MEHER BABA ON MIRACLES
There is electricity in the air, and it has seven layers, one inside the other. The power that the yogis make use of comes from this unlimited source of cosmic energy in the air, from the third layer inside. They combine the limited source of energy in their own body with this unlimited cosmic source by means of breath. The combination of these two powers enables the yogis to bring about whatever result they desire. The yogis have only to think after combining these two forces, limited and unlimited, and by certain yogic practices they achieve results such as raising the dead, reading other’s minds, seeing things at a vast distance, and so forth.
For example, if a yogi wishes to raise a dead body, or see certain places in America while sitting here in India, by yogic practises he has only to combine the sources of energy within himself with that cosmic energy which is in the air. That done, the yogi has only to think of the particular desire he wishes to fulfill.
On the other hand, a Sadguru does not have to exert himself in breathing or by exercises, as do the yogis, but has only to think as he wishes and he achieves the result. What does it matter to the Sadguru if someone is dead or alive? To him both are equally false, as both are mere dreams, illusion. The world is as he wishes, which is not the case with yogis. To them the conditions that exist are real, and have therefore to change from one thing to another as they desire. And it is for these changes that yogis exert themselves in performing different sadhanas, meditations and exercises. Although the powers they attain are tremendous, they are, after all, only rays of the sun, and not the sun itself, as is the Sadguru.
27 November 1926,
(Rustom Irani read out an article from a newspaper about a live snake being created from a piece of metal.)
Baba: This is due to occult powers. But remember that it has nothing to do with ghosts. Ghosts and occult or black magic are quite different. Spirit (mind and energy) itself, as in ghosts, is a power, originally the power of cause. But occult powers are powers that are caged and covered.
A tantrik seeks occult powers. By acquiring such powers, the tantrik’s spirit contracts very bad sanskaras, worse than the sanskaras of the worst sins, and reaps the fruit accordingly. So I advise you all not to fall prey to such madness. This has no connection with the spiritual Path to God – the planes. On the contrary, the treader of such a path is far, far away from the spiritual Path, because he accumulates the worst possible kind of sanskaras, which prove an obstacle to his progress on the Path.
The less said about occult powers the better. This type of tantrik spirit, in comparison to ghosts of suicides, is even more terrible, and neither receives nor gives benefit from his efforts. He gains occult powers through various studies, or by very undesirable practices – like eating excrement, drinking blood, and other such obscene acts.
This type of tantrik practice takes a very long time, and the person concerned acquires only the power of making his body large or small. He can make his body smaller than an ant’s, and then assume his human bodily form again. But he changes into another form for some material gain or objective. He can enter another’s body by making his body small, but his own Gross bodily sanskaras are with him in his tiny form.
Ghosts are not like tantrik spirits. Ghosts are people who have committed suicide and have no body. They enter another body, and then make the body of whomsoever they enter do as they wish. But he who has gained occult powers does not do so. He only makes his body big or small, and thus his bodily sanskaras are always with him. In this action there is also the danger that, through some accident, he may be trampled on by some person while in his little body.
In short, after long and hard study, such tantriks (magicians, sorcerers) do not benefit in any way, but on the contrary, risk contracting some of the worst possible sanskaras. So there is no use in playing such a worthless game of magic – sorcery.
15 December 1927,
Rustom Irani: If you would perform a miracle, thousands of people would come to your feet. Baba, you should raise an incredible tower here in one night, higher and grander than the Kutub Minar in Delhi. If you do it, millions would come to you and accept you as a Perfect Master, God in human form. How will people believe in you without your proving your powers?
Baba: Have you ever heard of any Sadguru or the Avatar having performed such a feat? The effect of such a miracle would be disastrous.
You think millions would approach me and enter the spiritual Path. You are right in a way. There would be no limit to their numbers, and they would come to revere me. But so many would come full of worldly desires they wished to have fulfilled.
Those who needed money would say, ‘You have raised such a big minaret in one night, why don’t you give us a few thousand rupees by your powers?’ Some would come in the hope of my relieving them of their suffering. Others would come with a desire to be freed of their worldly entanglements.
It would reach such an extent that those who really wanted to live a life of renunciation would approach me thinking I should tell them to stop all the austerities and penances which they must undergo, and give them Liberation by my miracle.
They wouldn’t come to me for myself, or out of love for me, they would come out of their love for miracles, and would as a result achieve nothing. This whole world is an illusion, and a miracle is an illusion into illusion.
15 February 1929,
Q. Your followers attribute numerous miracles to you.
Baba: Anyone who becomes one with the Truth can accomplish anything. But it is weakness to perform a miracle simply to show one’s spiritual powers. Jesus Christ, who made the blind to see and the deaf to hear, who restored the dead to life, did nothing to save himself from suffering the agony of the world. The only miracle for the Perfect man to perform is to make others Perfect too. I want to make the Americans realise the infinite state which I myself enjoy.
20 March 1932,
to an Associated Press
correspondent named Mills,
Another version of the same quote (?):
The only real miracle for a Perfect One is to make others Perfect too, to make them realise the infinite state which he himself enjoys. That is a real miracle… otherwise, miracles have nothing to do with Truth at all.
1932, PM p272
The ability to perform miracles does not connote high spirituality.
19 May 1932,
All miracles are child’s play, whereas spirituality is far above them. Miracles in themselves have no spiritual value or significance. But they are necessary, and at times are performed by the Master as a means to convince people of Truth and spirituality. Jesus performed miracles, not for his own gain, but to make people recognise the Truth and create faith in them. Yet, when he was crucified, he who could raise the dead did not stop it.
13 March 1937,
to a Catholic priest,
Through different yogas one can attain strange occult powers such as walking on water, talking with persons who are at a distance, becoming immune to snake venom through chanting mantras, etc. These powers, attained through yoga, control different vibrations which have different effects. Each yogi controls one particular vibration through which he is able to perform certain feats impossible for an ordinary human being.
But the peculiarity of this yogic power is that it can control only one particular vibration. So a yogi, who through his control of a certain vibration can walk on water, can do nothing else. Likewise, one who can nullify the effects of the poison of a snake bite can do nothing other than that. All these different powers attained through yoga practises are phenomenal, and hence transient and unreal. These have nothing to do with spirituality or spiritual powers, which are already latent in all, but manifest only in a few select ones who have realised the self.
All life depends on certain Subtle vibrations (Pran. Their connection is more universal through the Ether (fine gas). For instance, a yogi wants to obtain a certain connection to something which he desires. Just as there are infinite varieties of things in the Gross world, so there are an infinite variety of things in the Subtle realm. A yogi gets hold of one of these things (powers) and gains control over the vibration pertaining to that particular thing. The spiritualists — true spiritual aspirants, saints and Masters — do not indulge in these petty playthings, because once Realisation of God is attained, all powers come to him and emanate from him. It is all bliss, which he himself experiences, and that bliss permeates everything and flows from none other than himself.
11 July 1944,
Why should we produce petty imitation illusions in the already created mighty infinite illusion? Unless absolutely necessary for the spiritual purpose of a general collective drawing of mankind towards Self-realisation, miracles performed unnaturally or supernaturally can interfere with God’s ordained evolutionary process.
Real healing is spiritual healing, whereby the soul, becoming free from desires, doubts and hallucinations, enjoys the eternal bliss of God. Untimely physical healing might retard the spiritual healing. If borne willingly, physical and mental suffering can make one worthy of receiving spiritual healing. Consider mental and physical suffering as gifts from God, which, if accepted gracefully, lead to everlasting happiness.
… For ages and ages, the atma (soul) has been seeing its own shadow and getting engrossed in the illusory world of forms. He gets addicted to the spectacle of his own creation, and desires to see it through cycles and cycles of creation.
When the soul turns inwards and longs to have self-knowledge, it has become spiritually-minded. But even there, this habit of wanting to see some spectacle persists for several lives. The soul wants to experience some miracles or spectacular phenomena. Or in more advanced stages, it wants to perform miracles and manipulate phenomena.
Even spiritually advanced persons find it difficult to outgrow this habit of playing with illusions. Persistent attachment to miracles is only a further continuation of the habit of playing with illusion. It is not miracles, but understanding, which can bring you true freedom.
If you have firm faith and unfaltering love for the God-man, your way to the abiding truth is clear and safe. Then you have no time to waste in playing with things that do not matter.
Be ye guided by love and truth. This is the simple way that leads to God.. Not by endless maneuvering of alluring illusions, but by loyalty to the unchangeable truth, can ye hope to be established in abiding peace…
Gl Feb. 1978, p21.
Also MD p2-3
Baba: Today I shall explain why I think that, from the spiritual point of view, miracles are nothing but farce. Jesus said, ‘I and my Father are one.’ He meant that he was and is God. This is true. He was and is God. Now, God is said to have created all this phenomenal universe. This is God’s miracle, and therefore the miracle of Jesus. It means innumerable beings created and destroyed according to his will. Yet they lay down that Jesus’ greatest miracle was in raising a few dead to life. How ridiculous it sounds, unless it is given some inner meaning. Raising the dead to life is insignificant illusion amidst his greatest illusion, and to say that Jesus was Saviour because he raised the dead is ridiculous. But he did raise the dead to life, and many other miracles. Why did he do it?
(Someone suggested that it was a means of impressing people.)
Baba: You are saying, in effect, I am God, I am Saviour, I am everything – and people are not impressed. In other words, people are not impressed with my self but with miracles. Now, why did he do it? If he had not raised the dead, take it from me, he would not have been crucified, and he wanted this.
Meherabad, TK p345
There are yogis (those who practise a systematic course of esoteric knowledge) who can, of themselves, suspend their physical bodies in mid-air during the time they are in a temporary samadhi (trance). There are some who can bodily walk on water or fly in the air without the aid of external means. And yet all this is no sign or proof of their having experienced divine love. Weighed on spiritual scales these miracles have no value whatsoever. In fact, miracle-mongering by the average yogi is not only poles apart from the spiritual Path, but is actually a hindrance to the individual’s evolution towards spiritual progress.
The following incident in the life of a Hindu Master shows the disregard in which it is held by Perfect Masters, who are Truth personified. The Master was one day by the river’s edge, waiting for one of the little ferry boats that take passengers across the stream for the diminutive fare of one anna. A yogi, seeing him thus waiting, came up to him, literally walked across the river and back, and said, ‘That was much easier, was it not?’ The Master smilingly replied, ‘Yes, and had less value than that of the boat fare – one anna.”
c.1954? GS p72-73
The miracles of a Saviour* are of a universal character, and are performed when universally necessary. When a Saviour intends working a miracle, he stations himself on the 6th, 5th or 4th plane as demanded by circumstances. When, however, it is desired that the miracles be very forceful, he stations himself on the 4th plane.
*Saviour = Avatar
The miracles of a Perfect Master are on a very large scale, but they do not cover the whole universe. Like the Saviour’s miracles, however, they are wrought solely for the spiritual awakening of others. Like the Saviour also, the Perfect Master who intends working a miracle stations himself on the 6th, 5th or 4th plane for the time being; and for a very forceful miracle, he stations himself for the time being on the 4th plane. No miracles are ever wrought by the Majzoob-e-Kamil of the 7th plane for the simple reason that the three spheres, the Mental, Subtle and Gross, do not exist for such a soul.
The miracles of a Pir or Wali* are on a limited scale. In fact, they perform no miracles directly. However, such miracles as can be attributed to them are wrought from their mental influence over the thoughts and feelings of others, yielding both spiritual and material benefits. They do not come down to the 4th plane – the plane of almighty spiritual powers.
*A Pir is on the 6th plane; a Wali is on the 5th plane.
Pilgrims of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd planes can use or demonstrate powers from their own plane, such as reading the minds of others, producing things from nowhere, reciting words or passages from a book without seeing it, stopping trains, allowing themselves to be buried alive for hours together, levitation, etc., etc. These are actual powers acquired by the pilgrim on the different planes, and as such, cannot be called mere jugglery. Perfect Masters and the Avatar can snatch away a pilgrim’s ability to use the powers from the lower planes, viz. 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and can even snatch away the almighty powers of one on the 4th plane. Such a snatching away of powers of those on the lower planes is known to the Sufis as salb-e-wilayat.
On the 4th plane are stored all the almighty powers* which, if misused by the pilgrim, result in utter ruin. But such miracles do not affect the world adversely, because the Qutub-e-Irshad – the head of the spiritual hierarchy of the age – takes care to make these actions ineffective.
*One on the 4th plane is known as a Mahayogi (a great yogi).
… The indiscriminate display of powers by a pilgrim of the first three planes is fraught with serious dangers, but… one who misuses the powers of the 4th plane invariably falls back to the lowest phase of evolution – the stone state…
The miracles wrought by Saviours and Perfect Masters have a divine motive behind them, and may be either voluntary or involuntary. The voluntary miracles of a Saviour or Perfect Master are those that he deliberately performs by the expression and force of his will, and the involuntary ones are those that occur independently of the will of the Saviour or Perfect Master, and are wrought by means of the ever-active force that surrounds these great beings. In the latter type of miracle, the Saviour or Perfect Master is unaware of the incidents of the miracle of which he himself is the source and prime cause. Both voluntary and involuntary miracles of these Perfect Ones are nevertheless always directed towards the spiritual awakening of the world…
The miraculous powers of a Perfect Master appear the same as those of a yogi of the 4th plane, but there is this important difference, that the powers of a Perfect Master are his own, because he is power itself. He has simply to will a thing and it is done. ‘Be, and it was’ (Kun faya kun) refers, according to the Sufis, to the divine manifestation of power.
The yogis’ powers, however, are not their own, and they have to depend on extraneous sources of power for working miracles. The inherent powers of Perfect Masters are continually overflowing, and yogis and pilgrims of the lower planes borrow these overflowing powers and work miracles with them…
In Fana-Fillah (the Majzoob state) there are no miracles, direct or indirect. In Divine Junction (Turiya Avastha or Muqum-e-Furutat) the Jivanmukta (Azad-e-Mutlaq) has no duty, and performs no miracles. But there is always a possibility of miracles happening through the Jivanmukta without his being aware of it. The Agents or pilgrims of the lower planes very often borrow his powers and work miracles with them, but the powers of the Jivanmukta are not in any way lessened thereby.
from notes dictated by Meher Baba, before 1955,
Spirituality and spiritualism are two different things. Spirituality has nothing to do with any kind of power in any form. Spirituality is the path of love for God and obedience and surrender to the Perfect Master. As one travels on the Path, one comes across powers on the planes of consciousness. Those on the planes from first to fourth are sometimes tempted to demonstrate these powers.
There are three kinds of powers:
1. The divine powers of the fourth plane.
2. The occult powers of the first three planes of consciousness. These are called the mystic powers.
3. Other occult powers.
1. The divine powers of the fourth plane are the almighty powers of God. They are the source of all powers, whether mystic or other occult powers.
The mystic and other occult powers are infinitely insignificant in comparison with the divine powers.
The divine powers remain always the same because God is always one and the same. The occult powers, whether they are of the planes or not, are different in kind and vary in expression.
The miracles performed through the manifestation of the divine powers by the Avatar and the Qutub are called Mojezat. These are performed for the good of all – on a limited scale by the Qutub, and on a universal scale by the Avatar. However, these can be performed for any individual in close association with the Avatar or the Qutub.
The miracles performed indirectly by those on the fifth and sixth planes with the help of the divine powers are called Karamaat.
The display of the mystic powers by those on the first up through the third plane cannot in fact be termed miracles. Such a display is nothing but a show of powers that they come across while traversing the planes. Such a display of powers is called Shobada.
When one on the fourth plane makes good use of the divine powers and performs a miracle, it can be termed as Karamat-e-Mojeza. When he makes bad use of them, i.e., misuses the divine powers of the fourth plane, it is termed Mojeza-e-Shobada.
The fourth plane is regarded as the ‘threshold’ of the Mental sphere, and so the misuse of the divine powers on the fourth plane results in a ‘fall’ as far back as the stone-state, and results in disintegration of consciousness.
2. The occult powers of the first three planes, called the mystic powers, cannot be misused by the aspirant on these planes, though they sometimes are tempted to display them. These mystic powers are different, and vary in expression, such as: Reading the minds of others; Reciting words or passages from a book without seeing it; Allowing themselves to be buried alive for hours together, etc.
The powers of the planes are not induced. These powers are ever accessible to those on the planes, within their own limited environment, and as such, need no concentrated effort to display them. This display of powers should not be confused with the demonstrations of mind readers and of others who put on stage performances.
The one on the third plane of consciousness can raise dead sub-human creatures, but can never make a dead human being alive. This he can do because of the nearness too and ‘warmth’ of the divine powers on the fourth plane.
But one on the fourth plane can raise the dead, including human beings, by the use of the divine powers of the fourth plane.
The one on the third plane can change his physical form at will, and one who does this is known as Abdal. This act is also a display of the mystic powers, but not the misuse of powers. However, this act should not be confused with the dematerialisation or materialisation of the human forms by the tantriks.
3. Other occult powers have nothing to do with spirituality, or with the mystic powers of the planes. These occult powers are of two types:
a. Superior occult powers
b. Inferior occult powers
The one who has these occult powers can make good or bad use of the same. Good use of occult powers helps one to put himself on the planes of the Path, and may even make one a Mahayogi. Bad use of these occult powers makes one suffer intensely in the next human form. Good use of superior occult powers puts one on the fifth plane of consciousness after four lives (reincarnations).
a. Superior types of occult powers are derived from tantrik exercises such as chilla-nashini, or repetition of certain mantras, etc.
The one who holds these powers can perform the so-called miracles such as levitation, flying and floating in the air, dematerialisation and materialisation, etc.
Inferior types of occult powers need no tantrik or any special exercises. They are had through sanskaras of past lives. For example: if someone has done certain good deeds many times in the past, his next incarnation may give him the faculty of inferior occult powers without undergoing any strenuous exercises. His sanskaras give him the faculty of inferior occult powers such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, healing, producing sweets or money seemingly out of nothing, etc.
All such capabilities form part of the lower or inferior type of occult powers.
If one makes good use of the inferior type of occult powers, he derives superior type of occult powers in his next life without undergoing any tantrik exercises. Likewise, the one who puts to good use his faculty of hypnotism gains the superior type of occult powers in his next life.
from notes dictated by Meher Baba, before 1955,
No miracle is an exception to the existing laws of the universe. It is an overt result of the impersonal working or conscious use of the established laws of the inner spheres. It is called a miracle because it cannot be explained by the known laws of the Gross world. Here, known laws are superimposed by unknown laws. It is not a case of chaos or lawlessness.
There are many examples of miracles. Giving sight to the blind and kindred achievements are brought under the category of miracles. They do not set aside the laws of the universe, but are the expressions of laws and forces unknown and inaccessible to most human beings. There are some persons who, through the use of their supernatural powers, can keep their bodies alive for hundreds of years, although they are not necessarily spiritually advanced. In the same way, the lingering aura of a saint may work miracles from his burial place.
The scope of miracles is very wide. Even the animal world is not exempt from the possibility of miracles. Though mammals such as porpoises and other animals do not have a fully developed Subtle body, there is in the Subtle world an equivalent or counterpart of their Gross forms. The rudimentary Subtle matrix, which has yet to develop into a definite and functionally self-sufficient Subtle form, can still serve some purposes and become a medium for performance of miracles. Stories of sorcerers who caused schools of porpoises to come from the open sea to shore for a native feast are within the bounds of probability. But all this realm of the supernatural, occult, miraculous and magic (black or white) must be regarded as having no spiritual value in itself.
Occult phenomena like stigmata, telekinesis (effecting the flight of objects such as a communion wafer through the air), elongation, elevation, etc., may amuse, astound or overpower people. But they cannot bring about spiritual healing or uplift, which is the real thing that matters. They are just an illustration of the supersession of ordinary and known laws of nature by the supernatural and unknown laws of the inner spheres. The curious might very well occupy their minds with these things, but they are best relegated to the background as insignificant. The real lover of Truth passes by these things without becoming entangled with any of them. He cannot afford to be distracted or diverted from his real objective: attaining union with God, and releasing the radiance of his purity and love.
The apparent anomaly of miracles does not constitute the violation of known natural laws, but means only their supersession by other unknown laws. It also does not mean violation of the higher karmic laws which supervene upon natural as well as supernatural laws. However, among the supervening orders in the spiritual panorama, there is one important factor which transcends and controls all laws, including the supernatural laws and the laws of karma. That factor is divine grace, which is beyond all laws.
… The only miracle which is worthy of the name is the divine grace that knows no fetters, and that can control the entire universe with all of its laws. It is the last supervening factor in the graded orders which obtain in the spiritual panorama. Divine grace is not concerned with phenomena. It is concerned with the emancipation and spiritual fulfillment of souls…
…The God-man… may, if he deems it to be fit and necessary, perform numberless miracles in supervention of the normal routine working of the universe, without attaching any especial importance to them.
1956? Be p 35-39