EFFACEMENT OF THE FALSE SELF
Beloved Baba came to Meherabad in 1923. At that time it was not called Meherabad, it was called Arangaon, because that was the name of the nearby village. But in 1924 Baba gave Meherabad its name. Before He came, the area was used as a British military base during World War I (from 1914-1918). After the war, the land and the buildings were auctioned, and Adi K. Irani’s father bought them.
After World War I, when Beloved Baba came to Meherabad, He also brought with Him an army. But His army fought the inner war. They were not attached to the world. They remained attached to God, engaged in fighting the war within themselves, to kill the real enemy, their own false selves. The army that fought during the external war needed armaments, but Beloved Baba’s army needed only His love to fight and defeat their false selves. Those who loved Him and obeyed Him were real warriors.
There are different kinds of seekers of God in the world. Many want God, and at the same time, they also want the world. They try to follow God, but they have reservations and make compromises in their search. They are not wholehearted. There are also those who renounce the world externally and remain engaged in doing austerities and penance prescribed by certain religions, not for the sake of love of God alone, but to gain some power or for spiritual advancement.
But you, as Spiritual Trainees, should be serious seekers of God, renouncing your own false self and waging war against it. It is your duty as Spiritual Trainees to remain engaged in this inner war against the false self. It is a very difficult war! But Beloved Meher Baba is there to help you at every step. You should try to want God alone, being prepared to do everything
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for Him. In this way you will become real warriors against the false self.
How can I describe the spiritual life in a way that will not be misunderstood? One thing is certain, that if you use your intellect, you will fail to even understand what the spiritual life is. The spiritual life is a life of forgetting your lower self. You become forgetful of your lower self, not through loss of memory, but through love of God. As you forget your lower self you lose name, fame, expectations, etc. And when the lower self is completely lost, you gain the Real Self, which is God.
I will tell four stories of my life with Baba and one story that Baba told us. In my telling these incidents, I want to give you a picture of what effacing the false self means, and how Baba effaced our false selves. Beloved Baba’s physical presence is gone. But He is linked to each heart, and as the heart calls upon Him, He will continue to do His duty to each one of you, just as He did for the Mandali, by helping efface your false self.
Baba had met with an accident on 2nd December 1956. Pendu was also seriously injured at that time. His pelvis was fractured, and he was not able to walk. He also had severe pain. Pendu was sent to Meherabad to recover, and Vishnu, Dr. Donkin and Padri were sent to Meherabad to take care of Pendu.
Whenever Baba wanted a certain programme, Pendu would always be called upon to organise the programme. Baba wanted to have a Sahavas programme at Meherabad in February 1958. And therefore He called Pendu, Vishnu, Dr. Donkin and Padri to Meherazad. They came by car at 9:00 a.m.
Before their arrival, Baba came into Mandali Hall. He was in a very serious mood. Of the Mandali, only Eruch and I
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were there. When we saw Him in such a serious mood, we just kept quiet. Pendu came to the door. He was fumbling with his crutches, and because of the steps, it was difficult for him to enter into the hall. We knew that he was in severe pain and needed help, but we did not dare go help him. We knew that Baba would not like it if we did so. Anyway, Pendu managed to come into Mandali Hall, followed by Vishnu, Dr. Donkin and Padri. Pendu was sitting on a chair, and the others sat on the floor.
Baba looked at Pendu and asked, “Did you sleep last night?”
Pendu started to cry, saying, “How could I sleep? I have severe pain. I can’t bear it. I cannot sleep, and I cannot eat.”
Baba said to him, “How selfish you are! You are suffering for yourself, and I am suffering for the whole universe! Can you imagine My suffering! You just think of yourself! You are most selfish! I cannot give this work to you! Get out!”
Pendu was crying. The whole atmosphere was very serious.
Again, Baba said, “Get out! I will not give this work to you. You are most selfish. You think of yourself! You don’t think of Me! You are selfish. So get out!” And Pendu had to leave. Dr. Donkin, Vishnu and Padri went along with him.
Besides Eruch and me, a Baba lover named Jimmy Mistry, from Bombay, was in Mandali Hall. He had come to Meherazad for the first time. He was quite new, and when he
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saw Baba get so upset with Pendu, he felt scared to remain in Baba’s presence.
After Pendu and the others had left, Baba said to Jimmy Mistry, “I have to become infinitely cruel in order to be infinitely compassionate.”
Pendu was Baba’s cousin, and he had been with Baba from his childhood. Was Baba really cruel to him? He is the most Compassionate One. He wished to draw Pendu’s attention away from his pain and keep it on Baba. What a beautiful example this is. Baba showed us that no matter what we are going through, we should always think about the Beloved and not about ourselves. Baba has to do His duty toward those who have surrendered to Him. His duty is to efface the false self. In doing so, He has to be infinitely cruel. But He becomes Infinitely Kind when, after effacing the false self, He bestows Infinite Knowledge, Power and Bliss, giving the soul God Realisation. The process of effacing the false self is a very painful one. It may even seem cruel. But this cruelty is only apparent. This cruelty is for a real purpose, not to harm us, but really to free us – eternally.
(To let you know, Baba did end up giving Pendu the work of organizing the Sahavas. And as usual in spite of the pain, he did his very very best for Baba, and Baba was pleased with Him. Baba had given him this work from the early days and he carried out this duty most faithfully until the end of his life.)
After such incidents, we would not discuss the matter amongst ourselves. We did not complain nor blame anyone, no matter what situation we were put in, knowing fully well that it was Baba’s doing. If someone did complain, the matter would be reported to Baba. If complaints were made and not reported, then He Himself would find out. He did not like such things.
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And He did not like backbiting. Actually, when we sat together for lunch or dinner, we would have no time to discuss any situation. Each one of us had to hurriedly eat and get back to the duties that Beloved Baba had given us.
Now how to explain how the Mandali were with each other at times? It is hard to explain in a way that is understandable.
It is similar to the occasions when people who had traditional ideas of spirituality would come for Baba’s darshan as He was playing cards with the Mandali. Baba knew they could not understand the notion of the Master being so familiar with His disciples that He would play cards with them. So Baba would go to such an extent to please these people, that before they came for His darshan, He would hide the cards underneath His cushion in order not to disturb their notions of spirituality. They had their traditional ideas, and He did not want to disturb them. But then, after they left, He brought the cards out. Again, we would enjoy His company in this way.
You could say that it was Baba’s duty to efface our false self, and He would use any means that He could. We had surrendered to Him so that He could use us for His work and for His work on us. It is like a surgeon using his instruments to get rid of a disease. Sometimes Baba would arrange it in such a way that one Mandali member Would be His medium or tool to efface another Mandali member. At that time, the first one would tease the other to any extent. It would appear to the one being teased that the other Mandali member was his enemy. Baba would make this happen between us in such a way that nobody would know Baba had created the incident. So, though we might appear as the worst of enemies, internally, we were the best of friends. Externally, we would be harsh but internally soft. We had no malice towards each other nor did we hold grudges.
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For every one of the Mandali, there would be someone after him. Eruch would be after me, and Kaka would be after Aloba. The women Mandali that is, Mehera, Mani, Dr. Goher, Meheru, Naja and Rano, also had to go through such things. Once, during night watch, as I sat outside of Baba’s room, Baba called the women Mandali. I heard Mehera and Mani arguing. In this case Mehera was the medium for Mani’s effacement.
Everything depends upon the motive. If one of us said something to the other, it was to try to please Baba. Even if something was said against us, we would not feel bad about it nor incur any hatred toward the person who said it. This story takes place after Baba’s second accident on 2nd December 1956. Baba started living nine months of the year at Meherazad and three months in Pune. Baba appointed Kaka Baria as the manager of Meherazad. From the New Life onwards, he would always stay there, even if Baba moved to other places.
There were four dogs at Meherazad: one belonging to Mehera, called Mastan, another belonging to Mani, called Peter, and two belonging to Kaka. Baba gave Aloba the duty of taking Mastan for a one-hour walk, Peter for an hour, and then Kaka’s two dogs for another one-hour walk. This meant that Aloba had to walk the dogs for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. Kaka was in charge of seeing whether Aloba did his duty or not. After making the tea for the men Mandali, Aloba would take Mastan for a walk. Kaka would watch to see whether Aloba walked Mastan for the complete hour or not. Then Aloba would take Peter, and again Kaka would watch the time. Aloba was very particular in giving a full hour walk to Mastan and Peter.
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But when he took Kaka’s two dogs, he was not so careful. Kaka would watch the time, and if Aloba brought Kaka’s dogs back after 50 minutes, Kaka would say, “You have walked the dogs for only 50 minutes. Walk the two dogs again and come back after half an hour.”
So Kaka would penalise Aloba because he did not do his duty fully. Kaka was the manager. Even if Aloba walked the dogs for one minute less than the full hour, Kaka would send Aloba out again to walk the dogs for another half an hour. This went on for six months, and then Kaka’s dogs were sent to Meherabad.
But poor Aloba still had to continue taking the other two dogs for a walk. He also had to make tea for the men Mandali in the morning and in the afternoon. Kaka would serve food only once a day. He would give less food to Aloba, which was not honest on his part, but Aloba did not say anything. He would keep quiet. After six months, Aloba felt fed up with his duty, but he did not say anything. Baba, of course, knew what he was feeling.
One day in Mandali Hall, the following took place.
Eruch was reading correspondence. Baba looked at Kaka and said, “Do you understand English? Aloba, teach Kaka English!”
Kaka had been to the West many times with Baba: America, France, England, Italy and Spain. He knew English better than Aloba. Aloba was very, very happy that the tables had been turned!
As soon as Baba left Mandali Hall, Aloba went to Kaka in his room and told him, “Keep ten exercise books and pen and pencil ready.”
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Kaka, knowing this was Baba’s order, did not say anything. He kept everything ready. At lunchtime, Kaka realised his dishonesty in not serving Aloba sufficient portions of food and started to do so.
After lunch, the lessons began. Aloba wrote the alphabet in Kaka’s exercise book and told Kaka, “Write ten times.”
Kaka did not say anything but wrote the alphabet ten times. Aloba would walk in front of his room and see whether Kaka was writing or not. After writing the alphabet ten times, he would show the exercise book to Aloba. Aloba would say, “Your handwriting is not good! Write 50 times!”
Poor Kaka could not say a word because this was Baba’s order. He would go on writing the alphabet. At this time, this was the only work Kaka had. But writing the alphabet 50 times became 100 times. This went on for six months. The entire time, Kaka did not say a word. While the lessons were going on, Kaka did not come to Mandali Hall, and Baba did not call him.
After six months, one day, all of a sudden, Baba asked, “Where is Kaka? I have not seen him for a long time.”
“He is writing the alphabet and doing nothing else,” Eruch replied. “He has no time even for lunch. He has no time for anything. He eats hurriedly and goes back to writing the alphabet: ABCD …”
Baba laughed and called Kaka and Aloba.
They both came, and Baba told Aloba, “Stop teaching Kaka English from today onwards.”
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And He said to Kaka, “I am pleased with you. Now every day you come to Mandali Hall and sit here, because it is My order.”
Look how both Aloba and Kaka obeyed Baba. Both were undergoing difficult situations. But neither said anything. They complained to no one. They put up with the difficulties quietly. They endured, and endurance is very necessary on the spiritual path. To do what you like has no meaning whatsoever. But to do what you don’t like, and to quietly bear it, creates inner strength. That strength is used to defeat the false self. Both Aloba and Kaka were strong men and had strong characters. It would have been very easy for either of them to boldly express their false self in this situation. But they both knew that Baba wanted them to undergo this situation, and so they kept quiet, swallowing their difficulties because it pleased their Beloved.
Even though Beloved Baba is no longer in the body, such incidents will continue to happen in your lives as Spiritual Trainees. You should also not only try, but must learn to endure and bear these things, to develop the inner strength to defeat the false self. This is real obedience to Baba. As Beloved Baba has said in His Wish, “Be resigned to every situation and think honestly and sincerely: ‘Baba has placed me in this situation’.”
Now, because I have told this story, it does not mean that you always have to be quiet, either. Everything is according to the situation. In this case, it was Baba’s Wish that Aloba and Kaka both endure the situations He put them in. And as you can see, Baba also ended both situations when the time was right.
In the next story, the opposite is required. It is a story of not keeping quiet, but learning to speak out. This story concerns me.
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I was the most modest person of the Mandali, and Baba did not like my modesty. He wanted me to speak out, but I could not. It was very difficult for me. As I said before, Eruch would be the one to be after me. He was Baba’s chosen medium for me. He would say anything, and I would keep quiet. I would not say anything back to him.
When I would go for night watch, Baba would say, “Eruch was teasing you. Why did you not reply to him?” But I did not have the courage to do that. I would just keep quiet. Though Eruch’s teasing would go to the extreme, I would not say anything.
Then Baba dropped His physical body, and Eruch continued his work, doing his duty. Still I would keep quiet. I would not say anything. I would be busy in my room writing books. Thinking that I was sleeping, Eruch would shout from the outside at me. Such incidents went on and on.
Then, in 1973, I was nominated as a Trustee. I would sit in my room, reading only law books. When any government official would come to Mani’s office, I would bring a chair for that official. I would do the work of an office boy. But gradually, as I took up Trust work, the Trust depended upon me. Because I had a background in law, and none of the other Mandali did, I became very busy doing Trust work.
Anyway, the incident that I want to tell is that I was able to convince the government not to levy taxes against the Trust. Consequently, Mani and Rano had confidence in me.
The Government did not assess the Trust for the years 1970 to 1973, but when the Income Tax Office started doing assessments, they wanted to tax the Trust. In 1971, a law came into force that, if there were any surplus out of Trust donations,
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Form No. 10 needed to be submitted along with the Income Tax Return. Before I became a Trustee, the Trustees did not know about this requirement. So when the assessment notice came, from the Government, I, as a new Trustee, and knowing this information, went to the Income Tax Office.
The Income Officer asked me, “There is a surplus, and you did not submit Form No. 10. So you cannot get exemption. You have to pay tax on Rs. 40,000.”
I said to him, “Please wait. I want to see the Income Tax Commissioner in Pune. I will bring an order for the tax exemption.”
He said, “Even the Board of Direct Taxes (in Delhi) cannot do this.”
I said, “Please just wait. Give me time. Don’t assess the Trust now.”
I came back to the Trust office and started writing letters to the Income Tax Commissioner.
Eruch came to me and asked, “What happened?”
I replied, “The Income Tax Commissioner wants to levy a tax on Rs. 40,000 because Form No. 10 was not submitted. I have to go to Pune tomorrow early morning to see the Commissioner of Income Tax.”
I was writing the application, and Eruch asked, “Did you explain it to him properly? Did you talk in Hindi or English?”
Hearing this, I felt irritated and said to him, loudly “Do you want me to write the application or not? Why are you disturbing me?”
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Eruch was happy. He smiled. His duty was done. It was a great lesson to me. From that day, I no longer was a modest man. Baba wanted me to become a warrior, not to remain modest and keep everything inside. He knew that I had so much work to do for Him and for His Trust, and if I kept quiet, how could I work for Him and His Cause?
I saw the Commissioner of Income Tax in Pune the next day. Immediately, he gave the order that the Trust should remain tax-exempt. The work was done. As soon as I came back from Pune, I told Eruch, and he embraced me with all love. He was very, very happy because he knew that it was a difficult matter that even the best of lawyers could not handle successfully. But because Beloved Baba helped me, the Trust received the tax exemption.
But the most important thing I learnt was that Beloved Baba wanted me to get out of the habit of being modest. It was Eruch’s duty to try to irritate me out of it. When I finally took off the cloak of modesty, he was happy, because his duty was over.
These few examples show how Beloved Baba helps efface the false self. The process of effacement will continue in your lives as Spiritual Trainees when you are willing to give your false self over to Beloved Baba so that He can free the Real Self. As the heart opens more and more to Beloved Baba’s love, these stories will have greater and greater meaning. But if the intellect judges these stories based on its own standards, the real meaning will be lost. The effacement of the false self cannot be understood by the intellect. The intellect justifies itself in every moment and circumstance to maintain the false self. The process of self-effacement is not a rational process. It is not something that can be understood with the mind. In fact, it is an irrational process. Nothing on the spiritual path makes
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any intellectual sense, and cannot, because Truth is beyond good and bad, right and wrong or sense and nonsense. If the mind is caught up in trying to make sense of things, then there can be no progress on the spiritual path. Although you might be here at the Trust Estate, you will just be leading a worldly life. The only thing to do is to renounce the unwanted activity of your mind. As you do your duties, let your love for Beloved Baba reveal to you that only His love has meaning and nothing else does.
Now I am going to tell you about an incident in my life with Beloved Baba that demonstrates what I said, that the Spiritual Life is not a rational life. These events might seem unjustifiable, but they did help efface the false self. You will see very easily what I mean from the following story.
In the year 1961, Baba asked me to write a book. I said to Him, “Where is the time for me to write a book, Baba? At night I am with You, during the daytime, again I am with You. I deal with correspondence, too. So tell me, when should I write?”
He said, “When we go to Pune in the summer, I will give you the time to write.”
And I accepted this.
We went to Pune in March, and instead of 3:00 p.m., Baba told me to come to Him for watch at 4:00 p.m. Meherjee would keep watch for one hour.
On the first day, it took time for me to unpack and arrange everything on the table to write the book. To allow me quiet time to write, I was staying on the top floor of Guruprasad.
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I unpacked everything in short order, and at 3:30 p.m., I went down and was waiting on the veranda to go for watch duty. Meherjee came out of Baba’s room. He did not say anything to me and went to Eruch. I thought he must have brought some message from Baba for Eruch. After three minutes, Baba clapped, and Dr. Goher went running to His room.
Baba asked her, “Where is Bhau?”
Goher came running to me and said, “Baba is all alone, and you are sitting here?”
Immediately, I went to Baba, Who said, “Why did you not come?”
I said to Him, “Baba, You had asked me to come at 4:00 p.m., and therefore, I was waiting.”
“Did Meherjee not tell you that I wanted you?” Baba said.
“He did not tell me. Otherwise, I would have come. I was just sitting outside, waiting for Your call.”
Baba then asked me to call Meherjee, which I did, and he came. Baba asked him, “Did you not tell Bhau that I wanted him?”
Meherjee said, “I forgot, but he should have asked me.” Baba then said to me, “Why did you not ask Meherjee?”
Baba was upset, and He scolded me.
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Now, if you listen to this story with your intellect, you will say that I was wrongly blamed. That it was Meherjee’s fault and not mine. But whether you are right or wrong is not the important thing. What is important is that the false self has to be effaced. So remember this when you, as Spiritual Trainees, are blamed. Try not to react and allow your mind to become upset, but try to use the incident to efface your false self arid be spiritually free. Being Spiritual Trainees means this: you are training yourself to spiritually free yourself from the false self.
But the story I was telling continues with another kind of lesson. From that day, I would not write anything. Every day at 3:00 p.m., I would sit there on the veranda waiting for Baba’s call, and He would call me at any time. He did not ask about the writing of the book. Three months passed without me writing a single word.
Then, we came back to Meherazad. As usual, I would be sitting on the veranda outside Rano’s room waiting for the call. Baba would call me at 5:00 p.m. I would sit idly on the veranda, and my mind would work. I had to attend to a lot of correspondence, and according to Baba’s order, I was not able to write when I went for night watch.
Two more months passed by like this. One day, while Baba was retiring, He said to me, “Write a very urgent letter immediately.”
And then He retired. According to His order I followed Him to His room to keep watch on the veranda. I could not write anything there.
While I was sitting, I was thinking, “What to do? He does not allow me to write on the veranda, and I am sitting here without being able to do the work He gave me. Even here, I
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could have written the letter. Instead I am sitting, doing nothing.”
Then at 5:00 p.m., Baba called me, and I went to Him. As soon as I did, He asked me, “Did you write that letter?”
I said to him, “No, Baba, I could not write it. Because as soon as You told me to write it, You retired. And according to Your order, I had to follow You. I was sitting there on Rano’s veranda for two hours without work. Had You allowed me to bring paper and pen there, I could have written that letter.”
Baba said to me, “You were only sitting there and doing nothing?”
I said, “Yes, absolutely nothing. I was just sitting there. Had You allowed me to bring paper and pen, I would have written something.”
“You were just sitting there doing absolutely nothing?!” Baba repeated.
“Baba, I was just waiting for Your call and doing nothing.”
“To wait for My call? Is that not work?” Baba said. “You tell Me that you were doing nothing? You don’t understand the importance of waiting for My call. Just go to the Himalayas. To remember Me, people sleep on nails so that they may not fall asleep. Here, you are, on the veranda, sitting in a comfortable chair and waiting for My call. And you know that definitely I will call you after two hours. And still you complain!’ Only rare ones get such an opportunity like this to wait for My call. Know well, if you do any work continuously on your own, it has no importance. But if you do nothing but
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wait for My call wholeheartedly, that is the most important work. Never complain. Just do what I want you to do.”
So, my dear Spiritual Trainees, you have come here because He has brought you here. This is what He has done for you. Your remembrance of Him, the waiting in your hearts for His call, so that you may follow His Wish, is now what you must do for Him. There is nothing more important that you can do but wait for the Beloved. But waiting for Him in your heart goes on all the time, whether you are busy in your duties or not. You must always be in a state of waiting for Him. And surely He will call you. But to wait for His call, you must have sincere faith in Baba, and you must let it deepen more and more until it becomes unconditional. Faith is more than just intellectual belief. Faith is connected to the heart. And as your faith in Baba grows, your spiritual life will be alive with His love.
I will tell one story on faith that Baba told us.
It happened long ago. There were a husband and wife living in a village. At that time, the only way to travel anywhere was on foot. The wife’s parents would come from time to time to see their daughter. But her husband did not take the wife to see them, although each time her parents came, they would invite the couple to visit.
One day, the wife told her husband that her parents had always invited them whenever they came to their village. So she and her husband should go at least once to her parents. This time the husband agreed and so they decided to leave early in the morning of the following day.
Her parents lived 20 miles away from their village, and in between, there was a forest. The husband and his wife thought that by evening they would have walked the 20 miles.
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But what happened? When they reached the middle of the forest, clouds covered the sky. It became dark. Soon it started raining very heavily. Even though the wife had begged her husband so often to make the journey to visit her parents, she now told him that they should return. But the husband, knowing how much his wife had wanted to visit her parents, explained that they had already crossed half of the forest. There was no sense in returning, because the same distance would have to be travelled. But the wife was afraid and could not hear what her husband was saying. She grabbed him and told him that she only wanted to go back. The husband again tried to console her, but she would not listen.
Then the husband took a knife out of his own pocket and threatened to kill her. Upon seeing this, the wife only laughed. The husband told her how surprised he was to see that she could only laugh when he was about to kill her. And the wife said that she knew he loved her very much. How could he kill her? She was confident that he was just scaring her. She had full faith in him that he could not do such a thing.
The husband then told his wife, “I am threatening to kill you with this knife. But you are laughing, because you know that I love you and because you have faith in me, you know I will not kill you. So why not have the same faith in God? We are all His children, and He is our father. And because we are His children, He loves us. This rain is like this knife I am threatening you with. Although the rain seems threatening, it cannot kill you. So have faith in God and do not be scared.”
And the wife felt comforted by his words. She calmed down and realised that they had already crossed half the forest. So why not continue on the rest of the journey?
Spiritual Trainees, now that you have decided to make the journey to the Truth, you must continue on this journey.
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