How a Master Works
If this indeed be the hour in which I lift up my lantern, it is not my flame that shall burn therein.
Empty and dark shall I raise my lantern,
And the guardian of the night shall fill it with oil and he shall light it also.
* Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966), p. 7.
“PEOPLE don't want to work out their karma – they just want to come here and dump it all on me!” the Master was saying, as a fleeting sadness flitted across his face, softening the stern manner of his saying; for, you see, he did not really speak – his eyes spoke, his expression revealed, his beautiful fingers spelled out the words on a small black board covered with the letters of the alphabet, but his mouth did not open.
I stood before him suddenly feeling like a culprit, accused of I knew not what. I had but recently heard of the word "karma" and only dimly sensed its meaning. Did he think I had crossed the world to dump mine – whatever it was – on him? I waited, too overwhelmed by his beauty, his authority – yes, his very purity which was like a perfume, of which the small room was redolent.
He paused to let the seeming reproof sink in, and some underlayer of the thoughts churning in my mind was wondering: “What am I doing here? How did I ever get to this spot I am in – mentally and physically?”
I tried to peer into his eyes, but he was sitting in the lotus asana (the only time I ever saw him do this) and his glance was downward, carefully guarded by his lids. He had let me see those lustrous pools of light for an instant the previous day, and for a moment it had been difficult to focus because there was a strange quality to those eyes which I had never seen before and which tantalized and intrigued me. The rest of our visit was a constant demonstration that he always knew the instant I was about to attempt a quick peek and hid his glance – I later learned this was for my own protection. Suddenly now I realized what was indefinable in his eyes – it was bliss.
Waves of thought billowed through my mind. One notion was, “He looks and acts just like the Buddha except his mass of curly hair falls over his shoulders.” The next moment I was trying to recall what I had said to bring forth such a reproof . . .
I had said, “I never wanted to run a Sufi Order. All I ever wanted to do was to sing!”
His face had been radiant as he lifted an arm with a long, slim index finger pointing first upwards and then tracing a curving passage down through the air, and with the other hand pointed out on the board held by Dr. Ghani:
“I sing – down through the Ages I sing!”
In that instant he had left me. I did not exist for him and neither did Dr. Ghani who was so swiftly reading the board that it gave the total impression of Baba talking. I knew then that he was God and was back in the far reaches of his Godhood where no mortal could enter. Awe overcame me and my heart seemed to stop. Just as suddenly, he had descended again to our level and “said”:
“But this was your destiny in this incarnation and this is why I have drawn you here!”
As swiftly, I had rebelled. “But how can I do all that with this broken-down machine (my body)!”
I had sciatica in my legs, neuritis in my arms, extremely low blood pressure, thyroid deficiency and other glandular disturbances. The truth is that in my search for God I had met a pseudo-guru who had instructed me in healing. Since I knew nothing about karma and its inevitable law of balance, my body was assuming the suffering of those I ignorantly tried to relieve by healing. By this I do not mean that one cannot be healed if he has enough faith in God, but I always suspect that perhaps in some cases he has almost completed his term of leveling off his karmic situation.
Going to India had been entirely my own idea, I had believed, to ask Baba for help for the Sufi Order which my Murshida had entrusted to me, her incredulous mureed. He must know someone better fitted for it? I later realized that what I really probably had hoped for was to be freed from such responsibility, hence his reproof about people not wanting to work out their karma. . .
His gaze probed, but he was at once satisfied that I was not asking him to heal me. It had never occurred to me that he could or would possibly do such a thing. I was too unversed in the ways of Masters – I was only fifty-two, and I had spent most of the first part of my life doing things I didn't want to do!
The pause ended.
“It is a long time since I have discussed the physical, but I will help you.”
My mind interpreted this to mean that even though my body functioned poorly he would see that I had sufficient help to carry on my labors. So I was completely unprepared for the sequel to this topic in our conversation. In fact, because of his loving mercy I had no idea of what he was letting me in for. It was five years before he really unveiled his plans.
Even now, at 79, I keep wondering at the strange currents of destiny in my life, and I wish I could somehow instill in the youth of today the gleam of a new hope for the future—a realization that there is only one of each of us and that God has a purpose in us all, and particularly in this present generation described by the Master as the “New Humanity.” It is an exciting time to be alive, but not because we have reached the moon, which the Master once explained was a worn-out earth replaced by our present earth long ago.
Meher Baba said, “Whether men soar to outer space or dive to the bottom of the deepest ocean they will find themselves as they are, unchanged, because they will not have forgotten themselves nor remembered to exercise the charity of forgiveness.”*
* Meher Baba, The Everything and The Nothing, p. 110.
Of course, my life is only as one grain of sand on the endless shores of life. The reason for it being mentioned rather than the millions of other specks of sand blessed by his touch as he walked among us is that it is the life I know best and which can therefore serve as a verifiable witness of a tiny spectrum of the Master's work, a minute flash of color from the universal prism held in his hand. Truly great disciples such as Elizabeth Patterson, Margaret Craske, Kitty Davy, Rano Gayley and others mentioned herein have spent more years serving Baba than was my privilege, and it is to be hoped that they will write their own observations. What gives me the courage for this narration, however, is that the western world is almost totally ignorant of the existence of Masters and their ways of working and angrily incredulous if one dares to suggest what the eastern world has known all along – that God Himself descends into human form every 700 or 1,400 years to have a look at His Creation and plan another "renewal program."
Meher Baba once said, "I am that Ancient One whose past is worshipped and remembered, whose present is ignored and forgotten and whose future (Advent) is anticipated with great fervour and longing."*
Perhaps I should use the flashback technique to bring us up to date.
* Everything and Nothing, p. 77
(End of Chapter 1 Excerpt)