The disciple proves his obedience

'Yoga' is a Sanskrit word that means union. A Yogi is one who has established his union with God, who has united his will with God's Will. Once you establish your oneness with God's Will, you automatically acquire certain powers. These powers can be either occult powers or spiritual powers. Usually occult powers you get before you get spiritual powers.

There was once a great Yogi. This particular Yogi had the capacity to fly in the sky, to walk on water and to live on practically no food. Every day he used to go from door to door, begging for food. When he saw that the amount was quite sufficient for him for the day, he would stop begging. This went on for years. At that time he did not care to have disciples.

One day he came to the house of a rich family to ask for food. He did not have the slightest idea whether the owners of the house were rich or poor. The lady of the house gave him most delicious food, which she had prepared herself.

He saw that the lady was very sad and depressed, so he asked, "Mother, why are you so sad today?"

She answered, "I am not sad only today. I have been sad for a long, long time."

"Why?" the Yogi asked.

The lady told him, "I am not being blessed with a child, and I desperately would like to have at least one child."

He said, "It is such a simple matter."

"Simple?" the lady asked.

"Yes," answered the Yogi. "I will give you a small quantity of ashes. Just swallow them, and in the course of time you will have a child."

The lady was deeply impressed. After the Yogi had taken her food and left, she went to her neighbours and told them what the Yogi had said.

Her friends all laughed and laughed at her, saying, "These Yogis are nothing but rogues. How can you trust this man?"

The neighbours threw doubt into her, and she lost faith in the Yogi. So instead of swallowing the ashes, she threw them into a huge pile of hay. Twelve years later the same Yogi came to that particular house and once again asked for food. When the same lady came to give him food, the Yogi said to her, "Mother, how is your child doing?"

She replied, "My child? When did I have a child?"

He said, "You wanted to have a child, and I gave you some ashes to swallow."

The lady explained, "Oh, my neighbours said you Yogis are all rogues, so I didn't swallow the ashes."

The Yogi started laughing: "What did you do with them?"

"I threw them away." Then she showed him the huge pile of hay where she had thrown the ashes. The Yogi went there and lifted up the hay. Underneath the hay was a very beautiful 12-year-old boy seated in a meditative posture. He was meditating and breathing quite normally.

The stupid lady wanted to claim the boy as her own, but the Yogi said, "No!" The little boy followed the Yogi and went to live with him.

The Yogi trained the young boy in the spiritual life. When the boy was still of a very tender age, the Master was able to give him occult and spiritual powers. The Master was very pleased with the boy, but he wanted to see how much devotion and obedience the boy had. If you have pure devotion, then to have obedience is as easy as drinking water. But when devotion is missing, it is extremely difficult to have obedience.

One day the Master took his young disciple with him to beg for food. At one house a family was holding a festival and had made a most delicious meal. Hundreds of people were eating. The Master and the disciple were quite hungry and they ate voraciously; they were very, very pleased with the food.

The following day the Master sent the young boy to the same house, telling him, "Go and bring from that family the same kind of food that they gave us yesterday; it has to taste most delicious."

The young man went to the house and said to the lady, "Please, my Master has sent me to get the same kind of food as yesterday. It has to be extremely delicious."

The lady said, "How can you expect the same kind of food? Yesterday we had a festival here. Today there is nothing. There is nobody here. Can you not see? For yesterday's meal we hired a cook; that is why it was excellent. Today it will be my preparation, and I am not accustomed to cooking. I have so many maids and servants to do that. How do you expect me to make the same kind of delicious meal?"

He said, "My Master has sent me to get most delicious food from you. I have to get it."

She said, "How can you obey your Master? It is impossible; you can't do it."

The young boy said, "I am not going away from your house until you give me most delicious food. It is my Master's command."

The lady said, "Are you going to listen to this stupid Master if he asks you to do something that is impossible?"

"There is nothing impossible," replied the boy. "If my Master tells me to do something, I will be able to do it."

Finally the lady said, "All right, I am ready to bring back the cook that I hired and give you the same kind of delicious food for your Master, but only if you do something impossible."

He said, "What is impossible?"

She said, "Right in front of me I want you to take your eye out."

The young boy said, "Oh, that is so easy."

The boy put his fingers around his eyeball and started taking it out. His eye started bleeding profusely.

The lady cried, "Stop, stop, stop! I can't let you do this."

Then she immediately sent for the cook and said, "The cook will make the same food as yesterday."

The young man waited while the food was prepared. It was extremely delicious. He brought the food to his Master, and the Master again ate voraciously. Then the Master asked, "What is wrong with your right eye? Why is it bleeding?"

The young boy told his Master the whole story: "The lady said she would not give me the food unless I gave her my eye. I was taking it out for her, but she stopped me."

The Master said, "My child, this is called obedience! This is called devotion! This is called love for me! I wanted you to prove that you have such love, such devotion and such surrender."

That particular young man eventually became a very great Yogi himself, and he was endowed with all kinds of occult and spiritual powers.

This particular Yogi was born in Bengal, but he became very well known in Nepal. Quite a few temples in Nepal are dedicated to him. His name was Gorakshanath, and his Master's name was Matsyendranath.