All people, all possible permutations of good, evil, thought, passion,
The lamps are different, But the Light is the same.
One matter, One Energy, One Light, One Light-mind,
Endlessly emanating all things.
One turning and burning Diamond,
One, One, One.
Ground yourself, strip yourself down,
To blind loving silence. Stay there, until you see
You are gazing at the Light with its own Ageless eyes.
There I was again, sitting on the floor of Mandali Hall, the makeshift stable set by Meher Baba in Meherazad, near Ahmednagar, Maharashtra India, as a meeting place for his close followers.
It was one of those tranquil days, the intimacy felt like a Sunday morning one's own home, and everything was so alright. A dear person, Eruch Jessawalla, the interpreter of Meher Baba's silent language, was sitting on the simple carpeted floor telling us a story, the gentle breeze filtering through rustic windows brought in the sounds of rural India. Eruch was narrating an old story about the conversation between a disciple and his spiritual master in ancient India.
The disciple was enjoying a quiet moment with the spiritual master. It was one of those arid sunny days in the Deccan Plateau and they had been walking for miles on end. The rest of the party had gone ahead, to find a suitable shelter for the evening, and he had remained alone with the master, sitting under a tree. The master lovingly looked at his close disciple and prompted him -is there anything you want to ask? The disciple put forth a question that he always had in his mind, about what was the cosmic illusion, or Maya, or the dream of existence. He had heard with interest what the master said about this, that Maya was like a dream, that one must awake from, in order to know that there is only One existence, and that this dream is a whim, a game in imagination to manifest Love, which is the essence of Existence.
But what is it, what really is Maya? He always thought. He was pondering this all the time, as he walked and listened and served his beloved master. So, given this moment of being alone with him and prompted to ask anything; he said - Master what is Maya?
The master looked at him pensively, anticipating the question, and said to him, that is a particularly good question, but it will take some time to explain and we have been walking all day and is hot and dry, can you bring me a glass of water from the river that is close by? I will tell you.
Off went the disciple, with a container to fetch water in the nearby river. As he leaned on the banks of the mighty river, an unexpected flash flood rushed with a roar and carried him downstream. He was deposited by the shore, many miles away from where he went to fetch the water. He was found, unconscious, by a young woman, that was taking clothes to wash in the river. She brought him to her home, where she lived with her father, a small farmer of the area. During weeks she nursed him back to consciousness. He was suffering memory loss and could not remember who he was. As the young woman was attractive, gradually he fell in love with her and befriended her father, and finally, he married her. The farmer was happy as now there were more hands to help on the farm.
They had four children, the farm prospered, and they bought adjacent lands and after twenty years, he was one of the wealthiest farmers of the region. At this time, to celebrate a religious festival, they decorated two barges, and all the family boarded along with farm helpers, to cross the wide river and have a picnic on the other bank. Upon crossing, the festive mood was tragically interrupted by a sudden flash flood that overturned the barges. He tried to save his wife and his young son she was holding in her arms, but the current was too strong, he was carried by the rumbling torrent of water and finally dumped, barely conscious, on the riverbank somewhere, many miles downstream. As he was opening his eyes, he saw some sandaled feet that he recognized, he looked up, and there was his master smiling. He said to him, where is my glass of water? And winking an eye he said to his disciple, by the way, that is Maya.
The sensation that life is a dream, has somehow been on my mind ever since I was a child. As I grew older, during my adolescence and young adulthood I took life more objectively and felt that plots, relationships, and processes, were either under my control or that somebody else was messing up if they went wrong. But that phase did not last long, and gradually became admixed with a creeping sensation of awe and mystery, a sense that some x-factor was behind the immense beauty of life.
I have always been amazed by the physiology of things, I wanted to understand causes, to unveil the concatenation of processes that constitutes the fabric of the universe. I was fascinated by the inherent beauty, the complexity, and the vastness of the setting, and wanted to understand what underlies it all.
Every part of the universe would reveal an embroidered filigree of creativity. Like when I learned about chlorophyll nests capturing light caresses from a distant sun, caresses that arrive after jumping space, energy that sometimes flows like ocean waves, or sometimes behaves like extraordinarily little parts. And together they build universes in trees to harbor life “…vertical worlds: nations of birds, the plenitude of leaves… trees to rise in all their bristling height” as Pablo Neruda would say.
I would freeze in awe of the countless stars that populate the mind at night when one dares to look, wondering what and why is all this beauty about, as awareness is dawning, parading, spilling before our eyes, presenting this incredible beauty that we can see, when we look.
I also marvel at this capacity we have to be aware, at the magic of consciousness, the Ferris wheel of thought. Like Canadian astronomer and poet Rebecca Elson wrote: “We are all navigating an external world — but only through the prism of our own minds, our own subjective experience… The majesty of the universe is only ever conjured up in the mind.”
Then one lies beyond amazement when confronted by that most subtle ethereal energy that we call love; that awareness of oneness, peace, beauty in form, time and being, manifested through an innocent smile, or a deep embrace, in a flash of compassion, in the eyes of any living creature, in the flight of a butterfly, in pure joy. A transcendental consciousness that simultaneously is most accessible, an imperishable sweetness that lies within all. The sentience of One.
I suspect, that all processes contribute to the beauty of this magnum opus of life, those that we call injurious; like volcanic eruptions, novae, hurricanes, earthquakes, collective human iniquity and ignorance, individual callousness, petulance or cruelty, as well as those that we call beneficial; gentle breezes, rain, the bounty of nature, humanity's collective peace and compassion, and individual selflessness and altruism. Duality contributes to the manifestation of a masterpiece of beauty, that integrates all colors and contrasts, shadows, and black spots, similarly to what happens in a work of art or during the beauty of a sunrise.
The beautiful consciousness framed by individual forms evolves into minds, that capture space and time, moments of love, verse, songs, joys and pains, material exchanges and definitions sublime, and grows within these congregations called bodies or forms, that coexist in so many different arrangements. Is an infinite and innate continuous tree, subdivided by perception into shapes, vibrations, and sentiments, through which One, seeks, through manifold imaginary experience a whole that seems that always Is.
As Eruch finished his story of the glass of water, I drifted away to my own life, to past circumstances and events that transpired. Their substance was now like the substance of dreams one has at night, intangible, except for memories and the feelings evoked. And then I thought the future of my life had not unfolded, so it is also made up of the same stuff as dreams of the past and night dreams-imagination.
“Existence is One. - said the master to the disciple recovering still from his flash flood sojourn in Maya - It is an all-pervading singularity that encompasses itself. Wordless, thoughtless, beyond any scope or dimension, infinitesimal and infinite in its nothing and every thingness. It is simultaneously latent and manifest. It flows, through infinite points of view in a manifested, non-existing multitude -a beauty of One, expressing its creativity through love.”
I closed my eyes at the beauty of the moral of the story told by Eruch. Wafted by the simplicity of the ambiance of that sacred spot at the Deccan Plateau, my mind took shelter in some remembered verses, and for an instant One Beauty reigned serenely in the multitude of surrounding “essents”.
Life is a flow inexplicable/a love unimaginable.
That connects in roots unthinkable/Intimately
The beautiful imagination!
of an Ocean that fragments into dream-drops
and rains unto itself to express/Infinite moments of love!