The Meaning of Discipleship Today

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Duration: 26 min. 31 sec.

 

June 1st, 1979
Pacific School of Religion
Berkeley, California, USA

Transcription from the original live recording.

 

  0:02  Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, dear distinguished professors and deans, here we are all seekers. We are sailing in the same boat, the boat that carries us to the Golden Shore of the Beyond. Nothing gives me a greater sense of satisfaction than to be of dedicated service to the seekers, for I am also a seeker, an eternal seeker, a seeker of the infinite Truth and Light.

  1:26  As you know, I am advised by my esteemed friend, Dean Foster, to speak on the meaning of discipleship today. This is a most significant subject and, therefore, I offer him my gratitude-heart.

  2:02  Now, who is a disciple? A disciple is a seeker, a truth-seeker. Who is a disciple? A disciple is a lover; he is a Heaven-lover. Who is a disciple? A disciple is a server; he is an earth-server. Who is a disciple? A disciple is a fulfiller; he is a God-fulfiller.

  2:41  The meaning of discipleship today: now if we want to know the meaning of discipleship, we have to focus our concentrated attention on the role of a disciple. The role of a disciple is quite simple, of course, if we follow the path of the heart and not that of the mind. The role of the seeker is to give what he has and what he is. What he has is an inner cry. This cry is birthless and deathless. He offers this birthless and deathless inner cry to his Pilot Supreme for His infinite Light, eternal Peace and immortal Bliss. What he is? He is a devoted and soulful instrument. He wants to help mankind see the beauty of the Infinite in the very heart of the finite. He wants to unite earth’s helpless cry, helpless cry, and Heaven’s endless Smile. He takes it as his bounden duty to serve both Mother Earth and Father Heaven. Undoubtedly, he is a chosen instrument of the Absolute Pilot Supreme. Here to manifest the eternal Truth is his constant cry, constant hunger.

  5:25  Yesterday’s disciple, today’s disciple and tomorrow’s disciple: yesterday’s disciple was simple and humble. Simplicity was his outer life, humility was his inner life. Simplicity and humility inundated his entire being. Today’s disciple is complicated and argumentative. Complication and argumentation reign supreme in his life, day in and day out. Tomorrow’s disciple will be the fastest spiritual runner. His code of life will be to run and become, and become and run. He will run in order to succeed; he will become in order to proceed. At times, he will run and reach the Goal; at times, the Goal will come to him. When he reaches the Goal, he will be blessed with the transcendental Pride of the Absolute Supreme. And when the Goal reaches him, he will immediately sit at the Feet of the Absolute Supreme with his heart’s soulful gratitude-sea.

  7:40  In the days of yore, the disciple was advised and encouraged by the Master to renounce the world. Renunciation was taught right from the beginning when the seeker or the disciple came to the Master. The Vedic seers of the hoary past, and also the Upanishadic seers, offered a supreme message to the world at large: “Enjoy through renunciation — Tena tyaktena bhunjitha.”

  8:40  Everybody wants to enjoy, for satisfaction is of paramount need. Now, they came to realise that satisfaction can be achieved only through renunciation, there is no other way. This world of ours gives us things that do not last; their life-breath is very short. Sooner than the soonest, everything dies. So, they taught their disciples not to run after material objects. Everything here is an illusion. Nothing can last and nothing will last permanently. What is the use of running after things that will not last for good? So, the students were taught the message of renunciation.

 10:01  Then there came a time when the message needed some transformation. The twentieth century and a few centuries before, the sages, the seers, the spiritual Masters have come to realise that acceptance of life is of paramount importance, not rejection.

 10:33  If we renounce the world, if we renounce the body, vital, mind and heart, then what are we going to do for our Beloved Supreme? We say we love God. We say we want to please Him. If we want to please Him, if we want to fulfil Him, how can we reject or renounce the world? This world of ours, as it is, must be accepted. First we accept, then we transform. Needless to say, this world is far, far from perfection. But unless and until we accept the world, we touch the earth-arena, we touch the sufferings, the pains, the imperfections of the world at large, how are we going to change the face and fate of the world? Therefore, we must needs accept the world.

 11:46  Our mind is full of doubts, worries and anxieties and so forth. Our mind has to be transformed. Our vital quite often is destructive. We have to have a new vital, which is dynamic. With a dynamic vital we will be able to run the fastest, dive the deepest and fly the highest. Our body is lethargic; our body enjoys ignorance-sleep. It has been sleeping for millions of years, yet it wants to enjoy this ignorance-sleep. Now, the seeker in us tells our body to wake up. Again, the Upanishadic seers taught us how to inspire the body with inner dynamism by repeating the soulful and powerful words of incantation.

 13:08             Uttisthata jagrata – Arise, awake!
                    Prapya varan nibodhata – Until the Goal is reached, do not stop!

And this Goal is for whom? Not for the weakling!

                    Nayam atma bala hinena labhya.1

 13:32  The inner Goal can be achieved only by the powerful souls. Not for the weakling, the Goal that satisfies our inner world and outer world; the Goal that quenches our Eternity’s thirst.

 14:06  Today’s disciple cannot satisfy us. Yesterday’s disciple could not satisfy us. Tomorrow’s disciple also perhaps will not satisfy us. Why?

 14:26  Yesterday’s disciple said to the Master, “Master, give me the capacity. If you bless me with capacity, I shall please you.” Now, the seeker, the disciple, did not want to go further. He did not tell the Master that he would be more than willing to please the Master in his own way.

 14:54  Today’s disciple says to the Master, “Master, I am giving you a golden chance. Do please me first in my own way. I give you my word of honour, tomorrow I shall please you in your own way. But you have to please me first; and I have already given you a golden, supreme chance.”

 15:22  Tomorrow’s disciple perhaps will say to the Master, “Master, let us please each other. You give me something significant and I shall give you something significant. I shall give you my life’s sleepless service. You give me your soul’s Himalayan realisation.” Here also, the disciple has managed to forget the message of unconditional reality. All conditional — Master has to give something to the disciple, then only the disciple will give the Master something else.

 16:17  Therefore, yesterday’s disciple could not fulfil the supreme task; today’s disciple cannot; and tomorrow’s also failed. But, in the distant future — it may take millions of years — there shall come a time when the seeker-disciple will be ready to please the Master in his own way. The seeker-disciple will be able to identify himself with the supreme prayer-message of the Saviour Supreme Christ: “Father, let Thy Will be done.”

 17:19  Here the message of surrender comes to the fore. Unfortunately, the present-day world is scared to death when it hears the word ‘surrender’. Now, in the spiritual life, the surrender that we speak of is not the surrender of the African slave of the past to their masters. It is the recognition of the Infinite by the finite. A tiny drop recognises its inner identity with the vast ocean. And it enters into the ocean and becomes the vast, infinite ocean itself.

 18:24  Here, in the spiritual life, nobody is compelled to surrender. But everybody has an inner urge to grow into the Infinite. As the tiny drop grows into the Infinite, even so, the finite consciousness of ours can eventually grow into Infinity.

 18:56  Surrender and freedom are always at daggers drawn. But if we dive deep within, we feel there is no difference between the two terms, between the two concepts, between the two so-called realities. They are the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. Before we accepted the spiritual life, we enjoyed freedom in a special way. We fulfilled, or wanted to fulfil, our earth-bound desires. We felt, perhaps, we had the capacity and potentiality to be another Napoleon or Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar to voice forth, “I came, I saw and I conquered.” This is at least the positive way of looking at the reality. Otherwise, if it is the negative way, then we would have cherished and admired deep in the inmost recesses of our heart the destructive message of Hitler and Stalin.

 20:38  Now, we entered into the spiritual life, the desire-bound life we gave up. We enjoyed freedom, whether it is freedom or not, we enjoyed something in a limited way, and the after-effect of it was total frustration. Therefore, we needed a kind of escape. Or, we can say illumination dawned on us. Therefore, we entered into spiritual life.

 21:12  Here, unfortunately, we feel that we are surrendering to somebody else. We have no freedom of ours. But I wish to say, freedom is always there. You have only changed the course of the game. Previously you wanted to fulfil yourself by fulfilling the desire-life. Now you want to fulfil yourself, please yourself, by fulfilling the aspiration-life.

 21:54  Here, nobody compels, or can compel, a seeker-disciple to follow a spiritual path or to listen to the advice of a Master. He comes to the Master on the strength of his inner urge. Then he sees himself as an exact prototype of his Master’s divine consciousness. He knew perfectly well that once upon a time he enjoyed freedom in his own way. Now, also, he is exercising his freedom in a different way. When we lead, we enjoy freedom. Again, when we consciously, soulfully, deliberately and unconditionally follow, we enjoy another kind of freedom.

 23:01  So here, his inner awareness, inner development, inner sense of truth compel him to follow a higher life, a more illumining life, a more fulfilling life. Therefore, the question of surrender does not arise at all — only, a new kind of freedom he enjoys. He is enjoying a new kind of freedom. He follows his own higher reality. He knows that the Master knows a little more than he does, so therefore he is following the Master. It is a new freedom. He does not have to kiss the dust of his Master’s feet. He knows, he and his Master are inseparably one and here on his own, to fulfil his own divine longing, he is staying with the Master. And he knows perfectly well, there is only one Master and that Master is the Absolute Supreme. And the Master who is in the physical form is only a representative of his real Guru, the real Master.

 24:58  In the spiritual life: God for God’s sake. Right from the beginning, if this message a seeker can embody, can reveal and manifest at every moment in his life, then only he can be a perfect choice and supreme instrument of the Beloved Supreme. There shall come a time when our Mother Earth will be inundated with the seeker-disciples who will carry the banner of unconditional surrender, which is nothing other than conscious and constant, inseparable and unconditional divine oneness with one’s Master.

 

– End –

 

Endnotes:
1 Sri Chinmoy translates the Sanskrit phrase Nayam atma bala hinena labhya as “The soul cannot be won by the weakling.”