The photographer-disciplesOne evening a spiritual Master and a few of his photographer-disciples were speaking informally. "Master," one of them said, "in the movie of you that we took the other day, it was my impression that at one point you had the same expression as in your Transcendental picture."
"Yes, yes," said the Master, "I think it happened twice. But you are my spiritual children, so let me brag a little. Four and a half years ago I transcended the Transcendental picture. On the day that happened immediately the picture bowed down and touched my feet. But this consciousness has never been photographed."
"Master," asked one photographer, "if you transcended the consciousness of that picture so many years ago, how is it that we never photographed it?"
"Right now," answered the Master, "although we have a few official photographers, sometimes their consciousness and my consciousness do not go together. Sometimes I laugh inwardly. When I am in my highest, perhaps they are in trance themselves, or perhaps they feel that it is not my highest consciousness but something else. Then, when I come down, when I smile at someone after a blessing, for example — when my consciousness is infinitely lower — at that time they take the picture. When I am in a very high consciousness during the blessing, very often they don't take a picture. When the blessing is over I give a smile — it is a real smile, not a phony one — but at that time I know where my consciousness is: it has touched the root of the tree. Then I fold my hands when it is time for farewell, for parting, and at that time they take pictures."
A disciple asked, "Maybe the photographer is afraid to disturb the person you are blessing; but if he takes a picture of the blessing, the picture will last forever, whereas the disciple will be able to maintain the blessing for only a few minutes or a few hours."
"I think the photographer often waits because he cannot see properly. When I bless someone I cover the face of that person, and since he is trying to take a picture of both the faces, it is impossible for him. But when it is over and I release my hands, at that time he can take a good picture. But when it is a matter of consciousness, your Guru's consciousness is higher during the blessing."
"When are we going to get a picture of that consciousness that is higher than your Transcendental consciousness?" asked one young man.
"I have tried a few times to take a picture of myself with a special camera, but what happened? When I pressed the button, when my hand moved, immediately my consciousness went down. Because I am using the physical, the physical hand, the consciousness comes down."
"There are better machines now, Master," said one young man. "There are movie cameras that could take the picture without your having to press a button."
"But it must not make any sound," the Master warned. "If it makes a noise, it will be impossible. There should not be any sound, just silence. When the sound starts, immediately it ruins everything. If you enter nirvikalpa samadhi, which is lower, much lower than the Transcendental consciousness, you go beyond the sound. There is no difficulty at that time; even if there is an explosion you will not hear it. But in the Transcendental consciousness, the difficulty is that you see everything, feel everything. You are in the highest and, at the same time, you can also be aware of the lowest, though you are not affected by it. In the Transcendental you are embracing everything. So at that time if noise comes, the consciousness goes. In my public meditations it has happened quite a few times that I have gone much higher than my Transcendental picture, even though two or three thousand people are there right in front of me."
"Are there any pictures around from those meetings?" asked a disciple.
The Master shook his head. "I have not seen any. But again, who is going to believe all this rubbish? If you had seen a picture of me when I was three or four years old, you would say, 'He is so ugly.' But when you people look at my Transcendental picture, at that time you cannot say anything about me because there in that picture I am in my highest consciousness, I am one with the Supreme.
"There is one picture of me in which the soul was definitely not there when the picture was taken. Even if the soul is not in the body for a minute or a few minutes or a few hours, the soul's light can remain; the soul's light can easily stay for hours and hours. But in that particular picture I had also removed the souls light entirely. You saw what kind of picture it was."
"You looked so strange in that picture," a young disciple said. "Your whole body seemed limp and lifeless."
"Yes," said the Master. "When the soul's light leaves the body, there is nothing left. The body-machine may stay alive, but it is nowhere."
"Master," said another photographer-disciple, "let us hope that in the future we will take pictures at the right moment. We shall sincerely try."
The Master smiled and then blessed each of his photographer-disciples.