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Abortion

Meher Baba did not give out a full discussion of abortion, but these two passages are relevant to the topic. The first quote has to do with when the body of the fetus is ensouled by an individual, which is a question frequently asked in connection with the concept of “personhood.” But the following quote must be taken into consideration alongside Baba’s teachings on birth control and abortion.

 

When does the soul enter the body?

If the good and evil sanskaras of the individual are al­most balanced at the time of death, he may take on a new physical body almost immediately. He may even enter a new incarnation as early as the fourth day after death. In such urgent cases of rebirth the individual can enliven a ready foetus any time between the sixth and seventh months of embryological development. It is important to note that both father and mother give only prana or vital energy to the foetus. In addition to receiving prana, it must be enlivened by some individualized soul. Ordinarily this takes place during the later stages of embryological development.

—Meher Baba, The Advancing Stream of Life (Poona: Meher Era Publications, 1974), p. 125

 

Birth control and abortion

Meher Baba in his discourse on married life advises “mental control” rather than physical means of birth control. He says: “The question must not be considered from the point of view of any one special or limited interest but from the point of view of the ultimate well-being of the individual and society.”

…From the spiritual point of view, birth control must essentially be effected through mental control and nothing else. … In the event there is any failure in mental control [the parents] will cheerfully and willingly discharge the joint responsibility of parenthood.

If a person is not prepared to undertake the responsibility of children there is only one course left to him. He must remain celibate and practise strict mental control, for though such mental control is extremely difficult to attain, it is not impossible. From the purely spiritual point of view strict celibacy is best, but since it is so difficult, few can practise it. For those who cannot practise it, the next best course is to marry rather than fall a prey to promiscuity. Within married life one can learn to control animal passion. It is bound to be a gradual process, and in cases of failure in practising control, the couple must allow nature to take its own course rather than interfere with it through artificial means. They must cheerfully welcome the consequences and be prepared to shoulder the responsibility of bringing up the children.

—Meher Baba, “The Sanctification of Married Life,” Discourses (6th ed. 1967), vol. 1, pp. 153-54. Emphasis in original.

 

 

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