The first question:
You have talked to us about total surrender to the master, but often our minds come up with reasons for not following the instructions literally. We say things like: “The master doesn’t know what conditions are like now.” Or: “The master doesn’t realize what the practical conditions are in the West.”
Should we follow everything the master says to the letter, or are there times when we should use our own discretion?
You should follow either absolutely, or not at all. No compromise should be made, because anything halfhearted is not only useless but harmful. Anything halfhearted divides you – that is the harm. You should remain an undivided unity.
So either surrender totally – then there is no need to think on your part; follow blindly. I emphasize the word blindly – as if you have no eyes. Somebody who has eyes is leading you. Then you will remain an undivided unity; and undivided, integrated, you will grow.
Or, if you feel this is impossible and cannot be done, don’t follow at all. Then follow yourself completely. Then too you will remain undivided. To remain undivided is the end, the aim. Both will do, the ultimate result will be the same. If you can be alone, without a master, if you can follow your own consciousness wheresoever it leads, it is the same, the result will be the same. So it depends on you.
But the mind always says: “Do both.” The mind says: “Follow the master, but think about it.” Follow only those things which you think right. Then where is the following? Where is the surrender? If you are the judge, and you are to decide what to follow and what not to follow, then where is the surrender, where is the trust? Then it is better to follow your own consciousness. But don’t deceive – at least there should be no deception; otherwise you go on following yourself and you think that you are following a master.
If you are the deciding factor, if you have to choose, if you have to discard something, accept something, then you are following yourself. But you can create the impression around yourself and you can deceive yourself that you are following a master. Then nothing will come out of it. You will not grow, because through deception there can be no growth, and you will get more and more confused.