Meher Baba

To recognise a saint, you must first be a saint.

December? 1925,
LM3 p772

There are many who are on the way, many who have experience, many who are yogis, but few who are Perfect...

Never speak ill of saints. They are the sign of Truth and help to the world...

My salutations to all those who love God, who are saints, yogis, bhaktas, and my namaskar to Sadgurus. All these are me in different forms.

from a letter to Ramjoo Abdulla
January 1926,
Wa p19

The importance of saints is that they point so many to God.

T p83, also MJ May 1939

The saints are like the nerves of my body. They work for me, and I guide their lives.

MJ 1:3 p62

There are three types of spiritual beings in India: the sensational, the unassuming but deep and quiet, and the Man-God or God-Man.

The sensational types just make a show of their knowledge of Vedanta, and give lofty talks on higher ideals of life and spirituality. It is all on the surface, hence an outward show. They seek to create an impression, and people who go to them are impressed by miracles, which are really nothing more than (tantric) tricks. This is undesirable, being a sort of bargaining. I do not want this kind of faith.

The other type, which is unassuming and quiet, is deeper in knowledge and experience, because they are advanced souls, and a few are Perfect Ones. They prefer a quiet life, and do their work in silence, and hence are little known.

The Sadgurus and Qutubs experience Godhood and manhood both. They have attained the spiritual heights, and have also come down to human level to help mankind. Their methods are peculiar, hence not understood by ordinary people.

17 November 1938,
to Consuelo Sides and Mercedes D'Acosta
LM7 p2335

I have lately been laying stress on honesty. If we love God honestly, we become one with him. Never before have dishonesty and hypocrisy prevailed in this world as today. If the least hypocrisy creeps into our thoughts, words and deeds, God, who is the innermost self in us all, keeps himself hidden.

Hypocrisy is a million-headed cobra. There are today so many so-called saints who, even though they tell people to be honest and not to be hypocrites, are yet themselves deep in dishonesty.

I say with divine authority that I am in you all, and if you honestly love God, you will find him everywhere.

And remember, if you cannot love God and cannot lead saintly lives, then at least do not make a show of it, because the worst scoundrels are better than hypocritical saints.

January 27, 1953,
Eluru, Andhra,
LC p27

There are two types of so-called saintly persons: the hypocrites and the innocents. A hypocrite knows that he is posing, whereas the innocent one honestly feels that he is someone special spiritually.

10 May 1954,
GG6 p44

... As far as you are concerned, you should neither criticise nor indulge in backbiting. If you speak ill of a real saint, it will be harmful to you. You will create dreadful (sanskaric) blunders. You should avoid villifying even the so-called 'mahatmas' who call themselves saints, because it is not possible for you to be certain whether they are real or not.

The presumptuous saints outwardly act like real saints. You will not be able to differentiate between them, just in the same way as you would not be able to differentiate between the masts and mad persons. Yet what a world of difference lies in their inner states!

... I would like you to know that to become a saint is not child's play. The very word saint, when commonly used or made applicable to anyone, creates a lot of misunderstanding. I will tell you something that will clarify the misunderstandings regarding saints.

There are two types of saints: real saints, and imitation saints. Just as an ordinary person cannot distinguish between a real and an imitation pearl, you cannot distinguish between a real saint and an imitation saint. I alone, like a jeweller, can make out the difference.

Particularly in India, we find a lot of imitation saints, and this is due to the superficial study of Vedanta. By studying Vedanta, one can say 'I am God.' Sadgurus also say 'I am God.' Imitation saints say the same thing, but with the help of Vedanta. Real saints need no such help; they say what they experience.

There are also some who, after reading Vedanta, realise that they have no such experience, but they still say "I am God.' This is hypocrisy. Also there are some imitation saints who, after reading Vedanta, have a genuine feeling and say 'I am God,' though in reality they do not have any conscious experience.

If anyone confers greatness on you and begins to worship you, you know yourself that you do not deserve it. At the outset you are tempted to accept this greatness, which makes you feel happy. But your conscience will be constantly pricking you, and you will be always in a state of anxiety about future developments. You will be frequently in a fix whether to accept or reject the greatness which is thrust on you.

Once you accept this conferred greatness, it becomes very difficult for you to get out of the situation. After a time, even the pricks of conscience cease troubling you, for you get used to them. Then it becomes an addiction, and you cannot do without it. You then pose as a real saint. This posing will cause you to take innumerable additional births. So why pose as a saint without inner experience?

... When anyone approaches an imitation saint and is attracted by the outward atmosphere which he creates around him, and if, owing to his faith in the imitation saint, he gets experiences, he is likely to attribute them to that imitation saint. This creates confusion.

... In Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab, there are saints of both types, real and imitation. There, men put up a big show of spirituality by performing homa-haven, bhajan-kirtan, yadna-yagna, arti-puja, etc. From external appearances one cannot make out who is a real saint and who is an imitation one. Anyone is easily impressed by the so-called outward spiritual atmosphere.

... I do not mean that there are no real saints in India. (Baba mentioned a few well-known saints) There are also some real saints unknown to the masses. Compared to the known saints, these hidden saints are far more advanced. In this respect, however, I want to tell you with authority that both the hidden and the known saints have not realised the Self.

Do not be misled by the use of certain words and phrases. If anyone addresses you as 'dear Self,' do not be under the impression that he has achieved the goal of Realisation.

May 19 and June 7, 1957,
to a group of his followers
Guruprasad Poona,
Aw 5:4 p22-32

More of this talk can be found in 'Visiting Saints' in Book Two

For one to declare that he is a saint, and allow people to bow down to and revere him without real authority, is to feed one's ego with intense happiness. Simultaneously with the feeding of the ego comes a feeling of well-being.

One who is addicted to opium (eating or smoking) derives a similar feeling of well-being, though temporarily. After a time the opium addict begins to feel the after-effects of opium in severe constipation, loss of appetite, headache, dullness and drowsiness. He then begins to realise that it would have been better had he not become addicted. But unfortunately, he cannot give up the habit. He has become a slave. He realises this too late, and sinks into deeper addiction, being tempted to take greater and greater quantities of opium to keep pace with the gradual loss of the feeling of well-being.

Similarly, one who indulges in happiness by allowing people to bow down to him without authority feels the prick of conscience later on. And with this feeling he realises that he has no authority, but has got so used to the habit of feeding his ego in this manner that he is unable to stop the practice. He continues indulging, and after a time does not pay heed to the pricks of conscience. He becomes numb to the voice within.

After years of addiction, it so happens one day that the opium addict is found lying unconscious in a gutter full of filth. An extra overdose of opium proves tragic for the addict, who loses complete control over himself. The passer-by scoffs, ridicules, points at him as a confirmed opium addict.

In the same way, a person who poses as a saint, without really being one, starts to behave in an unworthy manner after years of indulgence in addiction to overdoses of homage. With him, contrary to the opium addict, his unworthy behavior is accounted as Perfection by his followers. When he abuses others, his words are accepted as blessings. When he beats someone, his beating is accepted as the descent of his grace. When he indulges in lovemaking with the opposite sex, it is accepted as pure love.

In short, whatever he does, all and everything is accepted in a spirit of reverence and love by the followers of the man who has posed as a saint. The more unruly his behavior, the greater the admiration of the followers. And the greater the admiration, the richer becomes the feeding of the ego of the person. Eventually he falls from the high pedestal of admiration because, not being a genuine saint, the rich doses of admiration and reverence prove too much for the ego to digest. With the fall this opiumised saint is ridiculed. Those very persons who called themselves his followers scoff and call him a fraud.

Just as an opium addict has his personal friends who extol the effect of opium and bring into their fold innocent people, so, too, a person who poses as a saint has a ring of followers who extol him and his 'miracles' to attract others into their fold. Such 'miracles' may be just coincidences, or even genuine experiences of simple and devout followers who get desired results through their own faith in and love even for such opiumised saints.

One who has no authority and yet permits people to bow down to him plays a losing game, while those who bow down gain. The unburdening of sanskaras of those who bow down at his feet is the cause of his loss, for he takes on sanskaras that can only be wiped off by many more births.

The point to be considered is this: if thousands can benefit at the cost of a false saint, should this person be allowed to continue? If such a person is already in contact with a Perfect Master and loves him, the Master immediately puts a check and corrects the shortcomings, and warns his lovers about such unauthorised behavior.

If however, such a person is not already in contact with a Perfect Master, the Master never interferes, because eventually this person also derives some benefit. The Master knows that this is the play of ego. The cause of any eventual benefit to such a person is that at the cost of his own condemnation he proved to be a dustbin for thousands to heap their sanskaras therein.

There is no doubt that in his subsequent birth his behavior makes the person suffer much more due to this burden of acquired sanskaras. But with the intensity of his suffering, the redeeming factor is the speed with which these acquired sanskaras get wiped off. They are wiped off in proportion to the intensity of suffering. Along with the wiping off of the acquired sanskaras, his own sanskaras also get wiped off speedily.

Just as an unauthorised person posing as a saint proves a source of benefit to thousands, so also he proves of harm to many. All this is a play in illusion. As an opium addict feels happy to give a tiny bit of opium to another, and that other, when he gets the taste of it, hands over another small dose to his own friend, creating a circle of opium eaters, the two or three persons close to the opiumised saint of our discourse start spreading news that such and such a woman was blessed with a child, and that another got her wish fulfilled, and that the 'saint' performed many such miracles. A clique of followers around the opiumised saint is created.

But this happy picture does not last long, for after some years it so happens that at least one finds out one day that his master is a fraud and is not God-realised. The impact of such a great setback in his confirmed belief is so forceful that all his sanskaras, which he had inadvertently transferred onto the 'saint' in his belief and devotion, all of a sudden recoil on him spontaneously and overburden him afresh. Thus the person who had placed faith in the opiumised saint suffers a great deal.

Let us view the picture from another angle: suppose I am the opiumised saint, and you love me and revere me as the Perfect Master. Your love becomes so deep and your faith so great that you actually make progress on the spiritual Path, and really begin to have experiences of the Path. In this instance, you are surely benefitted at the hands of the opiumised saint. Whereas in the previous case, the opiumised saint has done a great harm. Through such 'saints' harm and benefit recoil and accrue.

But all this is a play in illusion. It is all my play. None can fathom me as I really am. I am in everyone, and I do everything simultaneously. I also do nothing. Be brave. Be happy. I and you are all one. And the infinite that eternally belongs to me will one day belong to every individual.

PL p67-70

...The lingering aura of a saint may work miracles from his burial place.

1958? Be p36

We find three types of Gurus or masters in the world at all times:

1. The imposter;

2. The genuine but limited Guru, the Wali or master of the 5th plane, and the Pir or master of the 6th plane;

3. The perfect Guru or Sadguru, who is God-realised.

When a Wali is pleased with someone, he whispers or breathes a divine word in his ear, or he looks steadily into the eyes of the person concerned, and causes a lift in that person's consciousness. In this heightened consciousness, the person can easily read the thoughts of those near him if he wants to. He sees colored lights, and sometimes sees the face of the Wali within the light. But the Wali may raise one to his own level of consciousness, and cause him to identify himself with the mental body, and he sees his gross and subtle bodies distinctly as garments that he wears. Although this raising of another's consciousness is not mere hypnotism, but bestowal of an experience of a very high order, the state enjoyed, being within the domain of limitation (had) is still part of the passing show of illusion. The angle of vision has merely shifted from what it was previously. The view is vastly greater, but he still faces maya with his back to God.

A Pir does not use either of the methods of the Wali. When he is pleased with someone, he may ask for a glass of water or a cup of tea, and taking a sip or two, may give it to him to drink. Or he may ask the person for something, such as a hankerchief or scarf, and after using it for some time, return it to him. By such a seemingly insignificant action, the Pir may bring him up through any of the lower planes, even to his own station, and cause him to take a complete about-turn, so that maya is forever behind him, and before him is the indescribable beauty and glory of God.

In his lifetime a Wali and a Pir can raise one person, or at most two persons, to his own level of consciousness. A Pir cannot take anyone beyond the sixth plane, which denotes the very edge of limitation. There is an abyss to be crossed between the sixth and the seventh planes of consciousness, between the last point in limitation and infinite limitlessness, the goal. A Pir is himself in the realm of duality, and therefore cannot take anyone to the unitive state of unlimited consciousness. A Sadguru, being beyond the bounds of limitation, can and does do so. He utilizes infinite ways (including direct physical touch, or even just a wish) for the bestowing of his grace on the ones he chooses, to make them transcend duality and merge in the consciousness of God the unlimited (Behad).

A Wali or a Pir necessarily requires the physical presence of a person whose level of consciousness he intends to raise. But time and space are no obstacles to a Sadguru when he wishes to bestow his grace on any person or thing. The person concerned may be thousands of miles away, or not even in a physical body. Just a wish of the Sadguru can instantaneously establish that particular individual in the consciousness of the seventh plane of limitlessness (Behad)...

A Pir can make one see God. But even then one's 'real I' still has falseness attached to it. A Sadguru, at the right moment, whisks away entirely the entire falseness. And how does he do it? That is inexplicable. Only he who is knowledge itself can do this. When falseness is entirely shed, real individuality is established. This is the 'I am God' state.

c.1960, EN p29-31

When one is on the sixth plane, one sees God face to face and experiences bliss. One on the Gross plane can also see God everywhere, by the grace of the Avatar or a Perfect Master. Such a one experiences bliss. But there is a world of difference between his experience and the sublime bliss of the one on the sixth plane of consciousness. Whereas on the Gross plane one has desires and the mind to contend with, the one who is on the sixth plane longs only to become one with beloved God.

AO p217

There are only 100,000 Satpurushas or Marden-e-Khuda in the whole of the universe. They are those on the spiritual Path who have achieved control over their ego-life, and who with utter disregard to life expose themselves to hardships in the name of, and for the sake of God.

It is not because these men and women of God find their lives to be any less precious than that of the average man or woman, who as a rule is only too anxious to maintain a hold over the fast-slipping human life. Their indifference is due to the fact that, to them, their love for God is far greater than their own limited existence.

It is not just a question of giving up a life here in order to gain a better life there. To them nothing else remains worthwhile to be had or wished for, save their love for God.

PL p64-65

Index - Book One

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