Love-power and gratitude-flower

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Love-power gratitude-flower

An Indian spiritual Master, who was living in the West, one day went to the hospital to visit a disciple who had met with a serious car accident. Although the disciple was in much pain and could hardly move, he was overjoyed to see his Master. "Master," he said, "I feel that I have been helped considerably since my accident by your occult and spiritual healing power."

The Master smiled. "You know, one of your spiritual brothers asked me yesterday if it was your past karma that brought on this accident or whether it was due to an attack of hostile forces. I told him that it was definitely an attack of hostile forces. The hostile forces are much more alert than the divine forces, even though the divine Will always wins eventually. The hostile forces are like children who go on and on pinching their father like a monkey, thinking all the time they will weaken their father. But they are wrong. Just one slap from their father and it will be all over. But they still go on and on pinching. When a divine soldier is attacked by hostile forces in this way, he is actually strengthened, rather than weakened. It gives him added strength."

The disciple replied, "Master, I feel that this accident was worth every moment of pain for the experience it gave me. For the first time in my life I really felt and realised how much love you have for me. I saw that this love you have, that the Supreme has, is infinite, it is all-encompassing."

"This is absolutely true, my son," said the Master. "I am always telling you and the other disciples that I love you infinitely more than you love yourself. The mind won't believe it, but it is true." The disciple asked, "Master, how is it possible for you to love us more than we love ourselves?"

"When you think of yourself, you think of all your anxieties and worries. You think that your life consists of what you have to do whom you have to speak to, what you have seen and so forth. But in the Eye of the Supreme, that is not your life at all. Your life is your receptivity — how much you are capable of receiving His Love, Peace and Delight.

"One of my disciples said to me the other day, 'I can believe that you love me and I love you, but when you say that you love us more than we love ourselves, is it not just something nice that you are telling us?' Then a few days later that disciple had a dream and in this dream he saw that with all the incidents in his life, with all that he had done and achieved, he had built a house. But gradually, gradually this house began to crumble; everything fell away from him and he saw how meaningless all these incidents were. He felt totally lost. But then he saw me standing there with my love for him. Only when he had become totally one with me and I had become totally one with him did he feel any joy, peace or fulfilment.

"Everyone feels that his life is made of these incidents — his daily routine — but I wish to say that these things are merely experiences that we have while we are living on earth. In order to live in God something else is necessary. In order to live in God, we have to know how much love we can receive, how much light we can receive from the Supreme."

"But Master," said the disciple, "I still don't understand exactly why you can love me more than I love myself. I'm sorry. I know you do, but I'm not sure exactly how."

"My son, the reason is this. You see yourself as a human being, full of ignorance. So when you think of yourself, you think of ignorance. You do not see yourself as another God; you see yourself as a half-animal. When you are insincere you think you know everything and when you try to be sincere, you think that you are full of ignorance. But you should know that what God is, you also are. Only when you are in your absolutely highest consciousness do you think of yourself as a chosen instrument of God. This knowledge of who you really are is what you are now crying for. I love you constantly and infinitely because I always know who you are. I know you not only as an instrument of the Supreme, but as the Supreme Himself. There are times when I am looking at you and the other disciples when I am not seeing the Supreme in you; I am seeing the Supreme Himself. You won't believe it, but I see you not as a human being with the Supreme inside you, but as nothing other than the Supreme. I see this with my human eyes, without even using my third eye.

"I love the Supreme, who is your real reality, infinitely more than you can love the human being you consider yourself to be. So if I see you as the Supreme, how can I not love you, as I love myself — not as a human being but as I see myself through my realisation — as the Supreme? You may think that you are your problems, that you are the details of your life, and so you cannot love yourself most devotedly. You will be able to love yourself only when you are in your highest, when you feel my presence inside your heart. But I am loving you constantly. Here is the proof. Most of the time you are thinking of something else — your job, your wife, your children — but I am constantly thinking of you. You think you are loving yourself — your family, all that is your life — but your attention is divided. Always you are thinking of other things. But my attention is never divided. It is constant love for you."

The disciple had now totally forgotten his pain. "Master," he asked, "does the secret of being conscious of this love lie in gratitude?"

"Yes, absolutely. But the unfortunate thing is that our human mind feels that gratitude is something inferior. We feel that when we offer gratitude to God, because He offered us something first, we are doing something inferior. If someone has done something for us, naturally we will show him our gratitude, but we feel that the power of gratitude is inferior to the power of giving.

"But God sees Himself and us as one. He feels that He is giving what He has — Love and Compassion — and we are giving what we have — gratitude. Our power of gratitude is every bit as strong as His Light and Love-power, but we feel that it is inferior because He offers us His Light and Love first. In the beginning of the Game, He gave us what He wanted to give us, which is gratitude, and He kept for Himself His Light. Now, the Role He has is to offer us Light and our role is to offer Him gratitude. He is playing His Role, but we are not playing our role. Now, if we return to Him what He has given us, we are playing our role and if He offers to us what He has kept for Himself, then He is playing His Role. Our role is in no way inferior to His Role. When He is giving us His Light and we are giving Him our gratitude, then only can we manifest.

"When you feel gratitude, feel that a flower, a lotus or a rose, is blooming inside of you, petal by petal and when you feel tremendous gratitude, then feel that the flower has totally blossomed."

"Master," said the disciple, "I am deeply grateful for this experience that I have had, even though it was a hostile attack, for I have learned and received so much from you in and through this experience. I know now that your love-power is the only thing on earth that can totally fulfil me and I pray that one day my gratitude-flower will totally fulfil you."

The missing keys

There was once a spiritual Master who had a very high realisation but, in his day-to-day life, he was somewhat forgetful or what you might call divinely absent-minded.

One day the Master misplaced the keys to his room. He said to his disciple, "Vasant, have you seen my keys?"

"No, Master," the disciple answered, "but I will see if I can find them for you."

"Yes, dearest child, please look. And take Renu to help you. I will be really grateful to you, good boy, if you can find my keys."

Renu and Vasant looked high and low for the Master's keys while the Master waited outside his locked bedroom door.

"Oh, Renu," Vasant finally said, "Poor Master is suffering so much waiting for his keys. I sincerely hope we find them soon."

"Yes, Vasant, I feel very sad that Master can't get into his room. Let's look harder. They must be here somewhere."

Renu ran upstairs to his Master and said, "Please tell me, Master, did you go outside of the house today? Did you take your keys with you anywhere?"

"No, I have been here all day." Then, he paused. "Oh yes, yes, I did go out. I went for a walk this afternoon. Perhaps the keys are in the pocket of my coat. Please go and look in my pockets."

Sure enough, the keys were there and Renu ran and gave them to his Master. Since the Master had wasted half an hour in searching for his keys, now he would be late for the meditation he had to conduct that evening in the city, which was a few miles away from his ashram.

After changing his clothes, the Master got into his car, and Renu drove him to the meditation hall. After a few minutes on the highway, Renu asked, "Master, you have infinite occult and spiritual powers. How is it that you can't use them to find something when it is lost? And couldn't you have just entered the room without having bothered to open the door at all?"

"Yes, my child, that is true, but I pretend. If I lose my keys and my room is locked, I act like a beggar and you people go and look for my keys so that I can get into my room. I can enter without the keys; I have the capacity to go inside with my gross physical, but I don't break the cosmic law. I can do it but I don't; it is forbidden. It is like a promise. When you promise your dearest one that you will not do a particular thing, then you never do it. The Supreme and I are one, but He has asked me not to use my occult power on this type of thing. How many hundreds of times have I forgotten to take my keys with me when I go somewhere and then we are in such difficulty until you find the keys or find a way to open the door."

"But, Master, so often you are unnecessarily delayed and inconvenienced by this sort of thing."

"Yes, my dearest child, I can easily avoid these things, but I don't. Sometimes when I lose or misplace things, I inwardly laugh and laugh because I know that if I wanted to, I could easily discover where they are. That capacity I had at the age of fourteen. But just because I have promised the Supreme that I won't do it, I don't. He plays with me and, like a puppet, I do what He wants me to! Sometimes I misplace something and eventually have to come to the conclusion that it is lost for good. Then I have to buy something else to replace it."

"Master, do you remember when we looked for your wristwatch? For hours and hours we searched for it; then you found it. Did you finally remember where it was or did you eventually use occult power?"

"It is not that I recollected where it was; far from it. In that case I just used occult power and I got it. After we had wasted four hours, it was the Will of the Supreme that I use my occult power and just get it."

"Oh, Master, if you used your occult power all the time then you would become really famous for your miracles. Your mission would expand overnight and you wouldn't have to work so hard to manifest the Supreme."

"Yes, I would become a miracle-monger and then your aspiration would really descend! To constantly show miracles without a divine purpose is wrong, and to watch miracles just out of curiosity is equally wrong. The divine in you does not want you to see miracles only to satisfy your curiosity. The divine in you wants you to sincerely aspire and play the role that the Supreme has chosen for you in His divine Manifestation. We are here not to show off our capacities to others, but to do as the Supreme commands, since He is the source of our capacities."

God's protection is foolproof

One day a great Indian spiritual Master was sitting alone in his house, which overlooked the whole of his ashram. He was reading some of the letters that his disciples and admirers had recently written him when one of his oldest disciples knocked at the door. When he opened the door, he saw that she was weeping bitterly and it seemed that she had been crying for some time. She lived on the other side of the ashram and had run all the way.

"Master, O Master," she cried, "today is the worst day of my life! I can't understand how people can be so cruel. O Master!" and she began to weep loudly again.

"Mula, go wash your face and dry your tears and then come back and tell me the whole story," said the Master, with a loving smile.

The disciple went and did as the Master had asked. When she returned she sat at his feet and told the whole story: "Master, all year I have been saving my money so I could give it to you on your birthday. Since your birthday is only three weeks away, I had collected quite a sum — at least according to my standard. But when I returned home after my morning bath today, I found it all gone! Master, who could have done such a thing?"

"My child, don't be upset. It really doesn't matter. I have received inwardly all that you wanted to offer. But tell me, did you keep your house locked and everything in a safe place?"

"Yes, Master. I always make extra sure that my house is well locked. Master, please tell me, how can we prevent such things from happening in the future? Should we be more cautious? In every part of our lives should we be constantly on our guard against hostile forces?"

"My daughter, if we are cautious, there is a kind of tension. It very often can result in a tense mind, a tense vital or physical. Instead of being cautious, what we should do is pray and invoke the constant presence of the Supreme within us. Then we don't have to be cautious at all. When we are cautious, we say, 'I won't allow anyone to come in' or 'I won't allow that to happen to me.' Here we are trying to avoid something; we are trying to keep something from happening. But there is another way which is infinitely better, and that is to think of Someone who is all Protection, all Love. Then it becomes His problem, His headache."

"But, Master, what can the Supreme do when a thief wants to break into my house and I have not taken any precautions?"

"Dearest child, you must know that no matter how carefully we bolt our doors and windows, a real thief can enter in two minutes. No matter how cautious I am, he knows a way to break in. But if I am conscious of the Supreme and cry for His guidance and protection, then what will happen? When the burglar is coming towards my house, the Supreme will immediately enter into him and, in a fleeting second, change his mind. The burglar will think, 'Oh, he is a spiritual man, a wise man. He must keep his money in the bank. And anyway, spiritual men never have much money. I'll go somewhere else.' In a subtle, mysterious way the Supreme gives us protection when we need it. But no matter how cautious we are, there is no guarantee.

"The other day two of my disciples who live just outside the ashram were robbed while they were asleep in their own room. The robbers came into their room and stole their money. Just as the thieves were leaving, the disciples' mother awoke and called the police. The disciples were so surprised when the police came and woke them up. Why did this happen? Because they did not cry for the protection of the Supreme. According to their mental wisdom, bolting the door was enough."

"Master," asked the disciple, "wouldn't it be good if we could do both things — be careful and also invoke the Supreme?"

"Yes, indeed. It is very good when we can do both things — bolt the door and cry for the Supreme's protection. This way we have inner protection and outer protection. Our alertness must go together with God's Compassion. But we have to know that even our alertness comes from God, for who is it who gives us the wisdom to bolt the door if not God? So when it is a matter of real protection, we have to remember that God is the supreme protection. Only God's Compassion is foolproof."

The disciple's offering

An Indian spiritual Master was once celebrating the birthday of one of his dearest disciples. At the end of the function the Master gave the disciple a long blessing. When it was over, while the disciple was bowing to the Master, the disciple happened to see a penny lying on the floor in front of him. He picked it up and gave it to the Master. The Master accepted it gratefully and then gave it back to him.

"This reminds me of a story," the Master said smiling, "about a very well-known spiritual Master who had a great admirer and friend, who later became his disciple. The Master's friend was a very great scholar, magistrate and judge. When the Master worked in politics, this friend was an admirer and helper of his; but when the Master entered the spiritual life it was difficult for the friend to accept him as a Master. He said, 'You have deserted India. India is still not free and independence is not yet established,' and he went to help a great literary figure in India with his work.

"Then one day one of the Master's disciples, who happened to be staying at the home of the literary figure, received a very nice, spiritual letter from the Master. The disciple showed the letter to the Master's old friend and the friend was deeply moved. He wrote a letter to the Master saying he would like to come to the ashram. The Master wrote back and said, 'If you can give up smoking a pipe, then you will be allowed.'

"When the friend came to the ashram and saw the Master, he said to himself, 'If I don't see the Lord Krishna in you, I won't believe that you are realised.' Aloud he said, 'You say you have realised Sri Krishna. Even so, I won't accept you as my Master since I accepted you first as my friend'. Previously also these two friends used to cut jokes like this. But on that day he really felt Lord Krishna's presence in his old friend and he immediately became fully spiritual and devoted.

"The disciple-friend had his copy of the Bhagavad-Gita with him. Every day for thirty years he had recited verses from it. He said, 'Since I feel Krishna's presence in you, then to me you are Krishna. Now that I have accepted you as my Guru I don't have to study the Gita and worship Lord Krishna as he is described here. So I am giving you my copy of the Gita, which represents my only form of spiritual practice.'

"The Master accepted the book and then returned it with his blessing and said, 'I am the modern Sri Krishna. Now, this book is mine. Please take my copy of the Bhagavad-Gita. You gave it to me, it became mine, and now I am telling you to take it and study it.'

"So here also we find the same thing. This penny became my treasure; now it is yours. You please keep it." The Master gave the disciple a broad smile. "So you see what a big story I can make from a small incident!"

Accept or reject, but stick to your principles

Three hundred years ago a very wise spiritual Master lived with about forty selected disciples in a small ashram in India. In those days he was the only Master to accept both men and women as disciples, and he was very proud of the soulful aspiration and dedication of his spiritual sons and his spiritual daughters. One morning in his library the Master was talking with two of the most dedicated men in his ashram.

"I am extremely happy that you two have maintained such a close friendship for so many years," said the Master.

"I have to be sincere with you, Master," said one of the young men. "This friendship is about to come to an end."

The Master was surprised. "Why, my son? What has happened?"

"Sometimes I literally want to kill him," the disciple said. "The human in me becomes uncontrollably angry when I see him mixing with one of the most beautiful girls at your ashram whom I have been secretly fond of for many months. What can I do, Master? When it is a matter of my vital attachment to her, I am helpless."

"Three years ago," said the Master, "you gave up your wife so that, alone, you could run speedily towards your goal. In the case of your friend also, his marriage ended a few months later when his wife left the ashram. At that time, both of you told me in all sincerity that you no longer wanted married life and that you would go alone, running fast, faster, fastest to your goal. You were sincere, and I believed you. Now, how have you allowed yourselves to be caught once again by your emotional lives?"

"Master," said the second man, "you know that human weakness is such that one cannot know what he himself will do next. You cannot trust any human being, not even yourself. I was sincere three years ago when I said that I did not need marriage, I did not need women. But I did not know then the power of my own weakness."

Just then the doorbell rang, and the Master went downstairs to open the door. Two of his dearest daughters had come to give the Master some knitted items he had asked them to make for him. The Master was pleased with their work, but he noticed that one of the young women looked sad and disturbed. "What is the matter, my daughter?" the Master asked, giving her a compassionate smile.

"It is impossible to hide anything from you, Master," the girl replied. Pointing to her friend, she said, "She is the cause of my suffering."

"You are like two sisters — inseparable," said the Master. "Please tell me what she has done."

"Master, I have always been very frank with you. You know that since my marriage broke up seven years ago, I have been tortured by my emotional attachments to other men. At times I even long to have my husband back."

"I know, my child," said the Master. Just last night while everyone else was meditating at the meeting, I saw you drinking in the beauty of your ex-husband."

"O Master," said the girl, "you know my deplorable situation. I am so ashamed, but I am helpless. Now this girlfriend of mine has started mixing openly with a boy I have been inwardly dying for for the last two years. Their relationship is becoming thicker than the thickest. My jealousy is simply killing me."

"Indeed, this is a most deplorable situation," said the Master. He turned to the second girl. "Your marriage also broke up many years ago. At that time you assured me that you had given up men for good. You were genuinely happy that you would not enter into marriage again in this incarnation or in any future incarnations. My daughter, you said these things in utmost sincerity. You wanted to go alone to the goal. How is it that you are now mixing with this boy? I have even seen you trying to make your ex-husband and this other young man jealous of each other when both of them happen to be in the same room."

"Master," the girl replied, "everything you say is true. But how did I know six years ago that emotionally I was so weak?"

"You have to be sincere to yourself," said the Master. "Make your choice. Do you want human love or divine Love? In human love, the story is always changing, starting and stopping. There is no satisfaction there. But the divine Love-story is endless — the Supreme will be your Beloved through out Eternity." The Master asked the two women and the two men to come into his meditation room. "All of you have been very sincere with me today. You and your former husband or wife wanted to march together in the spiritual life: that's why you got my approval and blessings in your marriages. I was one with your joy in union. When you wanted to go alone, you also got my full sanction. In your separation, I was also happy. I want only your happiness."

"But in which way would we have made the fastest progress?" asked one of the young men.

"Both ways are equally necessary, my children. But you have to decide for yourself which way is going to lead you to your goal. You can go with someone, or you can go alone. But you have to make up your mind and then stick with whatever way you choose. Either you go alone of you go together with your husband or wife. But while staying alone, if you think of your ex-wife or ex-husband, or if you become attached to other women or men, you will not make any progress. Again, staying together, but always quarrelling and fighting is also wrong." "Master," said one of the girls, "what should we do now?"

"Both ways are right," said the Master, "but one has to use one path. Otherwise, if you do not do that, you will ruin yourself. It pains me a lot that your mind is now roaming. You have to make up your mind, and then stick to your principles. Either accept a husband or a wife, or think of all men as your brothers and all women as your sisters, and do not be attached to men in a vital, emotional way."

All four disciples bowed to the Master. One of them said, "Master, today you have shown your Concern-Oneness for our weaknesses. Now that we have become sincere with you, we are sure that you will be able to transform our weaknesses into strength so that we will be able to stick to the path we have chosen."

Is the Master's love enough?

There was once a very great spiritual Master who lived in the United States. He had many disciples, and he showed them great affection and love.

One day, while he was preparing some correspondence in his room, he called in one of his disciples to do some filing. After a few minutes the disciple said, "Master, you are my Lord, you are my Supreme. You always show me boundless love and affection."

"Then why isn't my love enough for you, my son?"

"What do you mean, Master? When have I said that your love is not enough for me?"

"If you really felt that I am your All, that I am everything to you, then you would need nobody but me. Sometimes I don't know whether you love me or your girlfriend more."

"Master, today I am being so sincere with you. Why are you not serious with me?"

"Son, how many times today did you think of your girlfriend and how many times did you think of me?"

"Well, Master, perhaps I do think of her. But what is wrong with it?"

"Son, even if you drink in her beauty mentally you are caught. You have no idea how your consciousness falls each time you appreciate her in this way. You fall from your highest spiritual height."

"Master, I had no idea I was doing this."

"My child, if you do this even unconsciously, then you are no different from an unaspiring person. This is what people in the ordinary life do all the time. On the mental plane their vital life is going on constantly."

"So Master, what should I do now?"

"Son, you need to be more consciously aware of that part of your vital world which you are holding onto and not giving to me."

"Master, you always say that I am absolutely open and sincere with you. I have told you everything about my past life and my present problems. What am I holding back from you?"

"Unfortunately, the things that I am speaking about are on the unconscious level, just like what I pointed out today. Even from your past there are many things which you have not told me because you have forgotten them."

"But Master, if I do not remember something, how can I offer it to you?"

"Pray that these things will come forward to your conscious awareness. But even if you cannot bring these things forward, do not worry. I will work with what you have given me and can give me to give you your realisation, revelation and manifestation. And there is something else you can do."

"What is that, Master?"

"My son, love me more."

"Master, I love you with all my heart and soul."

"If you really loved me then you would make yourself strong vitally and mentally. You would fight against these thoughts and you would throw all these lower forces into me for purification. You have to say that you need only me — my Love, my affection — in your life. Son, I am giving you my infinite Love. There is nothing more I can do to show my boundless affection and concern for you. Now you have to feel that my Love is enough for you and not look to anyone else for love."

"Master, these things are so difficult."

"Difficult, but not impossible. One has to do the difficult thing, my son. God-realisation is a difficult task."

"Master, I am a little confused. Lately you have been telling me that I have been making excellent inner progress."

"Son, when you throw off this vital weakness, then your progress will be uninterrupted. You will run absolutely the fastest."

"Then how long will this purification take?"

"It depends on your aspiration. It can take a few years or one incarnation or God knows how many incarnations."

"Master, it seems as if I should pay less attention to purifying my vital life and be more concerned with my spiritual life."

"Son, the purification of your vital cannot be separated from your spiritual life."

"But Master, still the problem is not solved."

"Son, is this not one of the major problems of life? I have been helping you and I will continue to help you out of my infinite Compassion. Remember that when I tell you to do something in your inner life or outer life, I give you the necessary strength. In your case I assure you, my efforts will definitely bear fruit. We shall undoubtedly succeed."

The Master's inner beings

Late one night a spiritual Master and two disciples were driving back home from a lecture in another city. As it was a long drive, the Master began speaking to the driver to help him stay awake.

"Time for spiritual Masters is different from time for ordinary seekers. When a seeker meditates for ten minutes in earthly time, he feels that he has meditated for ten hours. But spiritual Masters enter into earthbound time and expand it. In their case, this ten minutes is stretched into ten hours. The work that is normally done in ten hours we can do with our concentrated power in ten minutes. That is why we can accomplish many things at a time. When I meditate in the morning on my disciples, I meditate for two or three minutes on each disciple, but actually the power that I offer operates in him for two hours or for the whole day. This is the secret that spiritual Masters have."

"Master," the disciple who was driving said, "right now you are speaking to us. But isn't this the time you meditate on all your disciples?"

"My child, no matter what I am doing, I meditate constantly. When I was sixteen or seventeen one day I was writing a poem and, for the first time, I felt something inside me — something praying and meditating most soulfully for me. I said 'How is it? I am writing a poem and somebody, like a little child, is meditating on my behalf!' At first I thought that that being was not mine. Afterwards, I saw that it was mine and that I had many beings. They are all my children."

"What do these inner beings do, Master?" asked the other disciple.

The Master explained, "When I meditate, at that time I do things consciously, but when I am not meditating my representatives are doing things for me all the time. True, there is a difference between the boss doing something and the representatives doing something, but the representatives, in my case, are very powerful. Sometimes I do something, sometimes they do it.

"For many years we have been having meditations on specific nights at Centres in different parts of the world: one on Wednesday night, one on Saturday night, a third on another night. For the Wednesday night meditation, for example, earlier in the day — in the morning or in the afternoon — I meditate on my disciples in that Centre and then I hold the concentrated power in the Universal Consciousness. When the time comes for their meditation, it is released. But if I don't have an opportunity to do this, my inner beings will do it on my behalf; they will do real meditation for me."

The driver asked, "So your inner beings are meditating on your disciples now, Master?"

"Yes, that is why I can sit here talking and cutting jokes with you so you don't fall asleep while driving. I have already sent out seven of my inner beings to meditate on each of my disciples. Actually, they are more than inner beings; they are my emissaries and they are working very hard and very well for me. Right now I can see one is meditating on Gopal, one on Uma and one has just returned from Lakshmi's house. Your mother has already been taken care of. So you can see that my inner beings are extremely efficient. They are feeding the disciples' souls on my behalf."

The Master smiled, "My inner beings are so faithful to me; they are so devoted. They have come into the world to serve me and they get a little peace, a little appreciation from me. Their appreciation is a smile. I smile and they get joy."

"Are they like human souls or are they like gods and goddesses?"

"Neither," the Master replied. "They are in between. We can call them beings."

"Master, when you are conscious of everything and meditating on the whole universe, at that time what happens to your beings?"

"They become very proud of me, my child. Today, when I was standing behind the podium during the lecture, at one point I noticed that they were extremely proud of me. They were seeing that I was playing with the Universal Consciousness like a toy. When I came down from the stage, although I was looking right in front of me, I could barely see anyone's soul because the souls appeared so small — tinier than insects. Then I caught all those who were sitting there and threw them into the Universal Consciousness. Sometimes I have a little fun and enjoy myself like that."

"When you meditate on our heart, Master, or your inner beings come and meditate on us, how can we be more conscious of what is happening?" asked the driver.

"Always try to open your heart and keep your heart open. This is the most effective way. Another way is by your heart's identification with what is most important, with what comes first in your life. If that most important thing is not your Master and your Master's mission, if it is your business or your studies, then you will be nowhere. But if you can identify with me and feel your identification with me in your heart, then you can easily become conscious of what is happening."

At this point the car rounded a corner and the Master's house came into view. The Master gave the two disciples a broad smile and then went into the house.

Inner and outer vision

There was once a very great spiritual Master who had hundreds of disciples. During the day he was very busy, and it was not always possible to approach him with questions. But in the evening, a few times a week, he would sometimes gather his close disciples around him and they would discuss all kinds of things.

One night, the Master and a group of about twenty disciples were in the Master's room. It was late at night, and the intimate gathering was about to break up. All at once the Master looked at one of the disciples and said, "Gopal, were you at meditation today?"

"Only for fifteen minutes," said the disciple. "Then I had to leave for an appointment."

The Master said, "So, that solves the mystery."

"What do you mean?" asked the disciple.

"I felt your vibration unmistakably, but I didn't see you there outwardly so I couldn't account for it. When I looked at your best friend as he was meditating, at that time I saw only your face. I was pouring my blessings directly into him and he was devotedly receiving them, but instead of his face, I was seeing your face."

"How did that happen, Master?" the young man asked.

"At that time," explained the Master, "your soul and his soul had become absolutely one, full of love, full of oneness. When I looked at him with my physical eyes, I saw his own face; when I looked with my intuitive power, at that time he appeared as somebody else."

"Master," another disciple said, "is this one of those cases when you were operating on more than one level?"

The Master nodded "yes" and the disciple continued, "How are you able to do that?"

The Master said, "It is like this. If I look at you with my physical eyes, I am seeing you clearly, and I am not seeing anything else. But when I open my third eye, everything appears right in front of my vision. When people sit in the front row, sometimes they don't realise I am seeing them clearly with my third eye when I am moving my gaze around the room and do not seem to be looking at them. Some think my gaze is far, very far from them, but because of my third eye, I can see everywhere. That is why I am so disturbed when people in the front do not meditate properly and that is why we now have reserved seats for some meetings.

"Master, do you remember last Saturday's meditation? Were you operating on various levels at that time also? I saw something very powerful in your face."

"Last week at the meeting it was a very, very powerful meditation. I went far, far beyond the soul's world at that time. After the meeting it was very difficult, extremely difficult, for me to come down although I was sincerely trying. When I reached the exit, I was still trying to come down, but even then I failed."

"But Master," one disciple asked, "isn't it dangerous to be walking around the street in such a high consciousness?"

The Master said, "Some spiritual Masters need physical protection when they are in this state of consciousness. If one plans to stay there for a long time, one should do so alone at home, for the slightest earthly sound can be most dangerous at that time.

"Spiritual Masters usually enter into their highest consciousness at night, when the outer world is more peaceful. But again, we are at the mercy of the Supreme's Will. God knows at what time He wants us to elevate our consciousness and, in this case, it was during a meditation meeting that I entered into this state."

As the Master finished speaking, the disciples saw his face change expression, and they knew he was entering a meditative mood. In a few moments the entire room was flooded with Light and Peace. The disciples meditated with folded hands for about fifteen minutes, and then the Master bowed, and the meditation was over.

"Go home, go home," the Master said, for by now it was very late, and morning meditation began at six o'clock. The disciples silently filed out of the Master's room.

Your regularity helps others

There was once a very great spiritual Master who lived in America. One day he decided to return to India for a short visit with his family. Before he left, his parting words to the disciples at his ashram were: "In my absence please come regularly and devotedly to the Centre. Here in this place you will feel my presence and the infinite Blessings and Grace of the Supreme. Please cooperate and help in every way. Your president will be conducting the meetings."

When the Master returned, he was very disappointed, for his disciples had not listened to his request. That night, when all the disciples were gathered together, he said: "I have seen from the attendance list that during my absence many of you have not been coming regularly to the Centre. It is not just two or three individuals who have stayed away, but as many as forty or fifty. I don't think all these forty people had serious family calamities which prevented them from coming. I would have already received news of such calamities. Only two or three people were actually sick, but the rest felt that either there was nothing at the Centre or that this was the time for real enjoyment." The disciples remained silent. The Master continued, "Perhaps you have forgotten that two things are needed in the spiritual life: aspiration and regularity. You forgot all about regularity but I hope that at least you have maintained your aspiration. I always say please take regularity as a step, a step forward towards your realisation. Regularity is like a yardstick."

"Master" said one disciple, "many disciples feel that they can meditate just as well at home." "My son, when you are not regular in your attendance, it creates a wrong impression, a bad impression. Other disciples say, 'Oh, so-and-so hasn't come. I also will not come.' Now, if you do not have a strong solid reason not to come to the Centre on the day of a meeting, it is an insult to your soul and to my soul. Your soul comes to the Centre as a spiritual beggar and my soul comes to the Centre to offer you guidance. So if it is 'out of sight, out of mind', this is a terrible insult to both our souls. You feel that since the Guru is not there, there is nothing to go for. But I wish to say everything is there inwardly. And if you feel that personality or individuality conflicts may occur because a particular disciple is conducting the meeting, that is again a mistake. You have come to the Centre to transcend your personality and individuality.

"But, Master, what if we're not in a good mood?"

"There are some disciples who think that when they are not in a good mood, a spiritual, divine mood, it is better for them not to come. They are also making a mistake. If I have got a disease, I will go to a doctor; I will not sit at home. By staying at home my disease will only become worse; it is not going to decrease, so I go to a doctor. Similarly, if I am not in a good mood, if I am suffering, I go the Centre, which is the doctor in this case.

"Again, I wish to say that you may be in a bad mood, your consciousness may be very low, but still you may inspire others. While you are meditating at the Centre, for a fleeting second something may enter into you — something very high, something very deep. For one fleeting second something divine — a wave of love, devotion or surrender — may enter into you, and at that particular moment from the occult or spiritual world, some inner message from you will enter into ten or twelve of your brother and sister disciples. You need not be standing in front of them meditating, but because of some occult, spiritual reason, seven or eight persons will look at you. They may not be able to see your face, but even by looking at your back or your shoulders they will get tremendous inspiration. Sometimes I see you watching others while they are standing up in front of the group meditating. They may not be having as high a meditation as you are, but even then you get inspiration from them. You look at a person and immediately you are so deeply moved that you go deeper within and your consciousness goes higher. So someone may have been in a very bad mood for an hour or for four days, but even if he has one second of high meditation, it can help twenty, thirty or forty individuals at a time. At that moment it is a real achievement for those twenty or thirty disciples. In this way the consciousness of the whole Centre becomes higher.

"I am in no way flattering or tempting you to come to the Centre, but I wish to say there are times when your very presence considerably helps others. You may be the worst meditator, but if you meditate well for even one second, at that moment some spiritual force or divine wave will enter into the ones who are beside or behind you. While you are meditating in your seat you are spreading love waves, divine waves of light. It has happened thousands and thousands of times. So please try to be regular in your attendance. Unless you have family problems or some extremely serious difficulties, please make it a point to always come to the Centre."

The Master's experiences

A well-known spiritual Master returned late one night from two days of lecturing and he invited a few of his disciples over for dinner. After they had eaten, the disciples begged him for news about his trip.

The Master said, "It is very late, but I can offer you two or three amusing incidents. During the trip, as you know, I visited four states and gave four talks at universities. God alone knows how we managed, but we did. The audiences at all four places were very respectful right from the beginning and gave us a very good response.

"After one of the talks I gave yesterday, a Chinese girl came up to me and said, 'Have you seen Lord Krishna?'

"I said, 'Yes.'

"She said, 'But I tell you I have seen Krishna in you. I have been practising Krishna Consciousness for some time but today, for the first time, I have seen Lord Krishna, and he was in you.'

"I smiled at her and she folded her hands.

"Then, after another talk, I was speaking to a young man. He said to me, 'It seems to me that you are God. Please tell me whether you are God or not.'

"I said, 'Far, far from it. I am only a servant of God. I am only a son of God as you are a son of God. I am your older brother. One day you shall also become an older brother to others and take the rest of humanity to God.'

"Then he said to me, 'What is your philosophy?'

"I said, 'Love.'

"He said, 'My philosophy is also love.' He wanted to embrace me but I just gave him a smile.

"After another talk a young man came to me and said, 'What is the use of having a living man on a dying planet? I have seen who you are. You are a living man.'

"I replied, 'This planet is not dying and it cannot die unless and until I have offered everything I have. It will always last because of what I am offering.'

"Then he said, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have assured me that a living Master and a true disciple can go together.' I just smiled."

The Master continued, "When I give lectures I also encounter many disciples of other Masters. Some are very wild. One such person came up to me and asked me if I thought his Master could give me salvation. I said, 'If I have faith in him then certainly he can. Similarly, if I have faith in the Christ, or the Buddha, they also can give me salvation.' He was so pleased because I had compared his Master with the Christ and the Buddha."

One of the disciples interrupted the Master. "Guru, your lowest disciple is far better than that rogue Master!"

Another disciple said, "Guru, we know you never pass comments on other spiritual Masters, but it seems that this Master has not spent years praying or meditating before becoming a Master. Is that possible?"

The Master replied, "All spiritual Masters have to work to get their realisations. Some have realised God in previous incarnations, but even they have had to work very hard in the following incarnation to get it back. I worked four or five years to get back my realisation."

"So then that Master really is a rogue," said one disciple. The Master looked at his watch and said, "It is getting late and you should all go home now. Before you go I will say only that in this world, fools and rogues go very nicely together. Fools are insecure: therefore, they go to rogues. And rogues feel that fools are the type to exploit, so they exploit them as much as they can. These rogues have no idea about reincarnation or the soul's world or what will happen in future incarnations. They just enjoy today to their heart's content, for as long as they can. They feel, 'I may die tomorrow but this moment is at my disposal. Let me use it to deceive the world before someone catches me.' That is what they are doing. These people not only have no idea about future lives, but also have no idea about what will happen tomorrow. They know only that today belongs to them and they are anxious to use today.

"So, dear ones, let us not be fools. Now it is past the time for all of you to go home. Meditation comes early in the morning. Let us go."

Editor's note to the first edition

In this collection of stories about spiritual seekers and their Masters, Sri Chinmoy reveals some of the mysterious ways in which Masters work to illumine and perfect their disciples. Drawn largely from personal experience, these remarkable stories offer illumining insights into the most powerful and intimate relationship human beings have ever experienced — the relationship between a disciple and his Guru.