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“Sweeping the Plague Away”

May 21, 2020


Duality implies separateness. Separateness causes fear. Fear makes worry.

I alone am Real and my will governs the cosmic illusion. It is the truth when I say that the waves do not roll and the leaves do not move without my will.

Think of me more and more, and all your worries will disappear into the nothing they really are. My will works out to awaken you to this.”[1]

— Meher Baba

It is sometimes said that the greatest contagion is fear, amplifying disharmony and disorder as it passes from one person to another. But when one is merged with the Divine, there is no fear – even in the face of a deadly epidemic.

On one occasion in 1917, Meher Baba’s master Upasni Maharaj, after settling in Sakori, sought to demonstrate this principle to his followers when a deadly plague swept through the nearby towns. For ten days the epidemic spread from village to village, yet Sakori remained untouched. Many of the villagers believed they were saved because of Maharaj’s presence there. Still, as fear continued to play on their minds, they asked him whether they should evacuate the town and move to remote fields, so as to distance themselves physically from other people.

Maharaj replied, “The plague is everywhere but here. Sakori has been spared. Why do you wish to leave and invite more trouble for yourselves?”

The devotees waited four more days, but when the epidemic intensified in the nearby villages, they lost their courage and decided to leave, urging Maharaj to accompany them. “No. I will stay here and play with the plague,” he said. “He is my best friend.”

They exhorted and pleaded, but Maharaj refused to listen. So the devotees left and set up temporary huts in the fields, as far away from Sakori and from one another as possible. Though some returned each day for darshan, Maharaj remained in the empty village alone. Day after day Sakori remained barren and silent with Maharaj its only resident. After ten days the villagers who came back for darshan observed him vigorously sweeping the roads and pathways with a broom; within a week he had cleaned the entire village. After another twenty days the danger passed. When the residents of Sakori came home they asked Maharaj about his sweeping. He explained, “I was sweeping the plague away with this broom.” Then, with gentle ironic humor, he went on to say, “Besides, I wanted to make the village nice for you.”

One may feel that there is a world of difference between ordinary man, like the villagers, and perfected man, like the great Perfect Master, Upasni Maharaj. But we might reflect that a master like Maharaj spent many lives as such a villager – and every villager has within him the perfect man, hidden only by his own egoic fears.

In His Showering Grace,

Murshida Carol Weyland Conner

[1] The Everything and the Nothing, 118.