Entertainment versus enlightenment

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These stories are not my stories. They have been told and retold by countless people, and God alone knows who the first authors were. Each person tells these stories with his own colouring, in a slightly different way. Most of the stories involve the great Mogul Emperor Akbar and his minister and court jester, Birbal; or King Krishna Chandra and his minister and court jester, Gopal Bhanr.

I do hope that my Spiritual Comments will inspire sincere seekers of the eternal Truth to lead a better, higher and more inspiring life.

The foolish and the wise

Akbar once asked his minister, “Birbal, tell me, who are the wise people on earth and who are the fools?”

Birbal replied, “Your Majesty, the wise people are those who perform their duties and do not leave anything incomplete. Once they have undertaken something they complete it. The fools are those who never fulfil their duties.”

“Why are these people fools?”

“They are fools because they have to come back to earth again and again. If they do not complete their work in this incarnation, they will have to do it in their next incarnation. They are fools to come back to this earth again in order to finish the work that they could have done in one incarnation.”

Spiritual comments

In the spiritual life, the wise are those who want to complete their first and foremost task in this incarnation. Their only work, their main duty, is to realise God. The beginning of their work is aspiration; the end of their work is realisation.

Wise people know that there are many things to do. They know that if they don’t start working they will never be able to accomplish what they want to accomplish, so they start right away before they lose either the inclination or the capacity to do the work.

The wise do three things correctly. First they cry for God. Then they become one with God. And finally they work for God. But the fools do not cry for God. They do not care to become one with God. And they do not want to fulfil God. This is the difference between a fool and a wise man. The fools have the capacity to do this work, but they do not utilise it. Unless they utilise their capacity, unless they accomplish their duty, which is God-realisation, they will never be satisfied. So the fools have to start working like the wise.

The darkness of the mind

Akbar said to his minister, “Birbal, for a long time I have been thinking of one question. I am sure you will be able to answer it. We see everything clearly in the sunlight, but is there anything that cannot be seen even with the help of sunlight?”

“Yes, your Majesty, there is something that cannot be seen in the sunlight. Even the sunlight fails to illumine it.”

“What is it, Birbal?”

“Your Majesty, it is the darkness of the mind.”

Spiritual comments

Birbal’s answer is absolutely correct. The only question that Birbal might not have been in a position to answer is whether there is anything that can show us the ignorance of the mind and illumine it. Even if he had been able to answer this question, he still would not have been able to actually illumine the darkness of anybody’s mind.

How do we illumine the mind? We illumine the dark, unlit, obscure, impure mind by bringing to the fore our inner sun. The outer sun can show us only earthly objects, but the inner sun can show us what the mind is, how it operates and what it contains. We bring the inner sun to the fore by digging deep within. When we dig very deep into the ground we reach water. Similarly, when we dig very deep into ourselves, we reach our inner sun. At this point I must say that there is not only one inner sun, but many. How many we bring to the fore depends on how we dig and how deep we dig. If we dig deep within most soulfully, in the way the Supreme wants us to dig, then we discover many inner suns. And we can easily bring them to the fore.

Yet, when we have brought our inner suns to the fore, our role is not over. First we illumine our own inner and outer existence, and then we try to illumine the world around us: our friends, our relatives, our dear ones. And finally we try to illumine the entire world. But first we have to dig deep within in order to get in touch with our own inner suns.

The power to punish

Once Akbar asked his ministers, “Tell me, who is superior, God or I?”

The ministers were all amused by this question. Outwardly they acted very serious and made the Emperor feel that he had asked a most significant and difficult question, but inwardly they were all laughing at Akbar for being foolish enough to try to compare himself with God.

At last Birbal came forward and said, “I can answer this question. Undoubtedly you are far superior to God.”

Akbar was outwardly amused, but inwardly he was deeply pleased. He challenged Birbal, “Prove that I am superior to God.”

Birbal said, “Your Majesty, when somebody commits a very serious crime you have the power to punish him. You have the power to place him in a prison cell for the rest of his life. But poor God! He created everything and the whole creation belongs to Him, yet He does not have the power to give a lifelong sentence to anybody. His Power of Compassion is infinitely more powerful than His Power of Justice. He cannot punish anybody the way you do. So you are far superior to God, because you have the power to punish severely.”

Akbar was satisfied and pleased with this answer, but the ministers were all amused.

Spiritual comments

When a disciple of a spiritual Master makes a serious mistake, the punishment he gets from the Master is next to nothing. The Master becomes totally one with the disciple’s mistake, with the disciple’s imperfection. Like God, he has a big heart, and he takes his disciple’s mistake as his own imperfection. So he cannot punish his spiritual child. But the other disciples want him to receive extremely severe punishment. At any moment they may make the same serious mistake themselves, yet they are ready to punish their spiritual brother most severely. They feel that they are superior to the person who has made the mistake, and for this reason they think that they have every right to punish him. But in fact, these disciples are superior only in the matter of showing their ego-power or the power of their judgement against the accused. Since the Master is all love and compassion, his judgement is different. His judgement is forgiveness. His judgement is identification with the one who has made the mistake so that he does not make that mistake again. The judgement of equals is condemnation and punishment. But the judgement of one who is really superior is identification and illumination.

Universal jealousy

Akbar asked Birbal, “How is it that there is no hair on my palm? There is hair everywhere else on my body. How is it that there is none on the palm of my hand?”

Birbal answered, “It is because you always have plenty of money in your hands, and you give it away in charity. Your palms are being rubbed constantly, so the hair there has all been rubbed away.”

“But how is it that you do not have hair on your palms, either?”

“Just because I constantly receive money from you, my palms are always being rubbed. You are constantly giving me money and I am constantly receiving it, and that is why we have no hair on our palms.”

“But what about those who do not get money from me the way you do? Why don’t they have hair on their palms?”

“Oh, that is because they are very jealous. Jealous people are always thinking of the money that you are giving me and that I am receiving from you. They constantly rub their hands together in anticipation of receiving some money. They are always burning with jealousy and greed, and so they just rub and rub their palms together. That is why they do not have any hair on their palms either.”

Akbar was highly amused and pleased; but those who were listening to Birbal were terribly embarrassed at his accusation, and they bowed their heads in shame.

Spiritual comments

When I give something to a disciple my love-power increases, and when that person receives devotedly from me his gratitude-power increases. Whatever I give goes to the disciple in the form of love; and while receiving, what he offers in return comes to me in the form of gratitude. But if those who do not get something at that time become jealous, they simply delay their own progress. When I am giving spiritual wealth to a particular disciple, the others can easily feel that it is they who are giving. And while the disciple is receiving from me, they can feel that it is they who are receiving this wealth. If they can identify themselves with my offering and, at the same time, with the devoted qualities of the receiver, then they become the giver as well as the receiver.

Identification is not illusion. Identification is not deception. In the spiritual life one must always try to identify himself with the Truth that is coming from above and trying to manifest itself here on earth. Identification with Light and Truth is the only important thing in life. When a disciple identifies himself with his Master’s consciousness, he becomes one with the Creator. And when he identifies himself with his fellow disciples, he becomes one with the creation. When he becomes inseparably one with both the Creator and the creation, he gets the utmost joy.

By being jealous of what the giver has or of what the receiver gets, one can never have joy or peace of mind. In order to be constantly happy, one has to identify himself with Reality’s Source and Reality’s Course, with Reality’s Glow and Reality’s Flow. Reality’s Source is the Master; Reality’s Course is the disciple. Reality’s Glow is the Master; Reality’s Flow is the disciple.

Heaven and hell

Akbar once asked Birbal, “After death, who are the people that go to Heaven and who are the people that go to hell?”

“Your Majesty,” replied the minister, “only clever people go to Heaven after death. The fools go to hell.”

“Why is that?” asked the Emperor. “Why do the clever people go to Heaven? How do they become clever?”

“They become clever by knowing that there is only one thing worth having, and that is love. When they give love to the world and receive love from the world in return, everything is done. Only those who love the world and get love from the world are clever, and they go to Heaven. Those who don’t love the world and do not get love from the world go to hell.”

The Emperor was silent.

Spiritual comments

Birbal’s answer is almost perfect. His only mistake is to say “clever” when what he really means is “wise.” Now we have to know whether we love the world for its own sake, or whether we love God inside the world. If we feel that the Creator and the creation are one, then by loving the Creator of the world we can love His creation as well. Otherwise, we will love the world and expect love from the world in return. And if we do not get love from the world, we will feel sad and miserable.

According to spiritual philosophy, only those who love God in mankind and do not expect anything in return go to the real Heaven. Only those who offer love constantly and unconditionally to God in man can go to the highest abode of Peace, Light and Bliss after death. Those who do not do that will naturally go to an inferior world where these divine qualities are found in less sufficient measure.

But again, where is Heaven? Heaven is not just a place where we go after death. We go to Heaven and hell every day. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness. In the perfection of the mind, in the peace of the mind, Heaven abides. In the frustration of the mind, in the depression of the mind, hell lives. Every day we experience Heaven and hell in our lives. Frustration, depression, insecurity, worry, doubt, fear, anxiety and jealousy all make us live in hell. Security, beauty, joy, peace, light and love all allow us to dwell in Heaven at every moment.

Akbar is superior to Indra

Once Akbar asked his ministers and the others present in his court, “Tell me frankly, who is superior: Indra, the Lord of the Gods, or I? Be very frank.”

Everybody was shocked, and nobody dared to answer. If they said that Indra was superior to Akbar, Akbar would be displeased. And if they said that Akbar was superior to Indra, it would be a real lie. So they all kept silent.

But finally Birbal came forward and said, “I have the answer.”

“Then tell me,” said Akbar.

Birbal proclaimed, “You are superior.”

Akbar was outwardly amused and inwardly pleased. “Prove it,” he said.

“That is very easy,” replied Birbal. “When the Creator created you and Indra, He put both of you on a scale. On one side He placed you, and on the other side He placed Indra. Just because you were heavier than Indra, you dropped down to earth and Indra remained up in Heaven. So you see, you are superior because you are heavier. You are more fulfilling for earth. That is why you have become the Emperor of the earth.”

Akbar was very happy. He thought, “Indra remains high because he is light. I came down because of my superior weight. That is why I remain on earth.”

Spiritual comments

Everybody was happy with this answer. But poor Akbar did not get the point. He did not understand that Birbal really meant that Indra was superior. Akbar thought that just because he was heavier in weight he had more power.

In the spiritual life, a seeker sits on the scale every day. God places him on one side of the scale and his ignorance on the other side. The seeker always finds that his ignorance is heavier, much heavier than his knowledge and wisdom. Then he feels miserable. So he tries to pray, he tries to meditate, and gradually he increases his knowledge and inner wisdom. Simultaneously the other side of the scale, his ignorance, becomes lighter and lighter.

Finally a day comes when he has only knowledge. His ignorance has all been devoured or illumined by his inner knowledge. When there is nothing on the other side of the scale, the knowledge side drops down to earth again and the seeker enters into the world to work for mankind with his newly acquired wisdom. With this wisdom-power he tries to conquer the ignorance of the world.

Legacy: the problem of problems

There were once two brothers. Their father had recently died and left his property and money to them. But the brothers were always in the habit of quarrelling and fighting. When their father was alive he could not bring about peace between his two sons. Now, after his death, their quarrelling increased tenfold.

The two brothers had to share their property and divide their money, but they simply could not come to terms. Each one thought that he rightly deserved more than the other, and they could not agree to have equal shares. Each one felt that his father had more love and more concern for him than for the other one, and there was no peace between them.

Finally they decided to take their inheritance to an old aunt who lived in a distant town and let her keep it for them until they could come to some agreement. They went to this elderly woman and said, “Please, Aunt, you keep the money. We cannot come to any agreement about sharing it. After a year or two, when we become real friends, real brothers, we will come back for it. But only when both of us come together will you give us the money. If only one comes, you must keep it until he brings the other.”

Their aunt said, “Yes, my sons, I will keep your money. Your father is dead. Now you should live in peace. I will never take a cent of your money. When you come back as friends, I will give it to you with utmost joy.”

After five or six months, the younger brother, who was a great rogue, came all alone to this old lady, crying and sobbing. He said that his brother had died in an accident near their home. The younger brother struck his chest and reproached himself bitterly, saying that he and his brother still had not become friends when the accident happened. “I have lost my brother,” he wept. "Please give me the inheritance now, for I have gone into debt in order to give him a most elaborate funeral. Now he is gone. I have lost forever a divine opportunity. Now my whole family is gone. I have no one; I have nothing.” And he went on crying and crying for his lost brother.

He so completely convinced the old lady that she began shedding tears of compassion for his sorrow. She showered him with motherly affection and concern and gave him all the money that his father had left them.

Then the younger brother brought the money to the little house in the village where he and his brother both lived, and in a few days he started building a very large new house. The elder brother wondered where he had got the money to build such a big house. “Perhaps he has gone to our aunt and somehow brought back some of the money,” he thought. So without telling the younger one, he set out for her village.

When his aunt saw him, at first she thought she was seeing a ghost. But when he spoke to her, asking if his brother had come for the money, she knew that she had been deceived. Still, she had to answer yes to his question.

The elder brother became furious. “Did we not tell you that we had to come together in order to get the money?” he shouted. “We told you that you were not to give up the money if one of us came alone.”

“That is true,” she said, “but if somebody dies, can he come from Heaven to collect money from me? Your brother convinced me that you had died in an accident far away in your own village. How could I have known that you had not died?”

The elder brother started abusing the lady for her credulity. Then he demanded his full share. “You have to give me at least one half of what my father left us. Otherwise I shall sue you,” he threatened.

The old lady replied, "I did you a favour by accepting the money, and your brother came and deceived me. Now what money do I have left to give you?”

In a rage, he began insulting and cursing the poor woman. When a neighbour heard him screaming and shouting, he came to find out what was going on. When he had heard the whole story he said, “She is an innocent lady. You asked for her help, and she did her best for both of you. Since you made the rule that she could give you money only when both brothers came together, then I wish to ask you what you are doing here alone. Go away. Don’t bother this innocent woman. When you and your brother come together, everything can be settled.”

In this way, the neighbour chased away the second brother for being so unkind to his aunt.

Spiritual comments

What do we learn from this? In the spiritual world if we deceive a sincere person, there will be some cosmic power to come to his rescue. The innocent will eventually be protected by a divine force. In this case the younger brother was the real culprit. The older brother was scolding and insulting his aunt, who was innocent. If he wanted to scold, he should have scolded his younger brother.

You will say that the real culprit has escaped completely. But no, he has not escaped. He has only to wait for the law of karma. At the end of the year, or sometime in the future, he will become blind or lame, or he will suffer in some other way. Right now the real culprit is building a big house. When the building is completed, one day you will see that the architect did not design the ceiling properly. While the younger brother is inside, the ceiling will fall and he will be killed, and his money will go to his elder brother, who was largely innocent.

But the most innocent one of all was their aunt, who wanted to help them, and who was being insulted and scolded for her help. So the Divine Grace automatically came in the form of the neighbour to protect her. The second brother was innocent in the matter of the money, but guilty in scolding and insulting his aunt. His bad karma came to him immediately, for he was chased away by the neighbour, and he got no money. His good karma will come sometime in the future.

In this world, if we deceive someone, either today or tomorrow the cosmic forces are bound to recoil on us and punish us. This moment we may escape, but the next moment we will be caught. It is like destroying oneself.

When I do something wrong to you, I am destroying myself also because you are part of my larger existence. When I deceive you in some way, I am deceiving myself. I have a house. You are one wall, he is another wall, somebody else is a third wall. When, out of jealousy or greed or any other undivine quality, I try to destroy you or create problems for you, that means I am breaking one wall of my house. And then what will happen? When this wall is gone and there is a storm or a heavy wind, the other walls will also fall. But if I keep all the walls in proper condition, the whole building remains safe and perfect.

The cosmic forces will never allow us to cheat anybody. Today or tomorrow we shall be punished. But again, when we do something right or good and help someone in any way, then these cosmic forces will reward us. They will take us closer to our Goal.

No alternative, the King had to laugh

King Krishna Chandra had a favourite minister who always used to amuse everybody. He would make everybody laugh and laugh and laugh. When the King had worked very hard and needed some mental relaxation, he used to invite this particular minister, Gopal, to give him some amusement.

One day the King said to himself, “I will not allow Gopal to make me laugh today. I will remain silent, serious and grave. Let me see if he can make me laugh.”

Gopal had always been successful at making the King laugh, but on that particular day the King wanted to remain serious. He told Gopal, “If you cannot make me laugh today, then in the evening you will be put to death.”

Gopal tried in every way to make the King laugh, but he could not. He tried everything he could think of, but he failed repeatedly.

Evening was fast approaching, and still Gopal had not provoked so much as a smile from the King. Finally he said, “You rascal! I am going to die at any moment, and you can’t even smile. You think my entire life is not worth one of your stupid smiles. It takes only a second for you to give me a smile. I have children, I have family, I have many obligations here on earth. Everybody will come and cry for me when I have to leave this beautiful earth, and you can’t give me a smile! Which is more important, your smile or my precious life, when I have so many who depend on me? You are a rascal!”

Everybody was shocked and stunned at his audacity. They thought, “Now he will really die! Is this the time to insult the King?” But the King could not restrain his laughter at hearing himself called a rascal by his minister. The King had to laugh, so he lost the game.

Spiritual comments

In all our Centres I see that some of you are sad, bitter and depressed for long periods of time. In most of the Centres you don’t see me often on the physical plane, but from the inner planes I try to chase away your depression. In so many ways I try and try with my force to give you Light and Joy. In New York, I see the disciples most of the time with my human eyes, and I tell them, “Don’t be depressed! Don’t be depressed!” I pour and pour and pour Compassion. I show them boundless Concern and Love. But nothing works, nothing works; I cannot make them smile.

Then the time comes for me to threaten. I tell someone, “In twenty-four hours’ time I will throw you out of the Centre. I will throw you out of the Centre if I see you depressed tomorrow.” And this is a serious threat; it is not a mere joke. Even if somebody has stayed with me for four or five years, I don’t care. When I say I will throw him out of the Centre tomorrow, I mean it, and he feels that I am serious. The next day he comes, he smiles, he mixes with people, he does everything very cheerfully. When my Love fails, when my Compassion fails, when everything else fails, then my divine Authority succeeds. When I use my scolding power, it is my divine Authority that is operating. Light comes through my divine Authority and begins to operate inside the disciple who is sad and depressed and harbouring negative forces.

Is it right for me to scold people? No! But it is necessary, and necessity knows no law. When the minister’s life was at stake, he scolded and insulted the King to make him laugh. In my case also I see that this works. In his case it was his own life that was about to come to an end. But in my case it is not my life; it is the spiritual life of the depressed disciple which is in danger, because when a disciple is continually depressed, his spiritual progress ends.

So it is for your own good that I take the very serious step of threatening to throw you out of the Centre. It is for your own progress and improvement that I take this bold step. You will be shocked when I threaten you in this way because you do value God and the spiritual life. My only concern is to make you happy, for when you are happy you make fast progress. If I can make my disciples progress faster, I will do so by any means. This is why I scold my disciples from time to time.

Divine business proposition

It was a very hot summer day and, on his way home from the palace, Gopal became tired. So he entered into a garden, took off his coat and lay down to sleep. While he was fast asleep a thief came and stole his coat.

When he woke up and saw that his coat had been stolen, Gopal became very sad. He said to himself, “Now what am I going to do? How am I going to return home? What will I say to my wife? This was my most beautiful coat.”

Gopal prayed to the Supreme Goddess, “O Mother, if You bless me with ten rupees on my way home, I will use half the amount to buy a coat and the other half I will give as a love offering at Your Temple.”

The Goddess kindly listened to Gopal’s prayer, and on his way home he found a five-rupee note. Although he had promised the Goddess half of what he found, Gopal was very clever. He said, “O Goddess, I asked You for ten rupees and promised to give You five. Now I see that You have already kept Your share. Since You have kept Your share, I don’t have to give anything to the Temple. With the five rupees that are my share I shall buy myself a beautiful new coat. I am most grateful that You have given me the money to buy a coat.”

Spiritual comments

Some seekers come to a spiritual Master and say, “Master, give us Peace, Light and Bliss. We shall share it with others. We shall give half of the Peace, Light and Bliss we get from you to others.” But when the Master gives them Peace, Light and Bliss, they feel that he has not given them enough. So immediately they say, “Master, you are very clever. You have not given us the full amount. You have given us only half of what we expected from you. Naturally you cannot expect us to share this little bit that we have with others. We shall keep it for ourselves until we have enough to share. But we are grateful to you for giving us this much.”

But there are some seekers who are very sincere. They feel that even if they get an insignificant quantity of inner wealth, they can still share it with the world without losing anything. They feel that if they give a little of their Peace, Light and Bliss to the world, the Master will give them a hundredfold in return. This feeling of theirs is absolutely correct.

Again, there are some seekers who feel that only by giving to others can they manifest the Divine on earth. These seekers never expect anything either from the world or from the Master. Whatever they get from the Master they give unconditionally and unreservedly to the world at large. Even if the Master or the world does not give them anything in return, they will remain happy and satisfied. They feel that offering their wealth gives them the highest and deepest joy. The disciples who give unconditionally without expecting anything from the world or from the Master, those who cry for the manifestation of the Supreme’s Light on earth, are the true chosen disciples of the Master. The Master is most proud of them.

The eye specialist

One day while Gopal was walking along the street he saw a terrible battle going on in front of the office of an eye specialist. The eye specialist and a patient were arguing and shouting and striking each other. Gopal rushed to the spot and enquired what was going on.

The customer said, “Look at this fool! Look at this rogue! Just a few minutes ago I was walking along the street and I heard a man saying, ‘O Miracle-power! O Wonder of Wonders! I am cured of my affliction! I was blind for so many years. Then I came to this eye specialist, and now I can see everything! I can read even the tiniest letters!’ So since my eyesight is quite poor and I find it impossible to read, I thought I would get a new pair of glasses that would enable me to read everything. But this rogue is giving me glasses that don’t allow me to read anything!”

With mounting irritation the doctor replied, “What can I do? I have tried all the glasses I have, but none of them work for you. Nothing is suitable for you, so I am helpless.”

But the customer was not satisfied, and the argument went on. Finally the eye specialist shouted, “Get away from here! Don’t waste my time. I have many more patients to take care of.”

The customer refused to go away, however. He insisted, “No, you have to give me glasses so that I can read. I am ready to pay for them.”

Then Gopal interrupted and asked the customer, “First tell me, did you ever go to school? Did you ever study the alphabet? Did you ever learn to read?”

“Oh no, I didn’t go to school,” replied the customer. “I never studied anything. I didn’t learn how to read or write. That is why I want to get glasses from this doctor, but he refuses to help me.”

“You don’t even know the alphabet and you think that wearing glasses will now teach you how to read? You fool! Wearing glasses will not teach you how to read,” cried Gopal. “And you!” he continued, turning to the doctor. “How is it that while you were offering him one pair of glasses after another, you never asked him whether he knew how to read?”

Spiritual comments

In the spiritual life also, you have to start with something. If you have a little aspiration, then the Master can increase it by bringing down Peace, Light and Bliss for you. If you have a little eagerness for spirituality, only then can the Master increase your eagerness in infinite measure. But if someone has no aspiration, what can the Master do? If one has absolutely nothing, then he is a hopeless case. Even the Master is helpless and useless at that time.

Mockery returns home

The minister once went to visit a Muslim friend of his. The Muslim was eating when he went in, and just for fun, the minister asked him, “Khajee?” That is a respectful Muslim term meaning “what are you eating?”

The Muslim said, “I am eating rice, and I am eating your second Avatar.”

According to Hindu tradition, the second Avatar was the Lord in the form of a fish. So instead of saying, “I am eating fish,” the Muslim said, “I am eating your second Avatar,” in order to insult the minister, who was a Hindu.

The minister, who was not to be defeated, immediately replied, “Oh, do you think it is our second Avatar? No, you are wrong. I see clearly that you are eating our third Avatar.”

Now the third Avatar was the Lord in the form of a boar, and Muslims never eat the meat of the boar.

The Muslim exclaimed, “No, no, no! I don’t eat it! I don’t eat it!” He was so disgusted at the very idea, that he threw all his food away. He shouted, “You have insulted me!”

The minister replied, “You have insulted me. You told me that you were eating our second Avatar, so I told you that you were eating our third Avatar.”

Spiritual comments

What do we learn from this story? We learn that when we criticise or mock any religion, consciously or unconsciously, immediately God will inspire the followers of that religion to make fun of our stupidity. God wants us to see and feel His living Presence in all religions. One man was a Muslim, and the other was a Hindu. Followers of these two religions are always at daggers drawn. When the Muslim attacked the Hindu, the Hindu immediately retaliated. No matter what the situation, if you attack someone unnecessarily, at that time the divine Power will take his side and challenge you.

In the spiritual life we always see that if we just want to find fault with somebody else, if we want to criticise and make fun of someone, God will immediately give him the capacity to make fun of us. If the Muslim had said the right thing, then the question of making fun, the question of insulting and abusing, might not have arisen. If he had said, “rice and fish,” then who knows what the minister would have said. But instead, the Muslim had to make fun of Hinduism by saying, “I am eating your second Avatar.” That is why the minister gave him a reply which made him lose his appetite.

You have to be very careful in this world. When you make fun of people, they will pay you back in your own coin. Attack them and immediately you will be attacked. Like a tennis ball thrown against a wall, your attack will bounce off and come back at you.

The miser

There was once a very, very rich man, but you cannot imagine how miserly he was. He had hundreds of thousands of rupees, but for him to spend one rupee was extremely difficult. Although he did not have the capacity to be content, he thought that if he got married, his wife would have to get at least a little of his money. He therefore remained a bachelor all his life, since he did not want to share his money with anyone.

This poor rich miser had no friends and no relatives. He had only a servant to do his cleaning and cooking while he carried on the business of amassing a fortune. This apparent luxury was an unavoidable necessity for him; he could not do without a servant.

One day many years later when this miser was quite old, he fell sick. He said to his servant, “All my life I have advised you. Now I need your advice. Tell me what I should do. If I go to a doctor, the doctor will ask for a fee. But if I don’t go, people will speak ill of me. They will say, ‘Look at this foolish man. He is sick, and still he won’t go to a doctor.’ Now what do you think? I don’t want to waste any money on a doctor. Do you think that I will die from this sickness?”

“Forgive me for saying this,” answered the servant, “but there is some possibility that you may die.”

At first the rich man became annoyed at this reply. Then he said, “All right. I have an excellent idea. Go to the undertaker and ask him how much money he will charge when I die. Then go to a doctor and find out how much it will cost to treat me.”

So the servant went to the undertaker, who told him that his lowest fee was 110 rupees, and to a doctor, who said that his minimum fee was 150 rupees. When the servant told this to his master, the master said, “In that case, the best thing is for me to go to the undertaker. The cure is too expensive.”

The old miser would not spend the extra forty rupees to cure his illness, and he soon died. Then the servant paid 110 rupees to the undertaker, and since his master had made no will, and had no family to claim his money, all the rest of it — thousands and thousands of rupees — went to the servant.

Spiritual comments

Of course the miser was a fool. His attachment to his money became such an obsession at the end of his life that he preferred to die rather than part with any of it, not thinking that once he died his money would all be gone from him anyway. If he had had any sense, all the money that he had amassed he would have given to some charity or religious organisation. But he never even thought of giving it away. He only wanted to hoard and grasp. Why did he want to save money? Just in order to hear people say how rich he was. What would have happened if he had given the money to some worthy cause? His name would have become immortal. But instead he kept his money, and in the end the servant got it all. For the servant this conclusion is like a dream. All of a sudden he has become a millionaire. Everyone will exploit him, and the money will go to people who are not at all spiritual. It will go from one materialist to another materialist, and it will all be wasted.

The miser wanted to be very, very rich, and God made him rich. But if he had had a bit of generosity, a bit of spirituality, even a little brain-power, he could have made himself immortal by giving or just by willing his money to the right people. But he did not have that capacity. His life was all stupid selfishness.

The son of an ass

There was once a minister who was also the court jester. He used to amuse the King with his wit, his talent and his earthly wisdom. The King was very fond of this particular minister.

One day the King was a bit upset. His favourite minister displeased him while he was in this mood, and he burst out, “You are the son of an ass!”

The minister immediately replied, “You are perfectly right in your statement. That is why I consider you to be my true father.”

Spiritual comments

The son reflects the light of the father. If I am a spiritual man and you accept me as your true father, that means that you are also a spiritual man.

God is Divine. Since we are all His children, we are nothing but Divine.

Stand up then!

There was once a minister who used to amuse the King and all the court with his jokes. The Prime Minister and the other ministers were jealous of him because he was the King’s favourite. The King was extremely fond of him.

One day, in front of the King, the Prime Minister said to the King’s favourite, “Well now, the King and I have decided to give you a job. We feel that you will be able to do this job better than anybody else.”

The minister asked, “May I know what the job is?”

“From now on you will be the master of all the dogs in the Kingdom. You will be in charge of them, and they will have to obey you.”

Immediately the minister said, “Since you have given me this post, let me ask you to stand up. I am the master of all the dogs in the Kingdom, and you also belong to that group, so you have to listen to me. Stand up then!”

The King was most amused by this reply.

Spiritual comments

What do we learn from this story? There are some disciples who have been with us for three or four years, and there are others who have come very recently. The old disciples often become jealous of the new ones, because they feel that the new disciples are becoming close to the Guru. In various ways they try to mock them, and sometimes they snub them directly or indirectly.

But I wish to tell you that each of these newcomers also has a soul. If they are hurt by the insults of the old or close disciples, I totally identify myself with their sufferings. But I will never identify myself with the suffering of the old disciples when the newcomers retaliate. If my old disciples make fun of the new ones, or insult and snub them, or try to show their authority or superiority and lord it over them, naturally they will be badly treated by the newcomers. At that time I will not interfere. We cannot accept misbehaviour from any disciple no matter how long he has been with us. At that time I will be helpless, just as the King was helpless when the Prime Minister made fun of the other minister and was then insulted in return.

Instead of hurting others, try to make them your friends. If you have a position in the Centre, instead of looking down on the ones who do not have any position, you should try to make them feel that they could easily have your post, that they could do your job equally well or even far better than you do. When you are modest and humble you will receive more love, more respect from the newcomers and from those who do not have any post. You also have to be very careful when you joke with others. In your jokes you sometimes unconsciously humiliate others, even though that is not your intention. Only innocent, harmless jokes are good, both in the spiritual life and in the ordinary life.

It is not when you come to the Centre, but how fast you run that is important. Your progress depends on your inner faith and your inner love for me. If you are among the first disciples but are not doing well, is it the fault of the newcomers who are running very fast that they will reach the Goal before you? Again, those who came long ago and are still doing well will naturally reach their Goal sooner. But just because you came four or five or ten years ago, that does not mean you will reach the Goal faster if you are not as sincere, as devoted, as aspiring as the newer disciples. It is through love, devotion and surrender that one becomes close to his Master. It is through progress, true inner progress, that you become close to me. It is not a question of when you come into my life.

Of the same caste

One of the palace dogs was hungry, so the King’s favourite minister placed some food before him and the King did the same. The dog did not touch the food offered to him by the minister, but he ate all the food given to him by the King.

The King asked the minister, “How is it that the dog did not touch your food, whereas he ate up all of my food?”

The minister’s reply was, “Your Majesty, you should know that even a dog wants to remain faithful to his caste.”

Spiritual comments

In the spiritual life also, if a disciple gives something to another disciple, and if the Master gives him the same thing, there is a vast difference between the two gifts. One disciple may try to inspire another disciple, and the Master may also offer inspiration to that disciple, but there is a great difference between the height of the Master and the height of the disciple offering his inspiration. When the Master enters into his full spiritual height, his inspiration will be infinitely more powerful than the inspiration that one disciple can offer to another.

The King and the minister offered practically the same food to the dog, but they each had a different consciousness. It is not a matter of pride or vanity or ego, but just because the King was the King, he had more light — let us call it dignity or divinity, some regal quality. The dog felt something special, something more significant in the food from the King. That is why he ate the King’s food, and not the minister’s.

A thief may tell you that you are not supposed to steal. A liar may tell you not to tell lies. But their words can never give you real inspiration, because they are coming from the wrong people: a liar tells hundreds of lies a day and a thief steals as often as he can. The thief and the liar are like parrots. Their words have no strength, no significance, because there is no inner conviction behind them. But if a spiritual Master tells you not to tell lies, immediately he injects strength and inspiration into you, so that you don’t tell lies, you cannot tell lies. And if he asks you not to steal, he will give you enough inspiration inwardly so that you will not want to steal anything.

I tell my disciples that they can help each other. If a man is low today, he can go to his wife and she will encourage him. And if his wife is low tomorrow, then he has to inspire her and uplift her. This is how it should be between husband and wife, and between brother and sister disciples.

But I don’t tell my disciples to go out into the street and start beating their drums and trying to inspire ordinary people. No! That is not inspiration; that is stupidity, trying to convince people that our belief is by far the best. The Centre is like a shop. Here we have Peace, we have Light, we have Bliss, we have divine Power. If people want these things, they can come to my shop and I will give them as much as they want. But if we go out into the street and try to drag people into the shop, even if they come in they will not appreciate what we have.

If I tell you to go and inspire people, then go. You will have my inner help. But if you try to inspire people on your own, without my knowledge and approval, they will laugh at you, they will ridicule you, they will insult you, abuse you, perhaps even strike you. In the name of spirituality you will only be consciously or unconsciously encouraging your own stupidity, and not your sincerity. And for that stupidity you will naturally be punished.

Everyone has a soul. If the soul is really trying to realise the Highest, to achieve the Goal, then it will always try to do what will enable it to make the fastest progress. Those who really want Light will take it whenever it is offered, and in as large a quantity as possible. No truly sincere and dedicated aspirant will prefer to make his spiritual journey alone without a guide to help him reach his destination sooner. He will take as much help as he can, both from his spiritual brothers and sisters and from his Master. And this Master, if he is a real Master, can offer the seeker inspiration, guidance and Light in boundless measure.

Only the coat, and not the donkey

The King and the minister were walking together along the street. It was a very hot day, and after a while the King took off his new coat and handed it to the minister to carry. The minister received the coat gladly, and they continued walking.

All of a sudden the King said, “I am sorry that you are carrying my coat. It is so heavy. You are carrying the load that a donkey should carry.”

The minister replied, “I am happy that I am carrying only the coat of a donkey, and that the donkey itself is not on my back.”

Spiritual comments

What do we learn from this story?

If it is very hot I may take off my coat or sweater and give it to one of my very few close disciples to hold. They get tremendous joy and pride when I give my clothes to them. They never feel that they are carrying a heavy load for their Master. They feel deeply honoured when I give them my clothes to hold and they are grateful that I have chosen them to relieve me of discomfort. When I have love and concern for a particular disciple, and I can see that his consciousness is in tune with my consciousness, then I may give him my things to carry. I give that disciple an opportunity to become close to me, and at the same time, the disciple gives me some joy, comfort and service in the outer life at least.

This is an opportunity for my disciples to come closer to me. When they touch or carry my clothes they are holding my consciousness, they are cherishing my consciousness, which is embodied by any article of my clothing. Each person has a consciousness of his own, and whatever he uses takes on his consciousness. So whoever holds my clothes will receive a bit of my divine consciousness — at least my disciples will. Since the disciples are crying for divine consciousness, anything they get from me — whether it be a hair from my head or whatever — gives them an additional expansion of consciousness. This is because of our mutual love.

The King and the minister work together, true. But the minister carries the King’s coat because he is under obligation to do so. Otherwise he would lose his post. In my case, even if a disciple does not carry my belongings, he will not be mistreated by me. I am not so mean that I will throw him out of my Centre if he doesn’t listen to me. I will only feel, “All right, if you don’t have that feeling of dedicated service, I don’t mind. You are only delaying your own God-realisation.” I may feel this, but outwardly I won’t say anything.

When the Master gives his coat to a disciple it is as if he were giving his crown to that disciple. But when he gives a disciple’s coat to another disciple, the one who receives it must feel that the Master is teaching him humility, and that this humility is necessary for his spiritual progress. A spiritual person will not grumble if the Master gives him someone else’s coat to hold. He will always take the Master’s decision as the right one.

Once when I was practising for Sports Day a Connecticut disciple who has a very bad character, a very bad consciousness, kept hovering near me. Whenever I removed my sweater, he tried to take it. If somebody wants to take my things from me and I don’t like the vibrations of that person because of his bad consciousness, I feel very sad. I can’t give my garment to him because immediately his bad consciousness will ruin its consciousness. And yet if I don’t give it to him, others will say that I hate that person. I don’t hate anyone, but at the same time, why should I give my clothes to someone who is not pure enough? If I have one or two disciples who are extremely pure, naturally I will give my clothes to them. They deserve this privilege because of their purity, because of their aspiration, because of their spirituality, because of their devoted and surrendering consciousness. Those particular disciples deserve to have this divine opportunity, and they will benefit from it; whereas this other disciple did not deserve it at all. He was living an animal life, and he only wanted to show everyone else that he was carrying my sweater.

For everything, one has to deserve what he receives. Then only can one appreciate the blessing or the opportunity that he gets. You people are crying for God-realisation. Naturally, one day you will deserve God-realisation, and on that day I shall certainly give it to you.

Those who are trying to serve the Supreme in me with purity, with sincerity, with devotion and with surrender will naturally come forward, and not those who are just trying to grab me, pull me and show off in front of others that they also can become close to me. One must always make an inner sacrifice to achieve inner oneness. One has to pray, concentrate, meditate and cry for inner oneness. Then one will see that in the outer world as well as in the inner world he has become very near, very close and devoted, a truly effective instrument of the Master.

Four first-class fools

Once the King asked the minister to bring him four of the world’s worst possible fools. So the following morning the minister began looking for the fools.

The first fool he saw was a Brahmin. He was running very fast carrying a plate of betel nut, rice and a few other things. When the minister asked the Brahmin why he was running, the Brahmin answered, “My wife has just given birth to a son, and I am bringing her the ceremonial foods. Unfortunately, the boy is not my child, but his father will also be there. So I am going to bless the new father and mother, and the baby. That is why I am running.”

“Ah!” thought the minister, “I have got my first fool.” And he told the Brahmin to come to the court with him.

“No, no, no. I can’t come to the court,” protested the Brahmin. “I have to see my wife.”

But the minister declared, “I am the King’s minister. It is the King’s command that I take you,” and he showed the Brahmin his identification. So the foolish Brahmin had to go to the King’s palace.

On the way, they saw a man sitting on a horse. On his shoulders was a very heavy load. The minister asked him, “Why are you carrying that load on your shoulders?”

The man replied, “My horse is a mare, and she is pregnant. I don’t want to hurt this poor animal by making her carry such a heavy burden, so I have put the load on my own shoulders.”

The minister said, “If you are sitting on the horse, the weight will be the same whether it is on your shoulders or on the back of the horse.” But the man insisted that he was taking half the burden on his own shoulders.

“Here is another fool the minister said to himself and he commanded this fellow to come along to the King.

“Your Majesty,” proclaimed the minister, when they came before the King, “here are your fools.”

“I asked you to bring me four fools, didn’t I?” said the King. “Where are the other two?”

“I have two here,” replied the minister, and he narrated their foolish actions to the King. Then he said, “The third fool is you, your Majesty. Who but a fool is interested in seeing fools? You get pleasure in knowing that there are horrible fools in your Kingdom, whereas a wise King would like to know whether there are wise men in his Kingdom. Since fools give you pleasure, you also belong to their group, for birds of a feather flock together.

“And I am the fourth fool. I listen to your foolish commands and waste my precious life carrying them out. Only a fool would obey the commands of a fool, so that makes me the fourth fool.”

Spiritual comments

Except for God Himself, we are all fools. There is no human being who can sincerely say that he has not even once in his lifetime acted foolishly. When we look for foolishness or stupidity in others, our own stupidity comes forward. But if we look for divinity in others, our divinity comes forward. Let us be supremely careful, and divinely wise.

The marriage of courage and fear

Once the King asked the minister to bring him the bravest person and the most cowardly person he could find. The following day the minister brought only one person to the King. The King became angry. “How is it that you have brought only one person?” he shouted. “I wanted to see two different persons with two different characters.”

“Please don’t be angry, your Majesty,” said the minister. “You wanted to see both cowardice and bravery. If I can show you both these qualities in one person, will you not be satisfied?”

“Certainly I will,” replied the King. “But it is impossible for someone to be at once the bravest and the most cowardly person.”

“No, it is not,” said the minister, “and I will prove it to you.” With that, he presented to the King a young and beautiful woman.

“I will tell you in what way she is very brave, and in what way she is very timid. This girl will walk miles through the pouring rain on a deserted road at midnight in order to visit her boyfriend. At that time of night no man would dare go where she goes alone without a thought for her own safety. But when this girl is at home with her husband, if a tiny mouse makes a noise or a little cockroach crawls by, she will be frightened to death. She will stand on a chair and scream until someone chases it away. So you can see that she is at once the bravest and the most cowardly person.”

The King was satisfied with his minister’s choice.

Spiritual comments

It was the girl’s necessity to go to visit her boyfriend. Necessity will make even the weakest person strong. But when there is no necessity, immediately one becomes weak. You know that in competition Mangal throws the javelin very far. But if his wife asks him to take out the garbage, he has no strength. If she asks him to bring her a piece of bread from the kitchen, he can’t bring it. He is tired, he is exhausted. Strength comes only with the feeling of necessity.

In the spiritual life, where do we get strength? It comes from faith. If you have faith in me, in your spiritual Master, immediately you become the strongest man. If you have faith in me, then you can do anything I ask you. With a strong faith you can climb the Himalayas. But when you don’t have faith, you are helpless. Without faith, even if you see an ant, you will be afraid. The ant will not necessarily bite you, but just because you know that it can bite, you are half dead with fear.

Look at the strength of faith. In India it happened that a child heard many times from his mother that tigers kill people and devour them. Then, when he saw a picture of a tiger on the wall, he immediately fainted. He had great faith in his mother, and she had instilled fear in him. If a spiritual child can have faith in his spiritual Mother and Father, he will make the fastest progress. If you are told that you will realise God if you pray to a picture of Krishna, and if you have tremendous faith and pray to a picture of Krishna, you will realise God.

Faith can work either in a positive or in a negative way. But if you have no faith either in a positive or a negative way, then you will be the weakest person on earth.

The depth of gratitude and the height of ingratitude

The King wanted to see two creatures: the most ungrateful and the most grateful beings on earth. So he asked his favourite minister to bring before him, on the following morning, the most ungrateful creature and the most grateful creature on earth.

The poor minister was thrown into a sea of doubt and worry. Whom should he select? The minister had never lost in any of his little games with the King, but if he could not bring these two creatures to the palace the next day, the King would be terribly disappointed. Also, everybody would know that at last the minister had been beaten in the game, and perhaps the King would appoint somebody else to take his place. The minister thought and thought, and at last he decided whom he would take to the King.

The following day he asked his son-in-law to come with him to the palace, and he also brought his own dog. When he entered the King’s presence with his dog, the King became angry. “You fool,” he shouted, “why do you bring your dog into my palace?”

“Please wait, your Majesty,” said the minister.

“I told you to bring me the most grateful and the most ungrateful beings on earth,” said the King. “I see only one person and this dog. Now, how are you going to fulfil the wish I expressed yesterday?”

“Your Majesty, this is my son-in-law,” explained the minister. “No matter what I give him — thousands of rupees, clothes, furniture, anything — he is never grateful. On the contrary, he always feels that he deserves more. He feels that he has done me the greatest possible favour by marrying my daughter. All sons-in-law think that when they marry someone’s daughter they are doing him a tremendous favour, so naturally they deserve everything from him. So you see, I have given him my dearest daughter, my money, my house, my prestige, everything, and still he is not satisfied. He will never be grateful.

“Now look at this dog. I give the dog practically nothing — just a little food (and sometimes I even forget to give him that) and a floor to sleep on. But how grateful, how faithful, how devoted he is. All the time he stays in front of my door, eager to protect me. If somebody wanted to commit a theft or hurt me, he would bark and bite, and chase the culprit away. All dogs are like this. Give them a piece of bread and they are ready to die for you. Look at the gratitude of the dog. This is the difference between the most ungrateful being and the most grateful being.”

Then the King cried, “Why should we keep this ungrateful being on earth? Your son-in-law must be killed immediately. All ungrateful persons should be killed!”

But the minister quickly responded, “Why only my son-in-law? If my son-in-law must be killed, then all sons-in-law must be killed, for they are all ungrateful to almost the same extent.”

“Yes,” agreed the King,” all sons-in-law have to be killed. Since all sons-in-law fall into the same category, they all have to be killed!”

The King was about to order all sons-in-law to be brought to the palace and executed when the minister said, “Wait, your Majesty.”

“Why?” asked the King.

“You are also somebody’s son-in-law,” said the minister. “Why, the Queen’s father is living right here in the palace. That means you also have to be killed.”

At this, the King changed his mind, and nobody was killed.

Spiritual comments

Now who is grateful and who is ungrateful in the spiritual life? The most grateful person is he who feels that the Master has accepted him out of his infinite bounty, not that he deserves the Master’s kindness and compassion. Gratitude will flow in your life only when you see that you do not really deserve your Master’s blessings. If you feel that you do not even deserve to be his disciple, that you are not even in the world of aspiration, but he is constantly bringing you to the Light — then your gratitude will come forward. If you feel that you are really in darkness, and that the Master has brought you to the Light even before you have cried for it, then only can you have real gratitude.

This feeling is not false modesty. Far from it. You people are under the impression that you came to the Centre, and that is why I saw you. But I wish to disagree. The Divine in me, the Supreme in me, brought you to the Centre. He who chooses God has already been chosen by God. God here means the Divine in me. He who chooses the Divinity inside me has to feel that long ago I chose him. Why did you come to me? Just because one of my inner beings or the Supreme in me had already kindled the flame of aspiration in you. I came and knocked at your heart’s door. That is why you came to me. If I had not, there are many schools that you might have gone to. When you feel that I chose you before you even dared to think of my existence on earth, then only will gratitude come into your life. If you think that you came to me and therefore you don’t have to feel gratitude, it is not true.

Ungrateful persons are those who deliberately think that they are not the chosen children of their Master. Everybody is chosen; everybody must feel that he has to be grateful. If a person thinks, “No, the Master thinks only about others. He has no time to think of me,” he is sadly mistaken. My Father’s Day message this year is, “I shall not fail you if you can dare to think that I care for you.” This is my Father’s Day message to each and every disciple of mine: I shall not fail you if you can dare to think that I care for you.

If any disciple of mine thinks that I do not care for him, he is the most ungrateful person on earth. If I do not care for you, then why did I enter into your heart and bring you into my boat, to my door, into my inner house, into my very room? Just because I do care for you, I brought you into my heart’s room. And just because I care for you, you are still in my boat. If I did not care for you, you would not be here. If you think that I don’t care for you, it means that you are cherishing your own self-imposed ignorance.

I shall not fail you if you can dare to think that I care for you. Ungrateful persons are those who constantly cherish the idea that I do not care for them at all. And grateful persons are those who feel that I went to them first, that I entered into them and brought them into me so that they could have Light.

The blind always outnumber the men of sight

One day the King asked his minister, “In this world are there more blind people or more people who have sight? Tell me who outnumber whom — the men with sight or the men without sight?”

The minister immediately answered, “The men without sight by far outnumber those with sight. There are many more blind people on earth than people with vision.”

“You have to prove it,” said the King.

The minister replied, “I shall prove it tomorrow.”

Every morning the minister used to enter the palace at nine o'clock; but the following day, instead of going in as usual, he sat at the palace gate sewing a piece of cloth. He had a needle and thread and a piece of cloth, and he was sewing like a girl. One by one, as his fellow ministers and other officials passed him on their way in, they all asked, “What are you doing here?”

As soon as each person asked, “What are you doing?” the minister wrote his name on a list. After a while, the King himself passed, coming in from his morning walk. “What are you doing out here?” he asked the minister. The minister just smiled and put the King’s name at the very top of the list. Now the Prime Minister was a shrewd man, and he always used to find fault with the other ministers. When he came by, he said, “Why are you sitting out here sewing? You lazy fellow, it is high time for you to enter the palace. There is much work for you to do. Is this your job, this silly sewing? You are neglecting your real work.” The Prime Minister was the only one who actually mentioned what this minister was doing, while scolding him for neglecting his real duty. His was the only name that did not go on the list.

After an hour or so, the minister went to the King, and said, “Now, your Majesty, I can prove to you that the blind people are more in number than the men with vision.”

“Tell me how you can prove it,” said the King.

The minister replied, “Here is the proof!” and he handed his list to the King.

The King saw his own name at the top of the list and exclaimed, “I am blind?”

“Yes,” said the minister. “You are the King, the father of this Kingdom. You are the eye of this vast Kingdom, but you are blind. When you saw me sewing in front of the palace this morning, you asked me what I was doing. I had a needle, I had thread and I had cloth, and I was obviously sewing. But you and all the other people on this list asked me what I was doing. The only man who did not ask me what I was doing was the Prime Minister. He just scolded me and insulted me because I was neglecting my duties here. He is the only one with sight.”

Spiritual comments

In the spiritual world we have to know who is blind and who is not blind. In the outer life we have seen that there are many more blind people than sighted people. In the spiritual world also we have to admit that blind people are infinitely more in number than those who have vision. Who is blind in the inner world? He who is not aspiring is blind in the inner world.

We know that there are millions and billions of people on earth who are not crying inwardly. There are only very few who have sight. In Puerto Rico, how many millions of people are there? And how many of them are in our Centre or in other spiritual places? Count them, and you will hardly get a thousand people. So in the spiritual world we see that blind people infinitely outnumber those with sight. And this is true not only here, but all over the world.

In the ordinary life, we look upon a blind person as an object of pity. He cannot get along on his own; others have to aid him with their vision. In the spiritual life this is also the case. Those who are aspiring have to feel that they can offer Light. The Light we get during our prayer and meditation automatically spreads. Slowly and steadily it enters into those who are unaspiring. It may take time, but it is our Light which will one day give them vision. Gradually our Light will illumine them until at last they enter into the spiritual life consciously and devotedly.

The blind man may shout at his children or grandchildren, but they know that he depends on them and that they must help him. Unaspiring people may insult us, they may mock at us or do other undivine things, but we know it is our bounden duty to help them in whatever way we can.

You are worse than a ghost

Once the King grabbed his minister and said, “Now let me see how much strength you have. Can you release yourself? Can you escape from my grip?”

The minister did not struggle or try to force his way out of the King’s grip. He simply started repeating, “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama!”

The King cried, “What is this? By repeating ‘Rama, Rama, Rama,’ do you think that you will be able to release yourself and escape? I am holding you very tightly. ‘Rama’ will never release you. You fool! Exercise your power to come out of my grip!”

The minister said, “You know that when one is haunted by a ghost, repeating Rama’s name makes the ghost leave the body. It seems that you are worse than a ghost.”

The King said, “No, no, no! I don’t want to be worse than a ghost!” And he immediately released the minister, who laughed and laughed.

Spiritual comments

What do we learn from this story? We learn to see the power that comes from chanting “Rama”. Some time ago a disciple in our Jamaica, West Indies Centre, a very close disciple, was in his office when three men came in to rob him. Two had guns and one had a big knife. And what did he say when this happened? “Supreme, Supreme, Supreme”. The robbers mocked at him, saying, “Supreme, Supreme, Supreme! What do you mean by ‘Supreme'?” But he just kept repeating, “Supreme, Supreme, Supreme”. Then what did they do? They opened a drawer, took twenty dollars and went away. They didn’t hurt him at all.

If he had not uttered “Supreme”, what would have happened? When men come at you with guns and knives, they are prepared to kill you. If he had used his own power to try to protect himself, they would have just shot him or stabbed him. I was actually there in Jamaica when this incident occurred. And I tell you, he was clearly seeing my face when he was repeating “Supreme,” so his whole consciousness was filled with my Light.

The power of the name of the Supreme was superior to his own physical power. Similarly, in the story the minister was chanting “Rama”, which is the name of a great Avatar, an incarnation of the Supreme, and this enabled him to free himself.

If somebody has caught you and you try to escape by using your own power, you may find that his power is greater. But the power of the Supreme is infinitely greater than any human power. So always try to use the superior power when you are attacked. The superior power is prayer, invocation. Invoke the Supreme, who is the Supreme Power. Then the other person will see that you are doing something which is almost amusing to him, like uttering “Rama, Rama, Rama”. He will think, “What can the Supreme do?” But you will actually alarm him; you will disarm him by doing this kind of thing. According to your attacker, what you are doing is foolishness. He has come at you with physical power, with a gun or a knife, so he thinks that you will also use physical strength, and he is prepared for that. But instead, you are using a power which he feels does not exist. You are saying the name of the Supreme with utmost sincerity and devotion, and it is entering into the deepest Source which is all-powerful. Your enemy will be disarmed by your innocence and go away.

If you know how to approach the Highest, the Highest has such power that you will be saved. Always use the high power, the power that comes from invoking the Supreme. Then surely you will be released. If you use the same weapons that the hostile forces use, you will lose, because they have experience on their side.

Don't insult a fool

One day the minister asked the King, “Why is it that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west every day? Can it not sometimes rise in the west and set in the east?”

The King said, “Only a fool like you can ask this kind of question, and only another fool can answer it.”

“Yes, I know that,” replied the minister. “That is why I have come to you.”

Spiritual comments

When one of you asks me something, no matter what kind of question it is, I never tell you that you are stupid to ask such a question. Go and ask somebody else this kind of silly question — even ask one of my more advanced disciples — and he will simply laugh at you and tell you to use your brain. No! No matter what kind of question you ask, even if it is a kindergarten question, absolutely childish, I try to answer it wholeheartedly. If your standard is of the kindergarten level, I try to enter into that class and take you, with my inner assurance, to the highest class.

When a person has a question or a problem, he will not have joy or peace of mind until it is taken care of. He will be dissatisfied as long as that particular question disturbs his mind. But a genuine Master will always sympathise with the seeker’s question, no matter how absurd it seems. For it is only by removing the seeker’s ignorance that the Master can be of any service to God and to the seeker. To remove the ignorance of the seeker is the most important thing in the Master’s life. How does he do it? First he identifies himself with the ignorance of the seeker, and then he offers the seeker his own inner light.

We always have to feel that the other person is asking something because he really does not know the answer. There are some mischievous fellows who ask a question just for the sake of asking, even though they know the answer. When I talk at the universities, there are some smart-alecks who have read some books. They know the answers to the questions they ask me, but only from the mental level. Yet they ask me questions just for the sake of argument, to show off or to challenge me. But again, there are some sincere people who have the same questions, but not on the mental level. Although they are undeveloped, still they are aspiring. When I answer the questions of the smart-alecks, they themselves don’t get any benefit, but the sincere ones who are still undeveloped do benefit.

When we need something that someone else has, we have to feel that he is an extension of our own consciousness. If I want to get something done on the physical plane, like painting the walls and ceiling of our church, I won’t be able to do it myself. When it is a matter of physical labour, my disciples have more capacity than I have. So I extend my consciousness to you and ask you to do it. When I enter into you, I enter into my larger consciousness, where I have the capacity to do physical labour. In this way, the Master enters into the physical aspect, the dynamic aspect, which everyone needs in order to live on earth. At that time, the Master does not think that he is foolishly lowering his consciousness. No! He is expanding it by entering into his disciples.

Now when it is a matter of inner awakening and spirituality, I know more than you. That is why when you need something on the inner plane — Light, Peace and Bliss — you come to me. At that time you are entering into your larger consciousness, which has illumination, realisation and perfection. You disciples can renovate the outer building. But when you want to create a temple in your heart, where you can keep your inner shrine safe and grow into the Highest, then your wisdom brings you to me. You are wise to come to me to get what you need inwardly, for I am the right person. And to get the things I need outwardly, I also go to the right people, to you. In this way we fulfil one another.

As much and as little as possible

The minister had a young daughter who was very smart, just like her father. One day his little daughter went with him to the palace, and the King, just to have some fun, asked her, “Do you know how to talk?”

She was only a little child, but she said, “Yes, I know how to talk much, and I know how to talk little.”

The King said, “What is this? How to talk much, and how to talk little? How do you do that?”

The little girl answered, “When I speak to my superiors I speak little, and when I speak to my inferiors I speak much.”

“Why do you do that?” asked the King.

The minister’s daughter replied, “From my superiors I learn. So when I speak to them, I speak as little as possible and listen as much as I can. But when I speak to my little brother, for example, I speak as much as possible, because he does not know anything. He has to learn from me.”

This was the child’s wisdom.

Spiritual comments

It is the same when I speak to my disciples. If a disciple asks me a question in one or two sentences, I take a long time to answer it and give him much wisdom. But I have some disciples who, when they have a question, go on speaking for five minutes, and my answer is much shorter than their question. When some of my disciples come to me for an interview, they only want me to hear their voice. They go on talking, talking, talking for half an hour, forty-five minutes, telling me all about their experiences and their realisations. Then, when they have said everything, I have no time or inclination to give them any advice.

These disciples are making a serious mistake. When you come to a spiritual Master like me, who is far superior to you in inner and outer wisdom, you don’t even have to say anything. I know everything immediately. But you get satisfaction in your physical mind when you actually ask me something, so I do not mind at all. You believe that I can then throw more light on it, real light on it, and that is why you ask me. But put the question in a few words; then listen, listen, listen to me. I have realised God. I am one with the Source of all knowledge. Since I am your superior in this matter, tell me only very little, and I will give you the flood of knowledge.

When you are with someone superior to you, do not act like a fool. Just say, “I am thirsty!” and the Master will immediately bring you milk, honey and nectar. But if you go on talking and talking at random, when you feel that the time has come for you to receive something, the Master will say, “You have wasted all your time. Now it is time for somebody else to come and be divinely fed.”

You do not know whether you need milk or something else. The Master knows what you need far better than you do, and he will give it all to you if you will only be quiet and receive. The best thing is to say only that you are thirsty. Then, if it is milk that you need, milk will come. If it is something else, you will get that thing. When you are with a superior, say the minimum and receive the maximum. You will be the real winner, and fulfilment will be yours.

The distance between truth and falsehood

The King one day asked his minister, “Can you tell me the distance between truth and falsehood? How far are they from one another?”

The minister replied, “It is the distance between the eye and the ear. What we see with the eye is the truth, and what we hear with the ear is all gossip, all falsehood. So the distance between truth and falsehood is about three inches.”

Spiritual comments

According to the minister, these two eyes see the truth, but these poor ears do not hear the truth. I wish to disagree, however. When we use our earthly eyes, we need not always be right. When we see something, we interpret it according to our human capacity. Again, if we hear something from others, that does not mean that it is all falsehood.

If a great artist has seen a painting and I, who am not an artist, have seen the same painting, his appraisal of it will be infinitely more correct than my own human judgement. I have used my eyes, but what do I know about painting? If a great artist sees a portrait and tells me about it, the truth I hear from him will be infinitely greater than the truth I get by using my eyes and my poor human judgement.

When we enter into the spiritual life we see that the vision of the physical eyes is very limited. We can see only a very short distance. We cannot see the past, we cannot see the future. We cannot see anything that is beyond the range of the physical eyes. But if we can open the third eye, then we can see far beyond ordinary human limits. With the third eye, past, present and future are at our command. We see everything.

With our human eyes sometimes we see a thing but we do not see it properly. We see it but we do not actually know what it is. But if we use the third eye, not only do we see the thing properly, but also we know immediately and exactly what it is.

With our human ears we hear things that are false and also things that are true. The outer ears receive everything: truth, falsehood, rumour, gossip, opinion and all kinds of useless or harmful information. But if we open our spiritual ear, then we will always hear the right things, divine things, fulfilling things. The inner, spiritual ear does not allow anything undivine, unprogressive or unfulfilling to enter into our being from the outside. It allows only messages of Truth, Light and Bliss to enter into the being. The spiritual ear listens only to the dictates of the soul. It hears only the message of Divinity from within us.

But ordinary people do not use their spiritual vision or hearing. When we see something with our eyes, we do not always give proper value to it. If we hear something with our ears, we may not give full importance to it. Why does this happen? It happens because we are trying all the time to perceive the world in our own way.

When we look at someone with our own eyes, we try to see that person in our own human way. If we see a beautiful person right in front of us, and if we have jealousy, even though we see that the person is beautiful our jealousy will tell us, “No, he is not beautiful. Far from it.” Although we know that he is beautiful, our inner jealousy will take away our sense of appreciation. And when we hear that somebody has stood first in running or jumping or that somebody has done something extraordinary, our jealousy will immediately try to diminish the importance of his achievement.

But jealousy will never actually be able to diminish a person’s beauty or the importance of his achievement. No matter how jealous we are, that person is not going to lose his supremacy. But our jealousy will immediately diminish our own power to know the truth. Even if we have the organs necessary to see properly and to hear properly, our internal jealousy will not allow us to see the truth in its own way, to hear the truth in its proper way.

Since this is the case, we have to use not the mind, not the vital, but the heart. The vital, out of jealousy, will try to destroy the truth. If the vital in us is jealous of somebody’s capacity, it will try to destroy that person so that he cannot achieve. “Let him break his legs so that he cannot run,” it will pray. The mind, out of jealousy, will simply say, “Let me close my eyes. If I do not see him run so fast, then no matter what anybody tells me, I don’t have to believe it.” The mind acts like a crow. A crow thinks that if its eyes are shut, then nobody in the whole world can see it. If it cannot see, how can others see? This is the intelligence that the crow has.

In the spiritual world also, if you keep your eyes shut, immediately you will think that nobody else can see either, that everybody is blind like you. With your eyes shut you find that the whole world is dark, and naturally, if others are also in your world of darkness, how can they do anything or be anything? But no! You have shut your eyes, and you have made your world dark; but the other fellow has kept his eyes wide open so he can run, and he will win the race.

See with the heart. The mind plays foolish tricks, and the vital tries to destroy. But the heart will immediately identify. The heart will immediately identify with a person who has accomplished something, or with an object that is embodying something. If there is a beautiful flower before us, when we see and feel with the heart, immediately we identify with the fragrance, beauty and essence of the flower. When we use the heart as our eye instead of the mind, we see the flower as all beauty, all purity. But when we receive the beauty of the flower with our mind and vital, jealousy and destruction come forward.

When we use the heart to receive the messages that others give, we will be the real winners. If somebody has won a prize or done something extraordinary, immediately that person’s joy enters into us. Our heart identifies with his joy and his joy, his achievement, becomes ours. If that person is proud of his success, our heart also becomes proud. The heart values the achievements of others because of its identification, its oneness.

When the son gets his Master’s degree, the mother is proud. The son has earned the degree, but the mother feels that it is her son, a part of herself that has received the degree, so she feels as proud as he does. She identifies fully with her son. The heart that enters into somebody else or allows somebody else to enter into it acts like a mother. The mother receives the honour, the prestige, the glory of the son simply because she has become one with him and accepted his accomplishments as her very own. The heart, too, can do this.

The power of the magic stick

Something very expensive was stolen from the house of a rich man, but no one knew who the thief was. The man had five servants, and one of them was definitely the culprit, but each one said he did not know who the thief was. It was impossible for the owner to accuse all five of his servants, for they were certainly not all in collusion. Finally the rich man sought the advice of the King’s minister, who was a very wise man. The minister told the rich man to bring the five servants to his house the next day, and assured him that he would catch the real thief.

The next day the rich man brought the five servants to the minister. The minister said, “I have five sticks. My master once taught me magic, and I tell you that these five sticks have magic in them. Now I am giving each of you one of these magic sticks. They are all the same length. Tomorrow morning each of you has to bring his own stick back to me. Whoever has committed the theft will see that his stick has grown an inch longer than all the others. Then he will be caught. He will not be able to deny his guilt.”

Now when they heard this, the four innocent servants were quite calm. But the guilty one was in a turmoil of fear and anxiety. “Since I am the thief,” he thought, “the magic will expose me.” Finally he decided that the best thing would be to cut his stick an inch shorter, so that when it grew an inch it would still be the same length as all the others.

The next morning the five servants presented their sticks to the minister, who measured them against each other. “How is it that your stick is one inch shorter than the others?” he asked the guilty servant.

“Shorter?” said the servant. “That is no problem. You said it had to be one inch longer for the thief to be identified.”

But the minister replied, “You fool, if the magic that I put inside this stick has the power to make it longer, it also has the power to make it shorter. You are caught.”

Spiritual comments

What do we learn from this story? The sincere ones, even if they are accused, will eventually be freed, but the insincere ones, today or tomorrow, will be exposed. Some disciples bow down to me dramatically, but inside there is no love, no devotion, no surrender. In the New York Centre they will bow down twenty times, or they will gaze at me until they get a glance or a little smile. They will go on and on with this behaviour. Everyone thinks that they are most devoted, but after a few months or a year or so, when they see that I am not smiling at them, or even looking at them, they will leave the Centre. It has happened in many, many cases.

The sincere disciples don’t have to show off. They may or may not bow, but their sincerity will one day prove itself. One day they will automatically get the best smile, the deepest love, affection and concern from me.

In the story, we saw that the same power that could make the minister’s stick taller could also make it shorter. Likewise, the power I have that can lift you up towards the highest Truth and bring forward all your divine qualities can also expose your undivine qualities if you try to deceive me in your spiritual life. So always be sincere, and there will be no problems.

At least in one way I must please you, Master

There was a rich man who wanted to hire a new servant. He told the applicant, “I will hire you provided that you please me.”

The servant said, “I shall please you in every way.”

“Then cook for me today,” said the rich man. “Make me a delicious meal.”

“I have never cooked in my life,” replied the servant.

“All right,” said the rich man. “If you do not know how to cook proper food, then bring me a mango from the tree over there.”

“How shall I get it?” asked the servant. “I have never climbed a mango tree. I will fall down and break my legs. I had better not try it.”

“All right,” said the master. “Then bring me a glass of water. Here is a glass.”

“I can bring it,” said the servant. “But if I drop the tumbler it will break. I shall bring it, but if it breaks please don’t blame me.”

The master said, “When I asked you to cook, you said you couldn’t cook. When I asked you to bring me a mango, you said you couldn’t climb a tree. Now I am asking you to bring me a glass of water, and you say that the tumbler may drop and break. In that case, let me do everything.”

So the master cooked a delicious meal, brought mangoes from the tree and carried water to the table. Then he said to the servant, “Come now. Sit down with me and let us eat.”

“At least in one way I must please you,” said the servant. “On three occasions I could not perform the task you requested of me, but this time I can easily do it.” And he sat down to eat with the master.

Spiritual comments

In the spiritual life also, when I ask two or three unfortunate disciples to do something for me, they say, “Ah, that is too difficult. No, I cannot do it. It is impossible.” Then the following day, when I ask them to do something else, their immediate reply is, “Oh, it is not possible for me to do that, either.” If they are young, they say, “If I do this, what will my parents think of me? Since I am staying under their roof, I have to listen to them.” Whatever I ask of them, that is the one thing they cannot do.

Then I may say, “Beginning tomorrow, come and work right in front of me at my house.” They have done nothing else that I have asked. Whether I am pleased or displeased I won’t say. But if they cannot do anything else, then their last job is just to move around me, to do some gardening work or some cooking or something in the Centre itself. Then they say, “Oh, that I can do. I have displeased you before, but this work I can easily do.” This is the reply I get from those disciples.

When it is an important matter, when we want something to be done which needs sacrifice, real love and devotion, at that time we don’t get any cooperation from the disciples. If I ask them to do some work when I am not around, it will take a long time. “Out of sight, out of mind.” But when it is a matter of showing off, standing in front of the Guru, talking or chatting — that kind of job they can do for twenty-four hours. Everyone wants attention. If I am right in your presence, then you get joy from your work and everything is done quickly. When I am not around to encourage you, inspire you and flatter you, then the work seems like real work and nobody wants to do it. But that is not the right attitude. You always have to do what the Master asks, when he asks it. Then only is it real dedicated service. If you work only when I make it easy and fun by being around you, that is not enough.

This body of mine will last for a few years, and then it will die. At that time will you stop working for me altogether? My physical body will no longer be on earth, but my soul and my inner beings will continue to help you, inspire you and work for you in every way. If you care for my soul, then you will always try to please me in my own way.

Whenever something pleases you, gives you joy and satisfaction, you are ready to do it immediately. And if it can be done in front of others, then you are ready to make every possible sacrifice. But if it is to be done in front of me only, then there is less devotion, less love. When there are twenty disciples watching, devotion comes immediately. It descends like a torrent of rain from above. But that devotion is all false, absolutely false. True devotion is doing something for the Master in his physical absence. In my physical absence, when you devotedly work for me, you will get one hundred out of a hundred. Then, in my physical presence, if you devotedly work for me when nobody else is watching, at that time you will get ninety out of a hundred. But if you can work with so-called devotion only when there are others nearby to observe and admire you, then you will get a mark of zero.

You are a fool if you think that others are admiring you when you do something for the Master, because inwardly they are only cursing you and your forefathers. When you work for the Master, the best thing is always to do it like a divine thief, secretly. Nobody should see what you are doing. Otherwise, everyone’s jealousy will enter into you. If you can do dedicated selfless service in that way, secretly, then you can please me most. In the spiritual life, the Master says to his spiritual children, “Try to please me. If you cannot please me, it will be impossible for you to stay with me. If you cannot please me divinely, it will not be possible for you to stay in my ashram.”

But the disciples try to please the Master in their own way. And when they see that the Master is never pleased, there comes a time when they say, “We have had enough of you! We are leaving you. We have tried our best to please you, but it is impossible. Let us please ourselves now.”

When they are leaving, the Master says, “I am sorry that you could not please the Supreme in me in His own way. Now that you are going away I can say only this much: may the Supreme someday please you, and may you also someday please the Supreme within you. You don’t have to please me at all, but you have to please the Supreme in yourselves or in some spiritual Master. Otherwise, you will never be satisfied. There is only one Supreme. He is both in you and in whomever you accept as your Master. Unless you please the Supreme, you will never be able to accomplish anything worthwhile. You will never be satisfied or fulfilled. You cannot grow into Divinity and Immortality unless you can please the Supreme first.”

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