The height of ingratitude

There was once a spiritual Master who had only one hundred disciples. Most of his disciples were affectionate to him and very fond of him. The Master was also very affectionate to them and fond of them, but he had special concern for those who were comparatively weak and insecure, and who felt that their lives were useless.

There was one particular disciple, a lady of about fifty-five, who was very insecure. Apart from that, she had some trouble in one of her lungs. So the Master had special concern for her. She had been to many, many doctors, but the doctors could not cure her. From time to time, she used to receive the Master's light, and then she felt a little better. But when she did not receive his light, she suffered greatly. Sometimes she could not sleep because of her weak lung, and the Master had to give her occult advice on the physical plane about how to fall asleep. She would then be able to sleep for a few days, but soon again she would suffer. The Master was all compassion for this lady, but he knew that her suffering would come to an end only if he were allowed to tell her frankly the reason for it. She used to say to him, "Please be frank with me and tell me why I am suffering so much."

The Master asked God if he could tell the lady why she had developed a weak lung. But God said to him, "If you tell her why she is suffering, she will leave you tomorrow."

The Master replied, "Do I need her?"

"True, you do not need her," said God. "But if she stays with you, if she continues to come to you for spiritual guidance, there is some hope that one day she will really receive your light in abundant measure. Then you will be able to cure her lung. But if you tell her that she is suffering because of her emotional life, her lower vital life, and that she has to give up this life, will she be able to do that? Right now she is leading a double life, true. She is fifty-five years old and unmarried, but she is living in the emotional world. If you tell her to lead a pure life and give up all her vital relationships, it will be impossible for her to do so. She will only give up her spiritual life. So the best thing is to ignore that and try to help her as much as you can. You know how much she suffers because of her emotional life."

The Master said, "Just because she suffers from her emotional life, it would be wise for me to tell her frankly the cause of her suffering — even though I will be acting like a butcher."

God became very stern and said to the Master, "Don't act against My Will. You must never tell her why she is suffering. Only give her whatever light you can. That is what I want from you."

The Master immediately surrendered to God's Will and said, "Certainly."

The Master continued showing utmost compassion to this lady. He knew that if one suffers from this kind of lung ailment, it is best for that person to do very light work. So he made her his gardener and gave her a little bit of secretarial work. Sometimes he asked her to arrange interviews for him, to take attendance at the spiritual meetings and to take notes at various activities.

The Master also used to encourage her to be in the flower-world. In the back of his mind, he cherished the idea that if she remained in the flower-world, some purity would dawn in her, and she would want to lead a better life. Of course, this idea was absurd. If it were likely to happen, gardeners and florists would generally become first-class pure souls. One may touch flowers and smell their fragrance, but one's mind may still remain in the gutter. But since flowers embody purity, the Master was hoping against hope that the flowers might create some purity in her heart, in her mind and in her physical existence.

This went on for some time. The lady was suffering and the Master was suffering. One day she said to one of the Master's dearest disciples, "This Master is no good. He has no spiritual power, no occult power, nothing, nothing, nothing! I believed in him. At times I secretly used to call him 'Father', and on Father's Day I gave him a note saying, 'Fathers come and fathers go, but here is a father who will not leave me even if I want to leave him. He is my eternal Father, my Eternity's Father'. Now I see that what I thought of him was all wrong.

"If my physical father had had any capacity, if he had had money, he would have given me anything I asked for, if he could. I called this man my father, but he won't help me. Either he does not have the capacity, or he has the capacity but will not use it for me. My feeling is that he does not have the capacity. Why should I think of the other possibility? He does not have the capacity, so the best thing is for me to leave him and look for another Master."

When the disciple told this to the Master, the Master said, "I am so happy to hear this. If she leaves me, I will be the happiest person. I have suffered and she has suffered, and I can't help her anymore."

The disciple asked, "Why can't you help her any more?"

"I just can't," replied the Master. "The capacity that God has given me is very limited. I can't be of any further help to her."

That night God came to the Master and said, "The time has come for you to tell your disciple that you are unable to cure her because of her vital life."

The Master told God all that he had heard from the woman's friend. God laughed and laughed and said, "I am telling you that the time has now come. Tell her tomorrow."

Since this lady was close to the Master, he sent for her the next day and she came to work in his garden. In those days, the Master did not have so many close disciples to cook for him, and he himself rarely cooked — perhaps once a year. But on that day the Master felt an overwhelming compassion enter into his life. Since he had been commanded by his boss, the highest Supreme, to drop the atom bomb, he felt that the best thing was to console the lady in advance. First he would show her a sea of affection and concern.

So the Master himself cooked a meal of eatable or uneatable food, but with utmost love, concern and compassion. He made a few dishes and then invited the disciple to come and eat with him in the kitchen. The disciple was so grateful; she was full of overwhelming gratitude. She said to the Master, "Today you are showing me such affection, such concern, such compassion. How is it that you are still not curing me? You know how I suffer. Even last night, I suffered so much." The Master immediately thought of what God had told him to do and he said, "How do you expect me to cure you when you know perfectly well what kind of life you are leading. You are leading a very impure life."

"Ha!" cried the disciple, flying into a rage. She stood up and, in doing so, brushed aside a tumbler, which fell on the floor and broke. What a scene she created! "This has been in the back of your mind! This has been going on in your thoughts! You know what kind of life I have been leading –- the purest! I am a spinster. I never got married, but came to you to realise God instead. And now today, after so many years, you are telling me this! Is there any disciple of yours who is as pure as I am?"

The Master laughed and laughed and said, "Is there any disciple of mine who is as hypocritical as you are? If my other disciples lead an undivine life, they tell me everything. Even on the physical plane they tell me. I don't have to concentrate on the inner plane to know what is happening on the physical, vital and emotional planes in their lives. They make their lives an open book for me. But for the last three years you have been deceiving me. For some time God has asked me not to tell you, because if I had told you, you would have left our path long ago. But now God has asked me to be brutally frank with you. So I am telling you."

"Stay with your God! I don't need you and I don't need your God. Only this much I can say: you are one hundred per cent wrong!"

The Master became furious and said, "Whom are you trying to deceive? You can deceive the whole world, but not me. Six days ago, who was buzzing at your door around three o'clock in the morning? Was it not your boyfriend? You did not open the door even though he was buzzing and buzzing. Why? Just because I was illumining your soul. I was trying to bring your soul's light into your vital life, your emotional life, and you saw me inwardly. The following day you came up to me and said, 'Master, I saw you in a dream. You were so beautiful, so luminous! I was so delighted to see you at my place.' I gave you a smile. Have you forgotten the incident? Because my soul's light had entered into your soul, you were so moved that you did not respond to your boyfriend. What were you going to do with your boyfriend at that hour? Why did he come?"

"Oh, oh, my boyfriend, he came...He doesn't live here. He lives somewhere else. He went to a movie and he was drunk. And he was lost and he couldn't go home, so he thought that if he could spend..."

"I know, I know, I know all those kinds of stories. I am simply telling you why God did not want me to tell the reason I could not cure you. He knew that the day I became frank with you, I would lose you. But God does not want you to stay on my path any more. Now he wants you to leave me, for you are a hopeless case. You have to go in your own way, and I have to go with my disciples in my own way. So now you can go. The time has come. Don't deceive me any more."

She left, but her anger did not leave her, and she wanted to punish the Master. The Master had quite a few spiritual Centres, and he went to visit one of his Centres which was two thousand miles away. On his return, he received a most painful shock. This ex-disciple had gotten her boyfriend, who was a notorious fellow, to employ two rogues. In the Master's absence these men had broken the Master's door, entered his house, caused tremendous damage in the Master's bedroom and meditation room and stolen many expensive things.

The Master was shocked. He thought of phoning this ex-disciple to show a little bit of his occult capacity, but his boss, the Supreme, his Eternal Beloved, said, "It is beneath your dignity to deal with these people according to their own standard. When you become frank with people, unless they are really sincere, unless they really want to accept the spiritual life, all their animal qualities come forward. I warned you long before. For three years I warned you. Then I agreed to your proposal because I felt that since it was a hopeless case, let the disciple leave you. This is the last punishment, the last suffering, that you will have because of her. Now your story with that particular disciple will be over." And the Master's story with that particular disciple really did end. The Supreme, as usual, was right.

Try to illumine ignorance; be kind, be affectionate, be full of concern, go out of your way at every second to illumine an undivine human being, and in return you get your house robbed! Then you have to work hard to get things replaced. What else is the height of ingratitude, if not this? This is life. First the dog barks and then, when barking is not enough, it bites you to such an extent that you may die. But if God's Protection, God's Compassion and God's Light work in and through you, then you can easily survive the dog's bite, as the Master easily did.

September 14, 1974

From:Sri Chinmoy,Gratitude-sky and ingratitude-sea, Agni Press, 1974
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