How can I be a true Christian?

“How can I be a true Christian? Why Jesus did not marry? These are questions, rather doubts that come up front from time to time. These very questions were put to Meher Baba, the Silent Master, before he dropped His body in January 1969. His reply holds good then as now as the world is approaching its annual tryst with Christmas. Because people speak of Christianity but are not prepared to follow Christ’s words truly and honestly. Forget about offering the other cheek when slapped it has become common to grab one another’s throat at the slightest provocation’.

Meher Baba started his silence in 1925. Initially he used a board on which alphabet and Roman numerals 1 to 10 were painted to convey his thoughts. After a while, he dropped the ‘board’ and spoke through hand gestures.

The question and answer on Jesus took place when Baba was using the alphabet. According to Meher Baba’s biography, Lord Meher, written by his long time disciple, Bhau Kalchuri, He also replied why people did not know about His divinity since He has declared Himself as the Avatar, the Messiah.

From the alphabet board, Baba replied, “You can be a true Christian by following the teachings of Christ, and by living the life that he lived and wanted you to live. People speak of Christianity but are not prepared to follow Christ’s words – to present the other cheek when slapped – saying it is impractical and grabbing one another’s throat at the slightest provocation. They create hatred where Jesus wanted them to create an atmosphere of love and brotherhood everywhere. What wonder is it that the whole world is in a muddle about everything?”

Mrs. H. Ford, one of the disciples, present, then asked, “But if you are the Christ, why don’t people know about it?”

Baba answered, “It is because people cannot know that I have to take this human form. Jesus was not known in his time, even by his own intimate companions. Judas, who was near him all the time and even kissed him, could not understand him.”

Someone asked why Jesus never married. Baba gave a detailed explanation:

“The Avatar’s exterior way of life is regulated by the habits and customs of the times, and he adopts that attitude which is most suited to serve as an example to his contemporaries. But in essence, all Avatars embody the same ideal of life.

“At the time of Zarathustra (in Persia), humanity was hesitant and lacked equilibrium. The Persians then were neither complete materialist nor really attracted toward the spiritual light. He taught them to be good householders, to marry and abstain from desiring the wife of another, and to worship God. His own life was based on this principle: good thoughts, good words and good deeds. Zarathustra was married.

“At the time of Krishna (in India), the Hindus were at war fighting among themselves. Envy and greed were predominant, and a real concept of spiritual life and love was unknown to them. Krishna based his spiritual teachings on the laws of love and pure, innocent merriment. Human beings were joyfully directed toward a disinterested ideal of love.

“At the time of Buddha (again in India), the people of India were deep into materialism. In order to demonstrate that their conception of value was wrong and that they were victims of the goddess of illusion, or Maya, Buddha renounced his wife, his family and the riches of the world in order to establish his teachings on renunciation.

“At the time of Muhammad, the Arab tribesmen were very sensuous, and it was not considered bad or illegal to live with several wives. If Muhammad had not married like Jesus and had advocated celibacy or if he had imposed absolute continence, it would have produced inevitably dangerous reactions. Few people would have followed his teachings and fewer still would have been attracted to such an ideal. Muhammad had six wives, but he had no physical contact with them.

“At the time of Jesus, arrogance, imperiousness, pride and cruelty were the characteristics of people. Nevertheless, they possessed a conception of justice in regard to women and marriage; therefore, it was not necessary, as it was in Arabia, to make marriage an example. Jesus lived the life of humility, simplicity, and poverty, and he endured suffering in order to direct human beings toward the purest ideal – God as Beloved.

“The Avatars incarnate in this world at different times and their teachings have therefore to be adapted to the mentality of their epoch. At times, the Avatar bases his teaching on the search for the personal God, and at other times, on the search for the impersonal God.

“It may be compared to a hospital, where the sick complain of thirst at different times. The doctor will prescribe tea or coffee in the morning to those who complain in the morning, water or fruit juice in the afternoon, buttermilk in the evening and hot milk before sleep. The doctor is the same and the complaint is the same, but the thirst is quenched in different ways according to the different conditions at different times.

“God, manifesting as the Avatar in different periods of time, quenches the thirst of man in different ways. All human beings, either consciously or unconsciously, have the same thirst for Truth”. (Lord Meher, Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 6-7 p. 1881)