"A day will come
when nothing will benefit you - neither wealth, family, friends- nothing
except submission to Allah with a pure heart."
The fakir of the mausoleum had up to the age
of thirty six been entangled in worldly affairs. His excessive liking for
a special brand of whisky had earned him the nickname of 'White Horse'.
Adversities made him decide to commit suicide. When he tried to carry out
his tragic determination, a person appeared who prevented him from doing
so. Dismissing the man as a hallucination of his deranged brain he continued
his superficial pursuits until a new misfortune put him again in a depressive
mood. A second attempt was again foiled by the apparition of the same personage.
It was only after a third unsuccessful attempt to put an end to his life
and a third unwelcome interference that his resistance collapsed and that
he asked for help. The mysterious man told him to go to the shrine of Haji
Malang at Kalyan near Bombay.
At this mazar he became very sick. For more
than a month he vomited continuously and for more than a year he behaved
as a mast.
The time for him to be a mast ended, when a day, an old malang
came to him and said: "Now you have become like a child."
more years of peregrinations and associations with diverse dervishes passed,
before he finally settled in the mausoleum where he became the attendant
of a mast baba.
How he came to stay at his present place is a classical
example of a set of strangely connected incidents that molded the destiny
of many a baba. A night after having prayed at the shrine of Muin ud-Din
Chishti in Ajmer, he had a vivid dream in which a man suggested to him to
move to another specific shrine. Having by now learned to rely more on his
dreams and visions than on his own personal opinions and conclusions, he
set off the next morning for the indicated shrine. There he joined the fakirs
and beggars at the gate. After a week a man came to him who handed him an
envelope and told him to keep it for him, while stipulating that the envelope
contained precious papers. The fakir accepted the papers. Ten days later,
as the man had not yet come back, the fakir opened the envelope to look
for an address to send the papers to, but great was his surprise when he
found only two photographs: one depicting the shrine of Haji Malang, the
first shrine he had been directed to and the other showing the mazar where
he was staying now. With tears running down his face he carefully put the
photographs back among his few belongings.
While living as a beggar at
the mazar he was regularly accosted by a mast baba of the terrible type,
who dwelled alone in a mausoleum some distance away. Many times the old
mast told him: "You must come to my place, I have been waiting for
you." At first the fakir was reluctant to go and live with a mast known
to be hot-tempered, but when he met the baba again during an out-of-the-body
journey and he disclosed to him that he needed him to take care of the tombs
as he was about to die, the fakir consented.
The mast baba had an attendant
who had been with him for more than twenty years. He sent him away. The
attendant remained for some days outside the tomb imploring his master to
be allowed back in his presence, but the mast baba refused. To outsiders
this decision looked very cruel, as the mast had also been notorious for
beating the same attendant often for apparently no reason. The only plausible
explanation was that he was a jalali mast. But the mast told the fakir that
he only beat his former attendant when he came to know telepathically that
his mind had become distracted and had stopped doing 'perpetual zikr'.
Shortly afterwards the old mast died and the fakir replaced him in the mausoleum.
For fifteen years now he has not slept one night outside the mausoleum.
Dervishes have a deep respect for masts and majzoobs. Many of them have
in one way or another been transformed by a meeting with a mast or majzoob,
or have passed themselves through the experience of being a mast. Some assert
that the state of mast is inevitable for most dervishes. The condition of
mast and majzoob may last for short or long periods or till one dies. Some
are born a mast or majzoob.
Meher Baba kept up throughout his life a
special relationship with masts and majzoobs. This relationship was both
remarkable and unique. Meher Baba went himself for a short period through
the state of majzoob. One afternoon in 1913 as he was coming back from school
and passing the dwelling-place of an old woman fakir, who was reputed to
possess occult powers, she called him to approach. She took his head between
her hands and kissed his forehead. He reached his home in a dazzled state
In 1936 Meher Baba began to show an intense concern for divinely
intoxicated people. He sent his disciples to all provinces of India in search
of masts and majzoobs and set up several ashrams for them. He himself visited
and contacted hundreds of them during his many travels. With some masts
and majzoobs he sat in seclusion for hours and days, communicating and receiving
powers on a supramental level. He explained that he was helping masts to
reach a higher stage or that he was using their minds as a medium to transmit
particular energies to other parts of the world, as their minds reach far
beyond the ordinary levels known to us. He went into a state of 'two in
one mind' with them. After sessions with certain masts Meher Baba was completely
exhausted and perspiring. While distinguishing divinely intoxicated people
from ordinary mad people who "can at best hope to return to normality
by suitable treatment", he said that masts and majzoobs occupy a significant
position in our world.
In Afghanistan while staying with the Sufi group
whose sheikh advised me to become a Muslim, I once went on ziarat outside
the city with Mahmud and a mast malang. Just outside the gate of the mazar,
the malang became immobilized: his left leg slightly bent, his head turned
towards the tomb. Mahmud waited some minutes, then called his name and touched
his back. No response. He remained motionless and mute. People gathered
around us. They surrounded the malang in a reverent manner. Some invoked
Allah. Mahmud explained to me that the malang had passed into a state of
enchantment. Intense contact with the vibrations of the tomb or some other
power had dazed his mind. This state could last for hours or days, no one
could tell. In the late afternoon a man came by, put both his hands on the
malang's head and went his way. An atmosphere of timelessness emanated from
the malang. Finally he made a movement. The bystanders shouted sacred sayings.
He was not puzzled at all, and walked away as if nothing had happened. He
seemed not to remember anything of the time spent in his state of enchantment.
I had another experience with a mast whose name was Kala Baba and who originally
came from Bengal. I had known him for years as a sweeper in a shrine in
Pakistan. We used to have a lively contact, but with the years his mind
became more and more empty from ordinary subjects and our communication
became reduced to a quick smile– and an exchange of a cigarette. Sometimes
I even forgot to look for him. Then, one day when our external contact was
at its lowest, while I was standing near the pool for ablutions, Kala Baba
approached me. It was no ordinary approach. Looking at him my mind contained
his mind and we became one mind. I saw that his mind was totally empty and
that for the moment he was helplessly linked to my train of thought. He
reacted to whatever came up in my mind. I was also spellbound. The experience
was not pleasant. His hands were trembling. Gradually I became aware of
an obstacle in my mind. When I succeeded in removing the obstacle he stopped
trembling and our minds disconnected. Kala Baba had taught me an important
Once when questioning a malang about his spiritual affiliation
he answered: "My pir is a majzoob. In these times the orders have little
baraka. Most of the sons of the great sheikhs have lost it centuries ago.
Only at particular epochs does the Light of Allah come to many individuals.
Now is the fourteenth century."