Have you ever noticed that people who actually do it, don’t use that phrase? I think they don’t use it because it probably makes them nervous to do so, at least out loud. They are, I think, very much aware of Baba’s saying, “I alone do my work.” He was pretty strong about it in a message given at the East-West Gathering in 1962.
He said in part: “You must always remember that I alone do my work. Although only the one who has become One with God can serve and work for all, I allow you to work for me so that you have the opportunity to use your talents and capacities selflessly and to draw closer to me. You should never think that in your work for me you are benefiting others, for by being instrumental in bringing others to me, you are benefiting yourself.”
I don’t think that statement is unclear, is it? But the phrase “Baba worker” has over the years taken on a different connotation, a subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – inference that it’s a label bestowing status, with the result that competitiveness rears its ugly head. I will bet that every one of us has been irritated at least once by some self-described “Baba worker” who assumes a mantle of authority, usually embroidered with smugness, as well as an insatiable desire for approval. It reminds me of one of my nephews who, at the age of two, climbed up in a tree and yelled, “Look at me! Look at me, somebody!” I once asked an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in a while what he was doing. “I am about my Master’s work,” was the reply. Not knowing how to respond to that one, I quickly remembered I had to be somewhere else, immediately. And then there was the Westerner living in India who thought he was a “junior mandali,” sure to succeed to full mandali status at some point. He had it all worked out, until Eruch Jessawala disabused him of the idea.
Maybe it would help if we just used a phrase other than “Baba worker.” Perhaps “Baba’s servant” would cover it. Or is that a rung too low on the ladder? Is there some sense of shame attached to just being a servant? I think it would put the whole thing in perspective. Certainly, if I thought I was Meher Baba’s servant, I’d be very happy. And if you think about it, it should come as a relief to all of us, putting the burden of work back on the Avatar, where it belongs. After all, who else do you really trust to do God’s work?