From Dissertations of Meher Baba
A Version by C. D. Deshmukh
(continued from Volume 12 Number 4 Page 31)
III: The Nature of the Soul
If you ask a man returning from a garden the question, "Where were you? ", he would without any hesitation ordinarily reply, "I was in the garden. " He sees himself as his own physical body and believes himself to be the body. He also sees the garden with the physical eyes and believes that the garden really exists. So, his reply about his whereabouts is quick and prompt. But though he is so definite about the truth of his reply, what he believes is nevertheless not ultimately true.
Man sees certain things and therefore concludes that they exist. But there are many things, which we do not see; and yet they are there with us, all the same. For example; anger, kindness, love, jealousy and so on, which exist in man, may not be visible to the physical eye; but they do exist. What man can see for himself with his own physical eyes is limited to the external physical body of another person. Even X-Ray exposure will only show the interior of the physical body and will not be able to show the mental thoughts, feelings and desires, which that person may be entertaining within himself. But though a man cannot see these mental realities, he can feel them, if he lives with that person for some days. After staying with that person for some time, he might be able to say that he is jealous or kind and so on. Ordinary man has some degree of power to understand these mental realities in others. But his arriving at that understanding is neither quick nor necessarily accurate or definite, as it often is mostly inferred from external physical things.
But it is possible to develop this understanding of mental realities in such a manner that it becomes quick, definite and accurate. It is possible for an advanced man to know directly and unmistakably the character and tendencies of another person merely by looking at him. But such power is very rare.
Ordinarily, a man gathers the knowledge of the minds of others gradually through association with them. And when we want to know anything about another person, we not only want to know about his physical body, but also about his mental life of thoughts, feelings and desires.
Man 's curiosity is not restricted to the present. The mind often asks questions about the future, i.e. "What is going to happen tomorrow? " Future is a sealed book for the majority of persons. The forecasts do not interest the matter-of-fact persons who believe only their own eyes and none else. From morning till night nothing happens in their life to make them seek the higher perception, which has a direct access to the minds of others or which has a sure view of the future.
But even in the life of ordinary matter-of-fact persons, certain things happen and truly call forth interest and investigation. When a man sleeps, he stretches his body and closes his eyes. Slowly he forgets his surroundings completely. But he may begin to dream about wandering somewhere else. Some of these wanderings, which come as dreams, are not purely imaginative constructions of the mind. They often stand for actual journeys undertaken by the soul in the astral body. These wanderings in the astral body may be far and wide. In fact, there is no mountain which is too high, no sea which they cannot cross. These wanderings of the astral body are sometimes recollected in wakefulness as dreams. The astral body has a will and a power of its own. Actions, which are impossible for the gross body, are easily done in the astral body. After some time these wanderings might cease. Then deep sleep overtakes a person, who now experiences and feels nothing. It is necessary to pass through this complete self-forgetfulness in order to have rest and feel fresh for the next day.