Part I

Finding a genuine spiritual Master

When one is ready, when one is sincerely ready in his spiritual life, either he will go to his Master or the Master will come to him. In India we say that when the student is ready, the Master is bound to come.

When one is thirsty, one goes to fetch a drink from the kitchen or from a pond or somewhere where water is available. Again, there is another way. When the child is crying for milk, the mother comes no matter where she is. If the child is crying in the living room and the mother is in the kitchen, the mother comes running to feed the child. When a seeker is really crying, it is God’s bounden duty to bring someone to feed the spiritual child. In the human life, somebody is there to take care of the child, either the mother or the sister or somebody in the family. In the spiritual life also, if one is really crying, the Guru has to come from somewhere. No sincere prayer will remain unanswered. God’s main business is to please us, to make us happy if He sees that we want the right thing.

There are many, many, many false Gurus, but it is very easy to recognise them. If a Guru says that he will be able to give you God-realisation in one night or ten days or in one month or two months, then he is a false Guru. If the Guru says that you have to give him some set fee for each lesson, and that if you give him a certain amount of money he will be able to give you realisation, then he is a false Guru. It is like a prescribed course. Twenty lessons you will get and after twenty lessons if you do not realise God, then the Guru will say that you are insincere. This is absurd.

Again, even a beginner can easily recognise a genuine Guru. If a beginner sees someone giving out Peace, Light, Bliss and Purity through his eyes and through his consciousness, then he can be sure that this is a true Master. But although that Master is genuine, he need not be the seeker’s own Master.

How can a beginner or anybody know who is his Master? When you see a Master, if you get an inner thrill all of a sudden, then you know that this is your Master. When a child sees his mother after a long separation, he simply jumps with joy. And the mother also gets tremendous joy when she sees her own child after a long time. In the spiritual life it is the same. When a Master sees his spiritual child, outwardly you can’t see it, but inwardly his heart is flooded with joy. When Sri Ramakrishna, the great Master, saw his dearest disciple Vivekananda for the first time, he was inwardly thrilled.

The Master will always know who his real spiritual child is, but he does not tell because he may be misunderstood. If the Master tells a seeker, “You are my disciple,” then immediately the seeker will think, “Perhaps there is some motive behind it. What does he want from me?” But if the disciple makes the commitment himself, then if ever the disciple wants to leave the Master, the disciple cannot blame the Master. That is why wise Masters always tell the seekers, “You accept me first; then I will decide whether or not to accept you. Let us accept each other mutually. Then, if ever you feel the necessity to leave me, you can leave me freely.”

The seeker must judge each Master for himself. In this world everything is comparative. A seeker may get a little joy when he sees one Master. He may get much more joy when he sees another Master, and he will get the most joy from some other Master. The seeker has to give a mark to each Master. I am a Master. Some of you who are seeing me may give me ten, some may give me sixty or seventy, some may give me eighty. Those who are my disciples, those who have accepted me, should give me ninety-nine or a hundred; but those who are not my disciples may give me a zero. They are not making a mistake. I am not meant for them and they are not meant for me. They are the judges. They give marks to each Master according to the joy, the thrill, the inner ecstasy they feel. The Master who gets the highest mark from the seeker is the right one for that seeker.

But this does not mean that you have to go from one Master to another in order to see which one is yours. If you see a Master for the first time and you are able to give him ninety or a hundred out of a hundred, then you do not have to go and see twenty Masters more. If you are lucky enough to see your own Master first, then you don’t have to roam all over the world to see others.

In this connection I wish to say that it is most essential to have only one Master. If you have really accepted a Master, then you should have only him. Why? There is a Goal, which we call the Golden Shore, and each Master has a boat of his own in which to take his disciples there. If today you stay in this boat and tomorrow you jump into another boat, you will not reach the Golden Shore. If you keep one foot in this boat and one foot in another boat, you will fall into the sea of ignorance. All genuine, God-realised Masters are absolutely right. You just have to choose one Master and then follow him.

In school you learn many subjects under the guidance of many teachers. Each subject has a different teacher. But God-realisation is only one subject, self-discovery is only one subject; and for that, one teacher is more than enough. Those who say that each Master has something special to give are right; but that speciality you don’t need. You need only to realise God. And when you realise God, you get all the unique qualities of all the spiritual Masters. Yes, I have something which perhaps my disciples will say is special. And the disciples of other Masters will say the same about their own Masters. But I wish to say that this speciality is next to nothing in comparison to God-realisation. When you realise God with the grace of a Master, you see that you are flooded with Light.

So please follow one path, one Master; stay in one boat. And then, once you reach the Goal, you will see that you have got everything. But on the way, if you constantly change from one boat to another with the hope of getting special things from everyone, then you are only delaying your progress.