Be careful of ex-disciples4

"Master, I am at times so puzzled and so confused."

"Why, my son?"

"Master, when some of your disciples leave you, they create such problems for me."

"What kind of problems do they create?"

"They cause unnecessary confusion."

"Do you mean that you also lose faith in me?"

"No, never!"

"Do you mean that they have a sound and convincing justification for their actions?"

"No, never!"

"Then why are you confused?"

"I do not exactly know why I am confused. But what frightens me, or what confuses me, rather, is this: if I speak to them or mix with them, you may throw me out of your ashram. Recently some of my very close friends left you. Now please tell me, what kind of relationship shall I maintain with them? Shall I totally ignore them? Shall I mix with them? Shall I try to bring them back?"

"Son, wait and see what they do. It is usually not good to ignore anybody. But if necessity demands, you can be totally indifferent. Whether you mix with them or not entirely depends on their inner life. Once someone leaves my ashram, it is useless to try and bring him back. It is just like the case of a broken mirror. You can repair it, but it can never be made perfect again.

"No matter who leaves a Master's ashram, he will usually speak ill of the Master. When a disciple who is still with the Master hears an ex-disciple's critical remarks, he may become a victim to doubt; and doubt is nothing but poison in the spiritual life. There are a few reasons why someone may leave my ashram: either he loses faith in me, or he is jealous of others' achievements and closeness to me, or he wants to go back to his vital pleasure-life. But I tell you, by re-entering into the vital pleasure-life, he cannot discover his true self; by being jealous of others, he cannot discover his true self; by losing faith in me, he cannot discover his true self.

"Now I wish to tell you what you should do when a person leaves our ashram, whether he is a personal friend or a mere acquaintance. If an individual leaves our ashram and immediately goes to some other Master, you should not get angry with that disciple. You should always remember that according to my philosophy, it is quite immaterial which Master takes a seeker to God. What is of paramount importance is whether the seeker actually reaches God. You can talk to someone who has left our ashram and accepted another Master if necessity demands. But do not go out of your way to mix with him, either to bring him back or to convince him that he has done something really wrong. You can, however, inwardly pray to the Supreme a few times to grant him illumination so that he will be able to know whether what he is doing is right or wrong. But if you mix with him often, you will only enter into a terrible conflict and meet with real spiritual disaster.

"Again, if you see that after having left our ashram, someone feels that he can go his own way, that he does not need any Master now that he has taken all the help he needed from me, you can be kind and sympathetic to him. You may feel sorry that since the poor fellow is no longer taking the help of his Master, who was his private tutor, his spiritual journey will take a very long time. But in no way should you try to convince him that he has done something terrible. If you do so, you will again only enter into unnecessary conflict, and this conflict will illumine neither of you. Still, if you feel the inclination to do so, you can pray to the Supreme a few times for his illumination, so that he will always be able to do the right thing.

"But if someone leaves me and speaks ill of me, of all my disciples, of God; if he mercilessly criticises the whole spiritual world; if he himself does not meditate but wants to take away some of my other disciples, then you have to know that his case is simply hopeless. He is really a sick man, and if you associate with a sick man, you yourself are apt to fall sick. You are certain to be affected by this spiritual disease. Spiritual life is for the sincere man, and not for the fool. If your heart wants to go and help him, you will only be caught by his ignorance. You will be of no help to him at all! So I tell my disciples not to mix at all with an ex-disciple who is bitterly against the spiritual life, against God, against me, against other spiritual Masters and everything that is spiritual. So, my son, when someone leaves our ashram, try to see which category he falls into, and then deal with him accordingly."

"Master, after hearing this from you, on the one hand I am so illumined, but on the other hand I am totally disgusted with the stupidity of these disciples. No matter why your disciples leave you, they are simply stupid; they are simply sick. I will have nothing to do with a stupid or a sick fellow. But again, my own stupidity and sickness have not yet left me totally; otherwise, I would not have asked you this question. Who cares who comes and goes, as long as you give me eternal shelter at your feet, as long as I can grow inside your heart and fulfil you in your own way. I know and I strongly feel that if someone has seen you even once, he is forever yours. Outwardly he may leave you, but although his heart's aspiration may be eclipsed from time to time, he will eventually look inward again to see the illumining sun which is your universal Self, and which ever illumines and ever fulfils the searching, seeking and crying humanity."

The Master blessed the disciple with deepest joy and pride and said, "Son, you have understood my philosophy. Now manifest my philosophy in the life of your soul's illumination, the life of your heart's aspiration and the life of your body's dedication.

OL 5. 6 February 1974.