What is the difference between the master-and-disciple relationship now, and in the days of Buddha and Bodhidharma? It seems that thousands of years ago a new disciple, upon meeting a master, often had a sudden, dramatic realization that opened him up to a state of availability – unknown in the present time. It was as if the master could slay the disciple with one stroke of the sword. To modern man, those dramatic jumps are so rare. His availability is so partial, his commitment so fragmented, that the master must deliver a thousand strokes of his sword to slay the dragon.
There are many things which have changed as the centuries have passed. First, the search for truth used to be the only search that any man of genius would undertake. There was no other search in competition with it. For the man of genius there was only one thing, and that was truth. Naturally the highest quality of intelligence came to the masters. And to be a disciple is not an ordinary thing. It needs immense intelligence, great trust, total surrender.
Today the situation on this point is totally different. The genius mind is most probably attracted towards some scientific research, to become a great scientist, an Albert Einstein, to become a mathematician, to become a painter, a musician. There are many choices. The genius is rarely interested in the search for truth. He comes to realize it only when his search – whatever he was doing – has come to an end and he feels unfulfilled and cannot see a way leading anywhere. All goals are missed because he has made a certain goal, he has achieved it, but it gives no satisfaction – not even to Albert Einstein.
Although his name will remain as one of the greatest scientists ever, it gave him no contentment. Inwardly he was frustrated. At the moment of death he said, “If there is another life – the way the Hindus believe – I would like to be a plumber rather than a physicist.” What he is saying is he would like to be a nobody, a plumber, rather than being a celebrity because physics is enriched by his effort but he remains poor. Physics is certainly enriched. Without Albert Einstein it would have been a different story. He influenced all the spheres of life, but his own life remained empty – and this recognition came too late, and even when it came there was nobody he could turn to.
Geniuses have gone on different adventures.
Secondly, there are very few masters available. There are only teachers because religions have not allowed masters to exist. Every master is a danger to the establishment – religious, political, social – whatever it is. He cannot say but the truth, and the whole establishment is based on lies, lies upon lies.
So down the ages, slowly, slowly, they have crucified masters, poisoned masters, killed masters. Slowly, slowly the phenomenon of a master has become very rare.
Even if someone comes to the state of realization he remains silent because very few people like crucifixion, and very few people like to be condemned by the whole world.
And the problem is, unless the master declares himself, there is nobody else who can declare him. There is nobody else who is above him. So it is up to him to keep silent or to take on himself all the antagonism and venom of the ugly people who are in power all over the world.