Eruch used to say that Baba accepts us as we are, not in spite of who we are. Given how some of us are, if we haven’t experienced this acceptance for ourselves, this may seem hard to believe. A doubt reinforced by the fact that Baba, in His writings and messages, seems to constantly emphasize the need for His lovers to discard the selfish habits of their lower selves.
On the surface, this seems like Baba is asking us to change and is a contradiction of Eruch’s statement, but I don’t think this is really the case for two reasons. First of all, Baba does accept people as they are. When one reads of people’s accounts of meeting Baba, one is struck by two common threads. One is of recognition and familiarity: people often felt as if they had known Baba for ages, that they were meeting a long lost friend. And people felt that Baba knew everything about them, their weaknesses, their impure thoughts, and yet it didn’t make any difference, for His love was unconditional.
Even today, when people meet Baba internally, this overwhelming sense of unconditional acceptance is what they describe. And secondly, Baba doesn’t demand that we change, as much as He encourages and inspires us to transform ourselves and become who we really are.
In short, the first thing Baba does is accept us as we are. And only once Baba has done this, does His love inspire us to become something else. This creates in us a very different dynamic than were Baba to simply accept us in spite of our faults. I think this is crucial because only after feeling that we are fully accepted for who we are, can we begin the arduous task of changing who we are. We would not have the self confidence that comes from total acceptance.
When we don’t feel totally accepted, we are uncomfortable with ourselves and this often manifests by our denying our weaknesses, or trying to overlook them. Changing them, however, requires that we recognize them for what they are. When we begin to get an idea of just how vast they are, we are overwhelmed and we suspect that nobody could accept us if they knew just how bad we were. So we start pretending to be good, which is not the same as working on our weaknesses, instead it’s merely trying to improve our strengths.
But Baba’s total acceptance of us gives us the confidence to accept ourselves fully. And once we do that, we then have the internal fortitude to recognize and acknowledge our weaknesses. Instead of trying to hide them, we can allow them to surface. In fact, Baba’s presence often brings with it, a sudden awareness of weaknesses we didn’t even know we had.
Yet this awareness is not accompanied by criticism on Baba’s part. Baba does not condemn us for having weaknesses, rather He attempts to show us how we can overcome them. By not demanding that we change, Baba actually makes it easier for us to do it. Baba’s acceptance of us makes us the agents of change. And trying to change because we want to has a different dynamic from trying to change because someone else is suggesting that we need to.
Because Baba accepts us as we are, we end up wanting to change out of our love for Him or to remove those obstacles which are obstructing our love.
Instead of secretly wishing to indulge our weaknesses, we now find them burdensome and become eager to be able to abandon them, and this is the first step to actually overcoming them. Of course, there is still the tricky bit about burning them up in the fire of conscious awareness and intelligent action but this, at least, becomes potentially possible once we feel so deeply accepted that we have the courage to face our weaknesses without turning away.
Baba’s unconditional love not only gives us the self confidence for this task, it also give us the motivation to attempt it and the stamina to put up with the long arduous process of accomplishing it.
So, although Baba accepts us as we are, at the same time He is constantly encouraging us to become something else. And if this seems like a contradiction, we have to remember one of Adi K Irani’s favorite sayings, “Contradictions that are denounced by logic are embraced by love.”