I don’t understand why enlightened masters are critical of each other. Are they not all working towards the higher good? Are they not different flavors of the same truth?
The question you have asked is almost impossible to answer for the simple reason that you are not enlightened yet. You don’t know the ways of the enlightened ones. You don’t know their devices, you don’t know their methods; hence the misunderstanding.
An ancient story may help you…. In a great city there were two big sweet shops, and one day the owners of both the shops started fighting with each other for some reason. Naturally, they had no other way to fight, so they started throwing sweets at each other. And the whole city gathered and people were enjoying the sweets that were falling on the street.
When two enlightened masters criticize each other it brings tremendous joy to those who can understand. Its taste is just unbelievable. They are not enemies: their fight is not of the ego. Their fight has a totally different context.
They fight because they know one thing: that the goal is one, but the paths are many. And each master has to defend his path, knowing perfectly well that the other paths are as valid as his. But if he starts saying that all the paths are valid, he will not have the impact, the influence on his people. The journey is long and he needs absolute trust.
He is not a philosopher propounding a system of philosophy. His basic concern is that your commitment to the path should be total. To make it total he condemns all other paths, he criticizes all other ways. It is just out of compassion for you. He knows the people on the other path will also reach, and he knows that out of compassion the master on the other path has to criticize him, has to criticize his ways.
This is just a simple methodology to protect the disciple from influences that can take him astray. And the mind is very, very clever in going astray. If all the paths are valid, then what is the necessity of commitment? If all the paths are valid, then what is the necessity of being total?
If all the paths are valid, then why not travel all the paths? Why not go on changing, enjoying different ways, different methods, different sceneries? Each path will pass through different lands: there are paths that will go through the desert, and there are paths that will go through the mountains, and there are paths that will pass through beautiful, flowering trees.
But if you travel for some time on one path and then you change the path, you will have to start again from ABC. Whatever you have learned on one path is invalid on another path, and if you go on keeping it within you it is going to create tremendous confusion. You are already in a great mess. No master wants you to be more confused!