AUM — Vol. 7, No. 2, 27 Sep. 1971

In search of a perfect disciple

Hundreds of years ago there lived a great spiritual Master, who wanted to know the actual number of his disciples. So he announced that all those who considered themselves his disciples should send him their names within a month’s time. Everybody fulfilled the Master’s demand. His secretaries carefully counted the number: it was ten thousand and one.

The secretaries were extremely pleased that their Master had ten thousand and one disciples. But the Master said, “It will take me another month to know if amongst these ten thousand and one disciples I have a single one whom I can call my perfect, my unconditionally perfect disciple.” The Master concentrated deeply on each disciple in turn and found that each was marred by imperfections. All ten thousand and one of his disciples failed to reach up to his expectation.

Disappointed, the poor Master said, “All right, these are all my disciples. It is true they have disappointed me, but there are many, many seekers all over the world. I shall go to different parts of the world and look for just one perfect disciple, such as I have not seen so far."

He went to many countries. His search took him to India, Japan, China, England, Germany, Russia, Africa — to all parts of the world. In India he spent at least seven months thinking that there in the land of spirituality he would surely find at least one perfect disciple. But it was not so and the Master was extremely disappointed. He visited spiritual centres and ashrams and attended many religious functions. Not even one seeker totally satisfied him.

His journey took over a year. In vain all that time he searched for one perfect disciple. He had spent his time and much money in his travels, but to his sorrow and surprise, he did not come across even one unconditionally surrendered and constantly perfect disciple.

Saddened and disappointed, he returned home, blaming himself for his folly in setting out on such a search. It had all been a waste and he had not found anyone to satisfy him. Concerned, he entered into deep meditation. In a profound state he saw right in front of himself his own figure, his own face, his own physical shape in its subtle form. He watched steadily and came to realise that this person who was standing right in front of him could alone be his perfect disciple. The qualities he demanded from others in order for them to be his perfect disciples could be fulfilled only by himself. So he himself was his only perfect disciple.

Now he recognized that he had to be two persons at one and the same time. He had to be both the Master and the disciple. In familiar Indian terms we call the Master ‘Guru’ and we call the disciple ‘Chela’. The Master’s name was Pratap. Whenever he needed something done, he used to address himself as Chela Lakshman. If he wanted to drink a glass of water, he would say to himself, "Chela Lakshman, give me a glass of water." Then he would fetch it and drink it. He would obey himself. When he wanted to take the role of the Master, he would sit on his chair and address himself as Guru Pratap. While saying “Guru Pratap” he used to have the confidence and assurance of the Master and he felt that he was truly the lord of his other life — that is to say, his life as the disciple.

At every moment he was separating himself into two. One life was the life of the disciple and the other life was the life of the Master. When he wanted to order something, he would address himself as Guru Pratap; and when he wanted to be pleased by his devoted qualities, he would address himself as Chela Lakshman. Each moment he saw himself as two beings: one being that was connected with the aspiring consciousness of the earth and one being that was supremely illumined in heaven. When he identified himself with his earth-consciousness, he became the perfect disciple; and when he identified himself with his heaven-consciousness, he became the perfect Master. So in this way he was getting the utmost satisfaction from his life. He felt that at long last he had discovered the perfect disciple in himself. He had not to go anywhere in search of a perfect disciple; he was his own disciple and his own Guru.

One day in meditation he went very, very deep within and as he entered into his highest trance he saw God face-to-face.

God asked him, “Are you sure that now you have at long last discovered your perfect disciple?”

He said, “Yes, my Lord, at long last I have discovered my most perfect disciple and it is I myself.”

God said, “My child, you are mistaken.”

The Master said, “Why, my Lord? How?”

God answered, “In order to be a real disciple one has to have unconditional and constant surrender. Now, we see a slave listening to his master unconditionally and constantly. If he listens unconditionally out of fear, or even out of respect, it does not mean that he has become a perfect slave. The unillumined part of yourself is listening to the illumined part unconditionally and constantly. But if cheerfulness or the feeling of inseparable oneness is missing, then perfection never dawns. Perfection comes only in absolute, unreserved, inseparable oneness. The slave has not established inseparable oneness with the master. He listens blindly. A real seeker and perfect disciple is he who can offer himself to somebody recognizing absolute oneness, inseparable oneness, without feeling superior or inferior, without feeling any kind of separateness. In true self-offering there must be oneness, absolute oneness based on joy and delight.

“Only I, God, can cherish absolute, constant, unconditional surrender to your human, earthly desires and to your heavenly Will. It is I who can be and who am your only perfect disciple and not you. Only I, God, can be a perfect disciple to you because it is I who with infinite joy have established My total, inseparable oneness with you. And My oneness is founded on My unconditional love, unconditional devotion and unconditional surrender to you who are My very own.”

So each human aspirant must know that the perfect, real disciple can only be God and no human being — not even the Master. Only God the Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent can be a true disciple, a perfect disciple to a spiritual Master or to any seeker or to any human being.

We shall have to find our real, perfect disciple in God and not in any human being. And we must see that within each seeker is the real Guru, the Supreme. The only Guru is the Supreme. The Supreme alone is at once the perfect disciple and the perfect Guru.

Go alone

There was a great spiritual Master who quite often used to make predictions to his disciples. His predictions were not only good and inspiring, but true. From his faultless predictions he became very well known in his country.

There came a time when he took a vow of silence and for months did not speak at all. He would only write down what he wanted to say to his disciples and friends. Any instructions he had to offer would be in writing.

One evening, two seekers who were friends came to visit him from a distant village. One of them was merely a curiosity-monger who had no sincere aspiration, while the other had most sincere aspiration. It happened that they arrived at a time when the Master had been keeping his eyes closed for the last few days, in addition to remaining silent. They did not know of the Master’s second vow until they arrived at his Ashram.

When they approached the Master they saw a big queue of seekers. One by one they approached the Master, who was seated with his eyes closed, in silence. Some of his close disciples were standing by him. Each seeker was allowed to see the Master for only two or three seconds and then the close disciples standing by his side would signal when each one was to leave the Master. Before the two particular seekers, the two close friends, there were a few hundred seekers. All had their turn. The Master neither opened his eyes nor said a word to any of the seekers.

But when the two came and stood in front of the Master, he immediately opened his eyes. His close disciples were very surprised. They said to themselves: “The Master broke his promise to keep his eyes closed.” To their utter astonishment, he also broke the vow of silence.

He spoke to the two seeker-friends: “Go alone. Go alone. Go alone.”

Then the attendants indicated their time was over. The two friends left the Master and immediately he closed his eyes and resumed his silence. Now many more seekers came to the Master for his silent blessing and left.

The curiosity-monger was laughing hilariously on their way back. He said to his friend, “Look, what kind of teacher is he? He was supposed to be silent and have his eyes closed. He spoke to us and he opened his eyes before us. He has broken his own promises.”

The curiosity-monger became very, very angry with the Master. He said to his close friend, “We have been life-long friends. Now why does he ask us to go alone, go alone? He wants to break up our friendship. Why, he is cruel. I will never, never go to him again. You know that I would give my life for you and I am sure you also would do the same for me. We can easily make any sacrifices for each other, yet he wants our separation. ‘Go alone, go alone!’ I will never see his face again. We will always stay together.”

It was evening as they made their way back home and they thought they would take a short-cut. On their way they suddenly came to a pool in a paddy field with a tiny bridge over it. It was a very shaky, delicate bamboo bridge which they had to cross. As the two were such very close friends, they thought they would go together, one behind the other. So they stood on the little bridge together, but it seemed about to collapse because it was so tiny and narrow that it could not hold two persons at a time.

All of a sudden they saw a farmer near the bridge. He cried out to them: “O gentlemen, you both seem to be wise men. What are you doing? It isn’t safe for you like that. Please cross the bridge one by one. Go alone. If you go alone this bridge will not collapse.” The curiosity-monger was adamant. He jokingly said, “Now we have got another Yogi here. About an hour ago one Yogi said ‘Go alone,’ and now this farmer-yogi is asking us to go alone.” Then he started abusing the farmer. “Listen, it is none of your business. We are the closest friends. We will die together, we will go together even if we are to break our legs and our heads. You fool! We would rather die together than go alone. We will not allow ourselves to be separated. No, not even death can separate us.”

The sincere seeker suddenly felt bewildered. What should he do? Here, because of the strength of their friendship, his companion. was saying that even if they were to break their legs, even if they were to die, they would go together because they could never be separated.

The curiosity-monger continued to insult and abuse the farmer who had given them the advice to go alone. But the farmer replied “You can scold me, you can insult me, you can do anything you want, but I wish to tell you a few things. If you cross this bridge one by one, alone, it will take only a few minutes. Then you can go on again with your closeness and friendship. You can give all your warmth, all your concern to each other. Why do you want to embrace death when you can escape it? First you escape death, then you cross over and there you can resume your closeness, your inseparable oneness. Why don’t you use your wisdom, O gentlemen?”

The curiosity-monger became furious. He was ready to strike the farmer and shouted, “Go away or I shall break your head. I do not need your precious advice. I want to be with my friend all the time. If we die, we will die together. We don’t want your wise counsel. We already went together to a Yogi and he told us to go alone. He has ruined all my inspiration and aspiration. Now you farmer, you have become another Yogi. You are saying the same thing. I don’t need you. Off with you.”

All this while something was happening inside the heart of the sincere seeker and he began to perceive something divine in the farmer. While he watched, fascinated, he saw the farmer’s eyes disappearing into the bluest sky. “Please give me more advice,” he asked the farmer with utmost sincerity.

But the curiosity-monger simply wanted to make fun of the farmer. He said, “Yes, yes, we need your advice, go on, go on.”

The farmer said, “Look, both of you are spiritual seekers. You know that in the spiritual life all should go together. You two wanted to go together. But what happens when one is tired, when one is unwilling to go farther? The one that is stronger and more competent should go on. He should continue to walk along the road to reach the goal and bring back more light, peace and bliss to offer to the one who is tired, or who is reluctant to go farther. In order to inspire others more powerfully and convincingly one has to go farther and get more inspiration, more light from the Golden Beyond. Here, the two of you are one, but at the same time, I see that you are only curious about the spiritual life while he is truly serious and sincere. Under these circumstances you cannot go together. If he waits for you indefinitely, his spiritual life will be totally ruined. He will waste his precious time. And if you stay with someone who is in the spiritual life who is all aspiration while you are all curiosity, you will not benefit from him because your curiosity is not going to draw any of his spiritual qualities. So you will be wasting your own precious time by staying with him. You should go on with your own life. Right now you are not ready for the spiritual life. You are just curious. You should follow your life as a householder, your ordinary life. There you will get your own type of satisfaction by staying with your children, with the members of your family, with your friends and neighbours. Although it is not divine satisfaction — far from it — you will get some satisfaction by mixing with people of your own level. And your friend will have real satisfaction by mixing with sincere seekers of his own level. So, if you go alone without him, you will have satisfaction at your earthly level and if he goes alone, he will have satisfaction according to his spiritual standard. So, go alone, go alone, go alone.”

When the farmer said, “Go alone” for the third time his face changed into the face of the Yogi who had told them to go alone.

The sincere seeker touched the feet of the farmer, who was the real Yogi. But the curiosity-monger said, “You have ruined our friendship. You have ruined my life.” And in his anger he struck the Teacher with all his might.

In return the Master gave him a broad smile. He compassionately said, “You have given me a blow but from now on you will be doing the right thing. That is why I am happy with you. I am sure that you will be following the right path according to your present needs.” And to the sincere seeker he said, “I am proud of you. You have touched my feet and you are ready to follow the spiritual life. You will be following the right path, the spiritual path, your soul’s own path. So you have truly pleased me. Both of you have pleased me, each in his own way. Go alone. Go alone. Go alone.”

The spiritual master looking for disciples

There was a spiritual Master who had realised God and God wanted him to play fully the role of a spiritual Master; God wanted him to have disciples, but how could he have them when nobody came to him? Since God wanted him to have disciples, the Master, too, wanted them, but nobody came to him to become his disciple.

So God asked him to do something. God asked him to go outside his house every day, early in the morning and stand right in front of his house in the street with folded hands and ask every person he saw to become his disciple. From morning until evening he was to do this, for God had asked him.

Every day, in front of his house, he saw a few hundred people. As they walked past him along the street he said to each, “Would you kindly become my disciple?” He spoke sincerely, but the people did not respond. They ridiculed him. Young boys, girls, grown-up men and women laughed at him or pushed past, ignoring him. Nobody paid any attention to his plea. Some taunted him and asked, “How is it that you are crying for a disciple with folded hands? A realised soul does not cry for ordinary human beings.” A full year passed in this way and he did not get one single disciple.

At the end of the year he said to God, "God, you wanted me to have disciples. I tried my utmost. You asked me to beg the passers-by every day with folded hands to be my disciples and I did it. But nobody wanted to be my disciple. What can I do?”

God said, "This time you have to touch the feet of everybody and say, ‘Would you like to be my disciple?’ Children, men and women — irrespective of age, you must touch their feet and beg them to be your disciples.”

The following day the Master went out and started touching the feet of everyone he met. He was on the street from morning until evening. Again people laughed at him or ignored him. Sometimes he even got merciless kicks from young men who said: “Why don’t you leave everybody alone? Who wants to be your disciple?” When he was about to touch the feet of the women, they felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. Some of them suspected that he was not sincere — that he was perhaps playing some kind of a trick. So he was ignored or insulted by many women. But he persisted in doing so as God had asked him to.

His efforts brought no result. With folded hands he did not get any disciples; by touching the feet of people who passed him during the day he did not get a single disciple in the whole year. People only misunderstood him in their own way, according to their own standard.

The third year God said, "This year you have to go and touch everybody’s head without any fear.”

The Master said, "How can I touch everybody's head? If I touch somebody’s feet, he may at least show me an act of compassion. But if I touch people’s heads, especially women’s, what will they think of me? They will all misunderstand me and insult me, they will probably do many horrible things. Many untold things will happen.”

God said, "No, you have to touch everybody’s head with your divine pride.” He had to do as God asked.

When he touched the head of the first man he saw and said, "Would you like to be my disciple?” the man immediately said, “Yes, I would.”

In this way, in one day he blessed two hundred human beings — children and adults. The moment he touched their heads and asked, "Would you like to be my disciple?” they said, "Yes.” Children did not understand the meaning of ‘disciple’, but they felt it was something nice to be. But grown-up men and women knew the meaning and wanted to be his disciples. Among the people who accepted him there were seventy whom he had begged in previous years with folded hands and by touching their feet, but they had refused him, mocked at him, ridiculed him. But when he touched their heads, they all became his disciples.

The Master asked God, "How can it be? When we show modesty, humility, when we fold our hands, when we touch their feet, we do not get disciples. But when we touch their heads, when we bless them with our divine pride and divine authority, then they accept us.”

God told him, "Look here, when you see ordinary human beings and deal with them, if you fold your hands they immediately think, ‘This fellow is inferior, otherwise why is he folding his hands?’ And when you touch their feet they think, ‘Oh, he is

really inferior, he is just like a slave.' Nobody wants to stand with folded hands in humility; nobody wants to touch others' feet. When you touch another’s feet, he will immediately feel that he is superior and you are inferior. And even when you touch somebody's head, an ordinary person will recoil and say, ‘What right have you to touch my head?’ But when you deal with your divine majesty, divine power, divine light and touch the heads of people who are really spiritual, they will feel your divine majesty. When you bless them, immediately people will think, ‘Perhaps he has something, otherwise how could he dare to touch my head. In this world nobody dares to touch my head. How is it that this man comes out of the blue and dares to touch my head and bless me?”

God continued, “Unfortunately, ordinary people do not know what a spiritual Master does. When a spiritual Master stands in front of someone with folded hands, he tries to make the seeker feel that he has someone inside his heart who is really great. Otherwise a spiritual Master would not stand in front of him with folded hands. Then, when a Master touches his feet, he feels, 'Really, I have Divinity within me. That is why he is touching my feet.' When the seeker goes one step forward, he feels, ‘The Divinity that the spiritual Master is seeing inside me is also inside him, otherwise he would not have touched my feet. For him to touch his own feet is no embarrassment because he is all one — his head, his feet and his hands are all one. So when he goes deep within he feels that we are one. Who is touching whose feet?' This is what the spiritual seeker is able to understand about Master.

But ordinary people will always misunderstand. When they misunderstand, it is necessary for the spiritual Master, on the strength of his divine authority and his God-ordained pride, to show them divine light. This pride is not ego-pride. This pride is founded on their universal oneness. Other pride comes from the sense of separateness, the feeling that ‘You are yourself and I myself. You are totally different from me; that is why I want to maintain my separateness. I am stronger than you, so why should I bow down to you?’ But the divine pride is not like that. Divine pride comes from the universal feeling of oneness. ‘He and I are one, inseparably one. Who is touching whose head? Who is touching whose feet? We are all one. Our oneness has come from the Source. We are in the Source and we are for the Source.'"

To serve and realise or to realise and serve

Two sincere seekers one day came to their Master. One of them said to him, “Master, I am here to realise you. This is my only aim.”

The other said to the Master, “Master, I have come to serve you. This is my only aim. I don’t need liberation, I don’t need salvation. I need only to serve you. I want to dedicate myself totally and implicitly to your service. That will give me greatest delight. I care only for you. I need only you.”

The first one said, “Master, I want to realise you — you know why. Unless and until I know the difference between you and me — how great you are and how small and insignificant I am — I won’t be able to serve you properly. If I realise you, then I will see that you are the vast sun and I am a candle flame. I know that this I have to realise. I also have to realise that you are the mightiest ocean and I am the tiniest drop. Then will I be able to serve you most devotedly and unconditionally.”

The second disciple spoke. “Master, I don’t have to know how great you are, why you are so great, or the difference between you and me. This is quite immaterial. I have accepted you as my Master, as my Lord. To serve you to the end of my life is my soul’s sole aspiration. Master, please don’t deny me.”

The Master was quiet for some time. The two disciples said, “Master, please let us know who is right.”

To the one who wanted to realise first and then serve, the Master said, “All right, you want to realise me. You say that when you realise me you will know the difference between us. When you realise me you will become totally one with me — absolutely one. Real realisation means total oneness, absolute oneness, inseparable oneness. At that time you will want to serve me? When you know that you have touched the height, you have become the height itself, will you want to serve? I don’t think so. When you see a little difference, then you try to serve if the other person is superior to you. But if you have equalled the other person, you will not want to serve him. You will say, ‘He is in no way greater than I. Why should I bow to him? Why should I serve him?’”

Then the Master said to the disciple who wanted only to serve him, “You are serving me with greatest joy. Now, some day I shall make you realise God and you will be spiritually as great as I am now. After you have realised God, I don’t think you will like to serve me any more.”

Both the disciples became very sad and each other felt miserable in his own way.

After a pause the Master said to the one who wanted to realise him and then serve properly, “My child, you go to school, you go to college, you go to the university. When you get your Master’s degree from your professor, what happens? You also become a professor. You get the degree and you are ready to teach. Now, you know that you have the same amount of knowledge, because he taught you in the university. From a primary-school teacher you get your first lessons. But a day comes when you get your Master’s degree. Still you can show respect to your primary-school teacher because you got your first lesson from her. Similarly, even when we get the same knowledge of the highest, what happens? We show respectful gratitude to the one from whom we got it.

“The student will write ‘M.A.’ and the professor who taught him will also write ‘M.A.’ But the student will naturally retain some respect, some affection and admiration for his teacher, although he eventually acquires the same knowledge. In the same way, if you want to serve me, you can easily do it because you received the knowledge from me.”

“The feeling of gratitude towards the school teacher is not unusual in India. In my own family, my eldest brother, who is a great scholar, touches the feet of his primary-school teacher with great reverence. Unfortunately, in the West this kind of experience is very rare.”

Then the Master said to the disciple who only wanted to serve him, “You serve me and I am pleased with you. What will I do for you? I will try to give you some promotion, Today if you do something for me, tomorrow I will try to give you something more important, something more praiseworthy to do. Suppose today I ask you to massage my feet. If I see that you are massaging my feet devotedly, soulfully, without any pride, then I will give you my hand to massage. Then I shall give you my shoulders and I shall even let you massage my head. Finally, when I see that you have served the Supreme in me in every way, I shall grant you liberation. You will be liberated like me. But if you want to, you can remain devoted to me and be of service to me, since you got liberation from me.”

The Master continued, “If you follow my advice you will be happy all your life. If one becomes one with the Master and reaches the same standard, his inner gratitude will always make him happy. But if he says, ‘Oh, now that we have become one, who cares for him? I am as good as he is. I am in no way inferior,’ such a man will have no joy, no delight. If he becomes one with the Master and basks in the sunshine of gratitude, his life becomes divinely meaningful and supremely fruitful. At every moment his life offers God’s Glory, God’s Height to mankind."

And the Master spoke to the disciple who wanted to realise God first, “When you reach the highest, you are bound to manifest it eventually. This act of manifestation is your true dedicated service.”

To the one who only wanted to serve, he said, “If you please me in every way, I will without fail give you the fruits that I eat every day. If a servant pleases his master, if he is a kind master he will offer the same food to the servant that he eats himself. If I am pleased with you, I am bound to give you what I have. If I am not pleased with you, although I am taking your service, I will only give you what you deserve and I will eat my realisation-fruit. But if somebody pleases me in every possible way, I am bound to give him the divine nectar that I every day drink.”

“Either you realise first and then serve, or you serve first and then realise. Both ways are equally important and significant. While realising God, you are serving the ultimate need of mankind. While serving mankind, you are realising God the Absolute.”

Earth bound hearts


Vain are the ways

Of human cries.

Strange are the moulds

Of earthly hopes.

Queer is the dream

Of climbing skies.

In earth-bound hearts

Divinity gropes. ```

I Declare


I declare ever what is true —

My heart is God's revealing Light.

My soul is God’s fulfilling Might.

My life is God’s transforming Hue.

I declare ever what is pure —

This world of ours has much to say.

Our climbing earth God’s promised Day.

Our glowing Goal eternal sure. ```



What you do not use yourself, do not give to others. For example, advice.


When doubt wants to speak to you, your “No” answer is the real answer.


Nothing can and will perfect education without perfection in Self-realisation.



God has the Truth.

Man knows the Truth.

God is the Truth.

Man becomes the Truth. ```

From:Sri Chinmoy,AUM — Vol. 7, No. 2, 27 Sep. 1971, AUM Centre Press, 1971
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