With a master, a discontinuity happens. Your past becomes as if it was never yours – as if it belonged to somebody else, as if you dreamed it. It was not real; it was a nightmare. So the continuity breaks – there is a gap. The old drops and the new comes, and between these two there is a gap. That gap is the problem; that gap has to be passed. In that gap many simply become scared and go back; run fast and cling to their old past.
A master helps you to cross this gap, but for a teacher there is nothing like that; there is no problem. A teacher helps you to learn more; a master – the first job is to help you to unlearn: that is the difference.
Somebody asked Ramana Maharshi, “I have come from very far to learn from you. Teach me.”
Ramana laughed and said, “If you have come to learn, then go somewhere else because here we do the unlearning. Here we don’t teach. You already know too much; that is your problem. More learning and there will be more problems. We teach how to unlearn, how to unwind.”
A master attracts disciples, a teacher attracts students. What is a disciple? Everything has to be understood minutely, only then will you be able to understand Patanjali. Who is a disciple? What is the difference between a student and a disciple? A student is in search of knowledge, a disciple is in search of transformation, mutation. He is fed up with himself. He has come to a point, to realize that, “As I am, I am worthless – dust, nothing else. As I am is of no value.”
He has come to attain a new birth, a new being. He is ready to pass through the cross, through the pangs of death and rebirth; hence, the word disciple. The word disciple comes from discipline: he is ready to pass through any discipline. Whatsoever the master says, he is ready to follow. He has followed his own mind up to now, for many lives, he has reached nowhere. He has listened to his own mind and he got into more and more trouble. Now a point has come where he realizes, “Enough of this.” He comes and surrenders to the master.
This is the discipline, the first step. He says, “Now I will listen to you. I have listened to enough of my own, to my mind; I have been a follower, a disciple, and it leads nowhere. I have realized this. Now you are my master.” That means, “Now you are my mind. Whatsoever you say, I will listen. Wherever you lead, I will go. I will not question you because that question will come from my mind.”
A disciple is one who has learned one thing through life – that your mind is the troublemaker, your mind is the root cause of your miseries. Your mind always says, “Somebody else is the cause of my miseries, not me.” A disciple is one who has learned that this is a trick, this is a trap of the mind. It always says, “Somebody else is responsible, I am not responsible.” This is how it saves itself, protects, remains secure. A disciple is one who has understood that this is wrong – this is a trick of the mind.