In the beginning it always seems so simple: the Beloved smiles, and the Lover thinks, Ah, only the few remaining hours of garish day between this agitation and consolation, between fever and healing. But night comes down, and the Beloved is not at the place of appointment. The Lover whispers, Where are you, beloved one? And, so it seems, the Beloved's voice from a long way away answers, Here I am.
The Lover goes gladly towards where the voice was heard from, and after some time calls, Where, beloved? And the voice again from a distance answers, Here. And so it goes on. Always "where" is answered by "here," but "here" to the Lover is somewhere out there. And the Lover's tears become a stormy flood in which the Lover is adrift and alone.
In the beginning it all seemed so simple, so glad; now it is helplessness and hopelessness and bitter grief. And all for nothing (all because the Soul which is Everything thinks it is something other than itself, and so must experience itself as Nothing before it can realize that it is Everything.
This Everything and Nothing is, of course, the theme of every book ever written. But books are written by men who know nothing about the nature of the Everything; or by men who know something, but not everything about it; or by men (or their disciples for them) who have experienced themselves as Everything. But these last-mentioned books are in languages that most of us cannot read, and no one any longer can understand anyway―dead languages every one of them.
But The Everything and The Nothing is not only by the final authority on the matter, Meher Baba, but is written in good, clear, simple English. Even this will mean nothing to the heart-frozen and the intellect-contained; but for the lover of Truth it will mean everything.
2. THE EAST-WEST GATHERING* *
It can be stated definitely that an East-West Gathering of people from the East and the West did take place and that its venue (to be taken in its popular, not legal sense) was at Guruprasad (Gift of God) in Poona, India. I, myself, firmly believe I was there; and many others also make the same claim.
However, it is a question whether this Gathering was an experience in imagination when awake, or in dream whilst asleep. Not that it is a question that has to be answered—for Meher Baba has made it quite clear that imagination and dreaming are really only a difference in terms; the whole
** The East-West Gathering, by Francis Brabazon.
Meher House Publications, Sydney, Australia.