Gratitude I get when I don't deserve it, and ingratitude I get when I don't deserve it1

There lived a spiritual Master who had only very few disciples. One day a young disciple of his came to him sad and depressed. When the Master asked him the reason for his sadness, the young man said, “I am fed up with my sister, Reva. She always bothers me. She has a boyfriend who is a scoundrel. He has many girlfriends, and my sister is one of them. When he neglects my sister, she feels sad and miserable. She has to tell me all her pathetic stories. Needless to say, I sympathise with her, but my sympathy never solves her problems. Repeatedly I have asked her to put an end to this useless friendship. But she finds it very difficult to listen to me. At the same time, I find it very difficult to hear all her stories about her boyfriend. You know, Master, how they lower my consciousness. They literally ruin my aspiration. Master, please save me from my sister, and save my sister from her boyfriend.”

The Master asked the disciple, “Tell me, Gokul, is your sister’s boyfriend very rich?”

“Yes, Master, he is very rich. He comes from a very rich family. But I don’t think it is his money which makes her cry for him.”

“Then, what is it?” the Master asked.

“Well, he has many good qualities. He is very kind-hearted. He teaches at a college and he is very intelligent. Recently he won an academic prize in English literature.”

The Master said, “I see, I see.” Then the Master closed his eyes and concentrated for a few minutes. When he opened his eyes, he said, “I clearly see that your sister is going to get this young man. Within a year they will get married, and your sister will offer a large amount of money to our ashram.”

“But my sister does not care for you or for the spiritual life,” said Gokul.

“True, she does not care for the spiritual life or for me, but she will think that I have something to do with her getting this young man, although I tell you plainly that I am not going to do anything for your sister in this matter. I have not come into the world to do this kind of thing. But what I see occultly, I am telling you.”

“But Master, you do not give importance to predictions. How is it that today you are predicting something? Of course, I am extremely grateful to you.”

“True, my son, I do not give importance to predictions, but every rule admits of exception. Here is an unusual exception.”

“Master, please tell me why you do not give importance to predictions.”

“Gokul, you have no idea how many problems predictions can create. If you read my books you will be able to know all about it. But you know that it is not because your sister will give me money in the future that I am predicting this, but just because she has suffered so much from her boyfriend. It is an act of supreme kindness that her soul has requested me to do; therefore, I am fulfilling her soul’s request. Gokul, you go home now and tell your sister that she will definitely get this man. In a week’s time she will hear from him, and from then on they will be very, very close to each other, and finally they will get married.”

Gokul ran for home. On entering, he found his sister in the living room sad and depressed, looking at a photograph of her boyfriend. Her brother gave her the happy news about herself and her boyfriend.

Upon hearing the Master’s message from Gokul, Reva was overjoyed. She said to her brother, “I tell you, the day I get married to him I shall offer your master ten thousand dollars! Although he has told you that he will have nothing to do with our marriage — that is, he will not apply his spiritual power to bring about our marriage — still I feel in my heart that he will definitely do something. Otherwise, I don’t think I would ever get this boyfriend as my future husband.”

Gokul said, “Reva, I can tell you only this much — that my Master’s prediction can never go wrong.” Reva said, “I know, I know. I can feel it.”

The following day when Gokul went to his Master’s ashram, he had a very happy heart because he had been able to make his sister happy by the Master’s grace. But when he told the Master about his sister’s promise, to his wide surprise and sorrow, he saw that the Master became very sad. He asked his Master why he was so sad and depressed.

His Master said, “Well, I shall get your sister’s money, no doubt, but I shall lose you.”

Gokul was overwhelmed by this dire pronouncement from his Master. “How can it be? I shall never leave you on my own, Master, and I hope you will never ask me to leave you.”

The Master said, “I see that it is predestined. But let us forget about it now. Let me not suffer now for my future loss. Everything is predestined. What can I do?”

“Master, I am sure you are cutting jokes with me. This can never happen,” said Gokul. The Master gave him a broad smile. “I knew it, I knew it,” Gokul said to his Master. “You were cutting jokes with me.”

Seven months later Reva and the professor got married. Reva did not forget to fulfil her promise to her brother. She had already told her husband many, many striking things about her brother’s spiritual Master. After the wedding the professor said to his wife, “Who knows, perhaps one day both of us will care for the spiritual life. Right now we are not ready for it, but I also strongly feel that your brother’s Master is responsible for our marriage. To be frank with you, after he told your brother about our future I started developing a special kind of love for you which I did not have before. Gradually and gradually my love for you developed to such an extent that I discarded all my other girlfriends. Now you see we have become one, inseparably one. I am sure it is all his doing. I am extremely grateful to that spiritual Master.”

Reva was overwhelmed with joy, and said to her husband, “Let us keep my promise to this spiritual Master.”

The professor said, “Of course. Today we were married. I will get the money, and we will give it to your brother to bring to his Master. On this very day let us offer the ten thousand dollars to Gokul’s Master and fulfil your promise.”

They gave the money to Gokul. Alas, an undivine thought entered his mind. He was overcome by temptation. Ten thousand dollars in cash he had never seen in his life. He argued with himself. “The Master made it very clear to me that he had nothing to do with this marriage. It was a mere prediction. Such being the case, he does not deserve this money. I need money badly. I shall give him five thousand, and the other five thousand I shall keep for myself. After all, it was I who told him about my sister. Had it not been for me, he would not even have known about my sister. Then the question of prophecy would not have arisen, not to mention ten thousand actual dollars from my sister and her husband. I have an excellent plan. Let me go away with this money to a far-off country and open a most lucrative business, and in a few years’ time I shall offer my Master not ten thousand dollars, but one hundred thousand dollars. But of course, if I tell Master, I am sure he will not approve of my plan. The best thing will be for me to just go away without seeing him at all.”

Gokul decided to leave immediately. He flew to a country thousands of miles away from his home to escape the Master and his sister and her husband.

The Master had learned from Gokul himself on what day his sister was to get married. The Master expected Gokul to come to his place with some good news at least, although he clearly saw with his occult vision that it was a fateful if not fatal day for his disciple. He had already warned him, “To please the sister, I lose the brother.”

But on that same day something happened to the professor. Towards evening on his wedding day the name of the Master was haunting him. Some sweet feeling he could not outwardly account for was inside him. He felt that it was definitely some inner peace and light that he was feeling inside. The following day he said to his wife, “Reva, I must go and see Gokul’s spiritual Master today. I am getting so much inner joy and peace. I am sure it is all from him. Let me go and offer him my heart’s deepest gratitude personally.”

Reva said, “I believe you, I believe you. Let me also go with you.”

So both of them went to the spiritual Master’s ashram. The professor said to the Master, “Revered Master, yesterday as a token of our deepest gratitude we sent you a small gift through Gokul, Today we have come to offer you our heart’s deepest gratitude for what you have done for us.”

The Master said to them, “Gokul? Where was Gokul yesterday? He didn’t come to my place at all. I thought he was very busy at your wedding and couldn’t make it.”

Both Reva and her husband were astonished to hear this. They couldn’t believe that Gokul could be so dishonest. “Gokul, my brother Gokul has not come to you with our gift? Let us search for him!” cried Reva.

The Master said, “Wait, Reva. Let me concentrate. Let me use my occult power and find out where he is.” The Master concentrated for a few minutes, then said, “Alas, alas! He is now on his way to India. In a few hours he will reach India. He thinks that I do not deserve this money because I have not done anything for you. I just made a mere prediction. He feels it is he who deserves the money, because he told me about your problems and enabled me to make the prediction. And he is justifying his behaviour by telling himself that I will be more grateful to him if, in later years, he brings me much more than ten thousand dollars from his business in India.”

Both the professor and his wife could hardly believe their ears. But at the same time they could not doubt the spiritual Master at all. Some disciples who were nearby listening to this astonishing story said, “Are you sure, Master? This is so unlike Gokul.”

The Master became furious and said, “You rascals! You have been with me for so many years! Some of you have been with me for ten years, and still you doubt me! But look at these newcomers. They have not even accepted our path. They have just come today. Look how easily they have believed me, how sincerely they have believed. I tell you, it is not how many years you stay with me or how spiritually developed and mature you are. At any moment temptation can take you away. Look at Gokul. He has left me. Money-power, temptation-power, has taken him away from me. And as for you fools, your lack of faith will soon take you away.”

They all cried aloud, “Never, never, Master! Never!”

“You know perfectly well about what I said to Gokul — that I would lose him when the fateful day arrives. Now you see that I have lost him. Like that I will lose you, too. But I am not the real loser. It is you who will be the real losers, like Gokul. I know who I am.”

Reva and her husband fell at the Master’s feet and said, “Master, Master, tomorrow we shall bring you another ten thousand dollars. And if you want us to bring Gokul back, we shall try our best. If we succeed in finding him, whatever money has has not spent by this time will be yours.”

The Master said, “It is impossible. You will never be able to bring Gokul back again. Gokul will never come back of his own accord, and I do not want him back again in any case. You will not be able to bring him back, and I will not be able to accept him again. There is nothing you can do. This chapter of his life is over. I do not want you even to look for him. It is a most deplorable story.

“But I am very happy for you two. You will both be happy in your married life. I know you two will accept our path. And I assure you it is not because of your money that I shall accept you, but because of your inner cry and inner faith. Even before you have accepted my path, how sincerely you believed in my inner knowledge! When I told Reva that you would get married, she believed me completely. And just a few minutes ago when I told you about Gokul in front of my disciples, it was only you two who believed me. Look at these rascals! And some of them have stayed with me for seven and ten years. Alas, alas, this is my fate. Gratitude I get when I don’t deserve it, and ingratitude I get when I don’t deserve it. Well, the balance is quite even now.”

AUM 1254. 23 September 1974