(Ray Kerkhove, an Australian Baba devotee, wrote a summary of Baba’s methods, and we reproduce it here with permission.)
Neither teaching nor practices
Those who follow Meher Baba do not normally engage in doctrinal study of disciplines such as chanting and meditation. Meher Baba generally de-emphasized set techniques and fixed doctrines. He said:
“I have come not to teach but to awaken. Understand, therefore, that I lay down no precepts.” (The Path of Love, online edition, page 7)
Baba explained that “the approach to Truth is individual.” (God Speaks online edition, Part 2, see footnote on page 259) Ultimately, each aspirant must work out his or her own salvation (Meher Gazette 2, 5, 3 1933) and:
“Give up all forms of parrotry. Start practicing what you truly feel to be true and justly to be just.” (God Man, online edition, page 345)
According to Meher Baba, we should seek spiritual growth mostly through everyday living, because “spirituality means meeting life fully and adequately, without being overpowered by the opposites.” (Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 1, page 15) Baba emphasized that God could not be found by “running away from life” but rather by “establishing unity with the One in the many.” This can only be done when we start practicing — in every situation — “the art of right adjustment to others … (which) means self-forgetfulness and love.” (Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 4, page 396)
However, there are certainly methods of everyday living that Meher Baba particularly encouraged. These are detailed below.
“There is no sadhana [discipline] greater than love, there is no law higher than love, and there is no goal that is not beyond love — for love in its divine state becomes infinite. God and love are identical and one who has divine love already has God.” (Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 3, page 264) Divine love, Baba stressed, is the solution to all our difficulties and problems. (Meher Baba Calling, page 76) He often spoke about love’s transformative power:
“Love is dynamic in action and contagious in effect. Pure love is matchless in majesty. It has no parallel in power and there is no darkness that it cannot dispel.” (Listen Humanity, online edition, page 187)
“Love is essentially self-communicative: those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. Those who receive love from others cannot be its recipients without giving a response which, in itself, is the nature of love. True love is unconquerable and irresistible. It goes on gathering power and spreading until eventually it transforms everyone it touches.” (Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 1, page 9)
As this implies, Meher Baba viewed love as the best means for realizing the Oneness underlying all phenomena.
“To love one soul is like adding its life to your own; your life is, as it were, multiplied and you virtually live in two centers. If you love the whole world, you vicariously live in the whole world.” (Meher Baba Calling, page 11)
Within daily life, Baba wanted people to express such as:
“… a constant wish to love and be loving, and a non-calculating will to sacrifice in every walk of life, high and low, big and small, between home and office, states and cities, countries and continents.” (From The Gift of Love, ed. by Perin Jasumani, 1994, page 9)
Establishing a Lover-Beloved relationship with God, with its depth of longing for Union with the Beloved, and its painful awareness of separation, is another theme with Meher Baba. (Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 2, page 190) He considered the quest for Union with the Beloved (God) as the beginning of real (“divine”) love:
“When you are prepared in your heart of hearts to gain Union with God at the cost of life itself and the ridicule of the whole world, then perhaps you may be said to have entered the lane of Divine Love.”
Although Meher Baba explained that the soul is already God, he asserted that the process of the individual soul imagining and sensing its separation from God was essential for the cultivation of Divine Love:
“God is love. And love must love. And to love there must be a Beloved. But since God is existence infinite and eternal, there is no one to love Him but Himself. And in order to love Himself, He must imagine Himself as the Beloved whom He, as the lover, imagines He loves.” (The Everything and The Nothing, online edition, page 1)
Ultimately it is through this “game” — this great “love story” — that the soul can attain the Divine:
“The sojourn of the soul is a thrilling romance in which the lover — who in the beginning is conscious only of the emptiness, frustration, superficiality and the gnawing chains of bondage — gradually attains an increasingly fuller and freer expression of love. And ultimately the lover disappears and merges in the divine Beloved to realize the unity of the lover and the Beloved in the supreme and eternal fact of God as infinite love. ” (Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 4, page 403)
Surrender and Obedience
Affirming most spiritual traditions, Meher Baba considered annihilation of egotism as the greatest dilemma facing aspirants
“To get nearer and nearer to God, you have to get further and further away from ‘I,’ ‘my,’ ‘me,’ and ‘mine.'” (The Path of Love, online edition, pages 7-8)
Nevertheless, he observed that aspirants’ own efforts to terminate egotism were generally futile:
“… attempts by the ego to secure its own extinction may be compared with the attempt of a man to stand on his own shoulders … All that it does to bring about self-annihilation only aids in its existence, for it flourishes on the very efforts directed against it.” (God to Man and Man to God, online edition, Part 1, page 32 “The Obstacle of the Ego”)
Baba explains that reliance on one’s own resources (through “good” deeds, fasting, meditation) usually generates a host of vices that go unnoticed:
“spiritual monomania … spiritual pride, intolerance, prejudice, smugness, ambition and holier-than-thouness … [because] ‘good’ deeds and experiences are also products of ‘desire’ and therefore karmically no less binding … the ‘good’ is generally robed in a garment of self-esteem and becomes a burr of righteousness that bores itself ever deeper into a man’s consciousness.”
His answer to this dilemma is for the aspirant to give up dependence on his or her own self, and to surrender to the guidance of the God-man.
“I know what has to be done. I know how it is to be done. It is for you to do what I say. Do not be concerned about anything else.” (Family Letters, ref. page 27)
Baba recognizes that this option is rarely welcomed by aspirants, except as a “last and only resort.” (Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 2, page 171) However, according to him, such surrender is “more fruitful than all of the other measures might have been.” (same ref, same page)
This is because the Avatar constitutes a special case. Baba explains that the Avatar has the spiritual authority to accept aspirants’ surrender, because He is the most knowledgeable and experienced of all possible Guides, and is totally egoless, devoid of selfish motives. Having no self other than the real Self (which is the aspirant’s real inner being) means that He is able to reflect back to aspirants their own ideal (Divine) self, and to provide the exact discipline they require to realize that Self (Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 4, page 366).
By doing what Baba says, “the responsibility falls on Him, the one you obey, even if you obey unwillingly.” Surrender and obedience to the God-man is, Baba explains, the highest means of serving others, because the Avatar is universally present. Therefore, obeying him is “serving the universe.” (from Meher Baba Journal, Vol 1, No. 10 August 1939 page 33.)
In 1922, “Mastery in Servitude” was adopted by Meher Baba as his group’s motto. It epitomized the depth of surrender and obedience — akin to slavery — required of a true disciple. Baba often told stories illustrating ideal Master-disciple relations. He repeatedly stated that willing obedience to the God-man is the “highest form of love” and the quickest road to Godhood. (from Meher Baba Journal, Vol 1, 2 December 1938 pp. 71-72)
When a soul is absorbed in remembering the Avatar, Meher Baba assures us that the person’s problems soon disappear:
“Think of me more and more, and all of your worries will disappear into the nothing they really are.”
“The best is just to remember me, and forget everything else, leaving everything to me.“(both preceding quotes are from The Gift of Love, ed. Perin Jasumani Ahmednagar, 1994)
Meher Baba placed particular importance on remembering him at the time of one’s death:
“I say with my divine authority to each and all that whosoever takes my name at the time of breathing his last comes to me; so do not forget to remember me in your last moments.”
According to Meher Baba, remembrance can begin with repeating his name; gazing at his image; making pilgrimage to places associated with him; hearing or reading stories about him; and doing whatever helps to focus on him (writing, painting, singing about him). By flooding mind and heart with associations of Meher Baba by such means, one soon reaches a point where remembrance of him is automatic and internal. (from Practical Spirituality with Meher Baba by John Grant, in a passage of conversation with Meher Baba’s disciple Eruch Jessawala as reported on pages 208-212)
Therefore everything — no matter how trivial — will remind one of the God-man. This process dissolves the false ego. It can no longer find anything within our outside itself that is not the Avatar.
“Do not discard anything but think, it is Baba — Baba who enjoys, Baba who is eating. It is Baba sleeping soundly, and when you wake up, remember it is Baba getting up“.
“Think of others more than you think of yourself; use up your bodies in service. This is absolutely necessary if you want to realize God.” (from The Silent Word, by Francis Brabazon, quoting Baba on page 245)
“Real happiness lies in making others happy.”
Meher Baba emphasized that we can only begin to love God by loving those whom we “cannot love.” (God Man, page 345) However, love needs to be utterly selfless:
“Always think of helping and not of results. Never worry about results, because ‘selfless service’ means trying to help others, not even thinking, ‘I am doing this or that.’ Always work with your heart for the best, and don’t worry.”
For Meher Baba “service” can be almost anything. It simply means doing the same things differently, — i.e., with greater care, empathy, forgiveness and awareness that he is in everyone and everything.
“To love God in the most practical way is to love our fellow beings.
“If we feel for others in the same way as we feel for our own dear ones, we love God.
“If instead of seeing faults in others we look within ourselves we are loving God.
“If instead of robbing others to help ourselves, we rob ourselves to help others, we are loving God.
“If we suffer in the suffering of others, and feel happy in the happiness of others, we are loving God.
“If instead of worrying over our own misfortunes, we think of ourselves more fortunate than many, many others, we are loving God.
“If we endure our lot with patience and contentment, accepting it as His Will, we are loving God.
“If we understand and feel that the greatest act of devotion and worship to God is not to hurt or harm any of His beings, we are loving God.
“To love God as He ought to be loved, we must live for God and die for God, knowing that the goal of all life is to love God, and find Him as our own Self.” (Three Incredible Weeks, page 5-6)
Meher Baba emphasized that service has various levels. Fulfilling people’s material needs is good, but a higher service is the provision of creative and intellectual needs. Higher still is the provision of spiritual understanding: “… because it includes the right perspective to all human problems and promotes their solution.”(Discourses, 7th edition online, Part 4, page 361)