A victim to mental power

About fifty years ago there lived in America a great spiritual Master with hundreds of disciples. Since this Master had realised God and was one with the Highest, he was in a position to guide both the inner and outer lives of his countless spiritual children. For the inner lives of his disciples he accepted complete responsibility, but when it came to their outer lives, in most cases he kept silent. Sometimes, if it was a very close disciple, he would take responsibility for that person’s outer life as well. Or if the disciples were leading a very undivine outer life, he might find it necessary to take some steps. But in most cases, he felt that the wisest approach was to concentrate on perfecting his disciples’ inner nature and let them get the message from within on outer matters.

From time to time, however, disciples would approach the Master and ask his advice on some outer matter. In each case, the Master would contact that person’s soul and find out what the soul wanted. Then he would tell the disciple the best thing to do.

One day the Master received a letter from a young man who was about to graduate from college. In his letter the young man said, “I am your eternal slave. I am the servant of your servant. Please tell me what you want to do with my life. I am totally at your command. Should I go on and get my master’s degree or give up school entirely and do something else? I leave everything up to you.”

Now, this young man happened to be very proud and haughty. He had a very powerful mind, and he was very proud of his mental achievements. He was very sincere when he wrote the Master the letter, but he felt certain that the Master would tell him to continue his studies. Or, at least, he expected the Master to tell him to enter some field where he could use his mental power.

But when the Master called him in for an interview, the Master said, “My child, I wish you to give up your mental life and open up a laundromat. Your soul has had the experience of the mental life, and now it wants the experience of real humility so it can make the fastest progress. So please stop your studies and open up a laundromat.”

The young man couldn’t believe his ears. “How can I do this?” he asked. “What will my parents say? My father has spent so much money sending me to school. Now, if I open up a laundromat, he will get a heart attack. Surely I can’t do this to my father!”

The Master gave him a very compassionate smile and said, “Of course, my child. Then do what your father wishes. But I wish to tell you that if you did not plan to listen to my advice, you should never have asked me what to do. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. If you hadn’t asked me, you would have continued your studies in perfect bliss. True, your soul wouldn’t have been pleased, but at least in your outer consciousness you would have been happy. But now, when you know what your soul wants and you still do something different, then neither your soul nor you yourself will be really happy. Even while you are studying, you will not get the kind of joy you once got.

“It is just like entering into the spiritual life. Before you enter into the spiritual life, you may do all kinds of undivine things and not be unhappy. But once you jump into the sea of spirituality, once you see the light, you cannot go back to the life of ignorance. Even if you go back, you will never find satisfaction there.”

The young man said, “Let me think about it. I shall speak to my father and then make a decision. Thank you for illumining me with your advice.”

One month later the Master got another letter from this disciple. The letter came from a university a few hundred miles away, where the young man had enrolled to take his master’s degree.

The young man said in the letter, “Master, I was so confused when I left you, but now it is all clear to me. I went deep within and meditated on the whole matter and I got an inner message from you. The message said, “If your soul wanted you to live a humble life, it would not have given you a good mind. It would have given you a simple mind, which would have been happy running a laundromat. But what your soul wants is for you to have a developed mind and also a humble life.

“So, Master, what I’ve decided to do is this. I shall continue my studies and develop my mind as my soul wants me to do. And then I shall get a job teaching at a small university in the country and lead a very humble life, which is also what my soul wants. In this way I can satisfy both my soul and my father.”

The Master finished reading the letter, then sadly shook his head. “How clever the human mind is. How easy it is for the human mind to think up reasons for doing what it wants to do.”

Before long this young man got so involved in the mental world that he began to feel that the spiritual life was all foolishness. And before the year was out, he left the Master for good.

Three years later the same disciple came back only to be forgiven and given another chance by the ever-compassionate Master.