The average person is not familiar with masts or their spiritual condition of God-intoxication. The following description by Meher Baba elucidates what constitutes the mind of a mast:
All masts are intoxicated with God; they are intoxicated by divine love. When a normal person is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs he enjoys this sensation so long as the intoxicant is in sufficient concentration in his physical tissues: a drunkard feels happy, cares not for anyone or anything, and has one dominant sensation of drunkenness, in which the past, present or future has practically no meaning. But as soon as the ordinary intoxication passes away, the drunkard suffers the reverse – the hangover. Stimulated physical intoxication is inescapably temporary, because it is limited by the very stimulant itself, the conditions of the environment, the cost of the stimulant and the resilience of one’s condition.
Now a person who is God-intoxicated experiences the same sensation that a drunkard enjoys, and cares for no one and nothing, in proportion to the extent of his inner intoxication; the vast difference is the mast’s intoxication is continual, that it may increase but can never decrease, and that it has no harmful physical or mental reaction. It is an inner state of permanent and unalloyed intoxication, independent of anything external.
The principal sensation of a mast is this permanent enjoyment of divine intoxication. The creation is full of bliss and the mast enjoys this bliss and thereby becomes intoxicated to an almost unlimited extent, virtually consuming him and absorbing him and thereby making the world around him vanish. Absorbed in God, such a person is continually absorbed in thinking about God, and with that comes like a bolt of pure love consuming him further in a state of divine intoxication.
On another occasion, Baba further elucidated:
How does it happen that some men and women become masts? There are those who have become masts whose minds have become unbalanced through unceasing dwelling upon thoughts of God so that they neglect all normal human requirements. There are those whose minds have become unbalanced by sudden contact with a highly advanced spiritual being. There are those who have sought spiritual experience and have met a crisis from which they do not recover. What characterizes all masts is their concentration upon the love of God.
The following is a Persian ode re-rendered about masts from Qutub Shams-e-Tabriz, written during the thirteenth century:
The divinely-intoxicated man is drunken without wine.
The God-intoxicated is full without meat.
In his divine madness he is distraught and bewildered.
The divinely mad needs no food or sleep.
The mast is a king beneath a dervish’s robe.
The God-intoxicated man is a treasure in a ruin.
God-intoxication is not of air and earth.
God-intoxication is not of fire and water.
Inside, the divinely intoxicated man is a boundless sea.
Outside, his divine world rains pearls without a cloud.
In the intoxication his night has a hundred moons and skies;
In the intoxication his day shines upon him a hundred suns.
The God-intoxicated man is made wise by the Truth.
God-intoxication is not learned in any book.
God-intoxication is beyond infidelity and religion;
In the divinely intoxicated state right and wrong are alike.
The divinely-mad has ridden himself of his nothingness
The divinely intoxicated are gloriously attended.
The intoxication is concealed; Shamsi Din
The intoxicated of God you seek and find and become.
This phase had a special significance, and the splendor of Meher Baba’s work with the mad and masts in this Age will provide a source of inspiration to humanity for all time to come…
On other occasions, Meher Baba further explained to the mandali:
Such persons, known as masts, are not insane or mad in the ordinary sense; masts are desperately in love with God – or consumed by their love for God.
Masts do not suffer from what may be called a disease. They are in a state of mental disorder because their minds are overcome by such intense spiritual energies that are far too much for them, forcing them to lose contact with the world, shed normal human habits and customs, and civilized society and live in a state of spiritual splendor but physical squalor.
They are overcome by an agonizing love for God and are drowned in their ecstasy. Only the divine love embodied in a Perfect Master can reach them.
(Meher Baba’s mast work started from the days of the Rahuri ashram, and it continued in full force for the next twenty years until 1957. After that, Baba did some mast work for a few more years by keeping one or two masts in his care. For a full account of his mast work, read William Donkin’s book, The Wayfarers.)
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 6, pp. 2031 – 2035.
(On Beloved Baba’s 117th Birth Anniversary, February 25, 2011, our Bombay Centre had compiled “Meher Baba – His work with the Divinely Intoxicated” as a commemorative brochure. It is in PDF format. Those interested may write to us and we would be happy to send the file as a Google doc. link).