Daniel Stone on Meher Baba Transcript

Interview with Daniel Stone


  • Daniel’s spiritual journey: Daniel shares his story of how he was exposed to different forms of Eastern spirituality in his teens and twenties, and how he heard about Meher Baba through his writings, and a friend who became a Baba lover. Baba is a spiritual master who claimed to be the Avatar of the age.
  • Daniel’s encounter with Neem Karoli Baba and Meher Baba: Daniel recounts how he followed the advice of Kitty Davey, a close disciple of Meher Baba, to go to India and find what he was looking for. He describes his experience of meeting Neem Karoli Baba, another spiritual master who gave him an inner awakening, but also prompted him to leave and find Meher Baba. He then narrates how he went to Meher Baba’s Samadhi and felt the same awakening, but also the recognition that Meher Baba was his master.
  • Who is Meher Baba and what is an Avatar: Daniel explains that Meher Baba was born in 1894 in a Zoroastrian family and had a normal childhood until he was 19, when he met five perfect masters who unveiled his latent state of Godhood and prepared him for his role as the Avatar. He defines the Avatar as the periodic descent of God in human form to give a spiritual push to creation, and distinguishes it from other forms of avatars or perfect masters.
  • Universal work: Meher Baba said he was working on all levels and planes of consciousness to bring about a fundamental change from reason to intuition. He said his work was archetypal, meaning he was creating channels for each individual to access their higher self and evolve in consciousness.
  • Silence: Meher Baba stopped speaking in 1925 and used an alphabet board to communicate. He said he was always speaking in the soul and that his silence was preparing for his manifestation, when he would speak one word that would transform humanity.
  • New life: Meher Baba embarked on a period of hopelessness and helplessness in 1949, where he lived as a spiritual seeker with a few companions. He gave up everything and wandered around India, begging and sleeping in the open. He said this was a life of love, obedience, and surrender2. He culminated this phase with Manonash, the annihilation of the mind.
  • The spiritual hierarchy: The author explains the concept of the spiritual hierarchy, which consists of the beings on the higher planes of consciousness who carry out the Avatar’s plan for the transformation of the world. The Avatar is the head of the spiritual hierarchy and shares his universal work with them.
  • The miracles of the Avatar: The author discusses the miracles that are associated with Meher Baba, and how Baba himself did not claim to perform them or even know about them. He suggests that the spiritual hierarchy or the divine intelligence may be responsible for fulfilling the prayers or requests of the devotees. He also compares Baba’s way of working with Jesus’ way of working, and how both of them used miracles to create the conditions for their crucifixion.
  • The new humanity: The author talks about Baba’s vision of the new humanity, which will be a period of spiritual experience, cooperation, and brotherhood. He says that the breaking of Baba’s silence will be a major factor in bringing about this transformation, but he also acknowledges the possibility of a dark and chaotic period before the emergence of the new humanity. He says that he believes in Baba’s promise of the new humanity, but he also sees the trends that are leading to a train wreck. He says that the process of transformation will involve a reckoning and a burning of the sanskaras that are holding us back from realizing our true self.
  • The love of the Avatar: The author concludes by saying that the essence of Baba is not his teachings or his metaphysical speculations, but his love. He says that Baba’s main objective for everyone is to awaken the heart and to establish a relationship with divine love. He says that Baba wants us to find him inside our own heart, and not to confuse him with his physical form. He says that Baba’s presence is very vivid and real at the center in Myrtle Beach, and he invites anyone who is interested in Baba to visit and experience it.

Full transcript: RICK: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. We’ve done nearly 700 of them now. If this is new to you, please go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the past interviews menu where you will see all the previous ones organized in several different ways. This also exists as an audio podcast if you like to listen to audio podcasts. And the whole thing is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website, and there’s also a page explaining some alternatives to PayPal. Incidentally, since the last interview, we broke the 100,000 subscriber mark on YouTube. So that’s nice. They sent us a plaque to congratulate us. So my guest today is Daniel Stone, and we’re going to be talking about Meher Baba. Daniel has been a follower of Meher Baba most of his life. He lives in South Carolina right close to a beautiful 500-acre compound that is a major center for the Meher Baba organization. And I was just telling Daniel that I was talking to a friend this morning who had heard about Meher Baba because Pete Townshend of The Who was into him, and supposedly very loosely based the character of Tommy from that rock opera on Meher Baba, although Tommy bore no resemblance to Meher Baba. But anyway, my friend, like when he was 12 years old, he asked his mother for Meher Baba books for his birthday, and he was reading some very deep books. This is one I managed to get through most of in the past couple weeks, and I’ve also read this one, Silent Messenger, and have listened to many hours of talks by today’s guests and some other things that he recommended I listen to. And I’d heard of Meher Baba, of course, since I was in my teens, but all I knew about him was that he was said to be an Avatar and that he spent most of his life not speaking. He maintained silence. And I never knew much more, so it’s been interesting getting to know more about him over the past few weeks. And that’s what we’re going to do today. I’ve got a lot of notes here that I’ve developed as I read and listened to all this stuff, and we might move fairly quickly, but we’re going to cover a lot of territory. And so hang in there with us and feel free to ask your questions if you’re in the live audience. So, Daniel, welcome, and thanks for doing this. DANIEL: Rick, thanks for having me. Thanks for the chance to share with you and your listeners about Baba. It’s just a great joy to do this with you. RICK: Yeah. So, briefly, what’s your spiritual history? You’re roughly my age, a little younger maybe. And how did you get on to spirituality and then ultimately on to Baba? DANIEL: So, Rick, I’m going to give you a really condensed version of that. There’s a much longer version, which folks can find on YouTube. But I was raised in what I would call a very agnostic, if not atheistic, Jewish intellectual household. So I really had no spiritual foundation myself. And it was in my teens when I was first exposed through psychedelics to the experience of the consciousness really to be something quite expansive and something quite beyond what my normal experience had been. And that really set me on a path of inquiry about that. That brought me in my later teens to starting to be exposed to and explore different kinds of Eastern kinds of mysticism and spirituality. I experimented and spent time doing TM, which I know you’ve been very involved with that in your life. Got involved with some Zen Buddhism, Kundalini Yoga, different kinds of things like that, and worked with different teachers like Yogi Bhajan and Philip Kapleau in the Zen field and so on. And during that time, I heard about Meher Baba, I think, through being given a copy of the discourses that Meher Baba wrote or Meher Baba gave out. And they were given to me by somebody I knew in a food co-op. I was living in Boston at the time, and I was very deeply impressed with the authority of Meher Baba’s words. Not that he was trying to exert authority, but just it was clear to me that compared to all of the other writings and teachings I was being exposed to, this was clearly, most clearly from somebody who actually knew whereof he was speaking. And so I was very taken with that. So, but I was really in the mode of looking for a methodology or a process, and I wasn’t finding that immediately with Meher Baba. So I kind of set him aside, even though he’s occupied a place inside of me of interest. And then sometime later on, I went to a talk given by who at the time was called Baba Ram Dass now, and then later Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert, who had just come back from India where he had been with his guru. And he gave a talk about that experience, and I was very, very taken with what he said about his guru, who he called Maharaj-Ji. But it became apparent that he wasn’t, Ram Dass wasn’t going to reveal any identifying information about who this man actually was, even what his name was, much less where he was located. So even though I was keenly interested to find him and meet him, there was no avenue to do so. So I kind of set that aside. So later on, sometime later, a year later or so, a friend of mine, I was getting ready to move from Boston where I was living, and I was going to go travel around Europe. I had a girlfriend there at the time, and just to sort of find myself, and a very close friend of mine had become a Baba lover, a follower of Meher Baba. We call ourselves Baba lovers, and I’ll explain that maybe a little bit later on. But he had become a Baba follower and was making his first trip to the center for Meher Baba in Myrtle Beach and wanted me to come with him. And so, and I’m making a very long story short here, I went with him to the center, and I was not immediately, I couldn’t, again, could not find any way to follow Baba based on what I was hearing and seeing there. But we did have the opportunity to meet with a woman there who was one of the people who was one of the directors of the center, whose name was Kitty Davey. And Kitty Davey was at the time 80 years old. She was an English woman who had been one of Meher Baba’s first Western disciples since the early 1930s, and had lived with Meher Baba in India from 1937 until 1952. And then in 1952, Baba directed her to stay on at the center and help out with the running of the Meher Center. So all of us who went to the center for the first time met Kitty. And so I met Kitty along with my friend, and Kitty was the most normal looking person you can imagine. She was just a very nice, friendly, warm, but nothing unusual about her per se, English woman. And so we’re sitting in her office and she’s talking to me and talking to my friend, just trying to get to know us a little bit. And she asks me what I’m doing with my life, and I said, I’m getting ready to go to India. I’m getting ready to go to Europe and travel around. And she looked at me very piercingly and she said, you know, I think you are looking for something in her very British voice. And at first I said, well, maybe so. I don’t know if that’s really true. Then she turned to me a little later on in the interview, she said, I think you’re looking for something. And I think if you go to Rishikesh in India, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Now, I didn’t know what to make of that. And I just sort of, you know, set it aside also in the interview and didn’t think about it again. But on the way back, driving back from Myrtle Beach back north, I was thinking about the conversation with Kitty. And all of a sudden I had this kind of a thunderbolt came inside of me and said, you know, she was exactly right. I should be I should do exactly what she said. And so the next week I got on a plane and traveled to England and then traveled from England overland to India to find my way to Rishikesh. And before I got to Rishikesh, I decided once I got to India that I would like to see a little bit of India in that area. So I decided to do a trek in Nepal. So I went with a friend of somebody I met on the way there and we did a trek out of Pokhara Valley in Nepal up to a place called Jomsom. And it was a very desolate area. We were some of the first Westerners who had ever been there. And so we were trekking, you know, 150 miles up and back to near the Tibetan border. And on the side of the path, one day a man comes by and he sits down next to us. He’s kind of a hippie looking kind of guy. And he introduces himself and we talk about kind of what we’re doing. And I find out he has just come from being with the man who Ram Dass, who was Ram Dass’s guru. And he told me what his name was. His name was Neem Karoli Baba. And he told me where to find him, which was Nainital, India. So I logged that into my brain. But I said, OK, that’s great to know. I took a note of it and then I went on to Rishikesh. And I spent a couple of weeks in Rishikesh and kind of checked things out there and looked at the ashrams and checked out the scene. And I wasn’t exactly finding anything there that appealed to me. But then I realized that Neem Karoli Baba was actually not that far from where I was. And so I said, well, before I decide to leave all this behind, let me go find Neem Karoli Baba. And so I took the bus from Rishikesh, found my way to Nainital and then from Nainital went down in the valley below Nainital to a little village called Kainchi, which is where Neem Karoli Baba had a temple, a Hanuman temple there. And I went there and I came to Neem Karoli Baba. And that began a period of four or five weeks that I spent with Neem Karoli Baba and what was really a pretty small group of Westerners. I’d say 15 or 20 folks there, because, again, he wasn’t widely publicized. People didn’t know who he was or where to find him. But I was able to be with him during that time. And being with Neem Karoli Baba was an extraordinary, extraordinary experience. And it was the fulfillment of what I was looking for, which was to find a genuine spiritual master and to experience a genuine spiritual awakening from him. And he gave me that awakening inwardly. It wasn’t through any talk. It wasn’t through any “spiritual practice.” It wasn’t through any private interview. It was not through anything like that. It was a completely inward experience that I had that he gave me that went way beyond anything I’d experienced on psychedelics in terms of the awakening of my heart in chambers that I just had never been aware that they were there. And so it was quite wonderful to be with him. But at the same time, I was with him for a number of weeks. And as the time went on, I felt that I could not… I felt a restlessness inside of me, like I can’t actually stay here. And while most of the people that were staying with him in what some would call a satsang around him, I never felt that he was my guru as much love as I felt from him, as much awakening and fulfillment. And so I felt like with this restlessness, I felt like I really need to leave. And I do feel that it was him inwardly prompting me to leave. That’s my own interpretation of that. And so I thought, “Well, where should I go? I should leave here, maybe take a little vacation from being here, then come back.” And so I was trying to decide, “Well, where should I go?” And there were certain things, and I’m not going to go into all the different coincidences or synchronicities or what have you, but there were enough of those that happened that made me realize, “Well, I should really go down to where Meher Baba’s place is,” which was really quite a distance away. Neem Karoli Baba was in the north of India. Meher Baba’s place was in central India in Maharashtra state. And so I found my way down to Ahmednagar. And again, to make a very long story short, when I was in Ahmednagar, I went to Meher Baba’s Samadhi, which is where this was 1972 when this happened. Meher Baba dropped his physical form in 1969, so he was no longer there. But many of his closest disciples were there, his disciples he called his mandali. It’s a Sanskrit word that means circle. And so I was able to visit with his close mandali, and I was able to be in the presence of his tomb shrine called his Samadhi. And during that time, Meher Baba gave me that same inner awakening that I had experienced with Neem Karoli Baba. It was just almost precisely the same inner experience of the awakening of my heart at that extremely deep level. And the only difference I felt with Meher Baba was I felt that he was imprinting on me the message of that he is my master. So that is the story about how I came to realize that my primary connection was and is through Meher Baba. So that’s a nutshell. RICK: Good little synopsis. Incidentally, I forgot to turn the live streaming on in the beginning, so those who just tuned in missed what I said earlier, which is that if you have a question during this interview, look beneath the video and you’ll find a link to the Ask a Question page on batgap.com. Okay, so let’s talk about who Meher Baba is. You just said he died in 1969, and he was born in 1800s, late 1800s? DANIEL: 1894. RICK: Okay, so he lived pretty old, 74 years old or 76 years old or something. And he lived a remarkable life, which we’ll be talking about some. What we want to cover in today’s talk is a lot about him, who he was, what an Avatar is, because he was said to be an Avatar, what the role of a master might be in someone’s life, and then various aspects of his teachings, comments he made about suffering or something else called the new humanity. And he had a lot to say about how the soul evolves throughout the history of the universe, and a lot about the action-impression-desire cycle, sanskaras, impressions are called, and balancing out positive and negative impressions and so on. So we hope to cover all this, but we want to start just by getting to know a little bit better about who Meher Baba was. And as I understand it, he was fairly remarkable as a young man, and also rather normal, like sports and things like that, being a good student. But he was recognized by a couple of extraordinary souls or enlightened people as being special, as being someone special. And they both, I think one was this old lady, I think she kissed him on the forehead or something, and that sent him into a state, and then some other guy threw a rock at him and hit him square between the eyes, and that precipitated an awakening. The guy could have been a professional baseball pitcher if he had that kind of accuracy. But anyway, let’s talk about his early life to begin with, and this sort of profound shift that he underwent, which made it obvious that he was not just an ordinary kid. DANIEL: Sure. So as you said, he was born in 1894 in Poona, India. It was called Poona back then, now it’s called Pune. So it’s a town, it’s a large city right now, I think two or three million people in central India. And he was born in a Zoroastrian family. And for those who don’t know Zoroastrianism, it’s the oldest major religion, recorded religion we have, headed by the prophet Zoroaster. So his parents were both Zoroastrian, and he did lead kind of a normal childhood. He was a good kid, he was a good student, good in sports, had leadership skills, all that good, but nothing. There wasn’t a lot about him that seemed overtly spiritual, though there were a few things, but none that wasn’t predominant. And then when he was 19 years old, he was going to college in Pune at Deccan College, and he used to ride his bicycle to college. And at the time in Pune, there lived a woman, as you said, Rick, named Hazrat Babajan, who was widely regarded as a saint. She was reputed to be over 100 years old, a Muslim woman. She lived outside under a neem tree. She lived there, you know, day and night, you know, four seasons out of the year, you know, regardless of the elements. And she was usually surrounded by countless numbers of people. She had huge numbers of devotees who believed that she was a spiritual being. And in India, that’s pretty common in India, that Indians can be very attuned to when there is a spiritual being and that they gravitate towards them. And so she had a large following like that that was around her. And I don’t know that she was particularly remote, but she wasn’t just a usual person who sat and chatted with people. And one night, Meher Baba, his name, by the way, at the time was Merwan. His given name was Merwan Sheriar Irani. So Merwan was cycling home from college one night, and he cycles by where Babajan was, and she calls him over to her. And I think that that was quite unusual. I don’t think she did that to many people, if any. And so he went and sat with her, and there was a kind of a magnetism between the two of them. And so he would start going back and sitting with her every night after school. And one night she turned to him, and as you said, she gave him a kiss from the forehead. And we would call that from based on what Baba has given us about this. And again, I’m giving you, you know, to the extent to which I can, I’ll give you what Baba himself said, but there’s a certain amount of, you know, interpretation here. But we would call that his unveiling, that what she did is she actually unveiled him to his latent spiritual state of Godhood. And by Godhood, what I mean is infinite consciousness, which is the state of, which is what Baba says is the state of Godhood. And so she unveiled that to him, and he went into that state and he completely lost consciousness of the gross world. And, you know, he went into a state where for nine months he didn’t eat, he didn’t sleep, and his eyes were wide open. And during that period of time, his mother was beside herself with worry about him. His father actually, who was a very deep spiritual seeker, actually knew, had a knowledge about what was going on, but sort of kept it to himself. So during those nine months… RICK: Just to say, I’ve got to give lip service to the skeptics in the audience. So how can you not eat for nine months? Did he literally not eat, or was he just like spoon-fed or, you know, on a liquid diet or something like that? DANIEL: You know, with yogis, yogis, as I understand it, Rick, can actually live on air. RICK: Breath, yeah. DANIEL: So you’re talking about somebody in a very profoundly different state of consciousness. That the functioning of their bodies can be completely on a different mode of being than what we associate with… RICK: Did he drink water? DANIEL: That I can’t tell you. RICK: So as far as you know, according to the story, he didn’t consume any nutrients for nine months. DANIEL: He consumed no nutrients. RICK: And he didn’t sleep, or he had his eyes open the whole time. DANIEL: His eyes were wide open. RICK: Yeah. DANIEL: He was not gross conscious. RICK: Right. DANIEL: He was completely unconscious. RICK: Did they take him to doctors and stuff? DANIEL: They did take him to doctors, and doctors couldn’t figure it out. RICK: Right. DANIEL: So he was beyond anything anyone could figure out. And so during that time, he wandered. And he wandered around to different places, and there are different stories about that. But the four of the wanderings we do actually know about, one of them was to a man named Narayan Maharaj, who lived in a town called Kedgaon. One was to a man named Tajuddin Baba, who lived in a city called Nagpur, which is in central India, who was widely — these are people widely regarded as saints. And the third one was he wandered into a little village in central India called Shirdi. And I don’t know if you’ve been to Shirdi, Rick, but at the time, it was just a little village. RICK: I haven’t, but Shirdi Sai Baba is very famous. DANIEL: Right. Shirdi Sai Baba is probably the most famous, the most widely seen face you will see of a contemporary spiritual figure in India if you go there. And Shirdi Sai Baba lived there, and Shirdi Sai Baba was reputed to be Muslim, Hindu, maybe both like that, but he was a fakir. Fakir means he lived on alms and penniless, basically. And he lived there, but he was — again, he had a following. He was accepted as being a great master. And when Merwan approached him — and again, Merwan was just wandering. Merwan described this period that he was like an automaton possessing intuition. That’s how he described it. But he was — so he wanders into this little village, and Shirdi Sai Baba is walking towards him. And Shirdi Sai Baba sees him, and he gets down on the ground and prostrates in front of him. And then he comes up and he goes, you know — RICK: Prostrates. DANIEL: I think it’s called pranams. RICK: Right. DANIEL: And he addresses him as Parvardigar. And Parvardigar is a Sanskrit word, and it literally means the preserver and protector of the universe. And it’s another word for the Avatar. So Sai Baba recognized him as such and then directed him to his primary disciple, a man named Upasni Maharaj, who was stationed in a temple just down the lane from where they were. And Upasni Maharaj was another fakir living there. He’s dressed in a gunny sack, of all things. And so Merwan walks into the temple grounds, and Upasni, as you said, picks up a stone, throws it at Merwan, hits him squarely on the forehead right where Baba Jan kissed him. And that began the process of Merwan coming back into gross consciousness. And what that was was the preparation, the beginning of the preparation for Merwan to perform his role as what is called Avatar. And I’ll say in a moment what Avatar means. But for the next seven years, Merwan spent off and on with Upasni Maharaj as Upasni Maharaj perfected, helped him perfect the integration of his God consciousness with his gross man consciousness. So he could perform the role of Avatar, which is called the God-man, 100% God, 100% man. And then at the end of those seven years, Upasni Maharaj turned to Merwan, he addressed him as Adi Shakti, which means you have all the power in the universe. And then he called, and then he said, “Merwan, you are the Avatar, and I hand you the key.” Key means responsibility. Now, the important thing, an important thing to understand about all of this is the five people I’ve mentioned, Baba said, were all what are called perfect masters or Sadgurus, the Sufi word for that is Qutub. And they collectively, the five perfect, Baba says there are always five perfect masters in creation at all time who are collectively responsible for the spiritual ongoingness and well-being and development of all in creation. RICK: Creation meaning the whole universe? DANIEL: The universe and the multiverse. RICK: Okay, we’ll get into that later. DANIEL: Yes, but every being. And that periodically, what they, it’s like, this is going to be way over simplification, and I’ll give it my interpretation of it. But they do sort of the maintenance function, and then the Avatar comes and he does the strategic function of really accelerating, giving a spiritual push, Baba said, to creation to kind of get it moving at a much more accelerated pace. And so Baba said that the Avatar is, the difference is the perfect masters perform the role of keeping things going and implementing kind of what needs to be done to keep things moving. But every 700 to 1400 years, the perfect masters will say, you know, it’s time that there is a major spiritual push, and they collectively precipitate the advent of the Avatar. They arrange the circumstances of the Avatar’s birth, and then when the time is right, in this case it was when Merwan sat with Babajan, then the Avatar is unveiled as to what their true state is. So they don’t actually go through a spiritual development process, but their process is simply unveiling. And it’s akin to what happens every time the Avatar comes, and the one that I think we all know probably the best in our culture is the unveiling that took place of Jesus by John the Baptist when he met John the Baptist. But according to Baba, it happens with every Avatar. Every form of the Avatar happened with the Buddha, Rama, Krishna, Zoroaster, and most recently, Muhammad. So that’s the story about how Baba became conscious of his role as the Avatar, and that was about 1921 when he began actually performing what he called his universal work, which is to bring about the spiritual transformation of consciousness within creation. RICK: Okay, so a lot of people use the word “avatar.” I’ve interviewed a couple people who claim to be avatars, and there are many other people whose followers claim that they are avatars, that they, the teacher, is an avatar. But according to Baba, he would probably say, “No, these people aren’t really avatars, because there’s only X number of them,” or “He’s the only one,” he was saying, and that they’re not as common as we would be led to believe if you listened to all the people who say they’re avatars. I guess you would agree with that? DANIEL: Yeah, I think so, Rick. I mean, I think the word “avatar” has just taken on such a broad meaning now. This is the avatar of this thing or that. If you read “Autobiography of a Yogi,” which I assume, I’m sure you’ve read, he talks about there’s the avatar of Krishna, there’s the avatar of this quality or that quality. And I think they’re all — I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that. The word “avatar” is a Sanskrit word. It literally means “descent,” and sometimes is interpreted as “descent into darkness.” But the way that Baba uses it is very specific. It was very interesting when Ramakrishna, Paramahansa Ramakrishna, who was the great, perfect master from Calcutta, was on his — and he was widely — Baba said he was the perfect master of his time. And, of course, his great disciple was Vivekananda. And Vivekananda was — he was a very kind of rational, intellectual kind of person. And so he was — he had his skeptical side, too. And he would press Ramakrishna about who he was. And when Ramakrishna was on his deathbed — he died of throat cancer, but he was on his deathbed — and it’s said that Vivekananda went to him and said, “So, Ramakrishna, really, who are you? Really, who are you?” And Ramakrishna said, “I am the Avatar, but not in the Vedantic sense.” And that’s the difference here is that there’s a very particular meaning within the Vedantic world, and you’re much more familiar with that than I am, Rick, so I can’t quote Vedantic scripture. But that was what Ramakrishna was reputed to have said. And the meaning that I believe Ramakrishna meant by that and the one that Baba talks about, and he’s very explicit about this, is he says that there is this periodic reoccurrence on Earth of God that comes and takes a human form as God and lives the life of what’s called the God-man, which is the life of somebody — and they do not evolve through a spiritual development process themselves. They come in as that, and they come in with that particular role. A perfect master, by contrast, is a being who has been through an entire developmental process from the very beginning of their experience in creation through the evolution — and we can go into this too — of consciousness through human incarnations and then through the process that Meher Baba calls the involution of consciousness through six different planes beyond the gross physical plane into a state in the over-soul of identity where they do experience God-consciousness. And their consciousness is no different from anyone who’s in that God state, whether it’s the Avatar or what’s called a Majzoob, which is another God-realized being. They all share the same consciousness. They have different roles, and in the case of The Avatar, as opposed to an avatar of The Avatar, that they have a different derivation of how they got to where they are. RICK: Okay. Yeah, as you mentioned earlier, I was a student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and he was emphatic that he wasn’t an Avatar and his teacher wasn’t an Avatar, but he said what an Avatar is, is, like you said, God takes human form, and in order to — not just randomly, but at a specific time when something needs to be accomplished that humans wouldn’t be able to accomplish, and like Krishna came at a certain time in the Mahabharata war and all that, and the situation is such that it needs some kind of divine intervention in order for some change or something to be facilitated. And this thing about 56 in the whole universe, I’m kind of a fan of astronomy. I mean, that to me would mean that there’s like one perfect master for every, I don’t know, couple hundred billion galaxies, which, and there are quintillions of stars in a couple hundred billion galaxies. So, I don’t know, I’m deeply skeptical about that possibility because it seems to me, and also, Baba said that only on Earth can people evolve or reach God or something like that, that the spiritual evolution doesn’t happen anywhere else in the universe. That seems so geocentric to me. I mean, that kind of sounds like the Catholic Church, you know, in Galileo’s time, who got real upset at the suggestion that the Earth wasn’t the center of everything. So, you know, I mean, you have faith in Baba, and I don’t expect you, I don’t mean to be challenging of your faith, but Baba himself at one point, you know, allowed something to be published, which was, you know, kind of factually incorrect. So, he seems to have admitted to being capable of making statements that conflicted with scientific knowledge, at least as it evolves. And he said something about how most of the UFOs that come to visit Earth are from other planets in our solar system, which are inhabited, and there are more planets in our solar system than science is aware of. And that hasn’t panned out, and nor has the idea of life on other planets in our solar system panned out. So, I’m just, you know, I’ve been around the block myself for many decades, and I have an attitude of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, but taking everything with a grain of salt, and proportions vary. You know, there might be something which I’m 99% sure of, but who knows, maybe it’s wrong. I’m 99% sure the Earth is not flat, although there are people who believe it is. But ultimately, I feel like God is omnipresent in all creation, and therefore, evolution is omnipresent in all creation. And Baba does get into that, and we can talk about that, the various stages of stone, metal, etc., as souls evolve. Anyway, that’s a bit of a rant. Do you want to respond to any of that? DANIEL: Yeah, a few things you said, Rick, that are worthy of responding to, but again, I think one thing to say about Baba is that there’s certain enigmas associated with Baba. And so, it’s not hard to find certain contradictions or inconsistencies in Baba and his life. And one has to really wrestle with those with Baba. But I will say this, when you say he allowed this thing to be published, I mean, it was true that Baba could allow other things to be published that weren’t necessarily things that were of his authorship, or necessarily things that he was specifically endorsing, but he simply allowed them to be published. RICK: Oh, it was attributed to him, but maybe it wasn’t him. I don’t know. DANIEL: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s true, but I think that there are instances where Baba seemed to say that certain things would happen at a certain time, and there was no evidence of them actually happening. RICK: Right. DANIEL: That’s also true. It’s also true that there are many things Baba said in the very early 1920s that seemed preposterous at the time, like multiverses. Who thought about multiverses back then? And now that’s sort of mainstream thinking within much of the scientific community, is that there is more than one universe here. RICK: Sure. DANIEL: And there’s many things like that as well. So, I don’t think it’s possible to be one-dimensional about it, but it’s also true, and I think we’re going to get into talking about Baba’s silence also at some point in time, that there were many times that Baba said he would break his silence, and there was no apparent event associated with the breaking of silence. And so, again, these are the kinds of anomalies that crop up that, I know I have my own interpretations of those kinds of things, but I certainly acknowledge that they exist. RICK: Yeah, so I guess the question is, is an Avatar or a perfect master expected to be, by definition, infallible in all circumstances? Yes, you say. DANIEL: Infinite knowledge. RICK: Infinite knowledge. So, Einstein was a contemporary of Baba, although Einstein was a bit older, but would Einstein and Baba have been able to sit down and discuss Einstein’s theories of relativity in the terminology that Einstein was capable of? Would Baba, having infinite knowledge, have been able to understand the mathematics involved and discuss that as a peer of Einstein? Or infinite capabilities also, you might say? I mean, could Andres Segovia have handed Baba a guitar and he could have played it like Segovia did? Obviously, if you’re in a human body, it’s going to have its limitations, both in terms of what it can do and even what it can know. DANIEL: You know, Baba said he was 100% God and 100% man, and he was really the most human of people. He was very human, and he lived a life, you know, he, you know, yes, his godhood gave him infinite bliss, infinite knowledge and infinite power, but he said he did not always make use of those things in order to fulfill his function as the Avatar. So, he didn’t rely on, for example, on his infinite bliss to protect him from suffering, and his whole life was suffering. And he, you know, Baba said the Avatar comes to take on suffering, and likewise with knowledge. You know, it’s interesting, Baba, you know, when Baba would meet people, for example, you know, he could say to them things like, “Hey, you know, what’s your name, Rick? Your name’s Rick Archer? Tell me something about where do you live, Rick? You know, what do you do for a living? You know, do you have any children? Do you have any pets?” Like that. He could say all those things as if he didn’t know any of those things, but with just one moment, you know, he could in fact show he knew not only all of that, but he knew all about your past, your future, you know, all of this stuff. He could do that in a moment. He could draw upon that. But generally, he didn’t do that. He acted, he was very natural with people, and he’s very warm, very loving, very friendly with people like that, and, you know, put people at ease like that. But again, there were so many instances where he revealed it. Yeah, no, he knew exactly what was going on, and he knew exactly not just what was going on now, but what would be going on, you know, many years in the future, and was able to demonstrate that. But for the most part, it was very rare that he actually did that with people. It was much more common for him to act just normal. RICK: Yeah, I mean, Baba told the story of a master who was, you know, a perfect master or something, and some yogi showed off by walking across a river, and the master, you know, paid an anna, which is a small amount of funds to just hire a ferry to take him across. And so, I mean, I think that, in other words, he could have walked on the water, presumably, if this yogi could, but he wasn’t into doing cheap tricks. And I’ve heard that said, supposedly, of enlightened people of a certain stature, that they could know anything, although only one thing at a time, because it’s not given to a fleshly nervous system to have complete omniscience. In other words, if Baba were alive now in his physical body, and he were living in India, he wouldn’t be following our conversation, or he wouldn’t know my social security number, or whatever. So, in other words, not actual physical omniscience, you’d need a celestial nervous system for that, but that one could, if it were really worth knowing, know anything by putting your attention there, if there were some reason to know my social security number. But, obviously, he’s not going to waste his time getting into the minutiae of things like that. I don’t know. DANIEL: Yeah, I mean, I think what you’re saying is probably true, may well be true for people in advanced planes of consciousness. Because people in advanced planes of consciousness, depending on the plane, according to Baba, have those kinds of capacities and can exercise them, maybe, selectively, as you suggest. I mean, Baba said, you know, as the Avatar or perfect master, they can know everything that’s going on at any one time. You know, everything, if that’s what they choose to do and where they put their attention. I know, you know, there would be these major, what are called, Darshan programs. Darshan is, again, another word that means sight, but they’re very common with spiritual personages, especially in places like India, where it is said just to be in the presence of a God-realized being or advanced being like Meher Baba, for one second, Kabir said, is worth more than a hundred years of sincere prayer. Just one second. And that’s something that people in India, many of them really understand that. And so they seek out these opportunities for Darshan. So you hear these stories and there’s so many stories about Baba. I mean, there are stories of people’s experiences with Baba being like in a Darshan program where there’s thousands of people there. And every person there that you talk to has a different story about extremely profound experience they had of Baba and Baba’s connection with them in that program of being, of sitting with them for a few hours and just experiencing Baba’s presence, number one, but also experiencing Baba’s omniscience in terms of his knowingness and connecting with them personally at that time. And that’s with thousands of people being there at the same time. So I think I don’t think it’s possible to individualize, particularize or limit what the possibilities are of a being such as Meher Baba and his ability to be able to make and sustain contact with innumerable, any number of beings at a time in a way, at any one point in time. So I think that that would be my response. RICK: Yeah. Of course, people’s subjective assumptions or experience are one thing, and then something that’s objectively verifiable is another thing. But we don’t need to go there. Here’s a thing that I thought was worth noting down about what a perfect master is, and again we’re distinguishing between a perfect master and an Avatar. But one, they recognize their self as the self of all beings, standard line from the Bhagavad Gita. Two, they experience infinite bliss but also infinite suffering, but the infinite bliss overshadows the suffering. And three, they are infinitely adaptable. They can adapt themselves to relate to anybody, rich or poor, wiser or ignorant, whatever. Baba said, “I am in all and one with all. That is why I can adapt myself to all kinds of people and meet them where they are.” Which, you know, these are not unique words, they’re in all the scriptures, but it’s nice when you meet somebody who seems to have those characteristics. But why infinite suffering? Why would someone like Baba or a perfect master experience infinite suffering along with infinite bliss? DANIEL: Yeah, that’s a really great question. It gets to the heart of who is the Avatar and why does the Avatar come. So, Baba said the Avatar does not come to take on the karma of the world, that that’s not his role. He said that what happens over time, that humanity inherits karma. Like, we all know, I think probably everybody listening to this podcast has some understanding about what karma is. That karma is the law of cause and effect. It says any action you take is going to have, you’re going to have to experience the opposite reaction in order to balance it out. Because that’s the means by which the consciousness evolves. So, Baba said that over time, humanity and the way it functions, it creates a certain amount of karma for itself. And that karma can be very intense. You know, genocides, wars, slavery, oppression, greed, you know, the outcome of greed and, you know, all of these kinds of things that happen both in an individual level, they also happen at a collective level. So, over time, humanity inherits an enormous amount of karma. Now, when the Avatar comes, the purpose of the Avatar’s coming is to give a spiritual push. Well, to give a spiritual push, that is going to, he doesn’t take on that karma. He doesn’t sort of just get rid of the karma. Because the karma is there, it has to, you know, the karma is there for a purpose. It’s not just to punish, it’s not to punish people, it’s to help people learn from it. It’s to help people grow from it. So, the Avatar comes to help humanity deal with the karma that they’ve inherited. Well, the karma that you’ve inherited, that it’s associated with suffering. That in order to pay back, you know, what humanity did through enslaving African Americans or through the genocide of Native American populations or through the Holocaust in Germany or any of those kinds of things. There’s an enormous price to be paid in terms of karmic debt. And Baba said that if humanity had to bear all of the suffering associated with that on their own, that it would crush humanity. And so, the Avatar comes to take on and help shoulder a certain portion of that suffering so that humanity can actually experience enough of the suffering that it has actually earned over its time. So, it can experience that, work through it and then through the working through of that suffering, it can then evolve in consciousness. And that is what Baba called his universal work. Baba’s universal work, he said, was to effect a fundamental change in the nature of consciousness within creation and certainly within humanity. And Baba said, the nature, he said the entire reason the Avatar comes is to do his universal work. And he said he’s doing that universal work all the time. He’s continually preoccupied with this universal work. And he says he’s doing that universal work on all levels and all planes of consciousness simultaneously. And clearly, that means we can’t see the work that, you know, as you said, you know, you have to, you know, maybe it’s an article of faith from your point of view where you sort of say, okay, well, Baba said it. He said he’s doing all this work on all these different planes of consciousness at the same time. And Baba said that the impact of his universal work would be to shift consciousness from the level of operating at the level of reason to operating at the level of intuition. And he said that would be the outcome and the impact of his universal work. Well, we may not be able to see the work. You know, there are certain things that we can talk about that we can see with Baba’s work. And I’m happy to, you know, I can give you some examples of that. But I think it’s fair to say that we are seeing this shift in consciousness that’s starting to occur on a very large scale. Now, it may not have reached the level of entire, the entire swath of humanity. But it is a very wide scale that we’re now seeing that more and more people seem to be operating on that level of intuition, kind of tuning into their hearts and learning to sort of find kind of sources of wisdom and guidance from their hearts as sources of guidance for them in their own lives. And again, is that a function of Meher Baba’s universal work? That’s, you know, that would be a question for somebody to answer. RICK: And we’re going to be talking a little bit later about the sort of shifting of the age to, I guess he called it the new humanity or something. Yeah, we’ll talk about that in a few minutes. Just a little bit of a random question here. How come Avatars are always male according to Meher Baba? DANIEL: Yeah, you know, I don’t have a, I don’t know that I can give you a source on that one, Rick. It seems to be, Baba said, when the Avatar comes, it’s always a male. Now, perfect masters can be male or female, just to say. So, it’s not, but there’s something about the Avatar, always, Baba said, it always takes a male form. It’s also true that every time the Avatar comes, there is what I would term, I don’t think that this is quite the term Baba used, so I’m going to say it for myself, a kind of a spiritual counterpart. And so, when Radha came, when Krishna came, he had Radha. When Ram came, he had Sita. And when Jesus came, he had Mary. And then when Meher Baba came, there was a woman who came, who was one, was his closest disciple, his most beloved, was a woman named Mehera. And Mehera, Baba said, was his very breath. He said he could not live without her. And just to say, there was never anything carnal about that relationship. Baba said for him, sex didn’t exist. And so, there was never anything like that that took place with Baba. But Mehera, Baba said, was the purest soul in the universe. And he said every time he comes, I heard this through Meher Baba’s secretary, a man named Adi K. Irani, that he had heard that Baba had said that every time he comes as Avatar, Mehera comes with him. So, there is that male/female relationship that is always there when the Avatar comes. RICK: Okay. Obviously, any of these points that we’re covering, we could talk another half an hour about if we wanted to, but we’re kind of skimming along because I want to cover a lot of territory. And if people have particular questions about anything that we’re talking about, they can send them in. We can go a little bit into more detail. There was something called the new life that you wanted to make sure that we talked about. So, I want to throw that in before we get too far. DANIEL: Sure. So, Meher Baba, let me talk a little bit about Baba’s mandali and the training of his mandali because I think it’s really important. You know, when Baba began to function as the Avatar, that was around 1921-22, and one of the first things he did was to start to gather his close circle of disciples that he called his mandali. And Baba said every time the Avatar comes, the Avatar always has an inner circle of 12 disciples. Of course, we know that from Christianity. We know about those 12. But he said there are actually 10 concentric circles of 120 mandali that surround the Avatar, plus the two additional women who make up the circles of the Avatar. And when the Avatar comes, he uses the mandali as his vehicles for helping perform his universal work. And he does that, initially he has to train them to do that. And Baba’s training of his mandali was very intense. It was very rigorous, and he was training them in a life of love and obedience and surrender. That was the nature of the life, and it was a life that was extremely demanding on them. You know, Baba was, you know, he lived a very austere life in many ways. He led a life of constant, you see, the almost constant motion with Baba. And there was also things like Baba would often change his plans. You know, he would say he was going to do one thing and then he’d change his mind and do something else. And there was this constant change that required constant flexibility and readaptability to what Baba was doing. And just parenthetically, I read an interview with Aurobindo once, Sri Aurobindo the great saint from Pondicherry. And Aurobindo was being asked about Meher Baba at one time, you know, what he was. And Aurobindo said something like, well, you can tell he’s a great yogi because he’s always changing his plans. And he said, that’s what great yogis do. RICK: Yeah, I’ve seen a few of those. DANIEL: So that was Baba’s way. And the training of his disciples was rigorous for the Eastern mandali. And then he went west in 1931 and began gathering his close Western mandali, who then, as I said earlier, he brought a number of them back to India for training. And he trained them. And so that went on for a while. And then there was another period, which we’ll get to it when we talk about Baba’s work with the masts. [pronounced ‘must’] But in 1949, Meher Baba decided to do, you know, quite suddenly, as far as the Mandali were concerned, he entered into a new phase of his activities. And by the way, Baba’s life is so extraordinarily rich that there are volumes and volumes of biographies and experiences people have written about him. I mean, there’s a 20 volume biography of his life. And that only begins in fact, that there’s plenty that’s not in there. So it’s very rich. But in 1949, Meher Baba began what he called the new life. And the new life was, I think, for many people, a very enigmatic period in Baba’s life, where Baba essentially sold off or gave away everything that was in his possession at that time. That meant property and then, you know, cooking vessels, beds, everything that had accumulated over that time. And he embarked on a period that he said would be a period of hopelessness and helplessness. And it was a period where Baba seemed to take on, up to that time, Baba had been in the role of the master. And he had been exacting the kind of obedience and the kind of doing the kind of training and the kind of activities associated with the master. During that time, he took on the role of a spiritual companion, and he seemed to live a life, you know, with a very select group of companions. That there were four women and there were 20 some men amongst his mandali, who left everything behind and spent a period that was to be an indefinite period of time wandering around India. And just living a life, basically, of begging and living out in, living in the elements and just living completely in the present moment. And he called it a life of hopelessness and helplessness, meaning it was a life of complete dependence on God and life in living in the present moment is what it was. And one of the demands of that life, and one of the things that I think some people found extremely challenging, in fact, one of the conditions that Baba gave for people that would join him on the new life, and he gave people a choice about whether they would do it, was they had to maintain 100% cheerfulness in spite of everything that was going on. And there was a lot of stuff going on. They were sleeping out in the open in northern India in the winter months, which was in freezing rain like that, with barely any cover, if any cover at all. And sometimes going without food for long periods of time like that, because they were living just on the beneficence of whoever would give them what’s called bhiksha, you know, donations, charitable donations. So that was the life that Baba lived. And a lot of, there’s a question mark. And it was a very intense life. And it went on for two years. And it culminated in a period that Baba called Manonash. And Manonash literally means the annihilation of the mind. So, if you’re at all familiar with the Sufis, you know, the Sufis talk about the spiritual path as a series of annihilations. They call them Fanas. And the annihilation of the mind is called the Fana Fala, the final annihilation. It’s the annihilation of the mind of when the mind finally is gone, and one is propelled then into the Godhood. And Baba went through this process of new life, and it culminated in this period called Manonash that Baba went through over the period between October 1951 and February 1952 in India. So, he did that. And again, there’s so much to be said about this Rick There are volumes and volumes written about the new life. It’s so hard to encapsulate it here. But the thing I want to say about it is that the nature of Baba’s work was, I think, can be seen as archetypal in many ways. And I don’t want to say that’s the only nature of Baba’s work. I think Baba’s work is so multifaceted that you can’t sort of say it is this versus that. But it does seem like at least one dimension of it was archetypal. And by archetypal, what I mean is, Meher Baba said he’s God. He said, if he’s God, he said, “I am the higher self in every single being. Every single being can find me within them, within their hearts. If they open themselves and look for me, you will find me there.” That was essentially what Meher Baba said in not so many words. And so, everything Baba did, if you accept that Baba is everyone in their higher self, then everything Baba did in his human form was as if he was doing, was as if everybody was, everyone in creation was getting the benefit of as if they had done that themselves. And so, if Meher Baba lives the life of a perfect spiritual seeker, which is essentially what he did during the new life, it is as if he has dug a channel inside the heart of each individual that has each of us are so prompted and so ready to do so, to start to enter the process of trying to lead that kind of life of spiritual aspiration and so on. Just the fact that he lived the new life has helped create the channel within each one of us to make it much easier for us to follow that path. And that’s, and same with Manonash, is that when we’re ready and we get to the point where we’ve actually gotten to the point where we’re ready to actually have that final annihilation, he’s made it much easier to enter into that process of final annihilation. And that is essentially what Meher Baba said his role was. He said, “I came as the Avatar in order to bring about,” he said, “I didn’t come as a teacher.” The most fundamental thing Baba said about himself, and these words are engraved on the marble slab that covers his body and his tomb shrine in India, it says, “I have come not to teach, but to awaken.” He says all the teachings are out there. He said, and it’s true, Baba gave lots of great teachings. It’s not that he didn’t teach, but the emphasis always with Baba was the awakening of the heart. Which he said, that is what will actually bring about the transformation of people, not the absorption of a lot of intellectual information about these things. So, from that point of view, that the work that Baba did on the new life seemed to be about helping to set the pattern for anyone who was so prompted. And Baba said, the Avataric advent itself would create the conditions for people to be prompted to pursue the inner spiritual life that would make it much easier for them to enter into and proceed along that life. RICK: Yes. If you have a garden and you dig it up every year to plant things, you notice that the dirt is a lot easier to dig up where it’s been dug before than it would be in some place where no digging has ever taken place. So, I think that all the great spiritual teachers, whatever their status, Avatar, master, whatever, have been sort of digging up the ground, so to speak, which makes it easier for us to dig. Someone like the Buddha or whatever, maybe the Buddha had to pierce through a much more impermeable membrane to reach enlightenment, but having pierced it, and many others having now pierced it, it’s thinner, more diaphanous, easier to pierce. And so, a lot of people are having awakenings, which wouldn’t have been possible 2,000 years ago, which is why this show is called “Buddha at the Gas Pump.” And when Baba says, “I am God,” I mean, you could say the same thing, because you’re not your physical body, you’re not your subtle body, you’re not your mental body, you’re not any of the five sheaths, depending on the model we want to use. When you get right down to it, we are Brahman, we are pure consciousness, we are infinite, all-pervading intelligence. So, we’re all God. In fact, God alone is, right? I mean, what else is there other than God? But I guess we’re saying here, Baba is someone who didn’t come in as an ignorant person that had to evolve up to the realization of being God, although even there, with him and with other Avatars, such as Rama, they didn’t get it when they were little kids. It eventually dawned upon them. But their soul didn’t evolve to the status. It’s got divine intelligence somehow assumed a physical body without having to go through an evolutionary trajectory, and then took on the role they were meant to play. DANIEL: Well, you know, you’re completely right. And Baba said, “I’m the Avatar.” He said, “But each of you are avatar.” RICK: Exactly. DANIEL: He said, “We’re all avatar.” He said, “The only difference is I know that I’m God.” RICK: Right. DANIEL: He said, “No, No, but I’m here to help you. I am here to help you know your real self. I’m here to help you to realize who you really are.” And that’s his role. But we’re all, Baba said, “Every individual is destined for Godhood.” RICK: Yeah, sooner or later. I’m still bugged about this notion that only on Earth is this possible because there are far more souls in the universe than could ever fit on Earth. So, I still don’t get that, but I don’t think we’re going to resolve it through discussion. But, you know, the Earth is a speck and a vast – I mean, there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the world. And that’s a lot of stars. So, to think that we on this little speck that happens to be orbiting one particular grain of sand are the be-all and end-all just doesn’t jive with my orientation, but whatever. [Laughter] Here’s an interesting point of discussion, perhaps. So, if the Master is alive, like, let’s say, one of Baba’s contemporaries, and you’re working with the Master, then, you know, the Master would have to earn your trust before winning your obedience. You’re not just going to immediately meet the guy and do whatever he says, at least most people aren’t. You have to sort of test him, check him out, see how he performs, see if you get, you know, the kind of results you hope as you interact with him. Now, if the Master is not alive, you know, I’ve heard you or someone else mention intuiting Baba’s wishes. And how do you know that you’re genuinely intuiting Baba’s wishes or God’s wishes or whatever and obeying them and not just your own whims? Because I’ve run into all kinds of people whose intuition tells them that they should, I don’t know, sell the house and invest in Bitcoin or something, you know, whatever, just different things. And how do you discern genuine, profound, spiritual intuition, even some kind of divine input from personal human whims? DANIEL: Rick, I love this question. I mean, I’ve written articles about this and given talks about it. And it’s been a central focus of my own, you know, my own development, personally, is exploring that very question. You know, Baba did say that we were entering into an age of intuition. And so the question, I think there is a real question like, well, what is intuition? How does one develop it? And how does one learn how to rely on it? You know, one of the things Baba said, let me go back a step, and I’m going to sort of come at this from a slightly different angle than you may want to come at it later on, about Baba’s silence. Baba said, “If you ask me why I’m silent, you have not understood my silence.” He said, “I’m always speaking.” RICK: Yeah, we actually even mentioned his silence kind of in passing, but did you actually say what happened? Like in 1925, he just stopped talking, right? And he didn’t talk for the rest of his life. Can we explain that to people? DANIEL: Okay, so let me say that, and then I can, and then I’ll kind of segue into the intuition question. So in 1925, Baba indicated to the mandali that he was going to stop speaking for a period of time. And so, the mandali didn’t believe it, by the way. The mandali thought, “This is preposterous. This guy loves talking, he loves speaking, you know, he won’t last a week,” you know, kind of thing. RICK: Like my friend said when I learned to meditate in 1968, “Oh yeah, we’ll see what you’re doing two weeks from now.” DANIEL: Right, but you know, Baba fooled them all, and he started his silence, and he didn’t break it. And then, you know, a week turned into a month, turned into a year, and it kept going. And, you know, sometimes Baba would say, you know, “I’m going to break my silence on such and such a day,” and then there’s no indication that he ever broke it. So, and I want to, Rick, I’m going to say a little bit about Baba’s silence, if you don’t mind. RICK: No, yeah, please. And while you’re at it, explain how he actually wrote all these books. He had this letter board and everything. I have a follow-up question once you explain that. DANIEL: Yeah, so when he began his silence, I mean, he did a few things before he started using an alphabet board, but at some point he started using a little board, I guess a cardboard or, you know, plywood or something that had letters of the alphabet on it. RICK: And he spoke English, right? DANIEL: Sorry? RICK: Did he speak English? DANIEL: He did. He spoke English, Gujarati, Hindi. RICK: And of course, being omniscient, he spoke every language in the universe. DANIEL: Right. There was that. I think he spoke Urdu, actually, as well, as people in Maharashtra do, just to say. I mean, Marathi, spoken Marathi, that’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. But he used this board pointing to letters of the alphabet, and he would have to have somebody read the board, one of his mandali. He was so fast on it that you had to be really skilled to be able to do that. So it was only certain mandali were able to do that. But if you look at Baba’s teachings, the books that he gave, and they’re only, they’re not that many of them, but the books he gave out that have been published, I think there may be 10 or 12 of major books, and a few others. They were all given on the, they were all done on the alphabet board. They were all done by pointing these letters and having them, and then having them read out and then taking down, and then people would take what he gave and they’d shape them into paragraphs. RICK: So it got edited a bit, because I was wondering, like, the books, if you read them, I’ve read discourses now, and I’ve read some of God Speaks, and they’re long, coherent, you know, sentences and paragraphs. And I’m wondering how that actually came to be. I mean, did he actually remember where he was going with it as he pointed around to the letters, or did he periodically have to stop and say, okay, now read me what you got, and then I’ll take it from there. DANIEL: Well, you know, I wasn’t there when he did it, but I think, you know, as he was doing it, he didn’t need anybody to restate it, because people were reading it out as he went. So he knew what they were getting. RICK: I see. They were saying it out loud. Okay. DANIEL: So he was saying it out loud, so he could do that. And what he would generally do, as I understand it, is he’d give people points, and he’d say, okay, these are the points to cover in the discourse. Now thread them together in some kind of coherent manner that will actually be communicable to the audience, and then somebody would do that. And then on most of his books, he would have that read back to him, and then he would make corrections from that point in time. So that was generally how he did those. I think there were exceptions to it here and there, but I think that was the general pattern by which he did it, Rick. So he kept the silence. He would say he would break at a certain time. There was no indication of it, and the mandali got used to it. They knew. Well, Baba says he’s going to break his silence on such and such a time. They knew that there wasn’t going to be any indication of it. But Baba would say things about the breaking of silence that began to be very profound, and he said, “When I break my silence, the whole world will feel and receive of it, and I will only speak one word, and that word will go directly to the heart of man from God, and that word itself will bring about a fundamental change in the consciousness of each individual who receives of it.” And he said the breaking of silence was actually going to bring about what he called his manifestation, which is where he would actually manifest the impact of his avataric advent. So the breaking of silence was fundamental to the universal work. Now, just to say a few words about that, Rick, because I’ve given a lot of thought to this one, as many people have, because Baba’s silence has got to be seen as one of the most salient features of his Avatarhood on a physical level. I mean, he’s known as, you know, people call him the silent master. RICK: Sure. And that’s all I knew about him. Okay, he was silent, and they said he was an Avatar. That’s all you hear, initially. DANIEL: But he wasn’t remote. RICK: Right, he was very involved. DANIEL: He engaged with people all the time, and I know many, countless numbers of people who were with him physically, and many of them say they weren’t even aware he was silent, because the way he would communicate would go directly into their heart. So, you know, it was only afterward when they walked out of the room, they said, “Oh my God, he wasn’t even talking. That was one of the mandali who was speaking for him.” So his silence was, you know, the experience of being in Baba’s presence was an experience of a very awakened heart that Baba could then speak to directly like that. So, but, you know, I think there are three different, you know, I’m not going to say what the meaning is of Baba’s silence, but I think there are three different ways of looking at it. You know, some people would say, and there are mandali who’d say that Baba broke his silence in each individual who he awakened, just like he awakened me to come to him, or your friend who he awakened in Australia. He awakens each one of us individually, and that is his breaking his silence in each of our hearts. That’s one version. So when Baba said he’s going to break his silence on such and such a day, maybe there were some massive people that he awakened that particular day. That’s one possibility. RICK: Or it could be the yogi’s always changing his mind kind of a thing where he would say something and then not do it just to sort of pull the rug out from under people. DANIEL: Exactly, and to test and to kind of separate the wheat from the chaff. RICK: Right. DANIEL: But another possibility, and this is something that also many people believe, and I think there’s basis for it, is that there will come a time at some point when Baba does break his silence. And Baba did say that breaking his silence would coincide with this massive change that would occur, and he said it would be a sudden change. And he said it’s a change that would bring about a massive level of, he said three quarters of the world would be destroyed. RICK: Oh yeah, I wanted to ask you about that. So are you saying that he said that the world population, that what, it would be about six billion people will die and we’ll have two billion left? Is that what that means? DANIEL: So when Meher Baba said that, he said that in 1957, 56, 57, in a statement that’s called his final declaration, which is his statement about what’s to come. And he said that when he breaks his silence, three quarters of the world would be destroyed. It caused a lot of upset at the time. And so later on, Baba gave what he called his clarification of his final declaration. There were a number of things that Baba covered in the final declaration, of which that was one of them. And for each of the points that he made, he clarified which statements were made in our language, meaning the language that, you know, literal, that we can understand. You know, this is, oh, that makes sense. This is, you know, this is what’s going to happen, blah, blah, blah. Then there were statements that he said were made in his language alone. In other words, things that, that it sounds like we could understand them, but actually you would, I think you’d only understand them in retrospect. I don’t think you’d understand them as, prospectively. RICK: So in other words, it might be a symbolic sort of thing where we’re not talking about literal destruction, but some kind of a transformation and maybe three quarters of our current, you know, commercial enterprises will no longer exist because they don’t belong to in a more enlightened world or something like that. DANIEL: Right, and I’ll give you another version of that in a moment. But the third category was things that were said in his language and our language simultaneously. The statement about three quarters of the world being destroyed, he said, was in his language alone. So it doesn’t sound like 6 billion people being gone. I have heard one of the, one of the mandali, who’s very, very close with Baba, one of his closest male mandali, a man named Bhau Kalchuri, he would say, he suggested that the three quarters of the world meant three quarters of what he called, what are called unnatural sanskaras, or impressions of the mind would be destroyed. And that’s, we can get into sanskaras later on. I think that’s on a list of some of your questions, Rick. But that’s, but the sanskaras has to do with the tendencies of the mind to identify themselves as being other than God. And so he said that, you know, another way of understanding the three quarters of the world would be destroyed is three quarters of those impressions would be gone. RICK: So, yeah, there’s an interesting, something just to recall, there’s something in the Upanishads or someplace about how, I mean, it’s sort of, again, not literal, but somehow that the world or that life is three quarters absolute and one quarter relative, or something like that. And that for someone living in a state of enlightenment, that’s their ratio, they’re predominantly, there’s no world, nothing’s ever happened. And that’s their reality, but then more superficially, there’s the world of activities and things happening. So, who knows, he could have been alluding to that notion. DANIEL: Well, it seems like what Baba said would be, might be kind of consistent with that. Because it wasn’t that he said that everybody’s going to become God-realized. I think what he was saying was that there’s going to be this huge shift in consciousness, that people can be much more God-conscious and much less connected to the gross realm. In fact, Bhau Kalchuri said that Baba had said to him in 19…, I mean, this is a whole other topic. But let me pull back from that one, I’ll get to that one later on if we want to, but it has to do with what that actually means when Baba says that he would break his silence. And that it would make it a much easier access into the planes of consciousness, into the involutional planes of consciousness. It’s another way of understanding that. And you can see that today. I mean, isn’t that what we see with all of the tremendous growth in, you know, the first planes of consciousness are the planes of energy. Those are the subtle planes of consciousness. But what do we see in the world today? Focus on energy, focus on energy healing, people talking about energy, people focused on kind of moving into these sort of more subtle realms. So it does seem like, you know, whether you attribute it to Meher Baba or not, it does seem like that is the shift we’re starting to see within the awakening subculture in particular. RICK: Yeah, I mean, I’ve talked to people who just had profound awakenings while tying their shoelaces and they weren’t even interested in spiritual awakenings. And, you know, all of a sudden they’re experiencing the kind of thing that yogis sat in a cave for 20 years to experience. So it seems like it’s something in the air these days. DANIEL: Baba said that the Avataric period is like the spring tide of creation. And he said these qualities of energy and awareness are available during the Avataric periods like, you know, like they’re not normally available. And all of a sudden people can access them. RICK: So make hay while the sun shines. This thing, you probably read this in the notes I sent you, but did Baba really say that there will be mass landings of spaceships that will take people up and help them and then return them to Earth in a healthier state? DANIEL: I never read that. RICK: Or is that something that was misquoted to him? It was something I came across in all my research that I did. Okay, so who knows? So I took you off the track because you wanted to talk about discerning actual divine guidance from individual whims. DANIEL: So, and the reason why I talk about the silence, because I’m going back to Baba’s archetypal work, because the other way of looking at Baba’s silence, again, is that it’s an archetypal act that Baba keeping silence before. The reason why people keep silence at a spiritual level, as I understand it, is in order to learn to quiet the mind so that one can reach into these deeper levels. So, if the Avatar is doing all of these works, and he’s doing them on behalf of all of us in creation, it’s like we’re all getting the benefit as if we have been through that kind of quieting of our minds. So, depending on our own levels of receptivity, we’re then able to then access those deeper recesses of our beings as a result of that. So, that is what intuition is. It’s reaching into those deeper layers. As Baba said, “I’m never silent.” He said, “The voice that’s heard deep within the soul is my voice. It’s the voice of intuition, of inspiration and guidance.” So, the question then becomes, okay, Baba has, you know, let’s assume Baba has opened up that channel, and Baba’s dug that channel for us, and we can now move in that channel. Or if you don’t believe it’s Baba, you know, leave that aside. But let’s say that that’s the path we’re on to try to develop, to refine that capacity within ourselves to be able to access those parts of our deeper being. Then we are faced with, it’s not like it’s all there, and it’s all crystal clear and all that. It still is a process of learning how to work with that capacity in ourselves. And, you know, the Sufis, I spent quite a few years studying Sufi healing, healing from a Sufi perspective. So, I got quite a bit of exposure to it. And one of the concepts within Sufi healing is, within the Sufi healing work that I did, was that there are four different layers of the heart. And the first layer, and the most superficial layer, is what they call the nafs. Actually, some Sufis would say every layer is the nafs, but in this way of looking at it, the nafs… RICK: How do you spell nafs? DANIEL: N-A-F-S. RICK: Okay. DANIEL: Or it’s actually nufs. It’s usually pronounced nafs. It’s actually, I think the Arabic is nufs. And it has to do with the kind of the chatter of the mind. It’s all the things the mind is constantly, you know, it’s like the monkey mind stuff. The mind is constantly saying, “I like this. I don’t like that. You know, this is a good person. This is bad. I don’t like this person.” Whatever it is. But it’s all of that stuff that goes on in the mind. That’s layer number one. Layer number two is the layer of emotions that are associated with the first layer of the mind. So it’s all the layers of, you know, pain, pleasure, you know, disgust, you know, happiness like that. But it’s all stuff that’s triggered and associated with, “Oh, I like this person, so I feel pleasure. I feel safe with this person, so I have a feeling of kind of relaxation. I feel angry at this person, so I have this experience of anger,” or whatever. “I don’t like this person. I feel angry.” That’s all second layer of the mind, like stuff. The third layer of the mind is what, according to this model, is called the heart. It’s actually the heart itself. And it’s very interesting because the third layer is where the heart starts to turn away from the activity of the mind and the associated emotions of the mind to start to actually tune into the deeper parts of self, the higher parts of self, you know, the one associated with the divine parts of self. And it’s very interesting that the Arabic word for heart, and I can’t remember what it is exactly right now, but the meaning of it is “that which turns.” So at that level, the heart is in fact turning toward God. And that’s where you start to actually have access to what we call intuition. And the fourth layer of the heart is called the secret. And I can’t really speak a whole lot about that, but I think it’s where, rather than sort of turning, you’re now kind of fully established in that realm of hearing the voice of the divine or hearing the voice of the higher self or whatever, or God or whatever words you want to put to it. So from that point of view, the challenge I have found, and it’s been true of my own work, but it’s also when I’ve worked with other people about this, the challenge is differentiating what layer of the heart I’m actually listening from and to start to discern when am I in that second layer of the heart, because it’s very easy to say, “Well, what’s your feeling about this?” And so my feeling is X, but it’s actually coming from the second layer. And so it’s learning to say, “Okay, well, let’s stop and let’s drop down into the next layer to start listening to that deeper voice about what actually has authenticity to it and start to pay attention to it.” But my experience of doing that is that the precondition for doing that kind of listening is surrenderance. And by that I mean to say, and this has been my personal experience with it, that before I go to Baba or somebody else may say to Jesus or to whoever, but before you go to that source of divinity within, to say, “Please give me the guidance that I’m looking for around this, but let me commit to you at the outset, whatever guidance you give me, as clear or as vague as it is, as long as I can get the guidance, I will follow it.” I’ve learned that that’s the key to being able to clear away the second layer and be able to actually drop into the third layer or beyond and to be able to hear the guidance. You know, and there was one other thing I want to say about that, Rick, is there was a statement that I heard many, many, many, many years ago that I heard attributed to Gurdjieff, and I’ve since seen it attributed to other people, which was, “Play with more than you can afford to lose, and you’ll learn how to play the game.” RICK: How do you interpret that? DANIEL: I interpret that to mean that you need to, you know, that there’s certain times in my life when I’ve had to make decisions or, you know, been faced with courses of action where I didn’t feel I could afford to be wrong about them. You know, that they were like, you know, huge decisions. One of them was when I chose to adopt a child, and I’m saying, you know, that’s a huge decision, and I really wanted guidance about whether to do that, and I didn’t think I could afford, you know, that was more than I could afford to lose was to be wrong about that one. And yet, those are the kinds of things that I think putting yourself on the line, you know, on these kinds of things is where you start. My experience is where I have started to really develop my own capacity for being able to follow my intuition, and I don’t claim to be an expert at it or anything, but I’ve been working with it, you know, that way for a long time. RICK: Yeah, there’s that great quote. I think I heard you quote it in one of your talks about that guy. Who was it that said, you know, it’s great to commit yourself to a course of action. Once you do that, then all kinds of resources and support come your way, which otherwise wouldn’t if you’re wishy-washy. You know that quote? DANIEL: I do. It’s from Henry Murray, and it’s associated with a quote from Goethe, which is, “Whatever you can do or dream you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” RICK: Yeah, that’s great. I love that. Okay, a couple of questions came in, so let me just pop those in and we’ll continue. So, this one is from someone whose initials are SS, asking, “What did Meher Baba say about the coming of the next world teacher or next Avatar? What advice did he have for spiritual seekers at times before the next coming when materialism accelerates?” DANIEL: That’s a really, that’s a wonderful question. So, let me create a somewhat larger context in my answer, if I will answer that directly. Baba said the next Avatar, his next appearance as Avatar, will come in 700 years. So, but he said that his current Avataric advent has a power to it, and his presence is still with us, even though he dropped the body in 1969, that it would still be just as vital as it was when he was in the physical form for a period of 100 or so years after he drops his physical form. So, in the period that we’re in right now, Baba said he is the preeminent spiritual figure, and the opportunity for direct personal relationship with him is no different from what it was when he was physically here. In fact, it may even be more accessible at this point in time, and will be certainly throughout my lifetime, and probably the lifetime of many people who are on this call. RICK: Yeah, I remember what Obi-Wan Kenobi said to Darth Vader, he said, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” DANIEL: Unfortunately, that can be said about a number of historical figures that are not avatars. RICK: Yeah, but it’s interesting, I mean, a lot of people feel like they really get zapped by Jesus, for instance. He’s been gone for 2,000 years, but they feel they have this direct person, he’s still intervening in their lives. So, who knows? DANIEL: And Baba did, during his life, I mean, one of the things he did is he went around to a lot of different places, and he said he was revitalizing a lot of these places, whether they’re tomb shrines of great Sufi masters, or perfect masters, or this or that, and clearly revitalizing world religions. And all you’ve got to do, you don’t have to look any farther than Sufism, to see there’s been a huge revitalization of Sufism in the world. I mean, I think Rumi and Hafez are two of the most widely read poets in the world today, and those are two great Sufi poets. And so that’s a revitalization that Baba said, that as Avatar, that even though Jesus died 2,000 years ago, and yes, Baba says there’s a natural diminution of the power of the Avatar that happens for the Avatar’s influence, and the fragrance of the avatar’s presence begins to wane after 100 years or so, and then you get the growth of religions, and, you know, antiquation of these kinds of things, and hierarchies, and dogmas, and rituals, and you know, RICK: Pedophilia. DANIEL: Yeah, all that stuff. Right. All that stuff that, you know, that is really just a corruption of what the original impulse is. And the Avatar does not come to create religion. It’s just that religions grow up in their absence. But it’s also true that the Avatar, when the Avatar comes, he does come and revitalizes all of the religions of the world. And Baba said part of his mission would be to bring together all religions together like beads on one string. He didn’t come to replace religions. He came to awaken the vitalization of God within each religion or within no religion at all. RICK: Yeah. On a note, Maharishi told a story one time about something that happened with his master. His master was Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math in the Himalayas, and people would pray to him, you know, for health or to have a child or whatever people pray for, and very often their prayers would be fulfilled. And Maharishi asked his master about that. He said, “What are the mechanics of that? I mean, are you aware of these prayers? I mean, how is it that their prayers get fulfilled?” And he said, “It is the department of the absolute, and he takes care of it.” And Maharishi said it took him a long time to understand what that meant. But I think what it means, and I think he might have explained it, is that if, however you conceive of the divine, either in the form of a master or a deceased or still living or whatever, if you make the entreaty, if you have the sankalpa or the intention or the prayer for something, that prayer or that intention gets heard. You know, Krishna says this in the Gita. He says, “As men approach me, so do I favor them.” Anyone who sort of has sincere motivation or whatever, I hear it. I respond to it. But the intelligence that is speaking there is omnipresent. It’s universal. And so, Maharishi’s teacher, his master, wasn’t necessarily aware of these things, but he was just a figurehead which they could, you know, relate to in order to submit their request. But the divine intelligence, which is everywhere, was able to fulfill the request, irrespective of the knowledge of the man who they were praying to. I don’t know if that would apply with Baba, but it might be a principle of the way these things work. DANIEL: So, I think what Baba said, I think relates to what you’re saying, but I’ll give you a different mechanic around it that Baba spoke about. So, Baba talked about what he called the spiritual hierarchy. And he said the spiritual hierarchy consists of all of the individuals who are on the involutionary planes of consciousness, the six planes of consciousness, beyond the gross physical plane, which he’s gone into in quite a bit of depth, both in God Speaks and a number of other places. RICK: So, like angels, ascended masters, just sort of beings on higher planes of existence. DANIEL: Beings on higher planes. RICK: Right. DANIEL: You know, beings on higher planes. RICK: Right, and they hear you. DANIEL: And so, Baba, when he comes to the, so the perfect masters are the head of the spiritual hierarchy. And when the Avatar comes, he assumes the position that is called the Qutub-i-Urshid, which is the head of the spiritual hierarchy. And so, and it’s interesting, just to say, I can tell you a story about the spiritual hierarchy in a moment, if you’re interested. But he said that, Baba said he didn’t come to do these kind of minor miracles for people. He said, “Don’t come to me for, you know, health, wealth, body, positions like that.” He said, “I’m the one to take, not the one to give,” just to say. He was absolutely clear about that. He said, “If you want a miracle, if you want something, go to a saint. A saint can give you what you want, and go there.” He said, “But don’t come to me for that. All I have to give is love. All I have to give is God, and that’s all I want to do.” like that So he said that, and he would say he didn’t do miracles, and he said there were so many miracles that are associated with Meher Baba that are very well documented. But Baba said that when he hears about these miracles, and again, this is where Baba hides his omniscience in his sort of manhood. He said, “When people come to me, they tell me about these miracles, it’s news to me. I don’t know anything about them.” You know, so, like, great, you know, great. You prayed for a child, you got a child. You prayed for a good job, you got a good job. Well, two things about that, that the spiritual hierarchy, it’s also been posited that the spiritual hierarchy, that when prayers are given like that, you know, or requests or beseechments or whatever you call them, that a member of the spiritual hierarchy may take over and do them. And they take that on. That’s a little bit like your department that I think I’m hearing you speak of, about Maharishi’s master, about how he explained it. It’s like in a large organization, the CEO doesn’t know everything that’s going on. It’s like some underling down here says, “Oh, he wants that? Okay, let me give him the child,” or “Let me give him the job,” or “Let me help him get out of jail.” RICK: Did you ever watch Zeffirelli’s “Jesus of Nazareth” series? DANIEL: I did. RICK: I remember that scene where Ernest Borgnine played a Roman centurion or general or officer of some kind. And he came to Jesus and he said, I forget who he was asking for help for, but my mother or whoever is sick and really needs your help. Could you come there? And Jesus said, Oh, how did it go? No, he didn’t ask him to come there. He just said, “Could you please help?” And Jesus said, “Okay, well, I’ll go there and I’ll take care of her.” And the general, Ernest Borgnine, said, “No, you don’t need to go there.” He said, “I’m a general. And if I want something done, I just command my troops and they take care of it. So all you have to do is have that intention and I’m sure she’ll be fine.” And Jesus really appreciated his insight and his faith. DANIEL: That was such a beautiful movie. Yeah. I saw that movie when it came out. It was on television. And right after, I called up Kitty Davey, who I was very close with by that point. And I asked her if she’d seen it, which she had. I said, “What did you think of it?” She said, “Well, it didn’t remind her of who Baba was.” The man who played Jesus didn’t remind her of Baba in the way he played him. But she said it did remind her of who she felt Jesus was. RICK: Yeah, it was a beautiful thing. And anyone who hasn’t seen that, it’s a Franco Zeffirelli. There are about six different segments to it. It’s a big, long thing. He’s the same one who did Brother Sun, Sister Moon about St. Francis. DANIEL: And he’s an atheist. RICK: Oh, is he? I’ll be darned. I didn’t know that. DANIEL: And I thought he had– What I thought was interesting about that film, since you mentioned it, I thought–because Baba talked a lot about Jesus, or he talked about Jesus. And he said the reason why Jesus did all the miracles was to make sure he got crucified, that he didn’t do them to have fun or to sort of set himself up. He did it to create– RICK: Push people’s buttons. DANIEL: And so when you watch the film and when Jesus is giving the Sermon on the Mount, and you see all of these people–or a better one is with the loaves and the fishes. People are just ecstatic about all the fish and all the bread and all this. And you look at Jesus’ face, and you can see he’s not ecstatic. It’s like a chessboard he’s arranged. And he’s setting all the pieces up to help effect the result that he’s looking for there. So I thought it was an incredibly insightful film. RICK: Yeah, cool. Fascinating that Zeffirelli was an atheist. Okay, here’s another question. This is from Rob McCue in Columbia, South Carolina. “Can you speak to any experience you’ve had in connection with Meher Baba of ‘not being the doer?’ After some recent time at the Center, there has been a kind of–” So in other words, he has visited Myrtle Beach, your Center. “After there has been a kind of a flow of events happening in which there seems to be no other explanation than ‘I am not the doer.'” DANIEL: Wow. I’d have to really think about that one. “I am not the doer.” I have had many experiences where I thought Baba took over, which I think is probably what he’s talking about, and where I seem to be–I’m just following the breadcrumbs of what he’s laid out for me, and I can just step into the places that he opens up, and I can go there. Some of them have been sort of like just extraordinary kinds of “synchronicities” or coincidences like that. But I’d say my life in general has been like that for me. It’s been–I felt like Baba–the way I’ve experienced Baba is creating openings in my life and then inviting me to step into them, and whether that’s at a career level, because he’s given me extraordinary opportunities to work in very different kinds of– extraordinary kinds of situations. Personally, opportunities to serve him that just open up out of nowhere, and all of a sudden I’m invited in to do something that is the fulfillment of some longing inside myself, but it has gone unexpressed, and all of a sudden there it is, and I can do it. So I’ve been given lots and lots of opportunities like that in my life with Baba. I wouldn’t generally describe my life with Baba as supernatural, and I don’t think Baba’s way was generally “supernatural.” I can certainly say there are many people who’ve had “supernatural experiences” with Baba, but that’s not–it’s not how I would generally describe Baba’s way. I would describe Baba’s way as being the most natural way. And so I remember going through a very difficult personal period where I was feeling very isolated in my life for–you know, over some very intense personal things happening. And a lot of this–people that I’ve been associated with, the community I’ve been associated with, kind of disappeared from my life for a period of time. But out of nowhere, there appeared two people who were brand new to me who became extremely important friends and supports for me to help me get through that period. And that’s an example of what I–you know, again, there’s nothing supernatural about it, but it was like, wow, you look back on it and say, “That is so extraordinary that happened.” You know, I couldn’t have planned that. I couldn’t have thought that that was the solution to my problem. You know, or, you know, a healer shows up that was extremely, you know, just the perfect person for me to work with out of nowhere. So, and that’s happened to me many, many, many times. So those are some examples that I associate with the question. RICK: Another angle for his question is that, you know, superficially, we’re an individual. Fundamentally, we’re pure consciousness, and pure consciousness doesn’t do anything. And so when you awaken to your nature as pure consciousness, you may very well have a sense that I do not act at all. I’m not doing anything, even though there seems to be all this doing happening, but it’s not me doing it. There are a bunch of verses in the Gita about that, too. Okay, so we still have a lot to cover, but we should talk about the Masts a little bit. DANIEL: Great. So this is an extraordinary part of Baba’s life, and it consumed, you know, much of, you know, I would say up to 15 years of his life was his work with what are called Masts. The actual Sufi word is Mast i’Allah, and these are individuals who have achieved advanced states of consciousness. They’re not on the gross physical level. They’re on either the subtle level or the mental level, but they are extremely advanced beings. But they are in states, they’re lost in states of enchantment. RICK: And they’re human living beings. They’re not just other worldly beings. DANIEL: Yes, they’re living beings. And you see them. I mean, there was one who lived in Meherabad where Meher Baba’s center is in India. Many of us who would go there over the years got to know, his name was Muhammad, and he was on the fifth or sixth plane of consciousness. And they can seem very, very peculiar. They seem on the manifest level like they might even be mentally deranged. But, in fact, Baba said they’re the farthest thing from mentally deranged there can be. But he said the average person cannot tell the difference between a madman and a Mast. And some of these Masts live, you know, that as exalted as their states of consciousness are, that their physical circumstances can be the exact, the reflection of the exact opposite of that state of exaltation. So they can live in places, you know, some of them live in urinals, you know, in India. And if you’ve ever been in a urinal in India, you know that’s not a place most people would like to live. So, and they can, you know, they can be dressed in rags. Some of them, you know, some of them are naked, you know, and just. And so Baba spent, did a tremendous amount of work. I think he, over his lifetime, I believe he contacted 1000 or 2000 masts. And he contacted them one by one to work with them. And his work with them was twofold. And this is all very well documented work in a book called The Wayfarers by a man named William Donkin, who was involved with Baba. And Baba would travel around India on what he called Mast tours. And he would take his mandali with him and they would travel, you know, miles and miles and miles in the most rudimentary circumstances, and bullock carts and trains and, you know, whatever it took. But Baba was always intent on finding these Masts. And they, you know, they sometimes, you know, travel miles through swamps to a village where there was a Mast. And when Baba would find the Mast, the work that Baba would do with the Mast, Baba said, was twofold. The first part of the work was to help the Mast spiritually, because the Mast, because they’re in a state of enchantment, that they are, they’re kind of stuck. Like the spiritual path is a spiritual, it’s a path of progress. It’s a continual progress toward the goal, which is God’s realization. But if you get lost in the state of enchantment, you stop moving forward. And so these Masts are kind of stuck in these states of enchantment. And so Baba’s work with them was to help dislodge them from the states of enchantment. And how he did that, no one knows. I mean, this is the inner work that Baba did with the Masts, and he did it very often in seclusion, though not always. But one could not see any kind of manifest for the Masts. RICK: Well, it was done for Baba himself in a way. I mean, you said, you know, he was just not eating or closing his eyes for nine months, and some guy worked with him for a while. Shirdi Sai Baba’s disciple worked with him and got him more integrated. DANIEL: That’s right. You can see that as a counterpart. RICK: So did these guys become more normal after Baba had worked with them? DANIEL: They became somewhat more normal. RICK: Moved out of the urinal or whatever? DANIEL: They were able to keep moving. They were able to keep moving spiritually. They didn’t necessarily change their physical circumstances that much from what I can see. Baba said that actually the experience of being a Mast for some Masts actually impacted their brains. So there was a certain amount of mental damage that was done. But he said in their next birth, they would experience normal brains, and they would come back at the state of consciousness that they had achieved, and they would move on from there. So it’s a fascinating part of his work. RICK: And I presume that the purpose, it had a larger purpose than just helping these 1,000 or 2,000 guys, because somehow it was, they were pivotal in the shift of world consciousness. And by freeing them up in their progress, he was enacting a larger influence in the world. DANIEL: Absolutely, because Baba said the second, so I said there were two purposes in his work with the Masts. One was to help them spiritually, and the second one was to give them a share of his universal work. So Baba said his universal work had to be, that he shared his universal work amongst the spiritual hierarchy. The job of the spiritual hierarchy is to carry out the plan that Baba puts in place that is going to affect the transformation of consciousness. But it’s being done at such a broad universal or multi-universal level that the entire spiritual hierarchy participates in it. So he was able to use the Masts to help carry forth a portion of that work, which of course was helpful for the Masts too. You know, anytime you do service for God, you’re actually serving yourself, Baba said. You’re not serving anybody else. RICK: You’re the prime beneficiary. DANIEL: Yeah right , you are the prime beneficiary. So that was Baba’s work with the Masts. RICK: And it seemed like he worked with a number of proxies like that. He would work with poor people, washing their feet and putting his forehead on their feet, and work with lepers or animals and different things. And somehow I read somewhere that in doing that, he felt like it was having a ripple effect for all people of that sort. They were like just representatives of the larger circle of poor people or sick people or whatever. DANIEL: You know, it’s a really good point, and I don’t know that Baba ever said that per se. You know, Baba was not prone to explaining himself, just to say. RICK: Maybe someone else was explaining that that was an interpretation of him. DANIEL: I think they’re fair interpretations, but they are interpretations. But Baba, one thing is that in the 1920s, Baba was in Meherabad, which became his primary headquarters in India and is still today. And he set up hospitals, free hospitals always, and ashrams, and he had schools and free schools and all kinds of stuff like that. And then he would have these things operating for a while, and all of a sudden, on a moment’s notice, he would end them. And he’d say, “Okay, we’re ending the school. We’re ending the hospital.” RICK: That’s been rather inconvenient for the people in the school or the hospital. DANIEL: He always arranged for them. Invariably. RICK: Get them into another school or something. DANIEL: That’s right. He invariably did that with anyone who was dependent on him. Before he would end things, he would make sure there was the money for them or the circumstances that supported them. But people would ask him, “This hospital is really great. It’s really doing good work. Why don’t you do it?” And Baba would say, the metaphor Baba used for that, he described that as the scaffolding of his work. He said the work he’s doing is at a totally different level of reality of what he’s doing through these hospitals and schools and ashrams. He’s creating something at a whole different level. So what we see is sort of the external part of the work, but he said, actually, it’s like the scaffolding of a building, that the hospital itself is just scaffolding. He said, just like in a building, when the building’s done, you take the scaffolding down. That was Baba’s story. RICK: Quite an inscrutable character, the way he worked. DANIEL: Oh, yeah. RICK: Did he say more about the new humanity in terms of, was he predicting like an age of enlightenment or golden age or something like that? And did he elaborate on what that might be like and when it might dawn? DANIEL: So, you know, in his discourses, in the book of discourses, and the folks who are watching this who are not familiar with him, it’s really a beautiful, extraordinary book of discourses on different topics about the spiritual life. And one of the first of the discourses is called the New Humanity. And this was back in the ’30s, just to say, way before New Age stuff was being talked about generally. And he did say that there was going to be a coming period of the new humanity that would be a period of spiritual experience. I don’t know that he used the word “enlightenments,” but you can sort of associate that word with a time of cooperation, of brotherhood and sisterhood, of a much higher frequency of being that people would operate on when the new humanity happened. So he talked about that in the early years. And then I think it’s fair to say that the breaking of his silence is a major factor in what he said would be the condition that would bring about this period of the new humanity. But he said it would definitely come. I was interviewed by Deepak Chopra once on his radio show, and he asked me whether or not I believed that there would be a transformation of consciousness. And I said to him, I said, “I do believe that there will be one,” because Meher Baba has said that there will be one. And I think what Meher Baba said, I take as true, the truth. But I said, “If you look at where things are headed right now, it looks like we’re headed toward a gigantic train wreck.” I said, “If you look at the trends, whether it’s at the time I was doing a lot of work in the field of pandemics, and this was years ago, way before COVID and all that. And I said, “If you look at the trends around global health and pandemics, or you look at social trends or environmental trends, or you name it, it’s not looking good. It’s looking like everything’s going to converge at this one point. It looks pretty dark.” And I said, “I think it’s fair to assume that whatever transformation and emergence of new humanity occurs, it will happen. But it will happen out of that kind of process, just like it is for me as an individual, or any individual, before there’s genuine transformation, there’s a reckoning that has to occur. That there has to be all of the forces inside of us that we hold in our subconscious that are holding us in place. They have to come to the surface, and they have to be faced and then released to allow transformation to occur.” And if that’s true at an individual level, and I’ve had my experience in individual transformation, I’m sure you have too, Rick. I think we know that that’s the price of transformation is burning. And so, if that’s true individually, it’s got to be true collectively too. So, I think it will happen. But Baba had never put a date on things like that. Baba said, he never said exactly when it would happen or what it would exactly look like. And again, I think that’s probably something that we will, you know, whether it’s an event in and of itself, or whether it’s this gradual emergence, but it looks to be like there’s the seeds. And Baba has said this too, that the seeds of the new humanity are, you know, they’ve been growing for some time now. And you have 100,000 listeners now. You know, that’s extraordinary. You know, and that’s, you know, this is not the only place that people are awakening. They’re awakening all over the world. RICK: And you’re not going to see that on the 6 o’clock news. So, those who are measuring these trends, you know, pandemics and economics and all this stuff, they’re usually not aware at all of the kind of the spiritual tide that’s coming in, you know, that’s rising. And hopefully lifting all boats, except those which are anchored won’t be quite capsized as the tide rises. There’s a cool thing I picked up from one of the books, talked about the Sufi teaching about the Jamal and the Jalal. That the Jamal is the garden and the Jalal is the fire or something like that. And that being in the garden, the main growth takes, being in the garden is nice, but the main growth takes place in the fire. But you have to be in the garden in order to build up the capacity to be in the fire. So, what you were just saying about having to sort of be purged of all the sort of dross, you know, stored up sanskaras or negativities or whatever in order to make spiritual progress. So, you get to hang out in the garden a bit to gain the wherewithal, the capacity to undergo that ordeal. DANIEL: Yeah, I mean, the Sufis that I was associated with when I did the Sufi healing work, and I think it’s true for myself, though it’s a little hard to say it, but you got to the point where you actually preferred the Jalal to the Jamal. Because you knew that the Jalal was where you were actually going to start shedding these parts of yourself that were keeping you from being able to experience those higher states, that higher consciousness. RICK: We used to call it unstressing in the TM movement. We’d go on long courses, six months of long meditations and all kinds of stuff would come out. And I was like, the Beatles wrote “Dear Prudence” because Prudence Farrow was just holed up in her little cabin for days meditating and getting really crazy as all her drug experiences and whatnot were unwound. DANIEL: It’s not fun. RICK: But then when you’re done with it, boy, you feel like you’ve kind of like gone on the course as a broken down jalopy and you’re coming out as a new Mercedes or something. You feel a big transformation. DANIEL: Absolutely. I mean, this is the path of freedom. Freedom means you’re letting go. That’s the condition of being free, is letting go. RICK: Yeah. There’s a lot of stuff about sanskaras or impressions that I’ve been listening to and reading about in these books. And one thing that kind of puzzles me is this whole thing about balancing out positive and negative sanskaras. So, I can see how we, over the course of many lifetimes, go through all kinds of experience. We’ve been murdered, we’ve been murderers, we’ve been this, we’ve been that. We’ve experienced sort of the polarities, both sides of the coin, in order for karma to get balanced out. But there was a strange story in one of the books about some guy who had supposedly, I mean, this is a hypothetical story, I’m sure, who had supposedly murdered some 99 people or something, and then went to the jungle and murdered one more person. And then he got enlightened because he had previously helped 100 people in previous lives, and he had to balance out his sanskaras by murdering 100 in order to get enlightenment. But then, you know, I don’t know, but then Baba said that it’s easier to break through the prison of good than the prison of bad. So, even positive sanskaras can be a prison, you know, gold chains instead of iron chains. But I guess the issue for me is that, you know, good works don’t necessarily lead to enlightenment, but they create a condition within us that is more conducive to enlightenment than evil works. And that’s because satva, or purity, is more translucent than tamas, or impurity. And again, this has plenty of scriptural support, you know, that you can, like in Vedanta, for instance, it’s taught that you can’t necessarily just leap to the highest state, but you can go through all kinds of selfless service, and devotional things, and meditation practices, and other things to create greater and greater purity. Or as one Zen teacher put it, “Enlightenment may be an accident, but spiritual practice makes you accident-prone.” So, this whole thing about, you know, equal good and bad gets you so balanced that then you can get enlightened just sounds a little odd to me. I wonder if you want to comment on that. DANIEL: I mean, I think the story about the 99 murders is just a metaphor. It’s just trying to make a point. RICK: It’s not a recommended spiritual practice. DANIEL: No, but the thing I would say about that is, you know, Zoroaster, the first of the known appearances of the Avatar in recorded history, his precepts were good thoughts, good words, good deeds. RICK: Yeah. DANIEL: And, you know, I take that as being, that’s a good thing. I mean, these are the things that are given to the general population to sort of, you know, because in general, this is a good thing to do. But as you get closer to actually the spiritual path, and by the way, Baba says the spiritual path doesn’t even begin until the first plane of consciousness, just to say. RICK: We haven’t really defined these planes, but… DANIEL: That’s right. RICK: Maybe we haven’t had the chance, I don’t know. DANIEL: All right, but anyway, he said, but as you get closer to that, the terms, I think, start to change quite a bit. And that the issue isn’t so much whether you do good or bad. The issue is what’s your attachment to what you’re doing, which, of course, is what Krishna spoke about with Arjuna about, you know, you do what you do, but, you know, be in the world, but not of it, you know, do your duty. Do your responsibility. RICK: live not for the fruits of action, yea DANIEL: And there’s a place that Baba said, and I think this is really, this is so right on. He said, “Living with me,” it’s like I’m quoting him. I’m not giving an exact quote, but it’s like this. “Living with me is not about leading a moral life.” He said, “This is not the ideal life.” He said, “In a moral life, you try to live a virtuous life.” He said, “That’s fine for a moral life, but it’s not really a spiritual life.” He said, “Because in that kind of life, your actions may be virtuous, but the evil part of you is still being repressed.” So it’s not like that’s getting you, you know, it’s taking you very far. It certainly keeps you from getting more bad, you know, evil sanskaras, but it’s not really doing the work of balancing out your sanskaras. He said, “When you’re with me, it’s a natural life where both the good and the bad come out, but as they come out, then they can be nullified, and then you can actually rise above them.” And he said, “That’s what it means to live with a spiritual master.” And I don’t take that to mean, you know, physically live with them. I think that’s the opportunity I feel I have in my life with Baba, which feels very vital and alive and real and current with me. I think it’s an opportunity anybody has is to lead a life, when he says, “Lead a life with me,” he means inwardly to stay connected with me is what he’s talking about there. So, you know, the good and bad stuff, yeah, the good and the bad have to ultimately balance themselves out. But when you get to a master, that the job of the master is to eliminate sanskaras. That’s why you go to a master, is for the elimination of sanskaras, according to Baba. And so, the master is the one who is actually in the best position, because the master knows the sanskaras of their followers, and is able to create the circumstances for allowing those sanskaras to actually come up, and then the master can then work on the eradication of them. And that’s how… RICK: But if you act on some sanskaras, you reinforce them. So, let’s say you’re in the presence of a master, and you start experiencing a lot of lust or something like that. The master presumably doesn’t send you to the red light district, you know. I mean, you’re able to sort of sit there and have that burned off in the master’s presence. So, it is coming out, but it’s not being reinforced by acting on it. DANIEL: Exactly, exactly. DANIEL: Yeah, the working out of sanskaras doesn’t mean acting them out. RICK: Right. DANIEL: It means unwinding them. It means going through the experience of them, but not giving them the energy and then the physical expression. RICK: Yeah, which is what we did on those long courses I was talking about. I mean, you’d be meditating most of the day for weeks, months on end, and all kinds of stuff would come up, and you’d want to do all sorts of things that you couldn’t do under the circumstances. And Maharishi would just keep saying, “Go by the clock. Just stay on the routine. Don’t marry your next-door neighbor or whatever you’re wanting to do. Just burn this stuff off, and it’ll be a lot clearer when you’re done.” DANIEL: Yeah, sounds the same thing. RICK: Yeah. DANIEL: Baba said that all of his teachings are based on sanskaras, because that’s the whole ball of wax. It’s what’s keeping us bound to these false identities that keep us from knowing who our real self is. RICK: Teachings are based on sanskaras? What does that mean? DANIEL: It means that everything he’s teaching about spiritual life is essentially about how can we manage our sanskaras. RICK: How do we clear them out? How do we attenuate the sanskaras? DANIEL: That’s right. RICK: Okay, good. Yeah. Alrighty. Well, that helps to clear that up. So, what major areas here have we not covered? I think we’ve covered most of them. I mean, there’s a whole thing about the scales of evolution, which are covered in God Speaks, and how souls start out as stone, or as gas perhaps. I don’t know. Is it gas? I mean, that’s the way the universe starts. It’s all hydrogen and helium. DANIEL: Sub-gases. RICK: Yeah. We don’t have much but gas after the Big Bang, and then eventually go through various stone, metal, vegetable, worm, fish, bird, animal, and then human. So, just kind of a… I can relate to that. I mean, that seems to be an interesting cosmology, but one thing I’ve always been curious about, if that’s how it works, is the abundance of souls in lower life forms. I mean, there are a heck of a lot more amoebas in a pond than there are probably human beings on Earth. And so, if each amoeba has its own soul, or each mosquito, or each sparrow, or something, what happens to all those souls? Because we don’t have that many humans. Is it like a whole beehive has a soul, and then it becomes eventually… that soul eventually rises up and becomes… I was once a beehive in my long-lost incarnation. Did he say anything about the mechanics of that? DANIEL: You know, I never heard anything that he said about that, but I’ve had the same wonderings about that. You’re talking about group souls, for example, as an example of what that is. I don’t really have an answer for that, Rick. I have wondered about the mathematics of all of this and how does it work. I just read today that there are 10 quintillion insects on the Earth. Just to sort of give a number to what you’re talking about. So, it is a pretty sobering thing, and I don’t have any answer to that as to whether there’s… what Baba said about that. RICK: I was just curious. And he also talked about the higher planes. I guess, for instance, there’s a whole thing about people on the fourth plane, whatever that is, higher than you and I are probably at, which if they begin to get Sidhi’s, and if they use them for nefarious purposes or for entertainment or to show off or whatever, they can end up falling back to the level of rock and having to work their way… or stone, having to work their way back through the… Hey, your name is stone, aren’t you worried? DANIEL: Right, I try not to read too much into that. RICK: So, that’s an interesting thing about… And then he also spoke of higher planes from which you can no longer fall. You’re beyond the possibility of falling. DANIEL: So, Baba… I mean, God speaks, again, it’s a brilliant text about the purpose and structure of creation. Being a systems thinker kind of guy, that’s what I do for a living. So, and it’s very much a systems orientation toward understanding creation. But what Baba says is that there are three basic phases in the journey of the soul from the state of God unconscious to God conscious. And the first of them is through the evolution of consciousness through form, which is what you talked about, you know, stone, mineral, bird, fish, so on, up to human form. And then there’s the process in the human form of what he calls reincarnation. And he said that typically it takes 8,400,000 lifetimes in a human form to progress to the point where you’re ready to enter into the planes of involution. And then there’s a process of going beyond the gross physical form into these inner states. And he describes six different inner states, planes of consciousness. The first three of which are in what he calls the subtle world, which is the world of energy. And then there’s a fourth plane, which is the transitional plane. And then the two highest planes, the fifth and sixth are in the mental planes. The fifth plane being the plane of thought and the sixth plane being the plane of feeling. And he, Baba, describes each of these planes and what the experiences of the planes and what you call the Sidhis or the powers are that one has in each of these planes. And they’re quite substantial. I mean, you know, in the second plane, you can bring, you know, dead things back to life. In the fourth plane, Baba said you can actually create an entire universe breathing with life just to give a sense about what these powers are. These aren’t, you know, things, you know, we think of things, you know, people that have sort of, you know, you know, powers of mind reading, things like that. They’re really, you know, most of those are in the astral planes, you know, before you even get to the first plane. So, you know, you’re talking about when you get to the first plane, it is such a plane of such advanced consciousness that many people, when they get there, think that they’ve actually arrived at the goal of God consciousness. Because it is so blissful and it is so advanced and so completely divorced from what their previous experience was. But they’re actually just at the beginning of the planes of evolution and you go from the first to the second and third and you get to the fourth. And that’s the plane where you actually have universal power and you have all the power, if all the power that there is infinite power at your disposal. And as you said, if you use it, Baba said, if you use it well, that is to help support other and help other people in their own spiritual advancement and their own spiritual ongoing, you know, it’s fine. And it will help you advance into the fifth plane. But if you misuse it for any kind of personal egoic purposes, then you do risk falling down as far as all the way back to the stone stage. But Baba did say that when somebody gets to the fourth plane, there’s usually a fifth or sixth planer or above who are watching them to make sure that they don’t misuse the powers and that they intervene to prevent it from happening. So, it’s a horrendous idea. Just imagine going through that. But Baba says it’s also rare, but it’s important. You know, it’s really important. It’s important to be aware of that as a cautionary note. RICK: Yeah. There’s an interesting book called “Initiation” by Elizabeth Haich. Did you ever read that book? DANIEL: I think I did. RICK: Yeah. And she had remembered having been, you know, alive back in ancient Egypt, and she made some mistake and ended up going into the stone state. But over the next 4,000 years ago or so, she evolved out of that again back to being a fairly evolved human being. So, it’s not like she had to go through billions of years of evolution as might have happened, you know, the first time around. DANIEL: That name will be… RICK: Yeah. Anyway, a lot of this stuff is very hypothetical, and, you know, people can choose to take it as the Gospel truth because Baba says it, or they can, you know, choose to take it as hypotheses interesting to ponder. I’m kind of that way myself, the latter, with just about everything. But I’m open to the possibility that all these things are the way they are, and just to have a kind of scientific attitude toward it, you know? DANIEL: You know, I think all of the stuff that Baba gave, you know, about these teachings, I personally find it very profound and very compelling and persuasive. But the essence of Baba is not that. You know, the essence of Baba is love. And Baba made that clear, and it wasn’t that Baba insisted that people believe any of these things. In fact, Baba said that actually belief, for most people, is actually a pretty superficial level of personality. It doesn’t really matter that much. He said what matters is the condition of the heart. And so Baba’s emphasis was always on awakening the heart, and what he wanted people to do was to develop their love, the love relationship with him, you know, and to enter into that relationship. And that’s what he offered people. He said, “That’s really what I’m here to offer you, is the opportunity to establish a relationship with divine love. And the way you do that is to tap inside your own heart. Find me inside your own heart.” Baba said, “I’m not this body. Don’t confuse me with being this body. This body is just a cloak. It’s a coat. I put it on so you can see me, so you can establish a relationship with me.” Once we’ve established that relationship, the cloak’s no longer necessary. And so he always de-emphasized the physicality of his being. He always said to people, “Find me here. Find me inside your heart. That’s where I live. That’s where you’ll find me, and that’s where you can know me.” RICK: Yeah, I’m glad you brought it back to that, because all these metaphysical speculations, you know, if people thought that that’s what he was all about, then they could just debate endlessly about whether these things are true, and this and that. But it wouldn’t do them much good. But like you just say, you know, just the blossoming of the heart is what’s important, and I guess was his primary objective for everyone. DANIEL: Yeah, yeah. His total objective. RICK: Good. All right, well, thanks, Daniel. This has been an interesting conversation. I’m glad I had a few weeks without another interview so as to just really plunge into all of this and read all these books and everything. And I’m sorry if I haven’t become like an avid Baba devotee all of a sudden. DANIEL: It’s okay. RICK: It took me a few years, I heard you say. Yeah, but it’s just been fascinating, you know, getting to know him more, you know, and getting exposed to all this. I’ve enjoyed it. DANIEL: I’ve really enjoyed it. I really appreciated the preparation you did for this interview. I was really impressed by it. And just your questions, I think, were just really thoughtful, thought-provoking, and really exploring really important things. And I’ve really been happy to be able to sit here with you and kind of share what I’ve been able to share. RICK: Great. Well, thank you, Daniel. Oh, and so — okay, so you’re down there in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and there’s a center there. And I imagine that there are — like that fellow Rob McCue said he had visited there recently. So that’s a place people can come to, and there must be retreats or programs or something there. DANIEL: Yeah, no, the center here is for anyone who’s interested in Meher Baba, who wants to get started about him, wants to know more. It’s a beautiful center. We’ve got about a square mile of wildlife refuge right on the ocean. We’ve got a mile-long beachfront, and we’ve got cabins, and people can come here for retreat. Baba was here three times in the 1950s, and Baba said of all the places he’d ever visited, this is the place he loved the most. And he said he would never leave, and people come here because they can experience Baba’s presence really in such a vivid way here. When they come, people come from all over the world. And we don’t have a retreat program, per se. You know, people come here, and they pursue their own inner relationship with him in whatever way they want. But we do have programs that go on that people are welcome to attend. There are talks or there are music programs or discourse readings or things like that that are available to people, but there’s certainly no compunction to do them, because the real essence of coming to the center here in Myrtle Beach is to experience Baba’s presence. And we make it affordable for people, so it’s not a difficult thing to do. And as I said, it’s a beautiful wildlife refuge here. We have a mile-long freshwater lake just adjacent to the ocean, and we’ve got wild animals on the property and all that. RICK: Sounds great. Somebody can just come and pay a modest fee and stay in a cabin for a week and do a personal retreat and plug into some activities if there are any. DANIEL: Absolutely. RICK: There’s meals. I imagine they can just come and get their meals. DANIEL: We don’t serve meals. People have communal kitchens that people can take and they can do that. And if you go to mehercenter.org, that’s where you can get all the information about coming and learn a little bit more about Baba. And then there are other retreat properties around and other centers for Baba in the U.S. RICK: Around the world. Good. I’ll make sure that I’ll link to the mehercenter.org. And I’ve also created a page where there will be links to various other resources, like some of these books I’ve mentioned can be downloaded for free from various websites. And anyway, you guys don’t seem to be about the money. There’s a lot you can tune into. DANIEL: Baba never wanted money to be a factor for people. RICK: Yeah, that’s great. DANIEL: Yeah. RICK: Good. Well, thanks, Daniel. Appreciate spending time with you. DANIEL: Yeah, me too, Rick. Thanks so much. RICK: All right. We’ll be in touch. DANIEL: Okay. Take care. RICK: Bye. Thanks, everybody.