The disciple's mission

After fifty, sixty, eighty or a hundred years, you will see the result of the seeds that we are now sowing. Even if only twenty or thirty persons come to attend a public lecture of mine, no harm. Sometimes I feel extremely sorry when only a few people attend, but even if there is nobody, I am prepared to speak to an empty room, facing the wall. I have to give talks because the Supreme wants me to. On the other hand, if more people come so much the better, since then many people will be able to hear about spiritual things. If each of you feels that my mission is your mission, then you will dedicate yourself in every possible way to help our mission.

One of Sri Ramakrishna's disciples who was very dedicated to his Master's mission once took an oath that he would establish a Sri Ramakrishna Centre in Madras. When he came to Madras from Bengal, his possessions were only an umbrella and a picture of Ramakrishna. Come rain, come shine, this young man always carried the picture and the umbrella with him. For years and years he worked with almost nothing. He struggled so hard, and now the Ramakrishna Centre in Madras is well-known all over India.

One day he was giving a talk at the Mylapore Centre. Because it was a rainy day, no one turned up. The speaker stood up and said, "Nobody is here? Where could I get a better audience than the walls?" and he gave the talk. Then he said, "The walls have listened so devotedly; they are my best audience. The walls don't argue, they don't make a noise, they don't contradict my views. Others doubt and suspect; they have other views, but the walls have received all that I wanted to offer. Today my audience was really divine."

So here also, if people come, immediately the light I have to offer is spread to hundreds and thousands. But if we don't get people to listen, then like Ramakrishna's disciple we will say, "The walls have accepted me." When I spoke in Brandeis University, there were very few people, but right at the back of the audience I saw the Supreme facing me. He said to me, "I am the Listener. I am listening." So He will listen to us even if we don't see an audience.

All of us can do dedicated service. I am praying that each disciple can spread the message of the Supreme with devotion and dedication. If you do it without any pride, vanity or ego, then you are fulfilling the Supreme the way the Supreme and I want you to fulfil Him.