The Universal Body

In many schools of Vedanta, Buddhism and Sufism, beyond extinction of the finite mind (Vedic nirodhah, Buddhist nirvana, Sufi fana) lies the state of Perfection (jivanmukta or liberated while living in the body, tathagata or gone to Suchness, baqa or abiding). In this model, the "holy sparks" are the saints (Vedic Satpurusha, Buddhist Bodhisattva, Sufi Pir) who see God always and everywhere, but who have not yet realized Union (Vedic Aham brahmasmi or "I am Reality", Buddhist Prajnaparimita or the Wisdom that reaches the other shore and proclaims the identity of Nirvana and Samsara as absolute Oneness, and Sufi anal Haqq or "I am Truth"). As the following quotation from Meher Baba indicates, this is not simply "absorption into the Absolute"  but is the "sanctification of creation" too.

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"The whole universe becomes the body of the Truth-realized Master. Others who do not know his real seat or functioning may falsely identify him with his physical body, which they see in front of them with physical eyes. This physical body is only one among the innumerable bodies in which he knows himself as dwelling. His link with this particular body is in no way greater than with other existent bodies in the universe. The Perfect Masters live in all and feel equally for all. They can therefore co-ordinate all Divine Work of the Spiritual Hierarchy with wisdom and justice.

"It is important to understand how the Universal Body of the Masters stands in relation to other bodies. The gross body is a sort of reflection of the subtle body. It is the exact counterpart of the subtle body. Or we might say that the subtle is a sort of gaseous impression of the gross. Such impression is in a very fine form in the mental body or the mind. The mental body is like a brilliant spark. When the souls, who have attained the supramental Truth, come back, they assume the Universal Mind, which has as its medium the Universal Body. Krishna showed this Universal Body to Arjuna. The Universal Body, sometimes called *Mahakarana Sharira*, is thinner than every other thing. It includes and embraces all the existing bodies and pervades the Universe.

"The Universal Body of the Master actually includes, in fact, all worlds and the whole creation. They are all in him. They are all within each soul; but each soul is not conscious of this because of ignorance. It is difficult to believe that huge mountains and forests and towns and even earths and worlds are within, but it is exactly so. The physical eye, which sees all these huge things, is small, yet, it sees them. It does not require huge eyes to see a huge mountain. The reason is that though the eye is small the soul that sees is greater and vaster than all the things which it sees. In fact, it is so great that it includes them all in itself. This does not become clear until the inner mental eye, which really sees through the physical eyes, is inverted.

"It is not the physical eye that really sees. It is the mental eye which sees through the physical eye. It is not the physical ear which hears. It is the mind which hears through the ears. This mind, which is most aptly linked to the eye, is ordinarily extrospective, looking outwards and getting bound up with the things that it sees. But when this mental eye is inverted, the universe disappears; and the mind itself becomes the Truth. If the Truth-Mind is again turned towards the universe, it knows itself as permeating and including within its universal body the whole universe.

"Through the Universal Body, the Truth-realized Master actually finds himself in the minds and the bodies of everyone. It is no difficult task to raise the greatest of sinners to the level of the greatest of saints. The person who plays with the kite and makes it fly freely in the skies, has in his hands the controlling end of the string. He can bring the kite down or allow it to soar as high as he pleases. Likewise, the Perfect Master is in possession of all the controls of the spiritual evolution of everyone."

Meher Baba, Sparks of the Truth: From the Dissertations of Meher Baba - A Version by C. D. Deshmukh Myrtle Beach: Sheriar Press, 1971, pp. 50-51

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page uploaded 18 October 1998
modified 30 June 1999