One day, a new disciple approached his spiritual Master and said, “O Master, O Master, before I accepted the spiritual life, it seems I was quite happy.”
“Then, my child, why did you accept the spiritual life?” the Master asked.
“Oh, I accepted the spiritual life thinking that I would be happier, infinitely happier,” the disciple said.
“Then what is the matter with you?”
“The thing is, now I have problems every day. Today somebody is sick in the family, tomorrow some other calamity will take place in the family and the day after tomorrow something else will happen. I am so restless. Previously I didn’t have any insecurity problems or jealousy problems and so forth. Now everything has come into my life.”
“My son, previously you were not conscious of your problems. Now you have become conscious of them. So it is good. You have made progress.”
“But how can I get rid of these problems, Master?”
“You can get rid of these problems through your prayer and meditation.”
“But Master, around me I see a ferocious tiger. The tiger represents such destructive qualities. Previously I did not see any tiger around me. Also I see inside myself a snakelike quality. I see all animal qualities inside myself. Previously, I didn’t have these.”
The Master said, “Previously you did have all these qualities inside you, only they had not come to the fore. Now that they are coming to the fore, you should be happy.”
“Master, how can I be happy when God seems to be testing me like anything?”
“No, my son, God does not test you. You may think that He is testing you, but God only encourages you to become stronger. And even if He did examine you, you have to feel that it would be worth sitting for His examination, for if you did not pass the examination, you would not be happy. So if there are examinations, be happy that you are given the opportunity to take them and pass them. And if there are no examinations, feel that what you are going through is only an experience.”
“O Master, Master, what am I going to do with myself? It seems that problems will never end in the spiritual life.”
The Master said, “Problems will only end in the spiritual life. If problems come to you, so much the better. They have appeared in front of you only so that they can be removed. If they always remain hidden inside you, then you will never be able to cast them aside. But if they are standing right in front of you, then you can see them, face them and fight them. So you should be happy and grateful to God that they are right in front of you and not inside. When they are outside, they are infinitely easier to fight. So be happy, be happy. Fight! The race is for the swift, and the fight is for the brave. So dive deep within to run the fastest, and look all around to be the bravest.”
GIM 38. 13 January 1979↩