Cherished doubt is destruction, surrendered doubt is liberationPrologue
I have just composed a story and this story is about doubt. This story applies to each and every one here without exception. It also applies to all spiritual seekers who have Masters. The spiritual life and, it seems, the life of doubt go together in the beginning just as night and day, darkness and light go together. Then there comes a time when there is no darkness; it is all light. In the spiritual life also, when we start our journey, doubt may capture us and interfere with our journey. But when once we get a few experiences, once we are well established in our spiritual life, or once we become really sincere in our spiritual life, then doubt has to disappear. There can be no doubt at that time, no shadow of doubt, for it is all certainty. However, in certainty also there are degrees. When we start out in the spiritual life we are not fully certain; but there comes a time after we have covered a few steps in our spiritual life, when all is dead certainty. The possibility of God-Realisation becomes the greatest factor, undeniable and inevitable. There can be no shadow of doubt about it.
There was a great spiritual Master who had hundreds of disciples. Unfortunately among them he had a few disciples who were constant victims to doubt. They used to indulge in doubts consciously and deliberately. They doubted his spiritual height, they doubted his motives for teaching, they doubted his moral qualities, and they doubted his methods of dealing with the disciples. It came to a point where he found it simply impossible to allow these disciples to stay in his ashram, for they were poisoning the sincere seekers.
One day he gave a wonderful talk, a truly extraordinary talk on doubt. When the talk was over, four of his disciples stood up and came to speak to him separately.
"Master, I doubt you. I am sorry, but I doubt you."
The Master said, "You should feel sorry."
The second one said, "Master, I am ashamed of my behaviour. I doubt you, but I can't help it."
The Master said, "You should be ashamed of your behaviour."
The third one said, "Master, I curse myself, for I doubt you."
The Master said, "Certainly you should curse yourself."
And the fourth one said, "Master, I doubt you, true. But right now I offer you all my doubts. I want my life to be in your hands. I want to be eternally at your feet. Please replace my doubt with faith. Whether you replace it or not, please allow me to be at your feet."
The Master said, "Thank you my child. Now I shall tell you a few things about doubt."
Then the Master said to the first three disciples, "I have tolerated you three for the last eight years. I cannot tolerate you any longer. Today you have to leave my ashram, and never will you be permitted to return. So today you have to leave my place for good."
The Master then returned and blessed the disciple who wanted his life to be totally dedicated, who wanted only to be eternally at the Master's feet. The Master said very seriously, "My son, you know when you disciples doubt me, I do not get angry with you. Now you may say, 'If you don't get angry with us, then how is it that today you have turned away those three disciples?' Now I have to tell you that it is not my decision. This decision has come from God. I am willing to allow them to stay in the ashram as long as they want to, but the decision has come from above and I am helpless. So I have just executed God's Will, and now they have to leave the ashram. When you doubt me I do not get angry with you, but God does get angry with you people.
"You know I am the Bridge between humanity and divinity. God has created me, this Bridge. Now, if you see some minor faults in the Bridge, if you see that the Bridge is lacking in something and needs more nails at a particular point, or the Bridge could be more attractive, or more refined, then whom are you blaming unconsciously? The Bridge-Maker, who is God. Now you are finding faults with God's Bridge. God consciously has made this Bridge so that He can bring to Himself many new passengers, new spiritual seekers who are able to walk on the Bridge, and who will cross the Bridge to come to Him. It is the Bridge that allows the passengers, the seekers, to go to God, and God Himself has made that Bridge. So the Bridge is not responsible, for it knows that it is God who has made it that way. That is why it is God and not the Bridge who is displeased with the doubters.
"When you live in doubt, you have to know immediately that you have covered your eyes. You are walking with blind eyes. And then what happens? When you are blind, how will you run towards your Goal? You cannot see. And when you doubt, you deliberately throw ink on the Master. If the Master is kind enough, he will accept your ink, the ink that you have spilled on him. But if he is not kind, he will just slap you and say, 'You must leave the ashram!' But again, some Masters are like hardest stones, like adamantine walls. They do not allow this doubt to enter into the disciples; they simply threaten the disciples who are cherishing doubts.
"Now you have friends and you have enemies. Do you allow your enemy to enter into your home? Never! Do you allow a thief to enter into your home? Never! Then you have to know that your doubt is your worst enemy, and your doubt is your worst thief. This thief will rob you of all your inner wealth, and this enemy, doubt, will expose you before the public. So you have to be careful of this enemy and thief.
"At the same time you must not cherish false ideas about spiritual Masters. You feel that if he is a spiritual Master, then he cannot do this, or he can do this. Now why should you judge the spiritual Master in your own way? What right have you? You have come to the spiritual Master; he has not come and begged you, 'You have to be my disciple, I need you badly. If you don't become my disciple then the entire mission will be ruined'. No. It is you who have come to the Master: You stick to him, you stick to his path, and try to become part and parcel of his spiritual family.
"Now when you doubt a spiritual Master you have to know on what strength you are doubting him. Your vision is limited, your understanding is very limited and your store of inner truth is very limited. You start doubting a spiritual giant. What he says, what he does you judge solely on the strength of your own limited insights. If you doubt him, you doubt his realisation. What he is and does is based solely on the strength of his own realisation. If you doubt his realisation, it is up to you to leave him immediately. Why do you not do that?
"Now what can you know of a Master's realisation? You have your own idea of his spiritual calibre, but you don't know what realisation is or what realisation means. If you expect from his realisation constant miracles or something which will satisfy your mind, then you are deplorably mistaken. He is a spiritual Master, and you ask for proof. Why should he give you proof? He is not soliciting your patronage. It is you who come to him thinking that he has realisation. But if you feel that his realisation is not true, not perfect, then you can leave him.
"If you go into a shop you find many things there. You may browse a little and perhaps you feel that the things the shop has do not satisfy you. Before you enter the shop you felt, 'Oh, perhaps the thing that I want will be in there'. But when you entered into the shop and saw that the thing you wanted was not there, naturally you left. You did not stay in the shop indefinitely.
"If you are sincere enough and go deep within to bask in the realisation of your spiritual Master, you are bound to feel that you are standing in front of a spiritual sun. All the divine brilliance and lustre of the sun will enter into you. If you expect Peace, Light and Bliss from the Master, then his realisation will give them to you. But if you want miracle after miracle, if you want constant success in your life, if you want constant affection and love from the Master, or if you want admiration from him, then his realisation is going to disappoint you. You have to know that a disciple comes to the Master only for realisation. Needless to say the Master has the realisation. You say, 'Where is the proof?' Now when you go to a doctor, the doctor gives you medicine and you are cured. Similarly, if you really cry for realisation, and if the Master is pleased with your aspiration, naturally he will fulfil your heart's inner cry.
"Sometimes the Master seems to say contradictory things. For example, the Master writes, 'Listen to the dictates of your soul. Then your life will realise the truth.' Now, when you say that you do listen to the dictates of your soul, and you tell the Master what you have heard, he might say, 'It is not true.' So then you doubt the Master. Poor Master, out of his infinite affection, concern and compassion he says, 'Look here, I told you to listen to the dictates of your soul, but first of all, you do not know where the soul is. You have never had the experience of your soul, but you have tried to listen to its dictates. It is extremely difficult to do. One has to meditate for years and years'. Now, the vital being that is around the soul, around the heart often plays damaging mischief. It whispers in a way similar to the soul. Then you think that it is the soul's message that you are hearing. The Master, on the strength of his highest realisation, knows where your soul is. Your soul in fact is all the time in constant communion with the Master. But you think what the Master says is wrong because you think you are getting the true message from your soul. Where does the Master stand? The Master says to you, 'Listen to your soul', but it has to be the real soul in you, it has to be the real inner being, the real voice. And once you get the real voice, you will see that what the Master says is absolutely true.
"In the same way, the Supreme speaks through the Master, and the Master speaks through the soul to you. But when, unfortunately, you have not seen the real soul, and are not getting its message, then you create confusion for the Master. The Master knows where the light is, and immediately he clears away the confusion that you create for him. Now the Master does this with the idea that you would listen to him, that you would have faith in him. If you had complete faith in your own inner life, in your own capacity, then you would not have come to the Master. Just because you felt that your inner capacity, your inner aspiration and inspiration were not enough for you to realise God, you came to the Master.
"The Master is the boatman. After entering into his boat, if you see that the Master is not rowing the boat well, and if you try to start rowing the boat, it will capsize. Either it will capsize or it will not move an inch. Now, if you really want to make progress, then stay in the Master's boat. Sleep if you want to, but do not try to find fault with the Master's rowing of the boat, because if you start finding fault, the Master will naturally be displeased and he will ask you to leave. Now if you prefer to consciously ignore what the Master is doing, how hard he is working, how hard it is to row the boat, there is no harm; you can sleep in perfect peace. The Master will take you to the real goal, the promised goal.
"If you feel, 'Master said this and that, but it has not happened, and I don't think it is going to happen at all', then you start doubting him. Time has passed, and the thing has not yet taken place. But you have to know that God has every right to change His plans; it is not that the Master said something wrong. The cosmic laws are changed by God many, many times. He is not bound by His plans, not even bound by His promise. Sometimes God makes a promise that He will do this or that. Then He sees that if He does not keep the promise at the particular time it will in fact help the person more. If the person doubts Him or has no faith in Him, it does not bother Him at all. But God wants to do a great favour by doing the best thing at the right moment. So the Master is helpless. When God tells the Master to say something, the Master says it and if God changes the plan, the poor Master is blamed because the disciple does not see God at all in the picture. The disciple immediately thinks, 'Oh, Master told something wrong, he is like an ordinary human being. He says incorrect things and so what is the use of staying with the Master?' Now what can the poor Master do? He is at the mercy of God's dictates, and here also he is at the mercy of the disciples' ignorance.
"Now, if one really loves the Master and comes to the Master only for spiritual realisation and the highest Truth, then one will say, 'Master, you say that something is going to happen. It is up to you; it is your promise. But if you don't want to fulfil it, that means there is some higher purpose behind it. Without any purpose you will not change your plan. It is up to you whether to fulfil your promise or not. If you don't fulfil it, I have to feel that there is a better plan working inside you'. In that way you establish more faith in your Master. It is your faith that expedites your liberation and your realisation. If you do not build your life on faith, then it is simply useless to accept the spiritual life.
"Who is the happiest man? Not he who doubts, but he who has faith in the Master. Who is really the happiest man? He who feels that the Master has faith in him, that is to say, in the disciple. If the disciple feels that the Master has no faith in him, then he can really feel that his life is truly miserable."
The disciple said, "Master, from now on you are my only faith. From now on you are my inner voice. From now on you are my soul. From now on you are my life's aspiration. From now on you are my life's only goal, my eternal goal. I am eternally yours. You speak through me. I shall not listen to the book, I shall not listen to my own voice, inner or outer, but I shall live only by placing my outer life and inner breath at your feet. You speak through me, you speak on my behalf. You are my only joy, love, delight and goal. You are my all."