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46

 

“CONVICTION”


 

A Talk by Adi K. Irani
given at JFK University, 7/27/77.
 
The talk was transcribed by Susan Greatheart,
 
and edited by Filis Frederick.

 

The moment we try to go beyond the intellect, many, many things come up which are really nonsensical. Anything extraordinary of the astral or semisubtle world - things which look unusual - we at once describe as something coming from God, an intuition coming from Meher Baba, and so forth. We are really unable to distinguish them, so let us keep them aside for the moment. Now take the intellect. Intellect gives you knowledge and man is proud of his intellect. There is no reason why he should not be. But he has to admit that there is something else. That is why Meher Baba has very briefly explained the three types of knowledge a man can have. The first is intellectual knowledge. The second one is knowledge through sight and seeing - anything I see before me is knowledge. And intellectual knowledge is not conclusive - there are bound to be many, many mistakes; we try to conclude many things. Intellectual people have their opinions; they turn out to be right, they turn out to be wrong. Then Meher Baba says, there is the knowledge acquired through sight and seeing. This knowledge, of course, is far more conclusive than the intellectual knowledge and yet it is not fully conclusive because appearances can be delusive. From a distance I see a fast moving sheet of water. When I go near it I am disillusioned and I find that it is not water but it is just a vapor. I go further and I have the same experience again, it turns out to be a mirage. So experiences can be delusive. So what is real knowledge and what do you call knowledge? Knowledge should be this: that once gotten, it is conclusive. It has to stand the test of time; it should be permanent, unchanging. This is really what knowledge is. Meher Baba says there is a third kind of knowledge.

 

That knowledge can be acquired by becoming one with the object - identifying ourselves with the object, and that knowledge is really conclusive. I shall give you an example. Because we are so one with our bodies, if anybody asks, "Adi Irani, where are you?" I say, "I am here." I can't say I am not here. This is my body, I am here; this is my chest, I am here; this is my head I am here; these are my legs. Where are you? I can't show where I am really, but I am so much identified with my body that there is no other answer I can really give. I just give this as an analogy of how identification can be experienced. Such an identification can give you conclusive knowledge. So real knowledge comes from our identifying with something final, something permanent something unchanging which we call God, Hindus call Paramatma, Muslims call Allah, others call something else.

 

It reminds me to give you just a small story. I was once travelling in a train in India and a meticulously dressed man, very up-to-date, came and sat near me. We had a little talk and of course, the subject matter I broached was of Meher Baba. He was a communist, an atheist, so he did not much like this; he says, "Why are you talking to me about Meher Baba, because I am an atheist, I don't believe in God?" And I said, "What do you mean by God? Is G-O-D-, God? The Muslims say Allah, A-L-L-A-H, is it God? Or Paramatma as the Hindus say, P-A-R-A-M­A-T-M-A? Whatever the spelling is, is it God? These are the names of God. The reality is quite different. You say you are an atheist. What do you believe in? Do you believe in something at the back of this existence which may be energy, which may be anything else? Now let me take, for instance, your atheism. You don't believe in God, you are an atheist you say. If I call your atheism my God, will you accept it?"

 

He was very glad, very happy; he almost embraced me, and he called for a breakfast for me in the train, cigarettes and all. I said I do not want this for heaven sake. So we fight only in words. Even an atheist is not conscious of his faith or belief. He may not believe in the word God but he believes in some other reality in back of this existence. Or if he does not, well, a time comes for him; he gets really disillusioned and he finds that all this functioning that goes on - it goes right, it goes wrong - how does this happen? There may be something at the back of it. He may ascribe it to energy, an energy he may call all-powerful; it may be atheism, it may be anything else - these are all names. So we only fight over words and we really do not know the

 

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