Vadan and Iti are asking, “To the Western world the terms ‘freedom’ and ‘the master’ are virtually mutually exclusive; for those who have met you this is wildly inaccurate. How do you redefine ‘freedom’ and ‘the master’ for the Western understanding?”
The word master creates confusion. It gives you the idea that you have become a slave, somebody has become your master. In the East, the word is used in the sense that you have become master of yourself, that you are no longer a slave, that you have attained freedom. Different languages, grown in different climates by different people, different experiences, are bound to create such kinds of confusion.
To be master of oneself has never been a goal in the Western consciousness – it has always been how to conquer others, how to be a master of others. It is difficult to translate many Eastern words into Western language. The same difficulty is there if you want to translate quantum physics into Eastern languages; you will not find the right words, because before language comes in, the experience has to be there. Experience creates language.
And if you try, very funny things are bound to happen. The eastern word for master is acharya. The word acharya means one who lives his life authentically, according to his own consciousness and awareness. And if you come close to such a person, what can he give to you? Being with him, you will learn only one thing: how to live in freedom, awareness, in deep integrity and dignity. We are using the word master for acharya.
The word disciple is more fortunate, because the eastern word shishya and the word disciple have exactly the same meanings – for different reasons, but the meanings are the same. The disciple is one who is trying to learn something. The root meaning of the word disciple is the same as the root meaning of the word discipline. It means, preparing yourself to learn, to understand. It is perfectly good as it is; it can be used.
As far as the word master is concerned…. The disciple has just fallen in love with the man and wants to learn the same freedom, the same sincerity, the same integrity, the same height of consciousness. The question of surrender does not arise, and the question of belief does not arise. In the presence of the master, in the climate of the master, disciples start growing into new dimensions, which they did not know they were carrying within themselves as potentials.
The master does not give them anything except his love – that too it cannot be said he gives. It is simply showering, just the way the sun showers its rays on all the flowers, on all the birds, on all the animals; whoever comes close to the master is showered with love.
If you are searching, if you are ready to learn, if you are not already learned, if you are not already prejudiced, if you are not already faithful, if you have not sold your soul already to some theology, to some religion, to some ideology, then just being close to the master, something starts transpiring.