The master and the circus clownThere was a spiritual Master who used to give talks here, there and everywhere. He had many, many disciples. Occasionally the Master used to allow seekers who were not his disciples to attend his meetings. Sometimes after the meditation, he used to talk and engage in chit-chat with his disciples. From time to time he allowed a few seekers to enjoy this informal conversation.
One day the Master was not talking about God or about any spiritual topics, but only about earthly matters. Again, behind whatever he said, there was always some higher truth. The Master had been speaking for about two or three minutes, and the disciples started laughing and laughing and laughing.
One seeker became so annoyed at this. He asked himself, "Why are they laughing and laughing? The Master is not telling anything about God. This is all about most ordinary things."
Finally, it became too much for the seeker. He stood up and said to the Master, "You are an idiot! You are wasting your time! You are wasting the disciples' time."
A few disciples rushed towards the seeker and began to thrash him. The Master commanded, "Stop! Stop beating him!" But they would not listen.
Finally the Master was able to stop them. Then the Master asked the seeker, "Do you want me to inject a little wisdom into you?"
By this time the seeker was so badly beaten that he surrendered. He replied, "All right! I am already half dead, so you give me your wisdom."
The Master said, "In your mind, what I was telling was so idiotic that you thought I was acting like a circus clown."
The seeker looked at the Master and thought, "How did the Master know I was just then thinking of a clown when I was looking at him while he was talking?"
The Master continued, "The difference between a clown and a spiritual Master is this: when we see a clown in the circus performing things, we laugh at him. But when the Master talks to the disciples, the disciples laugh at themselves, because they realise how stupid they are. They have not yet made substantial progress, so when I talk, they laugh at themselves and not at me. When I cut jokes with the disciples, they immediately feel how foolish they are, since such simple, simple things they are not practising in their own lives."