Chapter 7: The Secrets of Discipleship
Only disciples exist - because they are consciously disciples, they choose to be disciples. A guru does not choose, he acts. The action is one with his living so that he teaches by his very act. His teaching and his living are two aspects of a single existence. His very sitting, standing, walking, his talking, his silence - everything is an indication. Something happens through the guru’s very existence and the disciple always has to be ready to receive it. A disciple means one who has an open mind, a receptive mind so he is not just learning but receiving. That is why trust is a basic component of being a disciple.
Whenever we are confronted with the unknown, no logic, no rational explanation is possible. Whenever we are confronted with the unknown, only trust can lead us. If I say something about the known then you can discuss it with me because you also know it. We can argue about it, we can talk about it - a dialogue is possible. But if I talk about something that is absolutely unknown to you, then no dialogue is possible and there can be no argument. There can be no rational approach to it because reason can only work around the known.
The moment the unknown comes in, reason is useless: it becomes meaningless. Thinking is absurd because you cannot think about the unknown. It is just as if you are blind and I talk to you about light. You can only take what I say on trust; there is no other way.
The relationship between the disciple and the guru is a relationship of intimate trust. That doesn’t mean blind faith, because the guru never expects you to believe in him - that is not an expectation. But the very nature of the unknown is such that you cannot go a single step further without trust. Trust is required of the disciple because he will not be able to take a single step into the unknown without trusting the guru. The unknown is dark, the field is uncharted - it is not bliss, it is not the ultimate - and the guru is always saying, “Jump into it! Do it!” But before you can jump, trust is needed or you will not jump. And knowledge can only come through a jump.
In science, a hypothesis is needed before there can be an experiment. Hypothesis means a tentative belief. If the experiment proves the hypothesis then it becomes a truth, but if the experiment disproves it, it becomes an untruth. But without a hypothesis, a tentative belief, there can be no experiment.
It is exactly the same with religion: trust is needed just as a hypothesis is needed in science. But there is a great difference between a scientific attitude and a trustful attitude. A person can believe hypothetically in a scientific proposition and yet be skeptical about it. Reverence is not needed because it concerns an objective phenomenon - you can experiment with it and see how it turns out. But in religion, a hypothetical belief is not enough because you are not tackling an objective problem that is outside you. You are tackling yourself; it is a subjective phenomenon. You will have to be involved, committed. You will not be doing the experiment from outside, you will be the experiment. You will have to jump in and become part of it. Great trust is needed.