MEHER BABA ON MASTS
All masts are intoxicated with God. They are intoxicated by divine love.
When a normal person is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, he enjoys this sensation so long as the intoxicant is in sufficient concentration in his physical tissues. A drunkard feels happy, cares not for anyone or anything, and has one dominant sensation, of drunkenness, in which the past, present or future have practically no meaning.
But as soon as the ordinary intoxication passes away, the drunkard suffers the reverse, the hangover. Stimulated physical intoxication is inescapably temporary, because it is limited by the very stimulant itself, the conditions of the environment, the cost of the stimulant, and the resilience of one’s condition.
Now, a person who is God-intoxicated experiences the same sensation that a drunkard enjoys, and cares for no one and nothing, in proportion to the extent of his inner intoxication. The vast difference is, the mast’s intoxication is continual, that it may increase but can never decrease, and that it has no harmful physical or mental reaction. It is an inner state of permanent and unalloyed intoxication, independent of anything external. The principal sensation of a mast is this permanent enjoyment of divine intoxication.
The creation is full of bliss, and the mast enjoys this bliss, and thereby becomes intoxicated to an almost unlimited extent, virtually consuming him and absorbing him, and thereby making the world around him vanish. Absorbed in God, such a person is continually absorbed in thinking about God, and with that comes, like a bolt, pure love, consuming him further in a state of divine intoxication.
… Masts are not insane or mad in the ordinary sense. Masts are desperately in love with God, or consumed by their love for God.
Masts do not suffer from what may be called a disease. They are in a state of mental disorder because their minds are overcome by such intense spiritual energies that are far too much for them – forcing them to lose contact with the world, shed normal human habits and customs and civilised society, and live in a state of spiritual splendor but physical squalor.
They are overcome by an agonising love for God, and are drowned in their ecstasy. Only the divine love embodied in a Perfect Master can reach them.
How does it happen that some men and women become masts?
There are those who have become masts whose minds have become unbalanced through unceasing dwelling upon thoughts of God, so that they neglect all normal human requirements.
There are those whose minds have become unbalanced by sudden contact with a highly advanced spiritual being.
There are those who have sought spiritual experience and have met a crisis from which they do not recover.
What characterises all masts is their concentration upon the love of God.
No ordinary man can tell whether one man is a mast and another man is mad without the divine authority of a Perfect Master. However, the unmistakeable quality that masts possess is their abilty to make one happy in their company. Whereas in the company of a mad person one feels depression and sadness.
These men may be called Yoga-brashtas. Apart from the Circle, who are taken to God blindfolded, there are very few who receive the grace of a Master and who are pushed to even the sixth plane. All this depends mostly on past sanskaras. It is very little of this present life which brings one in contact with a Perfect Master. These souls you see here had been on the Path in their past lives, but were entirely lost as Yoga-brashtas, and became spiritually dazed. Among many examples, one man held on to the fruit of a tree for four years, remaining in the same position until a Master came and gave him experience. so that he released his hold on the fruit and branch he had been holding.
(One of the Mandali asked how masts are able to withstand physical hardships)
Baba: All of you have three bodies, Gross, Subtle and Mental. Ordinarily everyone uses the first two, Gross and Subtle, for experiencing the Gross and Subtle worlds, the former in the awake state and the latter in the dream state. After a soul is spiritually advanced and is stationed on the spiritual planes, he assumes a body which is called Karana sharir (Mental body).
When in this state, the soul has immense powers in proportion to the stage of advancement which he has attained. The power itself sustains the physical body, even in the hardest strains and trials. That is how, even oblivious to the world and their own physical needs, they keep living as fresh and strong as ever. Otherwise an ordinary man would drop the body even under a thousandth part of the strain on the physical body they experience.
Material happiness is a millionth shadow of the true divine bliss.
24 March 1940,
The aspirants who get launched on the mast line find themselves propelled by an irresistible impulsion in the form of a yearning to realise God as the divine beloved. The psychic journey of masts is a mysterious flight from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge, from a sense of isolation and frustration to the experience of fulfilment, through a complete merging in the divine beloved.
Even in the initial stages, those who are on the path of masts get intoxicated by glimpses of God as the beloved. As the mast advances on the inner planes, he gets more and more God-intoxicated, and his yearning to be united with the divine beloved becomes so acute and irresistible that it gradually takes him beyond the domain of mind.
During the process of transcending the mind, the mental makeup of the mast is subjected to so much disturbance and upheaval that he is unable to use his mind in the ordinary way. To all appearances he is like a madman. The way in which he sits, talks or eats, and his general demeanor, are so far removed from what is most current in the world that common people very often take him to be insane.
The mast invites upon himself a tumultuous overturning of the ingredients of his ego-mind. These far-reaching and wide-spreading psychic disturbances upset all his normal expressions; and those who have no direct insight into the working of his mind may mistake him for one who is stark mad…
Masts are God-intoxicated souls. The glimpses of divinity that they get are accompanied by a joy that breaks through any type of sordid composure. One state of unbalanced exaltation is replaced by another state of unbalanced exaltation. The divine intoxication of the elixir of the liberating love of God admits of different degrees.
The mast, with a feeling of uncontrollable happiness, plies through the unchartered planes, which open themselves to him, until finally, he is drowned in the unlimited bliss of an ultimate merging in the divine beloved. Only in the end is his lost balance finally re-established, for not until all obstructive factors in the journey are successfully overcome can the lost balance of consciousness be restored.
In spite of the fact that many masts lose their balance while traversing the path of the inner life, they are often capable of rendering effective service to other aspirants less advanced than themselves. Masts are completely oblivious of worldly considerations and values; but they are very sensitive to the spiritual needs of those who come in touch with them. Masts, because they are consciously stationed on the higher planes, can give aspirants just that type of occult help that is necessary…
Because of his being stationed on the inner planes, which are free from the limitations and handicaps of the Gross world, a mast can be, and often is, in contact with a far greater number of souls than is possible for an ordinary person. Mast mind is a nucleus of conscious formations, with innumerable and far-reaching links. A mast can therefore be a more effective agent for spiritual work than the most able persons of the Gross world. The mast mind is also often used directly by the Master as a medium for sending his spiritual help to different parts of the world.
Very often when the Master is helping a mast, he is also helping the world through him at that very time. When a mast thus surrenders his mind for the work of the Master, he is, in fact, getting closer to the Master as Truth. He is being Perfected far more rapidly than would have been the case if he had avoided such surrender. In a thousand ways, the Master makes an irresistible appeal to the inmost being of masts, and awakens in them the undying spring of creative action. Those who were derailed from the normal line of life are thus restored to unimpeachable sanity and to a wholeness of outlook. The Master makes them spiritually Perfect in his own image.
before 1948? W p6-11
If I really like anything, I like two things – masts and children. I like masts for their strength, and children for their helplessness. The fire of love is very terrible indeed, and masts present a challenge – of this terrible fire of love – to God, the beloved.
Abdul Ghani: Why do so many masts choose dirty and insanitary surroundings, and how is it that their health isn’t affected?
Baba: Masts, because of the terrible fire of their love, present a challenge to the beloved, and this challenge – that the beloved should manifest himself – is always accompanied by heroic efforts to achieve total self-elimination or egolessness; efforts that may take many forms. To live in dirty surroundings, such as in or near a latrine or a urinal, is one way of utterly forgetting one’s bodily existence. And the beauty of it is that when the body is utterly neglected or forgotten – because the consciousness is aware only of love for the divine beloved – it does not deteriorate, but takes care of itself automatically.
The minds of ordinary people are constantly busy looking after their bodies, but they find that, in spite of taking every kind of precaution and care, deterioration can never be avoided altogether. Kabir said,
Tan tajye tan rahe, tan rakhe tan jae;
Yehi achamba hamne dekha, mada kalko khae.
Discard the body, it remains; preserve the body, it goes;
And so the astounding fact emerges that the (uncared for) corpse eats up death.
It is not given to everybody to be a lover of God. Such lovers are so consumed in the fire of love that they are not conscious of their stage of spiritual progress, and they do not have any thought of union with God. They simply ‘enjoy’ the torture of love, and long for more and more of it. These lovers don’t have any thoughts about their separation from the beloved, or, as I have already told you, any thoughts of union with him. They are resigned to the state in which they find themselves, and when their resignation reaches its climax, it is the beloved who seeks union with them. Hafez says,
Firaq-o-wasl che khahi,
“Separation and union are none of your business.
Seek only to resign yourself utterly to the will of the beloved.”
1949, Wo-b p22-24
About 70 miles from Satara, there is one mast called Dhondibua. I like him very much. He is very healthy, he doesn’t wear anything or want anything. Even if you want to give him something, he will not take it.
Although he does not wear anything, he doesn’t feel cold. In the winter, even when it is raining, he sits there in the same position as we find him in summer. I have been there several times by day and by night, and found him always in the same position. I go there and comfort him, kiss his feet and caress him. He sits near me, and the mast feels very delighted, very happy to be near me. He remains happy; he is like a child; but he knows that all this world is nothing but an illusion. He does not want anything.
It is our wants that bind us. We want something, and so we get bound. When we truly do not want anything, we are like emperors. We are everything, therefore we do not want anything…
22 July 1956,
Aw 4:2 p29-30
Once, after cleaning the toilets of the masts and mentally-disturbed men who stayed with him, Meher Baba commented:
“I enjoy being active in this way. I like to clean the toilets of the God-mad and bathe and feed them, much more than when I am bowed down to by my disciples, or have the arti done before me.
“Are not these souls helpless? To serve them is real service. To feed them is real philanthropy. To look after them is real humanitarianism. And to keep them pleased is really pleasing God.”
19 December 1937, Meherabad, LM7 p2245
Before I speak, I have to contact 75% of the masts in the world. I have already contacted 70%; now only 5% remain.
Meher Baba, 26 December 1940, Jaipur, LM7 p2653
“Masts are the best medium for my work in the world, and that is why I exert myself so much to contact them.”
Meher Baba, 26 May 1944, Khandwa, LM8 p2948
“Whenever I am recognised as Meher Baba by a mast or saint, for some reason it makes my work more difficult, and hence I wish to leave at once.”
Meher Baba, 27 May 1944? Khandwa? LM8 p2948
“Meher Baba has explained that the majority of masts are to be found in India*, which is the most important country in the world from the spiritual point of view. Apart from those in India, there are a few masts in Arabia, a very few in parts of Iran (these few are mostly in Meshed and Tabriz), and a very few in Egypt, China and Tibet. As far as countries outside Asia are concerned, there are, with the exception of Egypt, no masts in any other part of the world. There are, however, God-lovers, a few advanced souls, and certain people who are Agents of the Saheb-e-Zaman (Avatar).”
William Donkin, from notes dictated by Meher Baba
before 1948, W p373
*Now partitioned into India and Pakistan.
Fred Winterfeldt asked Baba whether there were any masts in the United States. Baba seemed to look off into the distance, and replied, “Maybe one or two.”