And most of the so-called masters in the past have been your enemies. That’s why you are still shadows, you are still not authentic beings. They did not allow you…they enjoyed the game which is a very pious game of ego: “I have so many disciples.” The ego is so subtle, it can catch your neck in any place. It does not matter whether you are trying to be spiritual, the ego can still manage to live with you.
I have heard about a master who used to live alone deep in the forest. One day a seeker came who was searching for a master. He had been to many masters, but had found nothing but ego trips in the name of spirituality. He had just left another master who was continuously bragging about how many disciples he had. He never forgot to tell any stranger who came to him how many disciples he had. The seeker watching the whole scene that seemed to be a circus, felt it was not a place for spiritual growth because the man in the center was himself still not out of the games of children, the ego games.
So he went in search into the forest. Perhaps somewhere in the deeper forest he might find a master. And he found an old master, very silent, very serene and he felt that perhaps this was the right man. And he told him, “I have been searching. I have been to many masters, but I was not satisfied.”
The old man asked, “What was your trouble? Why were you not satisfied?”
He said, “They were all playing a political game, the politics of numbers. They were all comparing with each other who had more disciples, who had the king as a disciple, who had the prime minister as a disciple, who had the richest man as a disciple. It seemed they were much more influenced by the king, by the prime minister, by the richest man than they were influencing those people.”
The old man said, “Then you have found the right man. I don’t have a single disciple. Now you need not go anywhere. I am the only one who has no disciples.” Such are the ways, so subtle and so cunning…Now he is enjoying the idea that he has no disciples, he is the only one.
But that young seeker said, “Once you accept me as a disciple, you will not be able to claim what you are claiming now. I will not disturb your ego, I am going in search of an authentic master.”
The man said, “But what more do you want? I don’t have any disciples, I am the only one!”
He said, “That is the problem, they are all trying to prove this, that they are the only one – the only one who has ten thousand disciples, the only one who has twenty thousand disciples. You are the only one who has no disciples. But the idea that ‘I am the only one, unique,’ continues to haunt you. And that is preventing your own spiritual explosion.”
And such masters are bound to have a mutual conspiracy. They will pretend that they are the saviors and they will enjoy the idea that they are not only saviors, but the only savior. And the disciples who will follow them will enjoy the ego, that they are the disciples of the only real savior: all others are following fools, idiots, all kinds of stupid people. “We are following the right person.” This is a mutual conspiracy. They are both fulfilling each other’s egos.