Part V — Why some are not accepted as disciples

Question: Why is it that you do not accept everybody who wants to become your disciple?

Sri Chinmoy: There are some Masters who desire a great number of disciples and accept anybody who wants to follow their path. But I am very strict. I am not interested in having a great number of disciples; I am interested only in the sincerity and aspiration of my disciples. Also, I do not accept drug addicts, alcoholics or hippies. It is not that I dislike these people, but they are seeking happiness of a different kind from what I can offer. I have identified myself with the hippie consciousness, with the consciousness of the alcoholic and of the drug addict, so I know what is within them. I do not doubt their aspiration, but the thing is that they are hungry for something that I do not have. How can I deceive them and say, “Come to me, and I will give you what you want.”

In our New York Centre there are four or five disciples who were once drug addicts. They sent me their pictures and I said to them, “If for two months you can remain without drugs, then I will accept you.” They did this, and now they have changed for good. In their case, I saw that their aspiration was stronger than their drug problem, and they proved that I was right. But most of these people — ninety-nine out of a hundred — are in the world of self-deception and escape. We care for the reality that God has created, but unfortunately they are creating their own reality, which is all false.

All the people whom I do not accept as my disciples are also God’s children, and God is looking after them far better than we can imagine. But I am not qualified to teach them. To be very frank, I do not have the capacity. I am not competent, I am not ready, I do not have the time. There are many people whom I can help, and I feel that my time is precious, like everybody else’s. God has sent me to help those who are meant for my boat, whom I am in a position to help.

If I do not accept you, please do not feel that you are not meant for the spiritual life. Far from it. You may have tremendous aspiration, and I may be most pleased with you, but being a sincere man, I feel that you will run the fastest if you follow somebody else’s path. And God, who is my Father and your Father, will not be pleased with me if I accept ten million disciples who will not fit into my boat, who will delay the progress of others who are in the boat and cause the boat to capsize. No! He will be pleased with me only when I carry the ones who are meant for me and tell others that they belong to somebody else. I do not give the names of other Masters, because I may be misunderstood by both the disciple and the Master. But this much I can say: if I do not feel you are meant for my path, then you are absolutely meant for somebody else’s path. There are many paths that lead to the Goal, and each aspirant has to take one path. Those who are not meant for my path are doing the right thing in going some other way, and we are doing the right thing in our own way, the way the Supreme wants.