|The Perfect Master, Vol 1
Talks on Sufi Stories
Talks given from 21/06/78 am to 30/06/78 am
English Discourse series
The Perfect Master, Vol 1
Chapter title: When the Disciple is Ready
21 June 1978 am in Buddha Hall
Archive code: 7806210
Length: 98 mins
A CERTAIN MAN DECIDED THAT HE WOULD SEEK THE PERFECT MASTER.
HE READ MANY BOOKS, VISITED SAGE AFTER SAGE, LISTENED, DISCUSSED AND PRACTISED, BUT HE ALWAYS FOUND HIMSELF DOUBTING OR UNSURE.
AFTER TWENTY YEARS HE MET A MAN WHOSE EVERY WORD AND ACTION CORRESPONDED WITH HIS IDEA OF THE TOTALLY REALIZED MAN.
THE TRAVELER LOST NO TIME. "YOU," HE SAID, "SEEM TO ME TO BE THE PERFECT MASTER. IF YOU ARE, MY JOURNEY IS AT AN END."
"I AM, INDEED, DESCRIBED BY THAT NAME," SAID THE MASTER.
"THEN, I BEG OF YOU, ACCEPT ME AS A DISCIPLE."
"THAT," SAID THE MASTER, "I CANNOT DO FOR WHILE YOU MAY DESIRE THE PERFECT MASTER, HE, IN TURN, REQUIRES ONLY THE PERFECT PUPIL."
The Master appears only when the disciple is ready. Never otherwise. In no other way. At no other point in life's journey. The disciple has to be ready and ripe; only at that moment does the Master become visible. The disciple has to earn eyes, to earn ears, to create a heart, to feel. How can the sun appear if you are blind? The sun may appear but you will go on missing it.
Unless you have eyes, there is no beauty in the world. The vowers will bloom, but not for you. And stars will fill the sky with immense beauty, but not for you. Unless you have eyes, there is no beauty in the world.
If you don't have love in the heart, you will not find the belo ed. The basic requirement has to be fulfilled. Only love finds the beloved. Eyes find beauty. end the ears find music and melodies.
But there are people, and they are many -- the majority consists of those -- who go on searching and seeking something out there without creating a corresponding receptivity in themselves. I have come across many seekers who are searching or a Master -- not at all aware that the disciple is completely absent. The disciple is not there at all. How can you find a Master?
The Master is not just an objective phenomenon THERE. First he has to be something interior in you. That's what disciple hood is: a preparation, a thirst, a passionate desire, a great passion for truth. That is lacking. And then people go ON searching. And if they don't find, it is not surprising. They are not going to find! They may come across MANY Masters, but they will go on missing.
How can you see the Master if you are not vulnerable to him? How can you see the Master if you don't know even what it is to be a disciple? The beginning of the finding of a Master starts by being a disciple. The real seeker does not worry about the Master, where he is. His whole concern is how to create the disciple in himself, how to be a learner, open to reality; how to function from innocence, and how not to function from the state of knowledge.
If you function from the state of knowledge, you will find many teachers but never a Master. If you already know something, and you think that you know, then you will find other knowers, claimers, who are ahead of you. You will meet only the people whom YOU CAN MEET. You will meet people like you. A person who functions from the state of knowing that he has gathered will find many teachers and will learn many things -- but will never find a Master.
To find a Master you have to be a child. To find a Master you have to be utterly innocent, not knowing anything, the mind empty -- full of passion for truth, but without any conclusions about it. This is the state of real learning. And then you need not even go anywhere: the Master will come to you.
There are many sannyasins here who have not come to me because of their search but because I have found them. They have come because of me, not because of themselves. That is the REAL coming. When you come because of yourself, you don't come at all. You remain there, stubbornly, too much of you, full of you -- there is no space for me to enter into you.
This is one of the basic requirements for a seeker: that he should be a learner. What I mean by 'learning' is that one should always function from the state of innocence. One should not carry conclusions inside oneself -- because those conclusions won't allow you to Learn. If something goes against them, you are bound to reject it. And if something does not go against them, then you are not learning anything -- only your old prejudice is strengthened more.
If something agrees with you, there is no learning. It has simply strengthened the old mind. And the Master cannot do it -- he has to destroy the old for the new to be; he has to take away ALL that you have been carrying all along. He has to create space in you. If you cling to conclusions, prejudices, ideas, philosophies, you will not be able to meet a Master -- because his whole work consists in destroying all kinds of philosophies. He is interested it the real thing. He is not interested in speculation about things.
Just the other day I was reading a statement of Burke:
Most people will grant that potatoes are important. Discourse about potatoes, however, does not enjoy the same popularity do potatoes. When the chips are down, talk about potatoes is just no substitute for the original thing. So it is with religion.
I like the statement. The Master is interested in the REAL potatoes -- not philosophies about the potatoes. And if you come with conclusions, you can't come. Those conclusions stand like great barriers between you and the Master. One has to come open, available. One has to come not knowing. This should be obvious: if you know already, then you are not available. Your very knowledge obstructs the way.
Become a disciple. Don't be worried about the Master. When you are ready, the Master appears.
The Master appears in strange ways sometimes, but it always happens. Whenever someone is ripe, God starts coming in many forms to him. The Master is the last form of God that comes to the disciple. After the Master there is formlessness. He is the LAST experience of form; Beyond him there is formlessness -- then there is God with no form.
The Master is the last who looks like you, who lives like you, whom you can touch, with whom you can have a dialogue, who speaks like you. Beyond the Master is silence -- utter, absolute, virgin. Beyond the Master is bodilessness. The Master is just exactly in between the world and God.
If you are really tired of the world and the rut and the routine of it, don't start searching for a Master -- rather, search how to become a disciple. Start unburdening yourself from prejudices, dogmas. Forget all that you know....
Ramana Maharshi used to say to hug disciples: If you want to be with me you will have to unlearn. If you don't unlearn, then I have nothing to give you. You are already too full.
You know the famous Zen story?
A professor of philosophy went to see a great Master, and he asked about God, and he asked about karma, and he asked about the theory of reincarnation, and he asked many things... questions and questions and questions. And the Master said, "You are tired, the journey has been long, and I can see you are perspiring, coming uphill on such a hot summer afternoon. It must have been tiring. You wait; there is no hurry. These questions can wait a little. Let me prepare a cup of tea for you. And who knows? -- while drinking the tea you may get the answer."
Now the professor was a little puzzled and became a little suspicious whether it was right to come to this madman. "How can the questions be answered just by drinking tea?" But now there was no way of going; he had to rest a little. "And the tea is not going to hurt in any way, so why not drink it and then escape from here?"
The Master brought the tea, started pouring from his kettle into the cup, and went on pouring. The cup was full, and the tea started overflowing into the saucer, and the saucer was full. Then the professor said, "Stop! What are you doing? The tea will start overflowing on the floor. Now the cup has not even space for a single drop more. Are you mad or something?"
The Master had a hearty laugh, and he said, "So, you ARE intelligent! You can understand. If there is no space in the cup then we cannot pour any more tea into it. Is there space in your head? I would like to pour all that I am, but is there space in your head? Is it not overfull, too much stuffed?
"This is my answer," the Master said. "Come again. First empty your head. Come in a state of not knowing. You are too knowledgeable. I can hear all the noise that is going on inside you. Come a little more in silence. And you have not come to learn -- you have come to argue."
Knowledge always hankers to argue. It is not interested in learning. In learning it feels humiliated. That's why it becomes more and more difficult: the more grown up you are, the less is the possibility of your learning anything. Children can learn because they don't have any ego, and they learn fast, and they learn very easily. If you have to learn the same thing when you are thirty-five or forty or fifty, it is very difficult, almost impossible sometimes. What happens to your intelligence?
After fifty years of experience your intelligence should be more than it was before, but it is not. You have gathered much junk on the way. The functioning of the intellect is no longer free; it is too much burdened -- and burdened with crap! And you feel humiliated in learning anything. You cam lot bow down. You cannot say, "I do not know." And the disciple is no who can say, "I do not know -- teach me. I am ready to learn. I have not come with any conclusions to you. I have not brought any knowledge. I come empty! Fill me!"
The REAL search is how to become a disciple, how to empty the cup of your being, so when you come across a being who is overflowing with God you can be filled -- filled to your heart's content. But people search for a Master; they don't search for disciple hood -- that's where they go on missing. Then you will come across many many people, and you will always feel unsatisfied. And the reason for dissatisfaction is not outside you: it comes from your own inner mind. You have brought con-clusions with you.
I was reading the other day about a very beautiful Hassid mystic, Levi-Yitzhak. He was so full of God and the song of God and the dance of God that when he worshipped or prayed he would go wild. It is said about him that he simply radiated the divine dance in its total wildness. He worshipped with such abandon that the frightened faithful instinctively moved away. If he was worship ping in the temple, people would escape to their homes, because his worship was very wild. He gesticulated, howled and danced, jumping from one corner to the other, pushing and overturning whatever was in his way. People ceased to exist for him. When he prayed, he himself ceased to exist.
Now, if you have come with some conclusions already about how a Master should be, you will think his a madman. If you think a Master should be just sitting like a Buddha under a Bo Tree, and this madman, turning things upside down and running all over the place, and he has scared the worshippers, they have all run out because nobody knows what he is going to do... But this man was a Perfect Master.
God descends in many forms -- sometimes as Buddha and sometimes as Krishna and sometimes as Mahavir and sometimes as Mohammed. And God comes always in slew forms, and your conclusions are always from the old. If you are born in a Buddhist family, how can you think that this mad Hassid mystic can be a Buddha? Impossible!
If you go with a conclusion, you will be in difficulty. If -- and there were many disciples of this mad Hassid -- if they come across Buddha they will deny, they will not be satisfied with Buddha. They will say, "Where is his dance? Why is he not howling? Just sitting silently under the Bodhi Tree -- what kind of Master is he?" But we go on carrying deep-rooted prejudices in us.
And remember: those prejudices may look very rational to you. Just the other day, Adi asked a question: "Osho, now I cannot trust you any more."What has happened to Adi? Why can't he trust me any more? A simple thing. I said that the same tree exists in Bodh Gaya under which Buddha became enlightened, and the same tree still vibrates with something of the quality of the Buddha, of that beautiful morning when Buddha disappeared and God appeared in him. Now he quotes a history book and says it is written in the history books that the tree was cut and destroyed by a Hindu king, and the temple was converted into a Hindu shrine. So how can the same tree exist? If the history books are right, I am wrong. And how can Adi trust me when I go against the history books?
Don't be so short of trust, and don't be in such a hurry. If I say something, wait, search, and you will find the way. Just reading a history book and your trust is destroyed! I still say it is the same tree, and the history books are right. The shrine WAS converted into a Hindu shrine and the tree WAS destroyed... but before the tree was destroyed, Ashoka sent a part of the tree, a branch of the tree, to Ceylon to be planted there. So the tree continued in Ceylon. Then when the shrine was converted again into a Buddhist temple, a branch of the tree from Ceylon was brought back and replanted.
It is the same continuum. It is the same tree. And according to Buddha, even the same tree is never the same for two consecutive moments -- it changes. It is continuously changing. Your body changes continuously. In seven years' time, your body is completely new; the old disappears and the new has taken place. Not even a single cell remains of the old. But it is a continuity: the same in the sense of the continuity. It is the same tree in the Buddhist, in the scientific sense.
But don't he in a hurry. If you lose trust so fast and so soon and so easily, it is not worth much. It is not trust really. You go on keeping your prejudices in the background, and you go on watching for when you can find something that you can mistrust. You are more interested in mistrust than in trust. You are trusting in spite of yourself. Your natural tendency is to mistrust and doubt. You will feel very good if you can doubt. If you cannot find anything to doubt, you may start feeling suffocated -- because with the doubt your ego is bask on the throne. With trust, the ego has to commit suicide.
THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL PARABLE, and Sufis are past masters in parables. Sufis know how to say in parables things which cannot be said. They have erected the best parables in the world. Go slowly into this parable. It is small but of immense significance.
A parable is a way of saying things in an indirect way. Truth cannot be asserted directly. That is too violent, too aggressive, too male. Truth can only be said in a very indirect way. It can be hinted at, indicated. You cannot be convinced of the truth: you can only be persuaded.
And thy Master is one who is not going to convince you of the truth but who is going to seduce you into truth. Parables are very seductive. Even those who were not searching for any truth may be suddenly struck by a parable: something may become suddenly available to them.
And people like stories. And the stories have a tendency to hang around your consciousness. It is difficult to forget them; it is very easy to remember them. They have a way of reaching to the deepest core of your being. Hence, Sufis have been using parables. It is a totally different world from Zen, Tao, Yoga, Tantra.
I welcome you into the world of Sufis today.... It is more artistic, more poetic, more aesthetic, and its ways are very subtle.
A CERTAIN MAN DECIDED THAT HE WOULD SEEK THE PERFECT MASTER.
Now, to decide is wrong, because the decision will come out of your past experiences. One cannot decide to seek a perfect Master. One can only become available in a passive way. Seeking, decision, are active ways. One has to be more feminine; one should not be in such a hurry. One should be more watchful, more alert about what one is trying to do.
Have you known any Master before? Have you any experience of a Master? Whatsoever you have heard is borrowed. You are not certain, you cannot be certain of its truth. How are you going to decide? And how will you seek a Master? What will be the criterion of judgment? How will you weigh that this is really the Perfect Master? Are you capable of weighing, judging a Perfect Master? Then you are higher, you are already higher than the Perfect Master. You are sitting int he seat of a judge. You are not a humble, passive disciple. And the Master happens only in your passivity, in your humbleness, in your simplicity.
A CERTAIN MAN DECIDED THAT HE WOULD SEEK THE PERFECT MASTER.
And why the Perfect Master? The ego always seeks perfection. If you are after money, the ego wants you to be the richest man in the world, the most perfect man in the world. If you are after morality, you want to become the most perfect saint. The ego has a very very deep desire to be perfect. All egoists are perfectionists, and all perfectionists are neurotic. The idea of perfection drives people mad.
A humble person know imperfections, and a humble person accepts his imperfections. And a humble person does not ask for the impossible. It is the ego that always asks for the impossible and fails. And feels frustrated, betrayed, cheated. But again it starts asking the same thing.
Why do you need a Perfect Master? You have taken one thing for granted: that you are such a great man that less than that will not be worth your while, will not be satisfying; less than that will be below you. You are such a perfect man, you need a Perfect Master. Ordinary Masters won't do -- something extraordinary it has to be. You can only be interested in the extraordinary.
And the paradox is that the extraordinary exists in a very ordinary way. The extraordinary never exists as the extraordinary, because all those pretensions of being extraordinary are foolish and stupid.
A real man, an authentic man, has no idea of being superior in any way to anybody else. He lives in a world where comparison does not exist. Now, the very idea of seeking a Perfect Master is based in comparison.
A CERTAIN MAN DECIDED THAT HE WOULD SEEK THE PERFECT MASTER.
HE READ MANY BOOKS...
But how can you find a Master by reading many books? You will become more and more stuffed with knowledge, and that will be the barrier. But that's what happens. Somebody starts thinking of God, or truth, or beauty -- he starts reading books. He thinks that is a way to find it.
I am reminded of a great Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore. He was continuously thinking about beauty, what it is. A poet, naturally, is interested in beauty. His mind was meditating on what beauty is. One full-moon night, he was in his boat and the night was just majestic: the full moon in the sky and the silence of the river and the forest around. And he was alone in the boat. Just once in a while a bird might call -- that was all -- and then the silence would become deeper than before.
But Tagore was pondering over the question: What is beauty? And he was looking into an ancient scripture. He had only a small candle burning in the cabin. Tired, in the middle of the night, frustrated, because even in that old scripture he could not find something real about beauty, just words and words and words... he blew the candle out and he could not believe his eyes.
Suddenly, as he blew the candle out, from the windows, from the door, the moonlight immediately came in. He was transplanted into another world! He rushed out. He looked at the moon, at the silence of the night, and the moon reflected in the river, and the whole river silvery, and the deep dense forest on the bank... and THIS WAS BEAUTY!
But he had been looking into the book -- and beauty was waiting for him, just waiting by the door. But that small yellow candle-light was preventing the splendor of the night. And he had become so much engaged and occupied with the thoughts of the scripture that he had forgotten completely that this was a full moon night.
He threw the scripture into the river, and that was the last day he ever thought about beauty. He said: Thinking won't help. Beauty is there -- we have to be available to it. He said: We have to blow out the candle, the small candle of the ego, then God comes in in many ways, and the beauty penetrates you.
But that's what happens. If you start thinking of finding a Perfect Master, you will go into books to know who is a Perfect Master. Now, books will confuse you, because every book will tell a different story. If you read a Jain book, it simply describes Mahavir, and says these are the characteristics of a Perfect Master. They are not! They are the characteristics of a particular Perfect Master, Mahavir. If you read a Buddhist book, they also describe the characteristics of a Perfect Master -- they are not either, but only those of one manifestation of the Perfect Master, Buddha. And so on and so forth.
And once you get caught into some conclusions from the books, you start searching, but your search is doomed to fail from the very beginning. You already have an A PRIORI prejudice. Now you are looking for Buddha and Buddha is never repeated. Now you are looking for Zarathustra and Zarathustra is only once and never again. Now you are looking for Lao Tzu, and Lao Tzu never comes again. Once is all. Nothing is ever repeated. God's creativity is infinite. He is not repetitive.
And if you read a Buddhist, a Confucian, a Taoist, then you will be more confused -- because they describe different things. And you may be a very clever person, an intelligent person, intellectual, and you may join ALL those characteristics together. Now you will never find the Perfect Master. Now you have an idea which is absolutely absurd. It is like taking one part from the bullock cart, taking another part from a Rolls Royce, and putting them together -- and parts from cycles and parts from engines.... You will have something strange and it won't work. Even a bullock cart is better than that, howsoever slow, but you can go along, you can reach somewhere, you can use it. This will be utterly useless, this monster that you have created. And that's what happens.
People who read many scriptures and many books, they slowly slowly create an idea of who the Perfect Master is. And this idea is just a combination of many characteristics taken, collected, from different sources. It is not possible. Such a man has never existed, and such a man is never going to exist. Now you are searching for a mirage -- you will never find it. And you may come across many Masters! but because of your idea you will go on rejecting them, because something or other will be lacking in him. It is because of your idea that you are missing, not that Masters are not there -- they are always.
The world is full of Masters always, and God is not a miser, remember. Jews say that there are only thirty-six Masters in the world at a time -- just thirty-six? Is God such a miser? And why thirty-six? But still Jews are generous if you think of other reli-gions. Joins say that there are only twenty-four Perfect Masters in the whole of creation, from the beginning to the end. One creation, from the beginning to the end, that means millions and millions of ages... only twenty-four? So for millions of years there is not a single Master available.
Hindus are even a little more miserly: they say only ten. Christians even more: they say God has only one son, Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ is the Perfect Master, nobody else. Then how can you find a Perfect Master?
I say to you: God is generous. There is no limitation, there is no fixed number. Masters go on happening. Just people are blind, people are deaf. This hurts! To know that you are blind and deaf, this hurts. That's why these theories have appeal. Twenty four only, ten only, one only: that is a great consolation to you, remember. That means if you have not found the Perfect Master, what can you do? It is not your responsibility. Only once in a while the Perfect Master happens, and this time he is not here. It is not your fault that you have not found him. If anybody is at fault it is God, not you. You are relieved.