A disciple is not made, one has to become one. When you love someone, do you first ask the person? Do you first take the permission of the person? Love just happens. Love neither obeys any order nor takes any permission, nor does it believe in any modes or methods.
What is discipleship?
It is the highest, the deepest name of love. If you want to love me, how can I stop you? If you shed tears in love for me, how can I stop you? And if you dive into what I call meditation, how can I stop you? Whosoever wants to be a disciple, no one can stop him. And that is why I have dropped all the formalities that were there for making someone a disciple, because now I want only those who are coming toward me of their own accord, not via some other route. Now, the whole responsibility is yours.
For instance, we teach students in the first grade: a is for apple, g is for Ganesh. In fact, previously g used to be for Ganesh, now it is for gadha, the donkey. It is a secular state. Here it is not appropriate that the word Ganesh appears in a textbook. But neither does Ganesh have anything to do with g or gadha. It is just a way to teach a small child. The child finds gadha or Ganesh more interesting. He doesn’t find any interest in the letter g. But slowly, slowly gadha will be forgotten, Ganesh will be forgotten, only g will remain, and only g will be used.
If you keep having to read a for apple, g for Ganesh, by the time you enter the university, there will be no opportunity to study. Even to read one complete sentence will be impossible. And after reading it, it will become difficult to understand what the meaning is, because who knows how many donkeys and Ganeshas and mangoes will be in the sentence?
There are pictures in small children’s textbooks – colored pictures, big pictures, and a few letters. And with every move to a higher class the pictures go on becoming smaller and the letters become more and more. Slowly, the pictures disappear altogether and only the letters remain. In university classes, there are no pictures, only letters, the akshar.
Our word akshar is also very lovely. It means that which will never be destroyed. So, Ganesha can be destroyed, gadhas can be destroyed, but the akshar will always remain. It never ceases.
So when I started, I had to initiate people into sannyas, to make people disciples. But how long can one play the joke of gadhas and Ganeshas; apples and pineapples? Now, sannyas has matured. Now, formalities no longer have an important place.