I learned years ago through producing many paintings of Avatar Meher Baba that when we look at a picture of the Ancient One we are glimpsing, through the veil of our own sanskaras, as in a glass darkly, into the divine free impressions of God in human form. The very sight of such a picture is freeing to the individual for he is seeing, however dimly, straight into the pure divinity of God on earth, infinity manifested in finite form. Though that form is only a curtain, Baba says. "Blessed are those who see even the curtain," for it is produced out of reality, that curtain, and not out of illusion. Though He is not that form which we see, even so, the image of that form comes from Him, and therefore possesses divine power.
The manifestation of divine power, by virtue of its source, Reality, destroys vast quantities of illusion that stand in the way of spiritual upliftment, both individual and universal. Our sight of the divine Beloved, even in a picture, inevitably weakens the power of the mirage of our own impressions. And in this way, all the lovers of Meher Baba can become painters of divinity within their hearts. To image the God Man is to visualize truth, and this becomes a foundation for its "Manifestation" among gross conscious human beings.
For the gross-conscious person in a material day and age such as this, seeing is believing, and for that reason God Almighty must present an image of Himself to this illusion-blinded humanity.
God, of divine necessity, comes down in the form of a man to free humanity from its ignorance and blindness. He takes form only for work, and that work, because of the resistance offered by illusion, brings upon Him unimaginable suffering. This suffering, however, is His real happiness because it results triumphantly in His Manifestation, which begins after He has dropped His body. Therefore, now is the time of His Advent. His incarnation on earth was not that time, His real time of Advent; it was rather the time of His universal working. And the Manifestation, the awakening of humanity, is the effect of that work. His incarnation is for the few but the effect of His incarnation is for the many.
For the many, because of the dark veil of materialism, to see is to believe. This seeing is the beginning of faith. Only the most blessed ones have faith without even seeing. To be able to believe without seeing would be His gift. But now is the time when the Beloved wants all to see because it is the time for the destruction of that ignorance which is materialism.
Matter does not necessarily have to be destroyed for materialism to be annihilated. Only when mind is glued fast to material form as attachment are the forms of matter necessarily destroyed. Matter is the form of the gross world, "typifying happiness". The gross world is God's lila, fully manifested. It is His happiness, the Divine Game, the play resulting from His Original Question. Why would God ever want to end His eternal and perpetual question, the lila? That would bring an end to all happiness. The natural state of material existence is happiness for all, and so dampens the purpose for which creation was created, realization of Truth. Materialism is in the mind; it is not at all in matter itself. It is thinking, and thinking is a kind of accumulated phantom substance, manufactured from the force of desiring all of the wrong things.
The world thinks that happiness is something to be pursued. Why is this? Happiness is our physical existence, so how can we pursue that which we already have and, in fact, are? In His book, God Speaks, Meher Baba writes over and over, "The gross world . . . typifying happiness . . . "
We are in the gross world for only one natural purpose, to advance into the state of Real Happiness. The gross world is for that purpose and not for any other. Happiness is the natural condition of the gross world. It is the shadow form of the infinite bliss of God and the celebration of His glory. It is the pure inspiration for all seeing and all hearing, all painting and all music. Inspiration is the light of God seeping through from the subtle world into the gross. But that seeping is not altogether sufficient. The Avatar had to come to make a window in the door to involution. Though the door opens to only a few at a time, the light of truth will soon begin to flood into the world and so dispel the darkness that now causes humanity's confusion.
Everywhere we turn in the gross world, we see the confusion. We see world conditions going from bad to worse. We see the world becoming hopeless, even desperate. How can all this mess in illusion be straightened out? Where do we begin to correct the evils wrought by civilization? Where do we start to realign the balance of nature? How do we stop the momentum of universal