The king's initiation1

There was a good pious king who ruled his kingdom justly, divinely and supremely. Everybody was pleased with him and proud of him. But there came a time when he was pinched with an inner hunger for initiation. He felt a burning cry for inner peace and inner light, so he gave up his kingdom and went to a spiritual Master for initiation.

The spiritual Master said to him, “I will initiate you when you are ready. Right now you are not ready for initiation.”

The king accepted the Master’s words. He bowed to the Master and said, “I will do anything that you want me to do. Only please accept me as your disciple.”

The Master said, “Yes, I will accept you as my disciple. From now on, every day you will go to the top of the hill and cut down trees along with my other disciples, for we need fuel to cook our food. You will also take the cows out to graze in the field as the other disciples do, and you will do domestic service.”

The king agreed. Every day he used to go with the other disciples, who were his spiritual brothers, and perform the domestic tasks to please the Master. Although the king had never done this kind of work, he did his very best and his work was, to some extent, quite satisfactory.

One day he was chopping down a tree, but he was not working fast enough. One of his brother disciples gave him a smart slap and said, “You are working so slowly. Master will be furious if we work so slowly. Don’t work so slowly!”

Now, this fellow happened to be of a very, very low caste; he was an untouchable. But the Master accepted disciples from all castes, and in his eyes everybody had the same rank. The king didn’t say anything to the untouchable, but in silence he was telling himself, “Does he not know who I was? If he had done this kind of thing when I was king, immediately my men would have killed him. Now I have accepted the spiritual life; therefore, he is saved. God bless his ignorance. He should know who I was and who I am.”

Some time had passed and the king again came before the Master. He knelt down and said, “Many people who have come after me have been initiated, but still I am uninitiated. When will my time come?”

The Master said, “One day your time will come, but it has not yet come. It will take time. Still you enjoy the pride of having been a King. As long as you enjoy and treasure your pride-wealth, initiation will remain a far cry. Conquer your pride and I shall initiate you. Unless and until you have conquered your pride, do not expect me to initiate you.”

The king touched the Master’s feet: “From now on I will most soulfully try to conquer my worst foe, pride, and thus be a fit instrument for your initiation.”

The Master said, “Try, my child, you will succeed without fail.”

After some time it came to pass that the king did conquer his pride, and he was initiated by the Master.

  1. GIM 11. 7 January 1979