Intelligence Notebooks Online

Summary

Misusing Meher Baba’s Name  

Meher Baba did not write Infinite Intelligence, yet this huge book has been officially added to His canon of published words. Baba did not put His name on the two notebooks that Infinite Intelligence is based on. There is no evidence that Baba saw them. Infinite Intelligence is a massive collaborative reworking of those notebooks, which appear to be the work of at least two anonymous note takers, from information Meher Baba provided.

Some people believe a man named Feram Dadachanji wrote the notebooks from material Baba provided. Others don’t. Some believe the material is a copy of part of Baba’s Missing Book. Others don’t. Regardless, Meher Baba should not be named as the author of Infinite Intelligence. Baba did put His name on books that were largely penned by disciples—after He had reviewed and approved them. Baba had more than 40 years to do that with the notebooks, and did not do it. Naming Baba as the author of Infinite Intelligence because He is probably the “ultimate originator” of the information is misleading, indefensible, and sets an ominous precedent.

Rewriting the Notebooks  

Rewriting the original notebooks is another ominous precedent. The publishers rewrote the notebooks for two audiences: the “general reader” (who would be lost in inaccessible, impenetrable text without massive editorial intervention), and the “textual scholar” (who requires a sententious Supplement to satisfy heady intellectual needs). Each of these categories has a big problem.

First, the general reader of Infinite Intelligence does not exist. No book with Meher Baba’s name on it has been a New York Times best seller, and the price tag alone ($75, shipping and handling extra) makes Infinite Intelligence unlikely to be the first. And nobody who tackles 746 pages about the essence of God as Infinite Intelligence is a “general reader.”

Second, rewriting the notebooks deprives the “textual scholar” of the text itself. Although much of the Supplement is aimed at the “textual scholar,” its explanations and interpretations are irrelevant. A bona fide “textual scholar” would insist on reading the original notebooks.

Judging from the short original passages in Infinite Intelligence, the notebooks are no more impenetrable than the rewrites, despite the insistence of the editors. Additionally, the rewriting destroys the unique power and character of the original text and decimates many of the figures. By focusing exclusively on the intellectual difficulty of the notebooks, the editors are trying to create a monopoly of knowledge that is unnecessary in the first place. They are doing what priests do: creating a franchise for what people can do for themselves.

Unhinged Pedantry  

The rewritten notebooks in Infinite Intelligence are followed by 300 pages of interpretations and explanations. Infinite Intelligence looks and feels like a textbook; the fatiguing Supplement is scripture by pedants. The editors lack faith in the original material and in our capacity to benefit from it. If it comes from Baba, as they assert, why do they need to improve it, interpret it, and explain it? The editors are confused in their role as guardians of Meher Baba’s words, which is to publish literature by and about Baba—not to rewrite it and tell us what it means.

Misusing Meher Baba’s Name

Imagine that in 1926 somebody delivers a series of lectures on physics. In 1969 anonymous notes (complete with meticulously hand-drawn diagrams) are found. They were apparently taken by somebody in the audience. After their discovery, the notes lie forgotten for 29 years. In 1998 the notes are rediscovered, and some people (who are not physicists) decide to publish them, because they figure who else but Albert Einstein could have given the lectures the notes are based on? They spend seven years editing, reformatting, and rewriting the notes. They add appendices, a glossary, speculative essays, philosophical ruminations, sundry insights, and tortuous endnotes and footnotes. They radically redraw most of the hand-drawn figures in the original notebooks, according to their understanding and best guesses. They then publish their work as a gauche coffee-table book on physics. And without any reason to believe Einstein or whoever delivered the lectures even saw the original notes, they name Einstein as the author.

That scenario describes the publishing history of Infinite Intelligence. Except the person presumed to have given the lectures, and then named as the author, is Meher Baba.

If Einstein had given a lecture in 1926, notes taken by an unknown person would be treated as historical documents. No panel of physicists would decypher and mold the notes into their own piece, and then tell the world that it was written by Einstein himself. But it has always been easier to speak on behalf of God than on behalf of a physicist.

Remember when books had long subtitles? Infinite Intelligence is a perfect candidate:

INFINITE INTELLIGENCE
Explanations of Consciousness Based on Hand-Written Notes (Maybe Taken by Feram Dadachanji, Rewritten by Person or Persons Unknown, Then Eighty Years Later Extensively Rewritten and Reworked by Three Principal Editors and ‘Teams of Workers with a Variety of Skills’) of Discourses Possibly Written on a Slate Board in 1926 by the Silent Perfect Master Meher Baba.

That’s for the first notebook. Much of the second notebook seems to have a different history.

Attributing Infinite Intelligence to Baba because He is the “ultimate originator” (p. 523) is baffling and dangerous and indefensible. (The terms “ultimate author” and “ultimate source” are also used.) Baba is the ultimate originator of everything, but that does not mean we should slap His name on books we write.

Infinite Intelligence is not the first book published after Baba dropped His body created from information He gave out during His lifetime. The Nothing and the Everything was published in 1981. That amazing and beautiful book recounts information Meher Baba personally gave to Bhau Kalchuri and described as 10% of His Missing Book. (Mr. Kalchuri is a great speaker and writer, and that rarest of all things, a great poet.) Despite that direct transmission from Baba, The Nothing and the Everything correctly names Bhau Kalchuri as the author. Why? Because even though Baba is the brains behind the information, He neither wrote nor approved the printed words as He did with the Discourses, God Speaks, and the other books published during His lifetime that bear His name. Bhau wrote most of The Nothing and the Everything from his memory of Baba’s dictation. Infinite Intelligence is many more times and years removed from Baba’s dictation than is The Nothing and the Everything, yet it carries Baba’s name.



Excerpts from Infinite Intelligence about the Unknown Author

We must address the question of authorship because, if for no other reason, the original manuscript is unsigned and contains no ascription of authorship, direct or indirect. . . . we have no definite proof on the matter of authorship. (p. 523)

Is there a better reason for addressing this question?

 

In fact, of the creation of the Intelligence Notebooks as a finished manuscript, we see three separate literary acts: (1) Meher Baba’s original giving out of the material; (2) the compilation of this material into a literary text; and (3) the actual fair-hand copying of this text into the two Intelligence Notebooks. . . . As to the third act . . . we have no direct evidence at all. (p. 529)

There is no direct evidence for any of the literary acts that created the notebooks. Some presume the notebooks are a hand-written copy of Baba’s Missing Book. Others believe they are transcriptions of notes taken while Baba dictated the information on a slate board. Neither the Missing Book nor original notes have been found.

 

One should recollect, moreover, that the two Notebooks do not necessarily contain Baba’s actual words in the literal sense. Indeed, the very argument for Baba’s authorship, while compelling, remains only circumstantial. (p. 533)

This statement succintly captures why Baba should not be named as the author.

 

In short, many uncertainties remain about the status of the manuscript and its text. (p. 521)

Nonetheless, we can say with some assurance that Sadguru and the Light of Intelligence [the second major part of Infinite Intelligence] drew on various literary sources extant at Meherbad in the early 1920s. In overview, the evidence suggests that Sadguru and the Light of Intelligence may have been a kind of literary digest. It does not appear to offer a single coherent argument; rather it presents a range of discussions on a variety of topics. (p. 521)

 

The Supplement addresses the uncertain history of the notebooks, as shown above. But these and similar statements make the use of Baba’s name all the more incomprehensible. And they are not enough. For example, after days of reading Infinite Intelligence, a friend (a smart cookie who qualifies as a “textual scholar”) was not sure whether the synopsis that begins each section was in the original material or added by the editors. (On page 540 we are informed they were added.) My friend’s confusion on this simple point is emblematic of the danger in putting Baba’s name on a book, then burying the real story of authorship deep in back matter. Infinite Intelligence is listed in ISBN and Library of Congress databases; it will sit on shelves in libraries, bookstores, and homes; it will be searched on the web; excerpts will be referenced for years and years to come in countless ways—and always with Meher Baba as the author.

Occasional misquoting and misattribution is inevitable for any book. Infinite Intelligence guarantees those mistakes will be the norm.

Baba left instructions for his published words in two legal documents: his will and the deed that established His Trust. Nowhere in either of those instruments does Baba direct anybody to change His published words or to attribute to Him material He did not write. The seventh edition Discourses changed Baba’s words. Infinite Intelligence takes that mistake into another dimension by putting Baba’s name on a book He did not write in the first place.

Baba did not put His name on the notebooks. We have no evidence He saw them. So why is Baba’s name on derivative writing 80 years later? Using the rationale that Baba is the “ultimate originator,” what is to stop anybody from putting Baba’s name on any religious or spiritual work? For that matter, on a work of philosophy, a novel or play, a dream diary, on anything? The misuse of Baba’s name on Infinite Intelligence opens that door.



Rewriting the Notebooks

In rewriting the notebooks, the editors are saying, “We will explain these mysterious documents to you because you are not capable of understanding them without our rewrites and explanations. You cannot derive any benefit from looking at this material yourself.” The editors call the Infinite Intelligence notebooks “inaccessible,” “impenetrable,” and “almost unreadable,” but refer to the “avataric depths” and the “inner treaures” of their rewritten version. They would have us accept that while the original is the work of a few notetakers, their rewrite is the word of God.

It is one thing for the editors to hold a low view of the average Joe’s capacity to benefit from the notebooks. It is another thing entirely to exclude them from the book.

Assumptions Behind Rewriting the Notebooks

  1. The general public cannot understand the notebooks.
  2. The editors understand the notebooks.
  3. Therefore, the general public should see the editors’ rewrites, interpretations, and commentaries—not the notebooks.

The Supplement includes a brief excerpt to demonstrate why the notebooks needed to be rewritten. Judging from that passage, the original material is no more intimidating than the more orderly rewrite. On focusing exclusively on the intellectual difficulty of the notebooks, the editors are trying to create a monopoly of knowledge that is unnecessary in the first place. They are doing what priests do: creating a franchise for what people can do for themselves. While reading that brief original passage you can almost see Baba with chalk in hand and Chanji or whoever took the notes scribbling like a madman to get the points down before Baba erased them to make room for more. The headlong diction, the equals signs, parentheses, and cascading brackets may be close to what Baba scribbled on the slate board—that is, if Baba dictated the information. Infinite Intelligence has deflavorized and proper English but the redrawn figures, and several new ones the editors created, actually impede understanding.



Two Readerships (One Phantom, the Other Deprived)  

The notebooks were rewritten for two audiences: the “general reader” and the “textual scholar.” The editors explain that without their rewriting, the general reader would be lost in inaccessible and impenetrable text, and “textual scholars” can satisfy their heady needs in the Supplement. Each of these categories has big problems.

First, the general reader of Infinite Intelligence does not exist. No book with Baba’s name on it has been a New York Times best seller, and the price tag alone ($75, shipping and handling extra) makes Infinite Intelligence unlikely to be the first. Nobody who tackles 746 pages about the essence of God as Infinite Intelligence is a “general reader.” Rewriting the notebooks to make them yummy for the general reader was a misuse of limited resources. If the manhours and paper stock put into the Supplement had instead been put into publishing the Tiffin Lectures and the Combined Diary, Baba lovers would already have those works, as well as years of finding their own understanding of the notebooks.

Second, although much of the Supplement is aimed at the “textual scholar,” its explanations and interpretations are irrelevant. A bona fide “textual scholar” would insist on reading the original notebooks.

The notebooks have one readership: anybody who is drawn to them. Infinite Intelligence should have given the readers the original material—at less than $75 (shipping and handling extra).



Excerpts from Infinite Intelligence about The General Public

The last section of the essay explains editorial philosophy and practice. This is an important topic, since the editors have found it necessary to revise the original prose in order to make it intelligible to a general readership. (p. xxvii)

This first reference to the inept general reader is almost kindly. After the sixth or seventh such reference, they begin to seem disdainful.

 

The editors do feel nonetheless that most readers would find the book more approachable and easily intelligible if they at least peruse the first section that follows, Philosophic Content, before embarking upon their reading of the book’s primary text, or perhaps concurrently with that reading. (p. 456)

The Supplement in Infinite Intelligence is self-important and self-referential. It is not surprising that the editors recommend one of their essays be read before the notebooks themselves (well, before their rewrites of the notebooks).

 

In its raw form, the text would be largely impenetrable to a general public; to make it more accessible to more than just textual scholars, the editors have edited far more extensively than has been done previously in the standard body of Meher Baba’s writings. (p. 457)

The notebooks are a non-part of Meher Baba’s standard (whatever that means) writings. Nobody seems to know who wrote the notebooks. But after rewriting them, the editors ascribe them to Baba.

 

[without our rewrites] only scholars and specialists who devote great time to the task would fully understand its content. (p. 534)

 

Though the original figures embody profound conceptions and have been carefully drawn, in their manuscript form they do not stand as finished artistic creations . . . Like the original text, they require editorial and artistic attention to be made accessible to a general public. (p. 618)

 

Yet readers would find it difficult to gather this philosophic content from this unedited text. . . . In short, without editing, the text would appear to mean much less than it really does. (p. 536)

This assertion reveals stunning arrogance. Elsewhere the editors write: “Yet the contents of the Intelligence Notebooks in their raw form have the untamed freshness of an expression that arises from the direct perception of Reality.” Apparently, Baba’s good at perceiving Reality but He’s hopeless as a writer.

 

The Intelligence Notebooks, for their part, convey powerful and original content, but as they stand, they do not constitute a polished and refined record of an author’s intention. (p. 458)

How do the editors know the author’s intention when they don’t know who the author is? If Baba is the “ultimate originator,” who are the editors to judge His intentions, and the polish and refinement of the manuscript?

 

For none can reasonably dispute that the text of the original manuscript needs editing. Even its edited version is challenging and often obscure. But unedited, it would remain largely inaccessible to the general public. (p. 533)

Based on the original passages included in Infinite Intelligence and the before and after versions of the graphics, it is unreasonable to dispute that they should not have been edited.

 



Excerpts from Infinite Intelligence: Evidence, Apparatus, and the Real Thing

To what extent can one rely upon this present book as an accurate register of what Meher Baba Himself has said? So far as possible, the editors would like to make available whatever evidence on this point they themselves have had to work with, so that readers who want to can judge for themselves. (p. 456)

The endnotes have oodles of evidence. For example:

At this juncture on folio 49 of Notebook I, a wavy horizontal line seems to mark a section division. . . . The original text does not indicate at this juncture (Notebook I folio 56) which plane the kamil, wali, siddhi yogi, or mahayogi is on. . . . On this phrase (from Notebook II folio 7), see the previous endnote (on p. 379). . . . In Notebook I folio 40, immediately beneath the table, appear the words “In the case of human beings.” Centered on this page and set off by wavy lines above . . . Etc., etc., etc.

Had Infinite Intelligence included the original notebooks, countless manhours of otiose scholarship could have been avoided. And trees spared.

 

These revisions will make the meaning more readily perceptible to a general readership, though students who wish to ascertain for themselves what the original manuscript means will need to return to the unedited text. (p. 461)

The revisions will make the editors’ interpretations readily perceptible. How they affect everything else is not so certain.

 

The apparatus of this book (with its endnotes, glossary, appendices, etc.) the editors have created in part to make the nature of this editorial process, and the character of the original manuscript, visible to those readers who wish to pursue the matter. Ultimately, of course, there is no substitute for a return to the original manuscript, which in future years will no doubt inspire new editions that improve upon this one. (p. 457)

The “apparatus” of the book exposes some of the editorial process but disguises the character of the original manuscript.

 



An Original Passage and its Rewrite

The Supplement includes the following original passage to demonstrate why the notebooks had to be rewritten.  
Original Text in Notebook I (Page 58)

It is out of Infinite Intelegence’s thinking (= consciousness,
movement, vibration) {(thinking that It does not think,
knowing that It does not know) does not think = does not
know = Imagination)} that Akasha and Prana have been
produced. It is out of the Infinite Intelegence’s thinking that
fine Imagination is produced in Infinite gross & subtle form
i.e. It is out of thinking that Imagination (which was in its
original fine most nirakar state in the Infinite Intelegence
when it was not thinking) is menifested in the subtle & gross
form (this Akasha & Prana which make up the subtle &
gross imagination are menifested through the thinking, the
consciousness, the movement, the vibration). This thinking
being the Infinite Intelegence’s thinking, is also Infinite i.e.
It is the Universaly existing thought power i.e. the Infinite
Mind of the Infinite Intelegence {the mind when thinking
the Imagination i.e. creating the universe, the false mind
when thinking the Imagination i.e. realizing Itself.
[From knowledge comes out knowing and from
knowing has come out ignorance (universe): as the
Infinite Knowledge knows (knowing) that It does not
know (ignorance = universe) {Imagination = Darkness =
ignorance = universe} means that the Infinite Knowledge
acknowledges Its ignorance {(i.e., realizes the universe;
The Infinite Knowledge’s Knowing (a) creates ignorance
(i.e. universe); and It knows (Knowing (b)) It’s
ignorance (as knowledge). Knowing (a) means creating
the universe; and Knowing (b) means realizing the
universe.} This ignorance (universe) which Knowledge
acknowledges (i.e. realizes, takes the experience of,)
is false (imaginery, Bhas, bhram). Because It being
Infinite Knowledge how can It be ignorant? How can
Infinite Knowledge know ignorance? {Universe is the
production of mere Bhas, bhram; It is due to Maya that
this false, this imagination, this ignorance, appears as
real, as thinking, as Knowledge.}
Rewritten Text in Infinite Intelligence (Page 95)

INFINITE INTELLIGENCE’S THINKING implies consciousness, movement, vibration. When Infinite Intelligence thinks that it does not think or knows that it does not know,* It is thinking the imagination. (Here imagination can be defined as the “does not think” and the “does not know.”) It is out of such thinking of the Infinite Intelligence that akash (space) and pran (energy) have been produced.*
     This is to say that, out of the thinking of Infinite Intelligence, the fine imagination is produced and manifested into infinite subtle and gross form. When Infinite Intelligence was not thinking, this imagination remained in its original fine, most-finite formless (nirakar) state.
     This akash and pran, which together make up the subtle and gross imagination, are manifested through the thinking, the consciousness, the movement, the vibration. This thinking is infinite, since it is the thinking of the Infinite Intelligence. Constituting the Infinite Intelligence’s Infinite Mind, this thinking could be further described as the Infinite Intelligence’s universally existing power. It has three aspects:

  1. that Mind which thinks the imagination in the sense of creating the universe;
  2. that false mind which thinks the imagination in the sense of realizing the universe;
  3. that Real Mind which thinks Itself, that is, realizes Itself.

     From Knowledge comes out knowing and from knowing has come out ignorance (which is the universe), since the Infinite Knowledge knows (or is in the state of knowing) that it does not know. This “not knowing” is ignorance, or universe, or imagination, or darkness. This “knowing that It does not know,” this “not knowing” means that Infinite Knowledge acknowledges Its ignorance—in other words, realizes the universe.
     Now the knowing of the Infinite Knowledge

          a) creates ignorance (the universe), and

          b) makes It know (or puts It in the state of knowing)
               Its ignorance as knowledge.

Knowing in the first sense (a) means creating the universe; and knowing in the second sense (b) means realizing the universe. This ignorance (the universe) which Knowledges acknowledges (realizes, takes the experience of) is false and imaginary; it is bhas or “seeming likeness,” bhram or “delusion.” Now if Knowledge be infinite, how can It be ignorant? How can Infinite Knowledge know ignorance? The answer lies in the fact that the universe is the production of mere bhas, bhram; and Maya is what causes this falseness, this imnagination, this ignorance to appear as real, as thinking, as Knowledge.


Unhinged Pedantry

Excerpts from Infinite Intelligence for the “Textual Scholar”

Again, one should remember that Meher Baba was not a philosopher working within the context of an intellectual and philosophical tradition. (p. 459) . . .  One should bear in mind, at the same time, that Meher Baba did not simply build structures as a philosopher would do. (p. 507)

Then why rewrite the notebooks to read like philosophy, repackage them like a textbook, and add hundreds of pages of academese?

 

In presenting this body of ideas, the point of view in Infinite Intelligence as All in All (again, to speak somewhat impressionistically) seems to be that of Infinite Intelligence Itself looking directly at the phenomenology of creation and describing the dynamics and structures that make its illusion possible. While the language may seem to be abstract, in fact, this treatise’s description is very immediate. . . . God Speaks, while it too expresses God’s viewpoint, does so predominantly through the mythos or narrative of the drop-soul through its journey. This archetypal narrative inheres in Infinite Intelligence; but as a whole its first treatise stands in the character of a divine analytic, grounded in the spontaneity of God’s unmediated sight. (p. 493)

It is hard to see how this sort of thing will help any reader. Also, grounded in spontaneity?

 

One might argue, contra the position being set forth here, that the textual borrowing that occurs within Infinite Intelligence as All in All itself denies significance to the borrowing between the two parts. . . .  (p. 519)

So begins an interminable footnote that posits a “manifestly absurd” possibility, followed by an explanation of why it is absurd, leaving the reader positing that the purpose of the footnote is to display erudition. The reader is referred back to the text and is also sent on an endnote hunt that ends on page 675. The Supplement teems with this kind of self-reference.

 

The two volumes of the Infinite Intelligence notebooks are hardbound notebooks of a common shape and design. The covers are cardboard, 8-1/4 "x 13", with two colors interweaving in a pattern . . . The second color (dry rose for Notebook I and blue haze for Notebook II) appears on the spines and from there flows . . . Each page has a top line in red ink . . . The outside cut edge of the paper in each notebook is ornamented with a speckling of raspberry-colored . . . The overall similarity of these notebooks suggests they may have been purchased at the same time as part of the same allotment. . . . The text itself is written in a fair and fluent hand . . . The writing itself is done with a fountain pen . . . it fills the front or recto sides of leaves . . . The overleaves (or verso sides of folios) remain blank. . . .  (p. 497)

This unintentionally comical description, which runs to three pages, could have been prevented had the notebooks been included in Infinite Intelligence. (Blue haze? Dry rose?)

 

After long consideration, however, the editors have accepted the greater authority of the text in In God’s Hand; the emended text in this edition reflects that choice. . . . But the second reason for the selection of In God’s Hand as the source text at this critical juncture is that, on balance, the editors find its point of view to be more compelling. (p. 584)

This is the coup de grâce, the killer apex, of the Supplement’s unhinged pedantry. The editors needed long consideration to decide Baba’s hand-written explanation should take precedence over anonymous notes! On the cause of Reality! What if they had decided the notes were more compelling? Would they have overridden Baba Himself?

 



Glossary  

There are numerous differences between God Speaks and Infinite Intelligence. To make the inconsistencies go away, the glossary in Infinite Intelligence redefines many of the words in the God Speaks glossary.

Excerpt from Infinite Intelligence

Some of the apparent contradictions and disjunctures between Infinite Intelligence and God Speaks, then, prove to be, on close analysis, nothing more than changes that had taken place in the usage and meaning of certain key words between the mid-1920s on the one hand, and the late 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, on the other. (p. 459)

The fact that there are vast differences in content and the use of language between this book and God Speaks makes putting Baba’s name on it all the more baffling. Why does the glossary in God Speaks, which Baba approved when He was in the body, seem to work so much better with every other book and discourse Baba published during His life (Discourses, Listen Humanity, The Everything and the Nothing, Beams, Life at its Best) than it does with Infinite Intelligence, which He did not publish or sign in His lifetime? Baba may have used His own words in different ways at different times but that does not justify redefining the majority of them for a book He did not write. Especially if that book has been attributed to Him.

Definitions of Satpurush
Infinite Intelligence Glossary God Speaks Glossary
Satpurush— (fm. Skt.): A God-realized person or Sadguru. From Sat, truth, and Purush, Man. Satpurush (V): (satpurusa) A sixth plane saint. S: pir, afrad.

From God Speaks: “The traveler who succeeds in reaching this [the sixth] plane is entitled to be called a pir or Satpurush.” (p. 206) If we apply the Infinite Intelligence definition of Satpurush to this sentence, we clearly understand that one gets God realization on the sixth plane.

The Infinite Intelligence glossary is vastly larger than the God Speaks glossary. Explanations of these additional words would be fine and educational in any other book, but to put them into a book with Baba’s name on it is wrong. The adding of terms and words is a large part of the construction of a religion.



The Redrawn Figures: More Color, Less Light  

The hand-drawn figures in the notebooks are excellent visual communications of esoteric concepts. Unfortunately, the editors mistook the clarity of the originals for primitiveness, and in replacing them with stylized pastels, they mistook obscurity for sophistication. The redrawn versions are nicely rendered and visually pleasant, but they complicate and camouflage information. Repeated references to the figures as art and to the ‘artistic-editorial team’ are tip-offs to the editors’ misunderstanding of the purpose of these technical graphics: they are meant to explicate, not to decorate. The redrawn versions shed more color but less light than the originals.

A recurrent problem in the redrawn versions is the use of keys to associate terms with graphical elements. The original figures associate explanatory words with lines, arcs, circles, and other graphical elements. The reader knows what the shapes mean and how they relate to other aspects of the presentation. Almost every redrawn figure separates explanatory words from the graphical elements, and corrals them into keys, as though they are clutter that has to be cleared away. This decoupling forces the reader’s eye to move back and forth repeatedly between the graphical elements and the key. Relationships that are immediately evident in the originals have to be put together in the redrawn versions after considerable visual effort. The closer the redrawn figures stay to the originals, the more successful they are. The examples below typify the problems of the redrawn figures.

Original hand-drawn diagram that became Figure 5.
Hand-drawn diagram in notebook that became Figure 5

From page 624

The diagram in the manuscript is extremely primitive; the redrawn Figure 5 transforms its source (by means of the diagrammatic vocabulary of circles and colors) perhaps more than does any figure in the book. Nonetheless, the root concept emerges from the original unambiguously; the original and redrawn diagrams express the same idea.

The original hand-drawn diagram concentrates easily retrievable information in a format that depicts six relationships between three universal spheres and three states of consciousness. Even the editors acknowledge the clarity of this “extremely primitive” graphic. The redrawn version appears to be more sophisticated but it is for all practical purposes useless as a technical graphic. It is possible to assimilate the information Figure 5 is intended to communicate, but not likely, because it has to be discovered piecemeal in a scavenger hunt.

Figure 5 in Infinite Intelligence.
Figure 5 in Infinite Intelligence

Figure 5 forces the reader to repeatedly combine visual cues (colors, combinations of colors, shapes, pictures, letters, and words) to assemble fragments of information. Gray elements are difficult to see and the solid and dotted lines emanating from the Om point are ambiguous. But the real harm lies in the fragmentation of information. Let’s look at one of the six relationships this graphic illustrates: ordinary conscious state of human being = fine in sound sleep state. You can’t miss this correlation in the original hand-drawn version. In Figure 5, ordinary human consciousness is indicated twice, by a drawing of a person and by the letter B. To grasp this first part of the correlation, ‘ordinary conscious state of human being’, the eye has to move from the drawing of the person and/or the letter B down to the key. The second idea in the correlation, ‘fine in sound sleep state’, has to be compiled in two steps because fine universe and sound sleep state are decoupled. The fine universe is prominently labeled over a blue background. But unless the reader refers again to the key to learn or recall that blue represents ‘experience in sound-sleep state’, the redrawn graphic has hidden the reason for its existence, which is to explain when ordinary human consciousness experiences the fine universe. If the reader does assemble the second part of the correlation, then he or she has to connect it with either the letter B or the depiction of the person in order to glean that ordinary conscious state of human being = fine in sound sleep. One relationship between a sphere and a state of consciousness down. Five to go.

A final absurdity is that the lower half of Figure 5 looks like a smiley face.

Original hand-drawn diagram that became Figure 17.Hand-drawn diagram in notebook that became Figure 17

Figure 17 transforms two simple lists into an abstraction that depends entirely on the key to impart any meaning. The intent is to enrich the basic information in the original through color and shapes. However, in addition to the underlying problem of exiling the explanatory words from the graphical elements, the key is inadequate. It shows outlines of the shapes without explaining either the colors (which are carried over from other figures) or the differences in shading. The green cones are explained in the Supplement, 399 pages later. Figure 17 is essentially decorative. It is marginally useful if the reader already understands the concepts it represents; by itself it raises more questions than it answers.

 Figure 17 in Infinite Intelligence.
Figure 17
   Figure 15 in Infinite Intelligence.
Figure 15 in Infinite Intelligence


From the Synopsis that Begins this Section


 . . . Thus the larger process of waking and falling asleep is accomplished through two smaller cycles of Ishwar and the realizer, the first encompassing the movement from sleep to dream and back again, and the second from dream to wakefulness and back again. All of this is illustrated in Figure 15.

Figure 15, one of 11 original figures created by the artistic-editorial team, is a cryptogram that contains, rather than displays, information. This figure is an exercise in bewilderment and functions backwards. Rather than using the figure to enrich and clarify larger concepts, the reader ends up flipping through page after page of text to make sense of the figure. After close study of the surrounding 10 pages of text, the general meaning of this graphic begins to emerge. Even then, this vaguely entomological mandala only partially depicts the complicated movements of consciousness it is meant to show. Maybe the nested conical shapes surrounding the Rs have something to do with the relationships between the infinite and most-finite forms of thinking. The figure does not show that three or four substeps are involved in each of the major movements. The blue squiggles are mysterious. Again, this graphic is short on words. There is too much going on to cram into shapes and colors.



Requests of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust Publications Committee

  1. Stop putting Meher Baba’s name on books He did not write.
  2. Publish without editing the Tiffin Lectures, the Combined Diary, and other literature by mandali. These manuscripts have been in the Meher Baba Trust archives for decades, pending editing for publication.
  3. Stop editing, rewriting, and explaining literature by and about Meher Baba. Baba’s words are always best, historical documents should not be changed, and we can arrive at our own conclusions.

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