Why the disciples don't come

One day while a spiritual Master was taking a walk, he happened to meet a former disciple of his on the sidewalk.

"Venu," the Master said, "you are so dear to me. Why have you stopped coming to my ashram?"

The disciple bowed his head in shame and said, "Master, I have to be sincere. Just because that rascal Tushar comes to you, I no longer come. I don't want to see his face.”

"Venu!" exclaimed the Master. "What kind of reason is this?" The Master paused then said sadly, "I know of a spiritual Master who had an Indian disciple and an American disciple, both of whom were women. The Indian and the American became intimate friends. Unfortunately their friendship did not last and they were soon at daggers drawn. One day the Indian woman came to the Master and said, 'Master, I am leaving your ashram.' The Master asked, 'Why, why?' She said, 'If that American lady gets God-realisation, then I don't need it. It is beneath my dignity to get something which she will have. I don't need your God-realisation. I could never be satisfied with anything she might get.' Now, my Venu, you are acting the same way."

Venu said, "Forgive me, Master. I know my reason sounds absurd, but to me Tushar's very presence is an eyesore."

"Venu," said the Master, "there are other disciples who have left me. They, too, stopped coming because of personal grievances. They too quarrelled with disciples who continue to come to my ashram. Now, granted, Tushar is bad according to your point of view. But since he continues to meditate, since he is still in our boat, he is definitely going to realise God much sooner than you."

"Master!" Venu cried out. "I can't bear to hear you say that!"

The Master continued. "You have left the path because of your disagreement with somebody. Here our difficulty is that we lack wisdom. We don't think of what we are actually doing to ourselves. By finding fault with others, we are just stabbing ourselves and nothing else. We must always try to be wise, divinely wise."

The Master paused. "Venu, leaving aside your difficulties with Tushar, what kind of progress do you think you are making now?"

Venu was silent.

The Master said, "What is most painful is that when you came to me you had much more inspiration and aspiration than you have now. That means that four, five or six years ago you were a better aspirant than you are now. Like you, other disciples had utmost sincerity, devotion and aspiration when they first came to me. Some of my disciples were really so pure, so divine; they were absolute angels in every sense of the term. They gave such promises that in this incarnation either they would be on the verge of realisation or they would actually realise God. Now those disciples are giving us another realisation. On their way to God-realisation, by mistake they have realised something else instead of God, and that is ignorance. Now what has happened to them? I can only use the term 'fallen' to describe them; and this word is absolutely applicable to you, my son."

Venu buried his head in his hands. "Master, what can I do now?"

"My son, nothing is lost. You have not lost the ladder of your spiritual evolution; it is right in front of you. While you were climbing you lost your footing and that is why you fell down. Now again you can try to climb up. But you have to be always careful to place your foot on the proper rung. Then you will again be able to climb back to the height which you had a few years ago. What you once achieved is not lost. Only be alert, be careful to keep your footing so that again you can reach your height. Then you can go high, higher, highest; far beyond what you achieved in the past."