(Aug. 02, 1953) Baba then commented about India, the habits of Perfect Masters and the past habits of the different Avatars:
It is astonishing to find that India is said to be a land of spirituality. In no other country is found such blind faith, superstition and practice of religious ceremonies. Now, think what people would say when I am considered a spiritual Master if they found me playing cricket. Ninety-nine percent would say, “How could he be a spiritual Master?” If tomorrow I drink liquor or smoke a cigarette (1) or go to a movie in public, ninety-nine percent would say that such could not be the activities of a Perfect Master. They forget that what they eat, the Sadguru also eats. And if they go to the cinema, why shouldn’t the Sadguru?
If we tell them that Ram was a hunter and a meat eater and that Krishna enjoyed the company of the Gopis, they would reply: “They were God-Men and as such are not bound. It is all their leela, their play.”
I am now playing cricket and seeing films which were not there in the days of Ram or Krishna. Now, after four hundred to five hundred years, people will say that Baba was the Avatar and so he could do that. He could play cricket, he could see movies, as he was eternally free.
Even saints and swamis of great repute would say the same if they were to see me indulging in such pastimes. But the Vedantists are quite well-versed intellectually and should understand that perfection means in each and every thing – all round, in the highest and the lowest – quite unique and above all.
The West is supposed to be materialistic. Many of my lovers there take me to movies, dress me finely; they never have thoughts which Easterners have. They take me as the spiritual Master, one hundred percent like Christ. They know how Christ behaved.
The West too has saints, but they never feel the way Easterners feel. Take Filis Frederick of America. She loves me one hundred percent and has deep faith in me and is quite learned. She came to Myrtle Beach when I was there with the mandali. She would always call me “Baba darling” and would say, do this, do that, take fish, eat meat, come to the movies, and so on and so forth.
(1) Meher Baba once illustrated: “Suppose I smoked. Then I would feel absolutely one hundred percent comfortable to do so with my intimate ones.” Although Baba did not smoke, when it was a relaxed occasion he would allow his men mandali who did to smoke cigarettes in his presence. Saints and yogis most commonly do not permit people to smoke in front of them.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 12, pp. 4204 – 4205.