One day, a young man went to see his spiritual Master. He was upset and disturbed. “Master, Master, I want to give up spirituality altogether,” he said.
“Why, why?” asked the Master.
“Because it is simply useless. I am a constant victim to undivine thoughts, evil thoughts, and to emotional, lower vital problems. How long can I continue this way? I was quite happy before I entered into the spiritual life. I didn’t have so many vital problems then. But now it is torture, real torture. Let me conquer these undivine thoughts and forces first, and then I shall return to the spiritual life. But now it is not meant for me.”
The Master said nothing. Only he gave the disciple a broad smile.
“Master, I promise you,” the disciple continued, “I promise you I will really pray and meditate once I have conquered all the problems that I have.”
The Master smiled again.
“Master, why are you smiling? Do you not think that I am saying the right thing?”
“No, my son,” said the Master, “I am smiling because you need real wisdom from me.”
“Master, that is why I came to you. But I feel that no matter what you say it will not help me. You have been inundating me with wisdom every day with your spiritual talks, with your affection, with your kindness, with your meditation. But still I find it simply impossible to overcome my lower vital problems and evil thoughts.”
The Master said, “My son, look. Right now you have a fever, you have a stomach upset, you have everything; so won’t you take medicine? You will not say, ‘I will take medicine afterwards. Let my fever, stomach pain and everything else that I am suffering from first go away from me. When these things leave me, then I will take medicine.’ When you suffer from something, you get something that will cure it. If you are bitten by a snake, you immediately take the antidote. Then only you will be cured. Now you are suffering. If you don’t take the medicine, which is prayer and meditation, then how are you going to cure yourself? Will the disease go away on its own? Once the enemy attacks you, it will stay with you until you throw it out. So you have to cure yourself. Prayer and meditation are the medicine.”
The disciple said, “Master, what you are saying is true. But I have tried for such a long time. Now I am tired of fighting. I have no enthusiasm, no will power. I feel that if I surrender to these forces, one day they will show me compassion. Once they show their compassion and feel that I am useless, they will leave me. Then I will immediately run towards you and I will again pray and meditate.”
The Master said, “Oh, no! These enemies are eternal enemies. They never allow their victims to go in their own way. Knowing perfectly well that you are at their mercy, for some time they may remain in a relaxed mood, and you will think that they are not keeping an eye on you, that they are not keeping a strict watch over you. But no, when they see that you are trying to leave their prison cell, immediately they will be more strict with you. They will keep you under greater supervision, under strict orders.
“So conquer these enemies at any cost. Then only you will be saved. Never think that your enemy will grant you freedom. It is you who have to conquer the enemy and get freedom for yourself.”
The disciple touched his Master’s feet. “I know, Master, your Compassion is my sword, your Compassion is my shield and your Compassion is my victory’s crown, which I shall place at your feet divine. From now on, I shall please you — you, you, only you — in your own way.”
GIM 43. 13 January 1979↩