Once there was a very great spiritual Master who dedicated himself unreservedly to all his ashrams around the world. The Master had a very high standard and he expected much from his disciples. But alas, one year many of his spiritual centres fell below his standard and his Beloved Supreme compelled him to disband the fallen centres one by one. Each time he lost a centre, the Master felt that he had lost part of his own heart and soul. Finally the Master had only one centre left, in a country far, far away.
One night the Master saw occultly that a great calamity was about to take place in this centre and that the Supreme in him would compel him to dissolve this centre as well. The Master was beside himself with grief. He immediately made arrangements to fly there the following day. As soon as the Master arrived, he called all his disciples together.
The Master began, "My dearest spiritual children, this will be one of my sermons. I am so pessimistic nowadays. Optimism has left me; pessimistic thoughts have come. I always say to you people, 'Let us be hopeful,' but now all the centres have disappointed me to such an extent that I see only darkness all around. I am sorry to say that I may be forced to disband this centre as well.'
The disciples were sad and shocked to hear that the situation had come to this critical point. "What exactly is the matter, Master?" one of them asked.
The Master said, "In some of my other centres there were people who paid all attention to selfless service and did not pay any attention to meditation. Meditation is a supreme necessity; selfless service is a supreme necessity. Both are of paramount importance in the spiritual life. But unfortunately at this centre you don't give attention either to meditation or to dedicated service.
"Master," asked one disciple, "how have we disappointed you in our selfless service?"
"We have very few ways to express our selfless service here," said the Master. "But each of you can do much, much more. Some of you do work hard in printing my books and in raising funds for the centre. But I tell you that if you had been more sincere, more dedicated and more devoted, then we could have branched out into more enterprises and other forms of dedicated service. That is to say, there are many, many other things we could have accomplished if you had been more serious in your devoted service."
"Then please tell us what we should do to change our nature, Master," one disciple said.
"If each of you can feel that you are one hundred per cent responsible for the success and progress of this centre, not ninety-nine but one hundred percent, then there is no reason why this centre cannot survive and run the fastest. I wish to say that if you really feel at every second that you are God's supremely chosen children, then this dearest centre of mine, my fondest centre, will have a different fate; and this change can be made overnight.
"When we become undivine in one thing, we become undivine in everything. If a person is really bad, he is bad in everything. But again, if he is really good, he as good in everything. Each one should first play the role of a saint. If each and every one of my spiritual children feels that he is a saint, then here we can have a galaxy of saints. But right now we don't see ourselves in that way. So how can we think of surpassing the saints?"
"Master, we know that we are full of imperfections," one disciple immediately said. "How can you say that we are at all like saints?"
"I tell you," said the Master, "that you are the chosen instruments of God. Chosen instruments of God are far superior to saints. A saint is very good, but he is not brave enough. His standard is high, but he won't touch things that are beneath him and he won't be eager to speak to others. He is afraid of being stained by the dark ink of the world. Usually Indian saints enter into the Himalayan caves. They lead a very pure life, but they don't work for God-manifestation. Here each one of you has been chosen by the Supreme as a hero-warrior. You already embody the saintly qualities of aspiration and the feeling of oneness. These divine qualities you are now going to offer to the world at large. That is why we call you chosen instruments of the Supreme. You have to go far, far beyond the saints and fight against fear, doubt, jealousy, imperfection and limitation according to the Will of the Supreme."
Everyone was deeply moved by the Master's words. But one disciple asked, "What shall we do if people reject our offering, Master?"
The Master said, "A scorpion's capacity is to bite. The very nature of an undivine person is to hurt others. But if you are a saint, you won't kill the scorpion after it bites you. What will you do? You will just put it back where it belongs. It is your very nature to do this, because you are divine. If somebody hurts you, then you will show your capacity, which is your nobility. Nothing is wasted, my children. Even an undivine person is bound to receive some light from your nobility, either consciously or unconsciously.
"Every day this centre can be improved if each individual feels that he is a saint. There is nothing wrong in thinking this way at first; it is absolutely the right attitude. If you say, 'I am a good man, I am a sincere man,' then you become one with your soul. At that time you cannot do anything wrong. If you take the positive approach and say, 'I am the Supreme's child,' or if you repeat a few times, 'I am God's son,' or 'I am God's daughter,' then all good qualities come to you. But if you make yourself feel that you are a lump of clay or a bundle of ignorance and God is somebody else far away, then you will never reach your Goal. You will only be crying and weeping all the time. That is the wrong approach. You have to feel that you are in potentiality what God is. If God is great, God is kind, God is affectionate, God is forgiving, then we also have those qualities. Every attribute that we ascribe to God, we ourselves also have.
"They certainly are hidden right now," said one disciple.
"We have them in an infinitesimal measure, whereas God has them in infinite measure. But as we become spiritually mature, these qualities grow in infinite measure. So we should have the inner feeling that what God has in boundless measure, we also definitely have. Then at the express command of the Supreme we have to offer our wealth unreservedly to mankind.
"God is the ocean and the individual is the tiny drop. If this tiny drop enters into the ocean, then how are we going to trace it? It becomes the ocean itself. Again, if all the drops are taken away from the ocean, then the ocean will be empty. If I as a drop and you as a drop are taken away from the ocean, which is God, then the ocean is not complete. The drop surrenders itself to the ocean and becomes the ocean. At that time, the compassion of the ocean and the love of the ocean accept the drop as their very own, as something that will add to their strength."
"Are you saying that the drop actually contributes something to the ocean, Master?" asked a disciple.
"It is absolutely true," said the Master. "If your father has one thousand dollars and you, as a child, bring one dollar to your father, then the sum becomes one thousand and one. At that time your father no longer has only one thousand dollars; he has one thousand and one. Similarly, all of you should feel that your effort, your spiritual contribution is extremely necessary. Each individual contribution adds to God's Reality and His Capacity on earth and in Heaven.
"Please try to always feel that you are the chosen child of the Supreme. You know that right beside your house there may be people who are very, very bad, very low and very undivine. You will never do the things that they do. You immediately feel that you come from a respectable family, you have had a good education and you are following the spiritual life; therefore it is impossible for you to do the things that they do, it is simply beneath your dignity. Their standard and your standard are totally different. Your standard is very high; their standard is very low.
"Again, you have to feel that the things that you are doing right now, in comparison to a saint's standard, are very low. But God is telling you that you are far superior to a saint. You have accepted the spiritual life and you now have the power to become His chosen instrument. This is what we always claim to be. Let us always think to what we truly are."
"Master, forgive me, but I don't understand you. First you scold us; then you extol us to the skies."
"Dear ones," said the Master, "when I tell you that you are God's children, I am not flattering you. No! I see in you what you truly are. But unfortunately you don't see what you are. That is the problem. Think of yourselves as divine. Then automatically the undivine qualities will leave you, because they will see that they are knocking at the wrong door, a stranger's door. There will unmistakably come a time when your life and the life of ignorance and limitation will be perfect strangers to each other. So, my children, try to change your fate. God's Grace is already there."