I am reminded of one Chinese saint who was celebrating his master’s enlightenment day. Many followers had come. They said, “But we never heard that this man was your master. We never knew that you belonged to this man.” That old man was dead. They said, “Only today did we come to hear and know that you are celebrating your master’s enlightenment day. This man was your master? But how? We never saw you with him!”
The saint replied, “I had been with him, but he had refused. He had refused to become my master, and because of his refusal I could become myself. Now, whatsoever I am is because of his refusal. I am his disciple. He could have accepted me; then I would have thrown all responsibility on his shoulders. But he refused, and he was the last man. There was no comparison. When he refused, I could not go to anyone else because he was the only shelter. If he had refused, then there was no meaning, no purpose in going anywhere. I left going to anyone. He was the last. If he would have accepted me, I would have forgotten myself. But he refused, and he refused very rudely. The refusal became a shock and a challenge, and I decided that now I would not go to anyone. If this man had refused, then there was no one worth going to. Then I started working on my own, and only then did I realize by and by why he had refused. He had thrown me to myself, and only then did I know that he had accepted me. Otherwise why should he refuse?”
This looks contradictory, but this is how the deeper dynamism of consciousness works. Masters are mysterious. You cannot judge them; you cannot be sure what they are doing unless the whole thing happens. Then only retrospectively will you be able to know what they were doing. Now it is impossible. On the middle path you cannot judge what is happening, what is being done. But one thing is certain: imitation cannot be allowed.
Inspiration is a different thing. Through inspiration you start on the journey, not on any effort of copying. You move on your own path. Inspiration is just a challenge. A thirst arises, and then you move.
Tantra says be inspired, but don’t become imitators. Always remember that you are your own goal. No one else can be, and unless you achieve that point from where you can say, “I have achieved my destiny and now I am fulfilled,” don’t stop. Go on transcending, go on being in discontent, go on moving. And if you don’t make any ideal, then you can be enriched by everyone. The moment you become obsessed with an ideal, you are closed. If you become obsessed with Buddha, then Jesus is not for you, then how can Mohammed be for you? Then you are obsessed with an ideal; then you are trying to copy it. Then all the contrary ones, all the different ones are inimical in your mind. How can a follower of Mahavira conceive of being open to Mohammed? It is impossible. He is totally different. Not only different, they are contraries. They look like polar opposites. If you put both in your mind you will be in deep conflict, so you cannot put both.