The moment you see an enlightened person, if you allow yourself to see the enlightened person, three things happen in your life. The first is you become a student. A student means one who becomes intellectually involved, who becomes intellectually intrigued, who starts feeling that his questions are being answered for the first time, his curiosities are dissolving for the first time. For the first time there is someone who can answer him and his answers are not borrowed; his answers are on his own authority. His answers are not coming from his memory; his answers are welling up from his very center.
And you can feel the difference, the difference is great. It is the difference between a plastic rose and a real rose. You can see that his answers are fresh, young, breathing. They have a heartbeat to them, they are not dead information. He has not collected knowledge; he has known, he has seen, he has become. And you will feel his being. The first step is to become a student; that’s how the journey starts.
The second step is to be a disciple. When not only your head is in communication with the master but your heart too, when not only does he look logical but a great love arises in your being for him, then you become a disciple. A disciple knows how to commune, the student knows how to communicate. The student lives on the verbal, intellectual level; the disciple on the nonverbal, feeling level. His heart starts opening. Just as the sun rises in the morning and the flowers start opening, the disciple feels some opening is happening in him. He is no longer the same person. The master has touched his being; something has penetrated. The disciple has become pregnant.
And the third step is to be a devotee. The student relates through the head, the disciple through the heart, and the devotee through his totality. It is no longer a question of head or heart, body or mind or soul; his whole being becomes suffused. He becomes one with the master. It is no longer a dialogue of the head or of the heart. There are no longer two; the flames have become one.
This is the moment of real initiation, of real sannyas. Buddha is talking about it. He says: The followers of the awakened awake… They become just like the master. They have the same quality, the same fragrance, the same aura. The only way to understand a buddha is to become a buddha yourself; there is no other way.
The student will know about the buddha; the devotee will know the buddha. The disciple will feel the buddha. The disciple is just in between the student and the devotee. He will remain a little vague, clouded; he will not have clarity. In that sense, the student is clear – intellectually clear. The devotee is totally clear. The disciple is in the middle: something is clear and something is very unclear; something is light and something is dark. The disciple is in a state of twilight, neither day nor night.
Buddha is talking about the devotee when he uses the word follower. He does not mean a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist. He means someone who has the courage to take the plunge into the very being of the master; he is a real follower. And in that plunge he starts having the same quality – the quality of being awake.