One hundred years ago in India there lived a very wise spiritual Master who accepted both men and women as disciples. The Master encouraged both the single disciples and the married couples to run the fastest in the inner life. Those who were single could run like deer, he said; those who were married could feel that they had two hearts, two souls, four legs, four arms to help them make the fastest progress.
One afternoon the Master gathered all his married disciples around him. “I wish to make something very, very clear to you all,” he began. “For the last two and a half years I have been receiving letters from some of you about having children. And in the inner world some of you have been begging me to allow you to have children. Sometimes even right after a marriage has taken place, you approach me inwardly and beg me to allow you to have children. For your own good, all this time I have been pleading with your souls and with your emotional vitals not to have children. But what good does it do? Still you write me letters or beg me inwardly.”
“But Master,” said one young man, who had recently joined the ashram, “why do you not wish us to have children?”
The Master gave this disciple a gentle smile. “I have said many times why I do not wish my disciples to have children at this particular time. You can ask some of the others afterwards. The only thing is that when you have children, I know definitely that you will not be able to meditate or concentrate on the Supreme in me as you otherwise would have done. Sometimes I cut jokes with some of the mothers about how their children are their gods. But I tell you there is truth in what I say. During a twenty-four hour period, how many times does a mother think of God and how many times does she think of her child? All the times she thinks only of her child. Her child is her Supreme.”
The young man’s wife looked puzzled. She said, “Master, does that mean that you want us never to have children?”
“I never tell anybody that he or she cannot have children at all during this lifetime. If you say I don’t want you ever to have children, I will be the first person to deny that. But some of you have entered into the spiritual life without a spiritual background. If for a few years you can assimilate divine light, peace and power, then when you do have children, you will be better able to guide them. When you were ready for marriage, I told you. So please feel that when you are ready to have children, I will also discuss that with you.
“Two years ago I told all the married couples to wait for two or three years before having children. I thought that you would make considerable progress during these two years. If you people had really made very fast progress in the past few years, it would have been wonderful for you to have children. But now I am seeing that the progress I had expected you to make has not been made. This is my real sorrow. It is still my hope that you will make that kind of progress.
“The love that you are offering to the Supreme in me will never remain the same if you have children at this stage of your development. After four or five or ten years, if you have made considerable progress, then if you have children, perhaps you will be able to still maintain the same love for the Supreme in me, because for twenty-four hours your mind will be thinking of me.”
“Master,” one young woman said, “it seems that you have spoken to us many times about this, but still we don’t seem to understand your philosophy.”
“Two years ago I warned all of you not to have children,” said the Master. “Yet that very night some people were begging me in the inner world to be allowed to have children. Can you believe it! Two hours I had spent talking to you about this, and this is the kind of obedience I get. In one case I told the parents that I would throw them out of the ashram if they had children. They did not listen to me, but my compassion is more powerful than my justice-light. It is my compassion that has the power to illumine the disciples.”
Then the Master turned to the couple who had disobeyed him. “How much you have suffered only through this one act of disobedience. Sometimes I don’t even ask you why you are so sad, because I know that something inside you has told you the reason, and talking about it on the outer plane will not help. I don’t blame you, but when I look at your face inwardly, I cry. I fully forgive you for the mistake you have made. Here is the father’s compassion when the son and daughter have done something wrong. But if you had listened to me, how happy you would be now.
“I have told you and your wife to do many things which you have not done. There has been much outer disobedience, and in the inner world every couple has disobeyed me. For the last eight or nine months both of you have been suffering like anything. You may think God does not feel sad. This is not true; He does feel sad. Outwardly, even if I give both of you interviews, I won’t be able to help because it will only pass from one ear out the other ear. ”
The Master turned to the rest of the couples. “How much these parents are suffering. They love each other wholeheartedly and purely but the children pull them this way and that way, not allowing them to go on loving each other in the same way. How they suffer! Who is the cause? The child, who needs attention, attention, attention. No matter how sincerely and devotedly you want to please a child, he won’t be pleased. Yet this child has the message of God. Why can’t he be pleased? Because you don’t have enough light, peace, poise and other divine qualities. That is why these problems arise. To raise a child is a most, most difficult thing to do. It is only a little less difficult than God-realisation. ”
“It is true,” the husband said sadly. “What the disciples see is only the good part of having children. At the ashram, when the children come with the parents to the meditation hall, they see the joy and see you blessing the children. But the hard times with the children they don’t see. And there is much more work and hard times than joy.”
The Master said, “A child brings a piece of candy to the father and the father is so proud. But the father knows that the child can also bring him a heavy load to carry. Bringing a child into the world is a very serious matter. It is most difficult. Some of you are not in a position to settle your own life. Some people have strange ideas that when they are called ‘Mother,’ they will be something — they will be secure because somebody is crying for them. But they become more insecure. They are already helpless and with children they become more helpless. After consciously accepting the spiritual life, if you expect your children to be divine, then you must work very hard to help them.”
“But Master,” asked a young woman, “isn’t it necessary to have children to keep the ashram growing?”
“No, my daughter,” said the Master. “Last month I had a terrible fight with one mother on the phone. Why? Her daughter is still just a child, yet she wants me to marry her to someone. I was simply furious. I said, ‘I am your spiritual father; I show you such affection. Is this the time for your young daughter to get married?’ The mother feels that when her daughter gets married, she can have spiritual children for the ashram. I told her that on Mother Earth there are countless souls who won’t accept the spiritual life, and they will provide the world with new souls. So she doesn’t have to worry. Right now we do not want to increase the number for the sake of the number.
“Hundreds of times I have given my philosophy, but either you are unable or unwilling to listen to me. inwardly and outwardly you beg me and beg me to allow you to have children. I have tried and tried, but it does no good.
“But this is all in the past, and the past is dust. Today I am giving all of you permission to have children. From today, if you have children I will not be displeased. I give you full sanction. If you feel that with children you will have the capacity to run as fast as you are now running, or if you feel that in some way you can maintain nearly the same speed, or even if you fall far behind, I will still claim you as my disciples. But don’t blame me if you begin to have problems. I give the responsibility to you. After you have children, if you say that your attention is roaming or staying only with your children, and if you don’t make as fast progress in your spiritual life and you fail to maintain your inner height, then please do not come to me at that time.
“So, dear ones, you have to know what kind of progress you want to make. If you do have children, I will never be angry with you. But I tell you, sooner or later, you will come to realise that you were making more progress without them. When you are in dazzling light, you don’t appreciate the light. But when you go out of the ashram to the office, then you appreciate the meditative mood you find here. Only when you are with unaspiring people do you fully appreciate aspiring people.
“So I give the responsibility to you. If you feel that you won’t mind going slowly, no harm. But if you want children just to bring more people into the ashram, I wish to say that long before your children grow up, I will no longer be on earth. I am not going to stay on earth indefinitely, because the suffering I am going through only I know. Have children, but if you do not make progress, I will say nothing. With regard to that particular part of your existence I will be totally indifferent.”
“Couldn’t children create a more brotherly and sisterly feeling between husband and wife?” asked one of the husbands.
“In most cases'” explained the Master, “I have told the married couples to restrict their vital life. Because you are using your will-power, you increase your will-power. If you can restrict yourself, in restriction is freedom. Then, when your desire diminishes, ultimately the attitude is one of brotherly-sisterly feeling. Right now, see how much you can curb the need of your vital. As you purify and minimise it, then automatically in time you come closer to establishing a brotherly or sisterly feeling.”
“Master,” a newly married young man asked, “if we do decide we would like to have children, is it true that you can go into the soul’s world and bring down a special soul to be born into our family?”
“I have done this in the past,” the Master replied, “and now I am trying to help these souls. But I will no longer guarantee that I will bring down a soul for the parents.
“A spiritual Master can do many things, if it is the Will of the Supreme. In one case, the Supreme asked me to change the sex of a baby. Can you imagine? In a tiny room near the mother’s room, such occult power I had to use! I won’t tell you why, but the Supreme wanted this for a special reason. And the person is not even a close disciple.
“But these are all stories,” the Master said, smiling. “You can call them cock-and-bull stories. ”
“Master,” asked an older man, “do many of your unmarried disciples want to get married?”
“Unfortunately, some of the unmarried boys and girls think only of the married couples. The grass is always greener on the other side. The unmarried girls envy the married girls and the married girls envy the unmarried girls. I always say that if you remain unmarried, you can run like a deer. But in some cases, when people remain unmarried, they don’t make any progress at all. Their mind roams and they think absolutely the worst type of undivine things. But when they marry, at least some purity enters into them on the gross physical plane. The mind, the vital, the body have a faithfulness now; the consciousness has become faithful. Now, is that not progress? So marriage has helped them in that way. ”
“Could you explain a little further?” one young woman asked.
“Before you only thought of other girls or boys, but now when your mind roams, you immediately think, ‘What will my husband or my wife think of me?’ Suppose the wife prepares a nice breakfast for the husband or says something nice. If the husband’s mind starts to roam, at that moment the good thing that the wife has done will come forward. Before, who was there to guard? So all of you have really made progress in this way. Again, there are some disciples who do not need marriage and are trying in another way to make this same kind of progress. So, you have made progress; now if you don’t want to complicate your life, don’t have children.”
“What about mixing with other men and women once you are married?” asked one woman.
“Indians have done many silly things,” the Master said, “but God gave them some sense. In an Indian family, husband and wife try to go everywhere together. If the wife is not there, the husband pretends he is sick and vice versa. They are doing the right thing, for in this way they are keeping the family close. Otherwise, unconscious irritation begins. Why do you have to create this kind of uneasiness in your wife’s life or your husband’s life? Whom do you have to please most? If you feel that you have to please your husband most or your wife most, good. Become one with each other and then try to please me most. Ultimately, it is the Supreme in me whom you have to please most. I want you to be together and become one. If you cannot become one, if you are quarrelling and fighting all the time, then you are pleasing no one. If together you can please me, however, on that day you can please even your worst enemy.
“The human mind is full of suspicion, I tell you. So what happens if married women mix too much with unmarried or married men? If you are a husband mixing with someone else’s wife, your wife will not read your heart to see whether you have the capacity to have a friendship on a brotherly level, and she has every right to suspect you. The same is true when a wife is mixing with someone else’s husband. If you mix with others, unconsciously you are making problems for the other married partner. Mixing may not bring you down from your spiritual height, because you know you are pure. But if your husband or wife observes you, in his or her weaker moments he may be full of suspicion. So if you have to mix, mix when you are together.
“In the inner world I sometimes get complaints from the husband that the wife was unfaithful and vice versa. I feel these are such delicate situations both outwardly and inwardly. That is why I am telling you this today. Why create problems? You know that you can mix with others, but there should be a limit.”
“Master,” another disciple asked, “will you take responsibility for more divine marriages?”
“On the contrary,” said the Master, “in the future I will relinquish my responsibility for divine marriages. These have given me the pain of ten incarnations. I have been trying through the divine marriages to do something new which other Masters didn’t allow. Some Masters have said women are not meant for discipleship and the spiritual life because they are earthbound. Then, there was one spiritual Master, a woman, who said that all men are vulgar. She believed that women definitely have their part to play in spirituality.
“Sometimes it’s necessary to talk like this. Each time I speak like this to a group, immediately everybody’s consciousness goes up. Forgiveness was long ago granted. The next thing to do is to keep the consciousness as high as possible. Now, I wish all the couples to act like heroes. If you utilise marriage properly, under my guidance you will have four eyes, four hands. But you don’t. Instead you are killing each other, and while killing each other, you are aiming arrows at my heart. And they really stick there.”
The Master paused. “I have all hope in my spiritual children. But as you expect things from me, I also have high expectations of you. You have given me much and I have given you much. But there is no end to our giving. So let us try to please each other in every way.”
The Master then became silent and entered into meditation for a few minutes. Afterwards, he called each of the married couples up to him and blessed them.