My days are numbered

There was once an old Yogi. He was about eighty years old. He couldn't see properly and he couldn't write properly. He couldn't work properly at that age.

One day he told four of his dearest, closest disciples that he would live on earth only for one more month. His days were numbered, and in this fleeting month, if they had anything to say to him or ask him, he would most gladly try to fulfil their requests.

Now out of these four, one immediately said, "Guru, it is not true. You can't leave us in a month's time. We love you, and you love us. We will miss you. You will miss us, too. You are just joking."

The second disciple said, "Master, Guru, I can't bear this. Please stay here on earth for another ten years. You are only eighty years old. Ninety is the right age. You should stay on earth at least ninety years; then on the day you leave the body please, please, take me with you. I am now with you and I want to be with you always. Wherever you are this humble servant would like to be there. This is my only prayer: to be with you. I beg you to stay here on earth, but if you don't want to stay here on earth for another ten years, then take me whenever you go. I wish to be at your feet all the time. Master, this is my only desire."

Now the third disciple came and said, "Guru, you want to leave us? Well, we shall miss you. You, too, will miss us. But one thing I assure you, your mission will not fail. We shall take care of your mission. We will propagate your views. We shall go from one place to another and we shall spread your teaching. Don't worry, don't worry. We shall be truly worthy of your mission. Master, if you want to leave, you can leave your body. Rest assured we shall take care of your mission."

Then the fourth disciple said, "Master, I want only one favour from you: please tell me what I should do. Should I go with you and leave the body because I shall miss you so badly? Or do you want me to work for you here on earth? If you want me to work for you, I am ready to stay on earth. If you want me to come with you and work in heaven, I am ready to do that. I have no personal choice, my Lord. Please tell me, Master."

The Master said to the fourth disciple, "You have received the Light. My child, go and enter into the world. When I leave the body, you will enter into the world. I want you to get married and to have children. Your children will receive Light from you, and your children will offer Light to their children, and in this way my spiritual family will remain and grow. You will go from door to door offering my Light. Your new life will not at all stand in the way of your spiritual practice, your inner discipline. I have full confidence in you. Get married when I leave the body; get married and have children. Teach them about my life and show them my Light, and they will propagate my views all over the world. My child, you are my purest pride."

Then the Master turned to the one who had told him not to worry, that he and others would take care of the Master's mission. The Master said, "Wonderful. I want you to try. I am making you the head of my ashram, and I wish you from today (for I will be here on earth for another month) to run my ashram. You can start to tell people what they should do and what they should not do. You officiate on my behalf during my presence."

Now the young man was extremely delighted to hear this and he immediately started ordering people, "Do this, don't do that." He was commanding his brother and sister disciples to do things and ordering them around, but nobody paid any attention to him. They just laughed and laughed at him. Two days later he went to the Master and said, "Master, what am I going to do? Nobody listens to me."

The Master said, "Then what am I going to do? You said that in my absence you would be able to take care of my mission. Here you can't even take care of my few disciples, and you think the world will listen to you? My disciples do not listen to you even when I give you the authority. You can't run my ashram even in my presence. People don't listen to you; my disciples don't listen to you. They resent your commands intensely, and you expect that in my absence you will be able to run my ashram and fulfil my mission? Oh, divinely foolish disciple of mine!"

This particular disciple bowed down to the Master with utmost sorrow, shame and despair.

Then the Master turned to the disciple who wanted to go with the Master when the Master left the body. He didn't want to stay one day more on earth. The Master said, "Your love for me is most precious for both of us. Just for me you want to stay with me all the time and serve me. If I am on earth you want to stay on earth. If I am in heaven you want to stay in heaven to serve me. Since this is your prayer, this is your aspiration, then I give you a boon: the day I leave the body, God will take you also to heaven. There you will be able to work with me and for me. Heaven is also a place of work. There also we have many things to do. In this world we work together, in the other world also we shall work together. You are my joy. You are my concern. You are my pride."

Then the Master turned to the first disciple and said, "You don't believe that I will leave the body. You feel that I am just talking. Now here I wish to say that if you don't believe what I have said today, then you won't believe my statement tomorrow. If I say something, you won't believe it. These disbelievers are like slow poison. You are a disbeliever and you will spread poison in our ashram. Even in my presence you don't believe me and you don't have faith in me. How then are you going to have faith in me in my absence? It is impossible. This disbelief is like a contagious disease. When you come and meditate with my other disciples, if I say something you don't believe, then your disease will spread all around and the others will all be affected. I don't want you to be in my ashram. You had better leave. This ashram is only for those who have faith in me, who have faith in my mission, who have faith in my activities, who have complete faith in what I say and what I do. If you don't have this total faith, then this place is not meant for you. I do not want my centre, my ashram, to be polluted by a disbeliever like you."

At the month's end the Master passed from his body.