One day the ruler of the kingdom came to his spiritual Master and said, “Master, you have been helping me in my spiritual life unreservedly. May I do something for you?”
The Master said, “I have everything from God. What can you give me? What do I need?”
The King insisted, “Please, please, I will be so grateful if I can do something to please you. I will be so happy if I can be of some service to you or if you ask me to do something for you.”
The Master said, “I will be really happy and grateful if you can chase away the flies that bother me so often.”
“This is the thing that you are asking me to do?” said the King. “Such an easy task!”
“Then try, try,” said the Master.
So the King started chasing away the flies. O God, each time he chased them away, they kept coming back. There was no end to the flies’ mischief.
Then pride entered into the King: “I am the King. I am so obliged to the Master because he has given me some inner peace, which is so difficult to get from anybody. I wanted to do him a favour in return. I thought he would ask me for money or a vast plot of land, because I am such a kind-hearted and rich King. Now I feel really ashamed that I can’t do even this kind of job for the Master. It is such an easy task, yet I can’t do it.”
The Master said, “O King, your heart wanted to please me, but your mind did not want to. Your heart thought that by pleasing me it would make progress. But your mind had a kind of pride in it. Your mind thought that by pleasing me it would do me a great favour. Therefore, I wanted you to go through this experience — not of humiliation, but of humility. I want humility from you. That is why I have given you this job.
“The spiritual Master does not need anything from the disciples. He entirely depends on God’s Compassion. But again, God’s Compassion can work in and through his disciples. His earthly and material needs will always be supplied by the Supreme in and through his disciples.
“In my case, I needed nothing. But because you wanted to help me, I gave you the easiest job of chasing flies. If even the easiest job you cannot do, how will you do the most difficult job, which is to please God in God’s own Way? So give up your pride, give up your sense of humiliation. Only feel that in the spiritual life humility is of paramount importance. And of all the virtues, the most important is to offer gratitude to God for what you have and what you are.
“Then, if you want to help someone, feel that what you are offering is not actually help as such; it is an opportunity for you to be of service to your Beloved Supreme in and through the other individual. And if you go one step higher than this realisation, you will feel that the Supreme is fulfilling Himself in and through you. Do what the Supreme tells you to do, but on your own do not try to help mankind. Only try to serve the Supreme inside mankind. Then only you will please the Supreme in the Supreme’s own Way.”
GIM 77. 18 January 1979↩