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.

Sri Chinmoy, In search of a perfect disciple, Sri Chinmoy Lighthouse, New York, 1972