the midst of disruptive forces there invariably exists some form of love." War, catastrophe and tragedy can bring people together. United action occurs on an international scale when a natural catastrophe takes place in the world. Likewise, our personal prejudices normally disappear when tragedy overwhelms a neighbor's life, arousing us to be of some help.

Meher Baba notes in the discourse, "The Travail of the New World Order" that during wars, "there are persons who unveil their inherent higher selves through the endurance of pain and deprivation and through noble acts of bravery and self-sacrifice." He even went so far as to state that World War II was, “teaching man to be brave, to be able to suffer, to understand and to sacrifice." These qualities of love, however, are not released due to inner understanding. They arise because of the compulsion of outer circumstances.

As we saw in a previous section, there is a counterfeit feeling of losing oneself through group identification. Similarly, war produces a semblance of love. However, as Meher Baba clarifies, "it is a love which has not been understood properly." Although love permeates all aspects of life, He points out that human love is restricted and poisoned by the following:

1.Personal ambition

2.Racial pride

3.Narrow loyalties

4.Rivalries

5.Attachment to sex

6.Nationality

7.Sect

8.Caste

9.Religion

If this assembly of human weakness vitiates the beauty of love, what do we do to relieve our hearts of these burdens in order to receive divine love? This question brings us to the most compelling part of the discourse on the New Humanity — Meher Baba's words on divine love that unseal the heart. Their enormous appeal has led them frequently to be quoted as separate messages, so you may be surprised to learn that they originated here in this discourse as its last paragraphs. Their preeminence in our minds bears testimony to their gift for igniting our hearts. We will follow the discourse to its end quoting one thought after another, and seeing how beautifully Baba has laid out His expression for the process of the growth of love individually and collectively in the coming centuries.

We return to the list of human weaknesses that Meher Baba says poison love. The continual battle within us always is how to dislodge those barriers and prejudices from the heart so that unconditional love can be experienced? The following statement reassures us that the responsibility for the birth of love within the heart rests with Baba Himself. He says,

If there is to be a resurrection of humanity, the heart of man will have to be unlocked so that a new love is born into it — a love which knows no corruption and is entirely free from individual or collective greed.

In the beginning, God turns the key to resurrect our dead hearts. But what is the key in His hands? That key is our suffering. As Meher Baba explained earlier about the Divine Plan, “Great suffering awakens great understanding. Supreme suffering fulfills its purpose and yields its true significance when it awakens exhausted humanity and stirs within it a genuine longing for real understanding.” The heart, as it searches for the Truth, painstakingly releases itself from the insignificant grip of closefisted, possessive love and is opened by the freedom of a new love.

The New Humanity will come into existence through a release of love in measureless abundance, and this release of love can come through spiritual awakening brought about by the Masters.

The phrase, “release of love in measureless abundance” needs to be clarified and put into perspective. Otherwise, our picture of the future will be distorted with notions of a blissful utopia rather than understanding that this release is a very down-to-earth realistic process of change and growth. As we saw in Meher Baba’s quote above, this release of love takes place through the activity of opening the heart through the instrument of one’s own suffering. However, the uniqueness of the times is that this transformative action will take place in the efforts of large segments of humanity, throughout the world, bringing about a New Humanity. Although the Avatar makes the Divine Plan, Meher Baba has revealed elsewhere that after His physical life, the Perfect Masters execute it; and thus this awakening process for humanity will go on for centuries.

After Meher Baba’s two general statements about how divine love will be brought into the lives of humanity, He then speaks specifically about what love is not and what love is. On occasion Baba disclosed the primary truth concerning love when He proclaimed that, "Love is a gift from God to Man." We all know that to receive a gift we have to stretch out our hands to receive it. Yet, strangely the gift of love seems to be the most illusive gift to receive. While the entire world sings about it, writes books and movies about it, and talks about it endlessly, for the most part, mankind remains empty-handed.

Love cannot be born of mere determination; through the exercise of will, one can at best be dutiful. Through struggle and effort, one may succeed in assuring that one's external action is in conformity with one's concept of what is right; but such action is spiritually barren because it lacks the inward beauty of spontaneous love.

Trying to love is not loving. The problem is that we cannot simply decide to love. It is not a question of using our will, although applying willpower brings us certain qualities of dutifulness and dedication, giving us the notion that we have upheld a standard of honorableness. The plain fact is that willfulness is spiritually empty because it is without freedom.

Love has to spring spontaneously from within; it is in no way amenable to any form of inner or outer force. Love and coercion can never go together, but while love cannot be forced upon anyone, it can be awakened through love itself. Love is essentially self-communicative; those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. Those who receive love from others cannot be its recipients without giving a response which, in itself, is the nature of love. True love is unconquerable and irresistible. It goes on gathering power and spreading itself until eventually it transforms everyone it touches.

What is the difference between willfulness and spontaneity? Perhaps it is something like this — it is the difference between easy, unmindful breathing and panting, belabored breath. Both kinds of breathing inhale the breath of life, yet the result of each is a radically different type of life! What I am trying to say is that Love's first quality is a spontaneity where the factor of any kind of force, inner or outer, is out of the question. If force comes into play, then we have returned to the place of mere determination, which formulates our actions to conform to standards of what we think is correct. Remarkably, Meher Baba explains how an atmosphere of love is created and shared. "Those who receive love from others cannot be its recipients without giving a response which, in itself, is the nature of love." The beauty of love is that its giving and receiving are born out of the same kind of act. Yet, even if we finally receive the gift of divine love, what would we do with it?

Humanity will attain to a new mode of being through the free and unhampered interplay of pure love from heart to heart.

Considering the world we live in, it is difficult to digest the possibility that daily life could ever be based on the giving and receiving of love. Therefore, the dominant question continues to be how we will ever arrive at such a humane state of being.

When it is recognized that there are no claims greater than the claims of the universal divine life, which, without exception, includes everyone and everything, love will not only establish peace, harmony and happiness in social, national, and international spheres, but it will shine in its own purity and beauty.

Here Meher Baba emphatically exclaims what we have to do to arrive at this new mode of being. The, “release of love in measureless abundance” brings us to this challenge. If we wish to walk down the path that He has created for humanity, then we have to be uncompromising in our recognition that life is universally One. As we saw earlier, to begin to uphold this truth, we must accept the value of the perception of oneness. Acceptance of that value is our beginning point. Putting it into action through faith radically changes our psyche so that inner oneness becomes the pivot of our life. Once this comes about, we are on the way towards perceiving it.

Only when we maintain the truth of inner oneness in our lives will divine love flourish not only in our individual lives but also in all spheres of human activity. Meher Baba has stated that there is a very long time (amounting to any number of lives) between planting the seed of divine love and it flowering into God-Realization. Therefore, for this appraisal to offer realistic meaning, we need to ask ourselves what our notion of “divine love flourishing” is in our lives. Otherwise, we may have unrealistic ideas. At one time in my life, I thought it meant being immersed in bliss! Now I have other beliefs. First, we really should consider the word flourish which means to thrive. Anything once planted needs to thrive or it dies. We may say that the seed of divine love has been planted in a heart that accepts God’s Love. And it is up to each of us to make it thrive, to make it flourish. Yet, what is so potent about divine love that will influence us to swear off our habitual separative attitudes and be inspired to tend to seed of divine love with all our hearts?

Divine Love is unassailable to the onslaughts of duality and is an expression of divinity itself.

The most powerful activity in the world is the dynamics of divine love. Its radiance, even as a seed freshly planted in our hearts, offers so profound a glimmer of love’s warmth, beauty and truth that it is capable of turning any one’s life toward the Truth. This remarkable invisible seed, as it sprouts and then flourishes as a flower of light, unifies everything that apparently is separate and makes possible what seems ordinarily impossible. Ultimately, once we receive the seed(gift) of divine love and carefully attend to it so it flourishes, what will divine love yield to humanity in the next 700 years?

It is through divine love that the New Humanity will come in tune with the divine plan. Divine love will not only introduce imperishable sweetness and infinite bliss into personal life, but it will also make possible an era of New Humanity. Through divine love the New Humanity will learn the art of cooperative and harmonious life; it will free itself from the tyranny of dead forms and release the creative life of spiritual wisdom; it will shed all illusions and get established in the Truth; it will enjoy peace and abiding happiness; it will be initiated in the life of Eternity.

Yes, the final paragraph of the discourse brings us to an exalted portrayal of the transformation of humanity. It may sound fantastic to us, that imperishable sweetness and infinite bliss are going to enter our personal lives, and Divine love establish a New Humanity! Yet, again, I feel it is necessary to slow down and look carefully at the words here and put them into perspective.

First, from what we have been discussing, we can now understand how humanity through divine love will redirect its life toward the Truth. Furthermore, haven’t we all been introduced to imperishable sweetness and infinite bliss in some way since the time we have accepted Meher Baba? And hasn’t that introduction changed our lives?

Furthermore, when we feel Meher Baba's love for us, we live in active harmony with our surroundings, because we feel the spirit in us is the same spirit that is in others. Thus, if we imagine millions of people, instead of the few thousand today, feeling this way in the future, we can dare to accept the world being far different than it is today.

As we have seen in earlier sections, making the effort to uphold the truth of inner oneness naturally brings a cooperative and harmonious life. Yet, as we go through the process of growth of divine love in our lives, it does not mean that life will be perfect or that it will be a paradise although it will be a, “heavenly life on earth.” It means that we will be capable of eliminating major obstacles that inhibited us in the past from seeking, finding, and loving God. Because Divine love is the expression of the spiritual oneness of the universe, it is genuinely possible that inner peace and happiness can abide in the heart of a New Humanity that is in love with God as Beloved.

In the coming centuries, as mankind gradually makes the effort towards the truth of inner oneness, the illusion of separative existence will fade. Cooperation and harmony will spread to all levels of life, allowing for genuine material and social adjustments among the nations of the world. To overcome the logistical problems which exist in a material world will be the challenge of the New Humanity. Yet, Meher Baba has given us the assurance that the perception and the feeling of oneness are capable of solving our economic, political and social problems. But we will still have to do that. That will be the work for the generations ahead of the New Humanity. The work for us now, as we make our individual efforts to enter into the New Humanity, is first to value the perception of inner oneness above all other values in our lives. Having once established that value and having faith in it, we can put the truth of inner oneness into our daily activities, and gradually dispel the illusion of the separativeself and the illusions it creates. We could end up living a “heavenly life on earth” after all!

 

 

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