The disciples' love-power

There was once a very great spiritual Master who had quite a few disciples. Many of them lived together in an ashram at the foot of the Himalayas. Although the men and women disciples mixed together quite often in ashram activities, there were many activities that they did separately. On certain days the cooks in the ashram would all be men, and on certain days the cooks would be all women. A number of disciples sometimes spent their evenings in selfless service craft projects, but the men worked in one group and the women worked in another group. And so it went on. The Master felt that his disciples would make better progress if the men and women did not mix together too freely.

The men and women were very happy to listen to their Master’s advice. But sometimes the women became jealous of the men or the men became jealous of the women. At those times the Master gave a long discourse on the matter that was bothering them.

One day the Master gathered a group of his men disciples together and said, “I have been hearing from people that you men are making deplorable and false accusations. Whether it is unconscious or conscious, you feel that your wives or other women can love me more than you. You feel that way because I am a man and it is spontaneous and natural for a woman to offer love to a man. You feel it is a feminine love, and that a man cannot have this kind of devotion.

“I wish to tell you that you are totally mistaken! It is not true that women can more easily offer love to me because it is more spontaneous for them. Disciples who are all love for their Master love him because he is their Master, not because he is a man. Sri Chaitanya’s dearest disciple was all love and he was a man. Ramakrishna’s closest disciple was Vivekananda, a man; Sri Aurobindo’s dearest disciple was a man; Sri Krishna’s dearest disciple was Arjuna, a man; the Buddha’s dearest disciple was Ananda, a man. All men!”

“How is it that they conquered the hearts of their Masters?” one of the disciples asked.

The Master smiled and said, “Through love, through devotion, through surrender. When you say it is difficult for you to offer love to your Master and that it is easy for your wife to offer love to the Master, you have to know that you have the same power to love that your wife has. Love is not the monopoly of women. God has also given men this quality of divine love. The only thing is that a man ignores this divine quality in himself while, at the same time, he demands it from others, especially from women. You don’t use your love-power, your heart-power. You use more of your vital power aspect — your ego — than your love aspect. That is why the women are making faster progress.

“When I was much younger,” the Master continued, “I lived in the ashram of Sri Ananda. I had a few sincere, absolutely dedicated admirers among the men. They were all ten or twelve years younger than I, but I tell you, the love that they showed me then, that they show me even now, is beyond your imagination. They are Sri Ananda’s disciples in this incarnation, so they can’t accept me as their Master. But if they could, I assure you that their love and devotion would show you that your belief in this matter is absolutely false!”

“Guru did the men and women mix together very much when you were at Sri Ananda’s ashram?” another disciple asked.

“Not at all! I didn’t have any friends at all among the women. I didn’t have anything other than my life of aspiration and inner discipline. My sisters can’t believe it now when they see me talk to women. They say ‘Impossible! Here you stayed for twenty years and you didn’t speak to any girl.’ Even with my sisters I would not speak in public except on rare occasions. I wouldn’t even walk with my sisters in the street. Only during the last three or four years before I left did I speak to them freely.”

One of the younger men listening to the Master then asked, “Do disciples in some of your ashrams in other countries have more love for you than we do?”

The Master said, “At my ashram in Puerto Rico I believe we have five or six girls and about thirty young boys. If you go to Puerto Rico you will see what love is. You ask Manju. She visited there just last year and saw how those young boys — twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two years of age — have such love for me. She has seen how her Puerto Rican brothers and sisters love me unreservedly. Ten months of the year I stay here with you and hardly two months I stay there. What makes those young boys stay on our path? It is their love for me.”

“Why do we find it so difficult to love you, Master?” one of the older disciples asked.

“Why? If you go to the root you will have the answer: obedience is lacking. Those who have no obedience will never love me. If you don’t have inner and outer obedience, you will never be able to develop love for me. If you don’t have any love for your Master, then you have to feel that you are a failure on his path. My path is one of love, devotion and surrender. If you people don’t have love, how can you expect to be able to follow my path? If you can’t step on the first rung of the ladder, how are you going to step on the second rung, devotion, and on the third and ultimate rung, surrender?

“If you obey me and listen to me, you have to feel that this is what the divinity within you wants and needs. I knock at the door of your inner divinity, but it doesn’t come to the fore; it is still fast asleep. When I try to open the door, a tremendous reluctance — an unwilling, obstinate feeling — is what I receive. So, my sweet children, please try to cultivate your love aspect, your devotion aspect, for it is only through love and devotion that your own inner divinity will be awakened. And inside your divinity the Supreme, who is your real Guru, is looming large.”

The Master then called each of his men disciples up to him one by one and, placing his hand on their chests, filled their hearts with love. Many burst into tears, touching his feet; and all were deeply moved. Then, with one final smile that touched each disciple in his innermost self, the Master slowly rose and walked away.