At four-thirty in the morning on October 12th, (1922) before the mandali began their usual prayers of repeating God’s name, Meher Baba gave the following discourse:
There are two states, internal and external, divided or separated by a mental curtain or veil. To purify the internal state is not in the hands of any mortal being. It is impossible without the help of a Sadguru. Therefore, unless a person comes across a Perfect Salik, or Sadguru, he should try his best to keep his external body clean. This is what every religion teaches. By perfectly carrying out the tenets of one’s religion, one has a chance of coming into contact with a Salik or Perfect Master. By paying attention to external cleanliness, the internal to some degree also gets purified.
Thus, to realize God, one of either two ways should be adopted – there is no in-between. Since the work of cleaning the internal is only in the hands of a Perfect Master, in his absence, the second best method is to look after the external as laid down by the teachings of one’s religion. Every religion prescribes dictates relating only to the external in reading, sitting, standing, keeping the body clean with baths and ablutions, and in the same way observing cleanliness about one’s food and clothes, et cetera. With the eyes, you are told to look at good and religious objects; with the tongue and lips, to utter prayers; with the ears, to hear divine recitations, and so on. Thus, the rules and principles underlying all religions are only external; and hence from the beginning, the Avatars have enjoined their followers to carry them out.
The middle path adopted by yogis and others who studiously perform practices is almost always a complete failure because they depend upon the help of both the internal and the external for realizing the goal. In the practice of meditation, to activate the mind by deep inhalation and exhalation, they depend upon the internal. By sitting, reading and fasting, they make use of the external, and for this reason they generally fail. Therefore, until your fortune brings you into a Perfect Master’s orbit, it is best to follow and adhere to the doctrines of your own religion as closely as you can.
Once the internal is cleansed by the grace of a Perfect Master, then the person realizes God; after which the external is no longer cared for and is completely neglected. This is the reason why saints are usually found outwardly dirty. When their internal is rendered pure, what do the saints care about the external? Be as it may, the external will vanish one day anyway.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 2, pp. 436 – 437.