Chapter 1: When the Disciple Is Ready
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 over full, 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.”