But because of him…. And Jesus was to follow him, Jesus was a disciple of his own disciple. He was initiated by John the Baptist because John the Baptist preceded him. He became linked and then he had to use the same terminology. It was almost certain that he would be misunderstood. John the Baptist died in prison – beheaded. Jesus died on the cross – killed, murdered. He was also talking about the “kingdom” of God. Of course he was not so aggressive, but the very terminology appeared political. He was a very innocent man; nothing to do with politics.
But John the Baptist helped in a way. Jesus could work because all the disciples of John the Baptist were ready to receive him, he was not a stranger. John the Baptist had created a small opening, a small clearance in the wilderness of humanity. When he came he was received, there was a home ready for him – a few people receptive to him. That would not have been possible if he had come alone without a predecessor. But the home was made by John the Baptist, and the disciples whom he attracted were attracted by him – that created the trouble.
This is the oldest format: the master is preceded by a disciple who functions as a predecessor and prepares the ground. Because of its defects and limitations, there has been another, the opposite.
Ramakrishna was succeeded by Vivekananda; he was not preceded by anybody. The master comes first, then follows the disciple. This has its own benefits because the master creates the whole climate, the master creates the whole possibility of growth – how the thing is to go. He gives language, pattern, direction, dimension.
But there are defects because the master is infinite and when the disciple comes he is very finite. Then the disciple has to choose, because he cannot move in all directions. The master may be showing all the directions, he may be leading you towards infinity, but when the disciple comes he has to choose, he has to select, and then he forces his pattern.
Ramakrishna was succeeded by Vivekananda. Ramakrishna was one of the greatest flowerings that had ever happened; Vivekananda was the prophet. Ramakrishna was the messiah, but Vivekananda set the whole trend. Vivekananda’s own inclinations were extrovert, not introvert. His own inclinations were more towards social reformation, political change. He was more interested in bringing riches to the people, destroying poverty and hunger and starvation. He turned the whole trend around.
The Ramakrishna Mission is not true to Ramakrishna; it is true to Vivekananda. Now the Ramakrishna Mission functions as a social service. Whenever there is famine, they are there to serve people. Whenever there is an earthquake, they are there to serve people. Whenever there is flood – and there is no lack of these things in India – they are there. They are good servants, but Ramakrishna’s inward revolution has completely disappeared into the desert land of Vivekananda.
Ramakrishna functioned more freely than Jesus because there was no pattern for him. He lived more spontaneously than Jesus. There was no confinement anywhere; all the directions were open to him. He could fly just like a bird in the sky, no limitations existed. But then comes the disciple. He organizes it. He organizes, of course, in his own way.