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THE PERFECT SEEKER
Meher Baba's work went on with them, through them. The time was 1950, October. He had traveled far - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Madras, Bombay and far away Nepal. His name was not known to anyone on these tours; he was simply referred to as 'Elder Brother.' Then from February 13, 1951, Baba went into seclusion for about one hundred days in Mahabaleshwar. In August, he declared the start of the four months' work of the Manonash period - the period of annihilation of the mind. Baba had explained the significance thus:
Meher Baba in Mahableshwar in 1950.
"Man-o?nash results in this glorious state in which plurality goes and Unity comes, ignorance goes and Knowledge comes, binding goes and Freedom comes. We are all in this shoreless Ocean of Infinite Knowledge, and yet are ignorant of it until the mind - which is the source of ignorance - vanishes forever; for ignorance ceases to exist when the mind ceases to exist.
"Unless and until ignorance is removed and Knowledge is gained - the Knowledge whereby the Divine Life is experienced and lived - everything pertaining to the Spiritual is paradoxical.
"God, whom we do not see, we say is real; and the world, which we do see, we say is false. In experience, what exists for us does not really exist; and what does not exist for us, really exists.
Meher Baba bowing down at the feet of the poor.
"We must lose ourselves in order to find ourselves; thus loss itself is gain.
"We must die to self to live in God: thus death means Life.
"We must become completely void inside to be completely possessed by God: thus complete emptiness means absolute Fullness.
"We must become naked of selfhood by possessing nothing, so as to be absorbed in the infinity of God: thus nothing means Everything."
The New Life was the voluntary suspension of the state of Perfect Master to become a common man and a Perfect Seeker. This had now been accomplished, and as Baba himself said, he was free.
During the first twenty?four months of his New Life, Baba passed through phases of labour, mental strain and irregularities of living. The last four months of the Man-o-nash period he suffered still more. Different types of work undertaken and performed by him at different times during the New Life were successful; but the tremendous strain on his body wore him out completely.