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Chapter 1: Whoever Knocks Is a Welcome Guest

The master is a host; he refuses nobody. True masters never refuse anybody. They cannot. If they start refusing people, then there is no hope. If you go under a tree, a shady tree - tired of your journey and the burning sun on your head - and the tree refuses you, it does not give you refuge, it does not shelter you.? It does not happen at all. The tree is always ready to give you shelter, its shadow, its fruits, its flowers, its fragrance.

A great Tibetan story is..

Once there lived a master who never initiated anybody. His fame slowly became very well known all over the country, even beyond the boundaries of the country. And people would come and fall at his feet and ask to be initiated. But his conditions were such that nobody was able to fulfill them, so nobody was ever thought worthy - nobody deserved initiation.

He had only a servant, not even a disciple. One day when he was ill and on his deathbed, he called his servant and told him, “Go to the marketplace, and whosoever wants to be initiated, bring them all. I am going to initiate!”

The servant was shocked. He said, “Are you talking in a delirium or something? Your whole life you insisted on certain qualities - unless those were fulfilled you would not initiate - and nobody has ever been able to fulfill your conditions. Now you are telling me to go to the marketplace and tell people that anybody who wants to be initiated should come? What about the conditions? What about the prerequisites? What about the essential readiness? What about the groundwork?”

The master said, “Don’t waste my time anymore, because this is my last day on the earth. Simply go! Do what I am saying, don’t argue. You are my servant - simply follow the order. Go and find anybody who wants to come!”

The servant went, puzzled. He could not believe his own ears, could not believe his own eyes. But because the master had ordered, and he was just a servant, he had to follow. He went into the marketplace very unwillingly. He shouted in the marketplace. Nobody believed him; they thought he had gone mad. He said, “I am not saying it, he himself has told me! I also think that he has gone mad, now you are thinking that I have gone mad. I am simply a servant. He must have gone mad! He is dying, he has lost all his senses. But give it a try - you are not going to lose anything.”

A few people, just out of curiosity, a few people who had nothing to do.. It was a holiday, so they said, “Okay, we are coming. Let us see what happens!” Somebody had quarreled with his wife and had nowhere to go, so he said, “I am coming.” A gambler and a drunkard who were just on the road, simply followed seeing this whole bunch of people, not knowing where they were going.

So this strange crowd reached the master’s place, and he started initiating them one by one. The first man he initiated was the drunkard. Of course he was so drunk that he could not even think that the master was mad - he did not even realize that he was being initiated! He was not aware at all what was happening. When the master said, “Do you want to be initiated?” he simply nodded his head.

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