Jesus said: Whoever is near to me, is near to the fire…near to death, near to dying; the old disappearing, the baser metal dissolving. And immediately he says another thing. If you can tolerate the heat, the fire of a Jesus or Buddha or Krishna, then the second thing will immediately become possible for you.
Whoever is near to me is near to the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the kingdom.
If you can pass through the fire of Jesus, if the disciple can pass through the fire of the master, immediately a new world opens before him: the kingdom of God, the kingdom of immortality, the deathless, real life.
So Jesus says: “Whoever is near to me is near a fire, and whoever is far away from me is far away from the kingdom.” If you escape from Jesus, you are also escaping from the ultimate kingdom that can be yours. That is the problem: the attraction and repulsion with a master. Sometimes you feel to come near, whenever the kingdom attracts you, but when you come near you feel the fire, then you try to escape.
Once you are near an enlightened man this will remain a problem for you your whole life: to come near, then how to escape. Whenever you are away you will think of how to again come near him and the kingdom – because whenever you are distant the fire disappears – because that kingdom has to be achieved, that is the fulfillment. Without it you will remain unfulfilled; without it you will remain a barren womb, without giving birth to anything; without it you will remain futile, meaningless; without it your whole life will be just a nightmare, leading nowhere, running so fast and reaching nowhere. Immediately you start feeling how to bloom and how to flower.
That can only happen near a master, one who has flowered already. Only there will your seeds become uneasy, uncomfortable, in their dead cells. They will start fighting with the cells, and they will break down the cells and come out of the earth to reach the sun. But that can only happen if you are ready to go through the fire. This is the problem for the disciple: when he comes to the master, immediately his whole mind-body thinks of escaping. He finds all sorts of rationalizations to escape; inside he argues continuously, “How to escape this man, he seems to be dangerous.” When he escapes he starts feeling the desire again.
One has to decide. Decision is final because you cannot go back. Once you are in the fire you cannot go back. Once you are really intimate with Jesus, then there is no going back. A point of no return has come, because even when you are passing through the fire you can have glimpses of the kingdom. Then the fire is not fire, then you are happy and blessed. Then you are grateful to this man because he has become a fire for you. And now the glimpses are not far away, the kingdom is near.