The Italian teacher5

This incident took place one hundred fifty years ago in a spiritual community. Two teenage boys, who were deeply interested in literature, made an arrangement for a literary meeting. They requested their Italian teacher to preside over the meeting, and he gladly accepted. About two hundred literature-loving souls attended the programme, which consisted of songs, short plays and recitations. It lasted for about two hours and was a grand success.

At the end of the meeting the Italian teacher, whose name was Mihir, said, “God wanted this spiritual community of ours to be divine, but unfortunately our spiritual leader is making the young generation into a monkey-generation instead of a God-generation.” Immediately the audience began protesting vehemently. They insulted him mercilessly, and Mihir had to leave the hall in utmost humiliation.

That night around midnight, a young man broke open the door of Mihir’s home and pointed a revolver right at his chest. “How dare you speak ill of our spiritual Master!” he said. “You ungrateful creature, you shameless beast! You live here in our spiritual community, yet you have the audacity to speak ill of our Master. It is not our Master’s fault that we are not yet totally divine. He has been working so hard to make us divine, but we cherish ignorance. It is not the Master who is making monkeys out of us, but our own ignorance-loving life. Needless to say, you are in the same boat. If we are all going to be monkeys, you are certainly no exception. But I totally contradict your statement that we are becoming monkeys. No, we have made considerable progress and we shall go on making progress slowly, steadily, and effectively. Anyway, I have not come here at this hour of the night to offer you a long sermon. I have come here to take your life.”

Mihir was terrified. “Please, I beg of you to spare my life,” he stammered. “I shall never criticise our Master again.”

The young man hesitated. Then he said, “Forgiveness is granted this time, but I warn you that it will not be offered again.”

Alas, a few days later Mihir announced to the students in one of his classes, “I could have written far better spiritual poems than the Master has written. It is just because I do not care much for spiritual poems and lack the inclination, and because I have no time that I have not written any. If I had written poems, I could have far surpassed our Master’s poetic genius.”

The students could not believe their ears. Two students ran up onto the platform, and one of them brutally boxed the nose of the teacher while the other vehemently pulled him by the ear. The sufferings of the teacher can better be felt than described. Several students immediately went to the president of the spiritual community and narrated the whole story.

The president said, “I don’t have to speak to the Master about this. It is I who have to take action. You go and tell your Italian teacher that in fifteen minutes my attendants will be at his house to take him to the railway station so that he can go back to his native town.”

With or without his consent, Mihir was put onto the next train, and the ashram authorities considered themselves well rid of him. He did not go back to his home town, however, but travelled to a big city, where he applied for a job with the city’s largest newspaper. He got the job and after a while became the newspaper’s most prolific writer. He wrote considerably, both in English and in Italian. Within six years, the newspaper authorities made him the chief editor.

Now, Mihir did not forget about his humiliation in the spiritual community. Quite often he would fabricate undivine stories about his former spiritual Master and his ashram. Of course, at times there was some truth behind his merciless attacks, for he had lived in the ashram from the age of ten to the age of thirty-five, and he knew the place well. Finally, he wrote a biography of his ex-Master, of course without asking permission. In most sections of the book his imagination ran riot, and when the book came out, the authorities of the ashram sued him.

While the case was in court, Mihir bribed seven of his former brother disciples to supply him with the most sensational, but private stories about the spiritual community. These stories he published in his newspaper, in spite of the fact that he was already being sued by the spiritual community. The owners of the newspaper were highly pleased with him. Because of his sensational journalism, the paper gained several thousand new subscribers.

One day an article about the ashram lawsuit appeared in the paper. It contained accusations from a disciple of the Master against Mihir, accusing the editor of slander and deception. The newspaper authorities all took the side of their editor, and defended him untiringly. Fortunately or unfortunately, the editor won the case. Alas, during this time the Master himself began to suffer from most serious ailments, so the mood of the ashram was very low. The authorities of the spiritual community wanted to take the matter to a higher court. But the Master said, “I do not think it will do any good. If you have any other suggestions, however, please tell them to me.”

One of them said, “Master, we know you have tremendous occult power. You have used it many, many times. Please use it once again. This time use your occult power to make the right hand of that rogue paralysed so that he can never write again.”

The Master said, “He does not need a hand to write. Even if he does not write, whatever he wants to say against me he can dictate to his secretary. They will still be able to publish it in the newspaper.”

The disciples then said, “Master, then do something to his brain. With your occult power, damage his brain so that he cannot think properly. Make him senile so that he won’t be able to criticise you anymore.”

The Master said, “Well, that can be done.” So he used his vast occult power and damaged the editor’s brain. “Also,” he told his disciples, “I have done something else which will please you still more. I have made him blind in one eye.”

Since he had become partially blind and totally senile, the editor could no longer work at the newspaper. He had to resign, but the newspaper authorities were extremely kind and sympathetic. They continued to give him his regular salary, and told him that they would do so as long as he remained on earth.

Now Mihir’s secretary was a young girl most devoted to her boss. She simply could not account for his sudden brain defect and blindness. Finally, she decided to go to see a famous occultist who lived in the same city as Mihir’s ex-Master, and to him she narrated the whole sad story, as much as she knew, from beginning to end.

The occultist, whose name was Khudhu, saw quite clearly that it was the ex-Master who was responsible for the editor’s blindness and brain damage, and he felt extremely sorry for the poor man. Inwardly he approached the spiritual Master and said to him, “What kind of spiritual Master are you? If people speak ill of you, you punish them mercilessly! Is forgiveness not the first requisite in the spiritual life? Anyway, since you have not forgiven this old man, I shall not forgive you either.” Then Khudhu used all his occult power and gave the spiritual Master a most serious stroke.

Within a few minutes the Master died, but just before he departed from the earth-scene, three times he said: “Khudhu, Khudhu, Khudhu.”

At first his disciples, in their extreme sorrow, were simply puzzled by their Master’s final utterance, but finally it occurred to them that the Master was referring to the great occultist, Khudhu. A few of them rushed to Khudhu’s tiny house and entered into his room. When they saw Khudhu’s face they were simply paralysed with fear. They did not see him as a real human being, but as a voracious tiger. Yet in spite of their fear they fell at Khudhu’s feet and said, “We are sure that it is you who have killed our Master. Since you have the power to kill, you also have the power to revive. Please bring our Master back to life.”

Khudhu said, “Yes, I have the power, but I am not going to use my power to revive your Master. I have killed him because he has been extremely unjust to poor Mihir. With his occult power he made him blind and destroyed his brain. So now, with my own occult power, I have killed him. But it is no loss to you. Now that you have come to know that my occult power is far superior to that of your Master, you can all become my disciples. I shall teach you how to acquire occult power. You too, like me, will be able to perform miracles, and to place the whole world at your feet.”

The Master’s disciples cried, “O great Khudhu, what shall we do? You have made us fatherless!”

“But I have just told you that you can now find your father in me. From now on, I can be your spiritual father,” said Khudhu.

The disciples felt extremely sad and miserable. They said, “No matter how great you are, even if you are the greatest living occultist on earth, we can’t become your disciples. Our Master is our Master. We shall remain loyal and faithful to him until we breathe our last.”

“What kind of Master did you have?” asked Khudhu. “He did not have even a drop of the milk of human kindness. I can forgive you all because I know you are ignorant people. True, you instigated your Master to punish Mihir. But why did he listen to your request? And worse, why did he harm the poor man even more than you wanted him to? Here is what I will do. I will revive your Master provided you can give me full assurance that when I help him regain his consciousness, the first thing he will do is kiss the dust of Mihir’s feet.”

Immediately the disciples exclaimed, “Oh no! Impossible! It is beneath the dignity of our Master to touch the feet of that scoundrel!”

Khudhu said, “You call him a scoundrel, but in what way is your Master superior to him? Can you justify the punishment your Master gave him? He spoke ill of you and of your Master, but that did not mean that your Master could go to the length of destroying him. Since you do not wish to accept my proposal, leave my house immediately. I will have nothing to do with you people.”

But one of the disciples said to Khudhu, “O occultist of the highest magnitude, what would happen if you revived our Master and he touched the feet of our former spiritual brother?”

Khudhu replied, “I am glad that you are calling him your brother, but you must know that your Master must not merely touch this man’s feet, but literally kiss the dust of his feet.” At this, all the disciples buried their heads in their hands in utter shame and disgust. But Khudhu continued, “The moment your Master touches the dust of Mihir’s feet, his former disciple will regain his eyesight and his brain will become normal again.”

One of the disciples said, “O Khudhu, why does our Master have to go through this kind of humiliation? Is our pleading with you not enough? Is our prayer at your feet not enough for you to forgive our Master? If you are a greater spiritual Master than he, should you not show more compassion than he did?”

Khudhu said, “You are right. Revenge does not ever solve any problem. Only Light can solve all human problems. I forgive your Master. I shall revive him and I shall cure Mihir myself. The highest spiritual Power of the Supreme will punish the inferior and subordinate powers in its own way. They, in turn, will punish the still more inferior ones. From the highest point of view, I did not do the right thing, when I punished your Master. I should have allowed the Supreme to deal with him in His own way, or I should at least have waited for the inner message from the Supreme before taking action myself. Divine Compassion and Wisdom-Light are the highest forms of action. Divine Compassion and Wisdom-Light alone can grow and blossom into fruition.”

MSR 5. 16 January 1974

Sri Chinmoy, The Master surrenders, Vishma Press, New York, 1974