To be a disciple means to be surrendered. Now there are no more doubts. Now the old uncertainty does not exist. Now there is no more wandering. Now stability enters one’s life. Now one has entered the boat.
Of those people who have become disciples ninety percent will stay, ten percent of them will leave. As the depth of the spiritual search increases, the difficulties also increase. The disciple will have to undergo fire tests that are not asked of the seekers. There is no question at all of asking anything from students! The fire test is only for the disciple. The master is this hard only on one who has come this far. He will have to be hard. He will have to strike deep. If you want to create a statue out of a stone then you have to take up a chisel to cut the stone. It will hurt, because your coverings are centuries old. The layers of ignorance covering you are not like clothes that you can take off and throw away to become naked, they have become like a skin. You have to be opened up – it is surgery.
At this third stage also, ten percent will run away. The ninety percent who stay at this third stage, who pass through the fire test, will enter the fourth stage. This is the last stage, that of the bhakta, the devotee. A small distance still remains between the disciple and the master. There is surrender from the side of the disciple, but this surrender is still from “the disciple.” In the surrender there still is a little ego alive, that “I am,” that “I have surrendered,” it is “my surrender.” On the fourth level the feeling of I is completely absent. Now devotion is born, now love has awakened. Now the master and the disciple are not separate. No one can leave at this stage. The one who has reached this far cannot retreat.
So many will come, many will go. The more people come, the more people will also go. At this time my sannyasins number some seventy-five thousand all over the earth. Now if five or ten of them drop sannyas and run away, it is not surprising at all, it is nothing to worry about either. Tomorrow these seventy-five thousand will become seven and a half million, then even more will disperse. The bigger this work becomes with a vast network the more people will leave. It is natural. This ratio will remain: ninety percent of the students will run away, fifty percent of the seekers will run away and ten percent of the disciples will run away. Only the devotees will not leave.
But to come as far as the devotee is a long pilgrimage, like climbing a Himalayan peak. It is a long climb and there will be a lot of sweat, tiredness, and one will be out of breath. Whoever runs away is also helpless. When he runs away, understand his helplessness too. I understand his helplessness.