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External appearance of a mast may look like a mad person since he is also not oblivious of his body being engrossed in divine love on subtle plane but they are not mad. There is vast difference in the consciousness of mentally derailed mad and mast who is spiritually advanced and has entered the subtle or mental plane. Baba defined mind working fast as mad and mind working slow as mast. When mind slowed down to the extent of zero means full stop, the soul is realised.

A mad man is not normal; he is unbalanced. He loses consciousness of self and sense of discrimination. Though physically present in body a mast is also not conscious of his body on gross plane but on subtle plane, he is absorbed in experiences of subtle nature and feels like air or fragrance. The subtle plane superimposes over the gross plane and the adverse surrounding of gross plane does not affect him. If a mast does not take bath for months together his body will not smell. He can remain without food and water for a long time. Worst atmospheric conditions of the gross plane would not affect him. He is aloof from the gross world and remains away from habited areas and select isolated and dirty place like urinal and latrines to stay with. In case of mast, intoxication of divine love is permanent and not like drug intoxication which is temporary as long as the dose of intoxication is effective.

In Meher Baba’s words

Masts are sincerely and wholeheartedly devoted to Truth. They are divinely mad in search of eternal values. Such persons are not mad in the ordinary sense; they are desperately in love with God, and are known as Masts. Masts are totally different from ordinary mad persons. Although to the casual observer they might seem to be like each other, they are utterly dissimilar in their intrinsic nature and significance. Though both are far from perfection, and need correctives or healing, there is a vast difference in the nature of their inner mental states, and in the spiritual value of the results that are achieved by the application of correctives.

The average person is not familiar with masts or their spiritual condition of God-intoxication. The following description by Meher Baba elucidates what constitutes the mind of a mast:

All masts are intoxicated with God; they are intoxicated by divine love. When a normal person is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs he enjoys this sensation so long as the intoxicant is in sufficient concentration in his physical tissues: a drunkard feels happy, cares not for anyone or anything, and has one dominant sensation of drunkenness, in which the past, present or future has practically no meaning. But as soon as the ordinary intoxication passes away, the drunkard suffers the reverse – the hangover. Stimulated physical intoxication is inescapably temporary, because it is limited by the very stimulant itself, the conditions of the environment, and the cost of the stimulant and the resilience of one's condition.

Now a person who is God-intoxicated experiences the same sensation that a drunkard enjoys, and cares for no one and nothing, in proportion to the extent of his inner intoxication; the vast difference is the mast's intoxication is continual, that it may increase but can never decrease, and that it has no harmful physical or mental reaction. It is an inner state of permanent and unalloyed intoxication, independent of anything external.

The principal sensation of a mast is this permanent enjoyment of divine intoxication. The creation is full of bliss and the mast enjoys this bliss and thereby becomes intoxicated to an almost unlimited extent, virtually consuming him and absorbing him and thereby making the world around him vanish.  Absorbed in God, such a person is continually absorbed in thinking about God, and with that comes like a bolt of pure love consuming him further in a state of divine intoxication.

Masts do not suffer from what may be called a disease. They are in a state of mental disorder because their minds are overcome by such intense spiritual energies that are far too much for them, forcing them to lose contact with the world, shed normal human habits and customs, and civilized society and live in a state of spiritual splendor but physical squalor.   There are those who have become masts whose minds have become unbalanced through unceasing dwelling upon thoughts of God, so that they neglect all normal human requirements.

No ordinary man can tell whether one man is a mast and another man is mad without the divine authority of a Perfect Master. However, the unmistakable quality that masts possess is their ability to make one happy in their company. Whereas, in the company of a mad person one feels depression and sadness. (Lord Meher, 1st. ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 6, pp. 2031 – 2035)

In feeble-minded or mad persons, aberrations from the average pattern of responses and actions are the results of their mental incapacity to adhere to the ordinary ways of the world. Through inherent psychic weakness, their directive effort has come to an impasse, or has fizzled out. The cases of breakdown of the mind in ordinary madness are often due to aimlessness in life, as they are due to insufficiency, or to an inadequacy of the available "will-power” or mental strength. There are usually many other contributory factors in such cases. Persons who find shelter in mental hospitals are generally those who have been subjected to unusual mental shock or strain. They lose their balance of mind due either to insufficient mental development, or to the operation of physiological or psychic forces of disruption. Though these physiological or psychological forces that have caused mental disruption are irresistible, they are of the ordinary kind. In ordinary madness, the collapse of the normal functioning of the mind has come about by unmanageable conflicts or disintegrating factors; and the best that can be hoped for by removing the causes of disturbance, is the restoration of the previous state of normality of the mind.

But the case of masts is altogether different in origin, as well as in potentiality. There is no doubt that masts often exhibit incapacity to deal with the ordinary situations of life; and they are, in this respect, comparable to those who are deranged in mind. But the departure of masts from normal behaviour and responses is not due to lack of sufficient mental development, nor is it due to any chaotic forces of disruption; it is due to a suspension of interest in the ordinary pursuits of life, and to an absorption in the spiritual realities encountered on the path towards Truth-realization.

Like cases of ordinary mental derangement, the cases of many masts may show signs of mental conflict, when considered from the purely theoretical point of view. However from the point of view of their intrinsic nature, the two mental conflicts are poles apart. Ordinary mental derangement is due to an acute and insoluble conflict between incompatible sanskaric inclinations in connection with the world.  But the unusual psychic states of the divine madness of masts are due to the dispersion of sanskaric inclinations by the powerful urge to realize the God state. In the divine madness of masts, the advancing urge to realize the Highest brings about a complete shattering of the mental structure, and of all its normal tendencies and capacities. This condition of the mind ultimately leads to a total inhibition of the mind, which is the gateway to the unmani state. The successful termination of the steady impulsion to Truth initiates the mast into the supra-mental state of integral understanding and direct realization of the Supreme Self. But this drive for the Truth, in its process, entails far-reaching ravages in the psychic field. It involves a complete break-up and a reconstitution of the mental structure, and of existing tendencies.

There is no wonder that the inevitable, intermediate mental states are, in their expression, found to be as much removed from average states as are the abnormal states of mad persons. Confusion between the abnormal and the supernormal states of consciousness arises due to mixing up two ways of interpreting and measuring madness and its degrees. According to one way of interpretation, madness is a deviation from the average mode of consciousness and behaviour; and its degree is to be measured by the amount of its departure from the average pattern. But according to another way of interpretation, madness is the incapacity of consciousness to understand or express truth; and its degree is to be measured by the extent to which it deviates from truth. If these two distinct standards are mixed up with each other and applied simultaneously, they inevitably lead to confusion between the abnormal mad states and the supernormal mast states.

When the mast states are measured by the standard of the average pattern of responses and actions, they will inevitably be interpreted as having an even greater degree of madness than ordinary madness. But if we change the standard, they will be interpreted differently. When the mast states are measured by the standard of realization and expression of truth, they will inevitably be interpreted as having increasing degrees of sanity. When viewed in the light of the Truth, the average pattern of responses and behaviour, which is the most common standard for measuring degrees of madness, would itself appear as a veritable form of madness; and ordinary forms of madness, which have failed to reach even the average pattern, would present themselves as deeper levels of madness. However, all these different phases of unfolding human consciousness are better understood when they are viewed in their continuity, and in relation to the ultimate objective of realizing and expressing the Truth. When viewed in this way, ordinary madness is seen to be the most dim reflection of the Truth, and the average mode of consciousness, and the mast states, are both seen to be increasing degrees of sanity and approximations to the Truth that becomes completely manifest in its unqualified reality and fullness only when the domain of the mind is crossed.

Baba said “Nothing makes Me so happy as the sight of these Real Heroes (masts).They are useful medium for Me to work on the higher planes. I love these lovers of God who know nothing of the world. They are grown up Babies and are My True Soilders.They are blissfully indifferent to their bodily needs since their mind is not attached to body. I am mother of Masts and they are like parts of My body. I am helpful to them and they are helpful to Me. I treasure what they give Me-pieces of rag, waste paper, broken glass etc.” 

Baba spoke about the number of masts in different countries:

There are two lakhs (200,000) of masts in India. There are one thousand masts in Russia and one thousand in China. In Europe there are only a few masts. Masts in India are original office (holders) spiritually; those in Europe are agents, who draw spiritual force from Indian masts. In Rome, there is one very advanced mast. The agents are linked with the original office bearers. Indian masts are officers in charge of regions. They also control the European regions through the agents. The Rome agent collects "power" from India and distributes it to the European agents. The Russian masts and Chinese masts are like Indian original workers and, in addition, help the European masts through the Rome distributer. The Russian, Chinese and Indian masts render reciprocal help.

The dead souls from India, who are spiritually degraded, are reborn in the West. The West dead souls who are meritorious are reborn in India and the Indian meritorious are reborn here to advance spiritually.

The Avatar is always born in Asia. Avatars are born only on one world [planet]. As that world cools down and becomes uninhabitable, in the meantime, another world becomes life-evolved and eventually replaces the first one. This is going on from time immemorial. There are crores of worlds.  (Lord Meher -pp-2294-1942)

Here is an interesting episode of a mast which made Bhau to accept that mast is not a mad as described in Lord Meher.


A mast of Najibabad (Naga mast whom Baba contacted) walked more than 62 miles to Dehradun. Seeing him on the road, Elcha informed Baba. He was a mile away when Baba sent car to bring him. When he was brought, Baba ordered Bhau, “Serve this mast”.

Attend to his wants and look after him well." Bhau had never seen a mast before and he was not quite sure what Baba saw in him. All Bhau could see was a man completely naked, with thick matted hair, covered from head to foot with years of dirt from never washing. After bathing Nanga Mast, Baba showed Bhau the room where the mast was to be kept. The mast was made to lie down on a bed, and provision for his toilet was made. He was like a majzoob, mostly unconscious of his body, though he was often seen wandering about.

After instructing Bhau, Baba returned to his bungalow. Going to his room, Bhau began his correspondence work. After a short while, Baba came back from his bungalow and went straight to the mast's room. Bhau followed and was taken aback by the scene. The mast had moved his bowels, excreting in the bed, and it was filthy. Baba looked at Bhau but did not say anything. Instead, he himself cleaned the bed and the mast, and Bhau felt ashamed for not being more attentive.

From that day onward, Bhau dedicated himself to the care of the mast, but daily Baba would find some fault with him. The mast would pass stools four or five times a day, and each time Bhau had to clean him and wash his clothes and sheets. Baba would come abruptly to the mast's room, at any time, and would always take Bhau to task for some minor fault.

When Bhau would bring the mast his food, the mast would tell him, "You eat it, you eat it!" It took Bhau a long time to feed the mast; only with great difficulty would he be prevailed upon to eat something.

One day the mast was clean and everything in the room was absolutely spotless. Bhau thought Baba would be pleased at last. But no sooner had Baba come than the mast urinated in the bed, and Baba reproved Bhau.

Usually, the mast had a peaceful temperament, but one night he slapped Bhau soundly. Bhau was convinced the mast must be truly mad.

The next day, Baba asked Bhau, "Speak the truth; what do you think of Nanga Baba?"

Bhau replied, "I have no idea about masts, but this one seems to be quite mad."

"How did you pass your M.A. degree?" Baba asked. "Did you have to bribe someone?

You have no sense at all. You say he is mad, but I tell you he is a mast, an advanced soul. He is not mad; you are mad!"

Bhau paid more and more attention to the mast, but the more attentive he gave, the more Baba rebuked him and pointed out various small mistakes that Bhau would never have thought of. Day and night he looked after Nanga Baba. The moment the mast would urinate, Bhau would clean the bed and change the sheets. The mast would never leave the bed and use the toilet, and though Bhau did his best to induce him to use the commode in his room, he was unsuccessful.

One day something incredible happened. After all the scolding he had taken on the mast's account, Bhau resolved that this day, at least, there would be no cause for Baba to be upset. Very early in the morning he cleaned and scrubbed the mast's room. He put fresh linens on the bed and kept extra bed sheets ready in case the mast spoiled the ones on his bed. Finally everything was ready, and Bhau stood outside the door waiting for Baba to come.

Baba arrived, walked into the room, and Bhau followed. As if struck by lightning, Bhau was dazed by the sight that met his eyes! A part of the wall next to the mast's bed had collapsed. Luckily, it had fallen outward, away from the mast. The amazing thing was that the wall had been in good condition, and Bhau had been standing just outside the room, and yet had heard nothing. Very displeased, Baba asked him, "Did I give you the duty of serving Nanga Baba or killing him? Had the wall fallen inwardly, he would surely have been crushed. Have you no eyes?" Bhau was aghast and could not reply.

"Why don't you speak?" Baba demanded. "Do you want to kill my mast? Is that why you have come here?"

Bhau finally stammered, "It is beyond my understanding. How could such a strong wall have collapsed? It was all right just moments ago."

"If your intellect does not help you, why try to use it? I say he is not mad, so why do you still use your brain and think he is? Now, tell me how the wall came down."

"I don't know. Such a solid wall could never have fallen on its own, and I didn't hear a thing.

can't understand it."

"Give up reasoning and simply do as I tell you," Baba advised.

Other incidents firmly convinced Bhau that Nanga Mast was not an ordinary man. For example, Bhau had appeared for his college exams, but the results had not yet been announced. One night the mast suddenly said to him, "You will pass." This was astonishing, as the mast seldom spoke, and if he ever did, whatever he muttered or mumbled was totally unintelligible. And Bhau had never mentioned to Nanga Baba that he had taken college exams. The very next day, true to the mast's words, a telegram arrived that Bhau had passed his exams.

Another night, Bhau was sitting by the mast when he said, "You will have a son."

Bhau's wife, Rama, was still in Nagpur with their infant daughter and was pregnant. Four months later, Bhau received a telegram that a son was born to him. Bhau had thought the mast insane, but one day when the mast spoke about the greatness of Meher Baba, Bhau's eyes were opened. After these incidents, Bhau realized that the mast was not a madman.