There are three stages of being with me. One stage is that of a student who thinks about me as a person. He never looks into my eyes, he never tries to penetrate my being, he remains concerned with the superficial, the formal, my body, my words. He remains an outsider, curious, desirous to know more about me, longing for more and more knowledge, information. But there is an infinite distance between me and him. He will gather a little information about the mysteries of life and will leave. He will become more knowledgeable, more egoistic; in fact he will leave more sick than when he had come, more burdened than when he had come – burdened by knowledge.
He will not have any taste of my wisdom. He can’t understand wisdom; he understands only knowledge, he understands only that which can be expressed through words, theories, logic. He will be unable to see the beyond. He has to be pitied. He comes and goes empty-handed. He comes to the river and goes back home thirsty. He thinks he has gained much, but all that he has gathered are crumbs fallen from the table while he could have been my guest – he remained a beggar.
The second stage is that of a disciple – who comes a little bit closer, becomes aware of something mysterious, starts feeling, moves from the world of thinking to the world of feeling, slips from the head to the heart. He will be able to hear not only the words but the poetry hidden behind them. He will be able to hear not only the words, but the silence contained in those words.
Of course he will see the superficial too, but he will be able to understand that that’s not all – something more is there. He will not be exactly conscious of it, but an unconscious intuitive feeling is bound to be there. If he lingers here a little longer then that feeling will become more solid, more substantial. First it will only be a shadow, a glimpse, a vision that happens once in a while and then is lost, as when clouds disappear and for a moment you see the sun, and again there are clouds and the sun is no more.
The student never sees the sun, he only sees the clouds. The disciple, once in a while, is touched by the beyond, moved by the beyond. The student lives in the head, the disciple lives in the heart. But just to remain a disciple is not enough either – better than being a student, far better, far superior, but not enough. One step more, and that is the step of being a devotee.
A devotee is one who neither thinks about the master, nor feels about the master, but starts synchronizing with his being; neither from the head nor from the heart, but from the very core of his existence. He starts pulsating, he starts living in the same rhythm, he breathes the way the master breathes. His heart dances with the beat of the master’s heart. He loses himself, he is no longer an outsider.
The student is absolutely an outsider, the devotee absolutely an insider, and the disciple is in between. The disciple is in the middle, on the way. If he is courageous he will become a devotee, if he is a coward he will fall back and become a student. The student is at ease, because he is not aware at all of the real; the devotee is at ease because he is in tune with the real. The greatest difficulty is that of the disciple; he is in between, pulled apart in two directions. He will have to decide sooner or later either to be a student or to be a devotee; one cannot prolong the state of being a disciple for long, because it is a state of anguish, it is a state of tension.