Quotations from Meher Baba
Spirit communication is the experience of the semi-subtle by the physical senses in the conscious state. It is not a sign of advancement on the divine path and has nothing to do with its goal.
—Meher Baba Journal, July 1942: 479
To hold seances or to talk with the dead is no great thing, because such spirits are always among us on this living plane.
—Lord Meher, p. 724
…In a way, even an ordinary dream is also a subconscious experience of the Subtle, because everyone necessarily makes an actual use of one’s Subtle body in the dreaming state. But be it noted that through that body one experiences different sensations and experiences pertaining to the Gross only. In other words, the ordinary dreaming state is the experiencing of the Gross through Subtle means in the subconscious state.
Of course, the case regarding communications with the spirits of the dead is not the same as that of the dreaming state. Just as a man in the ordinary dreaming state uses his Subtle body subconsciously, and thereby experiences different sensations pertaining to the Gross sphere, so in certain cases a man can consciously use his Gross organs to get the experiences of the Semi-Subtle sphere. And this amounts to being in a position to have communications with or get glimpses of the spirits of the dead.
Let it be noted that spirit communication is the experience of the Semi-Subtle through the Gross means in the conscious state. It is not at all a mark of advancement on the divine Path, as it has nothing to do with the gnosis, the Subtle sphere and the planes.
There lies a world of difference between the Subtle and the Semi-Subtle…. The Semi-Subtle sphere is the link between the Gross and the Subtle spheres. The spirits of all human beings (with the exception of those who have gone beyond the fourth plane) come to this Semi-Subtle sphere, and according to sanskaras either go to heaven or to hell, from which they again return to it, or directly await a new Gross body without necessarily being aware of this, to reincarnate in the Gross sphere.
It is the spirits that are waiting in this waiting room of a Semi-Subtle sphere that are likely to enter into communications with those who are in the Gross sphere. They may be either on the point of going to heaven or hell, or may have finished their terms of pleasure and pain in heaven or hell, as the case may be. Or they may be directly awaiting reincarnation following the last physical death. But it is only these spirits that can be communicated with, though not quite always with a mathematical precision as believed by many.
As to the various descriptions of the conditions prevailing in the Semi-Subtle sphere and in heaven or hell that are purported to come from them, some of these are in some way or other true, but it is not proper to attach importance to them. The Semi-Subtle sphere, and even heaven and hell, and the respective happiness and sufferings in them, are not of real existence. The experiences in the Semi-Subtle are like those in a dream. And heaven and hell are nothing but states in which the jivatma (individual soul), according to its good or bad sanskaras, experiences Subtle enjoyments and miseries respectively through the Subtle organs. When jivatma gets Self-realized, heaven and hell are found to have been imaginary existences, just as one who in the dreaming state enjoys and suffers, finds the dream experience devoid of reality when one gets up.
It goes without saying that worldly people can never enter into communication with higher spirits, i.e. spirits belonging to the Subtle, Mental and Super-Mental spheres. For though the spirits of the Subtle and also, in some cases, of the Mental sphere, have to reincarnate, they don’t have to stay in the Semi-Subtle sphere at any time. Spiritually advanced persons can, of course, communicate with advanced disembodied spirits, but they do not do so, for it is unnecessary. Spirituality has nothing to do with spiritism or communication with the spirits of the dead.
—From notes dictated by Meher Baba before March 1930. Meher Baba on Inner Life, ed. K. K. Ramakrishnan, pp. 18-20. For other versions, see: Sparks of the Truth (1967), ed. C. D. Deshmukh, pp. 8-9; Treasures from the Meher Baba Journals, ed. E. Patterson and J. Haynes, pp. 176-178.