1938 - Tiger Valley, Panchgani, India. Image rendition by Anthony Zois.
1938 - Tiger Valley, Panchgani, India. Image rendition by Anthony Zois.




On 23rd July, 1925, Meher Baba visited Shahane's house and explained about freedom, writing out this story:


A parrot was free from birth and could fly from one tree to another. It could eat the fruit it fancied, and after eating in Ahmednagar, it would fly as far as Bombay to let loose its droppings. Although free from birth, it had no idea what freedom was.

It always asked, "What is freedom?" and cried out, "Free me! Free me!"


Pointing to his brother Beheram, Baba continued:

A philosopher such as Beheram told it, "Brother, you are already free." But the parrot had no idea of its freedom and so Beheram said, "All right, I will show you what freedom is. First, come to me and submit yourself to my care."

The parrot was intelligent, so it flew to Beheram and said, "I am now in your hands. You can wring my neck or you can give me the experience of freedom."


However, Beheram put the bird in a cage. In a few days the parrot found it could not fly or eat the fruit it liked, nor could it sit in its favorite tree. It was shut up — locked in a cage. The parrot thought, "I used to be free." At that moment it had the experience of freedom which it had lacked before. It knew freedom only when it had become imprisoned.


In a similar manner, every soul is God and free, but since one was free from the very beginning one has no idea of the soul's freedom. To have it, one should allow oneself to be caught by a Sadguru. One should give one's neck into the Sadguru's hands so that he may keep one locked up — under his orders and discipline — and give the experience of the soul's real freedom.




Lord Meher On-line page 605

Lord Meher Vol.3 p.743-4


22nd April, 1926


Baba explained to the mandali:


Remember the story about the parrot who was free from the beginning, but did not know what freedom meant? It was put into a cage and inside there learned what the meaning of freedom was. When it was released, it fully realized its freedom and enjoyed it. Its freedom was taken away; it was put into a cage simply to make it conscious and give it the knowledge and experience of what was freedom. In the end, it came to know what freedom really meant and hence know itself.


In the same way, our body is like a cage and our spirit is like the parrot. If I were to tell you that you are Ishwar [God], you would not believe it, because your ridiculous idea of God is of some old man with a white beard, watching you from an armchair in heaven!  You say to yourselves, "How can I, a lowly human, be God Himself?" You are afraid of the very idea that you are God! But it is a fact. It is your ignorance of that knowledge — the false impression of the mind that you are men — which prevents you from experiencing that you are God.


For example, you can see things when awake, but in sleep you do not see although you still have eyes. Because you cannot see during sleep, does it mean you do not have eyes? No! The fact that you have eyes remains the same throughout — during wakefulness as well as during sleep — but this difference of seeing during wakefulness and not seeing during sleep is a difference in the state of the mind functioning.

Suppose you have a crore [ten million] of rupees.


However, you do not carry all of it in your pocket. That does not mean that you do not own the money and are penniless. So I want you to know that every one of you is God, but you just do not know it!


A week later, on 29 April 1926, Baba used the simile of a cup and saucer to explain that the body was only a means to liberation:


Indeed, be well off in the world with your family, and do your duties towards your family sincerely. But do not harbor the ambition and desire to earn more for the satisfaction of the wants of these five senses of the body. Earn as much as would be quite sufficient for the maintenance of your family, and strive and strain your body and work hard toward that aim. But do not make yourself a slave to your bodily passions by earning more than is sufficient and by wasting your surplus income on such self-indulgent pleasures. Remember, this body is to be given up and shed. It is only given to you as a medium for you to know the Self, i.e., for Self Realization.

The use of a cup and saucer is for drinking tea (or water, or milk); that is, the cup and saucer are a means for drinking tea. The moment the tea is drunk and emptied into your stomach, those means [the cup and saucer] are to be put aside. In the same way, once you get Realization, this body, which is only a means towards that aim, is to be given up. For what is the use of it then [after Realization]?


Lord Meher On-line page 649-50

Lord Meher Vol.3 p.789