Poem 45

All a hobbit really wants is his pipe and his armchair;
And at times some merry music and a jug to share.

And what happens? Along comes a Gandalf who talks of life’s fuller measure:
Of high adventure, heroic deeds and the winning of hoarded treasure.

And off goes our little hobbit with clinking horse-gear and untrusty sword,
Not wholly convinced at all — rather feeling that it’s all a bit absurd.

And when it comes to high passes, fearful caves and (life the stake) contests of riddles,
Oh, how he longs again for his armchair and pipe, and friends and the saw of fiddles!

Poor hobbit! His ‘high adventure’ has been going on now for a billion years.
Don’t laugh at him because he wants to sneak off to an armchair and a cup that cheers.

And no sooner settled, than along comes that Man who drags him out of his chair
And sets him on the road again to win gold from the Dragon’s lair.

Great hobbit! All the songs of the world have been composed only for you.
They celebrate the long quest for your Beloved, the eternally true.

In Lord of the Rings Tolkien presented a great fantasy of the struggle between good and evil and of the vital role ordinary simple folk, symbolized by the Hobbits, can play a crucial role. Meher Baba enjoyed the book and had it read to him twice.

Francis makes a charming and merry song of it but one with an underlying message. We are all the earthen vessels for the divine liquor, the humble vehicles of its inscrutable purposes which we can fulfil if open to the quest of loving service. Most of the poem uses the hobbit’s quest as an analogy for the often unwelcome news that we are responsible to do something about the world of illusion in which we live. The last verse takes us out of Tolkien’s story to a universal perspective. The relationship of loving recognition of the One is the only reality. The universal is in the particular. The quest is not a tale of romance and glory, it is the evolutionary history of our own soul, of God in this our form seeking Himself. The poem is the wakeup call. The Man has come!

Tolkien’s book is not an outline of the truth. But it is an awakener of the heart and imagination. It makes us feel the presence of the cosmic and universal within the infinite human nature.

“When we read it the second time, Baba compared Frodo’s journey to the spiritual path. He put his two fore fingers together and said, ‘It’s like in the spiritual path. All the things that you go through are similar.’” Mehera-Meher, Volume III, 399.