A lost friendThere was once an extremely advanced seeker who stayed in the ashram of a very great spiritual Master. The seeker’s name was Brahmamoy. In his previous incarnation he had been a great Yogi. Now, at the age of sixteen he was already meditating for six, seven, eight, nine, sometimes ten hours a day to regain his spiritual realisation, revising the pages of the book that he once knew so well. Many of his brother and sister disciples in the ashram felt something in him. They saw his shining purity and they appreciated his inner wealth, but they didn’t realise his true height, for he was extremely humble and lived as one of them, working at his daily job of peeling potatoes in the ashram dining hall. Many people secretly mocked at him, for they thought the Master must be displeased with Brahmamoy to give him such a menial task. His family and friends felt miserable about it, but Brahmamoy was very happy since it was a simple job and permitted him much free time to meditate and read.
Brahmamoy had a very close friend whose name was Kanu. Kanu was extremely devoted to Brahmamoy. Every day when they went to the dining hall for meals, the first and foremost thing Kanu did was to bring water for Brahmamoy, and he would always insist on getting Brahmamoy’s food. He would say, “Please stay here. I will get your food. Please let me do this for you.” Brahmamoy deeply appreciated his friend and was moved by his sincere devotion.
This went on for months and years. Then Kanu found a girlfriend and he started to think of her all day. Poor Kanu was very sincere in his spiritual life, and his impurity was a real torture to him. He used to curse both himself and his girlfriend all the time. One morning he said to himself, “Brahmamoy is so pure, so spiritual. I have such love for him and he has such love for me. I feel sure that if I can just touch him he will take all my impurity from me. He will cast it into the Universal Consciousness and I will be freed from this bondage.”
Kanu anxiously awaited the midday meal when he would see Brahmamoy again. In his eagerness he was the first to arrive at the dining hall and he was already seated with two trays of food when Brahmamoy arrived. Brahmamoy smiled and sat down next to his friend. But as he closed his eyes for a few seconds to invoke the Supreme before eating, he felt Kanu touch his knee. Brahmamoy looked up and said, “What are you doing?”
“Oh! That girl, that undivine girl! She has made me ruin my whole day with impure thoughts. But as soon as I touched you they went away. Now I am all purity.”
Brahmamoy was a little bit amused but, at the same time, he was moved by Kanu’s faith in him and gave Kanu a compassionate smile. This purification ritual became a regular part of their friendship, Every few days, when Kanu was suffering from thoughts of his girlfriend, he would devotedly touch Brahmamoy’s knee at mealtimes and say, “Oh, now it is gone. Now I am pure.”
A few months passed and one day in the dining hall Kanu said to Brahmamoy, “Can you read my thoughts? Can you enter into my mind?”
Brahmamoy replied, “I don’t have to be able to do that, Kanu. I only have to look at your face to read your mind.”
Kanu said, “You know that I am very impure. That is why you are saying this. But can you really read my mind?”
Brahmamoy nodded, “Yes, Kanu, I can. Not only will I read your thoughts of today, but I will read your thoughts of quite a few days past and I will tell you what they were. First I will make you conscious of the exact times at which you had the thoughts, so you will believe me and not deny it. Then I will tell you for three days what kind of thoughts you cherished and at what times. Give me your notebook.”
Brahmamoy started to write down Kanu’s thoughts. He wrote both the good and the bad thoughts. He knew that if he wrote only the bad thoughts Kanu would think he didn’t know about the good thoughts. Before he had even finished writing Kanu took the notebook from him and started to read the first two pages. Suddenly he let out a cry, “Oh no, oh no, oh no…” and he rushed out of the dining hall. Brahmamoy ran after him and found him sitting in the farthest corner of the sports ground. His head was in his hands, and he was sad and depressed. Brahmamoy sat down next to him and tried to console him.
He said, “Look Kanu, I don’t cherish these kinds of things. What is in your mind, good and bad, doesn’t matter to me. You are my friend.”
“Oh, you know all about me, you know how bad I am.”
“Kanu, my heart is big. It is full of compassion. You are my friend.” He put his hand on Kanu’s shoulder but Kanu pulled away.
“Oh, but you know, you know exactly what is going on inside me. I am filled with inner disgust for myself. I am so bad and if I mix with you, I will ruin you. I will bring you down to my level.”
“Kanu, that is a wrong way of thinking. It is a false way of feeling. You cannot ruin me, and I assure you that I shall not cherish your weaknesses.”
“Oh, but I am so inferior and you are so superior.”
“That is absurd.”
“I cannot be your friend any more,” Kanu continued. “I know that on the one hand I will cry to be near you, to be beside you, but on the other hand I shall always feel that I cannot come near you.” He stood up abruptly and walked away from Brahmamoy without even looking back at him.
Brahmamoy thought sadly to himself, “By showing Kanu my occult power I have really lost something. If I had not done it he would always have been very close to me. But now I have lost my friend. With my inner vision I can see that Kanu is not going to stay in this ashram. He will leave in a few years and get married. From where to where he will descend!”
Brahmamoy walked slowly back to the ashram. He remembered his Master telling him that if spiritual Masters show occult powers they often lose disciples. He thought of his own sad experience with Kanu and sighed, “Yes, and if seekers show occult powers they will lose their near and dear friends.”