I: Given on the 11th Anniversary of Meher Baba's stay at Avatar's Abode in June 1958.
I have returned to Australia after staying with God for ten years; and I bring you the most astonishing news: God has died, and is most living. I was present when he died. I was one of the disciples who took his body to the tomb he had had prepared thirty years earlier, and placed it there in an open crypt where for seven days thousands of his lovers came to see his beloved face for the last time.
There was hardly any weeping and lamentation: perhaps the grief of his beloved Mehera included all our griefs. There was almost continuous devotional singing by various groups of singers praising the attributes of the beloved; and the people, after worshipping him with love sat quietly and listened and remembered alone, or with others exchanged the occasions of joy when God-Man had visited their homes or had called them individually for an hour, or in great companies for a few days and bathed them in the stream of his compassion and made them drunk with the wine of his love.
The tomb is on a barren hillock six miles from Ahmednagar on the Deccan plateau about a quarter mile back from the Ahmednagar Dhond road and railway. It was here forty-six years ago that God, having become Man, and knowing that he was God, began his work for humanity by building a school for boys whom he personally served, and a hospital and shelters for the poor and the wanderers seeking God. But these buildings, their purpose being served, have long since been dismantled. God builds nothing to last. That is left for men, who, being mortal seek immortality in the permanence of stone; or, loving what is perishable, try to preserve its form in enduring art.
On the afternoon of the seventh day the cr ypt was closed with great shouts of "Avatar Meher Baba ki jay", or "Vic tory to Meher Baba the beloved God-Man". God as Man had died and had been buried; but Man as God lived eternally. The victory was the Beloved 's—he who dies and is born every moment in our lives. But was all the shouting really true? Were all who shouted convinced of the victory?
God is perfection in all. things. But his perfection is not as ours—that completion of a work faultlessly done which we aim at, or in a flawless quality worshipped and desired. His perfection includes imperfection, just as his Everythingness includes Nothing. And so, although every heart cried that the victory was his, the minds of some questioned his promise that before he dropped his body he would break his silence and speak the one Word of words and manifest his glory.
These questioners had understood the Beloved 's promise according to the feebleness of their intellects and their desire for an All-conqueror under whose banner they would march to heaven—much the same as what the Jews had wanted of Jesus, and various religions expect of a Second Coming.
Beloved Baba had warned us all many times, and especially over the last year, to cling tightly to his daman or dress, no matter what happened—as tightly as a child holds to its mother's skirt in a crowd. And it would seem that those who thought they had the firmest grasp of the Beloved 's dress and continually exhorted others to hold it firmly, suddenly found their hands empty.
But those who were closest to him had no garment of which to lose hold—except the garment he had woven of the ir obedience and service. They had nothing to cling to, and lose. The Beloved had slipped away from the moorings of their eyes into the silent ocean of Existence bearing their hearts with him into eternity. What could beloved Baba's speaking even that Word which begat Creation mean to them? What