One man said, “You are not blaming yourself for arriving so late, you are blaming us. The prophet has completed his prayer.” It is a story from Mohammed’s time. “The prophet has completed his prayer. Now what should we do in the mosque?”
When he heard that the prayer was over tears rolled down from the fakir’s eyes and he sighed deeply. Those who were standing nearby saw that it was no ordinary sigh. It touched them, it seemed to be even deeper than their prayer. It was not only a sigh, the people felt within his sigh the fragrance of his longing heart. It was as if there was smoke arising, as if a flame was coming out. One man fell at his feet and said, “Brother, don’t be so sad. If you give me your sigh then I will give you the prayers that I have done. Don’t be so unhappy.”
The bargain was accepted. The fakir gave the man his sigh and the man gave him his prayers. In the night the man who had taken the sigh suddenly heard in his sleep, “You are fortunate! You took the sigh, and there is no greater prayer than a sigh. You have taken the flame of longing and in the end it is this blazing flame that proves to be the ultimate fulfillment. You took his quest, you took his soul’s longing – today you have achieved the kingdom of heaven. And existence is so happy that there are still people ready to exchange another’s sigh for their prayers. And out of this joy, everyone’s prayers on the earth are granted today.”
When a deep longing for the divine arises within you, then you are not going to find the ultimate on the outside: you will find it hidden in your very longing. The longing itself becomes prayer. When a deep sigh arises within you then you will find the total essence of existence hidden beneath this very sigh.
When you bow your head in front of a master, what are you surrendering? You are surrendering your vision and habit of looking outside – your extroversion, your ego. And when you get up after bowing down, and if you have really bowed down, then you will find the master has disappeared from the outside and he is within you. Now you will start hearing his voice continuously inside, it will become your veena inside. So the outer master is just an instrument to wake up your inner master. If you become surrendered, then the outer master becomes one with the inner master.
Who is a master? A master is one in whom you have seen a glimpse of your own ultimate reality. A master is the one you long to be. Your innermost being has the longing that this is how you should be. He is the one in whom you have had a glimpse, in whom you have heard your inner melody. You have heard in his voice that which you wanted to say but which you were unable to say. And you have found in the magic touch of his hands what you wanted the touch of your hand to be. You looked into the master’s eyes and found what you wanted your eyes to be. The one in whom you have found your self, you have found your own destiny – he is the master.