ANOTHER WAR was beginning. After the public meetings in Mysore and Bangalore at the beginning of November, an attorney named Sampige Venkatapathaiya began to stir up heated opposition to Baba’s plan of settling in the area. He went to almost any lengths in trying to thwart the center plan and turn public opinion against Baba. During the first week of December, Venkatapathaiya issued this outrageous statement to the press:
For all the hysterical tom-tom about Shri Meher Baba by his coterie of devotees, disciples, admirers and friends, who try bluff, bluster, bravado and browbeating, there is unimpeachable documentary evidence, of a most intimate character, which denounces him as a swindler, cheat and charlatan.
He stands condemned as a despicable wretch not fit for any decent minded man or woman to associate with. He is a fraud on humanity! A dangerous devil!
On December 9th, while discussing the local opposition, Jal Kerawala asked Baba why he did not come out and crush this hostile antagonism. Baba gave this reply:
But they have not yet reached the point of crucifying me! This is nothing compared to what I want. Be prepared for that. This is only the beginning – child’s play! I warned you some time ago to be prepared for opposition on a much more serious and larger scale than this.
Dr. Ghani asked, “Why don’t you turn your key?”
This is my key; otherwise what could these ignorant people do? It is not their fault. They harp on the same old issues, with the same old stories repeated over and over again from “John Bull”, K. J. Dastur’s “Gazette” and “The Graphic” (an Indian magazine) – all too childish for words!
Until now I did not mind, and did not allow public replies, but now it is necessary for the world to know, since we are establishing an important center here. That work should not suffer. So, reply to them, but in a dignified manner – coldly, calmly, but convincingly.
Things were too slow, rather dead and dumb for the work. You had no enthusiasm. So, to stir it all up, this opposition has come. Let us welcome and utilize it for my work. Do not make it personal and get mad at individuals. State facts and smash their silly talks and arguments.
I work internally in my own way. You work externally, keeping yourselves in touch with people, facing situations courageously but calmly, befitting the spirit of our work of love, and winning over your opponents with arguments and facts lovingly, rather than becoming excited, using harsh words and creating hatred. This is your test. Be true to it. Prove yourselves worthy of the title of disciples and I will help you.
This will bring zest into the work, and arouse your enthusiasm and interest. The game will be lively! The whole world is fighting for one thing or the other, and you, too, join in the game – to fight, not for selfish motives or gains, but for the Truth. Be afraid of nothing, not even the results. Be a soldier in a battle, fighting for your sacred cause of spirituality and Truth, never thinking, much less worrying, about the results. The results are mine. I know my work, and design plans according to situations. You are merely to follow instructions and carry on the campaign – disciples as soldiers in the battle for Truth and spirituality.
Continuing on the same topic, Baba commented:
It is a pity that people, in their excitement or enthusiasm, do not realize what they are doing and spoil their own cause. The very thing for which they ought to be proud and happy is misunderstood and taken for misfortune. There is a hue and cry raised over things that have no substantial bearing or ground at all. Petty points and questions are raised, and so much valuable time and energy are wasted over such trivial matters, which could be so well utilized for better purposes, benefitting themselves and others.
Jealousy is a great weakness. It blinds or obscures the vision to Truth and even facts. It drives one to a frenzy and makes one engage in flimsy arguments. Meaningless talks are freely indulged in, which bring nothing but shame and misery in their wake, before the accusers realize what harm they have done in their weakness.
Truth can never be blurred or clouded by the hue and cry, however great. It shines in its own light. Clouds come and go, casting shadows and a temporary gloom. The sun is never disturbed, much less perturbed or affected by the clouds – so Truth is never clouded by false propaganda. Trying to throw dust at the sun blinds the person himself, not the sun.
But there are few who understand these simple truths. The majority are misguided and ruled by some self-styled leaders, who seek the limelight by fair means or foul. They do not want the Truth, lest they lose their selfish ends and be out of the picture. So, in order to be in the public eye, they invent lies, concoct stories, distort facts, and, in the name of public service, they present these lies before the public. The public is misled either because they are big names or by the very tricks of the originators, who have the ability to misrepresent facts with sensational talks that influence the weakness of the mass mind.
It is the same all over the world – a game of winning and losing – the inevitable struggle for existence is in all departments and aspects of life. The struggle goes on and on in religion, politics, morality, ethics, business, industry, et cetera, at different times and places, in different ways, according to the conditions.
Laughing silently, Baba spelled out,
So it is for Meher Baba, too! You have been observing, over the past many years, that despite this hostile agitation against me, my work goes on spreading. You have watched with mixed feelings of pity and regret for those who do not understand – nor do they want to listen to the facts and thereby bring themselves in for ridicule. How can my work ever be affected by this lying campaign through the press and before the public? All this hue and cry against me, all this propaganda, has not affected my work adversely, in the least. On the contrary, it has brought my name and work into greater prominence, by arousing the idle curiosity of people with silly rumors and sensationalism. Those who come to ridicule me, return penitent after seeing me and gathering the true facts.
My work, begun from Poona and Ahmednagar and covering Bombay, Madras, South India and North India, has now reached the West. It spread to England first, and from there, has extended through Europe, to America and the whole world! Is this in itself not proof? Up to now, I have often been working in seclusion. Still, day by day, the number of my followers increases. I do not see the public and also do not meet with those who outwardly make a show of seeing me. And yet, how unique it is that those who could live in palaces, in all comforts, do a sweeper’s work by staying with me. Therefore, there is none so blind as those who do not see, though having eyes! (1)
You are my soldiers, and to destroy yourself – your ego – you have to fight for me. While fighting in my arena, remember that you are dealing blows to your ego.
(1) Meher Baba meant those who see him but do not recognize him.
Lord Meher, Original ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 7, pp. 2476 – 2478.