The real bossOne evening a spiritual Master and the disciples of one of his newer Centres, or spiritual communities, were gathered to celebrate the Centre's second anniversary
They had a very deep, sublime meditation and the Master blessed the disciples individually. After the meditation one young woman asked, "Master, are you pleased with us as individuals? Please tell us what you would like from us as individuals and as a Centre. How can we please you as individuals and best grow as a Centre?"
"To be very frank with you," said the Master, "I am really pleased with you people. But there is no end to our progress. Since progress is our goal, we would like to make progress all the time. First of all, as an individual you can make progress, he or she can make progress, everybody can make progress. And naturally, if you make progress it will give me greater joy. Then, I feel that your Centre has to try to achieve something together as a Centre as well. At the same time, when necessity demands, if another Centre needs some help, this Centre should immediately run and help them. You should not feel 'Oh, Guru has asked another Centre to do this, so we won't get any glory.'
"Now, something very unfortunate is happening; it pains me deeply. There are many disciples here who once upon a time used to work very, very hard, especially at the Centre printing press, in folding, binding and other things. Now, except for one or two, the rest have stopped coming."
One lady raised her hand. "Master, forgive me, but my evenings are taken up caring for my family."
A young woman stood up and said, "All my time is spent studying, Master. I'm sure you understand."
Several other disciples also gave reasons why they were unable to do selfless service. Finally, a young man said, "Master, I have to be very frank with you. Unfortunately, many of us do not like one or two of the persons who are in charge of certain jobs at the press. Forgive me, but one or two of them are impossible to work with."
"I appreciate your sincerity," said the Master. "You say that a leader of a selfless service project is very, very bad. Now, you have to know that even if I agree with you that someone is very bad, you have to go beyond the person's personality and individuality if you want to serve the Supreme in me. I can take your side and agree that everything you say is right: he is bad — I won't deny it; he is rude — I won't deny it; he is unfair — I won't deny it. But whose work suffers? Whose mission suffers? Your mission, my mission. My work suffers and you know my work embodies my consciousness.
"I understand, Master," said the same young man, "but what should we do if someone isn't nice to us?"
"Here I am telling you this most soulfully, with utmost love and concern — a father talking to his children with all his heart's love: if a member of your family is not nice to you, you have to know that you are not working for him. He happens to know the job well and he is in charge of organising it. As long as I tell him to organise it, he will do so. You are saying he is rude, he is callous and all kinds of things. I fully agree with you. But if due to personality conflicts you don't work, who becomes the sufferer? It is your Guru who becomes the sufferer. You can't imagine! About eight books, seven hundred copies of each, have been printed. Yet we still haven't got the finished copies of even a single book. We have bound only one hundred or two hundred copies of two books. In three weeks' time they have given me two books, whereas eight books have been printed.
"Each book contains my consciousness, my light, and when it is out it goes to various places. You are trying to get my light, my consciousness. You see me once a week, whether on your meeting day or on other days when I am available. But people who are not in neighbouring Centres, who are in far-off lands, what are they getting from me? Inwardly they are getting my light and consciousness as you are getting it. But on the outer plane they should also get something: my books, my music and so forth."
"O Master," one lady said, "I feel sad. Those disciples depend so much on your books for inspiration and guidance, and we are preventing them from getting these things."
The Master continued: "You know that recently I have entered into the painting world. Again I wish to say very frankly that like my books, my paintings contain my consciousness. From the artistic point of view they may be absolutely useless. There are many, many artists on earth who are far superior to me. When people view their art from the artistic point of view, everybody will say that as artists they are far better than your Guru. I don't deny it. But those particular persons do not have my consciousness. Just because I have done the paintings, you are dealing with my consciousness, and this is what is important from the spiritual point of view."
"Is that why we all love your paintings so much?" asked another young man.
"When we love a person spiritually or in any way," the Master explained, "there comes a time when we like everything that person does and everything he has. In my home village we had a novelist. He had a dog which was filthy, dirty, the worst possible dog on earth. Because the man was a great writer he had many, many literary admirers. When they used to come to his house, the dog used to bark and even bite. But still they used to appreciate the dog like anything. There were other dogs infinitely more beautiful, but this dog belonged to their novelist-friend. That's why they liked it. Here the story does not end. When the dog died they had a big funeral and important writers came and offered their eulogies to this dog. Look at this! This is called true love for an individual, for it even went up to his dog.
"Here is the thing I am always telling you people. If I like something, you should also like it. It is not that I want you to be blind. No, far from it. The only thing is that if you can mould your consciousness into my consciousness, then you will expedite your progress. You know about Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Once both of them were walking along the street. Krishna said to Arjuna, 'Look yonder. There is a tree and there are some fruits. Can you tell me their colour?' Arjuna said, 'Oh, they are white.' Krishna said, 'No, they are blue.' Arjuna immediately said, 'Yes, they are blue.' Then Krishna said, 'No, they are not blue; they are black.' Arjuna said, 'Yes, they are black.'
Now the human mind will say, 'Look at Arjuna's stupidity. He is just flattering his Master, Krishna. He is saying this in spite of knowing that it is not so.' This is what the human in you will think. But the divine in Arjuna was very wise. He said, 'If I don't see the reality through my Master's eyes, then how am I ever going to see the face of reality? He is not fooling me; he is only trying to mould me into his consciousness, the consciousness which has realised the Truth, realised the Highest.' Even on the physical plane, from the practical point of view, if we please someone — not by flattering — but by seeing eye to eye with him, what do we gain? We gain his concern, his compassion, his love, his light. If someone says these things, then it is my bounden duty to do everything for him.
"Master, now we understand much more the value of your books and paintings. But can you please tell us what to do about leaders of selfless service projects who are difficult to work with?" asked the young man.
"My children," said the Master, "I get so many complaints against one or two individuals. But you have to know that the individual himself is not actually the problem. We have to go far beyond the individual. No matter how bad he is, the real problem is your own ego. Otherwise, you can easily conquer someone's pride or rudeness or undivine qualities with your own life of compassion. If he is asking you to do something and he is unjust, immediately say to yourself, 'I feel so sorry for him and until he is perfect, where is my perfection?' How can you perfect him? Not by pointing out his mistakes, but by praying to the Supreme inwardly in silence, 'O Supreme, please cure him of this imperfection.' Then you will see that the Supreme will cure him. But before curing him the Supreme will just point at you: 'Look at yourself, My child. Do you have any imperfections?' And as soon as you look at yourself, you will say, 'Oh, I am caught.'
The young man agreed. "That is true, Master. "I do have millions of imperfections. I am caught."
"So you see," the Master said, "when many people are joined together in a single job, somebody has to be the so-called boss. But who is the real boss? Even I am not the boss; the Supreme is the boss. When we have a group, however, somebody has to lead or guide it. Let us put it this way. Somebody is just a figurehead. If that figurehead says something, we will try to do it. But if we are deeply hurt by his behaviour, then we are failing in our own purpose. We are not making progress because we do not receive his blow in a divine way.
"You have grievances; I don't deny it. But we have to go beyond personality problems; otherwise, we can't serve the Supreme. In spite of our best intentions to serve the Supreme when circumstances are undivine, if we just dwell on the circumstances, then nothing happens. Why do we expect circumstances always to be divine? This is a very spiritual group. With as much love and compassion as I have for you all, I wish to say, please do not let anybody's weaknesses be a stumbling block in your path. The individuals will have to illumine their imperfections, and if you can help them inwardly with your prayer and meditation, I will be happy and grateful."
All the disciples bowed and said, "Please accept our gratitude, Master, for illumining us on this matter. From now on, we shall try to please you in your own way."