As Shri Nathji explained in the biography of Shri Babaji Maharaj:
Here were the three different stages of spirituality. The moth is drawn towards the flame by the beauty of the flame. This is the first stage of faith that draws the heart of man towards God.
The second stage is where the moth plunges into the fire of the flame and begins to burn with the flame. In this stage it is conscious of its own “I” and also sees itself being annihilated in the fire of the flame. In this state the lover of God is conscious of his own “I” and is also conscious of its annihilation in the love of God.
In the third stage, which is the highest of all, the “I” of the moth is completely gone. His separate identity vanishes and he becomes one with the flame. In this state the lover of God finds his own “I” completely annihilated, and there is only the “I” of God.
This was also explained by Shri Nathji using the example of the drop of water and the ocean.
The first stage is where the drop sees the ocean and wishes to plunge into it.
The second stage is that in which it plunges into the ocean, but can still see its own separate boundary, its “I”, even within the ocean.
The third stage is that in which the identity of the drop vanishes completely and it mingles into the ocean to become the ocean itself. The voice that says, “ I am the ocean” is then the voice of the ocean and not that of the drop.
It was that last state into which Shri Babaji Maharaj had entered in 1914. Prior to that he had been referring to himself as the son, and God as the Father, and had been looking upon all the people on earth as his brothers. In fact every living thing found a relationship with him. But for how long could this state last? For how long could a moth experience its own existence inside the burning flame? For how long could the drop of water still see its boundaries within the vastness of the ocean? For how long could the clouds hide the light of the sun? For how long would the pearl remain hidden within an oyster?
There was Shri Nathji’s verse, which defined the final union:
Kar tark khudi kee aadat ko aur katre se dariyaa ban jaa
Ho maihav zaraa asleeyat men aur zarre se saiharaa ban jaa
Renounce all thought of my and mine and from a drop become the sea,
Lose thou thyself in Truth Divine and know thou art Infinity!