Changing to the tales of Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz, his favorite poet, Baba stated: (April 1963).
There is no one equal to Hafiz in poetry. He was a Perfect Master. He was fat and very ugly and born of poor parents. His father was a coal merchant. Hafiz, too, was a coal merchant and very black with soot, so imagine how he must have looked. From his childhood, he had a penchant for hearing stories of Perfect Masters. He memorized the whole Koran by heart, and hence was given the title of Hafiz.
When Hafiz was twenty-one years old, while passing by a big mansion, he saw a very beautiful girl on the terrace. He fell in love with her at that instant and decided he would marry her. The girl did not even take notice of the ugly Hafiz in the street. Hafiz felt helpless, and he thought of gaining her by the forty-days’ penance. He succeeded in his attempt [of chilla-nashini], and on the fortieth day, the archangel Gabriel came to him and told him to ask for anything he wished. Gabriel’s beauty was so astounding that Hafiz forgot the beauty of the girl. He thought that if Gabriel could be so beautiful, how much more would be the beauty of God! So, he at once replied: “I want God!”
Gabriel directed him to the Perfect Master Attar. Hafiz served Attar for forty long years. He broke his head at the feet of Attar, so it is said, but the Master still seemingly had no compassion for Hafiz. After forty years of such hell on this Earth, one day, Attar suddenly gave Hafiz God-Realization. After having the divine experience, Hafiz began reciting poems, (1) and that is why his poetry is Truth, and so beautiful and knowledge-giving.
Baba concluded by stating:
Powers have no significance. Hafiz says:
“The one who does not lay his life at the feet
of a Perfect Master cannot know God.”
It is very difficult to become one with God. A Master’s grace makes it very easy, but to get his grace is as difficult as trying to realize God by one’s own efforts. It becomes easy once one becomes a slave at the feet of a Perfect Master. Ages of restlessness get eased as soon as one drops one’s life at his feet. This does not mean cutting off one’s head and putting it at the feet of the Master. It means literal obedience.
(1) During the late 1920s, Meher Baba once revealed that Hafiz did not, in fact, actually write his poetry, but recited or sung it and a disciple wrote down his inspired words.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 18, pp. 6138 – 6139.