Only the coat, and not the donkey

The King and the minister were walking together along the street. It was a very hot day, and after a while the King took off his new coat and handed it to the minister to carry. The minister received the coat gladly, and they continued walking.

All of a sudden the King said, “I am sorry that you are carrying my coat. It is so heavy. You are carrying the load that a donkey should carry.”

The minister replied, “I am happy that I am carrying only the coat of a donkey, and that the donkey itself is not on my back.”

Spiritual comments

What do we learn from this story?

If it is very hot I may take off my coat or sweater and give it to one of my very few close disciples to hold. They get tremendous joy and pride when I give my clothes to them. They never feel that they are carrying a heavy load for their Master. They feel deeply honoured when I give them my clothes to hold and they are grateful that I have chosen them to relieve me of discomfort. When I have love and concern for a particular disciple, and I can see that his consciousness is in tune with my consciousness, then I may give him my things to carry. I give that disciple an opportunity to become close to me, and at the same time, the disciple gives me some joy, comfort and service in the outer life at least.

This is an opportunity for my disciples to come closer to me. When they touch or carry my clothes they are holding my consciousness, they are cherishing my consciousness, which is embodied by any article of my clothing. Each person has a consciousness of his own, and whatever he uses takes on his consciousness. So whoever holds my clothes will receive a bit of my divine consciousness — at least my disciples will. Since the disciples are crying for divine consciousness, anything they get from me — whether it be a hair from my head or whatever — gives them an additional expansion of consciousness. This is because of our mutual love.

The King and the minister work together, true. But the minister carries the King’s coat because he is under obligation to do so. Otherwise he would lose his post. In my case, even if a disciple does not carry my belongings, he will not be mistreated by me. I am not so mean that I will throw him out of my Centre if he doesn’t listen to me. I will only feel, “All right, if you don’t have that feeling of dedicated service, I don’t mind. You are only delaying your own God-realisation.” I may feel this, but outwardly I won’t say anything.

When the Master gives his coat to a disciple it is as if he were giving his crown to that disciple. But when he gives a disciple’s coat to another disciple, the one who receives it must feel that the Master is teaching him humility, and that this humility is necessary for his spiritual progress. A spiritual person will not grumble if the Master gives him someone else’s coat to hold. He will always take the Master’s decision as the right one.

Once when I was practising for Sports Day a Connecticut disciple who has a very bad character, a very bad consciousness, kept hovering near me. Whenever I removed my sweater, he tried to take it. If somebody wants to take my things from me and I don’t like the vibrations of that person because of his bad consciousness, I feel very sad. I can’t give my garment to him because immediately his bad consciousness will ruin its consciousness. And yet if I don’t give it to him, others will say that I hate that person. I don’t hate anyone, but at the same time, why should I give my clothes to someone who is not pure enough? If I have one or two disciples who are extremely pure, naturally I will give my clothes to them. They deserve this privilege because of their purity, because of their aspiration, because of their spirituality, because of their devoted and surrendering consciousness. Those particular disciples deserve to have this divine opportunity, and they will benefit from it; whereas this other disciple did not deserve it at all. He was living an animal life, and he only wanted to show everyone else that he was carrying my sweater.

For everything, one has to deserve what he receives. Then only can one appreciate the blessing or the opportunity that he gets. You people are crying for God-realisation. Naturally, one day you will deserve God-realisation, and on that day I shall certainly give it to you.

Those who are trying to serve the Supreme in me with purity, with sincerity, with devotion and with surrender will naturally come forward, and not those who are just trying to grab me, pull me and show off in front of others that they also can become close to me. One must always make an inner sacrifice to achieve inner oneness. One has to pray, concentrate, meditate and cry for inner oneness. Then one will see that in the outer world as well as in the inner world he has become very near, very close and devoted, a truly effective instrument of the Master.