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29

 

free from the pressure of diverse wants. True faith, therefore, is a matter of gradual growth. It grows in proportion to the success which the disciple attains in freeing his consciousness from diverse cravings." Again, he says, "A living faith is always born of some deep experience which the Master imparts."

 

What Baba tested was the sincerity of our search and pursuit of God; and the whole­heartedness of our love and obedience.

 

I recall how, in December, 1933, the year of Baba's first visit to the West, he sent for a few of us to join him in Paris. He was then on his way back from America, en route for India. The day before he left for Marseilles, he called a few of us to his room and standing beside the window, spelt out on his board, "You do not see Me as I really am. This body is not Me. My Real Self is far more beautiful. I am Infinite Truth. I am Infinite Love. I am Life Eternal." Later, in letters received during the next two or three years from India, letters dictated and signed by Baba, he would frequently close with the following: "I am Infinite Knowledge, Infinite Bliss and Infinite Suffering."

 

To be honest, these statements at this early period with Baba fell on insensitive ears and immature minds. Love for Baba and a desire to serve him overwhelmed all else. Instead of becoming more quiescent and receptive, the soil for true awareness, I became more restless in spirit. Many years were to roll by before the significance of these "sayings" of the Master were to penetrate deeply.

 

I recall only two occasions on which Baba brought up the question of faith.

 

In March, 1938, the Meherabad group of Easterners and Westerners spent six weeks in Ahmednager with Baba, awaiting the completion of the alterations to the Meherabad ashram. We were just back from the hill station, Panchgani, where Baba had taken us for our first hot summer in India. This particular afternoon Baba had called a family of close devotees to the bungalow. The conversation was in Gujarati, and R. and I, who were present, could not follow it. A little while elapsed and Baba turned to us to ask what we felt about faith. I answered Baba, and I think my friend did likewise, that really we were not interested in faith. We had come to Baba because we loved him, so what did faith matter! Where was the necessity for faith! Perhaps our manner was abrupt and arrogant. Later, when the guests had left, Baba rebuked us severely, pointing out that even if we felt as we did, we must always be careful not to hurt other people's feelings. Speak the truth in love! To those sincere and devoted ones who had just left, their faith meant much. Baba went on to explain that when a man is lame, he needs a stick to lean on. When he is well again, he can throw the stick away and walk without it. So it is with faith. Until a man has real "knowing," through inner experience, not just belief, he must have faith to lean on, thus clearly showing us the need for faith and where we were at fault.

 

The second occasion occurred ten years later on Meherabad Hill, in 1948. Gandhiji had just been shot. The newspapers for several days afterwards were filled with articles contributed from all over India and beyond, referring to Gandhi’s remarkable life . . . his mission, his sainthood, his martyrdom. Some spoke of him as a Perfect Master, a Sadguru, or an Avatar.

 

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