In search of a perfect disciple

Return to the table of contents

In search of a perfect disciple

Not long ago there lived a great spiritual Master. He wanted to know the actual number of his disciples, so he announced that all those who considered themselves his disciples should send him their names within a month's time. Everybody fulfilled the Master's demand. His secretaries carefully counted the number: it was ten thousand and one.

The secretaries were extremely pleased that their Master had ten thousand and one disciples. But the Master said, "It will take me another month to know if among these ten thousand and one disciples I have a single one whom I can call my perfect, my unconditionally perfect disciple."

The Master concentrated deeply on each disciple in turn, and found, to his disappointment, that each one was marred by imperfections. All ten thousand and one of his disciples failed to reach his expectations.

The poor Master said, "All right, these are all my disciples. It is true that they have disappointed me, but there are many, many seekers all over the world. I shall go to different parts of the world and look for just one perfect disciple, such as I have not seen so far."

He went to many countries. His search took him to India, Japan, China, England, Germany, Russia, Africa — to all parts of the world. In India he spent at least seven months, thinking that there, in the land of spirituality, he would surely find at least one perfect disciple. But it was not so. Although the Master visited spiritual centres and ashrams, and attended many religious functions, not even one seeker totally satisfied him. He was badly disappointed.

The Master's journey took over a year. All that time he searched in vain for one perfect disciple. He spent much time and much money for his travels, but to his sorrow and surprise, he did not find even one unconditionally surrendered and constantly perfect disciple.

Saddened and disappointed, the Master returned home, blaming himself for his folly in setting out on such a fruitless search. It had all been a waste, and he had not found anyone to satisfy him.

He decided to enter into deep meditation, and he did. While he was in a profound state of meditation, he saw in front of himself his own figure, his own face, his own physical shape in its subtle form. He looked steadily at his subtle form, and slowly he came to realise that he alone could be his perfect disciple. The qualities he demanded from others in order for them to be his perfect disciples could be embodied only in himself.

When the Master realised that he himself was his only perfect disciple, he recognised that he would have to be two persons at one and the same time. He would have to be both the Master and the disciple. In familiar Indian terms, the Master is called “Guru,” and the disciple is called “chela”. So whenever he needed something done, he would address himself as Chela Ram. If he wanted to drink a glass of water, he would say to himself, "Chela Ram, give me a glass of water." Then he would fetch it and drink it. He obeyed himself unconditionally. When he wanted to take the role of the Master, he would sit on his chair and address himself as Guru Ram. While playing the role of the Master, he would say, "Guru Ram", and he would gain the confidence and assurance of the Master. At that time he felt that he was truly the lord of his other life — that is to say, his life as the disciple.

At every moment the Master separated himself into two. One life was the life of the disciple, and the other life was the life of the Master. When he wanted to stay in his highest consciousness, he would think of himself as Guru Ram; and when he wanted to be pleased by his devoted qualities, he would think of himself as Chela Ram. At each moment he saw himself as two beings: one being that was connected with the aspiring consciousness of the earth, and one being that was supremely illumined in Heaven. When he identified himself with his earth-consciousness, he became the perfect disciple; and when he identified himself with his Heaven-Consciousness, he became the perfect Master. In this way he got the utmost satisfaction from his life. He felt that at long last he had discovered the perfect disciple in himself. He had not to go anywhere in search of a perfect disciple; he was his own disciple and his own Guru.

One day in meditation he went very, very deep within, and as he entered into his highest trance, he saw God standing before him. Smiling, God asked, "Are you sure that now you have at long last discovered your perfect disciple?"

The Master replied, "Yes, my Lord. At long last I have discovered my perfect disciple, and it is I myself."

God said, "My child, you are mistaken."

The Master said, "Why, my Lord? How?"

God answered, "In order to be a real disciple one has to have unconditional and constant surrender. Now, we see a slave listening to his master unconditionally and constantly. If he listens unconditionally out of fear, or even out of respect, it does not mean that he has become a perfect disciple. The unillumined part of yourself is listening to the illumined part unconditionally and constantly. But if either cheerfulness or the feeling of inseparable oneness is missing, then perfection never dawns. Perfection comes only in absolute, unreserved, inseparable oneness. The slave has not established inseparable oneness with his master. He listens blindly. A real seeker and perfect disciple is he who can offer himself to somebody with absolute oneness, inseparable oneness — without feeling superior or inferior, without feeling any kind of separateness. In true self-offering there must be oneness, absolute oneness based on joy and delight.

"Only I, God, can cherish absolute, constant, unconditional surrender to your human, earthly desires, and to your heavenly Will. It is I who can be and I who am your only perfect disciple. Only I can be a perfect disciple to you, because it is I who, with infinite joy, have established My total, inseparable oneness with you. And this oneness is founded on My unconditional Love, unconditional Devotion, and unconditional Surrender to you, who are My very own."

So each human aspirant must know that the perfect, real disciple can only be God, and no human being — not even the Master. Only God, the Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent, can be a truly perfect disciple to a spiritual Master. The Master has to find his real, perfect disciple in God, and not in any human being. And we must see that within each seeker is the real Guru, the Supreme. The Supreme alone is at once the perfect disciple and the perfect Guru. Similarly, the disciple also must find that the real Guru is the Supreme in the Master.

Please the Master in His own way

There was once a very great spiritual Master. He had about six hundred disciples. Out of the six hundred, he considered only four disciples to be his near and dear ones. They pleased him greatly, and he was happy to have them. The rest were of a lower calibre, and could not please him.

One day he asked these four disciples, who happened all to be women, to come and receive his blessings. When they came, he said to one of them, "You love me most dearly. I am most pleased with you. I am most pleased with your spiritual love, your divine love, your unreserved love."

To the second one he said, "You do the best type of meditation, the highest meditation, very often. That is why I am very pleased with you."

To the third woman he said, "You serve me all the time most sincerely and most devotedly. That is the reason I am particularly pleased with you."

Then he turned to the fourth woman and said, "You have surrendered your life to me unreservedly. That is why I am most pleased with you."

He continued, "I wish to give each one of you a boon. Since I am so pleased with you, tell me anything you want. I will give it to you."

The first disciple said, "Master, since you have said that I love you most deeply, may I ask you also to love me? Please grant me your divine love. I can make the fastest progress with your divine love."

The Master said, "Certainly, I offer you my divine love. I shall always love you most deeply with my divine love."

The second disciple said to the Master, "You say that I do the best type of meditation. Would it be possible for you, Master, to grant me the boon that I will always do the best type of meditation?"

The Master said, "Certainly, my child. I shall give you the inspiration and aspiration to do the best type of meditation always."

The third disciple said, "Master, you said that I serve you most sincerely. Will you grant me the boon that I may always serve you — not only these few years, but all my life? Will you grant me the boon to serve you forever?"

The Master said, "Certainly. I shall give you that boon."

The fourth disciple, whom the Master had chosen because of her utmost surrender, said to him, "Master, will my surrender always last? Please may my surrender always remain complete. This is the boon I wish to have from you."

The Master said, "Certainly. I will gladly give you that boon."

When he had granted all the boons, the Master showed a very sad face to the four disciples.

They were puzzled, and said, "Master, you granted each of us boon, and we have asked for our choice. Why are you sad?"

The Master said, "I have given you boons. I was pleased with you. The boons that you have asked for, I have given. But I am very sad that none of you tried or wanted to please me divinely, not to mention in my own way."

They said, "Master, please tell us, how is it that we have not pleased you?"

To the first one, the Master said, "Look here. I told you that you love me most deeply, and you want me also to love you most deeply with my divine love. But I wish to tell you that if you really wanted to please me, if you came into my life to please me, then you would have said, 'Master, I love you wholeheartedly, deeply. I am so happy to hear it. It is most kind of you to tell me so. But I don't want to ask for any kind of love from you. I only want to please you. If it pleases you to hate me, I don't mind.' If you had said that, then you would have really pleased me."

To the one who did the best meditation and who wanted to do the best meditation always, the Master said, "I am sorry. You wanted me to grant you the boon that you would always meditate the best. But why do you want that? If you had really wanted to please me, you would have said, 'Master, out of your infinite bounty you gave me the capacity to meditate well. Now, if you want somebody else to do the best meditation, it is up to you. Only by your grace was I able to do the best meditation. My prayer is to please you, and not to ask you to grant me the capacity to do the best meditation. The best or worst meditation, it is up to you to give me. I only want to please you. If you want somebody else to meditate well, then also I will be equally happy.'"

Then the Master said to the one who served him sincerely, and who wanted always to serve him, "You want only to serve me. That would give you joy. But why didn't you say, 'Master, out of your infinite bounty you have given me the opportunity to serve you. My prayer is to please you whether you want me to continue serving you or not. Please only give me the capacity to please you in your own way. You have given me the opportunity to serve you, and I am most grateful. Tomorrow, if you take away this opportunity, I shall not mind. Only give me the capacity to please you in your own way.' If you had asked for that kind of boon, then I would have been truly pleased with you."

To the fourth woman, the Master said, "You want to maintain the same kind of surrender to me. It is good. But if you had wanted to please me in my own way, you would have said, 'Master, with your grace I have been able to surrender to you completely. But now, if you want somebody else to surrender completely, the way I have surrendered, or if you want me, for a special reason, to have the experience of not surrendering to you — the suffering that one goes through when one does not surrender to one's Master — then I am ready for that experience. Please allow me to please you always in your own way.' If you had said this, then I would have been really happy."

All of them bowed down to the Master and said, “Master, we would like to please you in your own way from now on - only in your own way. We came into the world to please you in your own way. You have given us capacity, but if you want to take away our capacity, or if you want to give others the same capacity, please do it. Do anything you want to do with our lives. Only allow us, with your infinite compassion, to please you in your own way.”

No liberation for the idle

There was a most sincere seeker who, right from his childhood used to pray regularly to God. When he was seven or eight years old he started praying to Mother Kali, because she was his family deity. He was very fond of Mother Kali.

He read and studied spiritual books, and he learned that Sri Ramakrishna was the dearest child of the Mother Kali. So he started praying to Sri Ramakrishna, and he became Sri Ramakrishna's disciple inwardly. He became friendly with some of Sri Ramakrishna's disciples but unfortunately he did not see Sri Ramakrishna physically, because Sri Ramakrishna had left the body long before. Later, this seeker began reading spiritual books written by other Masters, and finally he came to realise who his own spiritual Mater was, and he went to live at his Master's ashram.

His Master gave this disciple much affection. The disciple was extremely devoted to his Master, and he meditated for hours and hours every day. He was in his most fruitful years at that time. He used to write about his Master, and the Master encouraged him and appreciated his writings highly. He wrote hundreds of poems and many articles about his experiences. The Master always encouraged him, inspired him, and also deeply appreciated his experiences.

One day, the Master wrote to him in answer to some of his questions. "In this incarnation you will realise God," the letter said. There is every possibility that your physical consciousness will merge into the Transcendental Delight. The force that created Vivekananda has a spiritual connection with you. I want you to be like a banyan tree, under which many people will get shelter."

The disciple was delighted that he was going to be so great. Vivekananda had gone to America. He had become world-renowned. The disciple knew that Vivekananda wore a turban, so immediately he started wearing a turban and dressing like Vivekananda. He thought that he would be going to conquer America, as Vivekananda had done.

In spite of all this, the disciple continued praying, meditating, and getting high experiences. The Master was very pleased with him. He continued this way for twenty-five years. One day, on his birthday, he wrote to his Master, "Master, please don't forget about your promise that I would realise God in this incarnation, and that my physical consciousness would merge into the Transcendental Delight. Also, please do not forget about your promise that I would be like a banyan tree."

The Master wrote down on a sheet of paper: "There is no hope of liberation for the idle," and sent it to him.

When the disciple read the message, he nearly fainted. "Oh Master, I have been meditating most sincerely and devotedly for years and years, every day for six, seven, eight hours. Am I idle? O God! Are you not aware how hard I have been working for my realisation?" This was his inner cry.

He could not bring himself to tell his friends what the Master had written to him. He was utterly miserable for months and months. He said to himself, "The Master made promises, and now he has changed his mind." He was about to lose all faith in his Master.

Then one night he had a dream. In this dream he saw his Master, and said to him, "Master, how is it that you have changed your mind? You told me that I would have liberation, that my body would be transformed, and that I would be like a banyan tree and shelter many people. You said my soul has a connection with Vivekananda's soul. I have been meditating for hours and hours daily since I came to you. How is it that after twenty-five years you are saying that there is no hope of liberation for the idle? How do you justify your first promise, and then your rebuke?"

He could talk this way because, after all, it was only a dream. In the world of reality, he would never have dared to argue with his Master in that way. But a dream is only a dream. In the dream, the Master replied, "My child, you are such a fool. When I told you many years ago about your future, about your liberation, about the transformation of your body, about divinisation, did I give any date? I simply said, 'In this incarnation.' Are you not still on earth?"

"Yes," replied the disciple.

"Has your life ended?"

"Not yet."

"Then still there is every possibility for you. With regard to the rebuke that there is no hope of liberation for the idle, did I say, 'for the idle like you?' "

"No," was the disciple's humble reply.

"I completed the sentence with 'for the idle'. There is no hope of liberation for the idle. After 'idle' — period. Did I say 'like you'?"


"Then why did you interpret it that way? I said that for the idle there is no hope of liberation. What does it mean? It means that he who is idle will never have liberation. You have been working very hard, and you are still working very hard. You misinterpreted my message. It is your fault, and you have been suffering for your stupidity. You will have all kinds of disciples in the future, so I am cautioning you. You will have to tell your disciples what I have told you.

"Already you have quite a few admirers, friends, and well-wishers. These admirers live here in my ashram, I am their Guru. How can they accept you as their Guru? When I leave the body, there will be quite a few, even among my disciples, who will become your disciples. And there are many others who will also become your disciples. As I told you, like a banyan tree, you will have many growing under your protection.

"When I told you that there is no hope of liberation for the idle, you should have known that it was not you I was speaking about. The idle ones are those who are not trying to realise God in this incarnation. Whenever a Master says something, you have to see it from his viewpoint. When you see things in his light, through his eyes, you will be happy. The Master will never consciously hurt you. He will only perfect your nature, or give you more and more wisdom.

"The Master gives messages to the disciples, and they very often misinterpret them. The Master says things to you to give you more wisdom, more light, more illumination, but you do not understand him in his own way. You immediately give your own interpretations, your own judgement, and then you create problems for him and for yourself. So from now on, whenever I say something, try to feel that it is something to help you. Everything that the Master says is for your wisdom. I will never hurt you. I will only widen your understanding.

"When your inner knowledge has bloomed totally, when your inner sun is fully awakened and starts offering its light to the world at large, you will know that you are ready for outer fulfilment. You will know that your liberation has already taken place. So, from now on, when I say something, always try to get light from it, and do not feel that I am necessarily insulting or criticising you. Real Masters do not do that. Real Masters only correct and perfect their disciples so that the disciples can become choice instruments of the Supreme."

The spiritual Master looking for disciples

There was once a spiritual Master who had realised God, and God wanted him to play fully the role of a spiritual Master — God wanted him to have disciples. Since God wanted him to have disciples, the Master also wanted them, but nobody came to him to become his disciple. How could he have disciples, then, when nobody came to him?

So God asked him to do something. God asked him to go outside every day, early in the morning, and stand in the street right in front of his house with folded hands, and ask every person he saw to become his disciple. From morning until evening he was to do this, for God had asked him.

Every day, in front of his house, a few hundred people went by. As they walked past him along the street he said to each one, "Would you kindly become my disciple?" He spoke sincerely, but the people did not respond. They ridiculed him. Young boys, girls, grown-up men and women laughed at him or pushed past, ignoring him. Nobody paid any attention to his plea. Some even taunted him, asking, "How is it that you are crying for a disciple with folded hands? A realised soul does not cry for ordinary human beings."

A full year passed in this way, and the Master did not get one single disciple. At the end of the year he said to God, "God, you wanted me to have disciples. I tried my utmost. You asked me to beg the passers-by every day with folded hands to be my disciples, and I did it. But nobody wanted to be my disciple. What can I do?"

God said, "This time you have to touch the feet of everybody, and say, 'Would you like to be my disciple?' To children, men, women, everyone, irrespective of age, you must do this. You must touch their feet and beg them to become your disciples."

The following day the Master went out and started touching the feet of everyone who passed. He was on the street from morning until evening. Again people laughed at him or ignored him. Sometimes he even got merciless kicks from young men who said, "Why don't you leave everybody alone? Who wants to be your disciple?" And when he touched the feet of the women, they felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. Some of them suspected that he was not sincere - that he was perhaps playing some kind of trick. So he was ignored or insulted by many women. But he persisted in doing as God had asked him to do.

His efforts brought no result. With folded hands he had not got any disciples, and by touching the feet of people who passed him during the day he did not get a single disciple - not one in the whole year. People only misunderstood him in their own way, according to their own standard.

The third year God said, "This year you have to go out and touch everybody's head without any fear."

The Master said, "How can I touch everybody's head? If I touch somebody's feet, he may at least show me an act of compassion. But if I touch people's heads, especially women's, what will they think of me? They will all misunderstand me and insult me. They will probably do many horrible things. Many unspeakable things will happen."

God said, "No, you have to touch everybody's head with your divine pride." The Master had to do as God asked.

When he touched the head of the first man he saw, and said, "Would you like to be my disciple?" to his amazement, the man immediately said, "Yes, I would."

In this way, in one day he blessed two hundred people — children and adults. The moment he touched their heads and asked, "Would you like to be my disciple?" they said, "Yes". Children who did not even understand the meaning of 'disciple' felt that it was something nice to be. And grown men and women who did know the meaning wanted to be his disciples.

Among the people who accepted him that day, there were seventy whom he had begged in previous years with folded hands, and by touching their feet, but they had refused him, ignored him, mocked him. Now, when he touched their heads, they all became his disciples.

The Master asked God, "How can it be? When we show modesty, humility, when we fold our hands, when we touch their feet, we do not get disciples. But when we touch their heads, when we bless them with our divine pride and divine authority, then they accept us."

God answered, "When you see ordinary human beings and deal with them, if you fold your hands, they immediately think, 'This fellow is inferior, otherwise why is he folding his hands to me?' And if you touch their feet, they think, 'O, he is really inferior. He is just like a slave.' They feel that nobody wants to stand with folded hands in humility; nobody wants to touch others' feet. When you touch another's feet, he will immediately feel that he is superior and you are inferior. And even when you touch somebody's head, an ordinary person may recoil and say, 'What right have you to touch my head?' But when you deal with your divine majesty, divine power, divine light, and touch the heads of people who are really spiritual, they will feel your divine majesty. When you bless them, immediately they will think, 'Perhaps he has something, otherwise how could he dare to touch my head? In this world nobody dares to touch my head. How is it that this man comes out of the blue and dares to touch my head and bless me?' "

God continued, "Unfortunately, most people do not know what a spiritual Master does. When a spiritual Master stands in front of someone with folded hands, he tries to make the seeker feel that he has someone inside his own heart who is really great. Otherwise a spiritual Master would not stand in front of him with folded hands. When a Master touches his feet, he must feel, 'Really, I have Divinity within me. That is why he is touching my feet.' When the seeker goes one step forward, he feels, 'The Divinity that the Master is seeing inside me is also inside him, otherwise he would not have touched my feet. For him to touch his own feet is no embarrassment, because he is all one - his head, his feet, and his hands are all one. When he goes deep within, he feels that he and I are one, and then who is touching whose feet?' This is what a spiritual seeker is able to understand about the Master.

"But most people will always misunderstand. When they misunderstand, it is necessary for the spiritual Master, on the strength of his divine authority and his God-ordained pride to show them divine light. This pride is not ego-pride. This pride is founded on his Universal Oneness. Other pride comes from the sense of separateness, the feeling that 'You are yourself and I am myself. You are totally different from me, and I want to maintain my separateness. I am stronger than you, so why should I bow down to you?' But the divine pride is not like that. Divine pride comes from the universal feeling of oneness. 'He and I are one, inseparably one. Who is touching whose head? Who is touching whose feet? We are all one. Our oneness has come from the Source. We are in the Source, and we are for the Source.' "

Punishment from the Master

There was a spiritual Master who lived in an obscure Indian village. He had only a very few disciples — only fifteen or sixteen — but he had realised God. His realisation had come from Mother Kali. He was all sincerity, all purity, all divinity.

Unfortunately, the Master's disciples in the village were very, very greedy. They wanted to have his occult power. He had shown them his occult power quite a few times. At night, when they turned off the village lantern, he would bless them and they would look at the wall and see Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, or some other gods and goddesses. He had shown them all the cosmic gods and goddesses. This made them very happy.

His disciples thought that if they could show these cosmic gods to others, they would be able to make lots of money. Their Master did not care for money. He grew a simple garden with vegetables in it. By working like a farmer, he managed to live on earth.

Most of his disciples were householders, but some stayed in his small ashram. Those that stayed often bothered him by asking for occult powers. Quite reluctantly he would show them the gods and goddesses. But doubts plagued their minds. They said to the Master, "If the visions that we are seeing are real, then by this time we should have realised God. How is it that we have not realised God?" They asked the Master, "Are you realised? Are you realised, as you say?"

The Master told them, "To see a figure of God does not mean that you have realised God. You can see an illumined being at night, an angel or some spiritual Master, but that does not mean that you have realised the highest."

These greedy disciples begged their Master to give them his occult powers, but they didn't tell him that they wanted only to go out and show off to the villagers to make money. The Master, however, saw through them. He said, "I can't give you my occult powers. I meditated for years and years, not for occult power, but to realise God. While realising God, I got this kind of power. Occult power came to me automatically; I didn't cry for it. Meditate. If God is pleased with you, if He wants, He will give you this kind of power. I can't give it to you. You are not fit to receive it. You are not yet ready."

Finally, three of the disciples got furious. They insisted that the Master give them occult power, saying, "You have to give it to us."

The Master said quietly, "I cannot."

That night, when the Master was sleeping, the three disciples, brilliant disciples, went into his room and hit him mercilessly with wooden sandals. They beat his head and badly bruised his limbs. The poor Master was shouting and crying, but nobody else was there to help him.

For three days the Master was bedridden, and his three brilliant disciples would not give him even a glass of water. They kept saying, "This is the time for you to give us your occult power."

The Master finally said, "I am more than ready to give you all my occult power. Take it. Now I am dying. Please give me a glass of water."

But the three disciples said, "No, you have to give us your occult power first."

"How can I give it to you?" asked the Master. "Try to meditate a little, then let me see if I can transmit my occult power to you."

At this, one of the three disciples burst into tears. "Master, what have we done to you? You have been so kind, so compassionate to us all the time. What have we done? We have beaten you terribly, and now you are dying."

When he started crying, the other two also began weeping bitterly. "We have beaten our Master. Forgive us, forgive us, forgive us, Master. Either forgive us, or punish us."

The Master said, "I have forgiven you." But the disciples didn't believe him. So the Master said, "What do you want?"

"We want punishment," they said. "If we get punishment from you, then God will forgive us and we will be able to go to Heaven."

The Master said, "All right. I shall punish you." The disciples were very happy to hear it.

The Master was dying, but with his last breaths he gave them their punishment: "Soon I will leave this body," he said. "My punishment is extremely severe." The disciples were very happy to hear that their punishment would be severe, for they felt that the law of Karma was working on them in the form of the Master's punishment, and they thought that now they would be able to get salvation.

"Soon I shall leave this body," said the Master. "From Heaven I shall work on you three. I shall compel you inwardly to go to a spiritual Master who is infinitely superior to me. I could not give you realisation. I was only a tiny snake, according to you, so you struck me, and you have killed my physical body. My punishment will be to send you to a cobra. You will not be able to strike this great spiritual Master physically. You will be compelled to get realisation from him.

"You wanted my punishment. I want your punishment to be God-realisation. By beating me you became happy. Now you want to be punished. If I punish you, naturally I will be happy. So my punishment will be to give you realisation and liberation in your next incarnation with the help of a very, very powerful spiritual Master who is infinitely superior to me.

"By beating me black and blue, by killing me with your blows, you became happy. By giving you realisation and liberation, I will become happy."

This is how a true spiritual Master punished his three dear disciples.

Four faults: jealousy, doubt, fear, pride — they are gone

There was a spiritual Master who was very, very strict with his disciples. He could not and would not tolerate any imperfections or limitations in their natures. But the disciples were very loving and devoted to him. They were extremely grateful to him, for they felt that because he was very strict, he would give them spiritual realisation and liberation sooner. The disciples had true love for their spiritual Master, and great faith in him.

Now, on Father's Day, the spiritual Master, whom they regarded as their Father, invited all the spiritual children to visit him. They brought most expensive gifts for their spiritual Father, but he was not satisfied with their gifts. He said to them sternly, "What shall I do with your gifts when I do not get any inner satisfaction from you people?"

The disciples were shocked and sad that even on Father's Day they could not please their Master. A father should forgive his children on Father's Day, but this Father, being very strict and stern, could not forgive them. He pointed out four disciples and asked them to come before him.

To the first of them he said, "Your name is Jealousy." To the second one he said, "Your name is Doubt." To the third disciple he said, "Your name is Fear." And to the fourth, "Your name is Pride."

Then he said, "Here I have about four hundred spiritual children, and there is not one who is free from jealousy, doubt, fear, and pride. But these four whom I have selected, unfortunately have these particular qualities in profuse measure. They have these undivine qualities in much greater abundance than the rest of you."

Then he turned abruptly to the one whom he had given the name Jealousy, and asked, "Do you want to get rid of your jealousy?"

The disciple said bravely, "Oh Master, you know how sincerely I want to get rid of my jealousy. They think that you have embarrassed me today by pointing out that I am the most jealous of all, but I am glad that you have done it. Out of your infinite bounty, you have brought me right in front of you, and I am sure that today you can and will put an end to all my jealousy."

The Master wore a broad smile as he said, "I shall help you get rid of your jealousy. I shall teach you a trick to help conquer it. If you see someone who is better than you in something — say someone sings better than you, and you are jealous of him — then think seven times in your mind, 'I am a better singer than he is. I am a far better singer than he is. I am far, far better than he is as a singer, only I do not sing. I do not care for singing.' If you see someone who is a better athlete than you are, then you simply say, 'Oh, I am a far better athlete, but I don't care for it. If I want to run, I can easily beat him, for I am far, far better than he.' Seven times you say this. You make comparisons. When you feel somebody is superior to you in anything, you say, either inwardly or outwardly, 'I am far, far better than he is, only I don't do it.' Always try to make yourself superior to that particular person in your imagination.

"It is he who feels inferior to someone else who becomes a victim to jealousy. Very often we see that we are inferior to some particular human being, and we become jealous. If we had patience, perseverance, sincerity, and aspiration enough, we could have his capacities. But, since we do not have these qualities, we try to destroy his capacities with our inner jealousy. We cannot and must not destroy them. On the other hand, with our imagination we can easily say and feel, 'I am far superior, far superior to him.' To conquer jealousy with aspiration is absolutely the correct way. But since there are people who do not have aspiration enough, and they want to get rid of jealousy for temporary joy, for relief, they should aggrandise their own powers consciously and deliberately through their imagination. Then they will get some relief and satisfaction.

"At times it happens that in spite of being superior, in spite of being the best singer, or best dancer, or best aspirant, one feels jealous of the inferior one. One feels, 'Oh, he has just started, but he will surpass me, he will go beyond me. What am I going to do?' So what do we do? We speak ill of the one who has some potentiality; we try to throw cold water on his aspiration. In spite of being himself the best singer or aspirant right now, such a person tries to belittle the potentiality of the one who is making rapid progress. What should one do at that time? One should feel instantly that whatever feeling he cherishes towards his inferior, his inferior has every right to cherish the same feeling toward him. He cherishes jealousy, but he has to feel that his inferior has also the capacity to pull him down to his level, through his own undivine jealousy-power. As the superior is using his undivine jealousy-power to crush the possibilities of the inferior, so also the inferior has the capacity to pull down, to break down the topmost bough of the superior's achievement-tree."

Then the Master spoke to the man whom he had named Doubt. He asked, "Whom do you doubt?"

The disciple was ashamed of himself, but he said honestly, "I doubt God. I doubt you, Master. I doubt mankind. And I even doubt myself. My doubt starts with God, and it ends in my own life. But Master, I want so much to be free, totally free from doubt. If you save me today, I shall be eternally grateful to you."

The Master said, "When you doubt God, just use the word 'helpless'. 'Helpless' write down on your heart — 'helpless'. When you doubt me, write down the word 'meaningless' on your heart — 'meaningless'. When you doubt humanity, write down the word 'hopeless'. Then, when you doubt yourself, write down the word 'useless' on the tablet of your heart."

Then the Master explained more fully. "You say you doubt God, and you are right. By doubting God, can you get any joy? Can you get any peace of mind? Can you get anything that you want? By doubting God you get nothing. That is why you have to feel that you are 'helpless'.

"You have entered into the spiritual life. You have to see that when you doubt me, you are cutting down the very tree that you are trying to climb up. You are chopping down the tree, when your real aim is to climb to the topmost branch of it. Is it not something 'meaningless' that you are doing? Like a fool, you are doing something absolutely ridiculous. You are destroying your own objective.

"Now, when you start doubting humanity, your spiritual brothers and sisters, you are hopeless. You know that when you want something in your life, you need the help of others to get it. If you start doubting their capacity, believing that they cannot help you, or that they cannot do a thing which you cannot do, then you are already lost. You are really 'hopeless'. There are many things you do not know how to do, but you have faith in someone else who does know how to do them, and you go to him for help. But if, before asking the person, you are in doubt about his capacity, then what happens? Your very doubt destroys your eagerness to ask him for help. Here again your foolishness plays the role of hopelessness. You are truly hopeless. There is no hope of your security, of your fulfilment in life, because you have destroyed all your hope in others. If you have faith in others, even if you do not have faith in yourself, they can be of some assistance to you; they can come to your rescue. But because you do not have faith in them, because you doubt them, all their capacities will be of no avail to you. So you are really 'hopeless'.

"Now, if you doubt yourself, you are really a 'useless' fellow. When you start doubting yourself, nobody will come to help you, saying, 'No, no, no, don't doubt yourself.' The world will believe you. 'Oh, he is right,' it will say. 'If he doubts himself, that means he really is incapable. Only a useless fellow would doubt himself. Who wants him?' Everybody, consciously or unconsciously, feels that he has something to offer. Even a child feels that he has something to offer to the world. He feels that if he has a piece of candy, he can bring this candy to somebody else. Everybody feels that he has something which someone else does not have. It is up to the person to give or not. But if the person doubts his own capacity, he is really 'useless' to himself and to others. When he doubts himself, he cannot create anything good in his life. Also, he cannot bring anything to anybody, because in spite of having good qualities within him, when he doubts himself, he just throws poison into his system. He himself is killed, and when he is killed, how can he help others? A dead man cannot help anybody. So we say only a useless fellow, an absolutely useless fellow, can doubt himself."

The Master turned then to the disciple who was all fear, and asked him sharply, "Whom are you afraid of?"

The disciple said miserably, "I am afraid of you, Master, and I am afraid of myself."

The Master said, "You are afraid of me? Why?"

"I am afraid of you because when I look at you I see a flood of light, power, and delight."

The Master said, "Why should you be afraid of me when you see light, power, and delight in me?"

"I do not know," answered the disciple. "When I see boundless light, power, and delight in your eyes when you meditate, I am scared to death."

The Master said, "If you feel that this light belongs to me only, and not to you, and that I have kept this light for my own use, and not for your use, then you will always be afraid of it. Try to feel, even for one day, that this light, power, and delight are all for you. The moment you feel that they are yours, you will not be afraid of them. You have accepted the spiritual life for light. Now you are afraid of light. Why? It is like seeing the ocean for the first time. It is so vast and powerful that you are afraid to jump in. But you have to remember that inside the ocean is the pearl. The wealth is inside the infinite ocean. If you can feel that the entire ocean is yours, then only will you be able to enter into the bosom of the ocean, where you can get the wealth. If you can feel me as your very own, there can be no fear.

"Now, why are you afraid of yourself?" he asked.

"I am afraid of myself because I feel that I am all darkness, all imperfection, all impurity," said the disciple.

The Master then said, "Why do you come to me?"

"I come to you to transform my imperfections, limitations, and impurity."

The Master told him, "If you come for that purpose, then you have to know that I have more capacity than you have. If you were afraid that I would not be able to transform you, then you would have stopped right at the beginning. But it was with some hope, with some faith, with some confidence that you came to me. Now you are feeling that I will not be able to transform your ignorance-sea into wisdom-sea. But here you are making a mistake. The power of light is infinitely stronger than the power of darkness, because God is all Light. If you are afraid of your darkness, your imperfections, your undivine qualities, and you feel that these things cannot be transformed, then you are mistaken. If I had thought that it was beyond my capacity to change and transform you, then I would have told you right at the beginning that you are not meant for me. I would have said, 'I will not be able to perfect your nature.' Since I accepted you, you should not have any fear of yourself. You must not be afraid of your Master, and you must not be afraid of your own undivine qualities. If I have accepted you, that means I have the divine vision and illumination to transform your life."

Then the Master spoke to the disciple who was all pride. He said, "Now you are proud, but your pride is about to disappear.

"You have a body. Do you think that you are the most beautiful person on earth?"

"Oh no! Never, Master!"

"Then do you think that you are the strongest man on earth?"

"Oh no, Master! There are many on earth who are infinitely stronger than I!"

Then the Master said, "In the physical we see and care for two things: beauty and power. You are neither the most beautiful person on earth nor the strongest person on earth. Since your beauty does not claim to make you the most beautiful person, and your power does not claim to make you the strongest man on earth, you must keep silent. Your pride in the physical is lost. Man's pride is lost when he thinks that he is not the strongest. Woman's pride goes when she sees that somebody else is more beautiful. In this way both men and women can conquer their pride in the physical.

"Then comes the vital pride, the dynamic pride. The dynamic vital wants to conquer the world, to shelter the world. In a bad sense, when aggression starts, the vital wants to destroy the world totally. Now ask yourself, 'Does my vital have the capacity to hold the world in a divine, dynamic way?' Immediately you will have to say, 'No, my vital does not have that capacity.' Then you are defeated. 'Does my vital have the capacity in an arrogant way to destroy the whole world?' 'No, it does not.' You don't have the capacity either to rule the world in a dynamic way or to destroy the world in an aggressive way. So how can you cherish pride in the vital?

"Now there is pride in the mind. There are many intellectual giants on earth who can smash your mental pride in the twinkling of an eye. So how can you have pride in the mind?

"Next there is pride in the heart. In the heart you are cherishing pride. Do you feel that you are the purest person on earth? No, there are many saints, many sages, many spiritual Masters on earth who are infinitely purer than you are. You are bound to feel that there are many people on earth who have purer hearts than you have. Where is your pride then? How can you cherish your heart as the purest heart? You cannot."

In this way the Master, on Father's Day, taught his disciples how to conquer jealousy, doubt, fear, and pride. All the disciples present had these qualities and knew it, and all of them stood up and said to the Master, "Master, your advice is applicable to all of us, not only to these four. We shall from now on try to follow your advice, and we shall, by your infinite Grace, succeed in overcoming these giant enemies in our lives," and they all bowed in gratitude.

Safe in the Master's compassionate concern

There was a sincere seeker who was looking for a Guru. The poor man had worked very, very hard. He had spent years in search of a Guru, but could find no Guru who really pleased him. He had met many spiritual Masters, but he did not care for any of them. Now he was miserable, for he felt that his days were passing in vain. In spite of his intense aspiration, he could not find a real Guru — a Guru of his own.

At last, one night he had a dream. In his dream he came to know who his Guru was, and the following morning he set out for his Guru's place, which was about sixteen miles from his own house.

Since the Guru lived in one village, and he himself lived in another, he had no choice but to walk. It was early in the morning, and everything was calm and quiet. He felt immensely happy and excited. He realised that he did not actually know where his Guru's village was. He could recognise the house, but he had only a vague idea of the location of the village. But he thought that somehow he would be able to ask his way of the people he passed, and reach his destination that way.

The seeker walked for about six miles, until he came to a large crossroad, and there he became unsure which route to take. Looking around for someone to ask, he saw a young woman fetching water from a pond by the crossing. She had a pitcher with her, and she filled it to the brim. Then she started carrying it down the road which led to the north. When the seeker saw the beauty of the woman, he seemed compelled to follow her, and this made him sad and angry with himself.

He thought, "Now my journey will be all in vain! Temptation has already caught me. This stupid woman has ruined all my aspiration. She is a real curse! O God, now where is my Guru, where is my goal? She has ruined me. I have read Ramakrishna's books, and the books of other spiritual Masters. They all say that women will take us to hell. At last I am going to find my Guru, and she has to be right in front of me!"

So he cursed the woman inwardly. But she was not paying any attention to him. She was walking along the road, full of joy and purity. The man continued to follow her. What else could he do? He could either go home, or continue on that road until he met a man to ask. He decided to walk on, following the woman, and thought to himself, "What is wrong with her? Why is she carrying such a big pitcher along this road for so long, always ahead of me, never behind?"

After travailing about four miles in this unfortunate plight, he came to another intersection. There the seeker saw a little boy, naked, playing in the street and singing a village song. The song went like this:

"To the north is the goal,

To the south is breath,

To the east is destruction,

To the west is frustration."

The man could not understand the meaning of the words, and he wondered why it was that the child was singing so soulfully. But he decided to continue following the road on which the child was playing, and he went on his way, while the child kept singing, "To the north is the goal…"

As he walked away, listening to the child's song, he suddenly became aware that the woman with the pitcher had disappeared. She was nowhere to be seen. He was relieved and happy that she had left him, for he had been badly tempted by her beauty. The seeker walked for another five or six miles, and again he began to wonder where he was and whether he would ever be able to find his Guru's house. Tremendous doubt came into his mind. What could he do? It was very strange — on other days there would have been some people on the road, but today there were none. Finally he said to himself, "All right, let me walk on for another mile or so. Then if I don't find anyone, I shall return home."

After covering a mile, the seeker entered a village. Still uncertain that he was even on the right road, he was about to turn back when he again saw the woman with the pitcher. She was looking at him with great compassion, but he became very angry. "Again you have come to tempt me!" he cried, "just a few hours ago you left me in peace, and now you have come again!"

He was very angry, but the woman just pointed to a particular house. The seeker went into the house, and there inside he saw his spiritual Master. He touched his Master's feet and was blessed by his Master.

After they had talked and meditated together for a few hours, the Master said to the disciple, "Now come, let us go and see my fields. I have a large vegetable garden." The seeker, the new disciple was delighted to go with his Master.

While they were in the field, they saw a neighbour of the Master, who was taking away two eggplants without permission. The Master flew into a rage. "How dare you do this without asking!" he shouted.

The neighbour said, "Oh, you are a spiritual man. I am taking only two eggplants. My wife has nothing to make for food, and I knew you would not miss these two eggplants."

The Master said, "No, you can't do that. You have taken them without my permission!" A terrible quarrel ensued. The Master was threatening to strike his neighbour.

The new disciple wondered, "O God, what kind of Master is this?"

At last the Master said, "All right, take them. I don't need them. You take the two eggplants." Then he said to the disciple, "Let us go home."

Both the disciple and the Master went back and had their supper. Then the Master said, "Let us meditate." But the disciple could not meditate at all. He kept remembering the Master's anger, and thinking, "Oh, the Master is so mean. He cannot give his neighbour two eggplants." He was very upset and unhappy, and thought, "I was mistaken. This man cannot be my Master. He is so cruel. He is so unkind. Tomorrow, early in the morning, before he gets up, I will leave this place without his knowledge."

So, in the small hours of the morning, while the Master was still fast asleep, the disciple tiptoed out of the Master's house.

As he stood outside, about to run away, he again saw the beautiful woman who had carried the pitcher of water. She asked him to carry a bag for her, and he felt compelled to take it. As soon as he had it in his hands, the woman began shouting, "Thief, thief, thief!"

The Master woke up when he heard the shouting. He ran out of his house and caught the thief by the arm. Then he saw that it was his new disciple, who was leaving him, and when he looked into the bag, he discovered that there were two eggplants in it.

The Master said to the disciple, "You thief, did you take these eggplants yesterday? You certainly didn't take them this morning. Or perhaps you entered into my storage barn and stole them."

The disciple protested, "I have not stolen them! This girl insisted that I take them, and I could not resist. I don't know what kind of charm she has, but she put them into my hand, and I couldn't seem to throw them away. And then she cried out, 'Thief, thief!' But this is her false accusation. She is the thief; I am not." He wanted to hit the woman right then and there, but when he was about to strike her, she disappeared.

"Master, please tell me who this woman is," cried the astonished disciple. "Why does she make problems for me all the time? I did not tell you, but yesterday she nearly ruined my journey at the very beginning. I started out to find you, full of eagerness, enthusiasm, and joy. Soon after I started walking, I saw her fetching water. She tempted me. Her beauty disturbed me. She walked ahead of me for a long, long way before she disappeared. Then again I saw her near your door, and again this morning. Master, save me from this woman."

The Master said, "Why did you leave me? Why did you try to leave me early in the morning?"

The disciple answered, "Oh Master, what could I think of you? You were quarrelling with and insulting that man about two eggplants. How can a spiritual Master be so mean?"

The Master said, "It was not my meanness. If that man had asked my permission, I would gladly have given him not only two eggplants, but as many as he wanted. But if he does not ask my permission, why should I allow him to take my food? Then he is stealing. Forgiveness is always there: you saw that I forgave him for taking those two eggplants. But if he does this without permission, today he will take two, tomorrow twenty, and the day after tomorrow he will take everything I have."

He continued, "Like me, you grow fruits and vegetables in your garden. I know that your neighbours take away your things, and your wife gets angry about it. But you say, 'Oh, don't worry, it is not a serious matter. After all, we are all God's children; it is all God's property. Who cares?' And you suffer financially afterwards. You are expected to sell fruits for your livelihood. But you grow food and let your neighbours steal away so much of it that your wife can't make both ends meet. You are making a serious mistake. Your neighbours will remain lazy, and they will become real thieves.

"So it was just to show you that you are doing the wrong thing that I did all this. The thief was not my neighbour, it was I. I can take all forms, so I took that form. I was quarrelling and fighting with myself only to show you that stealing is something that you must not encourage. Nobody should take another's possessions without his knowledge, approval, and permission. That is why I did it. It was one of my beings that you saw. I assumed another form."

The disciple said, "All right. I believe you. Since you have convinced me, I will stay with you. I will stop giving things to people who don't deserve them."

The Master said, "Good. If you allow people to take away your things, you are encouraging them in that way to commit theft. This is your mistake."

The seeker said, "Forgive me, Master. I wish to continue to be your disciple. But what about that stupid woman? She bothered me, tempted me. You know that I was so pure, so spiritual. What has she done to me?" With a broad smile the Master said, "That beautiful woman was also myself."

"Why did you do that?" asked the disciple.

"Look here," said the Master. "The first time you saw her, you were feeling totally lost. You thought that your journey would be a wild goose chase. You did not know your way, and there was nobody there to guide you. I took the form of a beautiful woman because I knew that you still had vital desire within you which you hadn't yet fully conquered. And when I took that form, although you were cursing the woman, you did feel lust for her. She did not have this passion — she was absolutely pure — but you felt lustful toward her. You were cursing her. That is what men do when they see a woman. Inwardly they desire her, and outwardly they curse her. They say, 'She has ruined me.' But it is not she who has ruined you. It is you who are throwing all your own impurities into her.

"I wanted you to come to my place, but how? I had to bring you myself, since there was nobody else around. It was the beauty of the woman which brought you to the child. You covered the distance because you appreciated and admired her beauty. If it had been somebody else, say some man, you would have doubted him, you would have been unsure, you would have said, 'No, perhaps he does not know the way.' But you followed this woman spontaneously. Her beauty compelled you to go on. Her love was absolutely pure and divine. Her concern for you was supremely genuine."

"Oh Master, then why did she leave me when I saw the little boy?"

"That little boy was also myself. It was I in another of my forms. You were cursing the girl, and at the same time you were following her. I said, 'Now let me use some other means, and give him some relief.' I got the idea of assuming another form, of a child. He was so innocent, so pure. He was singing so soulfully. You were tempted by the beautiful woman, but you had no physical attraction for the boy. The boy had a greater advantage. He was so innocent. He was like nature — absolutely pure."

"But why was the boy singing?" asked the disciple. "The song seemed so meaningless to me: 'To the north is the goal, to the south is breath, to the east is destruction, to the west is frustration.' What does it mean?"

The Master replied, "You don't know? I was singing through that boy. 'To the north is the goal…' You see, you followed my instructions unconsciously. To the north was my house. 'To the south is breath…' Breath is rest; breath is your own home. You did not go back towards the south. When you return home, you will get rest. And if you had followed the road that was leading towards the east, it would have meant destruction, because there were two dacoits there. Whoever went along the road towards the east from the place where the boy was, was destined to be attacked by these two dacoits. When they find nothing to steal on a traveller, they simply kill him. So you would have been attacked by these highway robbers. First they would have searched you, and if you had not had enough money, they would have taken much pleasure in killing you. If you had followed the road to the west, you would have found only frustration, because there was no goal there. This is the meaning of the song."

"Oh Master, my Master, my Saviour!" cried the disciple.

"Unconsciously you followed the child's message. You walked towards the north and you reached your destination."

Then the disciple said, "Why did that stupid woman again come and bother me?"

The Master replied, "The stupid woman was again I, who assumed another form with compassion. After walking a few miles, you got lost again. You were confused, you were hesitating, you were ready to turn back. I took that form, and, full of compassion, I showed you my own home."

"But was it necessary to do all this?" asked the disciple.

"Yes, it was necessary," replied the Master. "You needed to learn that if purity is not fully established when you run toward your Master, toward your Goal, then you should run with impurity. There is no harm if you cannot walk along the path with absolute purity, especially in the beginning. Walk toward the Goal even with impurity. Your impurity will eventually be transformed.

"Then, you see, if you have childlike innocence, you will get joy. With impurity you started. With an innocent feeling and spontaneous inner joy you can go farther. When you go still farther, you will be inundated with divine compassion." The seeker touched his Master's feet, saying, "Master, now I have understood. You have helped me; you are truly my Master. I take you as my real Master. You are my only Saviour."

The Mother's four gifts

There was once a very great spiritual Mother who had hundreds of spiritual children. She was extremely kind, compassionate, and forgiving to these children, and they loved her most devotedly and soulfully. The very name of their Mother was, for some of them, enough to make them feel boundless ecstasy. They recognised that in comparison to her, their human mothers showed them scarcely any affection, concern, love, or sympathy. They got everything — love, concern, joy, and all that could nourish and fulfil a human being — in boundless measure from their beloved spiritual Mother.

One Mother's Day, about four hundred disciples gathered together to honour their spiritual Mother. They brought hundreds of gifts of money and other material things to her. These they placed at the feet of the Mother, and in soulful gratitude they offered her their love, devotion, and surrender.

Now, because it was Mother's Day, the Mother was all compassion, all concern, all love, all joy, all pride for her spiritual children. From among the four hundred disciples gathered there, she pointed out four men who were most developed spiritually, and asked them to come and stand in front of her. To one she said, "Your name is Simplicity." To the second she said, "Your name is Sincerity." To the third she said, "Your name is Purity." To the fourth she said, "Your name is Humility."

"All the rest of my disciples have all these qualities: simplicity, sincerity, purity, and humility, but these four have these qualities in abundant measure. That is why I have singled them out.

To the one who was named Simplicity, she said, "Any boon you want from me I will grant to you today. Your simplicity has pleased me immensely. Anything you want from me, any boon, I shall grant you.

With folded hands, Simplicity said, "Mother, I want your constant concern for me. I want you to be concerned all the time about me — not only about my inner life, but about my outer life as well. If you are pleased with me, this is what I want most — I want your concern."

The Mother blessed him and said, "Certainly, my child, you shall have all my concern."

To Sincerity she said, "Now, what do you want from me?"

Sincerity replied, "Mother, I need your love. If I get love from you, I can try with utmost sincerity to realise God with your help. If you just give me your love, if I feel your constant love in my heart during all my activities, I will feel that I will be able to fulfil you. So I need your love, your real love. I need your constant love."

The Mother said, "Certainly, I will give you all my love. I am most pleased with your sincerity. You have all my love."

Then she said, "Purity, what do you want?"

"Mother, I want to have constant assurance from you that you will always be mine and I will always be yours. I shall realise God with your boundless compassion. My pure heart is a gift of yours, and I want to have the assurance from you that you will take this pure heart to God. I need only your real assurance that you will take me to the Highest. The Highest is inside you. I want you to take me there. This is the gift that I would like to have from you.

The Mother said, "Certainly, I shall give you this. I give you my inner assurance that I will lead you to your destined goal. I give you my soul's promise and my soulful assurance."

Then the Mother turned to the fourth, Humility, and asked him, What would you like to have from me?"

He replied, "Mother, Mother Divine, I would like to feel your heart all the time inside my heart. I do not want anything else. I only wish to feel your heart in the very depth of my heart. Since you have given me the name Humility, I wish you to give me this boon — that I shall be able to feel your divine feet at every moment in my heart. I want, I beg, to be purified at every moment by the touch of your divine feet."

The Mother said, "Certainly, I shall give you this. I shall place my feet inside your heart. At every moment you will feel my divine feet blessing you, purifying you — blessing your aspiration, and purifying your lower vital, your lower life."

Then the spiritual Mother said to them, "I am most pleased with your prayers. The things that you four wanted to have from me are most significant, most valuable for your inner realisation and perfection. I am extremely pleased with your aspiration. I am so pleased with you that I want to give you four more boons."

She said to Simplicity, "My child, I am pleased with you. In your life of aspiration I wish to offer you a straight path — a path that will be absolutely free of zig-zags and complications. You will run along a straight path."

To Sincerity she said, "Your sincerity has touched the depths of my heart. Because you are so sincere, I shall shorten your path. In addition to being straight, your path will be short."

Turning to the third, Purity, the Mother said, "I shall make your path sunlit. There will be no darkness, no obscurity. It will be extremely easy for you to run toward your goal on the sunlit path which is already straight and short."

To Humility she said, "I shall give you total protection. I am making your path full of protection by giving you my soul's umbrella and my life's shoes. You will hold the umbrella as you run, and you will be protected from above. Nothing from above will be able to destroy you. If the hostile cosmic forces, the undivine forces, want to attack you, my umbrella will be there, and they will not be able to pierce through its protection. I am also offering you my life's fastest shoes. You will wear them when you run, and you will be able to run the fastest because they will give you comfort and protection. You will have protection above and below, and you will be able to run the fastest. Your path, in addition to being straight, short, and sunlit, will also have all protection."

Each individual seeker has to cultivate simplicity, sincerity, purity, and humility, step by step. With simplicity we start the race. With sincerity we run fast; with purity we run faster; with humility we run the fastest.

Not occult power, but self-realisation

A spiritual Master who had tremendous occult powers was always very reluctant to use these powers. Some of his dear disciples believed that he had occult powers although they did not have firsthand experience of them. Others thought that he had no occult powers, but was just bragging. There were others yet, who thought that it was of no importance whether he had occult powers or not. These last thought, "Our Master loves us. He has tremendous concern for us. He has boundless compassion for us. He has light, peace, and bliss. That is more than enough. We don't have to see his occult powers."

One day, God asked this particular teacher to show some of his occult powers. For years and years he had not shown any occult power in public, but he had used it in silence many, many times, secretly, in the inner worlds. It was not the disciples' fault that they doubted his powers. They simply had no awareness of the Master's occult power.

In accordance with God's command, the Master invited all of his disciples (there were about five hundred of them) to assemble, and said to them, "Today I am going to use my occult power to tell you a few things about yourselves. But don't blame me afterwards if you are embarrassed by what I say, and if you are exposed." When the disciples heard that they might be embarrassed or exposed, all of them moved away except four disciples — three men and a woman. They thought that they were strong enough to accept any embarrassment.

The Master pointed to one of the three men who had stayed, and said, "Come in front of me." All the other disciples were watching from a distance, about fifty yards away. They did not want to come closer, but they were very curious and wanted to enjoy the others' embarrassment.

The Master said to the man, "In your immediate past incarnation you were the worst possible thief. Not even one night passed when you did not commit a theft. Now I will show you your face." The Master showed him his appearance in the past incarnation: dirty, dishonest, absolutely thievish consciousness. The disciple clearly saw the difference between his present consciousness and appearance, and that of his past incarnation.

He was horrified that he had been that way. He thought, "How can I be spiritual now if I was such a thief then?" He was extremely upset, and in his embarrassment he got very angry at the Master. "You have exposed me!" he cried, and ran away from the Master's place.

Then the Master pointed to the second one. "In your past incarnation you were a real drug addict. You took all kinds of drugs — most powerful drugs. You were absolutely addicted, totally degraded." In this incarnation the man was very good-looking, and prided himself on being well-groomed, smartly dressed, polished, and sociable. He was a pride of society. The Master showed him his past incarnation, his irresponsible, distorted consciousness, his filthy habits. He even showed him how he used to look when he was taking drugs.

This man, too, was horrified and embarrassed, and he grew very angry. "Oh Master, what have you done?" he cried. "Five hundred people have heard that I was a drug addict!" And he rushed away from the Master, angry and upset.

Now the third one came, and the Master said, "In your past incarnation you were a drunkard, a drunkard of absolutely the worst type." And the Master showed him the friends with whom he used to drink, and his own drunken face and undivine consciousness. The man was mortified: "Oh, was I like this?" he exclaimed. "How can I be a good spiritual man if in my past incarnation I was such a drunkard? It is impossible." He was depressed and disheartened, and he, too, became angry at the Master for exposing him in front of so many people.

The last brave one was the woman. When she came up to the Master, he said, "Now, what is that ring you are wearing? Where does it come from? Where has that Muslim gone? Is he not in France anymore?"

"What, Master! What Muslim? You know that I am unmarried."

"Yes, I know that. It is absolutely true. You are thirty-five years old and unmarried. But what about the Muslim who gave you this ring in France? He has a wife and children. Why are you wearing his ring?

The woman became terribly upset and angry, and she was ready to strike the Master. "So this is your occult power!" she exclaimed.

The Master said, "I told you I would show you my occult power. Five hundred people are loitering there. They are observing and enjoying everything. You have been showing off your celibacy, your chastity. Now, why don't you cast out his present wife and marry the Muslim if you love him so much? You have been a thorn in his wife's side for many years. Why don't you go and marry him?"

The woman was furious, and insulted the Master. Finally, saying "All right, I shall teach you a lesson," she rushed away, embarrassed and ashamed because her emotional life had been exposed.

Later, these four disciples met together and decided to punish their Master. They worked out a plan. One of the four was very close to the Master, and he had a key to the Master's room. That night, around one o'clock, when they thought the Master would be fast asleep, the four of them went to the Master's room.

When they stole in very carefully, the man who had been a thief looked into the closet, where he knew the Master kept some money. He saw the Master lying still, snoring, so he stole away five hundred dollars from the Master's safe. The Master continued to snore.

Then the man who had been a drug addict brought out several kinds of powerful drugs, and placed them all on the Master's bed, arranging them just as if somebody had used them. Still the Master continued to snore.

Now the one who had been a drunkard brought four bottles of wine. He opened two bottles and spilled the wine very quietly on the Master's bed. The other bottles he put unopened on the bed.

The woman who had been embarrassed about the ring had gone to the goldsmith that day and had a heart-shaped ring made to fit the Master. She had her own name engraved inside the ring, and she carefully put it on the Master's finger while he slept.

Then they all left together while the Master lay motionless, still snoring. Actually, he was merely pretending to be fast asleep.

The four stole away, but did not want to stop here. They said, "Now that we have played this trick, he has to be exposed." They had been exposed by the Master in front of five hundred people. When morning came, they said, "Now let us make him feel ridicule. Let all his disciples see him in this condition."

The former thief, who had taken money from the Master, asked some of his friends to give him some more money. They gave him five thousand dollars altogether. Early in the morning he threw the money on the Master's bed. Then they said to each other, "We will phone the other disciples and say that the Master has had a heart attack. We'll say that when he was in terrible agony, he phoned one of us up and said, 'Come! Help me! I am suffering.' But when we came, the Master had already died."

They phoned all the other disciples, and although it was early in the morning, all of them went to the Master's room. Because the four disciples had said that the Master was dead, the other disciples did not come near his bed. From a distance they looked at him. They could not see what was on his bed.

The Master still seemed to be fast asleep. This time he was not snoring because he knew the trick they were playing and he wanted the other disciples to believe them for a while. The disciples, seeing his relaxed, composed body, really thought that their Master was dead. They all began shedding bitter tears because their dear Master had passed away out of their reach. When the Master saw that many disciples had gathered together, he jumped up suddenly from his bed. Some of the disciples became frightened, because they had been so sure that the Master was dead. Some were thrilled that resurrection had taken place. And some wanted to scold and insult the people who had deceived them.

The Master said, "I am so glad to see all of you. Now, what is the matter?" But nobody had the heart to say that they had been told that he had died.

So the Master said, "Now, while there are so many of you here, I want to bless four people. Yesterday, you know, I embarrassed those people, and today I feel that they should get some sympathy, some concern from me. I will give them my blessing."

The four who had done wrong were trembling. They thought, "Oh, the Master is inviting us, but what is he going to say? God knows." Perhaps the Master would expose them again, seeing the things they had done. So they hesitated and did not want to come.

The Master said, "Come, come, come."

They said to themselves, "Now we are caught. Whether we go or not, he will tell them all that we have done these things." They were afraid of being embarrassed again, but then they thought that perhaps the Master really wanted to bless them, and did not know that they had done all those things. The Master had been snoring. Maybe he didn't know about all their tricks. Since he was insisting with such smiling compassion and concern, they came to him one by one.

The former thief came. The Master blessed him with sincerity and great power. Then came the one-time drug addict, then the ex-drunkard, and finally the woman who had the problem with the Muslim.

The Master blessed them all and then said to them, "Now I have forgiven you all. All, all, all, all of you I have forgiven."

They knew when he said he had forgiven them, that he knew all about the tricks they had played the night before.

Then the Master turned to the one-time thief. "If I get five thousand dollars I will be really rich," he said, "But this money is not mine. Kindly take it away. It is all your money." Then to the ex-drug addict, who had put all kinds of drugs in his room, he said, "Look here, how can I use your things? Is it possible for me? I never take anybody else's drugs, whether they are good or bad. These are your possessions. Kindly take them back."

To the former drunkard he said, "Everybody knows that I don't drink. It is you who brought everything. I am sorry that you spent money and spilled two bottles of wine on my bed. These two bottles are still intact, though. You can return them, or you yourself can drink them. They are yours."

Then the Master turned to the woman, and taking off the ring, said to her, "If I wear your ring, it means that we love each other. Yesterday, unfortunately, I could not prove to you that I really loved you. Had I loved you in that way, then I would not have embarrassed you so badly yesterday. I would not have said what I did.

The woman was terribly ashamed, and could hardly look at him. He added, "Please take back your ring. It does not fit and I'm sure you know that I don't want to fall in love with you."

Once again these four disciples were humiliated. "What can we do now?" they wondered. They had shown themselves for what they were. Previously the Master had only shown them what they had once been. This time they themselves had shown everybody that he was right.

What could they do? Hundreds of people were around them. How could they show anger when they had really done wrong?

The Master then blessed them all once again. One by one he blessed all four. Then he said, "Look here. I told you that I had forgiven you. It is absolutely true. You wanted to know about my occult power. I always say that with occult power the tendency is curiosity. Most of you are curious, curious, simply curious. This curiosity has to come to an end. I want you people to be really sincere in the spiritual life, to aspire, and to inspire others. But you don't aspire; you don't inspire others. You only want to know what you were, what others were, and what you are going to be.

"What you are going to be, you will definitely become through your aspiration. You don't need occult power to know what you are going to be tomorrow. Aspire. As soon as tomorrow comes, you will see what you have become. If you know what you are going to be tomorrow, what will happen? You will relax. Then you delay the process. And if you know that tomorrow something painful or frightening is going to happen in your life, you will be horrified. Before the actual event takes place, you will be half dead.

"When you don't know the future, your life can be all bliss if you are aspiring. Your aspiration will give you the thing that is best for you tomorrow. Tomorrow means the future. But you don't want that. You only want to be a curiosity-monger.

"For a long time you have been bothering me. Some of you believe that I have occult powers; most of you do not. I wanted to show even the sincere ones who have faith in me, that by having faith in my occult power they don't gain any spiritual experience, they don't make any progress. And you people who doubt my occult power, I embarrassed you because this will be of great help to humanity. There are millions of people on earth who are like you. You represent them, and I am most grateful that through you I have been able to give them the proper experience — to show them that they should not try with occult powers to know anything about their past. It only creates more problems. It does not help you at all in your aspiring life."

All the four touched the Master's feet, and the Master said, "From now on you will be my true disciples. Not occultism, only aspiration, spirituality, realisation, will be your Goal."

He has nobody but me

A very great spiritual Master had hundreds of sincere disciples, as well as admirers, followers, and well-wishers. Some of his disciples cherished a peculiar idea. They thought, "We will not accept anything from the Master; we shall only give everything to him." The Master told them many times that this idea was wrong. He said that he would give them what he had, and they would give him what they had.

But his disciples didn't listen to him. They thought that the Master would be pleased with them only if they gave him everything they had, without expecting or even accepting anything from him. To take money or any material help from him was impossible for them. In every way they wanted to feel that they would only give to the Master. They thought that they could not take even a smile from him.

Some of the Master's disciples lived very far away from him. They had all kinds of problems with the people they depended on, especially with members of their own families. The Master used to ask them, "Why are you suffering so much? Why do you have to depend on your friends and the members of your family for help? You want to depend on others' appreciation and admiration. You want to depend on others' help, financial and otherwise. But you don't want to depend on me for anything. You came into the spiritual life to be dependent on what, on whom?"

Their immediate answer would be, "To depend on the Master — on God." But in their day-to-day activities they always wanted the Master to depend on them in every way, and they did not want to be dependent on him at all. For everything the Master needed, they expected him to call on them for help, but they did not give their Master the joy of having them depend on him. This way it went on for many years.

One day the Master had to scold his disciples. He said, "If you feel that it is impossible for you to accept help from your Master in the physical world, then how do you expect spiritual help from him?"

The disciples said, "Well, peace, light, and power — these things we can expect from you, Master. But other help, material help, help in the physical world, we cannot expect."

"Then why should I take help from you?" the Master asked. "Why should I be indebted to you? You give me money, you bring me fruits, you offer me a few earthly objects. Do you not feel that in this way you are consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, binding me? If you feel that by giving you my earthly assistance and concern I am binding you, then I can also say that you people are binding me with your material help. But this is totally wrong. What I have to give, I will give. What you have to give, you will give."

Still they didn't listen to him. One day the Master invited thirteen of his most dedicated, devoted disciples, and said to them, "I will now tell you something most private and important."

The disciples were delighted that their Master had something to tell them. Then he started pointing them out, one by one, and appreciating all their good qualities. "You are so nice, so kind, so divine. That is why you have so many friends, so many admirers. The whole world will one day appreciate you because you are so divine. The whole world wants you and needs you." In this way he appreciated twelve of the disciples, saying that they were very great in every way. He told them that they had wonderful magnanimous hearts, and that their souls were extremely developed. All kinds of appreciation he offered to twelve of his disciples. The disciples were bloated with pride.

But the Master did not at all appreciate the thirteenth one. This disciple said inwardly, "I am sure that there is a reason why the Master is not saying anything about me. I know that if he ignores me deliberately, it is all for my good. My Master would never consciously try to hurt me."

Finally the Master said to the twelve disciples, "There are hundreds of people on earth to appreciate you, and whose appreciation you will be happy to hear. Now I wish to say that this thirteenth disciple of mine has nobody but me. He knows this truth; he feels this truth; he lives this truth.

"You people have the world; you have lots of things. Today if I leave you, you will continue your life, because you have many helpers, many admirers, and many flatterers. With their help, appreciation, and admiration you will be able to live on earth. But this disciple has nobody but me. If I die, then he is dead all at once. Now, according to me, the one who is entirely dependent on the Master is by far the best. He also has many good qualities, but one good quality surpasses all his other good qualities. He feels that I am his own, his only, and that for everything he has to be dependent on me alone. You have many, and many have you. But he cares for and needs nobody but me. That is why he is my very own. Without me he is helpless and hopeless in every way. You people are not helpless without me. You can go on with your lives without me, but he can't. His whole consciousness is focused only on me. Without me he does not exist.

"If a disciple depends entirely on the Master for everything on earth and in heaven, then the Master claims that disciple as his very own. Others may get peace, light, and bliss through their own meditation, their own spiritual life. They may be admired, appreciated, and even adored by many people. But they won't be able to have the deepest intimacy with the Master. This kind of disciple who has nothing and nobody, on earth or in heaven, but his Master, is really the peerless jewel in the Master's heart. He constantly aspires — aspires in every way — only to depend on the Master's smile, the Master's grace, the Master's concern, the Master's compassion. He can never be useless and lazy. Far from it. When one aspires constantly with a burning inner flame, one will grow into ceaseless love, dedication, devotion, and surrender. Then he will feel that he is getting everything from the Master: physical help, vital help, mental help, and spiritual help. If a disciple is blessed with that kind of awareness, then the Master can be truly pleased with him. The Master feels, 'He needs me at every step. He is doing his best, aspiring. What more can I expect from him? In his constant aspiration he knows that I am the Source; it is from me that he receives and will receive everything. He most devotedly claims me as his very own. And I proudly claim him as my very own.'"

Go alone

There was a great spiritual Master who quite often used to make predictions to his disciples. His predictions were not only good and inspiring, but also true. Because of his many faultless predictions he became very well known in his country.

There came a time when this Master took a vow of silence, and for months did not speak at all. He would only write down what he wanted to say to his disciples and friends. Any instructions he had to offer would be in writing.

One evening, two seekers who were friends came to visit the Master from a distant village. One of them was merely a curiosity-monger with no sincere aspiration, while the other had most sincere aspiration. It happened that they arrived at a time when the Master had been keeping his eyes closed for the last few days, in addition to remaining silent. They did not know of the Master's second vow until they arrived at his Ashram.

When they approached the Master they saw a big queue of seekers. One by one they approached the Master, who was seated in silence with his eyes closed. Some of his close disciples were standing by him. Each seeker was allowed to see the Master for only two or three seconds, and then the close disciples standing by his side would signal them to leave.

Before these two particular seekers, the two close friends, there were a few hundred seekers on line. All had their turn. The Master neither opened his eyes nor said a word to any of them. But when these two came and stood in front of the Master, he immediately opened his eyes.

His close disciples were very surprised. They said to themselves, "The Master has broken his promise to keep his eyes closed." Then, to their utter astonishment, he also broke his vow of silence. He said to the two seeker-friends, "Go alone. Go alone. Go alone."

The amazed attendants indicated that their time was over. The two friends left the Master, and immediately he closed his eyes and resumed his silence. Now many more seekers came to the Master for his silent blessing, and left.

The curiosity-monger was laughing hilariously as they started back. He said to his friend, "What kind of teacher is he? He was supposed to be silent and keep his eyes closed, but he opened his eyes before us, and he spoke to us. He has broken both his own promises."

Then the curiosity-monger became very, very angry with the Master. He said, "We have been life-long friends. Now why does he ask us to 'go alone, go alone'? He wants to break up our friendship. Why, he is cruel. I will never, never go to him again. You know that I would give my life for you, and I am sure that you also would do the same for me. We can easily make any sacrifice for each other, yet he wants our separation. 'Go alone. Go alone!' I will never see his face again. We will always stay together."

It was evening as they made their way home, and they thought they would take a short-cut. On their way they suddenly came to a shaky, delicate bamboo bridge. As the two were such very close friends, they thought they would go together, one behind the other. So they walked onto the little bridge together, but it trembled and seemed about to collapse because it was so tiny and narrow that it could not hold two persons at a time.

All of a sudden they saw a farmer near the bridge. He cried out to them, "O gentlemen, you are both wise men. What are you doing? It isn't safe for you like that. Please cross the bridge one by one. Go alone. If you go alone this bridge will not collapse."

The curiosity-monger would not move. He jokingly said, "Now we have another Yogi here. About an hour ago one Yogi said, 'Go alone', and now this farmer-Yogi is asking us to go alone."

Then he started abusing the farmer. "Listen, it is none of your business. We are the closest of friends. We will go together even if we break our legs and our heads. You fool! We would rather die together than go alone. We will not allow ourselves to be separated. No, not even death can separate us."

The sincere seeker suddenly felt bewildered. What should he do? Because of the strength of their friendship, his companion was saying that even if they were to break their legs, even if they were to die, they would not be separated even to cross this little bridge.

The curiosity-monger continued to insult and abuse the farmer who had given them the advice to go alone. But the farmer said, "You can scold me, you can insult me, you can do anything you want. But I wish to tell you a few things. If you cross this bridge one by one, alone, it will take only a few minutes. When you are safely on the other side, then you can go on again with your closeness and friendship. You can give all your warmth, all your concern to each other. Why do you want to embrace death when you can escape it? First cross over separately, and then you can resume your closeness, your inseparable oneness. Why don't you use your wisdom, O gentlemen?"

The curiosity-monger became furious. He was ready to strike the farmer. He shouted, "Go away or I'll break your head! I don't need your precious advice. I want to be with my friend all the time. If we die, we will die together. We don't want your wise counsel. We went to see a Yogi and he told us to go alone. Now he has ruined all my inspiration and aspiration. Now you farmer, you have become another Yogi. You are saying the same thing. I don't need you. Off with you!"

All this while something was happening inside the heart of the sincere seeker, and he began to perceive something divine in the farmer. While he watched, fascinated, he saw the farmer's eyes revealing the depths of the blue-vast sky. "Please give me more advice," he asked the farmer with utmost sincerity. But the curiosity-monger simply wanted to make fun of the farmer. He said, "Yes, yes, we need your advice. Go on, go on."

The farmer said to him, "Both of you are spiritual seekers. You know that in the spiritual life all should go together, and you two wanted to go together. But what happens when one is tired, when one is unwilling to go farther? The one that is stronger and more competent should go on. He should continue to walk along the road to reach the goal, and bring back light, peace, and bliss to offer to the one who is tired, or who is reluctant to go farther. In order to inspire others more powerfully and convincingly, one has to go farther and get more inspiration, more light from the Golden Beyond.

"The two of you are one, but at the same time, I see that you are only curious about the spiritual life, while he is serious and sincere. Under these circumstances you cannot go together. If he waits for you indefinitely, his spiritual life will be totally ruined. He will waste his precious time. And if you stay with someone who is in the spiritual life, and who is all aspiration while you are all curiosity, you will not benefit from him. Your curiosity will not draw any of his spiritual qualities. So you will also be wasting your precious time by staying with him.

"You should go on with your own life. Right now you are not ready for the spiritual life. You are just curious. You should follow your life as a householder, your ordinary life. There you will get your own type of satisfaction by staying with your children, with the members of your family, with your friends and neighbours. Although it is not divine satisfaction — far from it — you will get some satisfaction by mixing with people on your own level. And your friend will have real satisfaction by mixing with sincere seekers on his own level.

"If you two go alone, you will have satisfaction at your earthly level, and he will have satisfaction according to his spiritual standard. So go alone. Go alone. Go alone."

When the farmer said "Go alone" for the third time, his face changed into the face of the Yogi who had told them to go alone.

The sincere seeker touched the feet of the farmer, who was really the Yogi. But the curiosity-monger said, "You have ruined our friendship. You have ruined my life." And in his anger he struck the Teacher with all his might. In return, the Master gave him a broad smile. He compassionately said, "You have given me a blow, but from now on you will be doing the right thing. That is why I am happy with you. I am sure that you will be following the right path according to your present needs."

To the sincere seeker he said, "I am proud of you. You are ready to follow the spiritual life. You will be following the right path, the spiritual path, your soul's own path. You have truly pleased me."

"Both of you have pleased me — each in his own way. Go alone. Go alone. Go alone."

Mind-confusion, heart-illumination

There was a great spiritual Master who had abundant spiritual and occult power. He had hundreds of disciples, and out of these hundreds there were a few who were intimate. Unfortunately, one of his most intimate disciples became a victim to doubt. Although this particular disciple had tremendous inner aspiration, deep love for the Master, and genuine dedication to his mission, she had some doubt about the Master and about her own spiritual life. Her mind, like everybody's mind, played a miserable and painful trick on her. She always got boundless joy, inspiration, and aspiration from her meditation and from talking to the Master about her spiritual life. But whenever she went back to her home, it was all suffering, because the members of her family were against the spiritual life. Her friends and neighbours were also unsympathetic. At the Master's ashram she was all joy, but at home, she was made miserable by confusion and uncertainty.

This went on for months, and the months ran into years, but this deplorable situation showed no sign of coming to an end. In spite of her best aspiration and dedication to her Master's spiritual mission, and her purest love for him, her mind tormented her. Her heart was all dedication, but her mind at times became a tornado of confusion. The Master felt extremely sorry for her, but he was helpless. He had asked her repeatedly not to pay any attention to her mind, but to live always in her heart. She tried her best, and whenever she lived in the heart, she was all joy, satisfaction, and fulfilment. But whenever she forgot, and lived in the mind, in the physical mind, she was all doubt, confusion, and frustration. The Master tried to help her, but he was not successful.

The Master then decided to go a step higher. He had a talk with God about this particular disciple. He asked God how he could be of some help to her. God said to the Master, "Tonight I shall offer you a dream. In that dream you will be able to get an idea, so that in the future you can solve her problem."

The Master did have a dream that night. In the dream he saw a beautiful mango placed in front of him by God Himself. On one side of the mango was the Master, and on the other side was the mind of the particular disciple. The mango was the disciple herself. The mind was separated by God from the physical consciousness of the disciple.

The Master saw that there was a constant tug-of-war going on between himself and the mind of the disciple. The mind of the disciple wanted to grab the mango, and the Master wanted to have it for his divine use. At times the mango-consciousness, which was the disciple's consciousness, would take the side of the mind, and at times it would take the side of the Master. This way there was no final settlement. The tug-of-war went on for hours and hours.

Finally the Master felt extremely sorry for the mango. He said, "Both of us are trying to possess you. Your mind is trying to grab you mercilessly, and I am trying to take you for a divine purpose. There is no end to our battle. And while we are fighting for you, you are suffering. Since I have true love and concern for you, let me leave the fight. Let your mind possess you. In that case you will not be torn between us. You will have some relief."

So the Master surrendered. He gave up the fight for the disciple, not out of disgust, but out of compassion. The mind was extremely happy that it had won the battle. But what happened? When the mind became the full possessor of the physical consciousness of the disciple, it began to torture her ruthlessly. The mind said, "It is for you that I had to fight so hard. Now that you have become my possession, I want you to be my total slave. For you I fought. Now that I have got you, you deserve punishment for taking the side of your Master sometimes. Now I will torture you even more." Poor disciple. Now her condition was most pitiful, most deplorable, and it went on for a few months.

At last she came back to the Master, crying bitterly, "Oh Master, I did not know that you could be so unkind to me. You left me; you became indifferent to me. Now look what has happened. My unruly, undivine, obscure, ignorant mind has possessed me totally. I have lost everything. I have no faith in myself, I have no faith in you, I have no faith in the spiritual life. Master, save me, save me! Protect and illumine me."

The Master said, "What can I do? When your mind and I were fighting for you, you sometimes cherished your mind's doubts, fears anxieties, and worries. You did not accept me wholeheartedly. If you had accepted me wholeheartedly, I would have won the battle immediately. Quite a few times you took the side of your mind. Now you are seeing the result."

"O Master, forgive me. It was my ignorance. Now I want to be yours, for your divine purpose, for God, and for your mission."

The Master said, "All right. If you listen to me, I will be able to solve your problem."

She said, "Anything you ask me, Master, I shall do."

The Master then said, "When your mind says that your Master is wrong, your spiritual aspiration is wrong, and everything that you do is wrong, immediately you have to tell your mind, 'Granted you are sixty percent correct, and the spiritual life, my own inner life, and my Master are only forty percent correct. Nevertheless, I am not going to accept you as my Lord.' Then, when the time comes when your mind is convincing you ninety-nine percent with all its cleverness and all its tricks, that you are doing the wrong thing in your inner life, that your faith in the spiritual life, in your Master's realisation, is all wrong, you tell your mind, 'I do not want you. I do not need you, even if you are ninety-nine percent correct and I am only one percent correct.' Then, if the time comes when the mind tells you that it is one hundred percent correct, it convinces you that you are all wrong, then you have to tell your mind, 'Mind, you stay with your wisdom, with your ignorant wisdom. Even if you are correct, I do not need you, I do not want you. I want peace, I want joy, I want light, I want delight. These things are all inside my heart. Even if you convince me, I am not going to accept you. You stay with your own conviction. I will stay with my heart's spontaneous joy, delight, and love for my spiritual life, for my inner life, and for my Master's mission.' If you can do this, then your life's problem is totally solved."

The disciple touched the feet of the Master and said gratefully, "Master, from now on, no doubt, no fear, no anxiety, no suspicion, no jealousy. From now on I shall be all joy, all confidence, all peace, all love, all devotion, all surrender. You are mine. You are my life's only Haven and Heaven."

The Master blessed his dearest disciple and said, "At long last, my child, we have won the divine race."

To realise and serve or to serve and realise

Two sincere seekers one day went to their Master. One of them said to him, "Master, I am here to realise you. This is my only aim."

The other said to the Master, "Master, I have come to serve you. This is my only aim. I don't need liberation, I don't need salvation. I need only to serve you. I want to dedicate myself totally and implicitly to your service. That will give me greatest delight. I care only for you. I need only you."

The first one then said, "Master, I want to realise you — you know why. Unless and until I know the difference between you and me — how great you are and how small and insignificant I am — I won't be able to serve you properly. If I realise you, then I will see that you are the vast sun and I am a candle flame. I know that this I have to realise. I also have to realise that you are the mightiest ocean and I am the tiniest drop. Then will I be able to serve you most devotedly and unconditionally."

The second disciple spoke. çMaster, I don't have to know how great you are, why you are so great, or the difference between you and me. This is quite immaterial. I have accepted you as my Master, as my Lord. To serve you to the end of my life is my soul's sole aspiration. Master, please don't deny me.”

The Master was quiet for some time. The two disciples said, "Master, please let us know who is right."

To the one who wanted to realise first and then serve, the Master said, "All right, you want to realise me. You say that when you realise me you will know the difference between us. I say that when you realise me, you will become totally one with me — absolutely one. Real realisation means total oneness, absolute oneness, inseparable oneness. At that time will you want to serve me? When you know that you have touched the height, you have become the height itself, will you want to serve? I don't think so. When you see a little difference, if the other person is superior to you, then you try to serve. But if you have equalled the other person, you will not want to serve him. You will say, 'He is in no way greater than I. Why should I bow to him? Why should I serve him?'

Then the Master said to the disciple who wanted only to serve him, "You are serving me with greatest joy. Now, some day I shall make you realise God, and you will be spiritually as great as I am now. After you have realised God, I don't think you will want to serve me any more."

Both the disciples became very sad. Each felt miserable in his own way.

After a pause, the Master said to the one who wanted to realise him and then serve properly, "My child, you go to school, you go to college, you go to the university. When you get your Master's degree from your professor, what happens? You get a degree, and you are ready to teach. You also become a professor. From a primary-school teacher you get your first lessons. But a day comes when you get your Master's degree. Still you can show respect to your primary school teacher, because you got your first lessons from her. Similarly, when we get the same knowledge of the highest, or even higher knowledge, we can show respectful gratitude to the one from whom we got it.

"The student will write 'MA' and the professor who taught him will also write 'MA' But the student will naturally retain some respect, some affection, some admiration for his teacher, although he eventually acquires the same knowledge. In the same way, if you want to serve me, you can easily do it, because you received your knowledge from me.

"This kind of gratitude towards the school teacher is not at all unusual in India. In my own family, my eldest brother, who is now a great scholar, touches the feet of his primary-school teacher with great reverence. Unfortunately, here in the West, this kind of experience is very rare."

Then the Master said to the disciple who only wanted to serve him, "You serve me, and I am pleased with you. What will I do for you? I will try to give you some promotion. Today if you do something for me, tomorrow I will try to give you something more important, something more praiseworthy to do. Suppose today I ask you to massage my feet. If I see that you are massaging my feet devotedly, soulfully, without any pride, then I will give you my hand to massage. Then I shall give you my shoulders, and I shall even let you massage my head. Finally, when I see that you have served the Supreme in me in every way, I shall grant you liberation. You will be liberated like me. But if you want to, you can remain devoted to me and be of service to me, since you got your liberation from me."

The Master continued, "If you follow my advice, you will be happy all your life. If one becomes one with the Master and reaches the same standard, his inner gratitude will always make him happy. But if he says, 'Oh, now that we have become one, who cares for him? I am as good as he is. I am in no way inferior,' such a man will have no joy, no delight. If he becomes one with the Master and basks in the sunshine of gratitude, his life becomes divinely meaningful and supremely fruitful. At every moment his life offers God's Glory, God's Height to mankind."

And the Master spoke to the disciple who wanted to realise God first, "When you reach the highest, you are bound to manifest it eventually. This act of manifestation is your true dedicated service."

To the one who only wanted to serve, he said, “If you please me in every way, I will without fail give you the fruits that I eat every day. If a servant pleases his master, if he is a kind master, he will offer the same food to the servant that he eats himself. If I am pleased with you, I am bound to give you what I have. If I am not pleased with you, although I am taking your service, I will only give you what you deserve, and I will eat my realisation-fruit. But if somebody pleases me in every possible way, I am bound to give him the divine nectar that I drink every day.

“Either you realise first and then serve, or you serve first and then realise. Both ways are equally important and significant. While realising God, you are serving the ultimate need of mankind. While serving mankind, you are realising God the Absolute.”

Show occult powers and lose disciples

There was a spiritual Master who was a sincere, genuine Master. He had just started his ashram, and he had only forty disciples. Unfortunately, most of his disciples were not sincere enough or serious enough. Only a few were truly sincere, very dedicated. Others were merely curious. They wanted to see their Master's occult powers.

The Master often spoke of occult power and spiritual power, but most of his disciples thought that he was only telling tales. They didn't really believe that he actually had such powers.

A young lady joined the ashram. She had very little faith in the Master, but much curiosity. One day, at the end of the meeting, she fell at the feet of the Master and said, "Master, Master, help me!"

The Master said, "What is wrong?"

"My father has committed suicide," she said. "About ten days ago he died. I have just been to see his body."

"Why did he commit suicide?" the Master asked her.

"I do not know," she answered. "I live here in Florida, and my parents live in California. My mother called me when it happened, and I went to see her. I have just come back. Can you help my father's soul?" she asked the Master most pitifully.

The Master promised her that he would do something for her father's soul.

The following day the Master phoned the lady. He said, "Please come to my place. I have a message for you." She hurried eagerly to the Master's place to learn what the message was, for she was all curiosity.

The previous night the Master had actually entered into the souls' world and done some things for the soul of her father. He had blessed the soul, and had had a long conversation with it.

When the daughter arrived at the Master's ashram, he said, "Do you want proof that I met your father's soul?"

She said, "No, Master," but it was all false faith. Inside, she was burning with desire to hear the proof.

The Master said, "The fourth of September is your birthday. Your father told me."

She gave a smile and said, "Yes, Master, but… " “But” meant that she had a friend who also went to the Master's ashram, and she thought that perhaps he had learned through this friend that the fourth of September was her birthday.

The Master knew her thoughts and said, "All right. One more thing I will tell you. Then, perhaps, you will believe that I really had a conversation with your father. Do you know that your father was a thief?"

"My father! Impossible!"

"Yes. Your father lost his right thumb once while he was climbing out of a house after committing a theft. When the maids of the house heard a noise, they got up and tried to catch your father. He escaped through a window, but his thumb was crushed in the window. He lost his whole thumb."

"Oh Master, please don't tell anybody that about my father," the daughter cried. "Only my mother and I know it. Please don't tell anybody."

The Master blessed the disciple and said, "Your father is blessed in the souls' world, and you are blessed on earth. Now I wish to tell you that with your curiosity sometimes you people torture spiritual Masters. But if they want to put an end to your curiosity, they can do it. Curiosity is useless. What is useful is sincere, genuine dedication and devotion. From now on I expect you to be a good, sincere disciple."

The disciple bowed down and said, "Yes, Master. From now on I will be extremely dedicated and devoted to you."

That was the last time that disciple came to the Master's ashram. After a few months, she told some other disciples that she was not coming to his ashram any more because nobody could hide anything from him. She knew that she did many wrong things, many foolish immoral, and undivine things, and she was convinced that the Master recognised her undivine nature. Her life was an open book, and she did not want to be exposed in that way. This was her reason for leaving the ashram.

So you see, if the Master feeds a disciple's curiosity about occultism, then the Master loses the disciple. Again, if he says that he has no occult power, the curious disciple will think, "What is the use of staying with someone who does not have any occult power? He is as useless as I am. Let me leave him."

If the Master shows just a little of his power, the curiosity-mongers fear that they will be exposed, and they leave the Master. Occult power is not at all necessary to realise God. For God-realisation only one thing is indispensable, and that indispensable quality is aspiration.

Translations of this page: Italian , Czech
This book can be cited using cite-key spd