The disciple disappears when he surrenders to the master, and when he knows nothingness, the master disappears. There’s nobody to leave and nobody to leave. In that utter purity is nirvana, is enlightenment. But it is painful; growth is painful, and the greatest pain comes when you have to drop your idea of the self.
Said one oyster to a neighboring oyster, “I have a very great pain within me. It is heavy and round and I am in distress.”
And the other oyster replied with haughty complacence, “Praise be to the heavens and to the sea, I have no pain within me. I am well and whole both within and without.”
At that moment a crab was passing by and heard the two oysters, and he said to the one who was well and whole both within and without, “Yes, you are well and whole, but the pain that your neighbor bears is a pearl of exceeding beauty.”
The disciple is in a deep pain because the ego is to be dropped and it is not easy. The ego is not like a garment that you can put off easily. The ego is like your skin, it has to be peeled and it is painful.
You have lived with the ego for so many, many lives. You have changed bodies many times, but the ego is the same. It has persisted as a continuous thing in you, it is very ancient. To drop it is not easy; it is arduous, it is great agony. But only out of this agony is ecstasy born – a pearl of exceeding beauty, a state of consciousness of utter benediction. But in the beginning you will feel, “I have a very great pain within me. It is heavy and round and I am in distress.”
And those who don’t know the pain of disciplehood will tell you, “Praise be to the heavens and to the sea, I have no pain within me. I am well and whole both within and without.”
You can go around…. There are millions of people who have no idea what it means to be a disciple, who have never tasted anything of disciplehood, who have never surrendered to anybody, who have never loved somebody so deeply that they are ready to die for him, who have never loved anybody so intimately that they disappear into that intimacy, that they melt into that intimacy.
They will tell you that you are a little bit abnormal, “There is no need to be a disciple, and there is no need to be a master. Look at us! We are whole, within and without. We don’t need a master, so why should you need a master?”
And yes, they are whole within and without, and healthy. But their health is valueless, and their wholeness is of a very lower order; their wholeness is very mundane. And one who wants to attain to the sacred realm will have to pass through pain: the pain of losing the mundane, the pain of being nowhere, the pain of being in limbo, the pain of losing that you know and yet not gaining that which you desire to know. When you are just in the middle, that’s where the disciple is. He is dropping that which is known, perfectly known, and trying to enter into something of which he is absolutely unaware what exactly it is.