One lives, one dies

Once there were two brothers who had been disciples of an occultist for a number of years. They were extremely devoted to the occultist and helped him financially and in many other ways to run his ashram. The occultist was extremely fond of them, too,

Each brother had a son. Alas, it happened that one day both sons were attacked by cholera, and it was only a few hours before death would claim them. The brothers ran to their Master's ashram and knelt and wept at the Master's feet, begging him to save their sons.

The Master said to the elder brother, "Don't waste time. Since your son's case is serious, go and take him to the hospital." The elder brother immediately ran home and took his son to the hospital. To the younger brother the occultist said, "You don't have to take your son to the hospital. Take this blessing flower and place it on your son's head. It will do what is necessary."

In six hours' time the son of the elder brother died in the hospital. But in fourteen hours the younger brother's son was completely cured. Now it seemed that, in the same family, one son had been saved by the Master and the other had simply been allowed to die. Happiness and sorrow reigned together in the family.

The two brothers were very, very close. Despite his grief, the elder brother was happy that his nephew was safe. And the younger brother and his wife both felt miserable over the loss of their nephew. A sea of joy and a sea of sorrow were wrestling with each other.

The following day the elder brother went to the Master weeping bitterly and said, "Master, you did not care for my son. You asked me to take him to the hospital, but the doctors could not cure him, and he died. Both my younger brother and I are so close to you, but you cured his son and not mine. I am not mean. I am glad that you have been kind enough to save at least one son in our family. For that I am grateful. In my nephew I will feel my son's presence, for my nephew is extremely dear to me and I have always thought of him as my own second son. But Master, if you had saved my son, too, I would have been so happy and delighted to get back both my sons from the jaws of death. Master, would you mind telling me why you did not save my son? But if you don't want to say, don't say, Master. I surrender to your will."

The occultist said, "I saw occultly that the time had come for your son to die. What was I to do? When I saw that his death was destined, I asked you to take him to the hospital for medical treatment. I knew that, if he could get the best medical treatment, you would be able to console yourself and your wife. If I had given your son a flower, as I gave your nephew a flower, then your wife, who has not accepted my path, would immediately have sneered at the flower. If your son had not died, your wife would have said, 'Nonsense, it was not the occultist who saved my son.' And if your son had died, as he did die, she would have insulted you and scolded you, and said, 'Why didn't you send my son to the hospital, you heartless rogue?' Since your wife has not accepted my path, I am in a difficult position. You are a dear, devoted disciple of mine, and I know that you understand and believe what I am saying. But your wife does not understand my philosophy at all. If your son had lived, she would have given the credit to God. Now, I would have been happy if she had given credit to God. For me it is quite immaterial whether she believes in my power or not, because the little capacity I have came from God. But if your son had died, your wife would have been furious, and she would have insulted both of us for this kind of treatment with the flower. So it was for your sake that I had to ask you to take your son to the hospital. I did all this so that she could not blame you or me."

"True, Master, my wife would have accused me if our son had died without medical treatment, but you did not give me the opportunity to have faith in your miracle-power. You could have given the same kind of flower to my son and cured him."

"My child, it is not a matter of faith. It is true that faith cures, but this was something predestined. God had selected the hour for your son to leave the world. Since it was ordained by God, I could not change your son's fate, no matter what kind of faith you had in me. In your nephew's case, even if I had not given him a flower, he would have been cured. He did not take any medicine and he did not go to the hospital, but he was cured, because it was destined that he would survive."

Now while the Master and the disciple were having this serious conversation, the disciple's wife came in quite unexpectedly and started insulting the occultist, saying, "You unkind, cruel creature! My husband has given you thousands and thousands of rupees, just as his brother has done. How is it that you have cured our nephew but not our son?"

At this, the husband buried his head in his hands in utter shame and said to his wife, "For God's sake, leave this place, and do not speak to my Master in that way. He is my Master, he is my All."

The wife became furious. "He is your all! Come home today, and I will show you who is your all!" Then she threw a volley of insults at the Master and cried, "Tell me, do you really have occult power? If you do, how is it that you saved one son in our family and not both?"

The husband himself became furious and said, "You must not talk to my Master in such a contemptuous manner! He is my Lord, he is my All."

"Do you mean that the way you are my lord, and my all, in that way he is also your lord and your all ?"

"I am not your lord and I am not your all. God is your Lord, God is your All. My Master is my Lord and he is my All."

"So you have rejected me today in front of this unkind, cruel man!"

The occultist burst into laughter and said, "What can you expect, Shiva? He is now with an unkind man, so naturally he will act like an unkind man. His misbehaviour is all due to the bad company he keeps." The husband said to the occultist, "Master, I shall always cherish this bad company. I want to stay with you always. Now I have no son. This wife of mine who does not accept you I have tolerated for many years, but now I am convinced that she will never accept you, so I will not go back home. From now on, I shall stay here with you, and I shall serve you."

"Impossible!" said the wife. "God made us one. No human being can separate us. Your Master is, after all, a human being."

The Master said, "Poor Shiva, I am not preventing you from taking your husband home. He is your all and you have every right to take him back home with you."

The disciple said, "Master, for God's sake, for my sake, please do not torture me. I am not her all. But if ever she accepts you, you will be her all. Right now, since she is not accepting you as her Master, I place her at the Feet of God. God is her All, and He will take care of her. Master, you are my God, you are my Lord, you are my All."

Suddenly Shiva realised what was about to happen in her family, and she fell at the feet of the Master and said, "Is there any way I can get my husband back? I have lost my only son. Now I am losing my husband, too. Please tell me, is there any way I can get my husband back?"

The Master said, "I do not know. I have no way to console you."

The husband said, "Yes, I know a way. Shiva, you have touched my Master's feet. Now pray to him with folded hands and say that you also want to be his disciple. If you accept him as your very own, if you claim him as your all the way I claim him as my all, then I shall go back home with you."

"You cannot make this kind of demand," said the Master. "I will never force anybody to become my disciple. If somebody loves me, if he sees and feels something divine in me, only then do I accept that person as my disciple. If you force her to accept me, I will not be able to accept her."

The disciple said, "Master, it is entirely up to you whether to accept or reject her."

Shiva said to the occultist, "Master, I am accepting you, not because my husband has threatened me, but because I am seeing something in you and I am feeling something in you which I have never seen or felt before in my life."

The Master blessed her and said, "Shiva, my daughter, I shall give you a supreme boon. Your nephew will become my very close disciple. He will be at my feet throughout his life. Your son, who left us yesterday, will always be inside my heart. His body has left us, but his soul remains within my heart." The Master asked Shiva and her husband to look at his heart. He then used his occult power and showed them the living face of their son inside his heart.

Both husband and wife touched their Master's feet with boundless gratitude. Shiva said, "You are not only our Master, but our Lord and God. To see our son inside your heart is more than consolation; it is a true, unmistakable revelation of what God, through the Master, can do for the disciple."

The Master said, "Again I tell you, your nephew will be always at my feet. He will work for me, for my manifestation in the outer world. Your son will work for me inwardly, in my heart, silently inspiring me, devotedly helping me to fulfil my role here on earth. Alas, we human beings unnecessarily blame God's dispensation."

Shiva said, "Do not include yourself in that statement, Master. It was we unfortunate disciples who doubted God and who doubted you. But Master, the nights of doubt are all gone. From now on we shall grow and glow in the effulgence of your eternal midday sun."

February 6, 1974