The disciple blesses the Master

Several years ago there lived in America a very great spiritual Master. Although in terms of age he was quite young — in his early thirties — in the inner world he was very great. Because the Master was not very well-known, he had only about twenty American disciples. He used to show them all kinds of attention by granting them interviews whenever they asked, giving them individual blessing-flowers during meditation and so on. But unfortunately, some of the disciples misunderstood this. They felt that the Master was showing them so much affection, love and kindness because it was their due. They thought that the Master never scolded them because they never did anything wrong.

Poor Master, what could he do? With his inner vision he saw quite clearly what kind of undivine life they were leading. But these American disciples of his needed special treatment. If they weren’t made to feel important outwardly, if they weren’t shown all kinds of outer attention, they would have left him. True, the disciples loved the Master in their own way, but if they hadn’t received this kind of outer flattery, their undivine mind and undivine vital would have come forward and said, “Who needs this Master? Why stay with somebody whom no one has ever heard of if he doesn’t even appreciate us?” So the Master continued showing his disciples outer attention and love, while inwardly he tried to perfect their nature. Outwardly he would smile, but inwardly he would try to make his disciples become more devoted and surrendered to the Supreme.

It went on like this for a year and a half. During this period the Master wrote a few books and he became known a little. Now, it happened that a very important professor from a university in a different part of the country saw one of the Master’s books. He was so moved that he asked the university authorities to invite the Master to give a series of lectures there. So, for the first time since he began accepting disciples, the Master left his Centre for a short trip.

He was gone about two weeks. When he came back he was shocked. How his disciples had fallen! They had let all kinds of undivine forces enter into them and their consciousness was very low. After the meditation was finished, the Master said to them, “My dearest spiritual children, I show you all the time so much affection, compassion, concern; even when I was away, you can’t imagine what kind of force I put on you people. But the moment I left, you began indulging in all kinds of undivine thoughts. What an unbearable emotional life, vital life you led! Even now to look at your faces is painful to me. I don’t like to scold. I have never scolded you people before. But I wish to say I am really, really disappointed in you.”

Now it was the disciples’ turn to be shocked. First, they had never heard the Master speak like this before. And second, it had never even entered their minds that they had fallen. Their consciousness had dropped so easily and naturally, so spontaneously, that they weren’t even aware of it.

One of the disciples, a middle-aged woman, spoke up. “But Master, how can you say such a thing? I don’t know about the others, but even while you were gone I meditated every morning in my house and came to all the meditations at the Centre.”

“Yes, you meditated. But were you meditating on God or on your friends? True you were meditating, but your mind was all the time on the new dresses and jewellery that your friends were wearing.”

The lady couldn’t believe her ears. She gave the Master a very devoted look, full of insincerity, and said, “Oh, Master, how can you say that? You know that I think only of God!”

Then a young woman said, “Master, while you were gone I worked so devotedly for you. I knit you a most beautiful scarf and all the time while knitting I was thinking about you. So certainly my spiritual life did not fall.”

The Master said, “Selfless service, dedicated service for the Master, is one of the best ways to maintain a good consciousness. But if you feel that the thing that you are doing is very unimportant, while the thing that somebody else is doing is much more important, if you feel this, then your selfless service will be of no help to you at all. While you were knitting you were all the time cherishing the thought that you are useless. You were thinking of the beautiful poems and paintings that other people were making and you were feeling that your own achievement was insignificant. Selfless service is very good, but you have to feel that you are offering according to the inner capacity that the Supreme has given you, and somebody else is offering according to his capacity.

“Oh, Master, I was certainly not thinking about anyone but you.”

And so it went. Each of the disciples asked about his own case, and each time the Master said something, that particular disciple would say that it did not apply to him.

When the discussion was finally over, the Master said, “Now that I have scolded you people, let us all try to live a more devoted, more spiritual life. The past is dust, I always say. Let us forget about the past and from tomorrow begin leading a purer, more divine life.” Then the Master called his disciples up one by one and blessed them.

After the meeting, the disciples were mixing together, talking about what the Master had said. Some of them were still shocked and angry. Never before had the Master spoken to them like that. One lady said, “The Master must have gotten some mental fever when he was away from us. Didn’t you see how tired he looked? Let me go over to him and see if he is feeling all right.”

So she went over to where the Master was sitting, off to the side, and said very loudly, “Master, I know that you weren’t yourself when you spoke to us like you did tonight. You must be ill or something. We all understand and aren’t angry with you at all. On behalf of myself and all the other disciples, I wish to show you that we forgive you.” And with that, she placed her hands on the Master’s head and blessed him. The other disciples were shocked and mortified at her behaviour, although everyone thought that the Master’s scolding was totally uncalled for. But for a disciple to bless the Master was unthinkable. They all insulted her mercilessly in front of the Master.

The Master smilingly said, “Whether I deserve it or not, what I need is a life of silence and utter seclusion. We all belong to God. God knows what is best for you people and what is best for me. Since He is our Creator and Fate-maker, let Him do the needful for each individual.”