Chapter 20: When the Disciple Is Ready.
It is both. As far as the master is concerned, it is absolutely a conscious choice. As far as the disciple is concerned, it is bound to be accidental. He is not conscious yet.
The Egyptian mystics have a saying. And Egypt had a few of the most ancient mystery schools. They were connected with those mystery schools which existed on the continents of Atlantis and Lemuria. Those continents are drowned, under water. But Egypt, for a time - till the fanatic Mohammedans destroyed those mystery schools - continued the beautiful methodologies for finding oneself.
The Egyptian mystics say: When the disciple is ready, the master appears. For the master, it is something absolutely conscious. A Sufi story will help you to understand it.
A young man with a great desire to know the truth renounced his family, his world, and went in search of a master. As he was leaving the town he saw an old man - he must have been nearabout sixty - sitting under a tree so silent, so blissful, so attractive, so magnetic that he was pulled. Unknowingly, accidentally, he went to the old man and told him that he was in search of a master. “You are an old man, and I can feel the flavor of your wisdom. I can feel a certain radiance around you. Perhaps you will be able to tell me where I should go, and what are the criteria - how am I going to decide that this is my master? There are masters and masters, but who is the master who is going to lead me to the ultimate?”
The old man said, “It is very simple,” and he described exactly what kind of a man he would be, what kind of an atmosphere he would have around him, how old he would be - even under what kind of tree he would be sitting.
The young man thanked the old man. The old man said, “The time to thank me has not come yet; I will wait for it.” The young man could not understand: “What does he mean, he will wait for it?”
For thirty years he was searching for the master in the deserts, in the mountains.but he could not find all the criteria fulfilled. Tired, utterly frustrated, he went back home. He was no longer young. When he left he must have been thirty, now he was almost sixty.
But as he was entering his home he saw the old man still sitting under the tree. He could not believe his eyes. He said, “My God. This is the man he described - he even said he would be ninety years old.and this is the tree! I must have been so absolutely unconscious that I did not look at the tree under which he was sitting. And the fragrance that he described - the radiance, the presence, the aliveness around him.”
He fell at his feet and he said, “But what kind of joke is this? Thirty years I have been wandering in the deserts, in the mountains. And you knew it.”