Question: Why does a spiritual Master stay with his disciples when they are such victims to doubt?

Sri Chinmoy: When someone stands on the shore and sees that somebody else is drowning in the sea, he has to jump into the sea and save the drowning person. If he stays on the shore, then he cannot save the life of the one who is drowning. When a Master sees that people are dying in the sea of ignorance, he has to come and save them.

But very often when the spiritual Master enters into the very breath of ignorance, ignorance makes the unrealised being feel that the Master, even a spiritual giant, is also of ignorance. If the person were sincerely aspiring, then he would know that although a Master has descended into the world of ignorance he can always remain in his highest consciousness. He has descended into ignorance but at the same time he is in constant communication with the Highest, the Supreme. Instead, the seeker doubts the Master and feels that he is also vulnerable. He feels that the Master is also of his own standard; that the Master is no better than he.

The Master enters into ignorance and plays the game of ignorance with his disciples. Then after a while, when the time has come to take them beyond the sea of ignorance, at God's choice Hour, he takes them to the Golden Shore of the transcendental Beyond.

Naturally the disciples want the Master to take them. But even before the Master can start playing his role fully, they start doubting him. They see that he is also a human being. He is a victim to sickness, cold, hunger and other earthly things. They feel that he is not always in his highest mood; therefore, he is not always divine.

The problem of doubt comes because the disciples try to judge the Master from their own level. Their judgement is inevitably wrong. Reality has to be seen on its own level. When the disciple is able to enter into his Master's consciousness, then he becomes a competent judge of his Master's spiritual height and capacity. But if the disciple looks from even one inch below that reality, then he cannot become the adequate judge of that reality.

If the disciples could see the Master on his own level, if their achievements matched his standard, then there could be no doubt. But if the Master always remained at the top of the tree, then the disciples would have to remain always at the foot of the tree because they do not know how to climb. The Master is more than willing to come down to the foot of the tree. He puts the disciples on his shoulders and then carries them up to the topmost boughs. But when he comes down to the foot of the tree, the disciples misunderstand him. They say, "Oh, he has fallen! He himself will not be able to climb up the tree again. How is he going to lift me up?"

When the Master sees that the disciples are doubting him, naturally he can simply go back to his own highest consciousness. There he can remain in the perfect Peace of transcendental Liberation, where there is no ignorance, no duality, no imperfection, but only infinite Bliss, infinite Light, and infinite Freedom. This he will do if his disciples continue to doubt him constantly and incessantly. At the same time, he knows that there is not a single disciple who has never had the misfortune to doubt his Master, so he uses his divine quality of forgiveness again and again.

Disciples who leave the Master because of doubt and then come back to him think that it is they who come back to the Master and it is they who forgive the Master. But it is actually the Master who forgives the disciples and allows them to return to his boat, for he knows that if he does not forgive them, the disciples will have nowhere else to go. They will be like lost souls. But it is much easier for the disciples to doubt the Master, leave him and then come back again into the spiritual life than it is for the Master to forgive them and accept them again. The poor Master first has to suffer their doubt in him and then he has to forgive the disciples and take them back with all their undivine forces newly acquired from the outer world. In both ways he is caught. Yet the Master takes his imprisonment as the greatest joy, since he is serving his supreme Father in this way. He will let the disciples kick him and doubt him as long as he receives the Command from the Supreme to be of service to them and to humanity at large.