The Master's smileThere was once a spiritual Master who had only thirty disciples. God had given him a good heart, but many people exploited his heart. He gave interviews to his disciples quite often. Always he used to console them and try to illumine their ignorance when they were mentally and vitally sick. But they did not appreciate his kindness, affection, compassion and love. They never expressed any gratitude either inwardly or outwardly, and they took everything he did for granted. He did not ask them for any kind of love-offering or contribution, and he never asked any fee for his interviews. Everything was free. He had a very small income from a source other than the spiritual life. It went on for years like this.
One day he was feeling sad and miserable because his light was not being properly accepted, and his disciples were not making satisfactory spiritual progress. So that night he had a talk with God. He said to God, "You know how much time I have been spending on these hopeless, useless, ungrateful people, but I am not getting anything done for You on earth. And when it is a matter of acknowledgement of the light inside me, not to speak of gratitude, I don't notice any response in my disciples or my friends and acquaintances. It seems that gratitude is not yet born on earth."
God smiled at him and said, "All right, I shall prove to you that gratitude does exist on earth. One day you will definitely come across people who will offer you gratitude."
The following morning the spiritual Master came out of his house and was walking to the park to meditate. On the way he happened to meet one of his insincere disciples. This woman said to the Master, "Master, I have a friend who has been dying to meet you. Could you spend some time with him? He is right now in my house, and that is very near. I know you don't drink coffee or tea, but I do have milk and juice to offer you. I shall be so happy, so grateful, so honoured, if you will come to my place and answer a few questions for this friend of mine."
It was a matter of a minute, so the Master did it. The woman's friend, a man, said to the Master, "Hello, how do you do?" The Master said, "Fine, thank you," and stretched out his hand. The gentleman shook hands with the Master. The Master gave him a smile and then suddenly left the house and went back to the park.
When the Master returned to his home two hours later, that particular disciple was waiting for him at the door. She said, "Master, Master, here is a ten-dollar bill. My friend said that your smile answered all his questions. You smiled at him for a brief second, but in that brief second all his lifelong questions were answered. This ten dollars he has given to you with utmost love and gratitude. He is a poor man; otherwise he would have given you much more money. He has told me to tell you that he is all gratitude and will be eternally grateful for your smile."
The Master thought of his conversation with God the previous night, when God had consoled him and assured him that gratitude did exist on earth. He began shedding tears of gratitude for his Inner Pilot. He was swimming in the sea of gratitude, and he said to his disciple, "It is not because of the ten dollars that I am all gratitude, but because of his receptivity — because one brief smile of mine could bring out such receptivity in him. His receptivity is drawing all my heart's gratitude towards him. The gratitude-flower, the dearest of all flowers, was born in the heart of a smile, a fleeting smile."
September 14, 1974