The following is an excerpt from Conversations with the Awakener, by Bal Natu, a follower of Avatar Meher Baba. This conversation, “An Ever Flowing Stream of Gratitude,” is part of a collection of internal conversations between Bal and his Divine, Meher Baba.
By Bal Natu
It was a cloudy, still day. A heavy loneliness had possessed me; I was in a sullen mood. Restlessly, I walked to and fro in my room. Then I sat in a chair with my mind not at ease. This was a time when I was recuperating from a serious, protracted illness.
All of a sudden, Your numberless favors began to flash before my eyes, and I saw how each of them had helped me, in a timely way, to get over my illness. However, I had been so impatient for a quick recovery that I had totally ignored Your support and succor. I did not express my gratitude to You even once! The awareness of this filled me with shame. I decided to express my sincere apologies to You, silently, in my heart.
Just at that moment, You appeared before me, sitting on a bare stool in front of my chair. You seemed extremely anxious to hear what I had to say. I had never seen such eagerness in Your face before, such a sparkle of wonderment in Your eyes!
I tried to get up to greet You, but You lovingly pushed me back, pressing my shoulders, saying, "Don't be formal."
What a tender, love-filled touch that was! I felt as though lightning had passed through my entire being and made me whole!
You sat down, but I could not decide how to begin our conversation. You looked impatient. "Go on. Speak freely," You urged.
"I just wanted to express how deeply indebted I am to You."
"The emergence of that feeling has caused Me to manifest here."
"I did not know that You hold gratitude in such high esteem. Could you tell me why?"
"Gratitude is a most lovable way of acknowledging My unconditional compassion. And it strengthens your relationship with Me. I have no expectation of it, for My own sake, but it is for your personal good."
"In what way?"
"It opens up new informal avenues through which you may feel My presence more and more."
"Will You please tell me, then — what is gratitude?"
"In a sense, gratitude is the art of accepting life, moment by moment, in whatever situation one finds oneself, as being My Will. You offer everything to Me, and receive everything from Me."
"I wonder how in my daily living I can remain grateful to You."
"Well, if you are honest about wanting to do this, then you will recognize My tender little graces — and these are many — while attending to daily chores or any important work. By the way, have you ever contemplated My most precious gift to you — the human form, or any part thereof: the eyes that see or the ears that hear?"
"Then know well that in whatever you do, not even a millionth part can you claim as yours!" You pointed out the window. "Look at the sky and consider its expanse. The universe which is so vast is sustained by Me. So to call even a millionth part of any action your own is too large a fraction. All that is, is because of Me. You see only the outer panorama, a most faint reflection of the inner cosmos."
Amazed and humbled, I replied meekly, "I was not aware of this. I am grateful to You for awakening me to the inner frontiers of my life. But the sojourn to the depths within seems to be an arduous and awesome one."
"Although I do not wish to impose anything on anyone, I am eager to help those who take to this inner journey. The more you delve into the faculties of the human form, the more you will realize that each of your acts is sustained by My presence. The unfoldment of this awareness will eventually lead you to the fullness of life in Me."
"The enormity of this dimension of my inner life frightens me. I doubt that I would ever dare to embark on this journey on my own."
You smiled at me. "Don't you trust My love and guidance?"
"Of course I do, though not as fully as I should."
"Why such a negative focus? This journey, this way of living, is neither easy nor difficult. From where you stand there is always a choice of moving into light or darkness. You have to decide."
"Then please help me to take my first step toward the light."
"As long as you depend on Me, My guidance shall flow to you. This way of life does not interfere with any of your outer activities. It is an inner relationship with Me which helps you to lead a simple, natural life, unobserved by others."
"Will You help me at each step of the way so that I don't go astray?"
"If you sincerely seek, you will discover so many signs of My help already smiling at you. Witness the game I play in you rather than trying to play your game in Me. Then your work will become more and more effortless, and the outpouring of your gratitude to Me will occur more often and more spontaneously. And your journey to Me will be joyous."
Greatly impressed and reassured, I reclined in my chair, half closing my eyes. I groped for words to express my indebtedness to You for Your visit and guidance. Only two words came to me again and again: "Thank You, thank You." But as I raised my head and opened my eyes, I found You had gone. My heart was deeply touched by Your love. In a most natural way a prayer to You welled up in silence:
Bless my heart with an ever-flowing stream
pouring into You.
Bal Natu, Conversations with the Awakener, (c) 1991 Sheriar Foundation. Used by permission.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bal Natu (1919-2003) first had Meher Baba's darshan (blessing) in 1944. In 1949, Bal left everything to join Baba on the New Life, but due to his poor health, by Meher Baba's order he returned to his job.
After Bal retired from teaching in 1977, he came to live at Meherazad, Meher Baba’s home in India, where he shared tales of Baba's love the pilgrims who visited. In 1975, Bal became a Trustee of the Avatar Meher Baba Public Perpetual Trust. See a more detailed biography.