I tend to think quite a bit about “middlemen” as that term applies to following and/or loving Meher Baba. I suppose because I see so many of them coming and going, hopefully mostly going.
They seem to pop up every once in a while and I suspect there will be more of them more often the further we get from Meher Baba’s lifetime. The ambitious see a vacuum where there is none; it exists only in their imaginations and, unfortunately, in the imaginations of those who fall for them.
This middleman thing has taken many forms over the years. I’ve known Baba lovers who spent a great deal of time in India trying to ferret out masts, trying to find someone who could tell them who the current five Perfect Masters were, and looking for saints. They chased after Poona cab drivers who had met Meher Baba (few hadn’t). A few left Baba after he dropped his body because they felt they needed a “living master.” That alone took great confidence – or maybe cockiness – since Baba had said clearly that during the Avataric Age, the current five Perfect Masters are in retirement, unknown to the world. He did at one point describe them by religion and country, and none were in the West. People have also looked for a possible chargeman, again despite the fact that Baba had said the Avatar has no chargeman. Some Baba lovers decided they didn’t like that statement and tried to create their own versions of a chargeman. Pretty sorry versions they were, too. But the most telling point, on Baba’s part, I think, was his statement that we were incapable of recognizing a Perfect Master, let alone a saint or mast. Which I assume means the only reason we recognize him is that he showers his grace on us.
The whole act of looking for some kind of teacher or middleman appears to me to be an insatiable desire to “know” every step of the way, to be able to look down and watch yourself put one foot in front of the other. But when your eyes are down, you are apt to lose sight of the goal up ahead of you, as well as get distracted by whatever else glitters on the path ahead. It would get confusing, I would think. I take more comfort and assurance in Baba’s statement that he’s takes his lovers “blindfolded” to the goal. Don’t try to get ahead of him, he told us, because he knows the pitfalls on the path and we don’t.
But it seems to take a lot of bruises from repeated tripping over our feet for some of us to grasp that concept. Too bad. Surely it is easier, and certainly more productive, to let him lead the way at his own pace.