MARCH 29, 1948 – BABA’S GUIDANCE TO MURSHIDA IVY O DUCE ON SUFISM
In late March, Meher Baba responded to a letter from Ivy Duce dated February 15th, 1948. Baba’s letter, dictated through Dr. Ghani, covered several topics Ivy Duce had raised. Baba also repeated specific instructions he gave Ivy Duce six weeks earlier during their January meeting at Meherazad. The most relevant points are presented here:
March 29th, 1948
Dear Mrs. Ivy Duce,
… Hazrat Meher Baba wishes me to further emphasize that you should go on without hesitation and demur in furthering the cause of Sufism in the best manner you can.
Your contacts with Sufi leaders of South America and the followers of Mahboob Khan in the States and Europe are all left to your own initiative. The only thing that is expected of you is to uphold the highest traditions of spirituality, that is, Sufism pure and simple. You are not to compromise yourself with individual and local interests at any cost. Hazrat Meher Baba will be helping you internally and even your failures, on occasions beyond your control, will raise your stature, not only in your eyes but even with those whom you are working for.
It would intrigue you to note something new from me concerning professionalism in the domain of spirituality as practiced in India. The present upholders of the various schools of spirituality in India are all professionals who, beyond having deep learning of religious lore, have no tinge of spirituality about them. When people whose sole authority is derived from religious scriptures and also the heredity devolving on them from a spiritual Master no longer alive, they can never take upon themselves the responsibility of guiding others, much less claim the authority of conferring Khilafatship [Successorship] on possible aspirants.
It can thus be seen that no certification from Hasan Nizami or any Chishti school from Ajmer or elsewhere would go to help and uphold the prestige of Mahboob Khan or others like him. Even the certification of Khilafatship obtained by Murshida Rabia Martin from Hasan Nizami, copies of which you gave me while in India, is of no spiritual worth whatsoever. The spiritual worth of Rabia Martin consists in being appointed as Murshida by Hazrat Inayat Khan personally and directly. Hence the effort on the part of Rabia Martin to obtain a written investiture from Hasan Nizami was altogether superfluous and unnecessary… .
For the continuance of the work of spiritually enlightened humanity, it is never imperatively essential to contact disembodied Masters, nor is it necessary to receive messages from departed souls. It is only living Masters actually working on the physical plane that sometimes communicate or send messages of guidance through and to suitable mediums.
The sending of messages even by living Masters is a rare phenomenon and very seldom resorted to, unless the urgency of the situation warrants it. The Masters who are out to guide humanity always do so by having recourse to ordinary and natural means of communication. When Masters in flesh avoid all occult methods of teaching and guiding humanity through appointed mediums, whatever may be their intrinsic worth, you can imagine how tall and presumptuous the claim of certain individuals can be when they talk of receiving messages from Masters, and that too from those who are no more on the physical plane of existence. You are therefore enjoined by Hazrat Meher Baba to remember that nobody should succeed in impressing or overawing you by such claims as having the capability of receiving messages from Masters, living or dead.
Hazrat Meher Baba has once again taken this opportunity of reiterating the advice given to you while here in India:
“You should openly declare that you are a student of spirituality. You are not God-realized and that you are aspiring for that blessedness with the help and grace of a Master who is alive and active in the affairs of the world today. Since the responsibility not of your seeking of supervising the Sufi movement has devolved on you through Murshida Rabia Martin, you would do your best to shoulder the Cross, knowing fully well your shortcomings and weaknesses. While trying to help and teach others in the Sufi way, you are alive to the fact that you yourself are growing and learning. The result of your work when conducted in this spirit should be left entirely in the hands of Baba.”
Hazrat Meher Baba is gratified to note that you are trying to introduce him as the Avatar and Qutub of the Sufis in the world around you, and that you are working there under his benign guidance and direction. If you keep up to this noncommittal and detached modus operandi, without prevarication and the least signs of hesitation and doubts, it will be up to Hazrat Baba to give you strength and added zeal in the execution of your work. So far as things go, it may be adduced that if Baba is looked up to as the only source of inspiration and guidance, then whatever obstacles, difficulties and disappointments that you will have to face for his sake, you can be sure, he will never let you down.
With regard to papers and additional lessons and instructions for Sufi students, you would do well to introduce Hazrat Meher Baba’s Discourses for developing the Irfan (Gnosis) of aspirants. On the practical side of spiritual life, the chapter in the Discourses, Part III, would go a long way in helping Sufi initiates in the matter of Meditation practices over and above the papers that you already possess. The reading of Baba’s Discourses would automatically develop gnosis of the Path for spiritual aspirants and in the light of this gnosis, all practices or papers undertaken would make the task divinely interesting and spiritually intelligent.
Hazrat Meher Baba is not unmindful of the need to send out to the West an authorized guide and teacher from among his trained disciples, and he will do so at his own proper time. In the meanwhile, you should continue contacts on your side of the world in Arizona, Brazil, Australia and elsewhere. If aspirants from such far-flung places feel like having more information on Sufistic way of life, they should be asked to get in touch with Hazrat Baba, who would see to it that their difficulties are solved and mental obstacles removed.
You already know that Sufism, Vedanta and Christian mysticism are one and the same in the matter of dealing with the esoteric side of life. The only difficulty with sincere aspirants is to contact the right type of teacher. For people who are keen on furthering their spiritual way of life by means of the Sufi cult and the Sufi teaching, they should have no hesitation to refer their difficulties to Hazrat Baba who would solve their difficulties for them in the manner they would most welcome… .
With Love and Blessings from the Master for you and Charmian.
Yours in Baba,
(Dr.) Abdul Ghani Munsiff
Lord Meher, 1st. ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 9, pp. 3231 -3233.
The Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, Ahmednagar, India are the copyright holders of all of Meher Baba’s messages, discourses and photographs, unless otherwise stated.