Even the Dust

On my first trip to India in 1973, a Baba lover had asked me to bring something back from Meherabad: a handful of the dust where He had walked. I remember scooping it up from the path leading up the Hill, where He had walked so many times from lower to upper Meherabad. Pure, fine dust like none other anywhere. I secured it in a tiny gift box to take back to America. My friend got a whiff of the Beloved’s scent from that precious scoop of earth material. What made that dust so precious? Was it that His holy form had graced every natural particle in the air and on the ground where He had walked, for all time? Or was it the longing in her heart that was precious, she who asked for just a dusting, a scraping, from the ground of her Beloved’s home?

From the Hill looking down the path where Baba’s feet graced the very dust.
(Photo by Ted Judson)

Currently we are in “dust season” at Meherabad, a very dry and hot time when that fine dust swirls up into the gusts of wind and settles on everything, seeming to pervade life itself. This dust has qualities of its own. It is all-pervading, yet nearly invisible. It is low and humble, yet can rise from the ground and land itself in exalted places.

What did Baba have to say about the spiritual significance of dust? It seems to be a topic which came up repeatedly, right from the early years. In March 1927 the Persian New Year was celebrated at Meherabad by Baba and His disciples. Present at the time was Mansari’s uncle, Sohrabji Desai of Navsari, a literary scholar who was devoted to Baba. Sohrabji, inwardly moved to be in Baba’s presence, began to collect dust from under Baba’s feet while walking behind Him. Baba stopped and remarked to Sohrabji, “The significance of the dust under a Master’s feet is beyond one’s imagination. Like the dust which is being trampled upon and does not complain, so the one who remains under My feet will rise to the zenith. Your arrogance, conceit, and pride are to be turned into dust, and then alone will your dust be seen in its full brilliance.” [1]

In December, 1957 Baba was in Bombay with a group of His longtime lovers. He asked them to gather close and gave this statement: “God is the most Intimate One, but courage is required to have His close contact. You have to become powder and dust from head to foot, so much so that one has to lose oneself. Have so much love for Him that you become as dust in His love.” [2]

“Oh you mad one! If you have that madness to realize God, then become the dust at the feet of a Perfect Master!” Baba had these lines of Hafiz read out in several languages during the 1958 Sahavas. His explanation to the Sahavasees gives us the key to understanding the concept of Dust. Baba said, “What does Hafiz mean? Dust has no thought of its own; it has no will of its own. It can be trampled upon, applied to the forehead or suspended in the air. There is no truer and better example of complete obedience than ‘of becoming like dust.'” [3]

—Irene Holt for Avatar Meher Baba Trust, 28 May 2015

The feet of the Master, February 1958 at Meherabad.
(Photo courtesy of MN Publications)

[1] Lord Meher, revised online edition, p. 790.
[2] Ibid, p. 4232.
[3] Ibid, p. 4309.