Two divine instruments: Master and disciple

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Our spiritual path

Our path is the path of simplicity. God is extremely simple. It is we who think of Him as someone complicated. God speaks the simplest language, only we don't understand Him. We are all deaf; we have been deaf for millennia. Poor God, He has been talking constantly, tirelessly, but we do not have time to listen to Him.

Our path is the path of simplicity. We feel that one who has love, devotion and surrender can be simple. A child is simple; he loves his mother. He does not have to love anybody else: his mother is his whole world. He listens to his mother. He devotes himself to his mother. If his mother asks him to do something, he feels that his mother knows everything better than he does, so he surrenders to his mother's will. A child is so simple that he tries to do everything to please his mother; and in his simplicity, he is reaching his highest goal.

In the ordinary life, if someone loves another individual, then he spends most of his time with that particular person. He devotes his precious time to that person. If it is real human love — not divine love, but human love — then he sometimes surrenders to the other's whims even if they are absurd. He surrenders because the two of them have formed an inner and outer bond on the strength of their love. So if one loves another person, then one is ready even to sacrifice one's precious wisdom.

In the spiritual life it is totally different. We come to realise that divine love never binds us. On the contrary, it expands us and liberates us. Then, when we see and feel that we are being liberated, we feel inwardly a divine obligation to do something for our inner Pilot. How can we remain aloof from the One who has given us everything, who has brought us the message of divine Love and Compassion? Will it be possible for us not to offer Him something in return? If we remain in the physical, we only try to grab and possess everything, even when it belongs to others. But if we live in the soul, we try to constantly give all that we have and all that we are to the inner Pilot. Divine love means self -giving.

Then we feel that just giving something, just offering something, is not enough. It has to be done with enthusiasm and an intense inner urge. We give to the Inner Pilot in ourselves and in others. While we are giving to someone else, we have to feel that we are giving to the divine in the other person, to the Supreme within him who now needs this help from us. When we offer divine love to someone, we must do it gladly and soulfully; but while giving we must not have the feeling that we are doing him a great favour, that because we are in a position to help him, we are superior. No! We have to feel that God has given us a great opportunity to be of service to Him and we should be grateful to the person who has put us in a position to help or serve the Supreme. We feel grateful that we have become His chosen instruments, when He could just as well have chosen others. We have to show constant gratitude for the very fact that He has employed us. This kind of devotion is our dedicated service.

Then comes surrender. This surrender is not the surrender of a slave to a master. An ordinary master will find fault with the slave, while feeling that he himself is always perfect. But in the case of the Supreme, it is not like that. When He deals with us, He feels that our imperfections are His imperfections. When He finds mistakes in our nature, He feels that these are all His mistakes. Unless and until we are perfect, God never feels that He is perfect. God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, it is true. But when it is a matter of perfection manifested on earth, God feels that He is still imperfect in me, in you, in everybody. The message of perfect perfection has not yet dawned on earth. We surrender to God wholeheartedly, knowing perfectly well that what we have is next to nothing and what we are is next to nothing. If we give our nothingness to Him, we become a chosen instrument of the Supreme and permit His Perfection to grow in us.

What kind of commitment is necessary to follow this path? On the one hand, an inner commitment is very clear and definite; on the other hand, it is very vague. But when I speak about commitment, it is not the kind of commitment that you have to make in other spiritual or cultural organizations. For these organizations, you may have to give a regular fee. But when I ask you to make a commitment, it is different. I say that if you see something in me, if you see or feel Light inside me, then if you want to follow our path, you can. There will be no monetary demands. You do not have to give me five dollars or ten dollars or anything like that. No! Here it is a matter of your own aspiration, how sincere and regular you can be in your spiritual life. If you are not sincere, then you will not be able to run fast. But if you are sincere and dedicated, then you will run very fast. The commitment I ask for in our path is regularity in your meditation and aspiration, your sincere inner cry. One needs regularity in order to have aspiration. These two things you can offer to God; I demand nothing else from any disciple.

Since all of you are sincerely interested in the spiritual life, without the least hesitation I can say that you have aspiration. If you also have the capacity to come here regularly once a week, then you are most welcome. But if you come here one day and then for a couple of months you do not come, it will not be possible for you to run the fastest in your spiritual life and you will also start to create a wrong vibration here at the Centre.

If you want to follow this path, then please go deep within and see what this path can offer you. If you feel that our path will bring you Light, Peace and Bliss, then naturally you will be more inspired to lead a life of dedication, a life of devotion, a life of inner surrender to God's Will. Otherwise, if you are not inspired to lead this kind of life, you will not like it. Again, after accepting our path if you decide you are unhappy with it, you can leave. Today you accept our path, tomorrow you may leave but the day after tomorrow you will not be allowed to come back. Nobody can come today, go tomorrow and come back the next day at his sweet will.

This is not the only path and I am not the only teacher. Other paths are equally significant, but I am not competent to teach you how to follow other paths. If you feel that you want to know more about our path and if you want to have spiritual help from me or more inner contact with me, then you are welcome to follow our path.

You need not be my disciple, but you are going to be somebody's disciple when you feel the necessity of having a spiritual Master. Those who say they don't need a spiritual Master are simply fooling themselves. I am not asking you to be my disciple. Far from it! But I am asking you to be under the guidance of some spiritual Master. Those who are advocating the idea that you don't need a Master are deceiving you and nothing else. I don't want you to be deceived. Make a selection. Choose whomever you want to have as your spiritual Master. If you don't get the right Master, God will eventually bring the right one for you. Just because one Master has failed you, that doesn't mean you should not go to any other spiritual Master. Ten Masters may deceive you, but the eleventh one will fulfil you.

The ignorance-sea has to be crossed and without a boat nobody can cross it. Even if there is a boat, without a boatman, who will row? Who will sail the boat? He who has a boatman will naturally have a boat. When he thinks of the boat, it is not just his imagination. It is a reality that he is in the boat just like all of his Master's other disciples. And then he feels safe.

First you have to cross the vast ignorance-sea, which is threatening, damaging and destructive. Then comes the sea of Light and Delight, where there is also a destined goal, the Goal of the Beyond.

The Guru

God has two aspects: personal and impersonal. If we don't accept God in His personal aspect, then realisation will be most difficult. If we take God in His impersonal aspect, as an infinite expanse of Peace and Light, it will be extremely difficult for us to realise that aspect. But if we see the personal aspect, it is very easy to enter into the impersonal aspect. If you do not know a person and you hear his name, it will be difficult for you to establish any clear or close inner connection. But once you know someone, once you have established a conscious oneness with God, if later you don't see Him clearly, no harm.

When you have a true spiritual Master, the easiest and most effective way to illumination is to value his earthly existence. If you say, "No, he is my Master, but somebody else is greater. I can pray to Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna; they are greater," you are making a mistake. Your grandfather may have been the greatest doctor on earth, but if he is not alive today, will you expect him to cure your stomach ache? He can't cure you, but a doctor who is now on earth can cure you.

Those who are on earth with me should always feel that I am more than enough for them. If my disciples have to think of the Christ, Lord Buddha, Sri Krishna, they should think of them inside me. I come from the same room that they came from and to which they have now returned. All the real Masters come from this room. Now the whole world adores them, but when they were here on earth, they were attacked and misunderstood. All spiritual Masters have gone through these experiences. Some of my disciples have attacked me bitterly in the inner world. Occultly I know why. It was because they felt I had not given them enough attention. If I can't give you the things that you want from me, then I become your enemy. But if I do give, then I become God's enemy because God knows that if I give you those things it will only slow down your progress. You want many things. Because I am not fulfilling your myriad desires, you become angry. But I am clever. Better to be your enemy than God's enemy. So I am ready to be your enemy.

When you say, "Guru is somebody one inch higher than we," I am pleased. But when you have the idea that I am millions of miles ahead of you, that there is a yawning gulf between us, then you will think, "Oh, he can do this because he is totally different. For me there is no use even in trying." If you feel that I am at a height all by myself and that I have nothing to do with you, then you will not try to come where I am. But if you can take me as your eternal friend, then there is no difficulty, no yawning gulf. If you take my height as your own height, if you take me as your eternal friend, then no matter which plane you are on, we are together. If you are there, I am there; if you are here, I am here.

You don't disappoint a friend. If someone is a real friend, when you make an appointment with him you are bound to fulfil it. Before you entered into the spiritual life, you were living in the emotional life, the worldly life. You made appointments and your love was there, so you kept your appointments. Now, why don't you have that same love for God? Your appointment with God is early in the morning, during your morning meditation. If your earthly friend came at that time, you would open the door. The Supreme, your eternal friend, is knocking at your door. If you really take Him as your friend, then at any hour you will open the door. So please feel that the Supreme in me is your eternal friend.

We feel that we need God more than God needs us since we are not realised. This is wrong. God needs us equally, if not more. Why? He knows our potentialities, our possibilities, infinitely better than we do. We feel we can go only this far, but He knows we can go millions of miles. Our ignorance doesn't permit us to know what we actually are. We think of ourselves as useless, hopeless, helpless, but in God's Eyes we are really His divine instruments. He wants to use us in infinite ways. This is His Dream that He wants to transform into Reality. God wants us to be not only infinite but also eternal and immortal. He knows we have that capacity because He gave us the capacity. Now He wants us to utilise our capacity. Always say, "I need God in order to realise my highest and God needs me so that He can manifest Himself in and through me." This is God's own supreme philosophy. Always feel, "Because of my ignorance I don't know how to realise Him or fulfil Him: but God, because of His knowledge, knows the infinite ways He will be able to utilise me for His manifestation."

Some disciples feel that since the Master says that he does things for them in the inner world, they can at least have some faith in him. They may not feel what he does, they may not realise it, but they believe it because the Master says so. Then they try to do something for the Master in return, but it is not coming from the bottom of their hearts. These disciples are somewhat insincere and doubting.

But the really sincere, dedicated and devoted disciples not only believe but also feel that what their Master does every day for them in the inner world is something most significant. And they do feel progress in their inner life as well as in their outer life. They can see what they were before they entered into the spiritual life and what they are now after accepting the Master's path. They see the vast difference between their past life and their present life. When they see this, they get enormous joy and they spontaneously try to dedicate their inner life as well as their outer life to the Master.

The Master deals with these sincerely devoted and dedicated disciples with his soulful concern. With the doubting and insincere disciples, he uses his compassion-light. It is his compassion that overflows to the insincere disciples. But to the sincere and devoted disciples, he offers his true concern, soulful concern.

No matter how insincere, how stupid, how foolish or how unlit a disciple may be, the Master holds a very high opinion of him. He sees in each disciple the living divinity of the Supreme. He sees, he knows, he feels that one day each disciple will be the perfect image of God and will realise God fully. Right now he insists on sincerity, dedication and surrender precisely because he wants his disciples to run fast, faster, fastest in the spiritual domain. Since the goal is very far, the Master, with his infinite love, concern, compassion and blessings wants each disciple to run the fastest.

The Master knows how to deal with each individual. He will tell one disciple to do something and he will tell another disciple not to do that very thing. Why? Is the Master partial? No! it is just that he knows what is best for each individual aspirant. He has a free access to the Will of the Supreme and he conveys His messages to the aspirant. When the Master gives advice, he is expressing the Will of the Supreme. It is up to the disciple to accept or reject it. If he rejects it, the Master will never be displeased. A real Master is far above the disciple's acceptance or rejection. But if the Master wants to, he can tell the disciple, "You are delaying your own progress. But God is inside you and He will continue to march. Slowly and steadily He will one day bring you to the Goal." More than that the Master has no need to say.

There is something called God's Hour. When that Hour strikes, one can run very fast. When the Divine within us says that the Hour has struck and that we should run very fast, we can easily run the fastest if we take each of the Master's suggestions as an opportunity. We have to have total faith in the Master's advice and then dive into the sea of spirituality. We have to dedicate our entire life to God, to the Supreme in the Master and in ourselves. Human opportunity comes to us very rarely. But divine opportunity knocks at our door every second. Each second can reveal to us the eternal and infinite Truth.

Sometimes a spiritual Master changes his advice. Then the disciple gets a chance to doubt the Master. He says, "How is it that yesterday he told me to do one thing and today he is telling me to do something else? That means he was not sure of what he said." Unfortunately, here the aspirant is making a mistake. The Master is dealing both with the aspirant and with the Supreme. The Supreme is omniscient; He knows everything. He is omnipotent; He can do everything. He is the eternal Player playing the cosmic Game, and has every right to change the course of His Game. The Master is in tune with this cosmic Play of the Supreme. Yesterday the Supreme said to the Master, "Tell this disciple to do this." Today the Supreme says, "No, I want to change the course of the Game. Tell him to do that." So what will the Master do? Will he remain faithful to his previous views just because the disciple will say, "How is it that you are constantly changing your opinion?" Or will he be loyal and faithful to his inner Pilot, the Supreme? If the Master is sincere, immediately he will tell the disciple, "The Supreme has changed His mind. Now please don't do this: do something else." The spiritual Master will always remain faithful and totally devoted to the Supreme no matter what the disciple thinks of him. The disciple may think that the spiritual Master is making a mistake, but the Master knows that he is doing the right thing.

Choosing a Guru

The Guru who gives you boundless joy is your Master. Suppose four persons are walking down the street and you see all four of them. One will immediately attract your attention and you won't know why. The others are there, but your soul has an inner affinity with one in particular. Similarly, you may go to a spiritual Master and when you look at him, you may feel that he is someone you knew before. You may feel that something is telling you from within, "I know this man." You may feel a tremendous familiarity, even in his outer gestures. You may feel, "This is someone who was very close to me, but now I have forgotten him." That is the connection between your soul and the soul of that particular Master. Everybody has a soul. If you immediately get an inner response from a Master's soul, then you can rest assured that you are meant for his path. If you get the utmost thrill in your inner being when you see him, then he is the right person.

It has happened in a few cases that a person has heard someone casually mention a Master's name. God knows what music, what magic, is in a Master's name; but the seeker has come to the Master because he has heard the name. The very name of the Master draws some people to him. The Master doesn't have to say a word to you. His very presence will inundate you with boundless joy and delight. Everything is done in silence. He talks because he has to convince the outer mind, the superficial, intellectual mind. But this talking cannot bring realisation. It is your meditation, it is your inner feeling of oneness with the Master's soul, that will enable you to realise the Highest.

Whoever is destined to be my disciple will eventually become my disciple. Whoever is not destined for me can come to me for six months but he may see nothing in me and feel nothing in me. I can't blame him, because I am not meant for him. So if you do not see anything in me or if you do not feel that this path is meant for you, please do not be disappointed. There are many other paths for you to choose from.

Those who are my disciples see something in me and that is why they stay with me. They are doing the right thing for themselves. If you do not discover what you want here you should look somewhere else. I am not rejecting you; far from it. But I feel that you are wasting your precious time. What you need is inner guidance and outer assurance; you need somebody to guide you and constantly give you encouragement, inspiration and aspiration so that you can march along according to your soul's highest inner cry. Keep up your inner intense cry for a teacher. Then tomorrow or a few days later, you will find him. You should not miss any opportunity to go and see spiritual Masters when they give talks or hold meditations. Whoever gives you the most inner joy and satisfaction is your teacher.

In selecting a Guru, there is one thing you can try. Write down the names of all the Masters that you have come across or heard of or found out about in books you have read. There will be about six or seven names. Then, take the name of the first spiritual Master on the list and, as you repeat his name, place your right hand on your heart. Try to feel the sound in your heart as you repeat the name seven times. Go down the list, and as you repeat the name of each Master, try to feel your heartbeat. If you feel joy, delight or ecstasy, instantly give the Master a grade. You have to feel what kind of joy you are getting from repeating his name, and then rate it on a scale.

If you get no response, no joy, no inspiration when you repeat the name of a particular Master, then you are in a perfect position to give him zero out of a hundred. If you get a tremendous response from the name of a Master on the list, if you are thrilled all over, if his very name sends an enormous palpitation from the soles of your feet to the crown of your head, you are bound to give him ninety-five or even a hundred. Then you know without a doubt that this one is your Master. He is meant for you and you are meant for him. If he is not near you, but in India or elsewhere, then you have to go there or, if it is meant to happen, circumstances will bring your Master here. If you are destined to be the disciple of a particular Master, God will, without fail, either take you to him or bring him to you.

No matter who your teacher is, I want you to realise God. That will give me the greatest joy. It is not who takes you, but where you go that is important: whether you stay in ignorance or enter into the sea of Light. When I see an aspirant swimming in the sea of Light, that gives me the greatest joy. Who brought him is not what pleases me; only the fact that he is there, in the sea of Light.

Pleasing the Master

We are living in the world of undivine personality and individuality. An aspirant's divine personality is his oneness with his Inner Pilot. An aspirant's divine individuality is the fulfilment of this Inner Pilot through his own life, when his life's actions become nothing other than the manifestation of the Will of the Inner Pilot.

When the Master tells you to do something, if you do that very thing, then it is as good as real meditation. If he tells you, "Please bring me a glass of water," at that time do not feel that you will get your realisation by meditating on him and remaining in trance. No! Feel that your realisation at that time depends on your immediately bringing him a glass of water. If you have accepted a Master as your true Guru, then it is by satisfying him, fulfilling him and pleasing him that you fulfil yourself. Right now if he is thirsty and you try to please him by bringing him a flower, then you are making a mistake. Right now he is in need of water. If you say, "A flower will naturally make him happy, because it represents purity and my pure feeling of aspiration," you are wrong. If you go deep within and look at the Master's face or just enter into the Master, at that time you will see that the Master is really thirsty. So bringing him water represents your dedication and your feeling of oneness with him. If you do not have faith in your Guru and obedience to him, then you are wasting your precious time and the precious time of your Master by remaining with him.

On the one hand, no disciple has ever truly pleased me. On the other hand, everybody has pleased me. To you it may sound contradictory; to me it is absolutely true. When I see what my disciples are, I am terribly disappointed, terribly disheartened. But when I know what they are eventually going to be — God's most perfect instruments on earth — I offer them my Eternity's love, Infinity's gratitude and Immortality's pride.

I was in a spiritual Centre and I know much about other spiritual Masters and their disciples. Real Masters are very, very strict with their disciples for five, ten or twenty years. Then there comes a time when they get disgusted they say to their disciples, "Do as you please." As long as they were serious and took personal interest in their disciples' progress, they suffered a lot; but at the same time they saw some progress in the disciples. But when they gave up and said, "After all, they are God's children. Now God can take care of them," then the disciples' progress was very slow, almost nothing.

In my case, in every way I try, try, try. Most of the time I try through love. Even when I scold you outwardly, inwardly I show tremendous love. I may scold you and insult you with my human tongue, but with my divine heart I am inundating your whole being with love. No matter how mean I am when I bark at you, you have to stay in the heart. Immediately you will feel the message your heart is receiving from me, although my face or tongue may be offering you a totally different message.

The Master needs something from each of his disciples. He needs not only their feeling of oneness with him as their means of fulfillment, but also the establishment of their oneness with each other, as a family. The Master is the head of the family and he really wants all of his spiritual children to feel that each member is his brother or sister. He wants his disciples to feel the joy and necessity of acting as a unit in God's manifestation on earth.

Your faith means your devotion. Your devotion means your love for your Master, for the Supreme in him. Your own aspiration plus the Master's grace and compassion will take you to God. But if you try to exploit his compassion, you are lost. He is doing things the way the Supreme wants him to do them. A disciple should never misunderstand the Master's compassion. This is like allowing poison to enter into the aspiring heart.

Pleasing the disciples

A spiritual Master tries to please his disciples on all levels. At times he succeeds, at times he does not. At times he gets a hundred out of a hundred from them; sometimes he gets zero out of a hundred. He tries to please them most devotedly in the physical world, in the vital world, in the mental world, in the intuitive world and in the soul's world. Most of his disciples may not be aware of these inner worlds, but they are aware of the outer world in which they are living.

It is not always possible for the Master to please his disciples. Sometimes a disciple feels that the Master is unkind or does not care for him if the Master does not give him what he wants. But if the Master does give him what he wants, the disciple's soul will feel miserable and will curse the Master. And the Supreme will hold the Master responsible. He will say that the Master is consciously delaying the progress of that particular disciple. If a child wants to eat poison, the mother does not give him poison just to please him.

There are many, many things that I will not be able to give you, whereas others will be able to give you these things or you may be able to get them from the outer world. I do not have the capacity to fulfil these kinds of outer desires. When it is a matter of fulfilling your desires or demands, I am not the person. But what happens is that, out of compassion, I try to fulfil. I fulfil somebody's outer demand or vital demand out of compassion. Then, when I see that the disciple is slowing down in his spiritual life I feel that since I have made the mistake, it is my responsibility. So I put that person on my shoulder and I run with him. Then, when I bring him back to normal speed, I say, "All right, now you go." But a few days later he will again slow down and fall. So I have to put him on my shoulder again.

This is the plight of all spiritual Masters. The disciples say that they want to run the fastest: but when the Master uses the best method, the disciples say that the Master is unkind, he is cruel, he is indifferent, he is partial. So the Master is at everyone's mercy. If he deals with divine Light, then the disciples say that he is partial. And if he deals with compassion, then he has to put out an extra effort to bring the disciples back to their normal speed.

If my disciples can feel that I am always doing the right thing, then they will be able to make the fastest progress. But sometimes the mind will say, "Yes, Guru is doing the right thing, " but the heart will feel, "No he is partial." Or in the heart a disciple will feel that I am doing the right thing, but in the mind he may feel that I am all the time doing something wrong, or that he could have done everything better or made some improvement. But I wish to say that the moment the disciple feels that the Master is doing something wrong either in his own case or in somebody else's case, there his journey ends for five days or five months or two years. Once the disciple does not see or does not want to see the truth with the Master's eyes, then he is lost.

Now, if you feel that your way of seeing the truth is more powerful or more real, then I may agree with you in order to avoid complications. If I say, "Do this," and you say, No, no, that is wrong," then immediately I will agree with you. I know that I am not wrong, but I don't want to argue. Only I will wait for your soul to come forward and make you feel that I was right. Sometimes the disciples feel, "What does Guru know about this?" or "What does he know about the outer life?" All right, then I will keep silent. But one day your soul will come forward and tell you that I said the right thing, absolutely the right thing.

Sometimes some of the elderly disciples criticise me right and left in front of the younger ones. You people go around saying, "What does Guru know about earthly matters?" You feel that you have gone through many more years of life, so definitely you know more than I do. But you have to know that in this world there are still many things for you to know well, to be one hundred percent sure of. You also have to know that it is a real injustice to children who are being guided by me when you supply these little ones with this sort of criticism. They want to be moulded and guided by my inner light, but you are really ruining their possibilities if you make them feel that they are just blind when they listen to me. Since I have taken the responsibility to bring them to God, you don't have to offer them your wisdom. If a child is fondling a doll, some adult doesn't have to come and say he doesn't like the doll. If the children like me, if I am the object of their love, and if you say, "No, he is ugly, he is all wrong," then what are you doing for these children?

In this world, very few people can remain at the same standard or level of consciousness all the time. How many hours during one day, for example, do you stay in your highest consciousness? Perhaps for half an hour, and then you are in your ordinary consciousness for the rest of the day. Perhaps today you are depressed, tomorrow you are angry. When some negative forces have entered a disciple, or when these forces are already inside him and his consciousness is low, then he is very weak. If on a particular day a little girl is weak like this and you speak to her against me, she may say, "Oh yes, this person is sixty or seventy years old, so I am sure he is right." You are so wise: you have added only more strength to the strength of ignorance. If you people hadn't injected poison from your own world into these children, they would still be safe. Now I have to go and give these young ones new life.

The Master's inner circle

I always say that I have first class, second class, third class, fourth class, fifth class, sixth class and seventh class disciples. But no matter which class an individual belongs to, he must not try to become very close to me by hook or by crook, by grabbing or pulling me. Only by sincere devotion and dedication can one become close to his Master. Each person has to know who comes first and foremost in his life: whether it is the Master or any member of his family or any other person in the world. If the Master comes first in everything, in every action, then I tell you, that person is bound to establish an inseparable connection with the Master. If a seeker has become very devoted and has offered his unconditional surrender not to the Master's personality or individuality, but to the Master's divine will, then that person will be part and parcel of the Master's inner circle. Another thing each disciple has to decide is whether his spiritual Master has the right to make the decisions to direct, guide and mould his life. Also, when I scold someone, that person should feel that he is really blessed. I am not getting pleasure by scolding him; no, it is only that I am trying to perfect him. I am using my divine authority — not my earthly undivine consciousness — in order to make him absolutely perfect. When I make a decision for someone or when I have the right to give him orders or scold him, then I feel that that person is mine — not for me to possess, but for me to mould in my own way, the way that the Supreme feels is best. When I say, "Do this," or "Do that," there will be no discussion. For it is not the human in me that is forcing it over the disciple. No, at that time it is the divine in me, the Supreme, who is giving the order. Spiritual Masters command only those people in whom they have utmost implicit faith. The Master knows that there is really no such thing as giving orders; it is only an offering of illumination to someone who is a little less illumined.

The real first class disciple will never make any decisions for himself. The moment an individual makes his own decisions, he is millions of miles away from the Master. Whether you will drink a glass of water at five o'clock or six o'clock — that kind of decision you have to make for yourself. That is a common sense decision. But anything you feel is important in your life should be done only with the Master's inner approval. First class disciples won't make any decisions for themselves without first approaching the Master in the inner plane. They feel that everything will come from the Master. Inwardly they tell their Master what they are thinking of doing, and then they wait to see if the Master will care for it or not. Then, after some time, they know.

Now, let us bring the matter to the outer plane; let us speak of approaching the Master on the outer plane in making any kind of decision. Whenever you make a decision for anything — even if you make a decision to realise God in your own way?you are taking the responsibility for your life. At that time the Master is not to be blamed for what happens in your life.

When the disciple becomes a member of the Master's inner circle, rest assured that in his every action he is bound to feel the Master's presence — even if it is just drinking a glass of water or going to the supermarket to buy something. If you are drinking water, you will see my existence inside the water, and while the water is entering into you, you will feel that you are my existence. Then, when you are talking to the supermarket man, even if he is very nasty, you will see my presence inside him. Only he has not been able to bring forward this divinity. The outer existence is very crude and rude, but in his inner existence you will feel the presence of your Master.

Many people come to us with utmost love, devotion and surrender; then after some time they start descending on the scale. But right from the beginning if the person maintains the same intensity, the same love, the same devoted surrender and dedication, then he becomes a member of the Master's inner circle. He may stumble or fall, and if he becomes tired he can take a rest, but again he has to get up and run. It is not that once he has dropped, tired and exhausted, he will not be able to go forward any more. No! He may take rest for a few days or a few months, but then again he has to run fast. He will ask himself, "What is wrong with me? I had the capacity to run for three years." So he can take rest for a month or a year, but again he will have to run the fastest. At that time again he will become a member of the inner circle.

Leaving the spiritual path

If you believe in reincarnation, you will feel that this is not our first life and it can never be our last life. If this is the case, you have to know that we started our journey long, long ago. Some of the people who came to us had no difficulty in accepting our path. In the sincerity of their inner being, they felt that they had found their teacher in me. Again, there were some who went to many spiritual teachers but were not satisfied. They practiced spirituality, meditation and inner discipline with those teachers, but found that those teachers were not meant for them. Again, there are many who have come here for a short time and felt that I am not their teacher, so they have gone back to search for another teacher. Naturally, they will sooner or later find their own Master.

In this life, nothing is lost when it is a matter of spirituality. Your inner achievement will always remain inside you. But it can be veiled by ignorance. Suppose you have meditated for many years. Then, due to some inner problems or some apparently unavoidable circumstances, you give up your meditation and spiritual practice. The things that you have achieved from your meditation will not be lost. But it is like an eclipse of the sun; it is dark for some time. Then a time comes when you have an inner urge to feel the Truth and grow into the Truth. Once more you feel the necessity of going to a spiritual Master to expedite your spiritual progress.

In the Bhagavad-Gita, which we call India's Bible, Sri Krishna is asked by his dearest disciple, Arjuna, a significant question: "What happens to those who have accepted spiritual life but have fallen from the path and have given up the spiritual life altogether? What will happen to them in their next incarnation?"

The answer is that they will start again from where they left off. So those who have practised meditation for quite a few years and have left the spiritual life for some reason will also start again one day. But their aspiration has been clouded by ignorance obscurity and other things. If they had stayed on the path, even if they were progressing slowly, no harm. Slow and steady eventually wins the race. But when they left, immediately they were captured by the forces of ignorance. They will eventually resume their journey and reach the Goal, but it will take a very, very long time.

Here we are all seekers. We shall all reach the Goal. But it depends entirely on our aspiration. Those who have inner wisdom never waste a single second. They feel that time is most precious, time is golden. This same time will not come again. A seeker's life is meaningful and fruitful only if he can use each moment for a divine purpose, for a spiritual purpose. If a seeker does not use his time for a divine purpose, in one way his life is no better than that of an atheist. An atheist does not believe in God, true. But the seeker who believes in God but has no time for God, is practically in the same boat. When it is time to meditate, if he does not meditate, a that time he is not much better than the atheist.

Meditation

When you meditate you have to try to quiet and calm the mind. There should be no thought within the mind. Right now you feel that if you can cherish twenty ideas at a time, then you are the wisest man on earth. The more thoughts that enter into our minds, the more clever we feel we are. But in the spiritual life it is not like that. If consciously we can make the mind calm and quiet, we feel that a new creation dawns inside us. The sooner we can calm the mind, quiet the mind, the greater will be the height of our new creation.

How do we calm the mind? The answer is regular practice under the guidance of a spiritual Master. Or, if you do not have a Master, you can study spiritual books. There are a few prescribed methods offered by the spiritual Masters. If you study these methods, then you can succeed in meditating. But again, I wish to say that spiritual books will give you inspiration, but they will not be able to give you aspiration, not to speak of realisation. It is absurd. No book can give realisation to anybody. But books can offer inspiration. Today if you are inspired, you will meditate. Then, when you meditate, you will create a new aspiration within yourself. And from aspiration you will develop the power of self-discovery and realisation.

If you have a spiritual teacher, he will be able to teach you inwardly how to meditate. But if you don't have one or you do not care for one, the best thing is to study a few spiritual books written by spiritual Masters and not by so-called professors and scholars. Professors and scholars and intellectual giants are only borrowing the ideas of the spiritual Masters who have realised and who have lived the Truth. If they do not embody the realisation that they are offering in their book, then from their book you cannot get real aspiration.

Some people prefer to sit in the lotus position when they meditate, but this is not obligatory. The lotus position is good because it helps the spinal column to remain erect. That is the main purpose of the lotus position. Again, it is important that the body be relaxed. When the body feels uncomfortable, it will change its position automatically. During the time of your meditation, automatically your inner being or your consciousness will take you to a comfortable position, and then it is up to you to maintain it. But if there is some restlessness, if you constantly move from side to side, then how can relaxation last? In order to maintain relaxation, one has to keep calmness in the body and avoid restlessness at all costs.

In meditation it is always advisable to follow one specific pattern or method. Mantra and japa are good, but if they have been taught to you by different teachers or if you have developed a mantra of your own for meditation, these things will cause conflict rather than help you when you try to practise them together. If you got a mantra from one Master, japa from a second Master and meditation from a third Master, it will only ruin all your aspiration and capacity because each Master has his own way of teaching his disciples. You may think it is like making a choice of different dishes and you are choosing the most delicious ones. But spiritual life is not like that. You have to take only one particular food, your inner aspiration, and from this you will get the most delight.

Even if you got your mantra, japa and meditation all from the same Master, you should practise them at three different times because the forces of these practices don't go together. In the morning, if you want to, you can chant a specific mantra: in the evening you can do japa and at some other time you can do meditation. Otherwise, while you are meditating, if you suddenly get the inspiration to do japa or to chant some specific mantra, you will only ruin your aspiration. Japa and mantras have their own significant power but in the highest type of meditation, when your inner being is communing with God, at that time there is no thought, no idea: your mind is calm and quiet, so there should be no mantra or japa there.

In my own case, I do not emphasise the importance of mantras for those following my path. But if a disciple does want to practice a mantra, I tell him that he can repeat the name of God — 'Supreme' — or he can chant 'Aum'. Again, if he doesn't care to repeat these divine words, he can chant his own soul's name. To some disciples I have given spiritual names, souls' names. If you can repeat your own soul's name, I assure you that you will be able to bring to the fore all your divine qualities and to become energised with divine power. But just by repeating the name given you by your parents you will not achieve anything. Suppose your American name is Warren. If you go on repeating 'Warren, Warren, Warren', I don't think that anything divine will happen from that. But if you repeat even ten times very slowly the spiritual name I have given you, then a new and fruitful consciousness will dawn in you.

When I am not physically present, I tell my disciples to meditate on my picture, my Transcendental Picture. This picture was taken of me when I was in my highest consciousness, inseparably one with the Supreme. When you meditate on my picture, please do not take the picture as a picture of a human being. Think of what the picture represents. For you at least, according to your faith, according to your belief, this picture represents someone who has realised the Highest. So when you look at the picture, think of the achievement of that picture. Do not think of the face or nose or eyes, but only the achievement. But if you find it difficult to see or feel vastness in this picture, then immediately use your imagination-power. You can easily imagine a vast ocean or sky — either inside me, beside me or in front of me. If you think of the ocean or the vast sky right in front of you, immediately you will feel a sense of infinity. At that time you try to identify with this infinity.

Then, when you are seeing the ocean, feel that a day will come when you will go beyond the ocean. Your inner consciousness is vaster than the ocean, vaster than the sky. But first you have to identify yourself with the vastness that you see around you. Suppose a child has a few pennies. For him, a dollar is vastness itself. He cannot think of anything more than a dollar. But the moment he gets ten dollars, he sees that ten dollars has more importance, much more value.

Right now when you meditate, if you think of the ocean or the sky, it is not deception. Scientists, poets, all who create some solid reality, begin with imagination. Inside imagination there is the power of inspiration. Inside inspiration, if you go one step ahead, you see there is aspiration. And if you go one more step, you see there is realisation.

I always tell my disciples to meditate in the heart. This is the safest and, at the same time, the most effective way. But if you want to use the mind, then you have to try to make the mind very calm, quiet and receptive. Always feel that inside the aspiring mind there is a vessel that you can enlarge with your sincere aspiration. Try to make the vessel very large so that it can hold more purity, more luminosity. But do not try to pull anything; if you pull, eventually you will see that you have pulled beyond your capacity. It is like a child who sees a large quantity of food in front of him. He will eat greedily and then find it difficult to digest the food. The best thing is to allow the higher forces to flow into you by praying and meditating most soulfully. In this way, there is no risk, no possibility of destruction. Then you can never have any kind of tension in your head.

When you meditate, don't feel that you have to pull down God's Peace, Light and Bliss. God knows how much to give you, and He knows the right time. Don't feel that meditation is a tug-of-war; don't feel that you have to defeat someone or some thing. When you meditate, your own aspiration will go up from the heart and God's Grace will descend into your aspiring consciousness. You have to be like a divine farmer. Your business is to cultivate aspiration; God's business is to pour down Grace, which is the divine rain. If you try to pull God down into your consciousness, you are taking a risk. Your door is closed, but you try to break through the ceiling and pull Him into your room. At that time, poor God is entering into an unprepared, unreceptive and unillumined vessel. Then the vessel resists and you get a headache. So do not pull anything; only let the divine Grace flow in and through you. Just keep your heart's door open and God is bound to come.

Another reason people sometimes get a headache during meditation is that they meditate on Power. If you want divine, illumined Power, but your inner vessel is not pure enough, then automatically an aggressive quality comes. This aggression is transformed into terrible tension in the forehead. So when you meditate in the morning, start with Peace and Light. Inundate your outer being and your inner being with Peace; then you will not have this kind of tension. Peace itself is Power. Peace can solve all your problems.

In meditation, receptivity is of paramount importance. If for the past two or three hours you have thought only about how jealous you are of someone, then you will not be receptive — far from it. I had a friend who once confessed, 'I have no time to think of God. All the time I am thinking of so-and-so — my worst enemy!' Now look at him! He had no time to think of his own spiritual role, his own spiritual development, his own perfection. He lived in a neighbouring ashram for many years and all his time he spent thinking of his enemies and how he could conquer them.

Also, if you have been thinking too much of yourself, you will not be receptive. When you do think of yourself, do not compare yourself with others; only think of yourself as a tool, an instrument. In the spiritual life there is no competition. When you meditate before you go to sleep at night, do not think of any human being in a competitive way, that he or she is better than you or closer to the Supreme. Do not allow these thoughts to enter into you. Just feel that you are making progress and do not think about the progress of others. If you want to become perfect so that you can show off to others, so that others will appreciate you and admire you, then you will always remain imperfect. You have to become perfect so that your life can manifest your true inner beauty. You should only make yourself more receptive, saying, "Let me make myself as receptive as possible so that the Light of the Supreme can enter into me and the Supreme Pilot can utilise me in His own way."

How do you become receptive? You become receptive by offering your utmost surrender to the Will of the Supreme. Unfortunately, you may wonder whether it is really possible for you to offer your utmost surrender to the Will of the Supreme. But when doubt enters, it means that you are only dwelling in the mind. At that time you will not offer your surrender to the Supreme. Similarly, during the whole day if you think more of your so-called friends or spiritual brothers and sisters than of your own inner progress, you will not be able to offer your surrender to the Supreme. And if you are all the time wondering if your Guru appreciates and admires you, then you won't be able to surrender and make yourself receptive.

I always tell my disciples that the best time to meditate is early in the morning, before the earth-consciousness becomes agitated. But suppose you went to bed at three o'clock, because you had to study for school or you had to do something for your spiritual brothers and sisters. Your mind or heart will say that five or six o'clock is the best time, but the Supreme — who is your Mother, Father, everything — will think of your health also. However, you have to know what you were doing the night before — whether you went to a party or whether you were doing something spiritual. If you were up all night doing something spiritual, something divine, then the Supreme will not blame you if you don't get up. He knows that at this stage of your development the body needs six or seven hours of sleep a night. Later, when you become more advanced in your inner life, you will take only one hour or two hours of sleep. At that time, if you are getting boundless energy from your meditation, you can sleep less.

Collective meditation

In the spiritual life every day we meditate. As we feed the body so also we feel that it is obligatory to feed the soul. Individual meditation we will do early in the morning at home, when we are alone. But collective meditation we also have to do. When we enter into the spiritual life, we try to widen our consciousness. We are all God's children; we belong to one spiritual family. If there are ten members in a spiritual family, then they should meditate together at least once a week.

While feeding the soul individually at home in my room, I don't need anybody to see or feel what I am doing. But if I claim to be one of the members of a large family, then I feel it is my duty to be of service to others. When we meditate collectively we can be of real help to one another. Sometimes it is difficult to meditate in a group. This is absolutely true. But if you feel that someone is pulling down your consciousness, then you need not sit beside that person. But again, even if you do not sit beside that person, still you can be of help to him.

It is like this. Today you are in a very high state of consciousness and the person who is sitting beside you is not meditating well. But your very presence, your own aspiration, will lift up that person who is sitting beside you. Now, tomorrow it may happen that you are low, while the consciousness of the other person is very high. So at that time he will be able to lift you up. Collective meditation is meant for mutual help. Nobody can say that every day he meditates well. Nobody can say that every day he eats the soul's most delicious food. No. Every day he eats, but he cannot say that every day he is eating a most delicious meal.

And then, we have to feel that it is like a tug-of-war. You are in a very high state of consciousness. The seeker beside you is also in a very high state of consciousness. If ten persons meditate together and they are all in a very high state of consciousness, then it is like ten persons on one side in a tug-of-war. And ignorance is one person on the other side. Since ignorance is only one person, while all your spiritual brothers and sisters are meditating on one side, naturally it will be infinitely easier for you to conquer ignorance.

When disciples meditate together, they have to feel their oneness. The individual should not feel that he is stronger than any of the other disciples. No! Each individual has to feel that he is the strongest only by virtue of his oneness with the others. He has to feel that he is the strongest because he has become one with his brother and sister disciples in their aspiration.

In collective meditation the disciples should start by offering gratitude to the Supreme. If anyone is really sincere in his spiritual life, he will feel the necessity of gratitude. A moment of gratitude is equivalent to an hour of most intense meditation. Then, after offering gratitude, the disciples will try to empty their inner vessels. If twenty persons are sitting together, they have to feel that they are only one vessel. They are not individuals; they have become one vessel and they are one in their receptivity. But each one has to feel that it is his obligation and responsibility to empty the vessel. He can't feel, "Oh, since we are all one, let him do it for me." No, in this oneness each disciple has to play his own part. Then, when the vessel is filled with purity, peace, light and bliss, all the disciples inwardly drink these divine qualities.

It is not advisable for disciples following one path to meditate with disciples of another path. If you are following one path and the person sitting beside you is following a different path, in spite of your best aspiration there will be an inner conflict between your aspiration and his. When you are ready to fly, the person next to you will pull you back because unconsciously there will be the urge to surpass you. He will try to go beyond you and you will try to go beyond him. Even if you consciously say, "Oh, he follows another path, no harm. We are not competing, still this does not help. There is an unconscious competition. You feel that your path is better than his and he feels that his is better than yours.

It is always advisable that the disciples of one spiritual Master meditate only with those on their own path. It is not that you are being mean; far from it. Only you have to feel that you are living in your house and somebody else has to live in his own house. All those who follow a particular spiritual Master are like members of the same spiritual family. They can pray and meditate together because they have the feeling of oneness with their spiritual brothers and sisters.

But when it is a matter of inspiration, if you want to talk with spiritual people you happen to meet who follow other paths, you can. You are trying to reach God and they are trying to reach God. That means that you and they both possess inspiration, even though it may not be of the same standard. Just because a flower gives you inspiration, you look at it. You stand in front of a rose and the rose gives you inspiration. You stand in front of a lotus and the lotus gives you inspiration. They are different flowers, but both give you inspiration. Similarly, if you happen to meet disciples of other Masters, if you speak with them, you will get inspiration and they will get inspiration. But when it is a matter of real, lasting friendship, inner oneness, this you will have only with members of your own spiritual family. One day, when you become advanced, you will feel oneness with all humanity. But for the time being, it is best for the disciples to make close ties only with other disciples.

The inner voice and the Master's advice

You have to be able to distinguish the inner voice, the voice of conscience, from the voice that may come from the vital or the mind. The vital is very clever. It will take the form of your conscience and tell you to do something, but this is all wrong. When you get an inner message, how will you know if it is the voice of your conscience? You have to go deep within. If it is your conscience, you are bound to feel that you are not being asked to do the thing, but somebody else is doing it in and through you. It is some higher force, some inner force, that is operating in and through you. If you feel this, then you are bound to know that it is the voice of conscience that you are hearing, and not the voice of your vital or mind.

When a serious matter occurs in your life, you can go deep within for a day or two to find an answer. But after that, please do not waste your precious time. Just let me know what is happening and then become one with my will, because you have to feel whatever I say is coming directly from the Supreme. Sometimes I see a conflict going on in the inner world and I wait for the person to ask me about it on the outer plane. Many, many times you get the opportunity to ask me what to do, only you do not ask. Then, once you ask, I may take time before I answer. You may have asked me something most important but there is no reply. If I take time, don't think that I am neglecting you or being indifferent. I am giving your inner being time to prepare itself to receive the decision. The decision is already made; but if it is disclosed at that particular time, then you will not accept it. I sometimes wait two months, three months, four months, one year. The real decision was made long ago, but the inner being of that particular disciple was not ready to accept it at that time. So I wait until I see that the disciple is ready to accept my answer, which is the answer I have got from the Supreme.

During this time, please do not feel that the reason I have not answered you is because I am displeased with you. That is wrong, absolutely wrong. You can ask me ten times if it is a serious matter, even twenty times; but every time I may say, "Please wait, please wait, please wait." This does not mean that the decision is not coming: the decision has come, but I feel that if I wait until you can accept the decision as the right thing, then at that time we have achieved a double victory: victory from above, victory from below.

The spiritual Master and the Inner Pilot

For an absolutely ordinary, unaspiring being, the body is the Inner Pilot. He will eat because his Inner Pilot, the body, has told him to eat food. Then if he becomes a little more advanced, the vital becomes the Inner Pilot. The vital will tell him that he is hungry. If he goes a little deeper, then the mind becomes the Inner Pilot; then the heart and then the soul. As he is growing, as his aspiring consciousness is evolving, he gradually comes up to the standard where the soul becomes the Inner Pilot.

Again, you have to know that he who brought you the message of the Supreme is none other than the Supreme's own Reality. Spiritual Masters of the highest order are totally one with the Supreme. This is true to such an extent that the fate of the disciple depends entirely on the Master himself. In this case, the Master plays the role of the bridge between the individual seeker's soul and the Supreme. Again, the dearest and closest disciples of the Master get the Master in a different way. For them, the Master is more than a bridge; he is also the goal. The Supreme tells those souls, "Do not separate your Master from Me."

So, for the dearest and closest, the Master has to play the role of the Supreme Himself, because at that time the Master is fully responsible for the realisation, perfection and manifestation of those particular souls. The Master becomes absolutely the Inner Pilot for those individual souls who are his very close, very intimate, first class disciples: his inner circle.

How can one become a first class disciple? By serving, serving in every way possible. How do you serve? You serve through aspiration. And how do you get aspiration? In the beginning, if you want to get aspiration, you have to exercise your imagination. Imagination is not a bad thing; on the contrary, it is a very important thing for the scientist, for the poet, for anyone. In any field of life, you have to exercise your imagination. Then you can do something; you can become something. With your imagination, you will try to spread Light, the Light of the Supreme, the Light that I bring down to you.

It is very easy to have a complacent feeling. You are satisfied with me and I am satisfied with you, let us say. But that is not enough. There is no end to your progress. With your imagination, with your aspiration, you can go beyond what you are satisfied with today. Please try to use your imagination and aspiration to become a first class disciple.

For those who are first class disciples, for those who are totally one with me, I know in the inner world what I am for them. Just like a potter I shape their inner life every day. I take the divine clay and I just mould it. There are some disciples who have that kind of connection with me. Their inner progress, their life, their everything, not only in this incarnation, but in all future incarnations will depend on me: not on the human in me but on the Supreme in me. It is not that I want to lord it over them or that I just have more capacity than they do. No! It is they and the Supreme who have wanted me to have that kind of oneness with them. It is through this oneness that the Master is manifested and the disciple is perfected.

To these disciples, the Supreme says, "If I am the top of the tree, then your Master is also the top of the tree. And if I am the foot of the tree, then he is also the foot of the tree." Now, my highest part, which is one with the Supreme, does not fall and then rise again. No, it is one with the Supreme and remains there in the Highest. One level of my existence is one with the Supreme but, at the same time, another part of me comes down to work here for the disciples. It is not that if one part comes down, the entire being comes down. Suppose the right hand and left hand are lifted up. When the time has come for the left hand to come down to work, the right hand can still remain up. The disciple has to feel that the Master is remaining in the Highest all the time. Although the Master is cutting jokes, scolding, insulting and barking, the real disciple feels, "No, Master's height is still there."

So, if you are a true intimate disciple, then for you my oneness with the Supreme is complete on the highest level, on the lowest level, everywhere. But when we use the term 'Inner Pilot', let us feel that it signifies the Master on the highest level. For those who have established or will establish that kind of intimacy and oneness with me, I become the Inner Pilot. In other cases, if someone wants to do something and if it is sanctioned by the Supreme, then I will tell that person, "All right, do it." But if I see that a disciple has offered his entire existence unreservedly to the Supreme in me, then even if he is not asking anything from me, I will tell the soul of that particular disciple what I feel he should do. For these disciples, I am totally, absolutely one with the transcendental Supreme in the sense that if I say something, they can feel that it is the Supreme who is saying it. But for those who are second and third class disciples, when I say something, they have to feel that it is the message of the Supreme that I am bringing down to them as their Master. Again, for the fourth and fifth class disciples, I am only a spiritual man giving them some advice. Finally, for those who are not following our path or who are not aspiring, I am just an ordinary man.

If one says that his Inner Pilot is the Supreme and not the Master, neither his soul nor the Master will feel sorry. If you say that the Supreme is the Inner Pilot, I will have no jealousy, because who has taught you the word 'Supreme'? It is I. If the elder son sees that his younger brother is going to the father because the elder brother told him where the father is, if the elder is a real son, he will be very happy, very happy that his brother is going to the right place. He will feel, "Oh, I told my younger brother that my father is there. I have shown him the right path. What I want, he also wants. I am so happy that my dearest brother for whom I care so much, also cares for the Supreme."

So whenever you say, 'Supreme, Supreme', never feel, even for a second, that the Master feels sorry that you are not saying 'Guru'. The Guru has established his oneness with the Supreme. If you say 'Supreme', you are calling on my Father, your Father, everybody's Father. Or if you say 'Supreme Goddess', then also I will be the happiest person. So never feel that there is any separation between us. If you say 'Supreme', I will be so delighted, so proud, and if you use your Master's name, if you pray to your Master, then my Father will also be very proud.

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