This has been my experience: it is very rare to find a master who can guide you in such a way, because it is with each step difficult, arduous. And the master has to be very conscious, very cautious that the disciple does not feel in any way lower than him. He has to take his hand in his own hand in such a way as if the disciple himself is taking the master’s hand in his own hand. It is a tremendous art. He allures, he does not dictate.
So amongst masters you will find very rare masters who are perfect guides. And this is the definition of the perfect guide: he does not allow you to know that you are being guided. You come to realize it only at the very end of the journey – and suddenly there is great gratitude, gratitude for all the arduous roundabout ways the master has had to use just not to hurt you in any way, not to create any dependence. On the contrary, making you more and more free, he has functioned only as a friend.
But not all the disciples are capable of being guided in this way. I have been asked hundreds of times why women are attracted so much to my philosophy, my way of life. I have given some answers, but the real answer is: the woman is a more efficient disciple than the man, and she knows the delicacy of being guided without direct instructions. She does not function through the mind, which needs a direct, clear-cut catechism.
“Just tell me the Ten Commandments” – that is the language of man. But there are men also who have the same feeling heart as the women. They can become perfect disciples, but the percentage will be less than that of women.
And amongst the men, those who don’t have a heart, who function through the mind, many may come close to the master – intellectually interested according to their prejudices – and may seem to have understood him well, better than anybody else…their intellectual understanding will be more clear.
The land of the heart is not the land of arithmetic or logic; it is poetry, it is music. You can enjoy it, but you cannot understand it.
I am reminded of one great English poet, Coleridge. Although he never completed more than seven poems in his whole life, he still became one of the greatest poets of the English language – because it is not the quantity that counts, it is the quality. When he died he left almost forty thousand incomplete poems.
His whole life, his friends were harassing him continuously: “You seem to be mad! You have such a treasure. Just a few poems have made you a great poet; if you could produce forty thousand poems of that quality, perhaps in the whole world there would be no competition against you – in the whole history of man, past, present and future. Why do you go on piling up incomplete poems?”
He said, “You don’t understand; I cannot do it. Unless existence guides me so politely that I don’t feel the guidance, that I don’t feel the push and pull to do it, I am not going to do it. These poems are the poems of my freedom – existence becoming free through me. These poems will have to wait.”
Sometimes a poem was just missing one line, and his poet friends said, “You can compose that line yourself.”