The ambition-deer1A young man of twenty-three one day went to a spiritual Master with a letter from his mother, who was a close disciple of the Master. The Master read the letter and said to the young man, "Please sit down. I shall definitely give you a short interview."
The Master meditated on the young aspirant for about ten minutes, and then said to him, "You have a very good soul, an extraordinary soul, although I don't think you are aware of it. I am very pleased with your heart's inner cry."
The seeker gave the Master a sweet smile and said, "Master, I have three questions to ask you."
"Let us deal with your questions one by one," said the Master. "What is your first question?"
"Master, my mother has been practising Yoga for many, many years, and my father has recently joined her. You have a number of disciples. Some of them are close to you, while others are on the periphery. My mother wants to be your closest disciple. Needless to say, I am most grateful to her for bringing me to the spiritual life, but I wish to tell you that no matter how close she becomes to you by virtue of her aspiration and dedication, I wish to surpass her. Right from my childhood, I have had a strong sense of competitiveness. I always want to surpass my parents, my friends, even my acquaintances, in everything. So I want to surpass my mother in the spiritual life."
The Master gave the seeker a broad smile and said, "I am extremely proud of your mother's soaring aspiration and glowing dedication. But I do not see any reason why you cannot surpass your mother, provided you take to the spiritual life most devotedly and soulfully."
The seeker said, "I am so glad that you have given me the assurance that I have the capacity to surpass my mother. Now by my actions I will prove myself to you. Let me not bind myself with feeble promises."
The Master blessed the young man and said, "Try, my son, try. If you sincerely try, you are bound to succeed."
"Master, here is my second question, or rather, my fervent wish: I want to equal you in spirituality. I want to be as great as you are in God-realisation."
On hearing this, the Master showed the youth a sad face.
"I knew it, I knew it!" the seeker cried. "After all, who wants to be equalled by somebody else? Master, please forgive my audacity. I do not want to equal you. I shall just surpass my mother most strikingly, and become absolutely your dearest disciple."
"My child," said the Master, "unfortunately, you have not read my mind correctly. I showed you a sad face not because you wanted to equal me, but because you didn't have the inner inspiration and aspiration to surpass me, as you wanted to surpass your mother. A real father gets tremendous joy when his son surpasses him. Of course, I have no idea about American fathers and American sons. But being your spiritual Father, I know I shall be the happiest person when either you or any other of my spiritual children far surpass me in spiritual height. Why? Because when I accept a disciple he and I become inseparably one. As I feel he has every right to claim my spiritual height and depth and my divine treasures as his very own, even so, his loftiest successes, his progress and his achievements, without the least possible hesitation, I claim as my own."
The young man said, "I see, I see. That is a nice philosophy."
"You say it is a nice philosophy. I think it is a great discovery," said the Master.
"Master, now I have a third question. It is actually a serious problem. I am now throwing myself heart and soul into the spiritual life. But I have a girlfriend, who I am afraid will strongly and vehemently object to my new course of life. What shall I do now? If you want me to do away with our friendship, if you want me to be totally out of her life, I am prepared to do so. Just tell me what I should do."
"My child, give her a chance. Tell her all about the spiritual life and all about me. It may turn out that she will accept your new life wholeheartedly. One never knows what is going to happen. Anyway, give her a chance. Let us see what happens. As you want to realise the highest Absolute in this life, she may also want to realise the Highest in this life of hers. Morning does not necessarily show the day, or the future. There are exceptions. Her case may be a complete exception. What you do not see in her today, that very thing you may see in her tomorrow. Not only that, but she may become that very thing, the highest Light. And there is every possibility that she will realise the Highest. I may almost assure you that she will. Now, what about your sister? What do you think of her spiritual life?"
"She is not meant for this kind of life, at least not right now."
"So, according to you she is a useless case?"
"I think hopeless would be a better word," said the young man. "Master, why do I see something strange in your eyes? Something within me is telling me that my sister will far surpass me if she takes to the spiritual life. Master, Master, please don't allow it to happen! Let me surpass my mother. Let me become your dearest disciple. Let me equal you. Let me far surpass you. Let me offer all my light to the world at large. Let me leave my body, and when I start living in infinite Peace, Light and Bliss, when I am all settled in Heaven, then she can become your dearest disciple. At that time, she can even surpass me. I will have no objection. Master, I am sure you will listen to my heart's cry!"
The Master gave him the broadest smile and said, "Let us see what happens to your sister."
Then the young man said to the Master, "Is it necessary or indispensable for me to stay near you physically in order to make the fastest progress?"
"It is not indispensable," replied the Master. "The main thing is how much inner connection you want to establish with me. It has happened many times that the physical proximity of the Master has been badly exploited. In such cases, physical proximity is not a blessing, but a veritable curse, or at least a tremendous disadvantage. But if it is the Will of God, some disciples who are entrusted with God's Light in abundant measure must manifest that Light at a place quite far from the Master's physical presence. Of course, if physical nearness is not exploited, the disciple gets additional advantage in the form of inspiration to run the fastest. If you are destined to remain physically away from your Master because of unavoidable circumstances, that is perfectly all right. In your case, your studies will take you away from my outer presence. But let your outer studies and your inner studies go together. From your outer studies you will get information. From your inner studies you will get illumination. Right now you need information in order to have a full grasp of the world situation and world life. But a day will come when you will need only inner illumination. At God's choice Hour, you will become aware of this."
"Master, how I wish that Hour would strike at my heart's door this very moment. What I really need is illumination. What I eternally need is God."
The Master blessed the seeker with his transcendental Pride and said, "What I really need is the soulful aspiration and the fruitful realisation of your vision so that I can expedite my God-manifestation on earth. You are my true joy; you are my true gratitude; you are my true pride."
AD 10. 14 September 1974.↩