DIFFERENT EVILS IN DIFFERENT AGES THAT BEFALL MANKIND
On October 19th, (1968) Adi sent this telegram to Cohen:
Your letter October 8th giving work report on visit to England and Holland made Baba very happy. Baba says he was, he is, and he will be with you while you are doing his work wholeheartedly. Baba sends his love to you. – Adi
Earlier in October, Allan Cohen had sent to Eruch and Adi an article that appeared in the newspaper The Christian Science Monitor,entitled “Drug Problems Seen As Crisis In Values.”
TO LIVE IN HARMONY with one’s fellow man, men must share common values, and to establish long lasting values man strives to understand the difference between good and evil, vice and virtue. During Avataric advents, there are various “evils” or “vices” that denote that particular time, and that overtake many men and women and drive them to ruin. It is written that during Jesus’ advent, the Jewish Pharisees and their preoccupation with animal sacrifices in the temples and money collections were considered as evil. Jesus called the temple, “a den of thieves,” and drove the Pharisees out with a whip, scorning them that they were not “priests,” but “money changers!” Thus, it became common among Christians to say, “Money is the root of all evil!”
With Christians wine is used as a symbol of communion with Jesus, in remembrance of his last supper on the night before his crucifixion, whereas with Muslims wine is forbidden. In Islam, it is said, “Wine is the root of all evil!” Wine [khamr], meaning all things [of liquor or alcohol] which intoxicate the brain. Taken to an extreme, it is said that even if a drop of wine were to drop on a Muslim’s arm, he should take a knife and cut that part of his flesh away.
During Meher Baba’s advent, wine is not considered an “evil to man,” though he acknowledged in California in 1956 that there was a serious “liquor problem” in America with public drunkenness. But the illicit use of drugs, such as LSD, hashish, marijuana, narcotics, barbiturates and methamphetamines is considered an evil – harmful to mind, body and spirit. However, in Islamic countries, such as Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India and others, smoking hashish and opium is a widespread common indulgence, and it is not written that these substances were forbidden by Prophet Muhammad.
Since so much has been said and done by Meher Baba and his followers against the use of illicit drugs, some light may be shed on this plague of Western man by looking back on how Prophet Muhammad decided against the use of wine for his followers. According to scholars, several stories have been told about the occasion when Muhammad first prohibited the drinking of wine. The following story is considered traditionally true:
Muhammad, making a journey to a friend at noon, entered into his house where there was a marriage feast in full celebration. Sitting down with the guests, Muhammad observed them to be very merry and jovial, kissing and embracing one another, which was attributed to their cheerfulness of spirits raised by the wine. So impressed by that, Muhammad blessed wine as a sacred thing in being thus an instrument of causing much love among men.
But, returning to the same house the next day, Muhammad beheld another face of things – there was gore and blood all over the floor! A hand cut off, an arm, foot, and other limbs dismembered, which he was told was the effect of the brawls and fighting caused by the wine, which turned them mad and inflamed them into a fury, thus destroying one another even at a marriage feast. Whereupon Muhammad changed his mind, and turned his formal blessing into a curse and forbade wine ever after to all his disciples.
As it was in that time, several of the most respectable of the pagan Arab tribes, like certain of the Jewish tribes and early Christians, abstained totally from wine, from an ill-feeling of its injurious effects upon their moral character, and in their climate, upon their health. “Wine is forbidden which intoxicates the brain and affects the steadiness of the body,” thus said the Islamic scholar Al-Jalalan.
Forced by the circumstances of the time and the ferocious nature of the Arab tribes, Muhammad said: “Whoever drinks wine, let him suffer correction by scourging as often as he drinks thereof. Eighty lashes for a free man, forty lashes for a slave.”
Thus, over the centuries, wine and all liquors have been forbidden in the Islamic religion.
During our modern scientific age, Meher Baba, however, did not forbid the consumption of wine and liquors. In fact, his father, Sheriar, owned a number of toddy shops in Poona, and he himself, as Merwan Seth, worked in one toddy shop from 1917 to 1920. He even considered opening his own toddy shop in Poona with his friend, Behramji, and they would be business partners together, but he did not.
Not until the mid-1960s, when it was about to become a plague, did Meher Baba publicly denounce the use of LSD, opium, heroin, hashish and marijuana without medical supervision. Earlier he had warned against the illicit use of opium during the 1958 Sahavas in Meherabad.
The point is that there are different evils or plagues in different ages that befall mankind and, therefore, the Avatar must warn of their dangers and potential harm and provide certain instructions or guidelines, according to the time and the types of physical and mental illnesses occurring, for the overall benefit of mankind in general. In this sense, Baba considered the use of illicit drugs in America and Europe an ill-fated epidemic.
In this age, Meher Baba’s often repeated his warning to avoid self-delusion or spiritual perversion, to never claim to be “Baba,” a saint or guru, to stay away from those who do claim to be a saint or guru, and that “God forgives all sins but hypocrisy.” One day it may be said for this modern age, “Hypocrisy is the root of all evil!”
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 20, pp. 6669 – 6671.