Symbols of the world's religions



Sam Kerawala

No question has been asked so often by so many people from all walks of life as the question: is there free will? There appears to be, yet all religions, all spiritual schools of thought declare that not even a leaf, a blade of grass can move without our Beloved's Will. If this is so, then where is the free will?

So the figure has been given in spiritual tradition, of a cow tethered to a rope about fifty metres long, with the rope tied to an iron post firmly embedded in the earth. The length of the rope, about fifty metres, is the extent of the free will of the cow. The iron post to which the rope is attached is the Will of God, our Beloved Meher Baba.

However Beloved Baba has given us something much more precious than free will. He has given us discrimination, and this is what our Beloved taught us in His Gita, when He walked His earth as Lord Krishna:

'Arjun, thinking of sense objects will attach you to sense objects; grow attached you become addicted; thwart your addiction and you become angry; become angry and you confuse your mind; confuse your mind and you forget the lessons of discrimination; lose discrimination and you have lost life's only purpose.'

So, what then is discrimination?

An incident from the life of Abu Said, a great Sufi Master, once described by another Master as 'the royal Falcon of the Way', throws light on the question. Three youngsters desiring to become His disciples visited Abu Said, and He directed that they should be segregated from each other. After a short time the Master called the first aspirant to Him, made him feel comfortable and relaxed, and then put this question to him, 'If you found a purse full with money, and you knew to whom the purse belonged, would you return it to the owner?'

The aspirant boldly answered, 'Of course I would.' Abu Said smiled and said, 'You are a fool,' and sent him packing. The young man was most happy to go thinking that he had just escaped from a false master.

The second aspirant was then brought to the Master, and the same question was put to him. He answered, 'Do You think I am a fool? Of course I would keep the purse for myself.' Abu Said looked at him and said, 'Not only are you lost to this world, but also to the world to come,' and sent him off.

The third aspirant was brought to the Master, and given the same question. The man answered, 'If at that time, honesty, integrity and fear of consequence prevailed, I would return the purse to the rightful owner: if however, dishonesty and the desire to steal prevailed, then I would keep the purse for myself. Whatever it be, will happen according to Allah's Will.' Abu Said smiled and gave orders that this third aspirant be accepted into the ashram.

This is discrimination — to know what would please the Beloved and what would displease Him — the most precious gift given by Him to His creation.


Bill Le Page, pp. 174-175
1999 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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