MEHER BABA ON MEDITATION
What is meditation? Generally the word is used to express particular mental efforts and exercises in connection with religious and spiritual ideas. But it is taken recourse to by many a person in the everyday life of the world. Before doing anything, one has to think about it. In other words, one has to meditate on the intended action.
The thinking or meditation may, in worldly life, last for hours together, or only for a fraction of a minute, but it has to be taken consciously or subconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, before anything can be done or brought about.
Now just consider that if thinking or meditation is necessary in achieving Gross results, how necessary it must be in reaching the spiritual subtleties that lead to Self-realisation. But for the latter purpose, the thinking is to be organised on the principle of Truth, which is oneness, in contrast with the universe, which is apparently based on manifoldness.
Thinking is supposed by worldly people to be the process that leads only to manifestation of external force, which is displayed in a Gross action. But such is not the case. Just as even a random thought can manifest force in the shape of a bodily action, meditation, or deep and properly organised thinking, produces a force of its own which is very useful to the spiritual aspirant. The manifestation of such force produced through deep and methodical thinking may not become evident immediately or in a short time in every case, but meditation is bound to bear fruit in the long run.
There are many methods of spiritual meditation. The following six are the most important.
1. For those who are inclined to think of the impersonal aspect of the Almighty, i.e. Impersonal God, it is advisable to retire into solitude, and taking a comfortable seat, begin to contemplate on him thus: ‘God is one. God is infinite. God is everywhere. God is beyond everything.’ Then they should bring the immeasurable space commonly known as the sky to their mind’s eye, and begin to concentrate on the idea of the Impersonal God across this imaginary background of the blank and unlimited sky for as long a time as possible.
2. One should sit for meditation in the same way as shown in the first example. But the line of thought in this method must be as follows: “God is true. All else is false. This world and all that is seen and perceived is a dream, a mirage, an unreal phenomenon. God is living within my own self as the soul of my soul.” After contemplating these thoughts for some time, one must turn one’s attention to the heart. Imagine a flame as one’s own atman (soul) to be there, and concentrate as much and as long as possible on this imaginary flaming spot in the heart.
3. The line of thought to be followed in this kind of meditation (the other preliminary conditions to be the same as in the first two methods) is this: “I am not this body. I am not finite. I am the self. I am eternal.” Following some contemplation in this way, one must suddenly close the two external eyes as tightly as it is comfortably possible to do, and then mentally gaze intently upon the centre of the forehead from inward as much and for as long as possible, avoiding all other thoughts, whether high or lowly, during this concentration.
4. This is at once a very simple and very difficult kind of meditation. All that one has to do is to retire into solitude and sit in a comfortable position, with both the external eyes closed, and try to keep the mind a blank. One has neither to think about God, nor about the devil, neither about immortality nor about eternity, neither about the existence of the world nor about its non-existence. In short, in this meditation one must try to remain mentally blank throughout the sitting, for as long a period as possible.
5. One should sit aside in solitude, close the eyes and contemplate and mentally say and reiterate this: ‘God is my beloved. I am his lover. I want union with my beloved, the Lord, the great God.’ Following this process for awhile, one should begin to repeat mentally any one of the names of the Almighty in any language, but in such a way that half of the name must be pronounced (of course mentally) while inhaling the breath, and half of it to be pronounced while exhaling the breath. While carrying on this reiteration rhythmically, one should try to concentrate all attention on the reiteration of the name only.
6. One who is inclined to think of the personal aspect of the Lord, i.e. Personal God, must sit with one’s soul for one’s companion in a quiet spot, close the eyes, then try to bring before one’s mind’s eye the whole face of any Prophet, God-incarnate or Sadguru of the past or the present age, and concentrate on it as long as possible. In order to facilitate the bringing of the features of any Perfect Master to one’s mind’s eye, his portrait must be gazed at deeply before closing the eyes in meditation.
Wherever and whenever possible, one should select a quiet and solitary spot on or around a hill or mountain, or by a bank of a river, for sitting in meditation. Failing this, one should retire into a room all alone, and keep the door closed during meditation.
It is unnecessary to lay down hard and fast rules regarding the posture. Any sitting posture which one finds most convenient should be adopted. But once it is adopted, one must stick to it and sit in the same way daily. Where there is a need of mental reiteration of the name of God, one must select any one name and adhere to it daily. Therefore the most comfortable sitting (not reclining) position and the most appealing name should be carefully selected once for all.
There is no length of time that can be called too long for any of the meditations, and every hour of the night and day is suitable for any meditation. But the best period for meditation is the early hours of the morning, 4 to 7 am. It is preferable, though not quite necessary, to take a bath before sitting in meditation.
Now which of the methods is the best one? It is not the method, but the force that one would use behind a method that counts. The saying, ‘One man’s food is another man’s poison,’ applies just as much to meditation as to gastronomy. It would be foolhardy to say that this or that particular kind of meditation is the best. That which suits one’s own inclination, or that which appeals most to one, is the best kind of meditation for that one. The question of success depends on one’s own self. Purity counts as much as perseverance, and devotion as much as determination.
There is no question about the benefits of meditation. The chief of them are the following:
1. One who meditates with sincerity may sooner or later become free from the clutches of maya and be drawn to the truth of God.
2. If, along with sincerity, meditation is practised with regularity, and for a sufficiently long time, it is capable of making one’s mind pure and permanently inclined to the divine path.
3. The third advantage of meditation lies in the fact that if the meditation is very deep and intense, it is likely to produce the state of yoga samadhi. Though yoga samadhi has nothing to do with Nirvikalpa samadhi and must not be confused with spiritual Perfection, an aspirant is likely to derive some benefit from it.
4. But the greatest advantage of meditation is that which lies in a chance for direct God-realisation. Yes, it is not impossible to get the Nirvikalpa samadhi, Hakikat, the complete realisation of the state ‘I am God,’ through meditation. But it is possible, provided that the meditator has come under the influence of a living Perfect Master, has a pure and spotless character, and is possessed of dogged determination that knows no defeat, even if it comes to the question of giving up one’s very life in the cause. With these qualities, one must meditate without any other object in view save that of becoming one with the Almighty.
Let it be borne in mind that there should be no limit to, or a particular fixed period only, for meditation. If meditation cannot be continued throughout the waking state without a break, it must be as long as possible. The intensity of meditation is in proportion to the longing for the goal.
Every hour, every minute, one must crave for God as a drowning man craves for life. The longing for God brings about extreme unrest, a kind of mind-crushing torture, and this mind-crushing torture must be so strong that no thoughts except those of God enter the devotee’s mind. This intense longing is very rare in this matter-ridden age. In order to generate this longing, the help of a Perfect Master is required in most cases. The grace of a God-realised Master works wonders, but one must, so to say, extort this grace from him.
Be it noted that meditation, or anything done in the cause of Truth, never goes in vain. It is, as already said, bound to bear fruit sooner or later.
1920s? Aw 17:2 p1-3
1. Go to bed at 9 pm and get up at 4 am.
2. From 4 to 5 am, answer nature’s call, attend to ablutions, etc.
3. From 5 to 6 am, be absorbed in devotion to God in the manner to be explained by me…
The main object of asking you to follow this new program is to keep you awake in the early hours of the morning, especially between 4 and 5 am. From the spiritual point of view, this is the most valuable and important time of the day. The important prayers in every religion and the practices of all advanced yogis take place during this hour. In fact, from the yogic point of view, it is imperative to be awake in the early hours of the morning. Although I am not going to ask you to follow any religious or yogic practice, as this order is quite apart from both, I simply want you to keep awake in these hours.
I have already explained to you that besides the viewpoints of religion, study, meditation and yoga, the early hours are important from the spiritual point of view as well. It was between these hours that Babajan gave me the experience of Truth, and it was also at this time that Upasani Maharaj brought me up out of the Ocean. And it will be between these hours that the Circle, too, will attain Realisation.
But now the question arises as to how to pass the time after getting up so early. Certainly not in lolling about or playing cards, draughts or chitchatting. It is not becoming for us to do such things as we are following the Path. So the best way of passing the time will be this: from 4 to 5 am, all should attend to the daily necessities and take cold baths. Between 5 and 6 am, all should engage themselves in repeating prayers such as namaz for Mohammedans, sadra-kusti for Parsis, puja for Hindus, and devote the major portion of the time to repeating the name of God according to your respective religion – Allah, Ram or Yezdan. This repetition is to be done mentally, while sitting in one fixed position. Although the repetition is to be carried on in the mind, without moving the tongue or lips, beware that your eyes do not close. This is one of the yogic practices. For a fakir, it is unnecessary to close either his eyes, nose or mouth. Nor is it necessary for him to follow religious rituals or other practices.
Once you sit down, stick to that position without changing until the bell rings for breakfast at 6 am. Keep repeating the divine name in your mind with a free heart and without thinking of the time.
28 September and 2 October 1922,
to Baba’s men disciples
(Abbas Ali asked Meher Baba how he could traverse the spiritual Path)
Baba: Think of me every day for five minutes only, at any time of the day. Of course the best time would be at five in the morning, when I remain almost everywhere. This little beginning of a mere five minutes will also be your first step on the spiritual Path. Once you get interested in and attuned to the thought of God, you will have a constant urge to think of him for a certain period every day. It is sincere thought that I want. No amount of prayer and chanting would be of any value if done as a ritual. These five minutes of thought, meditation or concentration on God or the Master are a thousand times better than any prayer. God wants love, pure sincere love. He does not want to hear bombastic, jaw-breaking words and shlokas from the shastras and passages from the Avesta…
Take one name sincerely, lovingly, devotedly for a few minutes without the thought of anything else, and that is worth more than hours of mechanical prayers… Instead of wasting your time on religious discussions, reading and listening to doctrines and dogmas of different religions, love God and think of God. Meditation, concentration, and the creation of a feeling of love in the heart are the essence and substance of all religions. All else is illusion.
7 February 1928,
Meditation and concentration should be as natural as a lizard concentrating on its prey, oblivious to everything else. Its concentration is so one-pointed that it only waits to pounce, with no other thought except the hunt, until it has caught its prey.
30 June 1928,
to Meredith Starr,
Don’t think of union or realisation, only love. Try to love me by meditating on me. Leave all other thoughts behind. There is a saying in Persian, ‘A thousand kings and emperors like Jamshed and Kaikhushru are slaves before a Qutub (Perfect Master).’
16 August 1928,
to Dara Hansotia, a young boy,
One day Meher Baba gathered all the Prem Ashram boys and asked whether they were having any problems meditating at night and early in the morning. Many replied that they were not. One boy, Bhiwa, began to cry. Baba questioned him, and he replied, ‘While meditating I don’t see your physical form. Many thoughts assail me.’ Baba explained:
The mind is a terrible thing. It may be called a curse. Its business is to think and think, the more so when we do not wish to think of a particular person or thing. For instance, when you sit down for meditation or concentration on the Guru or beloved God, other worldly thoughts of a thousand and one kinds, of which ordinarily you would not have dreamed, are sure to rush into your mind. Thoughts always creep in with their continuous onslaughts, for it is the business of the mind to think, think and think. But the real thinker and meditator is he who would not pay attention to these thoughts and would go on meditating on the image of his worship, even amidst the strongest attacks. This intervention of other ideas is not a sin or a defect or even a mistake of the sadhak (aspirant). These thoughts do and will come as long as that terrible mind is there. The sadhak has only to persist strenuously to drive away these as much as he can, and think of the beloved, God. He should not give up meditation or feel disturbed or disappointed by these attacks.
You need not worry or cry that you cannot love when you cannot meditate due to other thoughts disturbing you. For don’t you get up from your sweet sound sleep at midnight with the idea of doing meditation? That is half the work done, sacrificing your sweet sleep for meditation of your own accord, without any compulsion. Do you not try to sit down for hours until morning to meditate on me when others are in sound sleep? This is three-fourths of the work done. Now, only one-fourth is left, that is thinking of only one thing. And try to do that. If you are successful, all right. If not don’t worry. Three-fourths of the work has been done by your waking up and trying to sit for hours in meditation. It is no fault of yours if you do not get the image before your eyes. Persevere and persist in your efforts. Do not be discouraged and give up the effort. Do not throw away the sitar because it is hard to tune. Try to adjust and tune each string persistently, with the firm intent of making the instrument work. Similarly, try to catch outside thoughts by the ear and throw them out.
Suppose there are innumerable mosquitoes swarming around, and some start biting you at night. What would you do to get rid of this annoyance? Would you just sit there and cry? No, you would at once get a mosquito net. You would resort to a remedy, and it eventually would have the desired effect. Even though the mosquitoes would come in hordes at first, you would not feel disturbed, for they would almost all be outside the curtain, though a few might have come inside the net. Likewise, deal with all these thoughts. They, like mosquitoes, are sure to come and annoy you, but you have to put up a curtain of thoughts about me by letting my divine image be present before your mind’s eye. Meditate on me so that the other thoughts automatically stop pestering your mind. Let the mosquito net of meditation on me save you from being bitten by your thoughts.
To bring my image before your mind’s eye, think of me in my various physical activities: going here and there, discoursing, giving darshan, kissing and embracing the boys, reclining on my seat, listening to records, etc. And while you will thus see me in my activities, an image will surely come before your eyes. No sooner than you get this scene, let it not escape, but have a firm hold on it in your mind and concentrate on it with all your affection. Thus your meditation on my various activities will lead you to a concentration on my form, and you will then sit for hours concentrating on it. Remember what I explained, call to me and keep me in mind, and then meditate on my movements, gestures, facial expressions and activities, whatever you remember. If thoughts interrupt, let them. Do not pay any heed. I will teach some of the selected boys and a few of the Mandali the methods of meditation. It should be done quite aloof from everyone. Meditation should not be a troublesome burden or boring. It should give joy and be continued. (Baba demonstrated three sitting postures for meditation) When I was Jesus, I showed these methods to a thief…
There is a great difference between a yogi’s meditation and sincere meditation on infinite, impersonal God or the Guru, infinite God in person. A yogi’s meditation ends in samadhi, while meditation done out of love ends in union. A yogi’s meditation ends where love’s activity begins.
to the boys of the Prem Ashram
August? 1928, Toka,
For proper meditation, the stomach should be light.
18 October 1928,
Baba told Rustom,
‘It is your choice. You may serve me or meditate on me.’ Rustom replied that he preferred service.
Later, Baba explained to the Mandali and boys about meditation:
‘Meditate on me to such an extent as to forget everything else. Be merged in me.
‘Pleader, though he is fasting and meditating, is still not merged in me.
‘Meditate spontaneously – like the inhalation and exhalation of your breath, which goes on automatically – like the tick, tick, tick of a clock.
While sitting, eating, drinking, studying – amidst every activity – meditate on me naturally.
Meditation with the help of mercy leads to the Path; with the help of the Master, to samadhi. But without grace, such meditation is not possible.
5 November 1928,
Once an uncle and his nephew, who were both very stubborn and obstinate, came home and found a delicious sweet ladoo on the table. Both wanted it and quarreled over who should have it. In the end, they decided that whatever happened, whoever spoke first would lose the sweet. They sat down opposite each other, and neither spoke for hours and hours.
The aunt, knowing their stubborn natures, took everything out of the hut and set fire to it. But neither moved. All the while they stared at the sweet ladoo. But when the fire reached them, the nephew could stand it no longer. Screaming, he fled the house. Immediately, the uncle picked up the ladoo and popped it into his mouth.
You should be like the uncle, and totally concentrate on me while meditating, without getting drowsy in the least.
8 November 1928,
to the boys of his school,
Q. While meditating, whose name should we remember? Some say Ram, some say Krishna, and some utter the name of God – Paramatma or Ishwar. Which is best?
Baba: Remember anyone’s name, either Ram, Krishna, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha or God. But how are you going to remember God’s name? While remembering Ram, Krishna, or any of the other Prophets, you can bring his image before your mind’s eye, but what about God? Mere remembrance of the name has no meaning. It should be done with one-pointed devotion, with a mental picture of God before you. If you have his image before you in any form, it becomes easy. How can you concentrate thinking only of God? You must have some suitable image of an Avatar or Sadguru before you. With a wandering mind, even if you go on saying ‘Ram Ram Ram’ like a parrot for twelve years, it has no value. If you have a Guru, keep his image before you. This is best.
Q. I find it difficult to concentrate. Please bless me and enable me to do so.
Baba: I will see to it. While sitting in remembrance, concentrate on me. Keep my image before your eyes. If you do this, I will see to the rest.
Meditation, repetition of God’s name, and spiritual practices in themselves have no meaning. While meditating, any thought comes. Compared to these, my service and my sahavas are better, for they contain the seed of love, and only love is required.
11 February 1930,
Every morning, very early, spare only five minutes for this. Seek a place aloof and alone and try to meditate, thinking ‘God is one, he is everywhere, and there is nothing but him.’ Do this for only five minutes daily. I will see that you experience something. You will see some light, and then you will be satisfied and proceed on the Path.
to Muhammad Iqbal,
on a train from Lahore to Amritsar,
Q. What should I do?
Baba: Meditate on the highest ideal. That is love. I will help you.
26 September 1931,
Q. Any instructions of something to do every day?
Baba: After washing your face in the morning, meditate on me for five minutes. Meditate alone, undisturbed and isolated. I will guide you spiritually, not by words. You will feel my very presence.
29 September 1931,
London, to Mr. Vivian,
Q. How can spirituality be attained?
Baba: It can be attained, not by the intellect, but by heart and feeling and inner experience. I could explain for hours, but that would be nothing compared to one second of my internal help. Do one thing. Every night, just before retiring, think for one minute, “The infinite God is within me, and I am part of the infinite.” This will connect you more and more with me internally.
1930s, A p6
Meditation: do it very, very seriously. By that I mean follow literally every external instruction. To each I have given different external instructions. How to sit, how to close the eyes, how to open, etc. As for the internal, try best how to think: what to think, I have told each separately. Be very serious. If thoughts disturb you, don’t worry. If difficulties arise, tell me and I will make changes.
This is not mere meditation. I am slowly leading you towards making the mind a blank, and the trick is distraction and concentration. When, for instance, I tell you to open your eyes for five minutes, close them for five minutes, and during the opening five minutes repeat ‘Baba, Baba,’ and during the closing five minutes ‘I am.’ It takes at least five minutes now to have your mind concentrated. The moment the mind concentrates, you have to open your eyes again and are distracted. If this goes on, then the mind becomes a blank. It is like cutting (sawing). When you saw with a file, you don’t simply cut straight, you saw back and forth.
To some I don’t give this distraction, because for them it is better to be merged in the object. So each should do as I instruct. Remember, this is very important. During the five, ten or fifteen minutes, or the one hour that you do it, do your best to concentrate. Because after five minutes there is going to be distraction does not mean that you do not have to concentrate for the five minutes. Concentrate; if not, where is the distraction? If you don’t saw forwards, you can’t saw backwards.
If in the first one whole hour you concentrate for one minute, it is more than enough. But that one minute you have to be conscious and unconscious. Half a minute is worthwhile, so try to do it very, very seriously, as if your very spiritual life depended on it, not merely as exercise, drill or a bore, or like taking castor oil. Clear?
Once you experience a tiny bit of what I intend giving, it will be bliss just to sit and concentrate on me. Till then try to follow literally. Whenever any difficulty arises tell me. If there is any noise, have it stopped. Today I found some men working – noise. External silence helps in inner silence, and only in internal silence is Baba found – profound internal silence.
2 April 1937, Nasik,
Aw 16:2 p45-46
For more about this kind of meditation
see Di (7th ed.) p238-239
Kitty Davy wrote: “Sometimes Baba sat with us on the lawn and gave us thirty minutes in silence. This we loved.”
Baba: Tomorrow we will have silence in the evening, but one condition is very important: that you do not look around at one another, but only look at me, and feel as if you are alone with me. You should do it naturally and without strain. You must not feel conscious of your bodies. Let the head be the center of your body. When it is, then you forget your body and you can think of me.
Will Backett: What should I do if I feel pressure in the head?
Baba: Relax, as if going to sleep. Close your eyes. If you can look at me in such a concentrated manner that you forget your body, it is best. If you do not close your eyes, look at me, but be so immersed in me that you forget your body. I leave it to you. What I mean is that I work internally for the world, and if you, while meditating, forget your body and concentrate on me, you share in the work.
13 April 1937,
LA p166 and LM6 p2155
From today I want everyone to sit silent and alone for five minutes, and try to look within. It is not a meditation, it is just a looking within.
Now, how to do this? Sit in a relaxed position. Don’t think of anything, not even of Baba. Close the eyes and mentally look within, and imagine yourself as infinite within. Let the idea that you are infinite remain for five minutes.
How do you imagine yourself infinite? You can imagine the infinite as sky, ocean or vast emptiness. And let this one thought be in your mind, that you are infinite within. Is it clear?
… It is very, very important for me to help you and give you what I want to give.
13 April 1937,
LA p166 and LM6 p2154
Meditation – some love it, some don’t like it. I hate it. But I like being meditated upon, because then I help directly. Love is meditation in its highest form, but only that love which does not forget the beloved for a single moment. Then meditation is not necessary, it is superfluous.
1937, LA p178
Meditation may be described as the path which the individual cuts for himself while trying to get beyond the limitations of the mind.
c.1940, Di v3 p35
Meditation should not be resorted to with a heavy heart as if it were like taking castor oil. One has got to be serious about meditation, But this does not mean that the aspirant must always look grave or melancholy. Sense of humor and cheerfulness not only do not interfere with the progress of meditation, but actually contribute to it. Meditation should not be artificially turned into a distasteful and tiresome thing. The aspirant should freely allow himself the natural joy which is attendant upon successful meditation, without getting addicted to it.
Meditation should be something like a picnic on the higher planes. Like excursions into new and beautiful natural surroundings, meditation brings with it a sense of enthusiasm, adventure, peace and exhilaration. All thoughts of depression, fear or worry have to be completely cut out if there is to be a really successful meditation…
It is no use wasting psychic energy by directly trying to combat and repress the disturbing thoughts. Any such attempts involve giving further attention to the disturbing thoughts; and the disturbing thoughts feed upon the very attention which is given to them for the purpose of repressing them, and get thereby further strengthened and confirmed in consciousness. The best thing is to ignore them, and to turn to the object of meditation as early as possible, without attaching any undue importance to the disturbing factors. By recognising the irrelevance and worthlessness of the disturbing thoughts, and the relative value and importance of the object of meditation, it becomes possible to leave the disturbing thoughts to themselves to die their natural death through sheer neglect, and to make the mind permanently steady in the object of meditation.
Di v3 p41, 43
The different types of genuine meditation all dwell upon aspects of life which are equally true. But relative to the psychic state of the individual, the assimilation of a certain truth of life is often more urgently necessary than the assimilation of some other truths of life. Therefore the Masters never prescribe the same form of meditation to all, but they give specific instructions according to the individual needs of the aspirant.
The type of meditation which is necessary in a particular situation can often not be correctly ascertained by the aspirant for himself. The aspirant can get addicted to one type of meditation so exclusively that he finds it difficult to get out of the groove which has been cut into his mind by the type of meditation which he has been practising. He fails to see the importance of any other type of meditation, and is not drawn by it.
The aspirant may, of course, himself come to feel his own deficiency along a particular line. But just as many medicines are disagreeable to the patient, the types of meditation which are really indicated in a specific situation often come to the aspirant as being distasteful, and he is disinclined to take to them. The help and insight of a Master are indispensable on this point. The insight which a Master has into the deeper and real spiritual needs of the aspirant is infinitely greater than the insight which the aspirant can hope to have in himself. And the specific instructions from the Master supply the necessary corrective for the neglected aspects of personality.
… If the aspirant takes to any type of meditation on his own initiative, and without having the benefit of the guidance and supervision of the Master, he may get into it so far that he loses his perspective, and is unable to recover himself. It may be impossible for him to change over to some other complementary mode of meditation, even when it is absolutely necessary. This risk is avoided if the aspirant has taken to a line of meditation on the orders of his Master. When he is under the guidance and supervision of the Master, the Master cannot only ask the aspirant to halt at the right time, but he can actually help him to get out of the grooves cut by his previous meditation. …It is safer for the aspirant to rely upon the Master than upon any provisions of his own making.
Di v3 p49-51
Personal meditation is directed towards persons who are spiritually Perfect. Just as a man who admires the character of Napoleon and constantly thinks about him has a tendency to become like him, an aspirant who admires some spiritually Perfect person and constantly thinks about him has a tendency to become spiritually Perfect. A suitable object of personal meditation is to be found in a living Master or Avatar, or in the Masters and Avatars of the past. But it is important to have as an object of personal meditation a person who is spiritually Perfect. If the person who is selected for meditation happens to be spiritually imperfect, there is every chance of his frailties percolating into the mind of the aspirant who meditates upon him. But if the person who is selected for meditation is spiritually Perfect, the aspirant has taken to a safe and sure path.
Di v3 p72-73
(Baba gave his women disciples a meditation in which they sang seven names of God: Hari, Paramatma, Allah, Ahuramazd, God, Yezdan, Hu.
Love comes in the last stage of meditation. It is the longing for the beloved that brings one nearer to that stage.
In the morning you say the seven names of God. When I say ‘do it from the heart,’ it means, first, you must feel that you are taking the name of God. Secondly, you must have the fixed idea in your mind that all these names are one. The vibration of your repetition helps. These names I have so selected and arranged that they vibrate and help if done with feeling. I intend for the masts to sing this. They will help more because their minds work either too fast or too slow, so that it seems at a stop.
I had a follower named Barsoap. While meditating he would go to sleep, but in the posture of meditation. When anyone shook him awake, he would claim he was in deep meditation. But one day I caught him, and he admitted he was sleeping. So, like Barsoap, do not go to sleep during meditation, but sing the names sincerely.
22 August 1940,
Those who can meditate should do so. Those who cannot should repeat my name for half an hour. You must meditate daily, but the day I come to visit you it doesn’t matter. For some, meditation is suitable. For others it is not. And a very few enjoy it.
The meaning of meditation is to go within yourselves, right inside of you. Those who love God, that love takes them within. In some ashrams like Madurai and Pondicherry, there are actual meditation classes. But meditation has never yet made a person one with God.
Hafez said to the Sufis, ‘If you have the whim to achieve union with God, become as the dust at the feet of one who has become united with him.’
Meditation gives peace and some inner revelation to some fortunate ones. Aurobindo has written in his book, ‘I am trying to attain to that state through meditation.’ If illumination is attained through meditation, it is no small thing.
The meaning of meditation is to go deep within one’s own self. It is self-hypnotism in the divine way, to lose yourself. Meditation is meant to forget the self, by not thinking of anything but the Self.
Aurobindo is on the sixth plane, not by the state of a wali-mast, but by meditation. Chatti Baba never meditated, yet he sees God all day and night. And though both are on the sixth plane, there is a great difference between them. Love gives permanence. Meditation gives samadhi. After union with God, complete permanency exists, whether you come down to Gross consciousness or not. If you come down, you bring God with you.
Aurobindo writes beautifully about the deep valley between seeing God and God himself. He says, ‘We cry out on this side, O God, we see you, but we cannot come to you. So at least you come to us.’ And God replies, ‘I always do come, as Ram, Krishna, Buddha and others.’
Sufis do not give a damn for meditation. They love. Meditation is good. If you love and meditate, there is no harm. If you love and do not meditate, there is no harm. But don’t meditate as if you have taken quinine powder. Meaning that it is something to somehow or other be done with and gotten over.
If you are interested in meditation, you ought to do it with joy. If you do not like meditation, then you have to take my name. And if you love me, taking my name ought to give you joy. Do it when and where you like.
Even in the Himalayas, you cannot have complete stillness. But after September, you can meditate near the dome (Baba’s tomb). Samadhi is the state where you do not hear a gun fired, even at close range. The drawback in meditation is that any noise disturbs it. But love has no such obstruction. There, the lover is merged in the thought of his beloved. He does not meditate, he only loves. Neither noise nor any obstacle bothers him.
to his women disciples,
8 September 1940
Baba: Who was it who said, “Unless you lose yourself, you cannot find yourself?’
Elizabeth Patterson: Christ.
Baba: What does it mean?
Woman disciple: To conquer desire.
Another woman disciple: To annihilate the lower self.
Elizabeth: To quote the words of the saint, ‘Not my will be done, but thine.’
Baba nodded, and ‘said’ that Elizabeth’s answer was the nearest to the full truth. He continued:
“It means three things in one. First, love God so much that you forget yourself. Second, sacrifice your carnal desires for the soul. And third, complete resignation to God’s will. And when you love too much, you do forget yourself.
Now, how to do that practically? Love for other things like men, women, cars, dogs, etc., comes spontaneously. It is no gift, but spontaneity, it is natural. Loving God comes by practise and by process to a certain point. But loving God mostly is a gift…”
To love Baba, you need to think of Baba. If you think of Baba, you do not think of yourself. The more you think of Baba, the less you think of yourself. So to love God so much that you forget yourself means that you think of God so much that you can no longer think of yourself. By thinking continually, you become what you think of deeply. The mind makes one become what one thinks of deeply.
If you think of Baba all the time, you cannot think of yourself. If you don’t think of me, you will remain unmoved. Only when Rano thinks of Nonny* does she feel badly. When she doesn’t think of her mother, there is no feeling.
Yet another meditation school has opened in Poona, called the Mother’s Lodge. These meditation classes do not impart love. Meditation creates peace, not love. Thinking brings about love when done continually and deeply. In meditation, you try to stop thinking. The stoppage gives peace. But to love, you must think of the beloved. If your mind becomes still, your beloved does not exist any more. Then how can there be love when there is no beloved?
This is a very important point, this differentiation. When you meditate, you try to forget everything, even yourself. In loving, you forget every thing and self, but you remember the beloved. In real and perfect meditation, which is rare, you forget your body, yourself and everything else. In loving you also forget self, body and everything, but you remember the beloved. In meditation, the beloved does not exist. That is why it is said that in meditation, the most you can get is samadhi – forgetting everything and deriving peace. But never God-realisation. It is only attained by love.
Have any of you read about the saint Aurobindo?
to his women disciples,
22 September 1940
*Rano’s mother Nonny had died recently.
Those of you who are unable to meditate should repeat my name without being bothered by thoughts. Thoughts are like mosquitoes, and my name is the mosquito net. When you are within the mosquito net, the mosquitoes may buzz around you, but they cannot bite you. Thus, by repeating my name, like the mosquito net, it will save you from the stings of the mosquito-thoughts that try to distract you, and you will be unmoved.
to his women disciples,
12 December 1940
Don’t meditate mechanically. Meditate in the form of a prayer, and get so much drowned in it that you lose yourselves. An Arab always wore a golden ring on his finger. He was a great lover of God, and when he prayed, he forgot everything. Once when he was praying, a thief cut off his finger and stole the ring. But the Arab was so engrossed in prayer he did not feel the slightest pain. This is called prayer. This is real prayer.
1941? India? LM8 p2733
Some Masters put forth the way of defeating the mind through mind itself, through meditation and concentration. When mind is concentrated, its further function is weakened, and the sanskaras exhaust themselves. Thus the sanskaras, which are like worms, and which must have food, eat themselves. But during this process the mind feels frustrated and gets more desperate. Unwanted thoughts that you never had assail you, and eventually one of three things happen:
1. You get fed up and you can no longer concentrate,
2. You get sleepy or drowsy,
3. You continue to get more and more bad thoughts.
For the very few who persist patiently with a brave heart, the result is that the mind is temporarily stopped. Then one experiences ecstasy (bhav). But it becomes like dope, to which one gets addicted, or one goes into samadhi (trance). But this is not manonash (annihilation of the mind). Thus, through concentration, annihilation of the mind is not possible.
29 June 1951,
Another version: LM10 p3716
How will you meditate? To meditate you must think about God. But God is infinite and eternal, so how will you be able to imagine this? You can’t, it is beyond the mind.
So think of God as all-pervading effulgence. Try to bring before your mind’s eye a picture of an ocean of infinite, all-pervading effulgence, which is God. A shoreless, bottomless ocean.
But if this ocean of effulgence is infinite and all-pervading, where will you be? What will your position be? If you imagine this ocean in front of you, then it is not infinite. So try to bring before your mind’s eye this infinite ocean of effulgence, and imagine yourself in it. You are in the midst of this infinite ocean of effulgence. Try to picture this when you meditate.
Satara, DH p62-63
Narayan Rao asked Baba how one could retain contact with him constantly. Baba answered:
He means, now that Baba is physically among us we feel the contact, but when Baba physically leaves us, gradually this contact cools down. How to retain it constantly?
Do you feel constantly hungry? When you feel hungry, you take food, and then you forget about the food. When you work hard, you get hungry. And so work for me in such a way that you feel hungry for me, sometimes thinking of me, sometimes working for me, sometimes talking about me, but not continually. If you go on eating continually, you will get indigestion.
When you go to sleep, say “Baba, I entrust all that I did, thought or spoke, good and bad, to you.” When you get up, say “Baba, I now begin entrusting all to you.”
This much will be more than sufficient for me. Say only twice a day for five minutes, do that, and make me responsible for all you do or think, but wholeheartedly. Then you are free. Nothing can bind you. But you must do it honestly. I am the ocean. I can accept both, flowers, coconut, and also filth. So throw everything in the ocean with all your heart. This is a great thing to be done wholeheartedly. Otherwise it goes in a pool of water, which gets filthy because of your own dirt.
4 March 1954,
As I said the other day, we breathe all the time _ sahaj manner, that is, unconscious of it. The same with clothes. While you have been listening to me, you did not think of clothes. That is the meaning of sahaj. If you want to think of me continually, to remember me, the easiest and shortest way is to do as I tell you now. This will be something of a task. At first you will have to do it with an effort, but later you will do it in the most natural way.
There are said to be four main periods in the day, just as there are four main periods in man’s physical status: childhood, young man, middle age, and old age. So four periods in the day, which Kabir called signposts. First thing in the morning, as soon as you get up, before doing anything, for one second think of Baba, and then begin the day. Then Baba has covered your soul, just as dress covers your body. So put on your soul’s clothes in the morning. Do it honestly, and you will feel he is with you. Secondly, at exactly 12:00 noon, for one second, think of Baba. Thirdly, at about 5 o’clock, for one second, think of Baba. Then you can do anything else you like – do anything, but at five o’clock think of Baba for one second. Fourthly, just before you lie down on your bed, give thought for Baba. Then you will feel Baba’s companionship.
Be practical in the world, and yet have Baba with you all the time. So for four seconds think of Baba. One who does this honestly will be keeping Baba constantly with him. This is the beginning of sahaj dhyan. When you do this, at first you will have to be on guard, but then it will become automatic.
TK p 349-350
If those who love me will just for one minute, as now, be silent in their minds just before they go to bed, and think of me and picture me in the silence of their minds, and do this regularly, then this veil of ignorance that we have will disappear, and this bliss that I speak of, and which all long for, we shall experience.
Because of my love for you, picture me now, as you look at me now, and picture me every day for that one minute in silence. Do it every day. Don’t break the sequence of this daily connection, and then you will achieve this bliss.
Aw 4:2 p 13
From now on, every week, on Wednesdays at 12 o’clock midnight… those who want to… with eyes open and lights put out, in complete darkness, relaxing… completely before meditating, for fifteen minutes, with eyes wide open, breathing, with every breath repeat Ba-ba, Ba-ba. Every time you breathe in and breathe out, not audibly, but just within yourself, repeat with every breath you breathe, inhaling and exhaling… Ba-ba, Ba-ba.
Then if you have certain experiences like seeing lights or colors or circles of lights, bright circles, do not give any significance or importance to that. Continue your repetitions every week. Sometimes you might see a big halo and Baba there in that.* Fix your attention on that figure but continue to repeat. Do so with all sincerity and devotion, and then you will see me in all, and then you will have the experience of seeing me in everyone… the important thing is that one should see me in everyone.
And if you can do this… sit at midnight on every Wednesday, every week, for 15 minutes in complete darkness, beginning your meditation from 12 o’clock midnight, with open eyes and repeating ‘Baba’ with every breath – inhale and exhale – and not paying any attention to any experiences you get while meditating, but when you see Baba, focus your attention on that, and continue your repetitions, and then you’ll see Baba in everyone…
Q. How will we know it’s fifteen minutes?
Baba: An alarm watch, a timepiece. Don’t meditate on the time itself. Have an alarm watch, set it, and as soon as the alarm rings just stop the meditation.
I am in everyone and everything. I am not only this as you see me, in flesh and blood. I am the ocean. Those who dare to drown themselves in this ocean, they can get the pearl out of the ocean…
1 August 1956,
to Dante Leo Cardella’s
transcribed from a tape
*”When one turns his back to the world and his face to God, he may hear sweet melodies, smell fragrances or see light-globes. In the light-globe he generally sees the figure of his Master, revealing him in his resplendent divine glory and perfection. The exquisite brilliance and splendor of such light-globes is so enchanting and bewildering that the aspirant seeks nothing else, and is completely absorbed in gazing fixedly at them. This noor or light-globe is a real object. It is no dream or hallucination. But it is only the first stage of a long path. It should not be mistaken for the goal, which is to become the shoreless and formless ocean of Truth.”
before 1948, ST p49-50
Baba: Where is God?
Visitor: God is in everyone and everything, in every particle of dust.
Baba: Is this not mere book knowledge? Is this your experience? Even a child can make such statements. So unless you have the experience, it is useless to make such statements. If you are really keen about the Truth, try to meditate with love on the divine form of your choice, or remember the name of God wholeheartedly. Then, with divine grace, a fortunate one sees God face to face, everywhere and in everything, far more clearly and intimately than you see the things in this room now with your physical eyes.
Before the real seeing is revealed, one gets many experiences on the Path. If not rightly valued, these experiences prove very alluring and deceptive…
One has to be very watchful about the tricky nature of the ego, which tries to maintain its separateness more and more. One thing is certain: the more importance and attention you pay to such experiences, the more you get bound. Don’t run after the experiences, but remain steadfast in your love for God.
There are various retreats in India where meditation classes are held, and different but set techniques of meditation are observed, which, if followed faithfully and for a long time, result in slight occult experiences, such as seeing flashes of light, colors, even visions, etc. These occult experiences, by themselves, are nothing, are in the domain of illusion, and not only have no direct bearing on the incomparable reality of God-realisation, but can actually become a hindrance and obstruction to the aspirant’s path to God.
The direct path to God is the path of love. Love is not derived from meditation. It has nothing to do with it. Love is a grace of God. One in many has it, and it is all-sufficient. Love does not depend on anything but itself. Love without meditation is enough. Meditation without love is not. That is why Sadgurus or Perfect Masters do not set meditation for their disciples as a necessary routine. Rather, they stress the aspect of love and selfless service. The masters of the path, on the other hand, not having reached the goal themselves, advocate meditation to the aspirants following them.
Aw 3:4 p31
Love and direct relatedness with the Avatar is the high road of all roads of inner development. And while I am in the body, and for some time after I drop my body, the potential for love and direct relation is there and should be used.
But one day, as the truth and presence of the Avatar begins to diminish, humanity will have to use lesser, secondary techniques, and I must provide for that time. And so I have given out these extensive discourses on meditation. But do not mistake me, because meanwhile it is a distraction of your time and energy to use meditation.
to Don Stevens,
Gl February 1994,
p 19 referring to the chapters on meditation in ‘Discourses’
“At about seven in the morning, the Master came to the building in which the disciples are staying at present. He seated himself on his charpoy and allowed the disciples to take darshana of him.
“A cup of tea was brought to him. He began sipping it, but as soon as he caught sight of a Parsi disciple entering the room, he put down the cup, and to the surprise of all present, asked him when he had got up.
‘Quarter to seven, sir,’ was the reply.
“The Master gently rebuked him for getting up so late, and then remarked to all present,
‘Spiritual aspirants should get up very early. If you get up so late, there is not much difference between you and the worldly-minded people.
‘The early hours of the morning, from three to six, are best for meditation. Five or six hours sleep is quite sufficient for you.
‘Those whom I have asked to meditate regularly must go to bed at nine p.m. and get up at 3 a.m.’
14 February 1929, Meherabad
Meher Message 1:3 p25-26 (March 1929)
Baba said about the exercise of ‘looking within’:
“From now on, one hour’s meditation as usual every day, according to individual instructions. And when I am here, half an hour’s silence with me in the evening. Also from today, this extra five minutes. It is very, very important for me to help you, and give you what I want to give.’
Kitty Davy wrote, “During the meditation hour Baba wanted complete quiet in the compound.”
LA p166, LM6 p2155 (1937?)
“Baba had given us meditation for a specified period each day. No one was exempt. Each one had to see to her chores, including the pets, and be ready when the bell for meditation was rung. We would rush to our places with Baba’s photo in front of us. He was to be our meditation.”
Mehera Irani, Baba Loved Us Too p72
“Remember me before starting and after finishing any work. Think of me before doing anything. If you have to write something, remember me before starting, and then mentally say ‘Baba, it is you, not I, who is writing.'”
Meher Baba, 30 March 1930, Nasik, LM4 p1293
Meher Baba corresponded with some of his Western followers, and answered their questions about meditation. In March, 1936, Baba had a chart prepared for meditation. He explained,
“They must think, ‘I am not this body.’ The chart will help them to meditate, and they will escape from the rush of thoughts that crowd their minds during meditation.”
10 March 1936, Mysore, LM6 p1989
(This may have been the chart that was eventually printed at the end of ‘The Perfect Master’ by Charles Purdom, which was published in 1937. The chart and reading meditation begin on page 317 of that book. The book includes another meditation for reading, beginning on page 305.)
“Baba would ask each individual about their morning meditation and encourage them to take it seriously. On Sunday, January 17 he remarked,
“‘I want you to be lighthearted and enjoy humor, but I also want you to be serious about certain points, especially about meditation. Constant prayer and selfless service are both vital in turning the mind away from worldly things and directing it toward spirituality.’
“Each person would meditate alone in his or her room upon rising in the morning. Once Baba suprised Rano by coming into the room as she was meditating. He caught her dozing back to sleep, and instructed her to keep a photograph of him in front of her and concentrate on it.
“During the meditation hour, Baba directed that there must be absolute quiet in the compound.
“‘External silence helps in inner silence, and only in internal silence is Baba found, in profound inner silence.’
“Baba gave each individual instructions in regard to meditation. He directed Malcolm Schloss not to tell anyone but him what he saw or heard during meditation. Malcolm asked if he should interrupt his meditation to write down anything which came to him while meditating. “‘No,’ Baba replied, ‘What you see, once you begin seeing this way, you will never forget. You will know what you are and where you are going. You will be like a rock – you will know where you stand.'”
1937, Nasik, Bhau Kalchuri, LM6 p2084-2085
Garrett Fort: What happens when you establish a direct mental contact with you, Baba, thinking of you?
Baba: Now, this is very important. The difference is so subtle between imagination and contact, yet there is a world of difference. When you imagine, you have no purpose. When you contact, you have a purpose.
Malcom Schloss: It’s clear. But even in contact, don’t you use the imagination?
Baba: Yes, imagination is in the background.
14 March 1937, Nasik, LM7 p2138
Baba ordered a group of men to observe a particular fast from January 1st to February 15th 1942, and
“1. To read UNDERSTANDINGLY Meher Baba’s pamphlet on Meditation once a day. Those who cannot read should have it read by somebody. In this case, the reader need not read it separately for himself.
“2. To repeat in a low voice for half an hour daily one of the following six lines of names of God:
Ya Yezdan Ahuramazd
Allah ho Akbar Allah Hu
Hari Narayan Bhagwan
God Almighty Omnipotent
“3. Immediately after this half an hour of meditation, repeat the name of your Master for five minutes.
“4. No fixed time for observing orders number one and two is enforced. They may be observed simultatneously or separately, according to one’s convenience of time.”
Meher Baba, 23 October 1941
Panchgani, LM8 p2732
In June 1942 Baba and his group stayed in Rishikesh. The women were in a house on a cliff overlooking the Ganges.
“While there, Baba told us to meditate every evening for half an hour. After washing our clothes, we sat on the river bank and thought of Baba. He had told us,
‘Take my name and think of me. Don’t worry if thoughts come, just repeat my name. It’s like a mosquito net; the thoughts that come won’t sting you.'”
Mehera Irani, M p147
In 1943 Meher Baba invited 125 men from all over India to visit him at Meherabad. They arrived May 14th, and stayed till May 19th. Baba gave them a reading meditation entitled ‘The Divine Theme,’ which included charts to help explain the material. He told them how to deal with disturbing thoughts during the meditation. Some of Baba’s explanations to the group are in LM8 p2870-2887.
‘The Divine Theme for Meditation’ is printed in The Perfect Master, p305-316. Another version is in Discourses (7th edition) p219-227. A third version is in God Speaks (2nd edition) p232-243. Each version includes instructions for the meditation.
Baba summed up his explanations on the Divine Theme to Chagan, who had missed them because he had to cook:
‘Now listen to this. In brief: you always live in water, but you have no idea what water is.
Nana Kher first met Meher Baba in Ahmednagar in May 1945.
Baba: What do you want?
Nana Kher: Spiritual freedom.
Baba: Would you follow my orders?
Nana: I am fully prepared to do as you say.
Baba: Fast every Sunday, and feed a beggar on that day. Meditate for fifteen minutes daily, and lead a simple, pure life. Is there anything else you want to ask?
Nana: My parents want me to marry. Should I?
Baba: What is the hurry? Wait for two years, and then I will tell you what to do.
“We were in Satara. There were five of us and we were playing cards with Baba. It was evening time. I remember that because Baba had called the five of us to be with him at 5 or 5.30, I don’t remember the exact time.
“We all came, and Baba suggested a game of cards. We were playing and there was the usual sort of good-natured conversation going on concerning the cards, when Baba suddenly stopped the game and said that he wanted us to meditate. This took us all completely by surprise.
“Baba must have seen how startled we were, because he began to explain how he wanted us to meditate. He said he would clap his hands three times. First we should go out into the compound area, and each of us was to find a suitable spot to sit. When Baba clapped the first time, we were supposed to settle down, relax, quiet ourselves and try to be calm. When we heard a second clap, we were to close our eyes and begin to meditate. And when we heard the third clap, we were supposed to get up and return to Baba.
“But still we didn’t have any idea how we should meditate, so Baba came to our rescue. ‘How will you meditate?’ he asked us. ‘To meditate you must think about God. But God is infinite and eternal, so how will you be able to imagine this? You can’t, it is beyond the mind.
“‘So think of God as all-pervading effulgence. Try to bring before your mind’s eye a picture of an ocean of infinite, all-pervading effulgence, which is God. A shoreless, bottomless ocean.’
“Baba looked at us then and asked, ‘But if this ocean of effulgence is infinite and all-pervading, where will you be? What will your position be?’ We had no answer for this, but Baba went on and said, ‘If you imagine this ocean in front of you, then it is not infinite. So try to bring before your mind’s eye this infinite ocean of effulgence, and imagine yourself in it. You are in the midst of this infinite ocean of effulgence. Try to picture this when you meditate.’
“So with these instructions we went outside, and we each found a place to sit, and got ourselves comfortable as Baba had said. After a moment or two, I heard Baba’s clap. I relaxed and was breathing very evenly when, after some time, I heard Baba’s second clap.
“I closed my eyes and began to try to meditate as he had just instructed us. I pictured an infinite ocean of effulgence all around me, with me floating in the middle of it. The image came easily to mind, and I found that quickly I had lost myself in this ocean. I was just beginning to enjoy the feeling of being lost in the ocean. I don’t know how much time had elapsed, it seemed like only a minute or two. I was just beginning to really enjoy the sensation when I heard Baba’s clap again. So I opened my eyes and got up and rejoined Baba, as did the others.
“Baba told us, ‘Don’t ever meditate like that again,’ and we resumed the card game. That was the first and last time I ever meditated.”
Eruch Jessawalla, DH p62-63
Ivy Duce, a student of Rabia Martin, met Meher Baba in 1948 in India. In November 1952 he sent her a charter of instructions for her group, which was to be called Sufism Reoriented. The charter, which Baba signed, included meditation instructions for her students.
In the section ‘Duties and Obligations’ under the heading, “It shall be the duty of every member:” Baba dictated,
“To necessarily repeat verbally daily one name of God for half an hour at any time of the day or night. This is to be done consecutively, if possible, but may be accomplished in smaller portions if necessary.
To meditate on the Master daily for fifteen minutes in any secluded spot.”
Under the heading ‘Special Duties’ Baba dictated,
“Those who aspire to the final attainment should renounce everything and occupy themselves in prayer and meditation most of the time.”
14 November 1952, Meherabad
Chartered Guidance from Meher Baba
for the Reorientation of Sufism as the
Highway to the Ultimate Universalized, p7