There was a great spiritual Master who had only forty or fifty disciples. One day after a very high meditation, a disciple who had been with the Master for seven years stood up and said, “Master, sometimes we get very, very high inner experiences. But whenever we tell you about these spiritual experiences, we don’t get them any more. You say that we should tell our inner experiences only to you, because if we say anything about them to others, they will be jealous of us and will inwardly try to pull us down. But what happens is that when we tell others who are our fellow disciples, we still continue getting these experiences, but when we tell you about them, at that very moment our experiences come to an end.”
The Master was very sad and disturbed. He said, “Right now, the experiences that you get are like the smallest possible fish, the tiniest fish. It is wrong and absurd for you to think that when you give me your little fish, I don’t give them back but greedily devour them myself, just because I have more power than you. I don’t have to eat your little fish. I have very big fish of my own that I can eat every day.
“What you don’t know is that when you tell me about an experience, that experience enters into me as your possession, and I keep it safe. You may think that you are not getting the same experience back once you offer it to me, but that is because I am keeping it safe for you. And if you do not get further experiences of this nature, don’t think that I am jealous of you, that I have taken away your experience and will not give you any more experiences. It is only that the experience that you have received is now with me, and I am preparing you for a greater experience which will take much time and consideration. When the time comes, I will give you that experience. Then you will see the difference between the experience that you think you have lost and the experience that you have gained.”
“Forgive me, Master,” said the disciple. “Forgive my accusation. Now I understand what you are doing for us. I do not know how I could have made that kind of accusation. Forgive me. But Master, still I am a little curious. Is it true that people are always ready for the experiences that you give them? What would happen if someone was not ready for an experience? Instead of being beneficial, would it not unsettle him and perhaps even hold back his spiritual development?”
The Master explained patiently, “When one is ready for it, at that time it is good to give him an experience. When one is not yet ready, the Master can give it to him, but it will only be wasted. The nephew of one of India’s greatest spiritual Masters used to complain that he had served his uncle for so many years, yet his uncle had given him nothing. But when his uncle touched him and gave him the highest experience, his pride came forward. He said, ‘O Uncle, you and I are one.’ It was not his ultimate realisation but his pride that spoke, saying that now he didn’t have to touch his uncle’s feet, he didn’t have to bow to him or serve him. He even became angry because his uncle had so many disciples while he himself had none. His pride came to the fore, instead of the realisation of inseparable oneness, because he was not inwardly prepared for the experience he had received. But when the Master saw what his nephew was doing, he gave him back his old ordinary consciousness and saved him.
“If you do anything untimely, the experience will be useless. Instead of being beneficial, it will simply be wasted. That is why we always say that there is an hour, God’s Hour. If the father is a multimillionaire, he can give his young child all his money, but it will be wasted. When the same child grows up, however and becomes mature, if his father gives him money it will be wisely used.
“If inner wealth is given in a very large quantity, the seeker may be frightened to death. One spiritual giant in India was frightened to death when his Master gave him Nirvikalpa Samadhi. ‘What are you doing, what are you doing?’ he cried out. Immediately he thought of his earthly, human father, and reminded his spiritual father that, after all, he was really the son of his human father. If a great spiritual giant like this was frightened when his Master gave him Nirvikalpa Samadhi, you can imagine the power of the experience although his Master gave it to him as easily as one gives a glass of water. When Krishna gave the same experience to Arjuna, although it was so easy for Krishna to do so, when Arjuna got it, he was immediately frightened. After some time, when Arjuna asked Krishna to give him that same experience once again, Krishna said, ‘How is it that you have forgotten that experience? Why should I give it to you again? Go and ask your brother Bhishma to tell you about this particular experience. He will not have forgotten it. If you had really accepted it as you should have done, you would have been another person today.’”
“Master,” said the disciple, “this may be my curiosity again, but do spiritual Masters follow any kind of cosmic rule or law when it is a matter of giving their disciples inner experiences or inner light?”
The Master said, “What I give you, I could use for myself or I could squander. But this would not be divine. It is not as if I am obeying a law that says that when you give me one dollar, I have to give you ten dollars. It is not like that. But just because you have got joy by giving me what you have, I feel that I should now give to you what I have. If what I have is beyond your capacity to receive, then I will give you according to your receptivity. But if I see that you can achieve or receive the amount that I would like to give, then naturally I will be able to give it to you. When a father and child play together, the child gives his utmost capacity. But if the father shows the child the father’s utmost capacity on the physical level, for example, the child will not be able to bear it, and he will be injured. The child has to be made strong before his father can show him his own full strength.”
The disciple bowed to the Master and said, “Master, you have fed my curiosity; you have illumined my heart and soul. Your patience and compassion are also inner experiences for us — very special and very necessary experiences.”
30 July 1974