Ratul's promise versus his Master's promise1Ratul had been serving his Master most devotedly for ten years. The Master was extremely pleased with him, and also extremely fond of him, and he was a very close disciple.
Early one morning, the Master was in his meditation room in a contemplative mood when Ratul hurriedly came in and touched his feet, saying, "Master, I have come to you for a last blessing."
"What?" said the Master. "What do you mean by a last blessing?"
"Master, today is the last day that this life of mine will be blessed by you, for today I am leaving you for good."
The Master was simply shocked. "Ratul," he said, "what is wrong with you? What kind of nonsense is this? Just yesterday you were in a most soulful consciousness, as you have always been. Has anyone insulted you?"
"No, Master, nobody has insulted me. Nobody ever dares to insult me, for they know that if they do they will be in serious trouble, and you will not forgive them. Your indulgence towards me at times borders on madness. Although people don't dare to say so outwardly, inwardly I am sure they cherish this idea."
"Who cares what they think of me? As long as you love me most devotedly and I love you most compassionately and most proudly, who cares for others' assessments of my divine action?"
"You are right, Master, but today I have come to you not for consolation or illumination but for the strength to fulfil my promise."
"What is your promise, my dear son? Please be explicit."
"Master, when I came to you ten years ago I made a solemn promise to myself that I would never doubt you or deceive you. I vowed that if ever I should doubt you or deceive you I would leave you immediately. Alas, yesterday, the time came for me to keep my promise. I both doubted you and deceived you."
"In what way did you doubt me and deceive me, my son?"
"Master, let me tell you the whole story. Last night when I went to bed, hundreds of ideas — divine and undivine, progressive and destructive — entered into my mind, and at last there came a moment when I started doubting you."
"But why? How did your doubt begin?"
"Master, it is all your fault. Some time ago you told me that in this incarnation I would realise God. But now I have been with you for ten years, and I see that God-realisation is still a far cry. I know perfectly well that my whole life is full of limitations, imperfections and weaknesses. I am convinced that there is no hope of God-realisation for me — not only in this incarnation, but for many incarnations to come. Master, all along you just encouraged me so that I could accept your path and walk along with you. Anyway, Master, last night I doubted you most sincerely and most powerfully. Now I do not want to stay with you any more, for I want to keep my soul's promise to myself.
"Now about my deception, which is the other reason for my decision to leave you. At about eleven o'clock last night I got a phone call from Vidhan. He was terribly upset, for he had lost all faith in you. He felt that his life was meaningless. All his aspiration and all his material wealth he had offered to you during the seven years that he stayed at your ashram, and in return he felt that you had given him nothing, absolutely nothing. He was sad and furious, and he wanted to leave your ashram immediately. Do you know, Master, what I said to him on the phone? I gave him all kinds of most illumining advice. I told him all about your loving and compassionate qualities, and I reminded him of all the times you have shown him special love, special concern, special compassion, special joy and pride. I also told him that because of your unconditional love and compassion for all of us, we have made enormous progress in our spiritual life. I even said that the Goal is not very far from us, especially in his case and mine.
"So, Master, do you see what kind of rogue I am? I doubted you vehemently last night, and the same night I had to deceive my most intimate friend with my false reassurance. To deceive him is to deceive you, for you and he are one, as you and all of us are one."
The Master most compassionately placed his hands on Ratul's head and said, "What a contradiction! What an irony of fate! This moment you make me feel that you have totally understood my supreme philosophy, whereas a moment ago you made me feel that you have not learned even the ABC of my philosophy. Have I not told you time and again that in my philosophy doubt is poison, doubt is destruction? How is it that today you are paying so much attention to doubt and not to the inner faith which you so soulfully and powerfully offered to Vidhan at the time of his dire need?"
"Master, I don't know. Please tell me what I can do now. On the one hand, I really want to leave you because I don't want to break my promise. But on the other hand, I feel that there is no place for me on earth if I leave you. And please tell me this, Master: how could I doubt you? How could I doubt you and, at the same time, convince somebody else about your love, compassion, light and power? I hate myself for deceiving Vidhan, who was so sincere to me last night. I could have told him that I, too, was sailing in the doubt-boat."
"Ratul, I shall make it all clear to you. You did the right thing. Both you and Vidhan were swimming in the sea of darkness, confusion and destruction, but you came out of the sea before him."
"Master, I don't understand that. How was it possible for me to come out of the ignorance-sea before him? He was at least sincere. He told me everything about his deplorable condition and about his decision to leave you. I had made the same decision, but never during our conversation did I mention my plan. On the contrary, I spoke so highly of you, so devotedly of you. I was the real culprit. Master, you have to tell me, wasn't it an act of injustice on your part or on God's part to bring me out of the ignorance-sea before Vidhan?"
"My son, when two are on the verge of drowning, one should strive to come and touch the shore first so that he can stretch out his hand and save the other. Now you may ask, how was it that you became the saviour? You became the saviour because even while you were doubting, even while you were deceiving, there was something in you that inwardly made you see what your future would be without me. If you left me your life would be totally ruined, and your God-realisation certainly could never take place in this incarnation. God alone knows how many incarnations you would take to realise God. You felt all this last night.
"You say that you doubted me and you deceived me. But I wish to say it was your mind that doubted and deceived me, Ratul. Your heart has always been inseparably one with my Wisdom-Light. True, wisdom-light does not intimidate anybody; it only illumines the unlit substance, the unfulfilled reality in human beings. But, at times, when God feels that there is no other medicine for an individual in most deplorable circumstances, He asks the Master to use his Wisdom-light in a frightening way. This is His remedy for the seeker who has always been good, aspiring and dedicated, but on a rare occasion has become a victim of doubt and deception. So your fear of an uncertain future, your fear of an unrealised life, saved you. But Vidhan allowed himself to be inhumanly hostile to me and to God. He did not care for his future at all. He was simply carried away by his haughty vital.
"True, in the spiritual life, love is the most important thing. But I wish to tell you that sometimes when unconditional love fails to conquer a particular defect of a dear disciple, the Master has every right to use his divine Force, which is nothing but another form of genuine love for his dear disciple. In your case, this Force operated first. Therefore, you were in a position to reach the shore before Vidhan and then help him reach the shore.
"So, my son, is my philosophy clear to you?"
"Yes, Master, what you have said about my deception is quite clear. But why did I doubt you in the first place?"
"Ratul, it is not easy to conquer doubt. Doubt follows a seeker for a considerable distance on his way to the Goal. At times it may even happen that just when the seeker is about to reach his destination, doubt tries to devour him. Doubt is conquered only when one has reached the Goal. There are some human beings who are not born with doubt at all, who are born only with implicit faith. Again, there are people who have a little doubt and a great deal of faith. You are one of those. Your faith far surpasses your doubt.
"I wish to tell you that you have already covered half the length of your spiritual journey. You are bound to reach your Goal no matter how long you doubt me or how long you doubt your own spirituality. As you made an inner promise to yourself when you accepted me, so also did I make a solemn promise both to God and to your soul. My promise was that in this incarnation I would make you realise God. I didn't tell your soul or God that I would make you realise God provided you did this or said that for me. My promise to your soul and to God was unconditional. Therefore I assure you that in your case, God-realisation is destined, no matter what you do, no matter what you say. Your God-realisation is as inevitable as the passage of today into tomorrow."
Ratul fell down before the Master and kissed his feet with overwhelming love and gratitude. "Master, I knew. I knew all along that you were great, very great, exceptionally great. But today you have revealed to me another divine aspect of yours. You have shown me today that you are good, very good, exceptionally good. Your greatness always fascinated and attracted me. From now on, your goodness will forever illumine and fulfil me."
WM 4. 25 January 1974↩