A teacher goes on giving you information about God, about truth, about heaven and hell. A master simply opens his being to you, demonstrates to you what truth is.
What am I doing here? I’m drunk with existence, a drunkard, and I allow you to come nearer to me to be drunk with me, to participate. And the closer you come the more drunk you will become. And a moment comes when the disciple and the master sit silently – nobody knows who is the disciple and who is the master. They have come so close, like two flames coming closer and closer and closer, and a sudden jump – and the two flames have become one.
To understand a master you need to come close. With a teacher you can remain as distant as possible: there is no problem. Closeness is not needed, intimacy is not involved. With a teacher you remain uncommitted. With a master, the final, the utterly final commitment is needed. That is the meaning: “You can’t have anything from me until you die.” That is the meaning of this Sufi saying, because when you die then you are totally committed. Now there is no going back. There is nobody else you can fall back upon.
A commitment is a point of no return. Where will you go back to? You have burned the house. A cunning mind would like to be distant – not a participant but an observer. Keeping the distance he keeps his house intact, so if something goes wrong he can go back, he can fall back. But all that is beautiful in life comes through commitment.
In the West, particularly, ‘commitment’ has become a wrong word, a taboo word. The moment you hear commitment you become afraid. That’s why, in the West, all that is beautiful and the deepest is disappearing. Love is not possible, only sex is possible. Sex is without involvement, love is a commitment. Sex is between two strangers, love is between two who are intimate, not strangers, who feel an affinity – who are not there just to exploit each other but to grow with each other. A commitment is needed in love. And without love, sex will become futile. It has already become so in the West.
Meditation is not possible if you are not committed. You cannot remain a spectator. If you want to be a spectator, then you will remain on the periphery. Commitment leads you to the very center of things.
To be with a master is a commitment. It is the highest form of love, the highest form of meditation, the highest form of prayer. In the West, only teachers have existed. In the West, ‘teacher’ and ‘master’ are not two totally different words, they are synonymous, they mean the same; that’s why in this story ‘master’ is translated as ‘teacher’. Bahauddin is not a teacher, he is a master. But in English there is no difference between a master and a teacher. In English there exists no word like guru. It is a deep involvement with a person, such a deep involvement that you are ready to die for it.
Love, meditation, prayer, all are deep commitments.