A seeker's gratitude

There was a spiritual Master who had only forty disciples. He was very proud of his disciples because all of them were sincere and devoted. Not even one disciple was insincere. He felt really sorry for other spiritual Masters who had undivine disciples, but was very grateful to God that He had granted him such spiritual, devoted, divine disciples. He thanked God from the bottom of his heart.

The Master was extremely kind to his spiritual children, and they were also most generous to the Master. They took care of the Master's physical needs, as he took care of their inner, spiritual needs.

Every evening the Master used to allow his disciples to come and meditate with him. Either he would stand in front of them or he would ask them to come and stand in front of him. He used to bless all the disciples and give them flowers. Since there were only forty disciples, it took him three hours. Afterwards they used to eat together and talk far into the night. Then again the following evening they would gather. This way it went on for months and months.

In those days, the Master used to allow anybody to come and meditate at his home. No permission was needed. One day a young lady who was absolutely a newcomer appeared at the Master's house. As usual, the Master came up to all those present and gave either a beautiful rose or some other flower to each one. When the Master came to offer the flower to this particular lady, she burst into tears. The Master asked, "May I know what is bothering you?"

She said, "It is something very secret and private. I cannot tell you here."

"All right," said the Master, "after the meeting you may tell me if you want to."

During the whole meeting this lady kept crying and sobbing. After some time the Master said to her quietly, "Please, please come into the kitchen and tell me what is bothering you. I fully sympathise with you, and if I can be of any help to you I shall definitely do what I can. But my disciples are now meditating most devotedly and soulfully. Please stop crying and sobbing so that you will not disturb them."

In this way the Master pleaded with her, and finally she came with him into the kitchen. There she fell at his feet and said, "Master, I am unmarried, and I am pregnant, and now that rogue has deserted me! Save me, save me! I come of a very respectable family. Please save me!"

Now it was time for the Master to burst into tears. "What am I going to do?" he said.

"You can do anything if you want to," said the lady. "I know spiritual Masters can do all kinds of things. Please save me! I don't dare tell my parents what has happened."

The Master said, "This kind of sad story pains my heart deeply. Now that I know what is causing your suffering, I will definitely refer the matter to the Supreme. I have no idea what He is going to do. It is up to Him to decide what He wants to do with your life. But please do me a favour. If you want to meditate here, either stay in the kitchen or come back into the meditation hall and meditate in silence. Please do not cry anymore."

Immediately the lady said, "Will you really refer the matter to the Supreme?"

The Master said, "Certainly I will. But I have no idea what His decision will be. That I do not know."

She was so grateful to the Master. She said, "If you just refer it to Him, that is enough."

The Master went back to the meditation room and meditated with his disciples. They knew nothing about this conversation. They were all happy and deeply moved by the aspiration of this newcomer who had cried and cried. They thought that the reason she had burst into tears was that she was receiving the Master's light and blessing much more than anybody else. Afterwards, while they were having refreshments, the disciples asked, "How is it, Master, that while that lady was crying and sobbing out of sheer devotion, you had to ask her to come into the kitchen? Is there anything wrong with her?"

The Master said, "These are private matters. I don't want to discuss them with you."

"It is something private? Then it has nothing to do with her spiritual life?"

The Master said, "Is there anything that is not related to the spiritual life? Everything is spiritual here on earth. Only we have to know how we relate to God and what attitude we have when we offer each action of ours at the Feet of the Supreme." After the Master gave his philosophy, they all kept quiet.

The Master did refer this matter to his superior, the Lord Supreme, as he had promised. The Supreme said, "Now that you have told Me, it is enough: you will have nothing more to do with it. You won't take any side. Now that I know, it is up to Me to show this young lady any kindness or compassion. Of course, you know whether I am going to help her or not, for I cannot hide anything from you, just as you cannot hide anything from Me. Since we cannot hide anything from each other, you will know what I am going to do, but it is not your business to become involved in this matter." So the Master kept quiet and offered his devoted obedience to the Supreme Pilot.

The following day that particular lady did not come to the Master. In fact, for one, two, three months she did not come to the Master at all. For about three months the Master thanked God that she had not returned. Nobody asked the Master about her, and hers became a totally forgotten story. But after three months, one day when the Master came home, he saw that particular lady at his door. The Master got a terrible shock. He said to himself, "Now what kind of calamity, what kind of sad news will she bring this time?" But this time it was a different story that the lady had to tell.

She placed forty-five or fifty checks at the feet of the Master, and then she said to him, "My life is eternally grateful to you. You have saved me, you have saved my happiness, you have saved my prestige. My parents know nothing, and now I am still their dearest child. My friends and relatives know nothing about it either. I know what actually happened, Master. You saved me."

The Master said, "What happened?"

"I went to the doctors who had said that I was pregnant, and this time they said that they had been totally mistaken. I know what you did for me. You used your spiritual and occult power, and you did something.

"Master, I come of a rich family, but I do not have money myself. My parents do not give me money. But I have gone to various small stores — to hairdressers, boutiques and many, many places — and I have told them all one thing. I have said, 'I have seen a spiritual Master. I can't even begin to tell you how great he is, how kind and compassionate he is, but he has helped me so much in this life that I am all gratitude to him. Please kindly give me a check for two or three dollars that I can offer to him. I promise you that my Master will receive this money. I won't use the money.' People saw in my face and in my heart my real love and devotion for you, Master, and they gave me checks for two dollars, four dollars, ten dollars, fifteen, twenty, even thirty dollars. In this way I have collected almost four hundred dollars, Master. Now I am giving you this with my heart's deepest gratitude, eternal gratitude. You have saved me; you have saved my life. But you know, Master, I am not ready for spirituality, not to speak of your path, which is so pure, so divine, so high. When my hour comes, I am sure I will be able to be your disciple. But right now, I am not fit for the spiritual life. How I wish I could be ready for your path!"

The Master said, "How do you know that you are not ready for spiritual life? You are more than ready to follow my path. I will accept you wholeheartedly."

But the woman said, "Master, I know my weaknesses, my shortcomings, my limitations, my attachment to earthly life, to the pleasure-life. Why should I exercise your compassion by staying with you and accepting your path? I know there will come a day, by your divine grace, when I will be ready for your spiritual path. When that day comes I will know it, and I will definitely come and sit at your feet. I am sure you will accept me. But, in the meantime, what I am giving you in the form of this offering is a token of my eternal gratitude. Please feel that my life is a garland of gratitude placed at your feet."

The Master shed tears of gratitude. He said to the seeker, "Well, you feel that you are not ready. I wish to say that you are more than ready. But since it is your life, since you feel that there will come a time when you will be more ready, I shall wait for that hour. Take your time. May God bless you. May He shower His deepest and choicest blessings upon your heart of inner cry and your life of unalloyed sincerity."

_September 14, 1974_