By Jenny Keating
On one of my short pilgrimages to Baba’s Home at the end of a business trip during the 1990s, unexpectedly, I found myself alone with Eruch in Mandali Hall at Meherazad. It was a quiet moment towards the end of lunch and outside the closed doors there was the hum of pilgrims eating and chatting and laughing, happy in the family atmosphere of God’s home on Earth.
After sitting in companionable quietness for a few moments, Eruch broke the silence to ask: “Do you have any questions Jenny?” I was caught by surprise and racked my brains for any personal problems for which I needed answers. But my mind was blank, I had no questions.
I saw the Mandali as loving aunts and uncles, whose lives were an inspiration for how to live to please Baba, but it felt unnecessary to ask them personal questions about my life. They conveyed so eloquently in all they did and said what Baba wanted of us. And His own writings made His wishes very clear. Still, sometimes I did want to ask — receiving a nice straightforward answer to some of life’s complicated questions seemed very inviting. But when it came to the point it never felt right. I knew Baba wanted me to rely solely on Him, and if I searched my heart I always knew what He wanted of me — the challenge was to actually act on what I knew!
So in this moment, sitting alone with Eruch, before Baba’s Chair in Mandali Hall, I simply said “No Eruch, I have nothing to ask.” Eruch nodded slowly in response and said “You are right, you know, Jenny, not to have questions, for the answers to all your questions are within you. Do you know the story of the Ten Commandments? Those Commandments were not really on a tablet but written within the heart of each one of us. We all know what we should and shouldn’t do.”
And so I felt happy that I didn’t have questions. What Eruch said confirmed my own inner feeling that Baba provides all the answers one needs and asking someone else, even someone as wise as Eruch, was not necessary.
And recently I came across a transcription of Eruch speaking about this same topic and I found it filled out this idea so well that I wanted to share some of what he said in this column. So let me finish with his voice, his “advice”:
“First and foremost, and I tell you this truthfully, whether you believe it or not, but I tell you I feel it, I feel it deep within me, ‘who am I to give advice?’. . . Truth is within everyone. It is our birthright. It is not a question of anyone teaching anyone else, it is simply a matter of discarding our falsehood to reveal the truth within us. . . .
“It is like this, brother. Let’s say you really want to do a thing and I tell you I do not think it is a good idea and so, for my sake, because of my words, you do not do it. What have you gained? Have you learned anything? Has your heart changed? No, you still have the desire to do this thing.
“If you simply deny this desire, you will not be able to do so for long. At some point you will have to do it, or you will do something equally binding because that desire has to be expressed. Unless you feel within you, ‘Yes, this is not right, I should not do this.’ Simply refraining from doing it because of my words will not help you. . . .
“Does this mean we should do whatever we feel like doing completely ignoring what Baba has told us? No, because even though you may have desires, still part of you will know it is wrong, you will not want to do it. This is different. That is what I am trying to bring home to you. If part of you knows it is wrong, then you don’t need me or anyone to tell you that. . . .
“. . . Everything is within you. Baba has said that the voice deep within our hearts is His voice. What we need is to become attuned to this voice. Listening to me will not help you. On the contrary, depending on my external advice will take you further from the goal, which is to hear not my words, but Baba’s words, Baba’s promptings in your own heart. . . .
“This is the only infallible advice. Not that we won’t make mistakes, we will. Because we are not perfectly attuned to this voice. But we learn from mistakes. This is how we tune our receivers, not by listening to advice, but by putting our heart’s promptings into action and then being willing to listen when our heart tells us we have erred. . . .
“If I were to give advice, no matter how well meaning, no matter how sincere I was, I would be doing you a disservice by taking your attention away from your own heart and thus I would be interfering with your spiritual progress, not helping it. . . .
“[In the end] I can only share what Baba told us and then it is up to each individual to decide for themselves how this applies to their own life with the Lord. This is why I tell people time and time again, you need no intermediary between you and Baba. Baba is the one who can give advice and Baba is the one who can give you love which makes any and all advice unnecessary. The more we look elsewhere, the more we miss Baba. . .
“If you really need advice, I can give you general advice which is good for all situations, for all times, for all people, including myself. Would you like to hear that? That advice is simple; think of Baba, remember Baba, try to please Baba in everything you do and think and say. Do not indulge your weaknesses but do not wallow in guilt over your failings either. Remain cheerful, be happy, remember, Baba loves you.
“When I say this, you will not find that this helps you. You will not find that this answers your problems or gives you any idea of what you should do in a specific situation. But if you try to put [these things] into practice, you will find that you then don’t need to ask advice about any particular problem or situation.
“As Baba once explained in one of the Discourses, spirituality does not solve your problems, rather it changes our attitude towards them so that they are no longer seen as problems. Advice may or may not help you temporarily solve some problem, but a new problem will immediately arise. And these problems are infinite. So do not bother seeking advice. But seek to love Him, and then you will find that the problems themselves will disappear. They will no longer seem like problems because now your own problem will be loving Him more and more, and nothing else will have any real importance at all.”
Published January, 2018.