God Speaks

Infobox Book
name = God Speaks


image_caption = Book cover
author = Meher Baba
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
genre =
publisher = Dodd, Mead and Company
release_date = 1955
media_type = Print (Hardback)
pages =
isbn = ISBN 9780915828029

"God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose" (ISBN 978-0-915828-02-9) is the principal book by Meher Baba and the most significant religious text used by his followers. It exhaustively covers Meher Baba's view of the process of Creation and its purpose and has been in print continuously since 1955. ["Time Magazine", July 1, 1966, Allan Cohen, Ph.D., Robert Dreyfuss and Frederick Chapman — "In his most important book God Speaks, (published 1955, by Dodd, Mead) Meher Baba outlines the differences between real consciousness and its multicolored shadows..."]

Overview

"God Speaks" is Meher Baba's most significant published book. Kenneth Lux writes, "God Speaks" is Meher Baba's major book and it is famously difficult. But not only is it Baba's major book, it is his only book. All other books by Meher Baba, such as the "Discourses" and "Listen Humanity", are not written as books, as God Speaks is, but are collections of essays and messages." [Kenneth Lux. "The Love Street Lamppost", July/October 2005] While Meher Baba does not emphasize intellect alone as a path to perfection, in God Speaks Meher Baba delves deeper into the subject of metaphysics than most other Indian masters. In "Mastery of Consciousness" Allan Y. Cohen, Ph.D. writes that in God Speaks "his explanations of the creation, purpose, and evolution of the universe may be the most explicit ever written." ["Mastery of Consciousness", Allan Y. Cohen, Ph.D., Harper & Row, New York, 1977, p. 21] Oriental scholar Walter Evans-Wentz, the original English translator of The Tibetan book of the dead, wrote, "No other Teacher in our own time or in any known past time has so minutely analyzed consciousness as Meher Baba has in God Speaks." [Evans-Wentz, Walter, "The Uniqueness and Paramount Value of God Speaks", 1955 Book review]

"God Speaks" takes a strictly nondualist approach in explaining the universe and its purpose, carefully clarifying and syncretising terms as it takes the reader through the spiritual journey of the "atma" (soul) through its imagined evolution, reincarnation, and involution, to its goal, its origin, of "Paramatma" (Over-soul). The journey winds up being one from God unconscious ("Beyond Beyond State of God") to God conscious ("Beyond State of God"). "God Speaks" draws the same conclusion as Adi Shankara, that atma is Paramatma. Cohen summarizes, "In elaborate detail he explains the universe is an arena where infinite existence, identifying with the apparently limited soul, becomes more and more conscious of its oneness with itself as the Over-Soul." ["Mastery of Consciousness", Allan Y. Cohen, Ph.D., Harper & Row, New York, 1977, p. 21]

The Birth of Consciousness

According to "God Speaks", in the evolution of consciousness, before the Soul has any consciousness of anything or itself, there is an infinite, impressionless unconscious tranquil state. Meher Baba calls this state the "Eternal Beyond-Beyond State of God" (or "Paratpar Paramatma"), which has no experience of Self, nor of any of its Infinite latent attributes. Latent in this Infinite state is the undifferentiated and unmanifested "Everything". Meher Baba says that the state of the man's consciousness during sound sleep is literally the same original divine sound sleep state of God. Synopsizing this concept in God Speaks biographer Charles Purdom writes, "In the beginningless beginning, in the beyond the beyond, God Is in absolute sound sleep." [Purdom, Charles, "The God-Man: The Life, Journeys & Work of Meher Baba with an Interpretation of His Silence & Spiritual Teaching", George Allen & Unwin, London, 1964. p. 322]

Meher Baba writes that in Everything is also included the "Nothing". Latent in "Paramatma" is the "First Urge", which is expressed by the question "Who Am I?". This First Urge at one finite but unlimited point becomes manifest as the "Om Point" or the "Creation Point." Through this point the Nothing gradually appears as the shadow of the Everything and this appearance starts expanding ad infinitum. Simultaneously with the manifestation of the "First Urge", the infinite Soul, in a tremendous shock, experiences its very first gross "impression" as it identifies itself with the projected Nothingness. In this experience, the first illusory separation (sense of separate identity) takes place in the undifferentiated. The Soul, still not conscious of its true Self, becomes identified with its projected shadow through this very first impression, thus initiating the illusion of duality. ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 2nd Ed., 1975. pp. 9-12.] Although this first event of consciousness might be considered to correlate with what is called the "Big Bang," for Meher Baba the beginning of creation is in fact a beginning in consciousness. ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 2nd Ed., 1975. pp. xxxi.]

To make this first event more approachable to understanding, Baba gives the metaphor of an Infinite ocean and a drop of that ocean. [Charles Haynes, Ph.D. "Meher Baba, The Awakener", Avatar Foundation, Inc., 1993, p. 7] In this metaphor, "Paramatma" (a vedantic term, for which Meher Baba says "Over-soul" would be the closest western equivalent) is likened to an infinite and limitless ocean. Any drop of this ocean (the drop signifying the individuated soul) is the ocean itself, since no differentiation between drops has yet been conceived. If we liken the manifestation of the First Urge as the imagined separation of one drop from the ocean, then the infinite ocean comes to look upon itself through this drop as merely this most finite, most limited drop of the infinite and unlimited ocean. It is important to keep in mind that here Meher Baba is using metaphor and analogy to explain changes in God's imagination and the development of consciousness and that he is not describing a metaphysical ocean or literal drops in any sense. As Charles Purdom writes, "The ‘ocean’ is a symbol, no more." [Purdom, Charles, "The God-Man: The Life, Journeys & Work of Meher Baba with an Interpretation of His Silence & Spiritual Teaching", George Allen & Unwin, London, 1964. p. 310]

Development of Consciousness

Evolution

The very first forms which the indivisible Soul's consciousness identifies its eternal Self with, according to Meher Baba, are seven gaseous forms (the seventh of which is Hydrogen, according to a footnote). ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 1955, 2nd Ed., 1975. p. 77] Yet since these are very abstract forms, beyond ordinary human understanding, for the sake of convenience, the first form which consciousness associates itself with is described as the stone-form. Through the medium of this form the individualized soul, experiencing impressions related to the kingdom of stones, associates itself with the stone. When all impressions arising from this association have been experienced and exhausted, the soul dissociates itself from that form and associates with the next stone species. When the whole range of impressions through all stone species have been exhausted, the soul starts associating itself with forms of the metal kingdom, and so forth through evolution. In all, seven major leaps are mentioned in this evolutionary process in consciousness: from stone, to metal, to vegetable, to worm, to fish, to bird, to animal and finally to human. ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 1955, 2nd Ed., 1975. Part II, Initial Urge and the Journey of Evolving Consciousness pp. 8-27]

Meher Baba describes an unfolding geometric schema of forms. In the stone and metal forms, consciousness asserts itself through a recumbent, folded-up position in the gross world, with no voluntary motion. In the vegetable forms, increased consciousness asserts itself through a vertical position and is depended on soil and rock to hold an upright position. In the worm forms (in which Meher Baba includes for his own purposes all worms, insects, reptiles and amphibians) an animate experience is reached, with voluntary movement, but in a creeping and now horizontal manner. In the fish form, consciousness asserts itself as a creature with voluntary movement in water, but still in a horizontal manner. In bird form consciousness is enriched by identifying itself with a form capable of flight and maintaining a slightly erect position. In (quadruped) animal form, an increasingly erect position is experienced, with much more developed attributes. When the human form is reached, consciousness is fully developed and asserts itself through the ideal medium in a fully upright stance. ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 1955, 2nd Ed., 1975. p. 28-30]

Throughout this process, every time the soul associates itself with a particular form, it collects through this medium impressions of the gross world. When the impressions through association with a particular form have been exhausted, the soul dissociates from that form. Yet the collected impressions must be further experienced and for this the soul associates with the next most developed form. So when the human form is reached, although consciousness is fully developed, it has a store of impressions that still need to be experienced. While the soul is no longer in search of a better medium, it has to go through numerous human forms, until these impression gathered through evolution are weakened and finally exhausted. ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 1955, 2nd Ed., 1975. pp. 12-33.]

Reincarnation

Through the entire process of evolution, the soul has been consciously identifying itself with the evolving gross body ("sharir"), yet, unconsciously, it has also been identifying itself with the evolving subtle and mental body ("pran" and "mana"). The subtle sphere refers to energy, or prana, which is a higher form of what we know as nuclear energy. In the book it is also referred to as the life-giving energy, or the breath of God. The mental sphere refers to the domain of instincts, feelings, and eventually also of thoughts and desires. When the human form is reached, along with the gross body, the subtle and mental bodies also reach full development and although they remain unconscious, the soul indirectly works through them in the corresponding spheres.

When the human body dies, the soul retains and further experiences the collected impressions through its identification with the subtle and mental bodies, until it associates with the next human form and takes apparent birth in it. During the interval between death and birth, the soul experiences intensively an unfolding of the impressions collected, so depending on what quality these impressions have been of (virtue or vice, good or bad), the consciousness of soul experiences either a heaven state or a hell state. After most impressions have been exhausted, a certain temporary equilibrium is reached and the soul is ready to associate itself with the next human form. The process of the soul's successive association with human forms is called reincarnation.

It is worth noting that Baba's use of the word "reincarnation" does not correlate precisely with what is described as "transmigration of the soul" in theosophy and other esoteric New Age schools of thought. For Meher Baba the soul does not actually 'migrate' because it doesn't go anywhere, since it is eternally within the Over-soul and has nowhere to go. Rather, for Meher Baba, "reincarnation" refers only to identification and dis-identification with forms conceived in illusion, i.e. the involuntary "process of intermittent association and disassociation of consciousness.” [Purdom, Charles, "The God-Man: The Life, Journeys & Work of Meher Baba with an Interpretation of His Silence & Spiritual Teaching", George Allen & Unwin, London, 1964. p. 325]

During reincarnation consciousness tries to liberate itself from the burden of collected impressions. Yet, since it tries to achieve this by associating itself with impressions opposite from the previously accumulated ones, it gets further entangled in accumulating fresh impressions. Thus the soul experiences itself in a seemingly endless succession of human lives, as a man or a woman, as rich or poor, strong or weak, beautiful or ugly, black or white, in various places, religions, castes etc. It is only after numerous apparent births and deaths, that the range of human experience starts to get exhausted. In this way the soul starts dissociating itself from the gross world, enabling its consciousness to become aware of the subtle sphere. ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 1955, 2nd Ed., 1975. pp. 34-43.]

The Perfection of Consciousness

Involution

When gross impressions become fainter, consciousness starts turning its focus from the apparent outer world inwards. This marks the beginning of its involution. Gradually the thinner gross impressions become subtle impressions, through which the soul experiences the subtle world, and as subtle impressions get exhausted, they become mental impressions, through which the soul experiences the mental world. While doing so, the soul continues to work through its gross medium, seeing, eating, drinking, walking, sleeping, but consciousness is no more entangled with the gross body or world and eventually with the subtle body and world. Finally when mental impressions have been exhausted, consciousness snaps its connection with Illusion and perceives the Soul directly. This course of involution is described as the "spiritual path". In traversing it, the soul's consciousness crosses six planes, the seventh being its final liberation from all illusion.

The first three planes belong to the subtle sphere, the fourth is on the threshold between the subtle and the mental spheres and the fifth and sixth planes are in the mental sphere. The "first plane" starts from the threshold of the gross and the subtle sphere. The soul here starts experiencing subtle phenomena simultaneously through its gross and subtle senses. It starts hearing subtle sounds and smelling subtle scents, although their nature is far different from their gross equivalents. Eventually it starts perceiving the subtle world through its subtle body and so comes to the "second plane". Here the soul becomes aware of infinite energy and can perform minor miracles, like stopping moving objects or filling dried wells with fresh water. Being not conscious of the gross world its experience gives rise only to subtle impressions of the sights, scents and sounds of the subtle world. Further involution of consciousness makes the soul experience the "third plane". Here the soul can use more aspects of the infinite energy by performing greater miracles, such as giving sight to the blind, or restoring maimed limbs.

When consciousness reaches the "fourth plane", it finds itself in a very particular state. It is fully conscious of the infinite potential of energy and can make full use of it and it also becomes aware of the mental world. This new contact creates very strong desires to make use of this huge potential. At this point consciousness finds itself in the biggest danger of its long development. Not being able to control its feelings or thoughts, the soul is strongly tempted to handle infinite energy. If the infinite potential of this plane is misused, consciousness gets completely disintegrated and the soul finds itself back to the stone-form consciousness and has to start again the long course of evolution from there. If it abstains from using this energy it enters the lower mental plane and if it makes a completely selfless use of it, for the benefit of the spiritual development of others in illusion, it even moves directly to the higher mental plane.

Having abstained from tampering with the energy of the fourth plane, consciousness enters the "fifth plane", also described as the lower mental world. This is the inquiring and reflecting state of mind and functions as thoughts mostly. Consciousness on this plane makes one capable of creating or controlling thoughts (but not minds) of gross- or subtle-conscious souls. Although a soul here cannot yet control its feelings or desires, it is safe from making any misuse of its abilities and is no longer conscious of the subtle sphere and can perform no miracles. With more involution consciousness enters the "sixth plane", which is the higher mental world. Here the soul is beyond thoughts and is conscious only of feelings. The soul here sees God "face to face" in everything and everywhere, but it cannot yet see God in itself. A soul here can master its feelings and desires completely and governs also the feelings (but not hearts) of gross- and subtle-conscious souls. The longing for union with God, or the Divine Beloved, is here in its most intense expression. Yet the soul cannot bridge this final gap by itself. Only through the grace of a Perfect Master, or Sadguru, can this final union be accomplished. So, in the fifth and sixth planes, predominant is the soul's love for God, as lover of the divine Beloved. ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 1955, 2nd Ed., 1975. pp. 44-58.]

tates of Divine Consciousness

When the soul has gained Self-consciousness, it merges with God in one of three distinct states:
#Either by dropping immediately all its illusory bodies or by retaining them for some time, yet remaining absolutely unconscious of them, the atma eternally enjoys individualized experience of the infinite power, knowledge and bliss of God, without ever using their attributes.
#Retaining its gross, subtle and mental bodies and consciousness of them, simultaneously with Self-consciousness, the atma experiences the infinite power, knowledge and bliss of God, as well as God's shadow (gross, subtle and mental worlds of illusion), but does not use their attributes for other atmas whose consciousness is still within these illusory worlds and so it is independent.
#This state is the same as the previous one, except that the atma uses its infinite power, knowledge and bliss for advancing gross-conscious atmas to subtle consciousness, subtle conscious atmas to mental consciousness and mental-conscious atmas to Self-consciousness. It may even bring gross-conscious atmas directly to Self-consciousness.

Each of these states is an eternal state for the consciousness which has overcome all illusion. Yet from the point of view of souls still within the domain of illusion, they have a sequence in time. Therefore from its point of view, a God-realized soul first "passes away into God" or "becomes God" (as in state 1), yet outwardly it is in a "divine coma", oblivious to the phenomenal world. Most souls in this state soon drop their body. A few souls, however, continue to be in this divine coma for quite a while, until, with the help of other Perfect Masters, they regain consciousness of illusion (as in state 2). They are said to have gone through the "second journey" ("first" being the traversing of the spiritual path, before merging with God). In this state they are "abiding in God" or "they are God". In Sufi terms this state is called "Baqa". According to Meher Baba, at any time on Earth there are always exactly five who have arrived at the final state of "living God's life" (as in state 3) and these are the five Perfect Masters. This state is described as the "Man-God" state, or in Sufi terms, "Qutubiyat". These five Perfect Masters can use their (God's) attributes of infinite power, knowledge and bliss to help others progress on the spiritual path and beyond. When one of the five Perfect Masters drops his body, he is said to "pass-away as God". ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 1955, 2nd Ed., 1975. p. 275.] In Avataric times, there is one additional perfect master who is the descent of God, the Avatar, or God-man, whose work is for the spiritual elevation of all of humanity and everything in creation. "The direct descent of God on Earth as Avatar is that independent status of God when God directly becomes man." ["God Speaks, The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose," by Meher Baba, Dodd Mead, 1955, 2nd Ed., 1975. p. 148-149.]

Book editions

"God Speaks" has had three editions. The first, published by Dodd, Mead and Company, received four printings, 1955, 1967, 1968, and 1970, and was 255 pages. As early as 1956 Meher Baba began work on a second edition ["Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba," by Bhau Kalchuri, "Manifestation, Inc." 1986. p. 5675] which was printed posthumously in 1973 and again in 1975, and was 313 pages. In 1990 Dodd, Mead and Company went out of business and the plates for the second edition were not preserved. For this reason, the book was retypeset and a third edition was printed in 1997. Sometimes called "the second revised and enlarged edition" or "second edition third printing", [ [http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=meher+baba&sts=t&tn=god+speaks&x=0&y=0 Alibris Books] ] though technically a new edition since it is substantially retypeset, [The bibliographical definition of an edition includes all copies of a book printed “from substantially the same setting of type,” including all minor typographical variants.. The 1997 printing of God Speaks was an entirely new typeset.] the 1997 third edition is 334 pages.

God Speaks Editions and Printings
First Edition Second Edition Third Edition
First Printing 1955 First Printing 1973 First Printing 1997
Second Printing 1967 Second Printing 1975
Third Printing 1968
Fourth Printing 1970

Book reviews

In a 1955 review of "God Speaks" anthropologist Walter Evans-Wentz, the original English translator of "The Tibetan book of the dead", wrote:

No other Teacher in our own time or in any known past time has so minutely analyzed consciousness as Meher Baba has in God Speaks. Occidental psychology, especially under the illustrious leadership of Dr. [Carl] Jung, has made great advances in the study of the unconscious and of the dream-state, but because of its necessary adherence to conservative methods of scientific research it has not been able, as yet, to fathom the Deep of the Seer. So, for the science circumscribed psychologist, God Speaks should prove to be of paramount importance in inspiring further progress on the psychological pathway.

Correlatively, noteworthy in particular is Part VIII, on the Evolution of Consciousness, and Part IX, on the Ten States of God, to which is attached a diagram linking together "the most generally accepted Sufi, Vedantic and Christian mystical equivalents." As a whole, the book marks clear the at-one-ment of the essentials of the various historic religions in the light of the gnosis of the Sufis.

Meher Baba's enlightening treatise adds much to the sum total of learning and contributes incalculably to the enrichment of mankind for, as the sages of Asia teach, the most intrinsically valuable of all riches, and greater than all mundane wealth, is Right Knowledge.

Nowhere is Meher Baba's wisdom more succinctly set forth than in his Conclusion, on page 176: "To understand the infinite, eternal Reality is NOT the Goal of individualized beings in the Illusion of Creation, because the Reality can never be understood; it is to be realized by conscious experience." [Evans-Wentz, Walter, "The Uniqueness and Paramount Value of God Speaks", 1955 Book review]

In another 1955 review in "The Awakener", Phyllis Frederick wrote:

This is primarily a book for the mind, in the sense that it requires deep thought and study, and does not appeal so directly to our emotional or devotional side as do Baba's short messages and exhortations to His followers. It is, in essence, a divine cosmology, a Map of the Evolving Universe, in which we all play a part, to help us find the quickest and shortest route home—to our Beloved God, Who Is found, on Realization, to be our very own Self. [Filis Fredrick, "The Awakener", Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 43, Fall 1955]

Notes

References

*

*

*

* Kalchuri, Bhau, "Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba" (1986), Manifestation, Inc., Myrtle Beach

*

* Purdom, Charles B., "The God-Man: The Life, Journeys & Work of Meher Baba with an Interpretation of His Silence & Spiritual Teaching", (1964),George Allen & Unwin, London

* Time Magazine, July 1, 1966, Allan Cohen, Ph.D., Robert Dreyfuss, and Frederick Chapman

* Kenneth Lux. The Love Street Lamppost, July/October 2005

* Mastery of Consciousness, Allan Y. Cohen, Ph.D., Harper & Row, New York, 1977, p. 21

* Evans-Wentz, Walter, The Uniqueness and Paramount Value of God Speaks, 1955 Book review

External links

* [http://www.ambppct.org/meherbaba/BooksByMeherBaba.php God Speaks at the Trust Online Library]
* [http://www.ambppct.org/meherbaba/divine-dreams.php God Dreams Divinely]
* [http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/product-description/0915828022 Editorial review and excerpts]


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