THE LOVE GATHERING
THE LOVE GATHERING
Meher Baba invited men only from the East and the West for special meetings to be held on September 29 and 30, 1954, at Meherabad. Earlier, on September 12, Baba gave darshan to a great crowd of people in Ahmednagar. On this occasion he said, "Not as man to man, but as God to God, I bow down to you to save you the trouble of bowing down to me" and prostrated himself before the people. Baba sat with the crowd and told them, "To make you share all my feelings of being with you and one of you, I sit down beside you." Baba gave two very significant messages during this darshan program. This darshan was by far the most touching event as men, women and children filed past Baba in obeisance while he gave each of them a sweet delicacy. The crowd ranged from beggars in tattered clothes to well-dressed men and women. By the time it was over, nearly 100,000 people had had his darshan.
The scheduled meeting with his Western lovers towards the end of September was another important event when Baba gave several discourses and answered many questions. One of the Western lovers remarked to Baba that the darshan program must have been a great strain on his body. "Before I drop my body," Baba replied, "I shall go through violent attacks on the body. What has to happen will happen and I will gladly undergo all this for the sake of humanity. My only happiness lies in making people understand, not through the mind, but through experience, that God alone is the Beloved for whom we exist."
When Baba suffered, his lovers cried for him. Their hearts would burst to see him crucified thus. Being deeply concerned about the agony of Baba's crucifixion, I wrote to him beseeching him to let me share in his suffering. Baba wrote back: "My physical body, which alone is visible to your physical eyes, appears all affected and afflicted. But it is all due to the tremendous pressure of the burden of Universal Suffering that I shoulder on my Universal Body that tells upon my physical body - with which you are conversant and which is the only medium for you to see me and feel me in the gross world. Soon after I break my silence, all the Universal Suffering will end."
On yet another day, on his return from Sakori where he had taken his Western lovers, Baba spoke about miracles attributed to him. He said: "Many miracles have been attributed to me, but I do not perform miracles. When people think that miracles have been performed, their faith has done it. One miracle I will perform, and for that miracle the time is nigh. I have said that my miracle will be not to raise the dead but to make one dead to himself and live for God. I have repeatedly said that I will not give sight to the blind, but I will make them blind to the world in order to see God." At the same meeting Baba had his 'official declaration' read out, in which he outlined the purpose of his advent. Soon after, at the request of his lovers, Baba gave a clarification and confirmation of the 'final declaration.'
AMONGST HIS DEAR ONES
Meanwhile, from October 7, 1954, Meher Baba had given up the use of the alphabet board; now all communication was through finger signs and gestures. During November 1955, there was another sahavas program, where he explained to pilgrims several points of spiritual interest. He particularly talked of his early days and his activities. On one of the sahavas days, a tall rugged man visited Baba. Baba pointed him out and said, "This is Satya Mang. Once he was a well-known and ruthless dacoit who terrorized this part of the country. He is now going straight, but is practically starving. He was attracted to me more than thirty years ago and soon became devoted enough to promise to give up robbery. That promise caused him a great struggle. After sometime, he could not help slipping back, and one night he set out to steal again. He succeeded with his plan, but just as he was about to take his loot, he saw me standing there before him. This reminded him of his promise and because of his love for me he was saved."
On the third day of the sahavas, a middle aged man rose from the group and asked permission to recite some Sanskrit verses. Baba gave him permission and he recited the verses so lovingly that he could not contain himself. He cried out "Avatar Meher Baba ki jai," broke into tears and asked forgiveness for his sins. Baba called the man to him, embraced him warmly, stroked his back, patted his cheeks and held him to his breast. "Don't be afraid," he said. "You need not tell me any more. If I am the Avatar then I know everything, and everything will be forgiven. If I am not the Avatar, what good will it do you to tell me anything, and what use would it be to ask forgiveness? I can forgive; I have come to forgive. Forgiveness is the highest thing for those who are forgiven. It is not a great thing for me to forgive. In fact, in reality, there is nothing to be forgiven, for there is really nothing like good and bad. You find them so and they are there in duality due to your own bindings in duality...." Among the remarks that Baba made later was, "After I drop this body, thousands upon thousands of people will come. So, age after age the same thing is repeated. No sooner do I drop the body, than people come to the tomb. When I go to give darshan, thousands of people flock around me. What is the use? If I am great, greatness does not consist in collecting crowds around me. What I want is a little love from you."
In July and August of 1956, Baba toured the West, meeting with his lovers in Europe, the United States and Australia. During this time, he held six days of sahavas for about one hundred devotees at Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach. A few weeks before he left India for his trip to the West, Baba issued the following message:
"As declared in the past, I am free from promises and I am not bound by time and space. Though all happenings are in the realm of illusion, a great so-called tragedy is facing me and my lovers. My long-expected humiliation is near at hand. This may happen tomorrow or any day of this year, or it may happen next year.
"The love, courage and faith of my lovers will be put to a severe test, not by me, but by Divine law. Those who hold fast to me at the zenith of this crisis will transcend illusion and abide in Reality.
"I want all my lovers to know that the contents of this circular, however despairing, should not affect their enthusiasm and the efforts of their preparations for my coming, because my humiliation and 'tragedy,' though necessary, are but passing phases which are bound to have a glorious end as is desired."