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Chapter 9: Friendship: The Highest Form of Love

I love to hear you call us your friends. Why is it both exciting and challenging?

It has many implications.

It was twenty-five centuries ago that Gautam Buddha said as a departing message to his disciples before he died: “I will come back after twenty-five centuries. My name will be Maitreya.”

Maitreya means the friend. And why should it be the name of Buddha? - because the spiritual evolution of man has passed through many stages. Its ultimate stage is where the master and the disciple should be just friends.because the whole idea of the master and the disciple is based on a subtle spiritual slavery. The disciple surrenders. The master provides all kinds of devices so that the disciple disappears as an ego. But there are dangers.

The danger is - and it is not only theoretical; the danger is very practical, and it has happened almost all over the world throughout the centuries - that instead of the ego disappearing, the individual disappears and the ego remains. Instead of disappearing, it becomes very subtle; it becomes holy, it becomes religious, it becomes spiritual.

The individual disappears in surrender - and that was not the purpose. The individual has to become more individual, more independent, more himself. The ego has to disappear - it is a false entity deceiving everybody as your true self. And unless the false is discredited, the true cannot appear.

In the death of the false is the beginning of the true. Surrender is simply a device so that the ego can be dropped and you can become yourself. But this is the trouble, that with humanity you cannot be very predictable. There is almost a possibility that everything will fail, so deep is the ignorance of man, so deceptive is his own mind. And he is so caught up with his own chains that he thinks they are ornaments; he does not want to throw them. They have been with him so long that he has become identified with them.

Man has forgotten who he truly is. He has almost become autohypnotized with a certain idea about himself, and he carries that idea his whole life without knowing that it is not he but only his shadow. And you cannot fulfill your shadow. A shadow is nonexistential - you cannot make anything out of it. Your effort will simply destroy your whole life; hence the device of surrender.

But again man’s ignorance is there: he surrenders, but he surrenders the wrong thing. He saves the ego, which was to be surrendered, and he surrenders the individuality, which was to be saved. And he starts feeling himself to be a spiritual being just by becoming a disciple, an initiate. And if by chance he has come across a great master, he starts projecting himself as a great disciple of a great master.

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