Here I would like to say something which I have been keeping a secret my whole life:
One beautiful morning, Gautam Buddha had gone for a walk with his caretaker, disciple, Ananda. It was fall time; the trees were getting almost naked and all the leaves were on the path. The wind was fluttering the trees, and the leaves were making beautiful sounds. Walking on those leaves, Buddha was immensely happy…the music of the dry leaves.
He took a few leaves in his hand. Ananda asked him, “Bhagwan, I have always been thinking to ask one thing, but privacy is so difficult. You are always surrounded by people. Today you are alone in this forest, and I cannot resist the temptation. I want to ask you: Have you said everything to us, or have you kept some secrets? Buddha said, “Do you see the leaves in my hand? And do you see the leaves all over the forest?” Ananda said, “Yes, I do see, but I don’t understand that that is the answer.” Buddha said, “You will understand. I have said only this much, and I have kept secret all these leaves that are in the whole forest.”
My situation is just different. I have said the whole forest; only one thing I have kept secret, just one leaf. Buddha declared before his death that he would be coming again after twenty-five centuries, and that his name would be Maitreya. Maitreya means the friend. Buddhas don’t come back; no enlightened person ever comes back, so it is just a way of saying…
What he was saying is of tremendous importance. It has nothing to do with his coming back; he cannot come back. What he meant was that the ancient relationship between the master and the disciple would become irrelevant in twenty-five centuries. It was his clarity of perception – he was not predicting anything – just his clarity to see that as things are changing, as they have changed in the past and as they go on changing, it would take at least twenty-five centuries for the master and disciple relationship to become out of date. Then the enlightened master will be only the friend .
I had always wanted not to be a master to anybody. But people want a master, they want to be disciples; hence, I played the role. It is time that I should say to you that now many of you are ready to accept me as the friend. Those who are in tune with me continuously, without any break, are the only real friends.
There are people who are sometimes in tune with me and sometimes not in tune with me. You are asking why it happens. The reason is – perhaps you may be surprised to know – sometimes they are in tune with me because I am in tune with them, because whatever I am saying is in accordance with them. They feel, “This is perfectly right.” They are not in tune with me. On the contrary, they feel they are in tune with me only because I am fulfilling some of their ideas, some of their expectations. That is illusion.