Sail your own boat1

There was once a very great spiritual Master who was compassion incarnate. His compassion far surpassed all his other divine qualities. Especially in the matter of accepting disciples, his compassion was most striking. He welcomed into his spiritual family many souls who were not quite ready for the inner life. He also had many disciples who were very sincere and some who were extremely advanced. The Master felt that if the disciples who were not yet awakened could mix with the other disciples, then very soon these unfortunate seekers would also begin to lead a life of true aspiration.

One of these unfortunate seekers was creating problem after problem for the Master. He was doing all kinds of unspeakable, undivine things. But just because the Master's compassion was working, he let the young man remain in his ashram for some time.

Finally it became necessary for the Master to take action. One day after the morning meditation, the Master called this particular disciple aside and said, "Madu, my compassion has allowed you to stay with me for two years, but now I clearly see that this is not meant to be your spiritual family. Please leave my ashram and go your own way."

For one year the Master saw no more of this fellow. Then the Master came to learn that the young man had begun attending meditations at one of his distant centres. What could the Master do? He thought that there was still a slight chance that the young man might finally enter into the spiritual life wholeheartedly. But, as fate would have it, in that centre also the seeker became a disturbing, disruptive force. But again the Master's compassion operated and he allowed the seeker to stay.

A few months later the Master received a letter from this young man. The letter was full of insults. In closing, the young man wrote, "Now I have left your path and this time for good, because the standard of your disciples has become unbearably low. The standard has dropped to such an extent that I cannot stay with you anymore."

At the next meeting the Master narrated the whole deplorable story to his disciples. Then he said, "My spiritual children, I have a very short but significant message to give to all of you. True, I have a very big heart and my compassion always prevails. But to any of you who are thinking of leaving my ashram and to those who have already left, I have one request to make: stick to your own convictions. If you want to sail your own boat, sail your own boat. I shall continue to sail my boat. Even if all of you get the inspiration to leave me, I shall go on sailing my boat according to the dictates of my Inner Pilot. Together He and I shall sail to the shores of the ever-transcending Beyond."


  1. GRP 11. September 23, 1974.