This story took place ten thousand years ago, at least! There was a spiritual seeker named Vivian. She was very, very sincere and she had a spiritual Master of the highest order. This spiritual seeker happened to have a friend who was a nun. Her name was Linda. This friend was extremely devoted to the Saviour Christ. In the religious community where Linda lived, there was another nun who always said things that were contrary to others’ beliefs. Her name was Gail.
Vivian used to visit her friend Linda, and she would always say sublime things about her spiritual Master. She would talk about his inspiring activities and also about her own lofty inner experiences. Poor Linda was not getting any high experiences from her Christian faith. She used to pray very intensely to Jesus Christ, but she was not so happy in her spiritual life. Something was lacking. Gradually she was becoming a little bit weaker in her commitment because Vivian was convincing her to leave her path and join Vivian’s path. So Linda was seriously considering this course of action.
One day Vivian went to visit Linda, and she found all thirty of the nuns there laughing and laughing. They were roaring with laughter. Linda was also one of those. Only one nun was not laughing at all and that was Gail. She was deliberately not joining the party. So Vivian asked, “Why are all of you laughing and laughing and what is wrong with Gail? Why is she so serious?”
They said, “Nothing is wrong with Gail. It is simply that she never believes us. We all have the same opinion with regard to some things, but she enjoys a different opinion.”
Meanwhile, Gail continued to be very serious. She was acting almost like a snob. Vivian asked Linda, “Please tell me if something has happened to upset Gail.”
Then Linda explained what had happened. Through their windows the nuns could see a cemetery. There, every evening they used to see ghosts moving around and they would get frightened. Every night without fail it happened. But Gail never believed it. She always said, “No, there are no ghosts.” The others saw that there were ghosts, but Gail always scoffed at the notion.
The previous night Gail had said to them, “Prove it! Prove that there are ghosts.”
The others said to her, “We can see them. They are making noise, they are crying and screaming. Can you not hear them for yourself?”
But Gail could not hear them. She simply ridiculed the others. Then she said, “I can prove that ghosts do not exist. I am going there! Give me three nails and a hammer. If there are ghosts, then I will drive the nails into them and bring back some blood to show you. And if I do not return with the blood of the ghosts, it will be the proof that there are none.”
So Gail walked to the cemetery in the middle of the night carrying a hammer and three nails. At first she did not see anything, so she threw away one nail and then another. She was about to throw away the third nail when she saw a white marble headstone. It was not a ghost, but in the darkness it looked like a ghost. She said, “Perhaps this particular marble stone has fooled the sisters. It is very pale and shines in an unusual way.”
So Gail started driving the third nail into the marble. Quite inadvertently, while she was hitting the nail, a piece of her garment happened to get caught under the nail, and she found herself entangled. All of a sudden, she panicked. She started crying and screaming, because she thought that this was actually a real ghost.
The other sisters had come to see what had happened to her, since she had not come home. When they saw how frightened she was, they all started laughing and laughing.
Somehow God had wanted to prove to Gail that there are ghosts. The other sisters told her, “No, no, this is not a ghost.”
But she insisted, “No, I have been attacked by ghosts. I can still see them.” Then she started seeing the other sisters as ghosts. She cried out, “You are all ghosts!”
This went on for a couple of hours. They could not convince her that they were not ghosts and, at the same time, that ghosts do exist in that cemetery. Poor Gail, first she was of the opinion that there were no ghosts. Then she started seeing everybody as a ghost.
So they all started praying to Jesus Christ to illumine her. Of course, Jesus Christ had more important things to do. He was taking care of countless others. There are many, many widows in Heaven who have lost their husbands, and they are praying to Jesus Christ to give their husbands joy. Similarly, there are many devoted husbands in Heaven who have lost their wives, and they are also praying to Jesus Christ to give their wives joy. So Jesus Christ was busy trying to please the husbands and the wives. He could not come to help them. They all became miserable, especially Gail. They were confused because the Saviour Christ had not answered their prayers.
As I said before, Linda’s faith was becoming weaker and weaker because Vivian had been telling her about her own spiritual path. Vivian said to Linda, “I know how we can solve this problem. Tell all the sisters to come and visit my spiritual Master.” So at Vivian’s request, they all came to visit Vivian’s spiritual Master, including Gail.
Strangely enough, when the nuns came to visit Vivian’s spiritual Master, for the first time Vivian saw her Master in a different way. She did not see his face the way she always saw it. She saw the face of Jesus Christ. She could not believe her eyes. It was like looking at a different person altogether.
Now it was Vivian’s turn to be puzzled. How could her Master be Jesus Christ? Meanwhile, her friend Linda and the other nuns all started bowing down because for the first time they were seeing Jesus Christ. For years they had prayed and meditated on the Christ, but they had not seen him. Now they were seeing him for the first time.
Vivian was confused. How could she pray to Jesus Christ? For so many years she had been praying to her own Master. It was difficult for her to accept that this person who was her Master had somehow become Jesus Christ. She had brought these people with the idea that they would be inspired to follow her Master. Now it appeared that she herself had become a disciple of their previous Master! She did not know how to overcome her confusion.
Vivian went back with the nuns to the religious community where they lived. There, in the chapel, was a large statue of Jesus Christ. Vivian went there to pray and to receive guidance. She was crying and crying while looking at the statue. She said, “I have lost my Master. I am finding it so difficult to feel my Master’s presence. I brought some of your disciples to meet him. They saw my Master as Jesus Christ and I could not see my Master at all.”
All of a sudden, Vivian looked up and saw her Master’s face there. She could not believe it. It was such a vivid experience. When her friends had prayed to that statue, they had not received anything. But when she went there to pray to the statue, she vividly saw her own Master there.
Now Vivian was really confused. The nuns had seen Jesus Christ in her Master, and she had seen her Master in Jesus Christ. Confusion never stops! So Vivian and the nuns all started praying and praying for illumination.
One day they came to realise that the Master and Jesus Christ were one. Then the nuns all became disciples of the Master, because they all had dreams in which Jesus Christ came and advised them to follow the path of the spiritual Master. He told them that the spiritual life is always easier when you follow a living Master, because the living Master is a bridge between earth and Heaven. One can easily see this bridge and walk on it. Even an atheist can cross to the other shore on the bridge. This bridge is visible even to those who are spiritually totally blind.
So sometimes spiritual Masters who are not in the physical body come to their dearest devotees and ask them to go to a spiritual Master who is still alive. In essence, the spiritual Masters are all one, but it is easier to make very fast spiritual progress by following a living Master.
Many people come to a spiritual Master and then leave him because they confuse the message of the Bible and the message of the Master. They do not recognise that the essence of each Master’s message is the same: love of God. If one can realise that all the spiritual Masters carry only one message — love of God — then there can be no conflict between any of the true Masters.