There are always, at all times and in all cycles and ages, (8 x 7) 56 God-realized souls or Shiv-Atmas in human form on earth; and out of these 56 only 8 have public recognition and function as active members of the Functioning Spiritual Hierarchy, consisting of 7,000 members, who do the assigned spiritual duties on various planes of consciousness according to their spiritual advancement or perfection.
The remaining (8 x 6) 48 God-realized ones are not amongst the Functioning Spiritual Hierarchy of 7,000 members. They remain aloof and people are not cognizant of their divinity, though all 48 have the same experience and enjoy the same Divine State of 'I am God ' as the other 8. These 48 are, as it were, on the waiting list ready to help in any spiritual contingency cropping up through one or more of the functioning members dropping their body.
Out of the 8 God-realized souls who are at the head of the Functioning Spiritual Hierarchy of 7,000 members, 5 are Perfect Masters who, besides having a wide public recognition, have a duty to perform in the rendering of spiritual service and benefit to the whole of mankind. The remaining 3 are "Majzoobs" who, in spite of having achieved Godhood and remaining in the physical body, have no spiritual duty to perform towards mankind. Yet they are the source of spiritual benefit to all who come into contact with them.
So it could be said that whereas the 5 Perfect Masters render spiritual service to humanity as a whole, the few who come into contact with and serve the 3 Majzoobs draw spiritual benefit from them, while the 48 God-realized ones keep aloof from recognition and function until a gap is created in the Functioning Hierarchy by one or more of the 8 God-realized ones dropping the physical body.
*Refer particularly to the words “Functioning Hierarchy on page 231, of "God Speaks" by Meher Baba.
[page 272 (second edition), -webmaster JK 2010]
ERRATA, Vol. X, No. I: page 32, paragraph 4, line 5 should read “The Avatar never contacts the man on the fourth plane (except his Agent), for in that case . . . "