Symbols of the world's religions



Meher Baba

Ethics in time of war can only be judged by the degree to which they reflect the divine plan. In war there are two kinds of forces operative: (1) those which make for love, justice, harmony and the well-being of all mankind, and (2) those which work in alliance with narrow racial and national loyalties towards the selfish exploitation of others. Nevertheless, although the last great war brought great suffering and destruction upon millions of people, it was not in vain, for out of its chaos there will emerge a new world of freedom, happiness and understanding.

He who would wage war must search his heart and make sure that the ends for which he is fighting are a reflection of the divine plan. His actions will be justified only if they help to lead humanity to spiritual brotherhood cemented by an inviolable sense of the unity of all human beings, regardless of class, color, nationality, race, religion or creed.

One might ask how it is that at one time the causes of war seem rooted in individual human selfishness, at another in racial and economic pressures which transcend the individual, and at still another in the divine plan of God. And how can the individual help by striving to whittle down his own ego, if the outlines of war already exist in God's text of the past and the future.

The answer to this sincere query had best be offered by means of an analogy. One's eyes see that an apple has a rosy color, and it is said that the apple is red. One's nose may savor the aroma of the apple, and the apple is said to smell fragrant. When one takes the apple in one's hands, its skin is found to be smooth and cool, and when one bites into it, the apple is found to be sweet and succulent.

All these sensations are coordinated in some fashion by one's consciousness into the notion of one apple that has many attributes. Its succulence is no more to be denied a place in the "reality" of the apple than is its aroma or its color. It is recognized intuitively that all traits belong to the same apple, despite the fact the sensations enter consciousness through different windows. Whether the object exists partially or totally in the realm of reality, or only in illusion, is of little interest for the purposes of the analogy.

The "reality" of the apple, then, has many separate facets, as interpreted by one's senses. One suspects that it would have even more if only the mind were not limited in its perceptual capability by the types and location of the "windows" that open into it.

Just as the apple possesses a variety of unarguable properties, all of which belong to the same object, so other objects and organisms often give evidence of numerous aspects of reality. The same fact in life looks different therefore to different people, its appearance being determined by the particular window of the spiritual nature from which the individual looks.

From this emerges one vital principle: each person must look at cause and effect from the window that is natural to him. To try to see through all windows is to risk stagnation in the complexity of a whirlpool of intellectual facts that can never be integrated by intellectual means. To try to argue another out of the seeming world of reality that he sees from his window is to argue the unarguable. Roundness is as real to the apple as is fragrance, until one day both are lost in perception of the entirety.

So also it will seem to some that the causes of war lie wholly within the responsibility of the individual. For others, society will be the cause. Still others will see the hand of maya, and some will see the will of God.


LISTEN, HUMANITY, pp. 131-133, ed. D. E. Stevens
1982 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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