1. The Master and the disciple
A real spiritual Master is he who has inseparable oneness with the Highest. On the strength of this oneness, he can easily enter into the seeker, see his development and aspiration, and know everything about his inner and outer life. When the Master meditates in front of his disciples, he brings down Peace, Light and Bliss from Above and these enter into them. Then automatically they learn how to meditate from within. All real spiritual Masters teach meditation in silence. A genuine Master does not have to explain outwardly how to meditate or give you a specific form of meditation. He can simply meditate on you and his silent gaze will teach you how to meditate. Your soul will enter into his soul and bring the message, the knowledge of how to meditate, from his soul.
There are some who misunderstand the Master when he stands in front of them and prays. They think that, like themselves, he is also asking for Grace. They think, "Why bother the Master? Let us do it ourselves." But they don't realise that there is a vast difference between their prayer or invocation and the Master's. When the Master prays for Light, he becomes Light. When he brings down Grace, he becomes the fount of the Supreme's Grace. At that time, those who have faith in the Master get the all-nourishing and all-fulfilling Grace from Him.
Disciples who are in difficulty or who are suffering from illness often ask the Master to help them. Then, when the Master uses his spiritual power to cure them, they start praising their doctors or the wonderful medicine that they have been taking. The Master does not need their appreciation. If they want to say that he does not deserve it, then he is fully ready to agree. But their gratitude should go to the Supreme and not to the doctors or to some medicine. Again, sometimes people do feel the Grace that is brought down, but they think that they have brought it down on the strength of their own aspiration, or that they deserved it in some way or another. At that time the Master says nothing, waiting for the time when the seeker realises the truth himself. Inwardly he will convey the message to the seeker's soul, and after some time the soul will bring the message to the seeker's outer consciousness and the truth will be known.
The Master is like an ocean. When the disciple jumps into the ocean of the Master's consciousness, he is cleansed of all his impurities and immediately he will feel a temporary relief. You may ask, "Where do the impurities and imperfections go after entering into the Master?" The Master throws them into the Universal Consciousness. After a few minutes or an hour or some particular time, they are all gone from him. Sometimes the Master does not take them at all; he just offers them directly to the Supreme. The Master is blessing the disciple on behalf of the Supreme, as His direct representative, so he is not affected.
When the Master takes away the disciple's impurities, it does not mean that the disciple is cured of them. Tomorrow again the disciple will come back with the same impure thoughts and undivine ideas, because he is not conquering these unlit qualities within himself. Today he is sending his limitations into the Master, but tomorrow he will accumulate them again. So when the seeker offers his imperfections to the Master, he should try to receive as much Light as possible from the Master. If he can hold inside his inner vessel the Peace, Light and Bliss that the Master offers, then he will be able to fight against further imperfections in his life. Unless and until the disciple is able to retain the wealth he receives from the Master's blessings, he will not be able to achieve purity and make real inner progress — let alone realise the highest transcendental Truth.
A God-realised person can always be happy in his inner consciousness, where there is a constant flood of Light and Delight. The Master's unhappiness in the outer world comes from his disciples, because he identifies himself with all the wrong forces that they are suffering from. The Guru has the power to nullify the law of karma for his disciples, but while nullifying it he enters into their problems. If I have to pull someone out of the water, I have to be inside the water to help him. At the same time, I need conscious help from the one who is drowning. When the Master gets no cooperation from the disciples, when the disciples cherish their undivine qualities and will not let them go, then he suffers the most.
No disciple can ever make his Master happy if he or she is not happy inwardly. Even an ordinary human father will not be happy when he sees his daughter or son unhappy. Since the Master is a spiritual father, he can never be happy when his spiritual children are sad or depressed. If you cry because your husband is bad to you or because your wife is bad to you, the Master's compassion and sympathy are there. But if you don't throw the suffering off, then the Master's compassion is of no avail. If you cherish your depression and suffering, then the Master's help is useless. He will identify himself with your suffering and your heart's pangs, and he will suffer the pain that you are feeling — perhaps even to a greater extent than you yourself. But if you do not consciously try to rid yourself of the suffering and enter into the Master's illumined consciousness, then the Master's suffering and compassion will be futile. Also, you will not even be able to recognise it. You will not feel the Master's infinite compassion because you care more for your suffering than for your Master's divine love.
When you give your problems to your Master, you should not feel that you are overburdening him with a heavy load. The Master is ready to accept your ignorance. He has come here with the sea of Light; if you offer him the sea of ignorance, it will not harm him. But unfortunately, you feel that your ignorance is so precious that with one hand you give it and with the other you take it back. This moment you feel that ignorance is useless and you are happy to give it to the Master. You feel that you are very clever because you have given him something unimportant and have got something important from him in return. But the next moment ignorance makes you feel that what you gave him was much more precious than what he gave you; you feel that vital pleasure is much more important than Light. When you are in your deepest meditation, you feel that Light is more important than darkness. But when you are in the ordinary life, the life of desire, you feel that Light is all false and vague — all mental hallucination.
There are some disciples who get scoldings from their Master almost every day. Again, there are some disciples who do not get scoldings in the outer life even once in six months. But in the inner world the Master often scolds them and threatens them because he has taken complete responsibility for them. Often the teacher sees that the seeker's soul is more than eager to follow his guidance, but the vital hesitates and the minds resists. At that time, if the Supreme wants the seeker to fulfil his utmost potentiality and dive deep into the sea of aspiration, then the Supreme commands the Master to show his divine authority. True, when you live in the vital, you may think that the Master is scolding you; but when you live in the heart, you will see that it is his divine concern for you that is at work. And it is you who have given him the authority; he has not taken it. It is you, your heart, that has given him the authority to perfect you and mould you into the Highest, the Absolute.
There are two major ways that a disciple can eventually realise God with a Master. One way is to completely and consciously identify himself with the Master. Either you consciously identify with him and try to become one with him or you surrender to his will, which in a true Master is nothing other than the Will of the Supreme.
When you touch water, which represents consciousness, immediately the purity and soothing sensation of the water will enter into you. When you touch a flower, immediately you get the fragrance and purity of the flower. Just by touching you are identifying and by identifying, you are getting the essence of the thing. Similarly, when you look at a picture of your Master in meditation, you are touching his consciousness. Then you identify yourself with him and become part and parcel of the infinite Consciousness that he has realised.
Again, through your conscious surrender to the Supreme in your Master, you become everything that he has and is. The tiny drop enters into the boundless ocean and becomes the ocean itself. This surrender is the surrender of your unillumined part to your highest part, which is represented by the Supreme in your spiritual Master. In this case, your Master represents your own highest self.
One day Sri Ramakrishna and two of his very close disciples were returning to their ashram in a boat. These two disciples and Sri Ramakrishna were extremely hungry. While they were in the boat, Sri Ramakrishna asked one of them to bring him some juice and food. When the disciple brought them, Ramakrishna did not give the others even a morsel. He ate and drank everything himself. But because of their identification with their Master, because of their oneness with him, these two disciples really felt that their hunger and thirst were appeased. They no longer felt hungry or thirsty at all.
If a disciple has established this kind of inner oneness with his Master, then he will not expect anything. The child does not expect things from his mother. He knows that his mother has given him and will continue to give him everything, for it is the mother's bounden duty to take care of the child. Similarly, it is your spiritual Master's bounden duty to be of constant service to you. You serve him with your aspiration and dedication; he serves you with his concern and compassion. You play your role with aspiration; this is your service. He plays his role with his concern and compassion, which uplift your consciousness; this is his service.
How can you play your role with aspiration? Early in the morning, when you leave your bed, you can say to the Supreme, "O Supreme, make me unconditionally devoted to You so that I can serve You in Your own Way." Then, before your breakfast you can repeat it again. As soon as you are through with your breakfast, say it once more. When you go to school or to work, you can again repeat it. Before performing any action, consciously pray that you will be able to serve the Supreme most devotedly and unconditionally. Each time, the vibration of your prayer will last for two minutes, six minutes or ten minutes, depending on its soulful quality. But every time you offer this prayer you renew the vibration. Soon it will be like a bell. After you have started ringing the bell, it will become automatic and you will feel that the bell is ringing inside you constantly. Start offering your prayer early in the morning, and go on with it during the day. Each time you begin doing something, try to bring your devotion forward. Then, with each different activity, your devotion will grow.
An insincere disciple feels that the Master can be won by outer flattery. But the Master can be won only on the strength of the disciple's devotion to the Supreme in him and inner, conscious oneness with him. By telling the Master that he is great or by offering the Master material wealth, God-realisation cannot be attained. It is wonderful if you can dedicate your life, but real dedication has to be based on inner oneness. If the seeker wants the ultimate realisation of the highest Truth, the Divine in the Master has to be pleased in the way that the Divine wants to be pleased.