One year passed, and not a single word was said to the disciple. And two years passed…and three years passed…” Now it is too much. Nothing has even been started, not a single lesson. How long can one wait?” Again the question became very prominent in his consciousness: “How long?”
He went to the master and asked, “I have waited three years.” The master said, “So you have been counting? That simply shows you don’t know how to wait. Counting? Counting days with the master?
“In one sense, each moment is an eternity; in another sense, eternity is just a moment. You are unworthy! You will have to wait. You will have to learn how to wait. Be alert – from tomorrow the lessons will start.”
And the lesson was very strange: the young man was sweeping the floor; the master came from the back and hit him hard with his staff on his back. Shocked, the young man said, “Is this the beginning of meditation after three years of waiting?” The master said, “Yes – now be alert. I will hit you any moment, any time – be watchful, be alert, be on your guard.” And it continued for months. His whole body would ache in the night, because in the day many times it would happen: the master would suddenly jump from somewhere…. He was very old but he was really a cat.
But, slowly slowly, a strange awareness started arising in the young man. Just when the master would be on the verge of hitting him, he would dodge – even from the back; although he was occupied in his work a subtle awareness remained there. It was bound to be so; he was suffering so much. Pain is a must for growth, suffering is absolutely necessary for growth. Unless you suffer you cannot be aware. Suffering brings awareness, and voluntary suffering brings tremendous awareness. Willingly he was suffering. He could have escaped; nobody was preventing him – it was his own choice. He had chosen the master.
And now he started to understand why: “This is his teaching. This is how he is teaching meditation.” Now it dawned in his consciousness. He was immensely grateful.
The day the master came from the back and, just before he was going to hit him, the young man jumped, dodged, and the stick of the master fell on the ground, the young man was immensely happy. Something new had happened in his being. And the master blessed him.
But from that day, things became even more difficult; the master started hitting him while he was asleep. Now, this was too much. In the night, any time… And the master was very old; naturally, he could not sleep much, so whenever he felt awake he would go and hit the young man. But now the young man knew: “I may not understand the process of it, but the master’s hitting in the day has been of such immense benediction, has been such a transformation, that I accept this too – without any question.” He didn’t ask, “This is absurd, this is ridiculous. It is okay that you hit me in the day – I can at least protect myself, run away, escape, dodge – but what can I do when I am asleep?” He didn’t say it.