The disciple forgives the Master

There was once a very great spiritual Master who decided to come to America at the age of forty-nine. For his first three or four years in America, until his mission became established, he had to support himself by working as a clerk in an insurance company. During this time, he used to hold meditations twice a week for seekers. Since he was so poor, he could not afford to hire a meditation hall, and his own apartment was too small to invite people for meditation. So the Master held his meditations at the apartment of a woman who had become his disciple.

At this time, the Master had about fifteen disciples who came regularly to these meditations. To each of them he gave a spiritual name. Two of his American disciples were called Suruchi and Uttanpada. Suruchi and Uttanpada were as different as night and day. Suruchi was a very short, very fat woman who liked to boss everybody around, especially her husband, Uttanpada and the Master. Uttanpada was very tall and thin as a rail. Just as his wife was strong-willed, he was meek and obedient.

Now, Suruchi used to torture her husband like anything. She made him give her his entire salary check, and then each day she gave him whatever amount of money she felt he needed. If she gave him a sandwich to take to the office, she wouldn’t even give him a dime for a piece of fruit or a glass of juice.

Because Suruchi was so accustomed to being boss, she often got angry with the Master when he did not please her in her own way. One time she played the piano for the Master and he appreciated her playing. He praised her to the skies, but in her eyes his appreciation was not enough. Even if the Master had used all the adjectives in the dictionary, it would not have been enough. So for one week she refused to come to meditations and she did not allow her husband to come either.

Suruchi was also a painter and one day she gave the Master a portrait she had painted of him. Now, the Master did not know very much about painting, but he could easily see that the painting did not have any of his consciousness. He said, “I’m sorry, but I just don’t see myself in it.”

Suruchi became furious, and she refused to speak to the Master. For three weeks she did not say a word to the Master. This pleased him immensely and for three weeks he lived in perfect Heaven. But finally Suruchi forgave him, and then she started bossing him around again.

Of all the people in the Master’s small spiritual Centre, the one Suruchi disliked most was the woman at whose house the meditations were held. She didn’t like the way the room was decorated, and there were a lot of other things she didn’t care for. So the two women used to fight like anything.

One thing that made Suruchi particularly angry was the fact that this lady was given the job of selling the Master’s literature. Once a month the Master wrote a booklet that this lady sold for fifty cents. But Suruchi was always criticising this. When she got mad, sometimes she told the Master, “You people come from India only to take our money.” At the time the Master was earning fifty dollars a week, but Suruchi did not care about this. She was only concerned with the money the Master was getting for this publication.

Because Suruchi did not allow her husband to buy this booklet, each month the Master used to give him a copy privately. This made the lady who was selling the literature angry. “If you are going to give everything away, then how am I going to sell anything and make some money for you?”

Like this it went on, and it was a real mental torture for the Master. One day Suruchi got into a very bitter argument with the literature lady and she refused to come to her house any more. She called up the Master and said, “Master, if that woman remains, then I will no longer be your disciple.”

The Master said, “She is my disciple and you are my disciple. Unless I myself am dissatisfied with her, I will not throw her out.”

Then Suruchi began arguing with the Master. “What do you know about spirituality, anyway? You and that woman are working together just to get money from us. If you don’t stop this immediately and throw her out of your Centre, you will never see my face again.”

“Wonderful!” the Master said. “Who needs you? I will be the happiest person if you stop coming.”

That evening, the Master came to the lady’s house to hold a meditation. And who should he see in the front row but Suruchi? It was his custom in those days to give each disciple a blessing-flower during the meditation. When it came to Suruchi’s turn, she said to him, “How can I be angry with you? You’re just a kid. If I don’t forgive you then who will?”

Then she patted the Master on the head twice, with great affection.

The Master, who was in a very high trance, looked into her eyes and brought down from above boundless Peace, Light and Bliss, which he poured into her heart. Then, without saying a word, he moved on to the next person, giving him a blessing-flower and bringing down more Peace, Light and Bliss for him.

Since the Master did not acknowledge Suruchi’s remarks she wasn’t sure that he had actually even been aware of what she had said. After the meditation, when the Master was back in a normal consciousness, she thought of going over to the Master and telling him again. But it was getting late and she was a little tired, so she thought it would be time enough if she spoke to the Master the next day…