The disobedient disciple"Master, today you are in a cheerful frame of mind. May I ask you a few spiritual questions?"
"Did I accept you first, Master, or did you accept me first?"
"In the inner world I accepted you first; in the outer world you accepted me first."
"Are they equally important?"
"No, they are not equally important. If the inner acceptance was not made, then the outer acceptance would not have taken place. But when the inner acceptance and the outer acceptance have played their respective roles, then the relationship between the Master and disciple becomes perfect."
"Master, what about those people who leave you? Do you leave them first or do they leave you first?"
'My child, this is a complicated question. Very often a disciple will stay with me and see me every day on the physical plane, but inwardly he has cut off all connection. He waits only for the opportunity to offer a legitimate excuse to leave me. But again, if a disciple disappoints me repeatedly, and if the Supreme in me finds that he is a hopeless case, that he is just wasting my time and unduly exercising my patience, at that time, if it is the Will of the Supreme, I will cut off my connection with the disciple in the inner world. Without having roots, the disciple cannot live, so eventually he leaves me."
"But what about those, Master, who once upon a time were very close to you and have now left you? I am sure you have not rejected them. Your heart of love and compassion would not reject them. It was they who rejected you and you just accepted the fact. Am I correct Master?"
"My son, there is no hard and fast rule. A close disciple can become a victim to jealousy, self-doubt and other wrong forces. Naturally, those forces can create tremendous problems both for the Master and the disciple."
"Master, how can a close disciple have self-doubt or be jealous of others?"
The Master said, "A close disciple, out of fear, very often doubts himself. He knows his limitations and weaknesses, and he thinks that I am keeping him close only until a better disciple comes along. He feels that as soon as that particular disciple comes, I will replace him. He thinks that I am not going to use my precious time for the undoubtedly difficult task of changing and perfecting his nature. He feels that if I get a superior instrument, an already better if not totally perfect soul, then there is no reason why I should not accept the new disciple and reject the old one. This is how the self-doubt starts.
"Now, about jealousy. Jealousy is not to be found only in inferior disciples. It is found in superior ones as well. The close disciples, in spite of getting constant attention from me, may become jealous if they fail to get me twenty-four hours a day for themselves. If I offer some of my attention to other disciples when all are gathered in a group, when I do not fulfil their desire for possession, the close disciples may be inwardly tormented by a kind of fear of those who are a step behind them, which eventually turns into jealousy. They fear that at any moment the ones who are lagging behind today will surpass them. This fear is strengthened by the feeling that, since they do not deserve my constant attention, concern and love, then there is every possibility that they may lose it, and that I may try to find other disciples who will be worthy of my constant concern and love. Since there is no way they can prevent me from bringing other disciples close to me, the close disciples allow jealousy to enter into them. They feel that their jealousy has tremendous force, and that this force may destroy all the present and future possibilities of those who are just one step behind."
"Master, I am grateful to you for illumining my mind. Now Master, tell me please what is the best thing you see in me? Do I have any good qualities? Master, please do not misunderstand me. I am in no way asking you for praise. But sometimes I really feel that I do not have any good qualities."
"You do have a few good qualities, my child. I can count them on my fingertips. Your main good quality is your regularity. You are always regular in your meditation. You are always regular at meetings. You are always regular whenever there is any necessity for dedicated service."
"Master, I know that I have so many bad qualities. I pray to you to tell me my worst quality."
"Your worst quality is your disobedience."
"Master, when do I disobey you?"
"You have disobeyed me hundreds of times. Only I pray to God that you will not disobey me any more."
"Master, you pray to God and let me pray to you to grant me the one boon that I will never disobey you any more. But Master, please continue. Please let me know when and why I have disobeyed you."
"My son, you are extremely close to my heart and soul. I have asked you repeatedly to mix with my other disciples wholeheartedly, but you do not listen to me. You feel that if you mix, you may lose some of your good qualities. Further, you feel that if you lose your good qualities, I shall not keep you as close, as intimate as you are now; therefore, you do not listen to me. When I am with others you always try to maintain your sense of separativity, which unconsciously borders on superiority. You want to have me all to yourself or not at all.
"You also disobey me in another field of your life. I have told you repeatedly that the maxim 'Familiarity breeds contempt' is meant only for ordinary human beings. It is not meant for the spiritual Master and his disciples, not to speak of the Master's closest disciple. When you are with an ordinary human being, everything is limited. In a few days you get tired of him because there is no newness in him to inspire you or to elevate your life. But when you mix with a spiritual Master, no matter how many months or years you have been with him, at every moment he is bringing down new inspiration and new aspiration for you. He has the capacity to become one with an ever-flowing inspiration and aspiration and bring them into you. But, in your case, you are inclined not to believe it or not to feel it, so when you stay with your Master for a number of hours your physical becomes tired of him. Your physical body becomes tired of his presence, and if you see that he is going somewhere to see some of his other disciples you don't feel like accompanying him in spite of his requests. You give him the legitimate outer excuses that you are tired or have work to do. When you are in a bad mood, you say that you have had enough. You feel that you have had a feast of spiritual food while you were alone with your Master, and that if you are with others you will get only a morsel of additional food. You feel that you don't need this morsel. But I feel extremely sorry at that point. I feel sorry for two reasons. The first reason is that you do not want to eat the entire quantity of food that I want to offer to you. The second reason is that you are not seeing the divine or the spiritual in me. You are ignoring the spiritual in me, which is the ever-energising, ever-illumining, ever-fulfilling Divinity's Reality."
"Master, Master, the physical in me is unable to bear your naked frankness, but the spiritual in me shall eternally remain grateful to you. From today, I shall consider your requests not only as the way to my salvation but as my salvation itself. Master, you have shown me what infinite patience is. You have shown me what infinite compassion is. You have shown me what infinite forgiveness is. In return, with my tearful heart, I wish to offer to you my supreme discovery: you, and you alone, are my Eternity's All."
16 July, 1974